[4:44] Introduction to this Episode
[6:17] About Kevin Rose
[8:56] Kevin Microdoses on Lithium
[14:52] Ben and Kevin’s mutual connection called Summer Tomato
[18:24] Kevin and his Infatuation with Chocolate Ceremonies
[24:23] Kevin and His Ketosis and Kitavan Diets
[32:40] The Human Charger
[34:12] EXO Protein
[36:19] What Kevin does with Cold Water and Heat Training
[46:19] Why You Should Be Careful with Breath Work
[47:33] Ben Talks About Kundalini Breath Work
[53:55] Kevin’s Fasting App and Why Fasting by Sunset is Highly Effective
[1:03:05] How Dietary Change Caused Kevin’s friend with Stage 4 Cancer to be in Remission
[1:08:12] Hautou – A Coffee Shop in Tokyo, Japan that Serves Old Beans
[1:12:08] Blue Spruce Essential Oil and Shutran
[1:15:12] Cool Apps – Wild Fulness and Brain FM
[1:20:20] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, what’s up? It’s Ben Greenfield. Get ready for a really entertaining podcast with a guy whose name I will reveal shortly, that’s mysterious enough for you.
Speaking of being an over-achiever man, we have a lot going on in today’s podcast. We talk about a ton of different topics from chocolate to elephant poop coffee and beyond, so you’re gonna dig this one. I actually purposefully used that word dig and you’ll learn why in just a moment. Let’s not digress anymore. Shall we?
In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“By the tenth week, I was filling my bathtub full of about eight to ten bags of ice and I could sit there, you know, twenty minutes up to my neck in ice water and not even shiver. It was just insane and I felt better than I ever did like just I was operating on a different level. It was amazing. “The forced environment promoted lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity just from sitting around the trees.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ben: Hey folks, its Ben Greenfield and my guest on today’s show was actually named by Time Magazine as one of the top 25 most influential people on the web. I’m not quite sure what that means but he was definitely ranked as that. He’s also actually been ranked as the top 25 angel investors or one of the top 25 angel investors by Bloomberg. He serves on the Advisory Board of Goggle Ventures and the Tony Hawk Foundation. So obviously he pulls a lot of sway when it comes to both internet and skateboarding. He founded DIG. He founded Revision3.
He was the general partner at Goggle Ventures and perhaps most interesting for me and for you, and perhaps not as well known to a lot of folks is that he also considers himself to be a pretty well-versed body hacker and I can attest to the fact that, that is the case after listening to a few podcasts that he has done with another previous podcast guest, Tim Ferris. Because my guest today is Kevin Rose who actually co-hosts a show called “The Random Show” with Tim Ferris and he’s frequently experimenting with things like cold water training, and breathwork, and nootropics, and ketogenic diets, and meditation, and fasting, and all manner of hacking efforts that we’re actually gonna discuss on today’s show.
He’s actually even recently released a free-app which I’m gonna put in the show notes for you guys to go check out. And the show notes by the way are gonna be over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kevin, that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/kevin. And this free-app is designed to help people track their fasting which might be top of mind for you if you’re listening to this podcast when it comes out which is just about right after the time you’ve probably polished off your last holiday cookie and maybe sucked down that last little bit of special whiskey that you got for Christmas. So Kevin is a wealth of information we’re honored to have him on the show. He’s an investor. He’s a podcaster. He’s a self-experimentor. He’s a cool dude. Kevin, welcome to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show.
Kevin: Ben, thank you for having me on. I’m a huge fan of yours. I’ve been listening for a long time. I have to say I love your podcast because you guys are not afraid to tackle pretty much any and every subject, like a lot of cool woo-woo stuff I actually like. Which is (giggles). That’s actually a complement.
Ben: Yeah, woo-woo and orifices. Ears, eyes, butt holes. We stick stuff anywhere and then report on what happens.
Kevin: It’s awesome! It’s awesome ‘cause I find that a lot of the best science actually comes out of these little tiny things that we once thought were woo woo but you know, actually prove out to be something real. So it’s good. Good to be on.
Ben: Yeah, this little tiny things like you were telling me that you were experimenting with microdosing with lithium, speaking of little things that seem to actually produce pretty big results. Is that the case or are you actually using lithium as a nootropic?
Kevin: Yeah, I have been f0r a while. So you know, I think that it’s a real shame that lithium tends to be thought of as just a substance for people with bipolar disorder. It kinda often gets demonized and lumped into like, oh if I’m taking lithium something must be wrong with me, you know. But it’s funny, do you know the whole backstory on lithium in soft drinks and in beverages? It’s actually quite fascinating.
Ben: I know it has something to do with 7-Up like in the same way that I guess like cocaine used to be some kind of an ingredient in Coca-Cola, lithium was part of 7-Up, was it not?
Kevin: Yeah, so in 1929 there was this guy by the name of Charles Grigg, who launched a soft drink called Bib Label Lithiunated Lemon Lime soda. Doesn’t run off the tongue nicely.
Ben: Yeah, that’s nicely so.
Kevin: Yeah, it didn’t sell that well but its slogan was, “it takes the ouch out of the grouch” and actually he held it as being improving your mood and curing hang overs and you know, blah, blah, blah. Later he remarketed to 7-Up and supposedly the 7 in 7-Up is supposed to be the rounded up atomic weight of lithium which is 6.9.
Ben: Oh, no way.
Kevin: Yeah, so you know, I started reading about it. There’s actually a really good book out there that you can get on Kindle or wherever on Amazon, it’s called “Nutritional Lithium – A Cinderella Story”, and it really kinda covers the whole all of the research that had been done over many, many years about lithium in our drinking supply and how they’re certain there’s been research that’s been done where they find high levels of lithium, naturally occurring lithium in our drinking water, and in where areas where that’s present there’s lower suicide rates and a bunch of other things. I was thinking like why not try it like you know, you can buy this stuff on Amazon and you know and typically when you think about people that are getting dosed with lithium for say, bipolar disorder, that level of dosage is around 300 milligrams twice a day, so if you have a disorder like that doctors typically are going to prescribe to you around 600 milligrams or higher of lithium per day, and it’s really at those levels you have to be really careful like you have to get your blood drawn and checked to see if you’re not gonna OD on this type of stuff because that is a concern.
When you buy it on Amazon you typically find it in kind of capsule form right around 5 milligrams in per capsule. And so what I do is I went in and I did the research and in terms of these different drinking water supplies and kinda what their levels were at, and where people were feeling this kind of mood boost that comes out of just taking this as a supplement. And it’s actually really, really tiny amounts of it as you’d imagine being found in this drinking water. So I aim for around 2 milligrams per day. So 1 milligram in the morning and 1 milligram at night, and so that means I’m taking you know, these 5 milligram capsules and cracking them in half and kind of like slowly twisting it so you get a little of the powder out. I actually just recently found pure encapsulations makes a liquid form that you can do it in drops and it’s around 1 milligram per full dropper, so I do like a half a dropper on the tongue and then the other half at night and that gets me my full 2 milligrams per day.
Ben: I may have to check on the label because this popped up a few weeks ago on a show that I did with this guy who we call the ‘god-pill’ which is just a blend of like 42 different nootropics it’s called Qualia. Have you heard of his before?
Kevin: No, I haven’t.
Ben: Ok, so qualia is like the new darling of the smart drug of the nootropic community. It’s made by these guys out of San Diego called the Neurohacker Collective. It really is like just about everything you’ll find in research all thrown into 1 bottle and its 2 doses. You take 1 dose on an empty stomach when you wake up for all the water soluble compounds that might have inhibited absorption if you continue with food, and you take all the other components later on with breakfast. So there’s like dose 1 and dose 2 and I think its dose 1 that has lithium orotate in it. I had one of the designers, a guy named Daniel Schmachtenberger on my show to talk about it, and he mentioned something about neurogenesis or neuroplasticity. Like the development of or the maintenance of new neurons and like this neuro protective effect that has interestingly kinda similar to a lot of psychedelics.
