Get Premium Access
Info

Ben Greenfield Fitness: Diet, Fat Loss and Performance

Free exercise, nutrition, weight loss, triathlon and wellness advice from BenGreenfieldFitness.com! Call your question in to 1-877-209-9439. Tune in to the latest health, fitness and multi-sport research, non run-of-the-mill interviews with exercise and medicine professionals, and new cutting-edge content from the top personal trainer and wellness coach in the nation. Exercise, eat, swim, bike, run and live better. Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com for the incredibly useful shownotes and for ALL episodes in our archives and the handy-dandy phone app, visit BenGreenfieldFitness.com/premium! This podcast includes fitness, nutrition, health, diet, wellness, workout, exercise, triathlon, Ironman, swimming, cycling, running, weight lifting, bodybuilding, Crossfit, Paleo, Spartan, vegan, vegetarian, muscle gain and fat loss advice from America's top personal trainer.
RSS Feed Subscribe in iTunes iOS App Premium Podcasts
2017
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2014
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2013
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2012
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2011
November
October
September


2009
September


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Premium Episodes
Now displaying: November, 2014
Did you know there is a protected vault of premium audio, insider interviews, secret videos and over 200 previous episodes of the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast? Sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription now starting at just 1.99 to get access to everything!
Nov 30, 2014

Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life “26 Top Ways To Recover From Workouts and Injuries with Lightning Speed”

Nov 29, 2014

Last year, I interviewed pro mountain biker Chris Kelly in the podcast "7 Signs Your Cortisol And Adrenals Are Broken.".

While that podcast went into lots of detail about how you can measure for adrenal fatigue, the fact is that you can delve into far more detail about what is going on inside your body, especially when it comes to your cellular metabolism.

This little known test that tells you everything you need to know about your cellular metabolism is called the "Genova Organix Comprehensive Metabolic Profile", and in today's audio podcast, Chris and I cover everything you need to know about it. During our discussion, we discuss this .pdf print-out - so download it if you'd like to follow along as you listen in. I've also included helpful shownotes below, along with the questions that I ask Chris in this episode.

---------------------------------

Q. What is the organic acids test and how did you discover it? A. About three years ago I wasn’t doing so well in terms of life outside of training:

  • Loss of sex drive.
  • Brain fog.
  • Fatigue.
  • Mild depression.

I ran a saliva hormone panel which showed low cortisol, low DHEA and low testosterone. Adrenal fatigue if you like. That was a red flag but it didn’t really say anything about the underlying cause. This was shortly after I met Dr. Dan Kalish and he persuaded me to take the organic acids test. Organic acids are metabolic byproducts of cellular metabolism and they can be measured from a urine sample. There’s no need to go to a lab for a draw blood, you just collect urine at home. It’s a bit like when you put your car onto the rolling road and the mechanic analyses the exhaust gases. You can learn a lot about how well an engine is running like that. I got really excited the first time I saw the test. At the time I was working at quantitative hedge fund as a computer programmer but my real passion was bike racing. The result looks very complicated to most people but to me it was like a programming problem.

---------------------------------

Q. What biomarkers does an organic acids profile actually test? A. Fat burning

  • Everyone wants to be a fat burning beast, right? This test will reveal show how well beta-oxidation is working, this turned out to be very important for me.

Blood sugar stabilization

  • This test was originally developed to help chronically ill patients, many of whom were pre-diabetic. The strange thing is those people have a lot in common with some athletes because (I suspect) of all the sugary sports supplements. This test can show you how well you’re burning carbs.

Energy production

  • Some of you listening will remember learning about the Citric Acid or Krebs cycle in biology. Basically it’s the process by which you convert food and air into energy. Each step of the process requires certain enzymes and nutrients to be in place, and when they’re lacking it shows up on this test. Once you know, it’s not hard to fix with supplements like CoQ10 for example.

Methylation

  • This gets complicated fast, and you’ve talked about it in length on the show. Methylation is the way in which our body turns off the genes that are the blueprint which defines us. It’s also critically important for detox. If you’ve done a 23andme saliva test and worried about the MTHFR mutation, do this test as it will help you understand how well your methylation is actually working. One of the most sensitive markers for vitamin B12 deficiency is methylmalonic acid. That’s an organic acid that’s on this test.

Toxins and detoxification

  • Everybody is exposed to toxins, it’s in the food we eat, the air we breathe. That’s why we have a liver, but sadly it’s becoming increasingly overburdened. 2-methylhippurate is an organic acid is on this test, it’s a breakdown product of xylene from paints, varnishes, carpet. New car smell. The scary thing is that it’s not on this test to detect accidental exposure, it’s on because everyone is exposed to xylene and therefore it’s a reliable marker of liver function. Once you know you’re liver’s struggling you can support the liver with extra nutrients.

