[Transcript] – How to Biohack International Travel, Ben’s Inexpensive Hair Loss Prevention Protocol, Top Ancestral Living Strategies For A Longer Lifespan, & More With Jag Chima.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/jag-chima/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:00] Guest Intro

[00:01:58] Do Ben’s biohacks change with the country he visits?

[00:14:08] Effective Biohacks for hair loss prevention

[00:19:50] Is hair loss genetic or caused by stress?

[00:22:53] Plant-Based Diet Challenges

[00:25:04] Making plants more digestible

[00:31:56] Healthy protein choices for vegetarians

[00:34:24] What has changed from our ancestors till now for a long living?

[00:41:55] The Secrets of Blue Zones

[00:46:38] How does being distracted while eating impact digestion?

[00:50:48] Real effects of alcohol and is there a safe amount

[01:00:57] Is intermittent fasting good for everyone?

[01:04:40] Does having a coffee with fats break your fast?

[01:06:28] How to avoid eating vegetable oils?

[01:08:45] Biohacking Concept for High Performers

[01:11:13] Ben’s top 5 non-negotiable biohacks while traveling?

[01:12:42] Closing the Podcast

[01:13:28] End of Podcast

[01:14:25] Legal Disclaimer

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

You really need to be aware of the food that you're eating, and eat it mindfully and be grateful for it, and not be stressed or rushed when you're eating it. Especially in an era where, back to the hyperpalatable foods, it's so easy to eat and be done in 5 minutes. And, that might feel like you're getting calories, but your gut doesn't know that and a lot of people have gut issues. Big part of it comes from just not eating mindfully.

Fitness, nutrition, biohacking, longevity, life-optimization, spirituality, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the Ben Greenfield Life show. Are you ready to hack your life? Let's do this.

Well, folks, on my recent three-week tour, speaking tour of India, my Director of Business Management in India is Jag Chima. Jag Chima, what a cool name is that. Jag has a podcast and he is an amazing businessman who's up to all sorts of interesting things. He's an entrepreneur. He's a keynote speaker. He's a visionary.  And, he's done business both in the UK and India, and beyond; in real estate, construction, finance, lifestyle, health and fitness. And, he's basically the man when it comes to, my go-to guy for all things international business. He also now has a brand-new podcast. We sat down. We had a chat for his show that we are also now releasing right here for your listening pleasure. Shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Chima; C-H-I-M-A. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/Chima. I'll put links in the shownotes to more about Jag, his website, his products, what he's up to. And, I hope you enjoy today's episode. Again, shownotes are at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Chima.

Jag: As a leading biohacker from around the world, you've traveled many countries. Do you feel that the biohacks that you suggest to people change in accordance to the environments and the countries that you visit?

Ben: Oh man, that's a great question. The gut response is, of course, yes. Because environments change, genetics change, the traditions and culture all the way down to dietary preferences based on genetics, tradition, and religion change, and even things such as say the way that you might want to be perceived is going to change. In terms of, what I mean by that, you know, whether we're talking about super muscular or lean, or having a certain appearance when it comes to your skin, your hair, your nails, et cetera. So, yeah, there's a wide variety of factors. Like, let's use an example. Like, you and I are in India. And look, I don't think it's any secret that there is pollution here, right? It's an issue. People are often concerned about air pollution. And so, if we were going to talk about biohacks that might be more important here than say in that pristine acreage of forest — I live in Washington State. People may want to think about anti-aging, or beauty, or health strategies related to protecting their lungs or protecting themselves from the inflammation that might occur with something like air pollution. 

I'll give you an example. You know, I traveled here with a massive amount of vitamin C. And, I've been dosing with it like three times a day. A little vitamin C packet that I put into water because it turns out that vitamin C — and actually, you could say the same for vitamin E, are very good consumable antioxidants that help the body to fight against air pollution. Another example, and this would be perhaps a sexier technology-based biohack than just taking vitamin C, would be nebulizing. Have you ever nebulized or have you heard of this?

Jag: I've heard of nebulizing, yes.

Ben: So, nebulizing, it sounds like this crazy medical term. But all it is, is it's a little mask that you put on, and it's typically attached to some kind of a canister that you put some type of a fluid in, and the nebulizer basically turns that fluid into tiny microscopic particles that you can breathe in to your lungs. So, for example, even though I did not bring — although, I probably should have brought my little portable $40-nebulizer from Amazon with me. When I get home on my desktop, while I'm working, you know, during the first 20 or 30 minutes of the day where I'm checking emails or whatnot, I will have a countertop or a desktop nebulizer. And, in that nebulizer, I will put liquid glutathione. Because glutathione is like one of the most potent antioxidants known to humankind, that if breathed in through your lungs, can help to heal lung tissue. And then, finally, one other thing that you could think about, in addition to basic antioxidants like vitamin C or vitamin E, or a technology like nebulizing glutathione, is the idea that when you have a combination of radiation, or inflammation, or pollution that you're constantly exposed to, that can cause damage to the fats that are circulating in your body or the fats that make up the membranes of your cells. Now, it turns out that there are certain types of fats that are more fragile, that are more prone to creating inflammation through a process of what is called oxidation.

Now, when I visit, let's say a hot pool in Las Vegas. And, I walk around the pool and I look at what people are being served there; French fries, and hamburgers, and chips with guacamole, and all these foods that are chock-full of vegetable oils, I know that those people who are laying there in the sunshine under radiation, while consuming fragile fats, are going to have accelerated aging of their skin, of their face. They're going to get more wrinkles and not have as youthful an appearance because they're consuming fried foods and vegetable oils, in combination with something else; in this case, solar radiation, that's going to cause more inflammation and accelerated aging. So, you could say the same thing for pollution, right? One of the best things you can do, if you live in a polluted area and you don't want it to age you as much as it might, is you can avoid fragile fats; like vegetable oils. And instead, consume ghee, or coconut oil, or extra virgin olive oil, or some other type of oil that is a little bit more stable. So, those are just some examples that would be specific to the area that we're in.

[00:07:24] Is it better to do aesthetic treatments or go right to the root cause?

Jag: Sure. So, you mentioned that people would probably have different goals whilst using biohacks, for example, in Washington as compared to here in India. And, you mentioned that some of those people might be more focused on anti-aging instead of possibly getting back from the effects of the pollution. But what would you say to those people who might age quicker here due to the fact that the environment has a lot of pollution, they have a lot of damage due to the types of foods that they eat? However, the objective that they might have as a number one priority is to improve their appearance. Therefore, possibly going with aesthetic treatments, like maybe Botox or other skin treatments to treat their skin from the outside in, rather than going to the root cause.

Ben: Right. Well, I think that you've made a very good point there at the end of your question is, of course, you must go after the root cause. You must address what's causing the accelerated aging in the first place, right? And again, that couldn't be too much solar radiation, right? Sunshine is good. Too much of it can cause damage to the skin. It could be, in some cases, paradoxically, excessive exercise training. I mean, you know, I used to race Ironman Triathlon. And when I'd go to triathlons, or in the same case, when I used to do bodybuilding and I go to bodybuilding shows, people look great from afar. And then, you get close, you're like, “Oh my gosh!” They're looking kind of wrinkled and, you know, starting to take on that appearance of the grandma from “Something About Mary.” If you remember that movie and you're like, “Bleh!”  These people are like fit, but not necessarily healthy, and especially, aging excessively on the skin. In many cases, what you see on the skin is also occurring deeper down inside in the joints, in the heart, et cetera. So, addressing the root cause is important. And, you know, I just explained some of the ways that you could do that; you know, vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione, you know, avoiding fried foods, et cetera. 

But if you also want to proactively restore youthfulness, let's say to the skin and to the face, there are some cool biohacks that can help out with that. I'll give you a few. One is red light therapy. Full body, red light therapy. You can now purchase red light beds, that are very expensive actually, that you can lay inside. But you can also have these treatments done at a variety of different biohacking clinics or health clinics, for example. You can have, like I have at my home, standup red light panels. Again, during the first 20, 30 minutes or so, when I'm at work during the day, I sandwich myself butt-naked in between two red light panels. So, my whole body is getting stimulated by red light, which turns out is really, really good for collagen production and elastin production. And both of those can help out with the skin's youthful appearance.