Kevin: Yeah, that’s a hundred percent why I take it. So for me I don’t necessarily, I have a one buddy of mine that’s a scientist friend that takes it and notices a mood change, like when he takes it he gets a little less irritable and he just feels more like kind of zend-out when he’s taking the micro doses. For me, I’m looking at the studies that talk about this as a neuroprotective and there’s also some old-timers research on this that show that people that take lithium have lower rates of that and so why not? It sounds great and it’s cheap and you can buy it on Amazon. and so it’s part of my daily kinda regimen.
Ben: Yeah, I wonder when they started taking it out of 7-Up?
Kevin: I believe it was 1950, the last year it remained in 7-Up.
Ben: So I never actually drank lithium in 7-Up.
Kevin: No, we didn’t. We just had pear-shaped as kids. We had like bad version.
Ben: Yeah, just like Coca-Cola unless you get the Mexican-sugar version it’s just pure hi-fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately.
Kevin: That’s right.
Ben: Well, you’re married to a neuroscientist, speaking of tweeking your biology with things like lithium, and it’s kinda funny because your wife, how do you pronounce the name, Darya?
Ben: Darya, I guess back when I first ran into her she was Darya.
Ben: Pino, yeah she was like a website called the Summer Tomato and we were on like this online nutrition webcast together about whether you could burn more fat by skipping breakfast or by eating like a big dense, high-fat breakfast, and that was my first introduction to the Summer Tomato but it’s kinda funny we’ve got a mutual connection that goes way back. I’m kinda curious, she’s a smart cookie, she’s a neuroscientist and I’m wondering what that’s like being married to someone who is able to analyze the brain in that way whether she’d like gives you special foods or gives you special diets or makes you take lithium capsules or anything like that?
Kevin: Honestly, I think she thinks I’m pretty crazy. Like she’s like, really another thing that you’re doing? Like, dude you’re trying something else again? She tends to balance me out, to be honest like she recommends just eating whole fruits and vegetables and she has a book out called Foodist that is really kind of the balance in my life and I tend to go and try the really crazy hackary kind of ideas. The beautiful thing about having a scientist in your household is you just send them all the published papers and she really helps validate my thinking when I’m reading through this stuff.
Ben: Right. That’s interesting. I’m married to a rancher girl who probably fits very well into the saying that goes, the shoemaker’s wife who wears no shoes, right? She doesn’t take supplements, she doesn’t have like a structured exercise program, she doesn’t biohack and she kinda laughs at a lot of this stuff that I do. It sounds like you might be in a similar situation.
Kevin: Oh, it’s the same thing. I mean she may take a little Vitamin D if it hasn’t been sunny out (laughs). You know, like her side of the, when you go in our master bathroom and kinda open up the mezzanine closet there like my side’s just filled with stuff and she has like 2 things (laughs).
Ben: Oh, it’s so funny. Before I came down here I was actually in my pantry where my wife was sitting there with her hands in her hips just like looking with the displeased face at this huge cupboard that I have that’s just full of bottles. ‘Cause I get, I don’t know about you but I get random bottles and weird variations of bone broth and dietary powder and all that stuff.
Kevin: Oh yeah, same here. I get all that stuff.
Ben: And sometimes it’s kinda creepy it’s like some hand-made stuff with little handwritten notes on it [0:17:28.4] ______.
Kevin: Yeah, you don’t know if you should open it or not. Like I get some of that stuff someone random will find my address like send me something and I’m like, is there poison in here or?
Ben: Or it’s just like a white blank plastic bottle with sharpee markers on it and you open it and it’s like something someone encapsulated.
Kevin: (Laughs) Right. It’s scary.
Ben: You take lithium, do you do other special nootropics or smart drugs or anything else when it comes to spinning the dials in your brain?
Kevin: Oh you know, I’ve tried a handful of different things but nothing that I would stick with ongoing. I think for me it’s always been more recently in the kind of what can I do to the outside of my body to impact the release of certain compounds like norepinephrine with my ice baths and things like that or extreme sauna use or you know, fasting and things like that but I haven’t done a whole lot of nootropics recently.
Ben: Ok, got it. Now one thing you at some point, you sent me a video about chocolate. Chocolate.
Ben: I think you called them chocolate ceremonies. That intrigues me. What is it that you found from chocolate?
Kevin: Yes, so that I guess you could consider that kind of a brain hack in a way, so gosh, there’s a couple of things. I’ve run with a little group out here in New York that is really into kind of old school Mayan chocolate ceremonies. And essentially what they’ve done, this sounds crazy, but what they found out is that if you don’t kind of overly roast chocolate and you buy it like in its whole bean form, you can create a beverage that is just essentially pure, pure, pure a hundred percent chocolate that you drink down and after about a half hour and this is you know, involve people sitting around and doing some drum circle work and things like that. You start to get really emotional and you kinda feel this a little bit of a release and some people close their eyes and they see visions but they believe this to be a very kind of spiritual compound that’s been used for thousands of years and we’ve just kind of lost touch with it and so we’re talking really intense high dose chocolate in a ceremony.
Ben: Interesting. I’ve never heard of that. First of, where do you get like a 100% coffee bean to build something like that?
Kevin: Yes, so they fly it in actually fresh which is kinda crazy and then they use that to process it down. So they’re not buying like the overly roasted dead version of that, so they’re bringing it on fresh. The one thing that I found out I’ve used this as a supplement and I think it’s a great afternoon pick-me-up because you know every once in a while a couple times a week I’ll hit that 2pm, oh gosh should I have a second sip new cup of coffee. And the answers always no, like you shouldn’t ‘cause I’ll just be up all night long, but I found a chocolate producer that I’ve been working with, out here in New York called Fruition and they make a 100%…
Ben: Oh yeah, I’ve had those.
Kevin: Yeah, have you tried their hundred percent bar?
Ben: I have not tried the hundred percent bar. I’ve had a Fruition chocolate bar though I remember it being really good.
Kevin: Yeah, so they do obviously all types all the way down to milk and what not but they do a one hundred percent bar that has obviously it’s a hundred percent solution. So there’s no added sugar or anything else in there but the secret is you know if you were to go to a grocery store and pick up a hundred percent bar it’s typically that kind of baker’s chocolate and that stuff is horrible. I mean it’s been over roasted. It’s just disgusting. It’s bitter. It’s really not pleasant at all.
Ben: It’s got an extreme pucker factor.
Kevin: Right. Right. So they purposely lightly roast it, so they don’t just like destroy because it’s not going in their cookies or baking. It’s meant for consumption so I break off about a third of that bar and just have that in the afternoon and just like that rush of energy that you get from the chocolate and caffeine and everything else. It’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful thing. But that is just a very kind of watered-down version of what you would do if you’re doing one of these Mayan chocolate ceremonies.
Ben: Ok, got it. And can you just get like Fruition 100% chocolate on Amazon? Or do you need to go to like a special shop in New York?
Kevin: Yeah, I believe it’s all over the place.
Ben: And do like a secret hand shake?
Kevin: No, Fruition has their own website and they sell out from time to time but they have just the bars on there and their standard chocolate bars but they’re great.
Ben: Ok cool. I’ll hunt down links for those of you listening in and put them all over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kevin.
I’m curious if it’s just like central nervous system stimulant you know, the theobromine in the chocolate that’s giving people this type of a factor if there’s something else happening. I mean, I know there’s a big serotonin dump which I guess which is that’s why a lot of people get addicted to chocolate. I’m curious what chemical it is that’s allowing people to have that type of reaction to 100% chocolate?
Kevin: Yeah, it’s crazy how they just start breaking down in tears. I actually sent you a video that shows the ceremony going on and what people go through in the visions that they see, and yeah you can link that up in the show notes but it’s kinda pretty intense. So you can search online I think there’s some kind of like local, depending on what city you live in there’s people that still practice this.
Ben: Yeah, interesting. I do know that chocolate does have some cannabinoids in it. And so, it may be similar in the endocannabinoids system as well. There’s a lot to chocolate. There’s a new book by Stephan Guyenet, it has really good research in like what over stimulates us to eat. And it’s actually is a fascinating book. I don’t remember the title of it. I’m like I’m halfway through it but I’m horrible at remembering the actual titles of book as I’m reading them. But he actually goes into how chocolate is basically like one of the most addictive calorie-dense foods on the face of the planet which can be good and can be bad because he talks about how if you look at ancient hunter-gatherer tribes for example, they would eat just copious amounts of foods to increase their fertility and to satisfy their evolutionary thirst for simply consuming calorie-dense foods when they got their hands on them like how like the Hadza when they’re hunting, I forget the name of the animal that they do like a persistence hunt on, but if they walk by like a giant hive of bees, they’ll just stop completely forsake the hunt and go after the honey ‘cause that’s more calorie-dense.
