[Transcript] – A Conversation With One Of India’s Top Health Authors & Biohackers About Body Transformation, Air Pollution, The Magic of Ghee, Timed Meditation & Much More With Ritesh Bawri

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/ritesh-bawri-podcast

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:49] Guest Introduction

[00:03:17] Health Transformation with Ritesh Bawri

[00:08:02] Pollution and Ayurveda in India

[00:20:29] Cooking Oils and Lifestyle Changes

[00:26:33] Plant-based Diet and Gut Health

[00:32:59] The Depth and Benefits of Yoga

[00:36:39] Exploring Longevity and Healthy Living

[00:42:51] Toxicity, Detox Protocols, and Sleep Optimization

[00:47:11] Exploring Product Variety and Wellness

[00:53:95[ Holistic Approach to Health and Fitness

[00:56:09] Closing the Podcast

[00:59:07] End of Podcast

[01:00:07] Legal Disclaimer

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

Ritesh:  Obviously, when I started my journey, I knew nothing at all. I didn't know what was the right way or form to exercise. And, I think I got sucked into this hard-charging. If I was running, I should be running as fast as I could. But, I think in the last one year, this notion of homeostasis or balance, finding that optimum level is one huge learning I've had, which for many people just walking, like most people are not fit enough to even walk.

Ben:  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, it's actually quite late for my podcast guest today over in India. What time is it over there, Ritesh?

Ritesh:  It's almost 12:15.

Ben:  Man. So, just so everyone listening in knows. That's kind of a big deal because when I was in India on this last kind of speaking and biohacking tour that I did, we went to some parties and there's me and one other guy who were leaving the party at 9:30 to go get our beauty sleep. And, that was me and Ritesh. And Ritesh, I always second guess myself as I'm saying your name. It's Ritesh Bawri. Is that correct?

Ritesh:  Yes. I mean, if you wanted to make it easier for yourself, you could say Ritesh.

Ben:  Ritesh. Okay, Ritesh Bawri. That is actually a lot easier to say.

Ritesh:  Easier.

Ben:  So, Ritesh and I connected at a talk that I gave over in India in Kolkata. He, amongst a lot of the people who I had a chance to meet in India, is a guy who really walks the walk and talks the talk. As a matter of fact, he handed me a book that he wrote about his incredible health transformation and his journey as far as kind of defying the status quo of the way that food and lifestyle and, as the case is right now, sleep is kind of practiced in India. And, he even told me during conversation it's a lot different than some of the ancient ways. And, I want to delve into that and also some the incredible information in Ritesh's book, “The Amazing Health Transformation.”

So, Ritesh is a fourth-generation entrepreneur. He's the founder of a company called Breathe Again, which is a global platform that helps people to learn to live a long and healthy life. And, I'll let him tell you his story. But, over the past eight years, he's really transformed his body and his life. He's lean. He's mean. He's fit. Ritesh, welcome to the show, man.

Ritesh:  Sure. So, really excited to be here. Like I've said to you in person, you're literally one of those people I've learned a lot from. I'd say 70% of what I've learned over the last 10 years has come from reading your books. So, this is indeed an honor. I'm very excited to be here.

Ben:  Well, thank you. I'm honored as well that somebody out there is reading it besides my mom, of course.

Ritesh:  Sure.

Ben:  So, you have a picture in your book. And, when I was over in India, again, we face the same problem in America, like obesity, chronic disease, diabetes, cancer at earlier and earlier ages. And, I don't think that India is doing much better at least that was my impression when I was there. The photo you have in your book, you kind of look like a typical Indian man, I would say, looks these days. And, I'm curious what brought you to that point and then what kind of turned the light on for you as far as taking a different direction.

Ritesh:  Sure. So, I'd go back to the time maybe when I was 15. I moved cities, so I went to study in the city of Bombay. And, I think that was literally the starting point of what ultimately ended up being a 25-year journey towards essentially degeneration. My body was sort of falling apart. In that period, I put on, I'd say, 30 kilos. I also started my journey as an entrepreneur. And, I think the combination of maybe the lifestyle and this seductive sort of view that, look, you're aging, you're getting older and obviously going to put on weight. Aches and pains are part of being an entrepreneur. I think that sort of led me to this notion that that was okay. And, the fact that I was not well, I was diabetic, I was hypertensive, et cetera, et cetera. It was kind of the price I was paying if you will for being an entrepreneur. So, there was this heavy mix of lack of knowledge, and the fact that progressively I was just getting worse and worse and I needed to normalize that for myself. I think that's kind of what led me to be a very unfit 40-year-old Indian man, which is unfortunately what is, I think, happening to a lot of us now.

Ben:  As an entrepreneur, were you actually in a sector like health or food where you were able to take some of the knowledge you already had in business and apply that to your life, or you're in a totally different sector?

Ritesh:  Sure. So, here's the really interesting thing. I used to make cement. And, it was literally by Karma that I met this person, actually in the U.S., San Francisco. 

To give you a backstory, I'm someone who's almost died 14 times in my life. And, this event where I met–

Ben:  You say you've almost died 14 times in your life?

Ritesh:  Yeah. It's a true story. So, I've been in multiple car accidents. I've been in an airplane crash. I've been lost in a jungle with my younger brother where we were kept for three days. So, yeah, I've lived an interesting life in many ways. And, I think this one was my 14th near-death experience. I was actually on my way to essentially being very unwell and very unfit. And, it was karma that took me to meet this guy in the U.S. My sister was unwell. I traveled to be with her. And, it was a chance meeting with this guy and he started giving me factual information about what was happening in my body.

That sort of led me to this transition. At that point in time, I knew nothing, literally nothing. When he told me I was type 2 diabetic, I asked him how many types are there. Literally, that was how ignorant I was about health.

Ben:  By the way, was this guy a doctor?

Ritesh:  So, again, really strange, right? He was a professor of, yeah, environmental science. It's just that he had a hard incident in his life, and that led him to sort of start learning and understanding about health. And, it was that literally one-hour conversation that completely changed my life.

Ben:  So, did you actually, at that point, start this business that you have now called Breathe Again or did that evolve as you started to adjust your own life?

Ritesh:  Yes. So, literally, I had no clue about anything health. I first fixed myself. And, to the horror of my entire family, started doing things that they thought were really absurd like cutting down how much I eat. So, you earn and you live to eat. And so, I was like reducing the quantities of food I was eating. But then, I think when they started seeing transformation in me, I think first few people I fixed with mom and dad, my wife, the friends and friends I knew. I think it took me maybe three or four years to figure out there was actually an opportunity here.

It was kind of embarrassing in the beginning, right? I came from the cement manufacturing background. Here I was helping people fix their nutrition. But, I think gradually I realized that the opportunity was really vast, and more importantly, I think that the world really needed a fix because I think too many people were getting sucked into these quick fixes. They were working for a while and then suddenly helping them bounce back. So, I think that fact that we were effective led me to believe that there was a business. And, that's how I started Breathe Again with my wife.