Another example would be that people will often go to fancy medical clinics to get microneedling and injections. Not just a Botox, like you mentioned. But everything from plasma. There's something called platelet-rich plasma, or PRP. That's very popular for people to inject into their faces for youthfulness. The stem cells can also be used for something similar. Some people will use topical peptides. There are these things called “peptides” that are the hot topic in longevity and anti-aging right now. Turns out that some of them are absorbed transdermally, through the skin, and can cause age reversal. There's one that's probably the most potent for this called GHK copper peptide. If you were to Google it, you Google “G-H-K-C-U.” And, that's an example of another kind of expensive thing that a medical clinic would do. But here's what a lot of people don't tell you, and here's what I do. 

Because I don't want to spend all my time driving around a fancy medical clinic, spending my children's college fund, or my retirement income, or whatever on, you know, $30,000 skin treatments every month. So, what you can do is you can buy a very affordable red light face mask. I mean, some of these are like under $60 USD. And then, you can get a clay mask. Now, you can find clay masks at most beauty outlets or health food stores. You can even make your own with something called bentonite clay, mixed with a little bit of apple cider vinegar. You want to, of course, look at the ingredient label to make sure it doesn't have a lot of toxins in it. Back in the U.S., there's a couple of brands that I like. One is called Alitura, and one is called Young Goose. And, I'll bounce back and forth between what I use. 

But, what you do is you apply the clay mask to your face. I do this once every week. Before you apply the clay mask to your face however, you use the DIY at-home version of the fancy expensive microneedling that they would do at a beauty clinic. And, that's called dermarolling. And again, you can buy derma rollers for under 20 bucks. You dermaroll the face, preferably, from low to high, okay. So, upward against gravity. Derm roll the face. This is like brushing your teeth, right? It takes like maybe 2 minutes. Now, I also derma roll my hair. Because the same type of facial restoration tactic that a beauty clinic will use, they will also use those same tactics on the hair; including microneedling. So, I derma roll my hair and I derma roll my face. And then, I apply a clay mask. Not only to my face but to my hair. Every Wednesday morning, I look like a freak walking around the house because I leave that clay mask on for about a half hour. 

At some point, while I'm wearing the clay mask, I put on one of those infrared light masks, and I wear that for about 20 minutes. And those photons of light penetrate the skin, activate the clay. And then, you go take a shower, and you wash all this off. And, if you ask my wife, she got pissed a few times because you do get clay on the bottom of the shower. You get a little squeegee and wipe it up, and we had to go through marital counseling for that, almost. And you've got a weekly beauty treatment that mimics what you might get at a fancy expensive anti-aging clinic for like under 100 bucks at home that you can do just once a week. It's derma rolling, red light, clay mask. And that's an example of something that just about anybody can do on their own at home as a beauty tip. 

Jag: There is a common requirement that people have, which is to obviously look young. You have younger-looking skin, and you've mentioned some great biohacks for that. But what about those people who might be losing hair, and some of those people might lose hair very young. What kind of biohacks can you use to maybe regrow hair, or even try and avoid the loss of hair in the first place?

Ben: Yeah. Well, for a while, most hair restoration clinics, and physicians who specialize in hair restoration, would tell you that the only real proven way to bring back hair is via a follicular transplant. Literally, taking hair from a different part of the body, taking those follicles, and transplanting them onto the head. Typically, with some combination of what I was talking about earlier, the microneedling, to allow it to set into place. They'll sometimes combine that with stem cells. They'll sometimes combine that with something I also mentioned, the plasma, the platelet-rich plasma, which they literally make from your own blood. As you can imagine, that's a pretty involved and pretty expensive procedure. 

Now, over the past few years, they've discovered that there are certain peptides, which I also mentioned, that can help to restore hair growth. Probably, one of the better ones is that GHK copper peptide that I talked about. There are a few others, and there are these cocktails that you can find that are topical ointments that you'd apply to the hair after derma rolling to help restore hair growth. These are often also combined, very similar to the face, with infrared light. So, an example of this would be, some time ago on my podcast, I interviewed folks who have a company called Ascir, A-S-C-I-R.  And, they have like a topical hair growth formula that you would first microneedle, and then rub into the scalp. And, over a period of repeated use, this is like daily use for about a month, you'll start to see hair regrowth occur. Now, what's cool is that, the same type of red light face masks that can restore youthfulness to the face, are now incorporated into technologies called red light helmets

Now, red light, and the way that light works, it comes in different wavelengths. And different wavelengths have different effects. These red light helmets are specifically tuned to a wavelength that can assist with hair regrowth. And so, this is again like a DIY at-home strategy. You use a peptide, like GHK copper peptide, or you use like a cocktail of products, such as this company called Ascir. You rub that into the scalp, and then you do red light in addition to that. 

Now, even though it's not as effective as something like a moderately expensive at-home peptide formula, there is one commonly known compound that in multiple studies has been shown to slow hair loss and even cause, in some cases, an increase in hair growth when applied topically on a regular basis. Do you know what it is? I'm going to give you a clue because I'm drinking it right now. 

Jag: Caffeine?

Ben: Caffeine. Topical caffeine. And there are some people who will literally take their spent coffee grounds and rub them into the scalp, very similar to how some people do a clay mask, on a regular basis to keep hair loss from occurring. It's not going to be as effective as like a follicular transplant or expensive peptides, but it does work and it can at least slow the process.

Jag: And how often would you apply the coffee?

Ben: Basically, daily. Like, as much as you can expose the scalp to caffeine because it's causing an increase in blood flow to the scalp, which is an important note. Because the more you wear a hat, the more your head is not exposed to oxygen, the more your head is not exposed to light, the more likely it is that you're going to accelerate hair loss. 

Now, there is one subset of the population who I think should embrace baldness. And that subset is men who have naturally high testosterone. You might have seen Hollywood actors, like Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson “The Rock.” And these guys are big, buff, bald men. Well, it turns out that when you have naturally high testosterone — and by the way, this also occurs if you use testosterone as a hormone replacement because it is going to do the same thing, but not naturally. Some of that testosterone is converted into a form of testosterone called DHT, dihydrotestosterone, and that can accelerate hair loss. And so, I'll have some guys, you know, send me their hormone and their lab panels to look at. Because I do, you know, some consulting with guys for their men's health. And they'll have elevated testosterone levels and pretty good testosterone levels. Some of it's going to get converted into DHT, no matter how many DHT blockers, or anything like that, that you take. Like, “Ben, like I'm losing my hair. I'm going bald, or I already am bald. What should I do?” And I tell them, “Look, testosterone's like a youthfulness hormone for libido, for sex, for muscle, for recovery. I say, Own it! Like, be bald and have good testosterone levels versus have hair and suppress your testosterone levels,” which is sometimes the only option for those people. It's like, you got to get rid of the testosterone. And I'd rather people like live a long time and be buff and be bald than have a whole head of hair and just be kind of skinny and libido-less.

Jag: Is hair loss genetic or can it be caused by say stress?

Ben: Oh, it's absolutely something that can be caused and it is genetic, as well. So, you can — like, you can see that I have a pretty full head of hair. I get that, and most men get it, from the maternal side. My mom has a full head of hair; all the guys on her side have a full head of hair. So, typically, hair comes from the mother's side. So, if you have, you know, if you look at all the relatives on your mom's side, they all have a pretty big head of hair, you're usually pretty safe. But you can have genetic predispositions to hair loss. And some of those things I mentioned earlier, like absence of exposure of the hair to oxygen or to light, can be things that cause that to occur more quickly. 

Now, what's interesting — and this is a little bit related to your question, is that many people are not just concerned about hair loss, but about hair discoloration, in the onset of gray hair. And again, this is one of those things where I'm like, “My hair is sign of wisdom and, you know, age. And I don't, you know, if I start to get a little peppery hair, I'm not going to worry too much.” But it turns out that one of the things that causes graying of hair is peroxidation. Specifically, hydrogen peroxide, not applied topically, but generated by your body, can cause graying of the hair. And it turns out that something that we already talked about that ages the skin also results in peroxide formation that can gray the hair, and that is consumption of inflammatory food products; such as vegetable oils. So, yet another reason to be careful with any foods that are going to cause inflammation or oxidation because they can accelerate hair graying.