Kevin: Right. Right.
Ben: And much less energy cost than actually going after the animal and it appears chocolate kinda satisfies that need for us from an ancestral standpoint whereas, extremely calorie-dense assists with fertility, and it’s one of those things that we can get a lot of energy from in a very small package.
Kevin: Yeah, and what’s awesome about it is with the hundred percent bars when I was really deep into ketosis and I was measuring my ketone levels a few times a day with pricking my finger, it didn’t kick me out. I could stay in and still look at that kind of chocolate flavor and obviously you know if you do even a ninety percent bar with a little bit of sugar, it’s gonna kick you out right away.
Ben: Right, so this stuff doesn’t have all the both the milk sugars as well as the added sugars put into this Fruition 100%. Okay cool.
Now with ketosis, is that something you’ve been doing for a while? Are you like one of these guys who streaks ketosis 24/7 or why is it that you’re doing that type of diet?
Kevin: Yeah, well you know I’ve been trying all different types of diets out and I think that I really want to see about this. This energy that everyone talks about that you can just tap into when you’re running off of ketones, and so for me, I was just an experiment, I thought ok, well let’s draw my blood ahead of time, so we have all the kind of bio markers as they are and then go on and see what happens. And so I jumped into it and cut out a ton of protein and focused on the fats and you know, I got all the way in and I was wearing a continuous glucose monitor, so I had a Dexcom on me which is you know, you kinda pinch the fat around your stomach and you inject yourself with this monitor that sits on your side and that stays on 24/7, so it’s monitoring that.
Ben: Yeah, the continuous blood glucose monitor.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s great. You have to get a doctor’s prescription to get it but it’s great because once you have it, you can find all the little hidden sugars that you don’t think are there. Like you’ll be out somewhere and you’re like okay that looks like pretty fatty and you give it a shot and then all of sudden you realize that someone snuck some sugar in somewhere and you can see it right away as its happening.
Ben: Right. Right.
Kevin: Yeah. Ketosis was fun for me. It was a great way to get some extra energy. Unfortunately, I’m one of those you know, 5% of people or whatever it is that it kinda wreaks havoc on a few of my different inflammation markers and also on my cholesterol levels were not. I wasn’t taking to it well. I have a history of heart disease in my family so it was something we have to monitor pretty closely and so I just think it was the diet for me so I had to get off of it.
Ben: That’s interesting. Are you one of the people who has the Apple E-gene that causes you to store things like saturated fats as cholesterol and elevated triglycerides?
Kevin: That’s right.
Ben: Ok. Yeah, so that is a genetic marker that seems to respond really well to like, are you familiar with like a Kitavan Diet, like a high-fiber, slightly higher carbohydrate diet that’s got a lot of dense cellular carbohydrates in it but it’s anything but a ketogenic diet. Have you looked into this at all?
Kevin: Yeah, that’s more or less what I’m on now. I’m on a pretty high-veggie kind of dense-grain diet and that’s how it worked wonders actually.
Ben: Yeah, they do like a lot of tubers, and coconut, and fish, and I know they’ve got like cassava, and yaka, and sweet potato, and a lot of these non-wheat, non-sugar based carbohydrates that a lot of people with that genetic factors seem to respond really well to this Kitavan-based diet.
Kevin: Yeah, I love the sweet potatoes. I go for the purple sweet potatoes that they eat so much in Okinawa.
Ben: Yeah, those are…
Kevin: Have you ever been down to Okinawa? Have you visited that island at all?
Ben: No, I haven’t.
Kevin: That’s that island right off the coast of Japan where they have more people over the age of a hundred than any other place on earth. They all…
Ben: It’s a blue zone, right?
Kevin: Yes, it’s a blue zone. That’s right, and they just consume tons of this purple and they just look healthy when you can see that dark dense like purple in color. I cut those up and have them with pretty much everything.
Ben: I love those. I used to do the Ironman Triathlon down in Hawaii on the big island every year and that was my go to meal the night before the race. It was like a couple of those purple sweet potatoes and prepare them with a little bit of nut butter and honey and sea salt.
Kevin: That’s perfect (laughs).
Ben: My goodness! You’d wake up in the morning feeling like a million bucks. But I actually did myself you know, last couple of years I did Ironman, I switched to ketosis and I saw some hormonal issues too. It’s like rocket fuel for your liver and your diaphragm and your heart for long term endurance sessions, but for me my thyroid wound up taking a little bit of a hit that kinda sticks with me to this day, and then also testosterone just plummeted on that combination of extremely low glucose availability and high activity levels. So it can be difficult. You said your inflammation went up when you were on a ketogenic diet? Well, like your CRP?
Kevin: Yeah, I’d have to go back and look. I haven’t looked at the blood work in a while but I can’t remember what marker it was that we were looking at, but something was a little out of whack and enough to where there’s enough signs where I say, ok this isn’t for me, and mainly it was because my father died of a heart attack and there’s 2 other strokes on my father’s side and we were like, let’s not risk it so I bounced from it. You know the supplemental ketones is a fun way to get a quick little boost. I’ve done that as well. I tried those Pruvit brands, it’s like an orange-flavored little shake, and you mix it in and you know if I’m just looking for to run, go out and run 5-7 miles, I’ll just take one of those and you can do that once or twice a month and that’s a nice, nice little boost of energy.
Ben: Yeah, I took those the very first time I went free diving. I took a week-long free diving course down in Florida just to see what they would do to breath hold time.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s supposed to increase it, right?
Ben: Oh, I added almost seventy-five seconds to breath hold time.
Ben: And that wasn’t by like eating a high-fat breakfast or by consuming a bunch of coconut oil. It was literally just like eating what I normally eat and I remember you know, when we first got to the dock for one of our first dives we wound up at a sandwich shop. That was the place where our free-diving instructor brought us to eat. So I had like a tuna sandwich which by the way, is a bad call before you head out into the rollicking ocean waves, but I also had those ketones to put myself into ketosis and it vastly improved the breath hold time.
Kevin: Well, they’re talking about government research that was funding a lot of these, right, so that they can have Navy Seals with longer breath times and things like that, so that makes sense.
Ben: Exactly. It’s to combat a lot of the effects of like hypoperfusion to the brain and hypoxia at depth. Yeah, it certainly has some beneficial like therapeutic effects when you’re doing a lot of hypoxia as well. The other interesting thing are these ketone esters. There’s a researcher named Dr. Richard Veech, I’ve had him on the show before and he has developed an extremely potent form of ketone that is the same form as the body produces, like all these other ketone salts on the market. They’re not necessarily unhealthy, at least they haven’t been proven to be, but they aren’t the form that the body makes and Dr. Veech actually produces these ketone esters that I took a bottle ‘cause that’s how you consume like a liquid bottle, and tested my ketones. And for those of you listening in or for you Kevin if you’ve tested ketones you would know how profound this is, within ten minutes my ketone values were above 5.
Kevin: Wow! And were they like .3 before you started or something or?
Ben: No, normally what it would be when I wake up, you know a little bit below 1 you know, like 0.5 to 1 in that range when I wake up in the morning for blood [0:31:08.1] ______ of ketone.
Kevin: In ten minutes (chuckles), that’s insane!
Ben: In ten minutes shoved it.
Kevin: How did it taste, though is that stuff pretty gnarly?
Ben: They warned me that it tastes just like rocket fuel, you know that’s what Dominic d’Agostino and Peter Attia when they first way back in the day when they were doing their research on ketones where Peter was in the lab riding the bicycle. He said it was just horrible but these actually they didn’t taste that bad but of course, I drink what my wife calls cat diarrhea for breakfast which is essentially kale mix with a bunch of nasty nutrients, so it could be that I’m just immuned to the taste. But yeah, if you get a chance to try ketone esters, I tried them in a race too. I tried them in a Tough Mudder. Got out of bed, raced the Tough Mudder and was just like on fire for like 6 hours just on this little bottle of ketones.