Oxidative stress/antioxidants

  • This is a very difficult area. When the brain is starved of oxygen during a stroke the neurons are killed by factors relate to oxidative stress. In animals and tissue culture a great deal of careful work has been done. Some would argue that oxidative stress plays a role in Alzheimer's disease and aging.
  • In healthy people the role of oxidative stress is far from clear but there is no doubt that many doctors believe a vegetable based diet rich in antioxidants is useful.
  • Athletes create more oxidative stress through increased energy production, but I suspect there comes a point where enough is enough. Some level of oxidative stress is required for cell signaling and to elicit a training response.

Neurotransmitter turnover

  • The first thing I should make clear is that this is not a direct test for neurotransmitters. I learned from Dr. Kalish that neurotransmitters measured in the urine are made locally in the kidneys have no relationship with the levels in the brain. The blood brain barrier keeps everything separate. It’s confusing.
  • This test measures the metabolic ashes of dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline. Usually the solution to problems found is stress reduction and lifestyle modification but in many cases amino acid therapy can be extremely helpful for insomnia, anxiety, depression and addiction.

Intestinal bacterial overgrowth

  • Certain bad bacteria in our gut, specially in the small intestine produce chemicals that can be measured on this test. It’s a crude test for SIBO. If you have an overgrowth of these bacteria then it’ll show up as bloating and on this test.
  • Sometimes you can crowd out these bacteria with probiotics but sometimes a short killing phase works better.

---------------------------------

Q. Who should take it, and why would someone take this test? A. In short, anyone looking to produce more energy. My original goal was to upgrade from the age group categories to pro, but now with hindsight I see it’s everything outside of racing and training that matters. So if you’re like me and you spend lots of time trying to concentrate hard, the neurotransmitter turnover section is going to be really interesting to you. The serotonin, melatonin pathway is very interesting to anyone suffering from problems with sleep. Or if you’re an athlete looking to ensure that your metabolism is running as efficiently as possible you’re going to love this test. It’s funny, people spend all kinds of money on equipment. You think of that like the chassis of a race car. But what use is that if the engine is not running right? My advice is to spend less time waxing the bodywork and take a peek under the hood.

---------------------------------

Q. Is it a standalone test, or is it used in conjunction with other tests? A. You can think of this test as a whole bunch of pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle. It’s important, but it’s not a standalone solution. I analyze these results for a living now and in a way my work hasn’t changed. I’m still debugging. I’m still asking why. The hormonal component is the foundation, that’s still the best place to start. And sometimes stool testing to detect smoldering gut infections can be really important too. I routinely ask people to track their blood glucose, basal morning temperature and heart rate variability which can also give tremendous insight. That which gets measured gets managed.

---------------------------------

Q. What are the optimal ranges for each of the biomarkers, and why? A. There’s two ways you can interpret this test. The first is to look at each individual marker and notice that’s it’s high or low. The second way is to look at the big picture. Take orotate for example. That could be elevated due to excessive protein intake, or it could be the result of bacterial overgrowth.

---------------------------------

Q. How can I implement what I learn from this test ‘in real life’? A. Sometimes there’s a very specific reason why something is going wrong, like an infection or too much stress. Or it could also be because you’re doing too much training. Finally, you might have some genetic abnormality. Either way, it allows you supplement with confidence. Sometimes the test pays for itself in this way, supplements get expensive really fast.

---------------------------------

Q. What are a few common markers that are ‘way off’ for a lot of people (i.e. athletes, health-conscious, workaholics)? Why?

  • Kyurinate tryptophan pathway.
  • Carnitine and fat burning.
  • Neurotransmitters and stress.

(Chris explains each of this in more detail in the podcast.)

---------------------------------

As he mentions in the audio, you can book a half-price phone or Skype consult with Chris by using the code GREENFIELD at the NourishBalanceThrive website. If you have questions, comments or feedback about the organic acids test, then leave your thoughts at BenGreenfieldFitness.com!

Nov 26, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 Podcast: 5x5 Workouts, What Is Glycobiology, Is Sitting On A Bike Bad For You, What Is Best Plastic For Water Bottles, and Can You Increase Growth Hormone With Fasting?

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right, use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form... but be prepared to wait - we prioritize audio questions over text questions.