Now, as far as what you do about that, besides being careful with those products, those food products, there are companies now that produce shampoos that have these dark blackish compounds in them. They're usually like a charcoal-based type of compound. And, you know, I get sent stuff all the time to try. And, even though my hair, knock on wood, is not yet graying, I had a company send me a bottle just a couple of months ago. Yet again, back to my wife being upset about the things that happened in the shower, it turned the floor of the shower dark, and little black clumps got on the wall that she had to scrub away for like 10 minutes because I tried this shampoo just to see how it worked. So, you can buy shampoos now that are actually hair-coloring shampoos and they work.

Jag: Is there a permanent solution to reversing the grays?

Ben: Those shampoos that have colored products in them would be how you wouldn't reverse the graying, but you would address the graying by recoloring the hair. The only way to slow down the graying would be to slow down the production of these peroxides, which comes from the diet. It's so crazy how so much comes back to the fuel that you put in your body actually affecting the external appearance; hair, skin, nails, you name it. 

Another example of that would be — and honestly, what I'm about to tell you is, again, kind of relevant to where we're at right now, India, it is relevant to your hair, your skin, and your nails' quality, and that's how much bioavailable collagen, gelatin, and amino acids that are in your diet. And you're going to get most of that from things like bone marrow or bone products, or meat. 

And so, people who eat a plant-based diet face an uphill battle when it comes to getting bioavailable amino acids, and collagen, and gelatin. That doesn't mean that you can't do it. But what it requires is really two things. The first is eating plants that are fermented, and soaked, and sprouted, and treated in such a manner that you unlock a lot more proteins when you eat them. So, this would be like soaked and sprouted lentils, versus normally cooked lentils. Or soaked and sprouted beans, and greens, and sprouts, versus just like eating raw vegetables. 

This would also include supplementation. You've probably heard of like, you know, different protein, mixes like rice protein or pea protein, or even amino acids; like essential amino acids. And the reason that a lot of people like those is they not only help the muscles to recover, but they provide the amino acid building blocks for the hair, the skin, and the nails. And there are also certain things that you can consume that are supplements that can help out with this as well. And probably the single most effective one is biotin, B-I-O-T-I-N. So, if you're eating a plant-based diet, I recommend that you not only do soaking and sprouting and fermentation as much as you can or, you know, consume foods that have had that done to them, and/or you consume amino acids and biotin, and those will also be really good for the skin.

Jag: India has one of the largest vegetarian populations in the world. And one of the associated problems is that a lot of those foods are probably not cooked in the right way. What would your advice be to those vegetarians who actually want to live a longer and functional and healthier lifestyle?

Ben: Yeah. The underlying mechanism behind why some plant-based diets can be harmful for the body lies in the idea that unlike animals, which have teeth and claws and hooves and nails, antlers, and all sorts of things to protect them, plants are just kind of stuck in the ground, right? They can't wave; they can't fight back. So, from an ancestral evolutionary standpoint, plants have developed their own defense mechanisms that cause a mammal that eats them to either get nauseous, or get sick, or get digestive distress, and not come back to that plant to eat it later on. Or cause that plant's seeds that the mammal consumed to not be digested by that mammal, and to instead get pooped out wherever that mammal defecates later on so that that plant could theoretically grow somewhere else, even though its parent plant has been eaten. And it's a fascinating, very intelligent defense mechanism that plants have. 

Unfortunately, those same defense mechanisms that plants have obviously can cause digestive issues in people, or form bioavailability of the proteins and the nutrients in the plants because they're protected and they want to pass through and not get absorbed. And again, get pooped out and grow elsewhere. 

So, what you have to do is you have to be smarter than the intelligence of the plant. And you have to eat plants in such a manner, that before you've eaten them, you've deactivated those natural plant defense mechanisms. I'll give you a couple examples. Quinoa. You had quinoa before? Okay. So, quinoa — millet's pretty similar to this as well, it's covered in a soap-like irritant called saponin. As a matter of fact, in South America, one tradition when rinsing quinoa is to save the water and use it later on to wash clothing and wash products because it is so similar to soap. Well, just imagine if you ate a bar of soap, how your stomach would feel? And many people will hear that quinoa is some kind of a superfood grain. You know, it's technically a grass. But they'll hear that quinoa is so good for them, and they'll go buy quinoa or order quinoa at the restaurant and eat it. And they'll either wind up with bloating, and gas, and digestive distress, or quinoa and their crap in the toilet bowl, or both. 

So, the idea is that when I say go to the supermarket and I buy quinoa, I don't just go home for dinner and dump it into the pot, and boil it, and cook it according to package instructions. I instead rinse it, soak it overnight — and a lot of times, I'll soak it not just in water, but also in vinegar, which helps to rinse off this [components] even more. In the morning, give it a wash, and then it's ready to cook for my meal. That obviously requires forethought and time. But a big reason that people have health issues is they don't have an intimate relationship with their food because kids, and humans in general, just don't learn how to cook foods properly. 

We could look at wheat, right? If I were to walk out into a field — there's tons of fields of wheat by my house in the northwest of the United States. And just like pick a stock of wheat out of the field and start munching on it, I'd probably have stomach distress later on because of all the plant defense mechanisms; including one that a lot of people know about, very concentrated levels of gluten in the wheat. So, in many cases, of course, people will mill the wheat, and break it down, and grind it, and then you get flour, and that's what you'll make bread or pancakes or whatever with. But really, if you truly want to pre-digest wheat, and unlock proteins, and make it more bioavailable, and make it more digestible, you must ferment it. And this is why sourdough bread, which is leavened and fermented, is much healthier for you than regular bread. Sourdough, or fermentation process of any type of wheat, is healthier for you. Because, again, you're suddenly being smarter than the plant. And, you know, I eat bread, but usually, it's my wife's lovely, homemade, fermented sourdough bread. And if I'm at a restaurant, I have the option, I'll order the sourdough because it's been fermented.

I'll give you one other example. Many people, they'll eat these big salads. Or sometimes, it's quite popular among health enthusiasts to put a bunch of kale, and spinach, and greens into a smoothie and make a superfood green smoothie. Well, it turns out that greens are chock-full of other digestive irritants. Things like oxalates and phytates. These can also cause gas and bloating and digestive distress. So, you have this paradoxical scenario where someone's eating all these raw vegetables and, you know, big salads, but their stomach hurts and they've got gas. I used to do that. And then, once I realized that this also was exposing me to a lot of these plant defense mechanisms, I came up with this rule that when I'm eating a raw vegetable, mash it, puree it, boil it, break it down. Do things to actually cause it to become more digestible. And even though I don't really make big green smoothies anymore, when I learned this, what I would do is I'd take all my kale and my spinach, I put it in a pot, I'd boil it in water, I discard the water, I'd rinse it off, and then I'd blend it. And it was way more digestible because I had gotten rid of a lot of the oxalates, and the digestive irritants, and the greens. 

So, what it comes down to is — and this might seem very intimidating to people, but it's very simple. Take whatever plant you're going to consume; millet, quinoa, wheat, whatever, and Google how to make, “insert plant here,” more digestible. And you'll come up with instructions then. I have a whole table in my book, “Boundless” like, here's what you do with millet, here's what you do with rice, here's what you do with quinoa, here's what you do with amaranth, here's what you do with “insert plant here.” And it's not that hard once you figured it out to get whatever plant, or grain, or grass that you want to eat, and prepare it in such a way that you predigest it and you make it more bioavailable as far as all the different nutrients and things that you can put in it. 

Jag: For vegetarians, what kind of protein sources would you suggest are healthy choices?

Ben: Well, I mean, any of the plants that I just talked about. The plants, the grains, the grasses that I just talked about are healthy. It's the preparation methods that would dictate whether they're actually going to be bioavailable to the body or, God forbid, cooked with a bunch of, you know, sweeteners and oils and things that are going to make them unhealthy. 

I think a couple of things to think about would be that plants tend to have a limited number of amino acids, depending on whether they're grain, or rice, or green, or whatever. So, I think that this is probably one of the underlying reasons why, when you look at these so-called blue zones; areas where people are living a disproportionate long period of time, you tend to see the consumption of a wide variety of plants, and grains, and grasses, and herbs, and spices. Because food combined in with plants allows you to get a few amino acids from this plant, and a few amino acids from this grain, a few amino acids from this rice. And, you know, I think this is why meat, for people who eat it, can kind of be like a cheat code because you just get all the amino acids right there. 