Kevin: I gotta try those.
Ben: Yeah, if you can get your hands on some or contact me later I’ll intro you to Dr. Veech and we can have you try a little bottle of these ketone esters ‘cause you can’t buy them. You can just get them from his lab. They’re not like sold f0r human consumption or anything like that although I believe, are you familiar with this Patrick Arnold guy, he developed?
Ben: He develops ketone press similar to those Pruvit ones that you mentioned. I think his is called Ketoforce and I think he’s trying to develop like a consumer version of this ketone ester. I believe he’s the guy.
Kevin: Yeah, I know the Ketoforce. I haven’t tried that, though.
Ben: Hey, I wanna interrupt this podcast to tell you about a device that I stick into an orifice of my body every single morning and no, it’s not what you’re thinking. It’s called a human charger. It is bright in-ear light therapy that is like a cup of coffee for your brain. It was originally designed for jetlag and for seasonal effective disorder which it works great for me. I live on a north facing slope in the forest where I get sun from about 10am to 2pm, so for me blasting my ears in the morning with sunlight is really cool because there are photo receptors in your ear that actually interact with the surface of your brain. They’re very similar to these photo receptors in your eye and so this concept of like looking at the sun when you get up in the morning to regulate your circadian rhythms, if you don’t have access to the sun you can do the same thing with this tiny little device that goes into your ear. Goes into either ear and that looks just like headphones. Fits just like headphones. It’s just this little LED set of earbuds that fits snuggly into your ears, you turn it on, stays on for twelve minutes and you get light therapy. It’s like having the sun in your pocket. As a matter of fact, that’s their slogan, The Human Charger – The Sun in Your Pocket.
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Ben: So you’re doing I think what you called the body hacking or body work where you’re focusing on things you know aside from just drinking or chocolate or consuming lithium, you mentioned cold water and heat training? What are you doing as far as like heat and cold go?
Kevin: Yeah, well you know gosh, I’d say a little over a year ago Dr. Rhonda Patrick, have you had her on the show at all?
Ben: Oh yeah, Dr. Rhonda and I were just over in Finland for a week.
Kevin: That’s great.
Ben: We were visiting a bunch of saunas over there and doing the whole Finnish slightly awkward huge smoke saunas full of fifty coed nude people whipping each other with birch branches. So yeah.
Kevin: Yes, (laughs) I love that. We have that here in New York. I do that all the time. Yes, so you know how Rhonda feels about all this stuff and she came out with the great cold stress PDF where she looked at all the different studies, pulled together all the information and kinda found the temperatures that you wanna be at to release this norepinephrine in the brain and into the blood stream. You know, I’d heard great things from people doing this ice kind of cold training and I was first turned on to Wim Hof who I’m sure most of your listeners have heard of before. He’s the Ice Man. He has a world record for most time under ice or an ice water. It’s crazy.
Ben: Yeah, it’s like over 2 hours.
Kevin: It’s insane like most people die when that happens, right? So his whole method, the Wim Hof method is a ten-week course and around this time last year, I thought well you know, let’s give it a shot, like this guy obviously is a pro here. He teaches you some kind of yoga breathing exercises to help you really focus yourself before you go into these extreme cold conditions, and I thought that coupled with kind of Rhonda’s research you know, aiming for a little under fifty-seven degrees Fahrenheit in water temperature, let’s just give this a shot and see how I feel because I’ve heard so many people reporting back that you just get this great euphoria, and you feel so much better, more energy blah, blah, blah. So I started off by doing the ten-week course and it starts you off pretty easy wherein you start with the shower which is a typical hot shower and then you end with thirty seconds of cold water.
Kevin: The key here really though is figuring out if you can get your cold water and the temperature coming out of your faucet to below fifty-seven degrees Fahrenheit. So I went out and I purchased one of these lasers that you can point at the water, you know, the laser little temperature monitors.
Ben: Uhm. Just like everybody has in their shower.
Kevin: Yeah, exactly like we all have (laughs). And I went and got a couple of a cup and turned on the shower and mine was not quite that cold. It turns out that most showers at least the ones that go cold and hot with 1 knob versus having 2 knobs for cold and hot, they have governors built-in so they can’t go cold on us. So I had to unscrew my shower, take it apart and remove the little governors so that it would go all the way to the coldest possible setting. And here in New York obviously the cold water’s coming from outside in the streets and so it’s coming in pretty cold. So I just measured before we jumped on the call today and the water out here now is around fifty-four degrees Fahrenheit which is about twelve and a half degrees Celsius.
And so, it’s right where I want it. So essentially you know, I put it back together and said ok let’s start this. The first week is 5 days of these breathing exercises and then you go and you do the thirty seconds of cold. It’s difficult and it’s a shock to the body and you know I really didn’t feel anything after the first week. It was kinda fun and it was a fun little jolt of energy when you get out of the shower and you’re like, oh that was exciting. But then around the week 2, something really odd started happening and that’s that I felt as though you know, I would say I’m a pretty happy person in general and I think that we all kind of ride this little roller coaster in the upper third of things where you know, you may feel a hundred percent one day, some days you feel eighty, eighty-five percent, some days ninety percent in terms of mood over all, right?
Kevin: And what happened for me is the bar was just lifted a little bit higher. I didn’t think it could go this high like I remember jumping out of bed and still like, god I feel so good today. It’s almost like I’m fifteen again. Just the amount of energy and just mental clarity and you know, I know these are all buzz words, but when you actually feel it you’re kinda shocked. And that started happening around week 2 and that’s when I started kinda ramping up to sixty seconds of cold per day, and then you continue through the ten weeks and by the tenth week I was filling my bathtub full of about eight to ten bags of ice and I could sit there twenty minutes up to my neck in ice water and not even shiver. It was just insane and I felt better than I ever did just that I was operating at a different level. It was amazing.
Ben: There’s a lot of really interesting hormonal mechanisms and by the way, you were that guy who went into 711 buying the giant pegs of ice?
Kevin: Exactly (laughs).
Ben: Not because you’re having a party but because you’re having a bath.
Kevin: Right (laughs).
Ben: The interesting thing and I know the NIH for example, you kn0w a l0t 0f people take thyroid hormone like armor thyroid, or nature thyroid, or something like that when they’re slightly low in thyroid to elevate mood levels and enhance sleep, and the NIH is actually doing studies right now on cold thermogenesis and its effect on human thyroid levels, meaning that the long term effect of doing repeated cold exposure could actually have a really beneficial effect on your thyroid. We all tend to think you know, like a sluggish thyroid would cause you to feel cold all the time but it seems that like if you expose to cold that it can actually upregulate thyroid function. And then you mentioned Wim Hof and I’m sure you’ve seen this study where he like injected himself with endotoxins, I think it was like ecoli or something like that and actually showed that by using his methods right, like the shiver walks and the power breathing and stuff like that he could actually enhance his immune system’s ability to be able to fight off endotoxins. So it’s really interesting there’s all sorts of very cool hormonal responses to this cold exposure.
Kevin: Have you tried the cold at all? Have you done any of this work yourself?
Ben: Yes, so I have a nineteen foot cold pool. It’s on the snow right now. I had a crane drop it out here in the middle of the forest where I live ‘cause there is no natural body of water. I keep it at about 45 degrees and every morning what I do is I built an infrared sauna in my basement. There’s this company called ClearLight, they send like a kit to your house and you can build this enormous sauna that you can do yoga in, and I’ve got dumbbells and a kettlebell in there, and so I do just about every morning 30 minutes of extreme sweating in that infrared sauna and I’ll do like kundalini yoga and breathwork and Wim Hof style breath of fire and stuff like that. And then I go out and I do a 5 minutes of underwater swimming back and forth in this cold pool. And so yeah, it’s a daily practice. I haven’t taken a hot shower in about 3 years.
Kevin: Wow! Yeah, that’s great. Can you notice the difference in mood and just energy and things of that nature or was that not a big factor for you?