Ben:  Okay. Now, it may seem kind of a weird place to start, but I mean even the name of your company, Breathe Again makes me think about this. I've seen a lot of data about toxin accumulation, toxin exposure, metals, environmental pollutants, plastics, et cetera, and a pretty significant correlation between that and the rise in obesity and chronic disease. Obviously, it's no secret that India is polluted. When I was over there, I got sick a few times just especially in Delhi walking around without a mask. And, I believe the air hazard index was above 500, shockingly high. I would get out of the cab and walk through a parking lot and be coughing by the time I was indoors, winded up actually relegating myself primarily to hanging out in malls where there were giant HEPA air filters for me to make my calls and walk around and spent a lot of time indoors, which for me was a little difficult being an outdoors natural guy. 

But, this issue with pollution seems like it's such a problem that I'd love to ask you a little bit about that. You live there and obviously, you're not in a, I would say, as heavily polluted an area, at least based on my subjective experience when I was there. But, what do you do, what do you advise people do to manage the ongoing effects of something like that?

Ritesh:  It's a great question. I think it's a massive problem in India. I'm someone who's actually lived through it. There was a point in time when literally if I went down to my building and the car wasn't waiting, that one-minute exposure would make me sick, and that sick would last 10 days. It wasn't something, like you said, you just coughed. I could fall sick for 10 days with that one-minute exposure.

So, what's interesting is perhaps the fact that I'm someone who now does not fall sick. So essentially, I boosted my immunity by eating balanced foods, essentially making sure I get both my macro and micronutrients. And so, my immunity in some sense is better. And so, that's just useful information for anyone who's suffering from the pollution in India.

Indians tend to also eat a bunch of things that are actually helpful to them. So, turmeric is something that's very integral to our food. Jaggery interestingly is very integral to our food.

Ben:   Isn't jaggery like sugar?

Ritesh:  It is but studies have shown that it actually has a carbon-capturing effect. 

Ben:  Oh, interesting.

Ritesh:  Yeah.

Ben:  So, you could probably throw in the same category, something like maybe blackstrap molasses or a good raw honey or something like that.

Ritesh:  Exactly, exactly.

Ben:  Okay.

Ritesh:  So, use wisely. It actually has a beneficial effect. Obviously, there is no such thing as–I mean, anything in excess is bad for you. But, if you use wisely, jaggery is actually quite effective. We used to run cement factories and our workers would actually consume jaggery because they were subjected to dust and pollution. So, the use of heat, turmeric, and jaggery, I think does mitigate this problem to some extent, but Indians are just suffering.

Ben:  By the way, I learned in a recent podcast that when it comes to carbon capturing, this new compound that a lot of people in the biohacking industry are using that has some good data behind it for longevity but it's also really potent antioxidant is a C60, carbon 60. It's actually pretty incredible. I don't know if the podcast I did on it will have come out. It probably will have by the time this podcast gets released, but I'll link to it.

And, by the way, for people who want the shownotes for this podcast, they're at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Ritesh, R-I-T-E-S-H.  BenGreenfieldLife.com/Ritesh based on Ritesh's first name, of course.

Now, when I was in, I believe I was in Bangalore, I met with a naturopathic physician and I asked her this same question about pollution, Ritesh. She was a big fan of nebulizing, nebulizing a hydrogen peroxide saline solution, or even nebulizing glutathione. I know some people who even, and I actually did this when I got back from India for healing lung tissue. I haven't nebulized a vile of exosomes. What about the use of something like a nebulizer or even an oil diffuser? Have you ever messed around with anything like that?

Ritesh:  Sure. So, I have tried a couple of these, which actually brings me to an interesting, let's say, sort of crossroad that India finds itself in. I think we're dealing with a massive sort of health crisis, frankly. I think if you look at statistics, they say 50 to 60% of Indians are either pre-diabetic or diabetic. Obviously, it's a massive problem. I play a game. Every time I take a flight, I try and sit in the front and I count number of people who are overweight. I always end up crossing 70, 80%. So, it clearly tells me at least the flying class in India is clearly unwell and unfit.

So, I think we have a whole bunch of problems in India, pollution being one of them. What I think happens in India is that we tend to go more traditional. So, let's say if there was a choice between using aerosol and using, let's say, turmeric, I think most Indians would just want to consume the turmeric and then pray and hope that things work out. I think the future is towards the direction that you're talking about, which is, let's say, IV, which is nebulizers, which is things like that. I think that whole stack is kind of getting build in India, but I still think there's a leaning towards just going traditional, which is consuming natural foods, maybe exercise, things like that. I think that's kind of where India is at right now.

Ben:  Yeah. I think that makes sense. And, it's kind of related to that thing that you told me that I brought up earlier in the introduction, that's this idea of kind of like the way things may be used to be in India from a medical standpoint. Of course, if I say that in the U.S., people will say, well, what do you mean? They use leeches and they cut off body parts and gave people surgery without anesthetic and old medicine was kind of effed up for lack of a better phrase. But, when it comes to India, what exactly do you mean when you think about the idea of straying from some ancestral patterns, the impact that's had?

Ritesh:  So, I think India has this very rich tradition of both naturopathy and Ayurveda. I have actually looked at this a lot myself. And, while I don't necessarily agree with every single thing that Ayurveda says, it's deep science. I don't think this is just someone sort of cooking up stuff. I think the wisdom in Ayurveda is not widely available. I think a lot of people have come in and sort of started to pretend like they know Ayurveda. But, if you find the right practitioner of Ayurveda, they can cure you of pretty much anything though. It's traditional use of herbs, traditional use of spices, traditional use of foods, traditional use of things like massage herbs, which can literally heal almost anything at all.

So, I think the science is there. I think the number of practitioners are not so widely available. I also think they have a communication problem. So, they communicate in their traditional language, which for people like us who studied in the U.S., been around the world, I kind of get lost in the language very quickly. But, I think there's deep science.

Ben:  When you say lost in the language, what do you mean?

Ritesh:  I'll use three terms: Vata, pitta, and kapha. These are three types of bodies. Yeah. So, the minute you say that, because it's not normal language for me, I'm already lost, right? I'm not sure what you're saying. I don't understand what that means. I don't really know what type I am, et cetera, et cetera. I think that language is just not so commonly available. And so, it doesn't sound scientific enough almost to me. I know it's silly, but I think the ability for the Ayurvedic practitioners to communicate this better is a huge opportunity. I think the younger lot that are coming up, they're building the apps, they're building the language, they're building the tools. And, I think in the next 10 years we'll see an explosion of Ayurveda all over the world.

Ben:  Yeah, that's interesting, actually. It's kind of the old Roger Williams book on biochemical individuality, the different shapes and sizes of the pancreas and the stomach and the liver, and different excretion rates for things like uric acid and vitamin D. And, I think when you pair something like that with something very similar to an epidemiological body measurement, you have the mesomorph, the ectomorph, the endomorph. That's more like the Western version of the vata, what is it? The vata?

Ritesh:  Yeah, kapha, pitta.

Ben:  Kapha, pitta, yeah. Believe it or not, I have actually done some interviews on Ayurvedic medicine. I just don't have the terms all memorized. But, it's this idea of personalization of your lifestyle, your diet, your supplementation, and your exercise routine to your body type and biochemistry. Do you personally do that like any level of customization or self-quantification?