But I'm going to give you the pro tip — and this is based on a study that came out probably about six years ago. And what they found was that when you're having a protein powder shake — and these are popular. You can find a many places. P-protein, rice protein, those are probably two of the more popular. I'm trying to think about what else. There is one protein that you don't need to do this with. It's difficult to find, it's expensive. It's called Sacha Inchi. It's a South American protein. That one is a complete protein. But the idea here is if you take digestive enzymes, or even put a bunch of digestive enzyme capsules into the smoothie bowl, when you're making the blended plant protein, it elevates the amino acid bioavailability of the plant protein that you just consumed to be the same as that of say like a complete whey protein or egg protein. So, the idea here is that you take your protein powder, and then you get your digestive enzymes. You can get it from just about any health food store, and even a lot of grocery stores now have digestive enzymes, or Amazon, or whatever. And you have digestive enzymes when you have your plant protein, and that makes the amino acids in the plant protein more bioavailable.

Jag: Looking back in history, our ancestors used to live 100-plus years. And it wasn't really a surprise if somebody reached that kind of age. But in today's day and age, somebody reaches like 70, 80 years old, it's kind of a big deal. And a lot of people say, “Yeah, they had a good innings.” What's changed?

Ben: Well, I don't know if I would agree that our ancestors regularly lived for a significantly longer period of time than we live now. I think that due to modern hygiene and modern medicine and, you know, better survivability — if I can talk, of babies, that people actually do, on average, live longer. Even though, recently in the past few years, the last data that I saw showed a slight decrease in lifespan. So, you're accurate, to a certain extent, that we're starting to see a decline. Yet, we're still living remarkably longer than our ancestors on average just because we're not getting chased by saber-tooth tigers and, you know, dying of horrific diseases at an early age. 

However, I would say what's more important to think about is not just lifespan, but health span. What are the quality of the years that you're living? And do you or do you not have chronic diseases that you're carrying into your 50s, or your 60s, or your 70s? Or heck, we're seeing like, you know, non-alcoholic, fatty liver disease, and diabetes, and obesity in kids under 12 years old now. What has changed is what I would call an ancestral mismatch. 

Us, human beings, for thousands of years, hunted, gardened, foraged, farmed, built, spent time outdoors in the sunshine, connected to the planet earth, often subjecting our muscles to load, to build bone density, and build muscle, which is an amazing metabolic organ. People say the skin is the largest organ in the body. It's actually the muscle; it's the largest organ in the body. And now, not only do we largely — unless, you're like a construction worker or a farmer or something like that, not engage in those practices, but we also don't get exposed to so-called hormetic stressors. Things that are mildly dangerous to the human body, but make it stronger in small amounts; as long as you avoid large amounts of them. And what I'm talking about are stressors such as heat, cold, loading, exercise, sweating, moving, solar radiation, which in small amounts is actually good for you, and all these things that would make humans — pardon the expression, harder to kill. 

So, now we live in boxes, we travel in boxes, we fly in boxes, we drive in boxes, we sleep in boxes; often, they're air-conditioned, or temperature-controlled, or heated. We, as opposed to our ancestors, don't have to work very hard for our food. In most cases, most people have ready access to be able to open the refrigerator or walk into the pantry, 10, 20, 30 feet from the bedroom, and have a host of hyperpalatable foods, rich in calories, readily digestible without even much chewing. And even if that's not in their home, they can make a trip to the grocery store, call Uber Eats, or whatever, and have it there pretty quickly. So, when you combine lack of movement, lack of healthy amounts of stress, lack of muscle loading, lack of exposure to nature's elements, and the stressors of heat and cold, with a sedentary lifestyle, a comfortable lifestyle, and an enormous amount of access to hyperpalatable foods, you create a scenario in which someone gets soft, they get fat, the cells quit turning over. You get onset of chronic diseases; like diabetes, and Alzheimer's, and dementia. You get the accumulation of fat, which creates this negative feedback loop, because fat can turn out even more inflammation. And you, basically, get this human being that's not really a human being, but is more like one of those people in the wheelchairs that old cartoon “Wall-E,” where they're just kind of like rolling around in a motorized wheelchair with a giant milkshake, right? And that's what we humans are slowly becoming. 

And, of course, the explanation as to why this seems to be occurring in humans also presents the solution, right? Like, move, get outdoors. If you got to be at your desk all day, get a walking treadmill, and put a like a dumbbell, or a kettlebell on the floor of your office. You can lift stuff or pull-up bar in the door frame of the office. When you open your refrigerator or walk into your pantry, try not to have it full of very easy-to-chew, highly-palatable foods. But instead, try to have a lot of real, whole recognizable foods close to nature; seeds, and nut, and grains, and eggs, and plants, and rice, and things that you actually have to prepare and cook. Versus like “Doritos,” and “Cheetos,” and stuff that you can just easily chew and swallow, that don't present your body with many options besides just accumulating calories to store fat. 

So, it all comes down to — even if you live, what I would say is a privileged, lucky, modern lifestyle, right? Our caveman ancestors would freaking kill to be able to drive 60 miles in a car, or fly across the states to go see grandma or, you know, open a refrigerator and have a bunch of food. But, at the same time, there are some biological costs that accompany that. So, I say, why not have the best of both worlds? Like, be able to travel and sleep in a soft bed and have air conditioning, heating, et cetera. But also, like go visit the sauna, jump in a cold shower, lift some weights, you know, walk around, get outside in the sunshine. Because it's not impossible to mimic an ancestral lifestyle living in a modern world. You just have to defy the status quo. You have to be that person when everybody is sitting at the airport, waiting to get on a plane for three hours to sit some more. You're that person who's like walking up and down the terminal, and maybe stopping in a quiet section of the terminal, and dropping and doing a few push-ups or air squats, and walking to the other end of the terminal, and doing a little bit of stretching and, you know, maybe you're making some phone calls or whatever during that time. But just think about doing something, other than nothing while eating. And I think that's a pretty good start to define the mismatch. 

The one last thing I can say is that I get funny looks when I'm doing air squats at the airport, or like push-ups in the terminal, or just like pacing back and forth and walking past the same person who's been sitting there 20 times, who gives me an odd look because, “Why have you walked past me 20 times in the past hour while we're waiting for this flight?” But, you know what? I feel great. I'm arguably going to live longer and be healthier. And so, I'm okay with getting funny looks every once in a while.

Jag: What are blue zones, and what can we learn from them?

Ben: Blue zones are areas of the world where — some people will say areas of the world where people live a disproportionately long period of time. But, technically, it's areas of the world where there's a higher than normal number of centenarians; people over a 100 years old. Basically, the areas where people live long. Loma Linda, California, or Nicoya, Costa Rica, or Sardinia, Italy, or Okinawa, Japan, you know. There's several of them and an increasing number of them. 

And there's a guy named Dan Buettner, he's got a Netflix show now and a book, he describes how these people live and some of the common characteristics of these blue zones that seem to be their key, their secrets to longevity. We've talked about a few of them. Natural movement throughout the day, being outside, eating a wide variety of plants and herbs and spices. No matter whether the diet is high carb/low fat or high fat/low carb, eating real, whole, recognizable foods close to nature that don't have a lot of processing, and oils, and sweeteners, and artificial compounds, and preservatives added to them. Some element of fasting; either religious fasting or a cleanse-based fasting. My father, who's of the Orthodox religion, technically follows like a traditional Mediterranean diet, not the modern Mediterranean diet that's like unlimited bread sticks and salads drenched in vegetable oil from the Olive Garden, but like periods of time during the year where he's not having protein, or not having meat, or cutting out certain compounds from his diet, or purely like water fasting, and so you see some semblance of that.

But, in addition to movement, low intake of processed foods, wide intake of a variety of plants and herbs and spices, you know, living a natural lifestyle, you also tend to see a lot of human connectivity. A high priority based on relationships, family, friends, community, neighbors. Almost like this what you might call intrinsic religiosity, meaning a desire to love other people, and be with other people, and give to other people as a part of your core ethical beliefs and values. And that's interesting because if you look at one of the top reasons for chronic disease from a lifestyle standpoint, it's loneliness, which is kind of ironic because we live in such a hyperconnected era, right? It's so easy to have 5,000 Facebook friends, and messages going back and forth on Instagram and, you know, you're looking at a million different people on TikTok, or whatever. But there is a significant difference in feel-good hormones like oxytocin, the production of feel-good neurotransmitters, reduction in heart disease, increase in blood flow to the brain. The biological reaction of looking somebody who's right there with you in the eye, touching them, shaking their hand, hugging, laughing with them, hearing the timber of their voice right there in the room, and all these other real human interactions that dictate that you cannot replicate a real-life human interaction with a digital interaction. Is having digital friends better than having no friends at all? Absolutely. Unless, it's all trolling, and online bullying, and whatnot; and that's a discussion for other day. 