Ben: Yeah, mood, energy you know, the interesting thing and this has actually come back to bite me a few times in terms of essential body fat stores but I stay almost [0:43:29.3] ______ like you burn fat so rarely. I started doing this entire practice. Are you familiar with Ray Cronise?
Ben: Ok, he was on my podcast with Tim like 3 years ago, and we actually did a full podcast on cold thermogenesis. And Ray came out to Spokane here where I live and gave a talk at a conference that I put on and he showed this fascinating graphs of fat loss, like extreme fat loss in this folks he was working with and all he was having them do, he didn’t modify exercise, he didn’t modify diet. Nothing. All he had them do…
Kevin: Is this the brown fat activation stuff?
Ben: Uhuh, yeah you have to do a 5-minute shower in the morning and a 5-minute shower in the evening doing almost exactly what you just alluded to. They were doing twenty-seconds of cold, ten-seconds of hot ten times through, right, for a total of 5 minutes and the fat loss effects were staggering. So when he showed all those graphs, so that’s when I kinda started doing it. A cold shower daily and often twice a day and then, like this cold plunge in the morning, and yeah you’re right, it’s one of the best things you can do for your body you know, aside from exercise and I guess taking lithium and eating chocolate.
Kevin: Yeah, well when people ask me like you know, coz they know I’m into these types of things and try all kinds of crazy little experiments, and this is definitely my top 3 of things that I’ve actually felt a change, you know like you take a lot of supplements thinking like, oh maybe I’ll try this or that and you don’t notice anything one way or the other, this for me was real.
Ben: Yeah, it works pretty well but now that you’ve said it I have to ask you, what are the other 2?
Kevin: Of things that I’ve tried that haven’t worked (chuckles)?
Ben: No, you said it’s like in your top 3.
Kevin: Oh, top 3 of things, oh gosh well, that’s a good question, I think the breathwork is another big one. You know, I think. Have you done any of the holotropic breath work or anything like that?
Ben: Yeah, I did. I did a very long session, meaning the proper version. It’s like choreographed in music with an instructor there in the room when you’re all lying down the floor. I did this in San Diego. I took a course called SealFit with a Navy Seal Commander named Mark Divine, and one of the things that they had us do was this holotropic breathwork and yeah, it was basically the highest I’ve ever gotten without the use of stimulants.
Kevin: It is really crazy, and that’s actually part of Wim’s program as well and something people should be aware of to be careful with. I actually had a buddy that was doing some of this breathwork that ended up passing out in a pool. So he was doing it in a cold pool at that time, passed out, went underwater, unconscious. They had to pull him out, revive him. It’s really dangerous stuff, so it’s important that when you’re doing this breathwork that Wim’s teaching, and he even says this as you take the course but to keep those things separate so you’re not like about to pass out while you’re in cold water especially you know, a pool of water.
Ben: Yeah, you need to be [0:46:18.1] ______. Kundalini is the other one. I had a bunch of guys over to my house last weekend for like a 3-day mastermind, and every morning we did yoga in my basement, and the first morning we did kundalini yoga. One of the guys just flat out, passed out just doing basic kundalini breathwork.
Kevin: Wow. It’s powerful stuff but that’s one of the other 3 I have said definitely felt in terms of… I actually use Wim’s method which is thirty really deep long fast breaths and then you hold your breath until you can’t hold it anymore, and then take 1 gasp of air in and then release and then do another thirty. And you do this for 3 sets. So when you do that you get that same kind of feeling that we all know that’s like this really euphoric kind of high and then I’ll take that right into meditation. So that’s what really calms my brain. It makes it so that the monkey mind isn’t activated, you’re not thinking about thousand other things just kind of a really zend-out state to begin with and then go right into a half hour meditation. And that for me is just phenomenal.
Ben: Yeah, it’s really interesting that you bring that up because that was my first experience with kundalini. Have you ever done kundalini?
Kevin: No, I have not.
Ben: Okay. Kundalini is really cool. A lot of people will combine it with cannabis but a lot of people will just do basic kundalini and it’s really intense breath work combined with these special movements that you’ll do like for example, you’ll clench both fists at your side with you elbows against your ribcage and then punch with the left hand as you exhale, punch with the right hand as you exhale, but do that like rapid fire as fast you can for 3 minutes. And then you finish kinda similarly to the Wim Hof method where you’ll have your breath held for as long as you can and then you exhale for as long as you can, and you get this. This rush of nitric oxide and your fingers start to get tingly and you start to experience a lot of things you get during holotropic breathwork but usually you finish with meditation or with chanting you know, where you’ll put your fingers together and do like the, sa-ta-na-ma over and over again and when you precede it with the breath work, it’s a whole different experience.
Kevin: Yeah, I love that. I have to try that. I’m taking notes as we’re talking. I’m gonna try the kundalini. It sounds great.
Ben: There’s this girl named Summer Nicole and she was down in Kawaii and she does custom courses where you get on a Skype call with her for about fifteen minutes. She interviews you and asks you what it is you wanna accomplish. Like I told her I wanted to improve my cardiovascular capacity. I wanted to improve my ability to rest and relax during the day and want to improve my ability to meditate. She does like a custom kundalini routine where she targeted my heart chakra and my lungs and then my relaxation and some of the moves that decreased salivary cortisol. It’s really cool like how you can like kinda have your own little custom routine and then…
Kevin: That’s awesome.
Ben: I just watched the video that she shot a few times and then I memorized it. So you gotta cold, breathwork. and what’s the third that you would say is in your top 3?
Kevin: Oh gosh, as far as just overall things that I’ve seen a big impact, I mean you know, for me it’s been meditation but not in the kinda traditional sense of mindfulness meditation. I started out like most people using a meditation app you know, I’ve tried pretty much all of them out there, and almost all of them… In fact, I haven’t found one that doesn’t teach you mindfulness meditation but typical following your breath is the kinda go-to form that they teach and recently in the last year I got into and tried transcendental meditation, and I don’t know if you know much about it at all but it’s more…
Ben: Yeah, I took a course last year.
Kevin: Ok, so you know the mantra-based. I’m not a fan of the organization. I think they charge an awful lot of money for you to do this courses in something that you can learn online. I did like the few days of instruction and kind of like how they help you over a few of the different hurdles that come up, but I think in general it’s a pretty expensive product for what you get but I am a fan of mantra-based meditation which I hadn’t done before. I find that I go a lot deeper quicker, and so I started doing mantra-based meditation and for me that was just kind of a game changer in terms of reducing overall daily kind of stress and anxiety and just feel good in general. And the big change for me had always been, ok, let me fire up one of these apps and do it for ten, fifteen minutes. And I really think you’re not getting the full taste coz your mind doesn’t really settle down until you hit that thirty minute mark. And so for me I have to go thirty plus in order to get the true experience and the true feeling of doing this practice. So I made the switch and actually committed to doing this for longer periods of time and that’s been a big difference for me.
Ben: Now when you’re doing a mantra like when you take a TM course, you’re assigned a mantra during a special ceremony where they like burn a candle over fruit with a picture of an old Indian dude up there in a frame, and my apologies for blaspheming transcendental meditation for all of you listening in. I’ve actually found it to be pretty useful but the ceremony was for me slightly awkward. However, I got a mantra.
Kevin: I’m with you. I’m with you. It was an awkward ceremony.
Ben: But for you when you’re saying you do like mantra-style meditation, where do you get your mantra? Do you just like make-up a word or did you actually find like a special word that’s all yours?
Kevin: Yeah, I stuck with the one that they gave me at the TM course. I think the key is that it just really shouldn’t be something that you have any attachment to. Meaning that it shouldn’t be a word for you that you would recognize. It really kinda has to mean nothing and obviously as you get deeper and deeper into it the mantra kind of evolves in your head as you’re doing it anyway. So, there’s a list if you just do a search for transcendental meditation mantra words they’ll have a complete list online. I found tons of different ones and you can just pick one in and run with it.
Ben: Yeah, I did that actually after my course I found my word was actually…
Kevin: Right, your secret word (laughs)?
Ben: My secret word.
Kevin: When you do the course they tell you like, this is your secret word don’t give it to anyone. And it’s really serious, I was like, ok this is you know, [0:52:46.2] ______, and then of course goggle and it’s like, were you born in this year? And then it gives me my exact word. I was like, damn it!