-----------------------------------------------------

News Flashes:

You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on Twitter.com/BenGreenfield, Facebook.com/BGFitness and Google+.

-----------------------------------------------------

Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by Generation UCAN. Just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/UCAN to save 15% on the stuff that keeps you in fat-burning mode all day long. This podcast is also brought to you by Onnit. Just click here to see a video of Ben Greenfield and top Spartan athlete Hunter McIntyre punishing maces, steel bells, primal bells, medicine balls and much more. You save 10% at http://www.onnit.com/bengreenfield.

As part of our celebration of our 300th podcast episode, the Great Biomat Giveaway goes live Nov 26-Dec 3. Click here to get in now and maximize your chance of $1750 worth of detox prizes!

December 15-19, 2014: Ben interviews 23 of the world's leading experts in performance, recovery, nutrition, fat loss, brain, sleep and hormone optimization, and you get a free all-access pass. Check it out now at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/RevYourself.

Go ask your burning Obstacle Racing questions at ObstacleDominator.com for the brand new Obstacle Dominator podcast.

December 4-5 Ben will be speaking at Mark Divine's Unbeatable Mind Retreat in Encinitas California. This is a life-changing experience for anyone looking to learn about SEAL principles, health and peak performance – with LIVE, hands-on training from Mark Divine and a world-renowned team of experts.

January 30th - 31st, 2015, Ben will be speaking in Dubai - Talise Fitness and Jumeirah Emirates Towers, proudly invite you to take part in an exclusive two day seminar held by the renowned nutrition and fitness expert, best selling author, coach, speaker, ex-bodybuilder and Ironman triathlete, Ben Greenfield. Click here for all details.

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week's top iTunes review - gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben - leave your review for a chance to win some!

-----------------------------------------------------

Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.

What Is Glycobiology?

Bryan asks: He recently has been hearing the term glycobiology. He is wondering what your thoughts are on the subject and whether you agree that it is as important as some people are saying to the future of our health?

 

Is Sitting On A Bike Bad For You?

Jonas asks: He rides a mountain bike to work everyday and is wondering how he should be sitting on it, not necessarily to go the fastest but to ensure he doesn't get injured or create any issues later in life. He doesn't want to wake up 10 years from now and find out that he shouldn't have been "sitting like this".

In my response I recommend: -ISM Adamo Saddles -Core Foundation exercises

What Is Best Plastic For Water Bottles?

Mark asks: He has been reading recently that even BPA free plastic water bottles can be harmful to your health. Do you have any recommendations on what water bottles are safe to use?

In my response I recommend: -Lunchbots -Klean Kanteen

Can You Increase Growth Hormone With Fasting?

Johan asks: He has read that the positive effects of fasting (24 hours or more) are quite evident with HGH and "rebooting" your immune system. If you are fasting and training to get the positive effects of testosterone, is that a powerful way to combine health and training? Could this also be helpful for kids to help control IGF1 and thus stop them from entering puberty too early by relying on HGH instead of IGF1?

 
Nov 22, 2014

While on assignment in Greece, journalist James Nestor witnessed something that confounded him: a man diving 300 feet below the ocean’s surface on a single breath of air and returning four minutes later, totally unharmed... ...and smiling.

This man was a "freediver", and his superhuman abilities inspired James to seek out the secrets of the little-known discipline of free diving, and to write the new book, Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves.

In the book, he embeds with a gang of extreme athletes and renegade researchers who are transforming not only our knowledge of the planet and its creatures, but also our understanding of the human body and mind. He finds whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away through sonar, sharks that swim in straight lines through pitch-black waters using built-in, natural electromagnetic sensors, and seals who dive to depths below 2,400 feet for up to eighty minutes. From each of these strange phenomena are, James shows how humans themselves could be capable of these remarkable feats such as extreme breath-holding, echolocation, and alternate forms of communication.

James has written for Outside Magazine, Dwell Magazine, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Men's Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and more, and in today's interview with James, you'll learn: -Why Olympic athletes are learning to hold their breath for more than 5 minutes... -How you can use something called "the Master Switch of Life" to enhance your heart and lung function... -What you can train your body to do to survive as you dive to greater depths... -A new form of air pressure equalization that allows you to go to incredible depths, and how to learn it... -How to use breath-hold walks and other forms of dry land breath training to increase your oxygen capacity... -Why WiFi routers and cell phones may actually be destroying your innate ability to sense your physical location on the planet... -How you can learn to navigate without seeing and instead by using a built-in ability called echolocation... -How you can learn to freedive...