But the idea here is that you must go out of your way if you want the biggest secret of the blue zones to prioritize human connectivity. And I'm like an introvert, right? And that doesn't mean I don't like people. It means that when I'm around a whole bunch of people, the only way I recharge my battery is I need to go off and be by myself, and go to a workout, or read a book, or go on a walk, or I'm just breathing, being on my own. Yet, I still go out of my way to generate scenarios where I'm with people. I throw dinners at my house a couple of times a month, where I invite people from all walks of life. I make sure that I prioritize family dinners with my family; laughing and enjoying each other's company, and playing games over dinner each night. I make sure to go out and play pickleball a couple of times a night in the men's league and in my city in Washington. And I make sure that I'm actually with real people, and I intentionally make that happen. Because when you look at the blue zones, the number one most important thing is human connectivity.

Jag: Many people whilst eating are distracted. Whether they're thinking about business, work, problems, scrolling through social media. How does that affect the way that you may digest the food and your general well-being?

Ben: Well, I should come right out and say that I'm as guilty as anybody else of having things to do sometimes when I'm eating. Sometimes, I do have to like mag out a few emails, or check out an instructional video, or listen to some voicemails, or what have you, when I'm eating. Usually, for me, that's like lunch. Sometimes, breakfast. I try not to make those activities, the more stressful productive activities of the day. But, first of all, I don't want to come right out and tell people, “When you eat, you always have to drop everything you're doing and stare lovingly at that piece of kale that you're going chew 40 times because you have to eat food intentionally and mindfully.” Like, let's face it. Like, sometimes, you do need to be doing things while you eat. But, at the same time, if you are heavily distracted when you eat, especially if you're stressed when you eat — like, what I don't like to do are phone calls, consultations, and business meetings, especially like digital ones, while I'm eating. If it's anything, it's stuff that I have the choice how quickly something's going to be pushed to me. So, my email box is open. I'm like looking at the emails that I know are the less stressful ones where I'm just, you know, reading something from my mom, or typing out a quick note to a friend, or those things that I normally wouldn't do in the office later on. 

The idea is that if you eat and you are distracted, or you eat and you're in a sympathetic fight or flight state, which sucks blood away from the stomach and pushes it into the muscles, and the brain, and areas that aren't associated with digestion, but are instead associated with activity. When you are sending your body a message that there are things that are more important than eating, that you're doing while you're eating, you also see a reduction in the amount of hormones produced that allow you to feel full quickly. You see a reduction in the hormones that are produced that allow you to manage blood glucose. You see a reduction in the enzyme production that allows you to break down food. So, now, you hear about people who have leaky gut syndrome, gas, bloating, digestive distress, as we were talking about earlier, sometimes, poor bioavailability of the nutrients and the proteins that they would normally be getting from food. A lot of that happens when you eat in a stressed, rushed, or distracted state. So, that superfood smoothie that you that you spent whatever, you know, 2,500 Rupees on, with the freaking like spirulina, and chlorella, and cacao nibs, and whatever, is going to be digested far differently when you're like rushing down the highway at 110 kilometers an hour while, you know, sucking it down and staring at the road, versus if you're just like reading the newspaper, or chatting with a friend, or watching a funny YouTube video, or maybe just consuming your smoothie and thinking a little bit. 

And so, that's important. Chewing your food mindfully is important. Food is supposed to be chewed 25 to 40 times, believe it or not, because the digestion begins in your mouth. And even having some kind of a gratitude practice, or a prayer practice, or some kind of recognition practice that this food came from somewhere, somebody had to work for it. If you're carnivorous or omnivorous. Sometimes, something had to die for it. And so, like you really need to be aware of the food that you're eating, and eat it mindfully, and be grateful for it, and not be stressed to rush when you're eating it. And so, I think that's really, really important when it comes to food. Especially in an era — we're back to the hyperpalatable foods, it's so easy to eat and be done in 5 minutes, and that might feel like you're getting calories. But your gut doesn't know that, and a lot of people have gut issues. A big part of it comes from just not eating mindfully.

Jag: A big part of the culture in India includes alcohol. And whether that's socially, at parties, weddings, or even for business and meeting friends to discuss work. And I feel that a lot of this isn't done in moderation, and a lot of it is done far too often; maybe four five times a week, maybe even more. What are the real effects of alcohol and what is a safe amount of alcohol to consume, if you have to?

Ben: Well, first of all, I'm not one of those anti-alcohol guys. I average — especially when I'm at home, I don't do this quite as much when I travel just because I'm already kind of fighting an uphill battle against quality sleep when I travel, and alcohol can disrupt sleep a little bit. Should you care to know why, it's because it's got a sleepy hormone in it. An inhibitory neurotransmitter in it called GABA. Your body gets this surge in GABA. It wears off around 1 or 2 a.m., then you wake up, and the rest of the night is kind of a crappy night of sleep. So, I don't drink quite as much while I travel. But, generally, five to seven drinks a week, and those are not all on a Saturday night, which would be horrible for you, because your body can only digest minuscule amounts of alcohol at a time before it gets over-toxified. But I will have a glass of wine with dinner every night. Or I'll have a nice homemade, you know, fresh healthy cocktail with dinner every night. 

If you look at a lot of these blue zones we talked about, besides Loma Linda, California, where there's a lot of 7th Day Adventists who don't drink, most of them, micro dose with alcohol. Little bits of alcohol here and there. I explained to you earlier the concept of hormetic stressors; how things that would kill you or hurt you in large amounts are actually good for you in small amounts because they cause your body to mount its own defense mechanisms and make its own antioxidants, and alcohol falls into that category. Little bits of alcohol, here and there, seem to actually be good for you. Even better for you than not drinking alcohol at all, surprisingly. The problem sets in when you are consuming more alcohol than your body is able to break down. Or, specifically, as much alcohol as would produce too many toxins for your body to break down. 

The main thing that happens with ethanol, you know, the alcohol component of most cocktails or wine or beer or whatever, is that it produces something called acetaldehyde. And once you get a certain amount of acetaldehyde, it becomes toxic to the body. And that's what makes you feel crappy the next day, that's what produces, you know, some of the chronic diseases associated with alcohol. So, acetaldehyde is one thing. A lot of alcohol now; wine, for example, in the U.S., at least 70-plus different preservatives, and herbicides, and pesticides are allowed in wine. And so, you're not just drinking alcohol, you're getting all this other stuff; including sulfites. A lot of people are sensitive to sulfites. Including what are called histamines. A lot of people are sensitive to histamines. You can say something similar for beer. You could say something similar for that margarita mix from the bar. That isn't just lime and Tequila but is like high-fructose corn syrup, and a bunch of other preservatives, and maybe some green food coloring, right? So, it's acetaldehyde from ethanol. It's preservatives. It's colorings. It's sulfites. It's histamines. It's pesticides. It's herbicides. And if you're drinking regularly, that's obviously a chemical cocktail. So, what can you do? 

First of all, there are certain things that you can consume prior to drinking that break down acetaldehyde for you. This is not an excuse to drink excess alcohol, but it is something that can help. Probably, the most powerful, or the two most powerful. One is called DHM, dihydromyricetin. You can get this most health food stores or even on Amazon. There's also a new probiotic. There's only one company I know that makes it. It's called ZBiotics in the U.S. And you take a shot of that before you drink alcohol and same thing, it'll break down the acetaldehyde for you. That's one thing you can do. Another thing you can do is you can accelerate your liver's detox pathways to get rid of the acetaldehyde more quickly. If you order to drink at a bar and they'll put like bitters in it, bitters can help with that. Matter of fact, sometimes, I'll order bitters and soda water, with a little bit of lemon or lime at the bar, and pretend I'm drinking. Even though I'm not, so that people don't feel uncomfortable around me, which can be a good act. There are other things like glutathione, N-acetylcysteine, milk thistle extract. You look at the label of most of these. You and I were at the grocery store earlier, and there's like a detox drink there, right? And then, if you look at the label, it's got a lot of stuff; like antioxidants and liver detox compounds. And believe it or not, those can help. 