Ben: Yeah, exactly, but I men all due respect I think by taking the course and paying the money, you actually do almost paint yourself into a corner of doing it and sticking to it for their ten or twenty minutes you do once or twice a day. For me now, it’s twice a week for twenty minutes, I do my TM and I’m supposed to be doing it every day for a couple of times but you know, I think I’m still getting quite a bit of benefit. But yeah, you are right, it just can’t be like, sponge bob square ants that you say over and over again in your head. It has to be like a special word.
So you’ve got breathwork, you’ve got cold, and you’ve got a meditation or mantra-based meditation that you do. That’s interesting. Now you’re on, I think you also mentioned you’re into fasting?
Kevin: That’s right. Yeah, I’ve been doing fasting on and off for quite a while and just recently decide to kinda build an app around it to give it a little bit of structure and to help other people that wanna do more fasting.
Ben: Now why, playing devil’s advocate here would someone need an app to tell them not to eat?
Kevin: Yeah, I mean the app actually is, it’s a great question and honestly I just built the app because it’s a really simple app that I want to see exist. I don’t charge for the app, there’s no ads for that or anything like that. It’s just completely free and that’s what I do for a living is build software, so for me it was like let’s build an app that can do a couple of things; one I wanted a really easy way to log my fasting overtime. So the app goes in and saves historic data of all of your fast over the course of a year or multiple years and then there’s a button to export it out as is like an excel file that you can open up and do whatever you want with so you can look at trends over time.
The other thing I wanted to do is that there’s been a lot of research lately that show that fasting, especially intermittent fasting where you’re doing like a daily fast, it’s important to start this fast closer to sunset. That the closer to sunset the better. Dr. Panda has a bunch of research that actually Rhonda Patrick who we’re talking about earlier, the scientist. She interviewed 3 different people in the world of fasting, and Panda and Longo, also another great scientist doing fasting work. Your circadian rhythms play a big part in some of these biomarkers in the efficacy of the fast, and so she found that the later that you go into the night and while you continue to eat as it starts to get dark, your body starts to produce serotonin, honestly we know this, and it starts to prepare you to go to bed, and go to sleep. And if you’re eating into the night it can kind of screw things up a little bit. Your body should have that down time to focus on doing repairs and maintaining your body not really on digesting you know, 5 or 3 sizes of pizza that you ate at midnight.
Ben: Digesting or having the insulinogenic response because I know like with growth hormone for example, for people who inject growth hormone, you get the benefits when you’re in a very low insulin state, right, so the same way with indigenous growth hormone, right, when insulin levels are low while you’re sleeping, you get more growth hormone produced.
Kevin: Exactly, so you know there’s been some great research. I think the only thing that we can really look to when it comes to fasting is you know, all of the research that’s been published by scientists and pure review journals. And there’s some interesting data. One of the things that I was really kind of compelled by was that it decreased breast cancer risk in reoccurrence by as much as 36%. For people that were doing just a thirteen-hour fast but eating as close to sunset is possible. So thirteen-hour fast is super simple to do. You just have to start earlier in the night so the second the sun starts to go down. So the thing about the app and the reason I created the app is what it does is it fetches your location and then we calculate in real time when the sun is going to set. And so it also logs your night time eating hours. So it knows, let’s say you start your fast at 8pm and you hit start on the app it knows, ok the sun set at 6 so we’re gonna log 2 hours of night time eating and then it puts that in the excel data as well. So for me you’re right, any dumb tracker timer that you have on your phone can time your fast, but this is just more for any of the geeks out there that just wanna kinda log all these stuff and look at trends over time.
Ben: Yeah, it’s really interesting because both light and food are a psych guys which is like a circadian rhythm regulator. And so, for people who have like jet lag or sleep issues, one of the best things you can do in the morning is huge blast of sunlight and a big breakfast. But it sounds like from what you’re saying, the flip side could be true for an evening habit and a very light meal or fasting in the evening as soon as everything gets dark could be quite beneficial for night time health.
Kevin: That’s right. So I tried the fast that I’m doing right now is actually for 2 reasons; one I’m trying to eat as close to sunset as possible. I keep it under 3 hours of night time eating per day. And that’s based on that research around all the cancer and all the positive benefits that happen there and the other piece of it is that honestly as silly as this sounds, Hugh Jackman came out and talked about intermittent fasting for training for Wolverine. So one of the ways that you got…
Ben: Somewhat bust work (laughs).
Kevin: So I’m not telling you, one of the reasons he got absolutely ripped is that his trainer put him on a daily sixteen-hour fast, and he talks about when he was training for his first movies how it was really difficult and he had to spend all this time on the treadmill, and then later as he actually was older in life it was much easier for him just doing a sixteen-hour fast. So you know, you stop eating around 8pm and then have your first meal around lunch time and the fat just kind of falls off, so.
Ben: Yeah, I wonder if it helps with side burns, too?
Kevin: Yeah, (chuckles) those nice sideburns and metal claws?
Ben: Exactly. Uhuh. Yeah, the interesting thing with fasting when it comes to that is that it seems to be different for women versus men. Have you run into this at all? You know the issue that a lot of women have with like hormonal issues when they do too much fasting?
Kevin: I haven’t seen any of that, no. I’m pointing everyone when you have the app or any of this stuff, I point everyone to all the published papers and all the science and have them talk to their doctors because it’s so important to have a doctor kinda help you through this stuff.
Ben: Yeah, I’ll put a link in the show notes for people but basically the deal is like with women they tend to report that they’ll start to miss their periods when they do this 12 to 16-hour intermittent fast, and apparently the reason for that is that women have a high production of this molecule that neurons used to communicate it’s called kisspeptin. And kisspeptin actually simulates the gonadotropic releasing hormone. That’s like the hormone that tells you to release like glutinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone, and all these things that allow women to have their period. And apparently when women in particular fast, their kisspeptin level just like plummet. And so it’s almost like men have this built-in hormonal mechanism to do better with long periods of time without eating compared to women who of course who do better with the higher essential body fat stores but appears better with eating as well.
For me though, I’m onboard with you. The way that I do it, I don’t have an app but I’m very competitive. So when I and I’ve done this for the past few years about as long as I’ve done this, you know only-take-a-cold-shower thing when I finish dinner, I take out my watch, I press the mode button, open up the chronograph and I press start, and I’ve a very simple rule that no caloric-based substance including MCT oil, or bullet-proof coffee, or anything like that is gonna go into my body for twelve hours. So, I always have at least a 12-hour window and I try and achieve for sixteen-hours that I just go without eating.
Kevin: Do you do black coffee without anything added?
Ben: Uhm, black coffee, sometimes I put some mushrooms or anything like chaga or in the morning typically, it’s chaga or cordyceps is the other one that I’ll use but yeah, no just black coffee in the morning and that’s it.
Kevin: Yeah, I’m the same way.
Ben: Have you seen the video going around Facebook with the guy who is doing a biohacker Perry video, and there’s a pretty funny part of it where he drops a couple of sticks of butter into his morning cup of coffee and…
Kevin: (Laughs) No way.
Ben: Simply amazing! It astounds me how putting eighteen hundred calories of butter into my coffee each morning allows me to stay in a fasted state without getting hungry.
Kevin: Right (laughs).
Ben: So yeah, those morning calories count. But that’s interesting. Is that fasting app actually released?
Kevin: It is. Yeah, it’s just called Zero which is named after the amount of food you eat while fasting. You just go to the IOS like the Apple App store and type in Zero fasting. And it’ll come up and yeah, like I said it’s completely free, so…
Ben: I’ll find it and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. I see that a medium did an article on it as well. So there you have it. We’ll hunt it down.
Kevin: Yeah, have you seen the research from Dr. Longo at all around fasting that he’s done at the Salk Institute?
Ben: Hmmm, which research is that?
Kevin: So out around the cancer, fasting in combination with chemotherapy?
Ben: Oh, I haven’t seen that. I had a fascinating interview with a guy named Dr. Minkoff about the metabolic theory of cancer, which is basically stating that cancer originates from damage to a cell’s capacity to generate energy with oxygen. Like oxygenated energy production, and so these cells just go into like extreme glucose utilization and churning out lactic acid and a big part of cancer is due to extreme glucose metabolism and a lot of that could be managed by not having glucose around which should be fascinating.