Ritesh:  Yeah. Literally, I track, I'd say, 70 parameters almost every day, including things like blood pressure, blood sugar, pulse rate, HRV. What else can I think of? My sleep obviously, number of steps I take, time I exercise, heart rate, breath. So, I do random tests where I count how many times I'm breathing per minute just to see my sort of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. So, whole bunch of things. I'm crazy about tracking.

Ben:  Are you using a specific app or platform or wearable or set of wearables for that?

Ritesh:  The thing that really works for me is the Garmin. So, that's what I've been using a lot. I find that works really well for me.

Ben:  Which model is the Garmin?

Ritesh:  So, this is the 5. I just in fact bought the 7 today. But, I found this to be really effective across multiple sort of disciplines. So, I cycle, I walk, I run, I swim, I hike. I just found it to be very effective. It tracks my sleep really well. So, that's something I've used as my standard. I have looked at the other ones so I played with the WHOOP. I played with the Oura. I put it on and put it off. But, what I find works really well for me is all that data actually feeds into our Breathe Again app. So, I get one single stream what we call livestream almost.

So, what happens to me through the day both in terms of nutrition, exercise, a lot of the meditations I do. So again, very interesting concept to use. I break my day into six-hour windows. And so, from the time I wake up, this is 4:00 a.m., six hours into that day, I break it with a five-minute meditation, which is actually delivered to me on my app. And then, again, six hours from that, I break it again with a five-minute meditation.

I just find that transition to be amazing for me. It just sort of calms my body down, slows me down, allows me to breathe slowly. It's a conscious effort to sort of bring calm and peace into my body.

Ben:  So, the alarm goes off. Let's say that first six-hour phase, what does the meditation look like? I'm assuming you're in the middle of something and notification pops up.

Ritesh:  Right. So, what I do are mostly breathing exercises. The equivalent of what you'd call box breathing. That's kind of what I'm doing. Both times what I've done is I've also paired it with a song. And again, because it's our app, I can custom-build these things for myself. But, I actually train my body to respond positively to a song. And so, I just hear that song over and over again. And, I actually trained my body that when I listen to that song, I just calm down. My body calms down. So, that mix between slow breathing and that specific song works really well.

Ben:  For the song, are you uploading that to the actual app so it's auto-playing or do you go grab that off of Spotify or something like that?

Ritesh:  So, we've got an API known to Spotify. So, the song plays, the breathing happens and that's it, I'm good.

Ben:  Are these songs with lyrics, instrumental tracks, or all of the above?

Ritesh:  It's a really good question. I'm happy to share my song. It's called the Clair de Lune. It's obviously classical piece.

Ben:  Clair de Lune.

Ritesh:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay. Unless you want to pull it up right now and play the first 30 seconds or whatever. I can also link to it in shownotes.

Ritesh:  Yeah. So, probably easier to link it.

Ben:  Okay, okay. I'll link it out.

So, obviously, the diet is really interesting too. You and I went out to eat I think the first night I was there and had to navigate a menu in which kind of similar to the U.S., right? A lot of seed oils, a lot of suspect ingredients in terms of the sourcing of the plant matter, organic, non-organic, et cetera. Less of an issue with meat just because a plant-based diet, I believe, is 80% plus of the population over there. But, I'm curious how you navigate the dietary component in India, and I'd also just love to hear your overall perspective on what I've talked about in the past, which is my feeling that seed oil consumption, increase of seed oils replacement of traditional oils, ghee, coconut oil and olive oil with canola oil, safflower oil and the like is actually more responsible for the onset of insulin resistance than carbohydrate consumption, which really hasn't gone up at a very significant level in correlation to the rise in chronic disease compared to seed oil consumption.

Ritesh:  Sure, absolutely. So, again, I can tell you from personal anecdote about 30 years ago, dad came home and he said throw out all the ghee. We're now switching to these industrial oils. And, I think we can clearly see the transition from then as a family. I think India's gone through pretty much the same change. In fact, the consumption of carbohydrates has gone down because almost every single person I meet now is apparently gluten intolerant, and so have completely gotten off every single millet, every single grain you can think of, and yet are actually overweight, are insulin resistant, type 2 diabetic and worse. So, I think definitely there are other factors at play. I think lifestyle is also one important factor here. While it's easy to pin this purely on the industrial oils or the seed oils, I think the lifestyles also changed. We just have become a lot less active. Again, from personal anecdote, I'd walk to school every day. It was 4K in, 4k back. I'd come on play for three, four hours. I can't imagine my son walking anywhere now.

So, I think the fact that we're less active also plays a role, but seed oils definitely been a massive problem in India. We've thrown away what was traditionally really good sort of cooking medium: Ghee, sesame oil, mustard oil. I don't know if you tried mustard oil.

Ben:  I did.

Ritesh:  Unbelievably good for you.

Ben:  It is good. And, I looked at the profile of it because I did some grocery store videos over there. The level of potentially inflammatory fatty acid is 5 to 10% lower than canola oil and has a decent smoke point. So, yeah, I don't do a lot with mustard oil over here, but yeah, it's a good option, especially in India.

Ritesh:  Sure. So, ghee by far the best, right? 250 degrees smoking point. It's a very fat. And so, you can you can deep fry. You can cook. You can stir fry. You can do pretty much anything. I'd say 90% of our food is now made in ghee, including pasta. We actually make our pasta in ghee.

Ben:  You mean 90% of your food, not 90% of the food in India.

Ritesh:  Yeah, yeah, just the food that we make at home. I think in India it would be 10%. It would be exactly the reverse.

Ben:  Something I was wondering when I was asking when I'd go out to restaurants or my food to be prepared in ghee is something that I'm aware of over here. If I'm at a restaurant and I ask for olive oil instead of say canola oil, you still don't know the with quality olive oil you're getting the sourcing of it, how much it's been adulterated or watered down, et cetera. With ghee, is it similar? Does the source or the composition or the way that the ghee is made matter or is there something to look for or ask for when it comes to ghee?

Ritesh:  No, no, absolutely. So, what we consume is something called bilona ghee

Ben:  How is that spelled? Bilona?

Ritesh:  B-I-L-O-N-A.

Ben:  Okay.

Ritesh:  It's a specific type of ghee where actually it's hand-churned over 48 hours by combining yogurt and fat.

Ben:  Who hand-churns it?

Ritesh:  So, there are people in villages who do this. That's where we source our ghee from. And, from the little bit, I've learned that's the only actual version of ghee you should be having. I would be surprised if you found that in any restaurant.

Ben:  Now, why is that? Is that because that particular process results in a higher smoke point? Does it have less fillers in it? Do you know why that particular hand-churning process, which sounds like it's might be difficult to scale but is interesting, is there something that's special about it from a biochemical composition standpoint or something other?

Ritesh:  So, one of the, I think, beneficial effects is when you combine the yogurt. You also get a little bit of the probiotic in the yogurt, the lactobacillus that transfers into the ghee. And, I believe that's actually what makes the ghee really useful for you. Clearly, you can't scale with, which is why it's not as popular as maybe perhaps the other versions of ghee. It's just pure fat.