Another very powerful one that you can take before you go to bed at night, if you've had a drink, is activated charcoal. You can't take it at the same time as the other stuff that I just talked about. Because activated charcoal is such a good binder, it'll bind up all that other good stuff that you had, so you save that for later. Like, right before you get to bed. But activated charcoal is good. Being selective about what is your drink of choice is also good, right? Your drink of choice should be one that's not super sweet, right? Like, rum, and sugary drinks, and Margarita mixes, and combinations of sugar and alcohol, not so great for you. Same thing with mixing caffeine and alcohol. Red Bull and vodka, espresso martinis, that's also very difficult on the heart, specifically. A better example would be a clean, burning alcohol. Example of that would be vodka, or tequila, or gin, with a little bit of soda water, a splash of fruit juice, splash of bitters, lemon, or lime. That's a healthy cocktail. That's an example of microdosing with alcohol effectively. Wine, but organic wine. Do you know the three countries that do a pretty good job not spraying the grapes with herbicides and pesticides, and still using what are called like old-world, more organic methods to create wine? You can look for these three countries on the menu at the restaurant when you're ordering wine. You know what they are? Got any guesses?

Jag: No.

Ben: France, Italy, and New Zealand. So, if you're order a wine at a restaurant, go France, Italy, or New Zealand. You have a pretty good chance, it's going to be cleaner wine. If you tend to be gluten-sensitive or sensitive to wheat, you know, beer would be something you'd want to avoid. If you do have beer, you'd want an organic beer because the wheat tends to be sprayed a lot of the times. I would say that another thing to think about if you're drinking at home, or you want something like alcohol at home, is there are a lot of newer companies now that make alcohol-free cocktails that kind of give you the same feeling as alcohol without drinking. Some of them are based on ketones. Others are like elixir that have different adaptogenic herbs in them; like ashwagandha, or reishi or mushroom extracts that actually make you feel like you're drinking without exactly drinking. I won't lie. Like, they still don't feel like you've had a drink, but they kind of sort of give you that drink sippy feeling with a little bit of social lubrication.

The other thing that I would consider when it comes to alcohol, there was one other the thing I was going to mention. I talk about the clean alcohols; vodka, tequila, gin, organic wine, organic beer, there was one other alternative though, the bitters I was talking about, that are good to add to alcohol because I can kind of help you digest it. The interesting thing is if you look at bitters, or digestifs, or aperitifs, like a lot of these kind of like plant-forward, bitter herb, and spice-driven alcohols that you can get at a bar at a restaurant, those also help you to digest food and they help to lower your blood sugar response to a meal. So, if I actually order a cocktail at a restaurant, I'll usually order it. A lot of people say, “Wait till you have food to drink the alcohol.” Well, I don't do that for two reasons. First, when you have the alcohol before the food, if it's one of those bitter forward alcohol drinks, it helps you to digest the food. Second, like I mentioned earlier, I typically don't have more than one drink. So, if I'm going have one drink, I kind of want to feel it, right? Like, I want that socially lubricating effect because I want to feel nice when I drink the alcohol. And if I got food in my stomach, I could have like two or three drinks to feel that. So, I actually don't have alcohol with the food. I like to have it before I eat the meal. But those are a few things to think about with alcohol.

Jag: What about those people who have got an addictive personality? Would you say to them just stay away completely or the one drink should actually do them more good than harm?

Ben: I mean, my take on it is like I'm not one of those guys who will do like a 30-day detox in January, or like do like there's all sorts of programs in the U.S. that are popular. Like, 75 hard, for example, where you're, you know, reading certain number of pages every day, and avoiding alcohol, and doing a certain workout for 45 minutes, two times a day. And they're like these big, you know, big programs. The problem is, as soon as you finish one of those, it's kind of like, “Congratulations! Back to living in unhealthy lifestyle till next year when I do this program again.” I think the trick, especially for someone even with an addictive personality, is to not deny yourself enjoying a certain thing that you like, but instead moderating your use of it. Setting up a streak where it's like, “Yeah, I've had a drink a day for 365 days a year, and I haven't been drunk.” That's like me. I haven't been drunk in 15 years, but I drink almost every day, and I have a kind of addictive personality. So, for me, like I've replaced an addiction to alcohol with more of like an addiction to a streak, right? My streak is like 15 years plus of not drinking alcohol, or my streak is like I haven't had a non-organic wine in, you know, X number of years. So, I don't think that if you're addict to personality, you got to avoid a substance. Because I think that sometimes, that can cause you, once you get your hands on it, to overuse it and abuse it. I think it's more a matter of saying, “Hey! I am that person who only has a drink a day.” And because addictive personalities, they're actually very, very good at sticking to habits and sticking to streaks. And so, that can kind of serve you to use it the right way.

Jag: Sure. So, talking about addictive personalities, I've seen people who try intermittent fasting for example, and they may see some great results in the short term. And, all of a sudden, that becomes their lifestyle, where they intermittent fast every single day; maybe the OMAD. Is intermittent fasting good for everyone and should you do it every single day?

Ben: Yeah, you can fast every day. You know, if you think about fasting, you're sending a body your body message that food is not present, calories are not present. You get to a certain point where your body, if it goes for a long enough period of time with calorie restriction or protein restriction or carbohydrate restriction, it'll do things like downregulate your testosterone production because nature doesn't want to bring babies into the world in a time of starvation of famine. Or it will downregulate your thyroid hormone production because you want to lower the metabolism a little bit if you aren't getting as many calories as you would normally get. And you'll even see things like muscle loss, low bone density, and all those things you would expect when someone's just not getting enough fuel into their bodies. 

So, the idea, general rules are as follows for fasting: 12 to 16 hours of a daily like intermittent fast is a pretty good sweet spot for most men. Meaning, finish dinner at 8 p.m. You don't eat again till 8 a.m. You go out and party, and have a midnight snack. You don't eat again till noon the next day. For premenopausal women, fasting longer than 12 hours seems to impact fertility a little bit deleteriously, which even if you're not trying to have a baby, will also affect things like muscle gain, bone density, et cetera. So, for premenopausal women, 10 to 12 hours is more of a sweet spot. For postmenopausal women, it's similar to men, it's 12 to 16 hours. The only thing to think about is that the longevity benefits of fasting kick in after about 16 hours, which you obviously aren't hitting if you're following the scenario I just described. So, for that, what you do is you throw in anywhere from one to four times a month, a 24-hour dinner time to dinner time fast, right, where you quit eating dinner on Saturday, and then you get on Sunday dinner. And I also like the idea of doing something like a quarterly, more intentional fast. Where you're doing like a juice fast, or a bone broth fast, or a protein-restricted fast.

So, there's companies, like ProLon, for example, in the U.S. that'll do like a fasting kit that they send to you. That's like a very precise number of calories that you eat for 5 days. Or even you, sometimes, just a water fast, and you throw that in; like spring, summer, winter, fall. So then, you're not excessively fasting, you're still getting the benefits of intermittent fasting, occasionally, you're diving into to like longevity-based fasting, and you're not restricting calories excessively. I think the last thing to think about, and getting back to kind of pro tip, is try to have one day of the week where you have a refeed if you're doing a lot of fasting. And a refeed does not mean you go off with pizza and French fries and, you know, mow through bag of Doritos. It means, like you go out and you just have more of the good stuff. Like, a refeed for me would be like, I'm going to go on a Saturday night and take my wife out to dinner, and have like a half-roasted chicken, and a big mess of sweet potatoes, and some coconut ice cream with some dark chocolate. And, you know, a cocktail before dinner. And, you know, just kind of like indulge in more of the good stuff and have like a 2,000-calorie meal, which every once in a while is great. Kind of like sending your body the message that, “Hey, you're not starving, and you can keep on putting on muscle, and increasing bone density, and maintaining fertility.”

Jag: Makes sense. A lot of people have these misconceptions about what actually breaks a fast. You mentioned about, sometimes, mimicking a fast by having different styles of fast; maybe a juice fast. What about coffees with fats? Do they break a fast?