Kevin: Right, exactly. I had a friend of mine here a year and a half ago that came down with stage 4 cancer and that was really scary there for a while and he, Dr. Longo who again who run the interview has this program where you fast actually a couple of days prior to doing chemotherapy with the idea of kind of helping weaken and kill off these cells that might otherwise turn cancerous. And he did it and for 6 months fought it all back, and now he’s, knock on wood, he’s in foreign mission a little over a year later. And I was just blown away coz he was talking about how much better he felt to having fasted prior to doing chemotherapy because he was 3 chemo sessions in, and decided, “ok why I did this fasting, it’s really brutal and it’s hard to do. I’m just gonna eat for this round of chemotherapy”, and he ate food prior to going in to it just like they always typically tell you to do, and felt like just absolute hell after eating and then said that the side effects and symptoms from the chemotherapy were so greatly reduced when he did 2 days of fasting prior to going into it.
Obviously, this is all the stuff you wanted to chat with your doctor about it if this is affecting you, but the research is out of the Salk Institute from Dr. Longo was really compelling when it comes to fasting combined with chemotherapy to kill cancer.
Ben: Yeah, thanks for including the disclaimer by the way, for those of you listening in Kevin is not a cancer physician.
Kevin: That’s right (laughs).
Ben: But he’s spot on and there’s a book called “Tripping over the Truth”. Have you read this book Kevin?
Kevin: No, I have not.
Ben: It’s about that whole metabolic theory of cancer. And the book when people tell me that a loved one has cancer or that they want to lower the risk for something you know, some cancer they have a risk at like breast or prostate, I tell them to read this book and go especially towards the end of the book even if they wanna skip all the science. Just to go into all the practical recommendations about; a) how to improve mitochondrial health which is the key to curing or managing cancer and then b) how to eat a diet that is basically fasting and ketosis. And someone actually wrote me, and this was just yesterday someone wrote me and told me that they have a loved one who had gotten cancer and they had this whole plan set-up, and they were gonna be doing like fruit-juicing and vegetable-juicing and only consumption of grains and very lean proteins and I told them that was probably one of the worst things that they could do to manage cancer.
Kevin: Right. Spike in their sugar. Yeah.
Ben: Right, exactly like mainlining sugar into the blood stream along with grains and proteins in the absence of any fats. And so yeah, this metabolic theory of cancer, but you’ll probably like it, it’s called Tripping over the Truth. It’s actually pretty easy read but it’s a great one. Its right in line with everything you’ve been talking about.
Kevin: Great. I’ll check it out.
Ben: So you’ve also got this email newsletter. I didn’t know about it. I was stalking you however, leading up to this podcast and I was subscribing to it yesterday, so I haven’t actually gotten it aside from the confirm-your-subscription email, but I’m curious about it. What is the journal that you put out and what’s you know, as a follow up, what’s the coolest kinda like heath related topic that you’ve talked about in the journal in 2016?
Kevin: Yeah, well the journal it’s just called “The Journal’ actually, it is a monthly newsletter that I put out and I tend to having started to dig way back in the day and been a big fan of kind of tracking all things that are going on the internet. I tend to read a ton of different articles when it comes to technology-related products and health-related stuff, and so I put all these into a spread sheet and at the end of the month I pick my kind of top 5 articles, and then I publish them in a newsletter. So it’s a once a month newsletter. It’s not something that bombards your inbox every day or every week.
So I put this out we’ve got around 70,000 people that are subscribed to it and yeah, it’s just a collection of the best stuff. I call it a newsletter for the curious because I’m always finding little hacks and how to create productivity hacks or whatever it may be. But as far as health-related stuff gosh, I’ve covered a lot of meditation in various little compounds that I’ve tried throughout the year, but one of the things that I thought actually recently was pretty cool was this idea of Japanese forest bathing. Do you know much about this at all?
Ben: I wrote an article on it at some point last year, the Shinrin Yoku it’s called, right?
Kevin: Yeah, so literally it’s just being with the trees but what was so fascinating is I love all things that are from Japan for some reason it’s just everything they do is so much cooler than what we do.
Ben: Oh, I’m right there with you even the fried chicken. I used to go over there and compete in triathlons every year in Nagoya, and I always take the bullet train over to Kyoto and what amazed me was that the fried chicken in Japan is freaking off the hook.
Kevin: Oh, everything there that they put their effort and attention on is just amazing. And so here’s something you’ll probably like and since your ear love health-related stuff. One of the things I found in Tokyo, it’s this place called hautou, H-a-u-t-o-u, I believe. It’s a coffee shop, ok and it’s down this little tiny alley in Tokyo and a friend of mine told me you gotta go check this place out. So I go in, I’m ok I wanna have my morning coffee it sounds great. I sit down, they don’t speak in English but the only thing that you can tell them when you sit down is the word old beans. You just say old beans to them.
And this guy, this old man who’s in like a full on suit with his tie and everything, he brings this fermented coffee beans like age-old coffee beans that had been fermenting and he grinds them up in front of you and he puts them in this kind of bag. This kind of pour-over bag but it’s more like a little satchel like almost like a little leather sack, and he slowly pours hot water over the top of this fermented beans once he’s ground them up. The entire process, I kid you not, takes about fifteen to twenty minutes for 1 cup of coffee and then he like proudly serves you this cup of coffee which cost about three and half four dollars and it’s the most amazing like attention to detail and absolute like perfect Japanese experience when you go on there and plus there has to be something super healthy about fermented. You know, all things fermented as we know.
Ben: It must be nearly as good. That’s why they say like if you know like the Black Ivory Coffee that which they collect from elephant dung or the weasel coffee.
Kevin: The weasel’s the one I had. Yeah.
Ben: Right. Yeah, apparently one of the reasons is it’s so healthy for you it’s because the fermentation of the bean that takes place in the gut of these animals.
Kevin: That’s right. I actually got a little small bag to go and I examined these beans later and they’re just super oily just like ultra-oily, and they kinda have a slightly rotten smell to them, but the cup of coffee was phenomenal and it was just a fun little experience but that was just a side-tangent on all things awesome that come from Japan.
But this idea of forced feeding, they had 380 subjects that they did in a study. It was like a four million dollar study that was funded out of Japan, and they measured in these subject’s cortisol levels, blood pressure, pulse rate and heart rate variability. They took these subjects and they put them in the city for a day, measured all these things and they put them out in the forest for thirty minutes. And they found that the forest environment promoted like lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, like it was just amazing just from sitting around the trees. And it’s funny it’s like we don’t even, these are the things that are readily available that aren’t compounds and the things that we can do that we just forget to do them.
Ben: Yeah, after looking into some of that research, I live out in the forest but you know, not right now it’s fourteen degrees outside I don’t necessarily have the windows and the doors open all the time, letting all the plant polyphenols and flavonols and like pine oils sip into my home but what I started doing after I looked into that, I don’t know if you mess around this at all, Kevin but I get pine oils and my favorite is Blue Spruce. I get a blue spruce oil and I diffuse this in my office. So my entire office smells like a forest when you walk into it.
Kevin: Where do you buy this stuff? I don’t want to get into the kind of aromatherapy world but I have no idea what I’m doing.
Ben: Most essential oil companies are multi-level marketing companies. You gotta get past that. I have no clue why like the Dotera and Young Living, and all these companies that they all have the websites that have the opportunity button.
Kevin: Right (laughs). You too.
Ben: Like it’s always the red flag when you visit a website has the opportunity button at the top of it. But I get mine from Young Living Essential Oils. It’s Blue Spruce. It’s an Idaho blue spruce oil and I don’t know how they’ve measured this but you know how everything in Biology vibrates with a certain frequency? So apparently this blue spruce extract vibrates at the highest frequency of any of the plant essential oils known to man. So it’s got this very like vibratory, energetic, uplifting-type of scent, but the other interesting thing is they do this cologne called Shutran s-h-u-t-r-a-n, and women cannot stay off you when you have this just a few drops of this Shutran oil.