Resources From This Episode -The book Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves. -Ted Hardy from Immersion Freediving who can teach you the Frenzel Technique on Skype. -This Frenzel technique .pdf if you want to teach yourself. -Performance Freediving International to learn how to freedive.

If you have questions, comments or feedback about how to start freediving, the book Deep, or anything else James and I discuss in the podcast, then leave them at BenGreenfieldFitness.com.

Nov 20, 2014

Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life: “25 Ways To Know With Laser-Like Accuracy If Your Body Is Truly Recovered And Ready To Train”

Nov 19, 2014

Nov 19, 2014 Podcast: The Best Place to Live For An Active Lifestyle, How To Naturally Increase HCL Production, What Is A Good HRV Number, Meat Broth vs. Bone Broth, and Breath Ketones vs. Blood Ketones.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right, use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form... but be prepared to wait - we prioritize audio questions over text questions.

-----------------------------------------------------

News Flashes:

You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on Twitter.com/BenGreenfield, Facebook.com/BGFitness and Google+.

-----------------------------------------------------

Special Announcements:

Need to fix your gut, build new muscle, or enhance the effectiveness of your probiotic? The brand new Greenfield Fitness Systems NatureColostrum has arrived. Click here to check it out now.

December 15-19, 2014: Ben interviews 23 of the world's leading experts in performance, recovery, nutrition, fat loss, brain, sleep and hormone optimization, and you get a free all-access pass. Check it out now at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/RevYourself.

Go ask your burning Obstacle Racing questions at ObstacleDominator.com for the brand new Obstacle Dominator podcast.

December 4-5 Ben will be speaking at Mark Divine's Unbeatable Mind Retreat in Encinitas California. This is a life-changing experience for anyone looking to learn about SEAL principles, health and peak performance – with LIVE, hands-on training from Mark Divine and a world-renowned team of experts.

January 30th - 31st, 2015, Ben will be speaking in Dubai - Talise Fitness and Jumeirah Emirates Towers, proudly invite you to take part in an exclusive two day seminar held by the renowned nutrition and fitness expert, best selling author, coach, speaker, ex-bodybuilder and Ironman triathlete, Ben Greenfield. Click here for all details.

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week's top iTunes review - gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben - leave your review for a chance to win some!

-----------------------------------------------------

Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.

The Best Place to Live For An Active Lifestyle

Geoff asks: Given your lifestyle of travel and sport, why do you live where you do? Where do you think would be the best place in the world to live for swimming, biking, running, wellness and living an active lifestyle in general?

In my response I recommend: -Breezeometer -10 best big cities for active families (article)

How To Naturally Increase HCL Production

Cathy asks: She has tried to supplement with Betaine HCL (for all the good reasons you have mentioned in the past) but it gives her major insomnia, a little anxiety and some joint pain. She can't find any information on why this would be happening. She saw that it could be related to suppression of potassium and magnesium. Could it be a mineral imbalance?

In my response I recommend: -The Digestion Sessions Summit -The Thorne Digestive Enyzmes with HCL -Gentian bitters -Mastic Gum for h. Pylori

What Is A Good HRV Number?

Annie asks: She wants to start using HRV to avoid over training. She understands that her LF and HF should be balanced with high power and that her HRV and rRMSD should be high... but she is not sure what numbers she should be looking for. What number is "ideal" and what number is "out of whack"? She is 25, if that makes a difference. Do you have any quantitative numbers that she can go by?

In my response I recommend: -The Superhuman Coach Network -This HRV Measurement Explanation PDF

Meat Broth vs. Bone Broth

Robin asks: She has heard all about how good bone broth is for us and would like to start using it but she has heard that it is also very high in glutamate. She already has high glutamic acid in her blood so she is reluctant to try it in case it raises her glutamate even more. She is confused. Should she be drinking it?

In my response I recommend: -The Organic bone broth from the Brothery -Metal Free supplement

Breath Ketones vs. Blood Ketones

Amely asks: She recently purchased a Ketonix breath ketone meter and is wondering how the measurements from the breath compare or relate to the measurements from a blood ketone meter? She doesn't want to buy a blood ketone meter but she does want to know if she is achieving a state of ketosis or not. She is worried the breath meter is not sensitive enough. Can you give her a sense of what the comparison between the blood and breath meters are?

In my response I recommend: -Jimmy Moore's Ketone Clarity interview
Nov 15, 2014

A couple weeks ago, I caught a lot of online flak for publishing a controversial article about how professional basketball player Lebron James' constant use of a cell phone held up to his head probably contributed heavily to his recent development of mouth cancer.