Ben: All the time. Does freaking like, yeah, coffee with fats breaks a fast. Is cream and sugar in my tea break a fast? Does this, you know, fancy bone broth drink I got from the health food store, that cost me 50 bucks, break a fast? This is like the most simple answer ever that I wish people would just get through their heads. If it has calories, it breaks a fast. If it has calories. So, yes, ghee in your tea, breaks a fast. Creamer in your coffee, breaks a fast. Now, some people like, “Well, bitter coffee has calories. There's no way. It's got like five in there.” Look, when I say “has calories,” if we're talking like whatever 10 calories or something like that, that's a speed bump. I tell some people, if you're going to go hit the gym and you're fasting; like, some amino acids, which is like protein with very, very negligable amount of calories. But once we're starting to talk about cream, and ghee, and little snacks here and there, and “Just a handful of nuts, bro;” like that stuff will break a fast.

So, like usually, for me, because I wake up fast and I put electrolyte packet in my water in the morning. And if you actually look at the packet, it says 10 calories, look, that's not going to send your body a message that there's a whole bunch of fuel present, so it's got to burn all those calories before it does anything else. Like, I'll burn 10 calories walking out my front door, and going 100 feet to my gym in the backyard, right? An appreciable amount of calories. Like, if we were going to ballpark it, I'd say if we're talking about anything more than about 40 to 50 calories, you're getting into like fast broken category.

Jag: And what about foods in India, as we were discussing earlier, a lot of vegetable oils are used everywhere, right? From your fast food outlet, all the way to your five-star hotels. What would your advice be to those people who are making their own foods and how to be mindful? What are the alternatives to the vegetable oils? 

Ben: First of all, you can ask. Like, I had dinner at the hotel the other night. I, literally, just like asked my server if the fish that I want wanted could be cooked in ghee. I asked this morning at breakfast if they can cook the scrambled eggs in coconut oil or ghee, and they did. Most restaurants have olive oil, or ghee, or coconut oil, or even butter, or whatever. You just got to ask, right? So, that's one thing. And then, when you're at home, I mean, just have the right oils around. First of all, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil. Here in India, like mustard oil is not bad. It's not the best, but it's lower in some of the damaging fats than say like canola oil. Definitely, avoid like the I-can't-believe-it's-not-butter-or-margarine, you know, fabricated oil, or fat alternatives. I would say that the bigger thing to think about is start looking at the labels of the foods that you eat. 

Before you and I recorded this podcast, we went to the grocery store. And I'm sure, perhaps in the shownotes or whatever, we could link to these videos. I went, just like took a bunch of stuff off the shelves and started reading labels. Like, the healthy food cereal that has like eight different franking fuels in it. And, you know, the olive oil that's not in a glass opaque container, but is like heated on the top shelf and plastic, that's see-through. That's, obviously, even though olive oil is healthier, got to be totally oxidized olive oil. And freaking like, you know, sardines with sunflower soybean oil, versus sardines in olive oil. Or trail mix that's, you know, that just says something like cashews and Himalayan sea salt, versus trail mix that says canola oil, cane sugar, cashews, and Himalayan sea salt. Just start to look at labels, you'd be shocked at the number of packaged foods that have a lot of these oils in them. So, I think the rule to follow is just like try to eat out of packages anyways, as little as possible. And when you do, read the labels. 

Jag: High-performers, those people who have jobs where it involve a lot of thinking, long hours. What kind of biohacks would you advise for those people?

Ben: Oh man! Well, I know we don't have much time left. So, I'll give you the concept to think about for high performers. And this will kind of kind of give folks some fuel. You're basically pushing your body and your body's battery, and you need to keep that battery charged. Especially, because when you're a high performer, you're often like, you know, on Wi-Fi all the time, and around all these appliances, and electronics will kind of drain your body's battery. And you're often like, just like in offices, wearing big built-up rubber-soled shoes, and disconnected from the surface of the planet, and that'll drain the battery, and you're not getting exposed to sunlight, and that will drain the battery. 

So, my number 1 tip is, every day, try to get outside in touch with the surface of the planet to keep your battery charged. If you can't do that, look into biohacks; like, grounding, or earthing mats, which you can put in your office, which will keep your body grounded. Get outside in the sunlight on a regular basis. And if you can't, get infrared light panels, or an infrared sauna, or some form of light therapy that you can get exposed to on a regular basis. Rather than drinking energy drinks, try to prioritize pure, clean, filtered water, with electrolytes added to it, which can help to keep the body's battery charged.

Finally, walk in your bedroom. Because that's the one place during the night where your body's nervous system repairs and recovers, and where the body gets a chance to recharge the battery, and have as many things unplugged as possible. Turn off your WiFi at night, take the TV out of the bedroom, unplug stuff that's electrical that might be running during the night that you don't need access to, so why is it on anyways. And make your bedroom the most like protected, deep, dark, ancestral cave as you can, and that's where a lot of the repair and recovery is going to take place. And, yeah, when I check into a hotel room, I unplug the TV, I unplug the alarm clock. I make the room nice, and dark, and quiet, and I turn off the WiFi on my computer, and off my phone before I go to bed. And I just try to make that a place where my body, after that night of sleep, is going to be able to get up and do that hard-charging high-achieving thing that we all crave for purpose and impact. But, yeah, you just have to think of your body like a battery. Keep it charged up, keep it from getting drained. 

Jag: As you're traveling, what's your top five non-negotiable biohacks that you have to have with you all the time?

Ben: Blue light-blocking glasses, which help with sleep and with glare from lights. Some form of an exercise kit. I have a doorframe pull-up strap and an elastic band, which is like, you know, a pound. You can travel with or something you can exercise with. Healthy food. Usually, you know, something that's portable. Like, a really healthy energy bar, or seeds, or nuts, or something that allows you to eat if you don't have access to healthy food. There's a delay at the airport, and you don't have access to something. Or, you know, you're stuck in a hotel and, you know, the restaurant doesn't have something healthy to eat. Like, have some kind of calories on hand that you can consume. And I would say that another couple would be I, typically, have some kind of portable red light therapy to keep my cells charged up with red light. Like, I have this one device called a Kineon, that's like a wraparound red light that I travel with. And I have some form of a body therapy tool. I have this little like peanut-shaped foam roller that I can like roll up and down my back when I get up in the morning to get the blood flowing and the cerebral spinal fluid going. So, those are the top five that come to mind. Be the blue light-blocking glasses, some form of red light therapy, something I can exercise with, a healthy snack, and something I can kind of like do a little bit of body therapy with.

Jag: Fantastic, Ben. Thank you so much I wish we had more time to talk and learn more biohacks. But, how can people learn more about your vision, the biohacks that you do? Is there a website or a link that people can go to, and maybe a book?

Ben: Probably, my best book for what we're talking about right now is called “Boundless.” Kind of big, but it's available in Kindle audiobook and wherever. Books are found. And then, my website is BenGreenfieldLife.com, where you can find my podcast, my articles, and everything else that I do; including options for working with me as a coach, or a consultant, or somebody who can kind of be in your back pocket to help you out with a lot of this stuff.

Jag: Awesome. Thank you very much, Ben. It's been a pleasure.

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Whether it's biohacking to limit jet lag, preventing balding, discovering simple daily movements to emulate the physicality of your ancestors, sipping healthier alcohol choices, or debunking fasting misconceptions, today's show is packed with practical advice for rejuvenating the body and mind.

In this episode, explore the fusion of ancestral wisdom and cutting-edge biohacking strategies for achieving peak wellness with me and Jag Chima, an entrepreneur, investor, visionary, health and fitness enthusiast, philanthropist, and the host of The Inspired Lifestyle Podcast.

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.

He has been featured on many media platforms including BBC News Asia, BBC Asian Network, and MATV, and is a sought-after speaker and strategic advisor on business affairs. Jag believes in facing fears and taking on challenges for growth and personal development, as demonstrated by his recent adventures completing a triathlon and a 1,450 km bicycle ride from Delhi to Mumbai. He is a proud supporter of The Unique Home for Girls, a home for unwanted, abandoned girls in Punjab, India.

Join Jag and me as we discuss everything from mindful eating to combat hyperpalatable foods, to utilizing antioxidants for protection against environmental pollutants, and the implications of oxidation-prone fats in your diet. The episode doesn't stop at internal health, though — it also provides transformative tips for enhancing your skincare and haircare routines using budget-friendly biohacks like peptides and red light therapy, discovering the art of preparing plant-based foods to maximize their nutrient content, and staying true to the holistic wisdom your ancestors practiced.