Ben:  Yeah, you'd think that if you did want to scale it there'd be a way to replicate that hand churning with some type of a factory or something.

Ritesh:  Machine. Yes.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. That's interesting. So, it's bilona ghee. But, if you go to a restaurant and you ask for bilona ghee in India, are they going to have it?

Ritesh:  Unlikely.

Ben:  How much worse is regular ghee do you think?

Ritesh:  So, I think what ends up happening in commercial ghee is mixing adulteration, if you will. So, the ghee that you get is not that strictly ghee. I think it gets blended with other things, much like olive oil globally. The olive oil you get in most countries now is a blend of olive oil.

Ben:  If you were eating out at a restaurant, what other oils could you ask for if it wasn't ghee?

Ritesh:   So, you could ask for mustard oil, especially where I am at, Kolkata. Mustard oil is very popular. That's I think commonly available. Much cheaper actually, frankly. You could ask for coconut oil. That's also widely available. Again, much cheaper. So, those two oils would be available. I think they aren't as bad for you.

Ben:  Yeah, that is interesting, your comment about how you can't necessarily tie everything to the advent of seed oils. You particularly noted the post-industrial sedentary lifestyle. And obviously, that's pretty prudent because by the nature of the way the seed oils are extracted, a certain amount of industrialization is necessary. And so, the rise in seed oils and the rise in a post-industrial relatively sedentary lifestyle is kind of logical that those two would go hand in hand. So, yeah, it's difficult to isolate all the variables, and then even your comment about everybody being gluten intolerant these days. Well, even though I think in most cases people who have issues with wheat really, and I just know this having tested a lot of people with a Zoomer test or a Cyrex panel, they're not truly gluten intolerant or possessing a gliadin sensitivity. Instead, they tend to be FODMAP intolerant: Fructans, oligosaccharides, monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polyols; garlic, onions, apples, wheat, et cetera.

And, it's interesting because FODMAP sensitivity tends to be something that arises in response to stress and low stomach acid production brought on by being in and eating in a sympathetically driven state. And so, some people like, “Oh, it's just more people are aware of gluten intolerance. It's sexy to be gluten intolerant.” But, I actually think that people these days possess a gut that's far more sensitive, particularly to FODMAPs, less gluten but FODMAPs. And, since wheat is a FODMAP, many people think it's gluten intolerance but really it's a FODMAP sensitivity brought on by living in a stressed-out state.

Ritesh:  I couldn't agree more. And, if you just think about the kinds of stress that we go through in our modern society, think of the amount you're being stimulated on everyday basis from your phone to your email, to your computer, to your work, to just travel, commute, you name it, right? And then, if all else fails and you come on watch television, that's overstimulating you all the time. So, I think just the amount of stimulation that we go through in our everyday life and the fact that we are disconnected from society, which I think is a very integral part of de-stressing yourself when you have deep bonds connections. I think you just feel less stressed.

I think all of that, the lifestyle that we're living now is causing immense stress in the body. Obviously, the first place it'll show up is your gut, and then the rest of your body.

Ben:  Yeah. Obviously, you just need to set an alarm to meditate every six hours. It's actually is a good tip.

So, yeah. So, the plant-based diet which I mentioned earlier, that's obviously very popular. I'm often asked this by folks and, of course, you've had to navigate this I know. Protein acquisition and adequate amino acid intake on a plant-based diet. Do you eat a plant-based diet? And, if so, how are you getting adequate protein?

Ritesh:  So, in fact, we are one of those who are even more tending towards the plant. And, we are vegan. So, for example, I don't eat eggs and so therefore all my protein has to necessarily come only from milk. So, we do something called cottage cheese, paneer. That's fairly common. We also do a lot of lentils. We also do garbanzo beans. These are traditionally good sources of protein. They're not as bioavailable as perhaps meat–

Ben:  Unless you sprout them, unless you sprout them.

Ritesh:  Correct, exactly. Exactly. So, we do sprouting as well. We do eat a lot of nuts and seeds. That also gives us a little bit of protein. In my case, because I'm working out, I've ended up having to supplement with whey. It's not my ideal source of protein. I would much rather have gone whole food, anything processed is in that sense, then processed, to get 120 grams of protein per day. I have had no other choice but to do whey. But, if you're not very seriously working out, you looking at 70, 80 grams of protein a day, which is what most people I think in India at least need. I think that you can do with a vegetarian diet.

Ben:  Yeah, 1 gram per pound of lean body mass. It's easier to attain an animal-based diet, but some of those sources you recommended are good. Paneer, by the way, was fantastic. That was probably one of my favorite dishes when I was over there. Way different than just the cottage cheese out of the plastic container in the U.S. It's like this little edible squares and they're typically in some kind of a sauce or a curry. And yeah, paneer is fantastic.

But, the interesting thing about the protein, I don't know if you're aware of this, but if you take a plant-based protein like rice or pea, for example, this is a research study that came up I think it was four or five years ago. Pretty good study showed that by consuming a digestive enzyme that contains proteases or proteolytic enzymes or something that will break down protein, you can increase the bioavailability of a plant-based protein powder up to that amino acid score of whey if you co-consume digestive enzymes. That could be as simple as just literally putting a handful into the smoothie jar if you're making a smoothie or something like that.

Ritesh:  Right. So, traditionally, what we've done is combined foods. So, when you combine, let's say, rajma, beans, and rice, that in some sense completes the profile of the protein, makes it a little more bioavailable. The traditional foods have had these hacks in some sense. But yeah, this is a great tip that you're giving.

Ben:  Have amino acids caught on over there? I ask selfishly enough because the Kion amino acids, those are vegan. A ton of plant-based dieters are throwing back 30 to 40 grams of that a day for building muscle faster. And so, I'm curious about amino acids. Are those a thing in India are those caught on?

Ritesh:  So, I'll give you an analogy and then I'll say a question. Every time I go to work out in the gym in a hotel, I'm the only Indian. Everyone else is traveling from somewhere else, some other country. So, I think that gives you an indication of the fact that Indians today are just not that active. It's that active bunch that is then looking for the aminos at this juncture. So, I think it's too small a market at this juncture. But, I think COVID taught India a lot. I think as a function of that, I think the awareness, the willingness to do something about your health has shifted dramatically. So, 10 years from now, if you ask me this question, I think there'll be a whole bunch of people in India. Today, I still think it's a very small market.

Ben:  What do you say to someone who you're talking to over there about fitness and they say, “I walk and I do yoga, I'm good?”

Ritesh:  Yeah. So, I think yoga is wonderful. I think yoga is also misunderstood because I think the way yoga has been sold globally, it largely boils down to breathing and a little bit of stretching. Actually, yoga is a much deeper science than that. It has very, very strenuous exercises. You've done well. It gives you a complete sort of exercise. The Surya Namaskar, for example, which is a complete downward dog, and so on so forth. That's a complete exercise by itself. They do 108. They would stretch any–

Ben:  Yeah, it's a lot.