And then, just yesterday, here on my wellness visit to Israel, I visited the home of another professional basketball player - Doron Sheffer (the photo above is of me and Doron in his backyard garden as I interview him). Doron was an amazing basketball player. He was an achiever. A hard-charger. A professional person. As a guard for the dominant college basketball team UConn, he fed the ball to star teammates like Ray Allen (recently with the NBA’s Miami Heat) and played for legendary coach Jim Calhoun. Sheffer averaged five assists and thirteen points per game, he hit 40 percent of his three-point attempts and he led the Uconn Huskies to a brilliant 89-13 record, along with NCAA tournament appearances in each of his three seasons. He was the first Israeli ever drafted by the NBA (the Los Angeles Clippers selected him in the second round in 1996), but he instead signed a lucrative contract with the Israeli professional basketball team, Maccabi Tel Aviv - which he then led to four consecutive national championships.

But then Doron got cancer. Testicular cancer. All the tremendous pressure, tension, difficulties, frustrations pent-up emotions and stress from the life of a hard-charging professional athlete eventually built up inside him and culminated in disease.

---------------------------

Stress Causes Cancer

Indeed, scientists have actually discovered that emotional stress similar to what Doron experienced can be a trigger for the growth of tumors. As a matter of fact, any sort of trauma, emotional or physical stress, can act as a literal pathway between cancerous mutations, bringing them together in a potentially fatal combination. In other words, your risk for developing cancer can be positively or negatively affected by your emotional environment, including everyday work, physical, emotional and relationship stress. Now here's the deal: I'm personally a very hard-charging guy focused on personal and professional excellence in everything I do. And as I noted to Doron in the audio that accompanies this article, I truly believe that unless you are able to relax, to breathe, to de-stress and to simply stop and smell the roses, you're going to be the kind of person who eventually develops a disease that puts your fast-forward life into slow-motion. So you have to put the brakes on before your body puts the brakes on and forces you to stop, perhaps with the flu, perhaps with back pain, or perhaps with cancer. Make sense?

-----------------------------

How To Slow Down Before Your Body Forces You To Slow Down (Audio And Video)

The ultimate question is: how can you do this?

How can you slow down before your body forces you to slow down?

How can you somehow dig yourself out of a hole of a constant barrage of e-mails, text messages, phone calls, over-exercising, eating to train and training to eat, going to bed late, 24-7 self-quantified biohacking, trying to "have everything", getting up early and still somehow managing to squeeze in some semblance of quality in your friend and family relationships?

This is exactly what Doron figured out, and this man's new approach to life, his answers, and his new aura of peace and calm spoke heavily to me, which is why I'm now sharing his story with you. He defied conventional medicine and naturally healed his body of cancer, and his approach to life is now refreshing, relaxed and incredibly peaceful.

Myself and the team from Vibe Israel visited Doron at his peaceful home and private health resort "Hyuli" in Amirim, in the mountains of Northern Israel. Amirim was founded in 1958 as a retreat for vegetarians, and it now serves as a residence and hotspot for a community of aromatherapists, massage therapists, herb gardens, spas, a health food shop, an organic olive oil shop, art galleries, restaurants and wellness bed and breakfasts. These mountains are where Doron reinvigorated his body and underwent his own "spiritual cleanse" after winning his battle against testicular cancer. These mountains are also where Doron talked to us for 30 minutes about his new perspective on life - 30 minutes of some of the most valuable content you'll ever listen to or watch (if you're serious about living happy and disease-free). Just do me a favor: don't listen to or watch this one while you're out pounding the pavement, punishing the gym, or doing hardcore intervals on your bicycle. Instead, go sit in your backyard, or at the park, or in a comfortable chair in your living room and just breathe and soak in the message. Ready? Click here to listen to the audio of our talk with Doron, which was recorded in his backyard garden looking over the beautiful hills of Amirim, and eating organic figs, goji berries and sweet local almonds. Click here for the video version, or watch below (video may not yet be fully uploaded).

-----------------------------

Summary

So that's it. What do you think after listening to the audio or watching the video? What can you change in your own hard-charging life so that you can slow down before you're forced to? Leave your questions, comments and feedback at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Click here to check out Doron's private health resort, which is actually open for visitations and retreats for people who want to find the same kind of peace that Doron found, and engage in therapies like Tai Chi, Yoga, Qigong, farming, water treatment, solar healing and simply...playing.