And one of the things that’s in it is blue spruce and the amazing thing about that is they fed blue spruce in rats and in rodent models. They put blue spruce in the drinking water and saw nearly a doubling of testosterone levels. So there’s all these cool things that you get from pine trees and in this case spruce. And yeah, I started using blue spruce after I wrote that article on Shinrin Yoku coz I was like how can I just get this all the time and so I have it. It’s right next to me right now. I have this cylindrical essential oil diffuser on my desk here and you put like just a little bit of water and a couple of drops of oil in there and then you press a little button on it and it just like diffuses oil all the time you know, wherever you’re at your bedroom, your office wherever.
Kevin: That’s amazing. Ok, I’m in. Does your wife approve of this Shutran? Do wear this around her?
Ben: She actually likes it. So I do Shutran and then the other one that I do is I get vanilla and sandalwood, and blend those half and half where I just put a little drop a bottle half and half, and she digs that one too. It has a very manly scent but again there’s no like most colognes have all the things in them that give you man boobs basically, and so it does not have any of those endocrine disruptors in it.
Kevin: You know what’s funny, I was gonna tell you my wife actually really digs the facial wash stuff that you sell. I actually bought a bottle of that stuff. It’s like…
Ben: Oh the skin serum?
Kevin: Yeah, the skin serum it’s amazing. It smells awesome. I use it at night. She loves that. What do you put in there? It’s like a combination of like ten different things, right?
Ben: It’s got twelve different oils in it like jojoba and oregano. What I did was I went and found all the oils that had been shown to do things like decrease wrinkles, and increase the actual tone and color of the skin without actually drying it out and just put them all into one bottle. Yeah, it’s privately bottled for me down in Florida. And then yeah, it’s aloe vera, and jojoba, and triphala, and lavender, and all sorts of stuff, but yeah the cool thing is if you hunt down a wrinkle on your face that you can keep track of by looking at it in the mirror each day, and you just put this on your face each day, you can literally watch if you just identify that one wrinkle. You can watch it disappear over about 30 days as you put the serum on.
Kevin: Yes, it’s great stuff. Thanks for making that.
Ben: Yeah, your check’s in the mail, man. Thanks for mentioning it (laughs).
Kevin: (laughs) Yeah, I was gonna tell you one other thing since we’re talking about the forest bathing, so after I had read that research, I found this app that is free. It’s pretty cool. It’s called Wildfulness, w-i-l-d f-u-l-n-e-s-s, and it’s essentially these different scenes kind of like animated that you just launch the app and it’s got like you know, a deer in the forest that’s animated with some raindrops falling down. And these designers went out and built this app. It’s really, really beautiful app, and put together this really hi-fidelity audio to go with it that brings in all these sounds from the jungle or the forest or wherever they may be, and so when I can’t make it out of nature I actually have this on on my Iphone and I’d leave it there sitting while I’m working on the computer and just plug in some headphones, and it kinda takes you back there. So maybe I’ll combine this with your essential blue spruce oils and be set.
Ben: Oh, you need to plant like a little tiny baby pine tree on your desk and you’ll have everything (laughs).
Kevin: (laughs) Then I don’t ever need to leave the house, perfect.
Ben: Exactly, you’ll never need to go into the forest again. That’s funny. That’s very similar to this other app I just started using a couple of weeks ago called Brain.FM and it lets you choose like four season rain sounds.
Kevin: Oh, I heard about this.
Ben: The weird thing is you’ll set it. I put it on my mom over at Christmas and just later down put my little sleep mask on her face, you know, the Bose sound blocking headphones coz that’s my MO now when I use this app, and it just takes you into like this dreamland. I put it on her for 5 minutes and she thought she was asleep for an hour. When I took off the mask and took off the headphones, she’s like where’d you go? What happened? It’s like that holotropic breathwork you were talking about, right, like you get into this hallucinogenic relaxed state almost effortlessly. It’s a really interesting app. I’m getting him on the podcast.
Kevin: The little guy with the smiling headphones.
Ben: Right, yeah exactly. I’m getting him on the podcast to find out exactly what coz it’s not binaural beats which is what a lot of these apps are. It’s something else. Some way that they mix the sounds but it’s really interesting especially when you use it with like the really nice Bose noise blocking headphones, and then like a really good sleep mask you’re just drowning out all light and sound, and you just have this one app going. You know if you only have like 10 minutes to hit the reboot button on your body, it’s freaking amazing.
Kevin: Awesome. I just downloaded it. Perfect.
Ben: Yeah, so Kevin’s journal is what that’s called and I’ll put a link to that one or towards thejournal.email, right?
Kevin: Yeah, it’s a dot email domains, so just yeah, thejournal.email. Thank you.
Ben: Ok, cool. I’ll link to it. Kevin you are a wealth of information, man. The show notes for today’s episode are going to be a novel, but for those of you listening in that’s part of the fun of these podcasts where we get people on who have access to all sorts of interesting things and then hook you up with the information. So I’ll put everything over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kevin if you’re interested in, I guess, coffee that elephants have pooped out or chocolate ceremonies, or anything else that we talked about. Or 7-Up I suppose.
Ben: We should probably put like an Amazon link for 7-Up on there. That people.
Kevin: Yeah, I’ll give you a link.
Ben: You can add lithium to it and make it just like the old days.
Kevin: Then you’re set, yeah. I’ll give you a link to that Japanese coffee house, too. The only thing is you have to be really quiet and respectful when you walk in. It’s a little tiny place. But if anyone’s visiting Tokyo that’s a…
Ben: So basically no Americans allowed?
Kevin: That’s kind of the vibe when you walk in so just be really, really cool when you walk in there. Not loud.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. You don’t wanna be that Westerner.
Ben: Cool. Well, Kevin thanks so much for coming on the show and sharing all these stuff with us, man. It’s super cool what you’re up to and I’m looking forward to my first delivery of The Journal whenever that’s gonna happen.
Kevin: It’s coming in a couple of days.
Ben: Alright. Sweet, man. I’m looking forward to it.
So folks, thank you for listening in and again show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kevin, and until next time. I’m Ben Greenfield along with Kevin Rose signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
You've been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting-edge fitness and performance advice.
Kevin Rose is a technology investor, podcaster, and self-experimenter. He has been named a “Top 25 Angel Investors”, by Bloomberg and to the “Top 25 Most Influential People on the Web” list by Time magazine. You’ve might have also heard or seen him on Jimmy Fallon, Charlie Rose, or Kevin’s own podcast “The Random Show“, which he co-hosts with Tim Ferriss.
Kevin also serves on the advisory board of Google Ventures and the Tony Hawk Foundation. Previously, Kevin founded Digg, Revision3, and was a General Partner at Google Ventures.
Perhaps most interesting for me and you, and not as well known to most folks, is that Kevin considers himself a well-versed body hacker, and he is frequently experimenting with things like cold water training, breathwork, nootropics, ketogenic diets, meditation, and fasting. Kevin even recently released a free app to help individuals track their fasting progress, which we discuss during this episode.
During our fascinating discussion, you’ll discover:
-Why Kevin microdoses with lithium (and the surprising link between lithium and 7-Up soda)…[9:00]
-The neuroscientist and mutual connection Kevin and I have that goes way back and is known as the “Summer Tomato”…[15:10]
-The surprising boost you get from 100% chocolate and Kevin’s new infatuation with “chocolate ceremonies”…[18:25]
-Why Kevin gave up on ketosis and instead switched to a Katavan-style diet with purple potatoes…[24:25]
-What Kevin does with the dozen giant bags of ice he buys each week…[36:15]
-The crazy form of breathwork that made someone pass out in Ben’s basement…[46:20]
-Why, if you are going to fast, you should only eat as close to sunset as possible…[54:40]
-How Kevin’s friend sent his stage-4 cancer into remission with a simple dietary change…[63:00]
-What Kevin discovered in an old teahouse in the heart of Japan (and what it has to do with elephants pooping coffee)…[68:10]
-The #1 ingredient in cologne that makes women go absolutely crazy over a man’s scent…[72:45]
-An app/headphone combo that drives you straight into a state of deep relaxation within 10 minutes…[75:15]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
-The book by Stephan Guyenet The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts That Make Us Overeat