Ritesh:  Yeah, it would stretch any fit person even. Traditionally, I think it's a lot more than what is sort of commonly understood. Personally, I do a mix. So, I cycle. I strength train. I also do stretching. I do plyometric. So, in my opinion, I think a blend of different exercise is good for you. Yoga done traditionally, I think, is wonderful.

Ben:  Yeah. I interviewed a guy named Dean. I think his last name is Pullman or Coleman or something like that who'd written a book about yoga for strength. And, I kept his book in the sauna and it's some very long deep isometric holds, typically when the joint, let's say, the leg in a lunge pattern is at 90 degrees or you're in nice metric squat or a bridge pose. And, it can be very demanding. I don't think a lot of people get quite to that level with yoga. Hot yoga, very similar, for cardiovascular endurance can be fantastic. And then, even these, I don't know if you've seen the Tibetan longevity exercises before, there's five of them. I do them a lot when I travel. And, for example, one is just a traditional bridging exercise or the yoga. I believe it's the Chaturanga series where you go to down dog, down to plank, up to kind of overstretch, back to down dog. But, you're doing 21 to 42 reps. It takes 20 minutes to go through these five exercises and you're kind of gassed when you're finished, but it just goes to show that it kind of depends on the volume. I think the volume, the condition like cold or heat, and then also the length of time spent in an isometric contraction that could make yoga strengthening or just kind of an easy passive stretch.

Ritesh:  Exactly. So, if you think of the concept of time and attention, I think yoga forces you to spend a lot more time on attention than does a traditional, let's say, bicep curl or whatever you want. Unless you then specifically slow it down.

Ben:  Right, right, or you have one of those fancy isometric training machines that holds you in a specific position.

Ritesh:  Exactly.

Ben:  So, we haven't really talked about it that much, but I know that, of course, spiritual care and spirituality is widely emphasized in India and also something you talk about in your own book. You've mentioned to me a couple of times kind of the potential conflict between longevity and spirituality where it's my understanding that spirituality in India is to kind of find salvation or escape the cycle of life and death. But then, longevity is about extending life. You look at the extreme biohacker transhumanist that's all about almost this mad dash nearly frantic and stressed effort to hold at bay anything at all that would threaten to shorten life. And, that could even include staying out past your bedtime with your family or going spearfishing with sharks or something just because life extension at all costs is the holy grail. So, I'm curious about your take on that spirituality versus longevity.

Ritesh:  I think the question that we first perhaps need to ask is, are we looking at immortality or are we looking at longevity? I think somehow when you talk about longevity, it tends to start becoming about immortality like I'm not going to die ever. I'm not sure that's necessarily a goal or even a good one. I think it's ying and yang, right? You need life in that. You need balance in the world.

So, I think if you talk about longevity and not immortality, I think longevity in itself is a noble goal, simply because lots of people are dying for reasons that could perhaps be prevented. By itself, that's I think a good thing. I think what happens in India is our goal is in some sense to attain salvation, which is escape the cycle of sort of life and death. And, if that were your objective, then you don't really need that much time. I mean, 30 years, 40 years. I think you should have figured out how to escape this cycle of life and death and done whatever you needed to do to escape that cycle of life and death. And, if you haven't by then, then perhaps you're not going to ever.

So yeah, I think there is this inherent conflict. I'm one of those people who do believe and increasingly so. My own journey has been someone who was an atheist who then became spiritual. And, I think today, I'm at this point in time where I'm deeply religious. I believe in the fact that there's a God. I believe in the fact that my actions itself do not lead to outcome all the time. I think there is a divine power that sort of shepherds my life in a certain direction. And so, I'm tending more towards like I need to attain salvation. And yeah, sure, if I can get a couple of more decades in while I make that effort, that probably be a good thing.

Ben:  Yeah. My take on it is a little bit similar to yours. For me with a Christian background as a Christian, I, in no way believe that immortality or transhumanistic life extension by freezing your body and implanting a new brain and consciousness or anything like that is something that is achievable nor something we should spend a lot of time pursuing because it's basically assuming that in the end, we can play God. And, if that's the case, then we don't need God, we don't need salvation. And so, for me, it's more about equipping myself to be in as healthy a position as I can to be able to maximize my impact for achieving my life's purpose. And, that would include, let's say you have found salvation, well, what if you gave yourself via the process of healthy living or even biohacking or life extension strategies an extra 20 or 30 years to not only be able to enjoy and love people and love God and enjoy this planet but also to spread that message of the salvation that you've found to other people.

Let's say you do believe in immortality through salvation and your spiritual walk or connection with God, then potentially if you do a good job over 30 years, you might take an extra 30 people along with you into that immortality.

Ritesh:  Oh, I couldn't agree more. And, I give a really interesting analogy. The Buddha actually apparently lived till 82 and obviously was spreading his work till his last breath. So, yeah, absolutely. The fact that he had longevity, if you will, live till 82, he was able to spread the word. And, there's so many people who follow his path. I'm one of those who's invited towards Buddhism in a very deep way. Absolutely.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ritesh:  I have nothing against longevity.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I think immortality is achieved through having offspring who live after you and continue your legacy. Do you have kids?

Ritesh:  We have two. So, I have a 10-year-old and a 5-year-old daughter.

Ben:  If you were to sit your kids down and tell them what you know about achieving a healthy life, would there be certain pillars you would focus on? Or, I was hearing someone yesterday say that basically oxygenation and electricity are the two pillars to focus on for health. I've heard other people say, whatever, it's sleep, stress, movement, diet, et cetera. For you, what would the pillars be?

Ritesh:  So, I think there are a bunch. Obviously, I think that your body's electricity, its energy in that sense. Obviously, oxygen is the fuel for the body. But, I think to make it more simple maybe in a way for the masses to sort of follow, I think you need to focus on nutrition. You need to focus on exercise, movement. You need to focus on your sleep. Growing up, I thought sleep was for lazy people. So, I think sleep is really important. I think breath is really important. I think meditation is really important. Meditation for me is the power of microtrauma. So, sort of exposing myself to little, little small bits of trauma. Plus that I can forgive and forget, move on. So, I think that meditative practice is really important to me.

Toxicity is really important to me, especially because of the environment we live in. Like you said in the beginning, think of the exposure to microplastic. And, I think the data that's coming out now about just the quantum of exposure and what it's actually doing to our bodies, they're finding it now is connected to cardiac arrest. They're finding microplastics even in your blood. And so, I think toxicity is really important.

So, yes, of course, electricity and oxygen. But, I think for more sort of people who aren't really immersed in the world of health and wellness, I think you need to make this a little more simple to follow. And therefore, I think these six are really important.

Ben:  Okay. So, the six, again, are?

Ritesh:  Nutrition, exercise, sleep, breathing, meditation and toxicity.

Ben:  Okay, got it.

Are you doing anything on a regular basis for the toxicity component? Do you actually have regularly scheduled detoxification protocols or enemas, sauna, ozone, anything like that?

Ritesh:  So, I try and do as many different things as I can. So, obviously, we spend a lot of time in the sauna. We do ozone. That's, again, something we expose ourselves to. We even do simple things like wash fruits and vegetables. So, we use vinegar to wash our fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, all our food is not organic. So, that just takes away some of the pesticide. Yeah.