Oh, and if you haven't checked out my first interview alongside Jag in India, you can catch that here:

During this discussion, you'll discover:  

-Does Ben change his biohacks when visiting different countries?…01:58

  • Adapting biohacking strategies is key
  • Washington State and India have different environments
  • Air pollution can cause inflammation and breathing challenges
  • Use antioxidants like 
  • The combination of radiation, inflammation, or pollution can cause damage to fats that make up the membranes of your cells
  • Certain types of fat are more prone to causing inflammation
  • If you live in a highly polluted area, avoid fried food and fragile fats like vegetable oils, instead use:

-Is it better to do aesthetic treatments for aging or go right to the root cause?…07:25

-What are some effective biohacks for hair loss prevention?…14:06

-Is hair loss genetic or caused by stress?…19:54

-What are the challenges of plant-based diets?…22:56

-How do you make plants more digestible?…27:40

-What are some healthy protein choices for vegetarians?…31:55

-How has longevity changed from your ancestors to now?…34:24

  • People now, on average, live longer
    • Better quality of life
  • But with an ancestral mismatch, you no longer
    • Hunt
    • Forage
    • Farm
    • Spend time outdoors in the sunshine
  • You are no longer exposed to hormetic stressors — mildly dangerous things that make you stronger and harder to kill
  • Results in being 
    • Soft
    • Fat
    • Cells quit turning over
    • Onset of diabetes, dementia
    • Accumulation of fat
  • The reason this is happening is also the solution — it’s not impossible to mimic an ancestral lifestyle
    • Move
    • Get outdoors
    • Have a treadmill and dumbbells (use code GREENFIELD to save 10%) by your desk 
    • Get a pull-up bar
    • Try not to have very easy-to-chew hyper-palatable food in the home
    • Eat real whole foods close to nature

-What are the secrets of the Blue Zones?…41:55

  • Blue Zones are areas of the world with a disproportionate number of “centenarians,” people 100 years or older
  • You see a wide variety of consumption of plants, grains, herbs, and spices
  • Allowing for small amounts of amino acids from each
  • Important to think not only about lifespan but also healthspan
  • Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
  • Dan Buettner's Live to 100 on Netflix
  • Describes some of their secrets to longevity:
    • Natural movement throughout the day
    • Being outside
    • Eating a wide variety of food
      • Plants
      • Herbs
      • Spices
    • Eating real whole recognizable foods without 
      • Processing
      • Oils
      • Sweeteners
      • Preservatives
    • Some elements of fasting
      • Religious
      • Cleansing
      • Water fasting
    • Traditional Mediterranean diet
    • Human connectivity — the desire to love, be with, and give to other people as a part of your core ethical beliefs and values
      • Relationships
      • Family
      • Neighbors
      • Friends
      • Community
  • One of the top reasons for chronic disease from a lifestyle standpoint is loneliness

-How does being distracted while eating impact digestion?…46:47

  • Sometimes you need to do things while you eat
  • But if you are heavily distracted, stressed, or in a flight or fight state, blood is taken away to the brain or muscles and areas that are not associated with digestion
  • You also see a reduction of
    • Amount of hormones produced to make you feel full quickly
    • Blood glucose 
    • Enzymes that help you breakdown food
  • Hacks to try
    • Read the newspaper
    • Chat with a friend
    • Chewing your food mindfully (digestion begins in your mouth)
    • Prayer or gratitude practice
    • Be aware of the food you are eating

-What are the real effects of alcohol, and is there a safe amount to drink?…51:21

  • Ben averages 5–7 drinks a week (not all in one night)
  • Alcohol can disrupt sleep with a surge in GABA — a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain
  • Blue Zones are known to microdose alcohol
  • Little bits here and there are good for you
  • Problems arise when you consume more alcohol than your body is able to break down
    • Acetaldehyde buildup in your body is what makes you feel crappy after drinking 
    • Preservatives
    • Colorings
    • Pesticides
    • Herbicides
  • To mitigate the buildup of acetaldehyde before you drink you can take
    • DHM (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
    • Zbiotics (use code BEN to save 15%)
  • Be selective of what your drink of choice is — it should not be super sweet, like rum
    • Or mixing caffeine with alcohol, i.e., espresso martinis
    • Better choices are clean-burning alcohol
      • Vodka
      • Gin
      • Tequila
      • Organic wines from France, Italy, and New Zealand
      • Alcohol-free cocktails with

-Is intermittent fasting good for everyone?…01:01:19

  • Yes, you can fast every day
  • General rules for fasting
    • 12-16 hours for men — finish dinner at 8:00 p.m., do not eat till 8:00 a.m.
    • 10-12 premenopausal woman 
    • 12-16 postmenopausal woman
  • Longevity benefits happen after about 16 hours
  • Ben suggests trying one to four times a month — dinner time to dinner time 24-hour fast
  • Or even quarterly: juice fast, bone broth fast, protein-restricted fast, or water fast
  • ProLon fasting kits (use code BEN to save 10%)
  • If you do a lot of fasting, have one day a week where you do a refeed — not pizza and french fries, just eating more of the good stuff
  • Podcast with Jason Fung:

-Does having a coffee with fats break your fast?…01:04:54

-How do you avoid eating vegetable oils?…01:06:47 

-What are biohacking concepts for high performers?…01:08:53

  • When you are pushing, keep your battery charged
  • Every day, get outside and feel in touch with the planet — if not, get a grounding mat for your office
  • Get outside in the sunlight every day — if not, get some kind of light therapy
  • Drink clean filtered water with electrolytes instead of an energy drink
  • Make your bedroom the most protected ancestral cave you can
  • This is where your body will recharge, repair, and recover 
    • Unplug everything
    • Take the TV out
    • Turn off the Wi-Fi

-What are Ben’s top five non-negotiable biohacks while traveling?…01:11:26

-And much more…

Upcoming Events:

  • Health Optimization Summit — London: June 15–16, 2024

The Health Optimization Summit is the ultimate gathering for anyone passionate about biohacking, wellness, and living their best life. Dubbed a must-do event, it promises a transformative weekend filled with the opportunity to meet and learn from over 35 world-class speakers (including yours truly) in nutrition, longevity, mental health, relationships, and more. Learn best-kept secrets, try out the latest high-tech health gadgets, and discover the cleanest supplements and foods on the market. Don't miss this life-changing weekend — grab your tickets before they're gone here.

  • The Longevity Circle Retreat in Croatia — Superyacht Wellness Adventure: Sept 4–10, 2024

Step aboard the ultimate luxury wellness journey: the longevity-focused Superyacht Wellness Adventure, set against the breathtaking backdrop of Croatia from September 4–10, 2024. This exclusive, invite-only event offers an unparalleled experience that blends opulence with the pursuit of wellness, disease prevention, and a long, happy life. With only 10 cabins available, this intimate retreat promises personalized attention and an atmosphere of elite exclusivity. Each day, I will lead 5–6 invigorating workouts, share insights through 1–2 enlightening talks, and engage in organic discussions and Q&A sessions, ensuring a transformative experience. Secure your spot here on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure and be part of a select group dedicated to elevating their health.

  • Biohacking Retreat with Ben Greenfield — Costa Rica: Oct 28–31, 2024

Join me this October for an unparalleled biohacking retreat set in the breathtaking landscapes of Costa Rica. This is an exclusive opportunity to dive deep into the world of biohacking, wellness, and personal optimization at Kinkára, a sanctuary of rejuvenation and adventure. Over three nights, you'll get to explore cutting-edge strategies for enhancing your health and performance, from engaging lectures to hands-on meditation and breathwork sessions. We'll bond over group hikes, savor three meticulously prepared meals daily, unwind with live music, and experience the transformative Temezcal ceremony. Plus, you'll enjoy luxury amenities and quality time with me and a community of like-minded individuals. Space is intentionally limited to 50 guests to ensure a personalized and impactful experience. Don't miss this chance to elevate your well-being and connect with the essence of biohacking amidst Costa Rica's natural beauty. Secure your spot here to ensure you don't miss out!

Resources from this episode:

Jag Chima:

– Podcasts and Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Episode Sponsors:

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Troov: Troov is an all-natural, plant-based, ready-to-enjoy pre-workout drink designed to help you find your true groove over and over again. Save 30% off your first order with code Ben at drinktroov.com/products/BEN.

BEAM Minerals: If you want to up your mineral game, give BEAM Minerals a try. Go to beamminerals.com and use code BEN at checkout for 20% off your order.

Kreatures of Habit: My go-to recommendation for high-protein overnight oats! Go to kreaturesofhabit.com/ben and use code BGL20 for 20% off your first purchase.

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

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