Nov 12, 2014

Welcome to the official report from Israel, where my wife Jessa and I are touring with Vibe Israel, who have brought international on- and offline opinion leaders in health and nutrition on a weeklong personalized experience of the burgeoning wellness scene Israel, including us,Lee from FitFoodieFinds.com, Emily from ThisRawesomVeganLife.com and Kate from CookieAndKate.com.

If you haven't yet discovered Israel as a country to add to your "must-visit" bucket list, you need to do it. Just check out Part 1: The Israman Triathlon and Ben Greenfield’s Fifteen Fun Facts About Israel, Part 2: Ben Greenfield Engages In Potent Anti-Aging Mediterranean Cuisine Face-Stuffing, and Part 3: Top 10 Tips For Racing Israman Triathlon for my reports from last year, during which I toured the fitness and exercise scene in Israel.

As you read, you'll definitely want to click here tune in to the audio podcast episode that accompanies this episode, which has includes an audio version of the article you're about to read, along with a bonus interview from the folks at Scio, the pocket molecular sensor I write about later in this article. The audio is brought to you by Onnit, which is where I buy crazy equipment for my home gym like Zombie kettlebells, battle ropes and sandbags, along with tasty functional foods like Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and Organic Raw Walnut Butter. Click here to check out Onnit and save 10%.

OK, let's jump into the top 10 things you can learn from the burgeoning health, wellness and nutrition scene in Israel (and by the way, the photo above is me covered in mud at the Dead Sea).

--------------------------

1. Vegan Food Can Be Damn Tasty

On our very first evening in Tel Aviv, we stumbled upon "Mezze", a unique vegan restaurant located in the heart of Tel Aviv. From roasted mushroom pate to organic rye and spelt bread to a "sabha" of hot black-eyed peas sautéed with tomatoes, garlic and cilantro on organic tahini (a rich and thick eggplant paste), we dined in style after a long day on the airplane. But the highlight of the meal - by far - was the Mezze spin on "moussaka"- a traditional Greek dish made with layers of eggplant and potatoes with lentil and vegetable stuffing. This stuff literally melts in your mouth. So I twisted the arm of chef Gal Barzilai, a vegetarian and wild plan expert since the age of 13, to hook us up with his custom recipe for moussaka. Here it is. Bon appetit, baby (or as they say here, "be'te-avon").

Mezze Mussaka (as translated from Hebrew to English by Adi Kaplan). Click here to convert from metric to common. Ingredients: -700g chopped onion -2 garlic cloves, crushed -600g orange lentils (soaked/sprouted) - weight after straining and soaking -1 kg mushrooms torn hand into small pieces -100g walnuts + 50g cashew nuts soaked for 30 min in boiled water -1/2 kg sweet potato peeled and thinly sliced -30g sweet paprika -1/4t hot paprika -60g beets -olive oil Vegetables (for layering): -1kg large potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise -1 eggplant peeled “zebra” style, sliced thickly (1.5 cm) -handful small tomatoes sliced pretty thick (1 cm) Tahini (put all ingredients in a blender/hand blender; can also mix by hand): -125g raw tahini -150ml cold water -1 garlic clove, crushed -1T wine vinegar -40ml lemon juice -1/2t salt Preparation: 1. Saute 600g onions in white oil (canola, grape seed) when starts to brown, add mushrooms and continue to sauté until nicely browned. Grind in a grinder (thickly, leaving small clump - if needed, add vegetable stock or water), then put aside to chill. 2. Put lentils, cashew and walnuts with the soaking water, final 100g raw onions, beets, 150ml water and both types of paprika in a food processor. 3. Brush potato and eggplant slices with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and put in the oven on very high heat Putting it all together: 1. Brush a pan with a lot of olive oil 2. Layer very densely: eggplant slices, the mushroom/lentil mixture, potatoes, mushroom/lentil mixture, very little tahini, eggplant, thin layer of tahini and top it off with a very dense layer of tomatoes. Brush with olive oil Bake in oven on 190 degrees Celsius for an hour. It is suggested to let the mussaka “rest” for an hour before serving. moussaka