Ben:  Vinegar, by the way, I'm glad brought that up. I wish more people knew about that cheap hack for produce that has pesticides and herbicides at least on the surface.

Ritesh:  Exactly. So, we actually wash and scrub as much as we can, as much as practical. I just find that to be a really simple easy way to sort of clean up the food. 

We use a lot of herbs and spices. Very common in India. And then, we find that as being something that really helps. We also do ghee chelation. So, the protocols actually to do two, four, six, eight spoons of ghee over a four-day period. Ghee is a wonderful chelating agent. It takes away even heavy metals like mercury, lead from your body, especially your digestive system. So, we do a whole bunch of things. I wish I could do more, honestly.

The one thing I have done is cut plastic completely. So, I try very hard to make sure that there's no plastic anywhere in my environment.

Ben:  Now, you also mentioned sleep as a pillar. Right now, I think it's midnight or after there, what time is it?

Ritesh:  Just close to 2:00, I think.

Ben:  Okay. So, close to 2:00. So, knowing what you know about sleep, you're obviously out past your bedtime, what are some of the ways that you pull the trigger on sleep, particularly if you're out late exposed to light, et cetera?

Ritesh:  So, one of the things that I've been blessed with is good sleep. And so, if I actually went to sleep now, I would sleep. My only challenge is actually waking up early. So, how you get a rush of cortisol early in the morning. I delay that gratification as much as I can. I try and get in that little extra hour. But otherwise, fortunately, I'm really good on sleep. I've never had a problem with sleep.

Ben:  If you like that extra hour, I'm on this kick right now where I usually naturally wake around 4:45 or 5:00. I've been staying in bed extra 20 or 30 minutes. I have this thing called Sensate. Have you seen it?

Ritesh:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've heard of it. It's really good.

Ben:  Yeah, a little vibrating. It's like a size of computer mouses. It ties to these audio tracks that are engineered to sync to the vibrations of this device. It's usually placed right over your collarbone. My wife feels like it makes too much noise, but I sound that if I put a pillow on top of my chest, it kind of muffles the noise and I'm the only person that feels the vibration. I will lay there in almost a trans-like state. There's something, I think about the theta brain wave production that's occurring in those wee hours of the morning that just make it super relaxing. I'm just about addicted to that thing.

I have a little red light that I keep by the bedside. I put it under my low back. Lay back on top of it with that Sensate on. It's kind of like hitting the snooze button every morning for about 20 to 30 minutes. And then, if you don't have one of those, you've seen the Apollo before, right Ritesh?

Ritesh:  Yes, of course. Yeah.

Ben:  The Apollo Neuro. It's usually one of the wrist or the ankle. I can get a similar sensation by playing a really relaxing soundtrack or white noise from a YouTube track that I've got downloaded to my phone. And, I'll play this in airplane mode and put the Apollo right over my chest with a pillow on top of my chest to hold that on if I don't want to fuss around with or don't have the Sensate or left it in the basement or whatever. And, this idea of haptic sensations, vibratory sensations to relax the body, it's pretty incredible.

Ritesh:  Yeah. That's a really good tip. It's something we'll try.

Ben:   Yeah. Do you have any other devices that you kind of use or like on a regular basis besides, of course, your Breathe Again app that you're talking about?

Ritesh:  So, like I said, I try to keep it simple. I've played with a whole bunch of them. Eventually, I just went down to using my Garmin. I found that to be the thing that told me the truth. Told me how I did on an everyday basis. Told me whether I slept well, the exercise regularly or not. And so, actually, I've just boil this down to the Garmin now.

Ben:  Got it.

So, with the Breathe Again, I also wanted to ask you. You guys are making food products. You gave me one. It was fantastic. I haven't able to find anything like it. I gave it to a few other people when I was in India. I get a little square of this box that you gave me. What the heck was that? It was incredible.

Ritesh:  So, it's actually just natural nut seeds, a little bit of ghee, and a little bit of date. That's it. It's completely natural. It has a short shelf life. So, we make it in small batches. And, that's why I suppose it can never really scale. But yeah, that's it. It's just dates, it's nuts, it's seeds and a little bit of ghee.

Ben:  Yeah, it was incredible. Somebody sent me a couple boxes when I got back from India of a dessert that looked very similar. And, I looked at the label, it's a bunch of fillers and preservatives and might even jaggery, a bunch of cane sugar, and then some pistachios and almonds. Tastes good but that stuff you're making is incredible. Are you guys making other products as well at Breathe Again besides the app and this? What's the name of this dessert, by the way?

Ritesh:  Yeah. We called it the 5PM Snack.

Ben:  The 5PM Snack.

Ritesh:  That's when you feel hungry.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ritesh:   And so, we used it as a filler at that point in time. We have in total about 40 product that we do. But, the ones that I think I'm really fond of are saffron. So, we do saffron from Kashmiri. It's called Mongra Saffron. It's by far the best saffron you can get. The bilona ghee is really popular. Obviously, we do jaggery. We do a form of jaggery that's granulated. Again, really good quality. We do a bunch of teas. We do a bunch of coffee. There's this particular coffee that you get in South India. It's grown at 6,000 feet. Araku it's called. That's a coffee that we're selling. There's no pesticide used, simply because of the elevation. That's the coffee I drink every day.

Ben:  Do you guys ship to the U.S.?

Ritesh:  We want to start. So, actually, that's one of the things I want to do. So, I have two goals. One is to bring you to India more often and the second is actually to send my products to the U.S.

Ben:  Yeah. Tell you what, just send a semi-truck full of stuff to my garage. I'll just start shipping it out to people.

The saffron's interesting. I haven't talked about it a lot, but it's a very beneficial–I don't know. What would you call it, a spice or an herb?

Ritesh:  So, it's a spice. It's amazing for the nervous system. It's an amazing agent to calm you down, actually.

Ben:  Yeah. It's actually in some stress control formulas now that I've seen. And, that's my understanding of it as well. Kind of similar tulsi or astragalus or ashwagandha in that respect. I actually wish that more nootropics companies would have a formula that allows you to kind of bring yourself back down or stabilize yourself if you've taken too much of a certain smart drug or nootropic. And, saffron certainly fits in that category. I guess BiOptimizers, they have the company Nootopia. I like their nootropics and they have a product called Stress Guardian, which I think is kind of similar. Qualia, they make the product Mind.

Ritesh:  Sure.

Ben:  They have one called Resilience, which is kind of like that. But, I always have something on hand in the pantry should I get myself a little bit too amped up on caffeine or something like that. And, I haven't done a whole lot with saffron. You ever put it in coffee just to kind of counteract some of the caffeine effects of coffee? 

Ritesh:  You will not believe but that's exactly how I use my saffron.

Ben:  Really? Okay. How important is it to select your saffron from a certain source? Do you look for anything particular?

Ritesh:  Yeah. So, every single product that we have, we actually went to the source because it's very easy to get misled to actually have adulterated versions of the same product. So, we went to the village literally where the saffron was grown. We went to the village where the ghee was made. We went to the village where the coffee was grown. And then, we sort of developed a relationship with them just to make sure that the quality was always tender.

Ben:  Okay, got it. I'm going to grab a little bit and try putting it in my morning coffee. How's it taste?

Ritesh:  It's amazing. I'm addicted to it now. Yeah.

Ben:  Now, have you ever used rosemary coffee? Apparently, the rosmarinic acid will amplify. Well, specifically for memory, kind of like bacopa but that's something I've done before is rosemary sprigs in the coffee.

As far as certain things that you've picked up or learned over the past year or so, I know you've got your finger on the pulse of the industry. Is there anything that you learned and applied recently that are big standouts, big wins for you, especially from a health standpoint?

Ritesh:  Sure. In the last one year, one of my biggest evolutions actually has been in the field of exercise. Obviously, when I started my journey, I knew nothing at all. I didn't know what was the right way or form to exercise. And, I think I got sucked into this hard-charging kill yourself every single day. Otherwise, you're already exercising kind of mode, where if I was running, I should be running as fast as I could. If I was doing exercise, all I should be doing is HIIT. If I was strength training, if I wasn't lifting heavy and heavy and heavy every day, then I was kind of not doing the right things.

But, I think in the last one year, this notion of homeostasis or balance, I've now started to apply to my exercise as well. And now, when I'm reading more about it, once I've understood it, I think unless there's a goal. So, if I want to compete with Olympics, sure, I need to push myself really hard. But otherwise, for the most average person, I think finding a balance between what you can do and what you need to do, I think finding that optimum level is one huge learning I've had in last one year, which for many people just walking. Most people are not fit enough to even walk. So, try and run in that position, you're just going to end up hurting yourself, damaging muscle, damaging tissue. So, I think that's really been one of my biggest learnings in the last one year. Just sort of slow down even if you will.

Ben:  Yeah. I think for a lot of people who like to move their bodies and use the gym or movement as a way to stay sane, it's just important to have what I call, this is actually what I call with my clients when I'm programming their week of training, their parasympathetic menu where certain days are recovery but your options are sauna, hot-cold contrast, PEMF, oxygenation, breathwork, walking, yoga. So, you have this whole menu where you're not going nuts because you can't go to the gym because you can feel just as good sitting on your butt in the sauna doing 30 minutes of breathwork, jumping into cold plunge and doing 10 minutes of yoga to finish up and warm up. And, I think it's a matter of a lot of people just needing to know what to do on those recovery days versus the fallback, like show up at the next circuit class of the gym or throw down the next metcon, and really as you know, if you pay attention to your Garmin data or anything else, the readiness or the strain score tends to predict onset of illness or injury typically about two to three days in advance. And, so many people have that happen over and over again, that vicious cycle. And, all you really need is, depending on your age, two to three days a week where you just pull up your parasympathetic menu and that's the plan for the day.

So, for me, what I do is I just plan it all out on Sunday night. So, Sunday night, I write out what I'm going to do for the week, make sure I have certain recovery days built in. Sometimes I'm feeling super fresh and great on a recovery day. so, I flip-flop it. I'll do a training session that day and then move the recovery day to the next day. So, you stay somewhat dynamic, but I think the important thing is knowing that you can stay sane and also improve your body and brain and it doesn't have to include a certain hard exercise session.

Ritesh:  Exactly. If you permit, I just wanted to make that comment. So, if you remember I talked about how not very many Indians are actually active, I think one of the reasons for it is because there's this almost binary sort of position you need to be in. Either like you set entry and just sitting on your backside or you're like this guy who killing it in the gym. I think the middle path for Buddha's path, if you will, is perhaps a better way to sort of approach that.

Ben:  Yeah. It's not going to make for many sexy social media pics for the average person, like, “Yo, I walked and I ate one fewer piece of cheesecake today.” But, it's an important note because I think especially in our day and age of social media, people think you have to identify as a biohacker, as a fitness enthusiast, or something like that. And, I learned this, I was surprised a few months ago, the number one reason that people quit going to the gym is not because of lack of motivation or not wanting to go show up or an injury, it's because they don't know what to do when they get there.

Ritesh:  Exactly, yup.

Ben:  And, I think a lot of times it's because you think you don't know what to do because you don't identify with the personal trainer or the fitness enthusiast who got 30 exercises memorized. But, big part of it, I think, is you just using either an app or website or a program that shows you what to do. And, once you know that, I mean that's really the first step.

So, this has been super interesting, Ritesh. The book, by the way, it's called the–I got to spit it out again, I tore my shelf behind me behind this green screen, it's called “The Amazing Health Transformation.”

Ritesh:  Yes, it is.

Ben:  Cool. I'm going to link to that. And then, anything else interesting that you're up to that you want to share with people before I let you go here?

Ritesh:  So, I think what I'm really super excited to be working on right now are these retreats that I want to sort of build, and obviously you're one of those people I want to sort of have participate in the retreat. I saw you doing something in Switzerland. I think India needs something like that, maybe a blend of neuroscience, a little bit of the biohacking that you bring to the table, perhaps even this habit formation, like how do you build better habits, a little bit about nutrition. Something like that is what I'm really excited to be doing right now. And, I hope to unveil that in the next one year.

Ben:  Well, that's fantastic. I mean, I take part in probably at least four events like that each year. Like this upcoming one at Six Senses, right? It's you wake up in the morning and it's breathwork and a cold plunge or some sauna, breakfast together, a hike, a meditation session, lunch, afternoon siesta, later afternoon workout together, dinnertime, Q&A, some type of meditation or breathwork session post-dinner to enhance sleep. And, the trick is when you show up, if you stay there for something like five days, you leave with this new set of habits and tools that you kind of were wondering beforehand if you were doing properly. And then, once you've done it with a whole bunch of people for five days, that's the most important part, right? It's not what happens during the five days after retreat, it's what you take home with you.

Ritesh:  Exactly. And, if you can build a small community like Microtribe, if you will, around that, that could keep you sort of on the clock after. I think that would be fantastic.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, accountability groups or Facebook groups, et cetera, afterwards for people to keep in touch. For me, it's usually WhatsApp groups with people that I develop while I'm on the trip. So, I've got probably 12 different WhatsApp groups of people who have just been in different places with me around the world who continually bounce things off of each other. And, of course, my notifications on WhatsApp are off because of that.

Ritesh:  Yeah, yeah.

Ben:  So anyways, I'm going to put all the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Ritesh, R-I-T-E-S-H. You can grab his book. I'll put links to Breathe Again, the Breath Again app, Ritesh's favorite song. If you remember, send that send that over to me later on.

Ritesh:  I will.

Ben:  And, you can also leave your questions, your comments and your feedback for Ritesh and I. And, if he winds up doing a retreat, of course, I'll announce that on my social media, and you guys can maybe go over to India and enjoy some healthy living over there and hopefully get a chance to try some of this bilona ghee and maybe even this 5PM Snack, which is incredible.

Ritesh, thank you so much, man.

Ritesh:  It's such a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Ben:  Yeah. Go get some sleep, man. Until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield along with Ritesh Bawri signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.

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On a recent three-week tour of India, I had the pleasure of meeting a host of individuals making a huge impact on the country's health and wellness scene.