--------------------------

2. Dates Aren't Just For Eating

The morning after our dinner at Mezze, we headed to the Dead Sea - an area well known for it's extremely mineral-rich water - so mineral-rich, in fact, that it is nearly impossible to get your head under the water. You just...float. Here's a video to show you what I mean: Anyways, while at the Dead Sea, we visited The Synergy Spa at the Ein-Gedi Hotel. The spa is built on a hillside overlooking a the Dead Sea, and the spa facilities not only contain air saturated with oxygen, but also a bromine treated pool (which I'm floating in on the video above) filled with Dead Sea water. My chosen treatment at Synergy was a "Date Wrap", done with Ein Gedi date mud cream. Apparently, the same polyphenols and flavonoids that make dates such a dark and flavorful fruit also have anti-aging and nourishing properties for the skin. As I lay wrapped up and smelling like a giant human date, I was treated to a head and neck massage. Time will tell if I actually look younger, but apparently this is one of the only places in the world where one can get rubbed down with dates. Eat your heart out, Robert Lustig. Anyways, even though I couldn't seem to find date mud cream for you anywhere, this spa did get me thinking about how you can saturate the air in your own house with oxygen, even if you can't smear fruit on your own body. Here's what I found: The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has looked into specific houseplants that can improve indoor air quality by absorbing environmental toxins and increasing oxygen levels. Ferns, particularly the Japanese royal fern, not only release oxygen into the air but also absorb formaldehyde. The Boston fern adds both oxygen and humidity to indoor air. Gerbera daisy purifies and boosts the oxygen level of the air of your home while you sleep at night, making this a good choice for bedrooms. Other indoor plants considered highly efficient in oxygen production and air purification include heartleaf philodendron, snake plant, spider plant, Chinese evergreen and golden pothos. So there you have it. NASA studies indicate that 15 to 18 plants in 6- to 8-inch-diameter pots will adequately increase the oxygen in the air in an 1,800-square-foot residential home. This translates to approximately one large potted plant or two smaller potted plants about every 100 square feet. Now your home can be just like this fancy Dead Sea spa (and here's a photo of me inside this gorgeous spa). DSC_1417

--------------------------

3. You Can Put Coconut Milk In Your Cocktails

Yes, you simply must drink some alcohol while in Israel. I of course, have been, every night. Here's an idea of the crazy cocktail concoctions I was served just last night at the famous Taizo Asian Fusion restaurant (this is an advantage of being a blogger - they just brought me a sample platter of cocktails). -Hendrix Masala: Gin Hendrix, Campari, Sake, Red Vermouth, Masala Tea -Lady Gin: Gin, Chartreuse, Cucumber, Fresh Lime, Ginger -Red Old Sage: Sage, Stolichnoya, Pomegranate, Ginger -Green Tai: Stoli, Sake, Litchi, Cream, Green Tea -Sharp Satori: Pineapple, Stolichnoya ginger, Remy Martin, Wasabi, Lemongrass And my favorite... -Punducherry: Strawberry Vodka, Vermouth, Coconut Milk, Lemongrass, Herbal Berries With a mix of herbs, fresh muddled fruits and a few goodies thrown in like coconut milk and green tea, I actually wasn't too guilty after indulging in this alcohol-infused sampling. Go ahead and try one of these recipes for yourself this holiday season (just be sure to detox afterwards). This may come as no surprise to you if you listened to Podcast #267, in which we had the following conversation about the olive oil club I'm a member of and the olive oil martinis I make (read full transcript here):

Ben: ...now, I actually I’m part of this club called the Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club. They send 3 bottles of olive oil to my house every quarter from like a different area in the world like Australia or Chile or this last one is from Italy.

Brock: You really know how to party, don’t you?

Ben: Well, that’s what I’m getting at. You can do olive oil tasting, it’s actually kinda interesting. It’s somewhere a wine and that you start to recognize the flavors and the aromas and whether an olive oil is herbaceous or sweet or smoky, etc. but you can also make drinks out of olive oil and what I’ll do is take a shot of olive oil and put that like in a martini shaker and then I’ll take a really nice vodka and put 1-2 shots of that in there, squeeze a lemon, do a little bit of olive juice, so it’s kind of like a dirty martini with a splash of olive oil and then I’ll just strain that into a martini glass, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on there, garnish with an olive and it’s olive oil vodka martini and it taste fantastic like the olive oil adds this splash of flavor that you don’t get in a regular martini and the mouth feel, like you’d think it be like oily but it’s actually got this really cool kinda mouth feel, it’s a very enjoyable drink. Anyone who hasn’t tried an olive oil martini before should try one.

So there you have it. Now you can add coconut milk into your cocktails too. L'chaim! (photo below is me with the other bloggers and my wife, washing down our cocktails with a tasty glass of Jordanian merlot)

DSC_1718

--------------------------

4. You Can Exercise Anywhere

When I'm traveling, I have standby workouts, and this trip to Israel is no exception.