Today, I'm thrilled to have a guest on the show who I knew was a kindred spirit from the moment I met him. Ritesh Bawri, a successful Indian businessman, shares my dedication to health by walking 10,000 steps daily, adhering to an ancestral sleep schedule, and opting for ghee over vegetable oil at restaurants.

In this episode, you'll discover Ritesh's health journey, insights on managing India's air pollution, the value of Ayurveda, the impact of seed oils on health, spirituality's role in longevity, and much more.

So, who is Ritesh exactly?

Ritesh is a fourth-generation entrepreneur and the founder of Breathe Again, a global platform that helps successful people learn to live a long and healthy life. He has an impressive track record, having built and sold several businesses in the construction industry valued at over $1 billion.

Eight years ago, Ritesh underwent a remarkable transformation. He lost 60 pounds and reversed type 2 diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and hyperacidity. Since then, he has been on a mission to transform the lives of over 10,000 people from over 20 countries.

Ritesh's work has earned him recognition from the highest levels of government and the entertainment industry. He has worked with the Prime Minister of India and six Chief Ministers, as well as actors, actresses, and entrepreneurs. Ritesh is also the author of the book The Amazing Health Transformation, which launched at number two on Amazon's bestselling list, and the host of The Ritesh Bawri Show.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-Ritesh Bawri…00:49

-Ritesh’s backstory and health transformation journey…03:12

  • Ritesh attributes 70% of what he has learned over the last 10 years to reading Ben's books
  • Ben mentions how America and India share the same health issues:
    • Obesity
    • Chronic disease like diabetes
    • Early onset cancer
  • Ritesh's 25-year health transformation journey from being an overweight and unhealthy 15-year-old to a model of vitality
    • Gaining 30 kilos
    • Diabetic and hypertensive
    • Almost died 14 times
  • He met a guy in the U.S. while visiting his unwell sister
  • This guy explained to him what was going on in his body
    • A 1-hour conversation that completely changed his life
  • He started fixing himself and his family and saw a big transformation
  • Several years later, he realized he had a business opportunity

-Managing high air pollution in India…08:02

-India’s tradition of naturopathy and Ayurveda…13:39

  • A lot of people pretend they know Ayurveda
  • There is science in Ayurveda, but the number of practitioners is not so widely available
  • A good Ayurveda practitioner can cure you of almost anything using traditional herbs, spices, foods, and massages
  • Ayurvedic practitioners need to communicate better
    • Young practitioners are slowly bridging the gap by building apps, languages, and tools
    • Expect an explosion of Ayurveda in the next 10 years
  • Biochemical Individuality by Roger J. Williams
  • Dr. Justin Marchegiani

-Ritesh’s daily routine…16:17

  • Tracks almost 70 parameters every day
    • Blood pressure, blood sugar, pulse rate, HRV, and sleep
    • Number of steps he takes, exercise time, heart rate, and breath
    • Garmin
    • Oura Ring
  • Ritesh breaks his day into 6-hour windows
    • Wakes up at 4:00 a.m.
    • 5-minute mediation
    • Breaking the 6-hour window with meditation
    • Breathing exercise similar to box breathing, paired with a song
    • He has trained his body to positively react to a song (Clair de Lune) while slowly breathing

-The impact of seed oils on the rise of chronic disease…20:28

  • Replacement of traditional oils like gheecoconut oil, and olive oil with canola oil or safflower oil is more responsible for the onset of insulin resistance than carbohydrate consumption
  • Ritesh’s father decided to switch from ghee to industrial oils 30 years ago
    • India went through the same change
  • Consumption of carbohydrates has decreased due to gluten intolerance, yet many people are overweight, insulin resistant, and type 2 diabetic
  • Lifestyle is also an important factor — people are less active
  • Mustard oil is a good option
  • Ghee is by far the best — only 10% of Indians use ghee
  • Bilona ghee
  • Hand churned over 48 hours by combining yogurt and fat
    • Yogurt gives it a bit of probiotic
  • Commercial ghee is usually blended with other things, just like olive oil in most countries
  • In restaurants, ask for coconut or mustard oil
  • Gut Zoomer Test
  • Cyrex panel
  • Most people are not truly gluten intolerant but FODMAP intolerant

-A plant-based diet and adequate protein intake…29:09

  • Ritesh follows a vegan, plant-based diet
    • Doesn’t eat eggs
  • Protein sources:
    • Milk
    • Cottage cheese, paneer
    • Lentils and beans, especially when sprouted
    • Nuts and seeds
  • Whey protein to supplement protein when working out
  • study about plant based-diets showed that:
    • Consuming a digestive enzyme breaks down protein
    • Increases the bioavailability of plant-based protein
  • Kion Aminos is plant-based and vegan
  • Indians today are not very active
    • COVID brought a shift in mindset, an awareness about health

-The benefits of yoga…32:59

-Spirituality versus longevity…35:40

  • There is an inherent conflict between longevity and spirituality
  • Longevity, in itself, is a noble goal
    • Lots of people are dying for reasons that you know could be prevented
  • The goal of spirituality in India is to attain salvation — escape the cycle of life and death
  • Ritesh went from being an atheist to spiritual to believing in God
    • Believes in a divine power that guides his life in a certain direction — salvation
  • The Buddha lived until he was 82 and was spreading his work till his last breath
  • Ben believes immortality is achieved through having offspring who live after you and continue your legacy

-The pillars of good health…40:37

  • Ritesh’s pillars of good health:
    • Nutrition
    • Exercise and movement
    • Sleep
    • Breath
    • Meditation
    • Toxicity
  • Detoxification protocols:
    • Sauna and ozone
    • Washing and scrubbing fruits and vegetables with vinegar
    • Lots of herbs and spices
    • Using ghee
    • Avoiding plastics
  • Sleep had never been a problem for Ritesh
  • Sensate for stress relief (use code BGL to save $30)
  • Apollo (use code BGL to save 15%)
  • Devices Ritesh is using

-Ritesh’s food products…47:10

  • Ritesh's Breath Again food products do not yet ship to the U.S.
  • 5PM Snack — a snack Ritesh sent to Ben
    • Nuts, dates, seeds, and a little bit of ghee
  • Breath Again products on the market:
    • Mongra saffron
    • Banana tea
    • Jaggery
    • Coffee
  • Saffron, a spice, is amazing for the nervous system — has a calming effect
  • Nootopia (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
  • Stress Guardian
  • Qualia Mind
  • Qualia Resilience
  • Ritesh adds saffron to his coffee
  • Ritesh developed a relationship with the villages where he sources his ingredients

-Ritesh’s most recent health discoveries…51:25

  • The biggest evolution has been in the field of exercise
    • From no exercise to a hard-charging workout every single day
  • Homeostasis or balance applied to exercise — the balance between what you can do and what you need to do
  • Recovery days can include:
  • Number one reason people quit going to the gym is they don’t know what to do there
    • The first step is to find an app or website that will help you
  • Ritesh wants to build a retreat, a blend of neuroscience, biohacking, how to build better habits, nutrition, etc.
  • Ben does at least four each year

-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:

– Ritesh Bawri:

– Podcasts and Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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