For example, if I find a gym, I'll often do my twist on a 5x5 workout - which is basically 5 sets of 5 repetitions of 5 different heavy lifting exercises. But I throw mobility and movement exercises in the 90 second to 2 minute recovery periods between each 5 rep lift, like this:

-5x5 Bench - Walking lunges while reaching for the sky (10 per leg) for recovery

-5x5 Barbell Back Squat - Bird Dog Opposite Arm-Opposite Leg Extensions (10/side) for recovery

-5x5 Power Clean - Ab Hollowing With Back On Ground With Deep Breathing (10 breaths) for recovery

-5x5 Deadlift - “Quiet” Box Jumps With Silent Landing (10 reps) for recovery

-5x5 Push Press - Bicycle Crunches (10/side) for recovery

If I'm limited to a hotel room workout, I'll often strap on a Training Mask (use 20% discount code GREEN1) and do a body weight workout for 4-6 rounds like this:

-20x burpees

-10x lunge jumps for each leg

-20x MostFit suspension strap rows

-20x mountain climbers per leg

-60 second handstand hold against wall during recovery

And of course, just like Venice Beach and Miami, they have gyms along the beach here in Tel Aviv, so you can throw down a weight workout with the locals while you're cycling or jogging on the boardwalk along the Mediterranean Sea. Incidentally, whether I'm traveling or I'm at home, I log every workout I do, 365 days a year, for all members of my Inner Circle (if you're already an Inner Circle member, just visit the forum and click "Life Of Ben").

DSC_2036

--------------------------

5. You Can Measure Anything. Really.

As you listen to the audio version of this article, you're going to hear a special interview with a start-up located right here in the heart of Tel Aviv: SCiO.

SCiO is the world's first portable molecular sensor that literally fits in the palm of your hand. It contains a tiny spectrometer and allows you to get instant information about the chemical make-up of just about anything around you, sent directly to your phone.

SCiO is based on near-IR spectroscopy analysis method. The physical basis for this method is that each type of molecule vibrates in its own unique way, and these vibrations interact with light to create its own unique optical signature.

The device includes a light source that illuminates the sample and an optical sensor (the spectrometer) that collects the light reflected from the sample. The spectrometer breaks down the light to its spectrum, which includes all the information required to detect the result of this interaction between the illuminated light and the molecules in the sample.

Normal spectrometers are big (about the size of a laptop) and expensive (tens of thousands of dollars). SCiO is unique as it is based on a tiny spectrometer, designed from the ground up to be mass-produced with low cost optics - with minimal compromise on the analysis capabilities.

So based on this technology, SCiO can actually read the chemical make-up of any materials around you, including food, plants, medication, oil and fuels, plastics and wood. For example, you can:

-Get nutritional facts about different kinds of food: salad dressings, sauces, fruits, cheeses, and much more. -See how ripe an avocado is, through the peel. -Find out the quality of your cooking oil. -Know the well being of your plants. -Analyze soil or hydroponic solutions. -Authenticate medications or supplements. -Upload and tag the spectrum of any material on earth to our database (including your own body). Every time you use SCiO you actually help to build a database of knowledge about the stuff around us. The bigger the SCiO community gets, the more data SCiO will have about different materials and this goes right back to the community of users. Check out the SCio Kickstarter project here, and listen to my podcast interview with the inventors here. DSC_2287

--------------------------

Alright, that's it for now...but more to come later, including information about a brand new startup that can analyze and give you instant nutritional facts on any recipe you find on any food blog or website, anywhere, and another startup that allows you to instantly check how polluted the air is where you're at, and the "cleanest air" routes for running, hiking, or cycling. Stay tuned.

Shalom - and be sure to check out Onnit if you need killer fitness gear or functional foods that optimize performance, stay tuned for more on what you can learn from the wellness and nutrition scene in Israel, extra entertaining videos from this trip, and tips on taking your own to health and fitness vacation to Israel. In the meantime, leave your question, comments and feedback at BenGreenfieldFitness.com! photos by Or Kaplan DSC_1541

Nov 10, 2014

Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health & Life - “How The Under-Recovery Monster Is Completely Eating Up Your Precious Training Time”

Nov 8, 2014

The following is a guest post by Dr. Andrew Hill, Lead Neuroscientist at truBrain. Click here for a fascinating audio podcast that accompanies this article. featuring Ben Greenfield and Dr. Hill.

Dr. Hill received his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from UCLA in 2012, studying how attention operates in the brain. He has been employed as a Lecturer at UCLA over the past few years, teaching multidisciplinary courses on both Healthy Brain Aging and courses in Neuroscience and Psychology. Dr. Hill has published chapters on measuring and modulating human attention, and continues to research self regulation.

Prior to UCLA, Dr. Hill obtained extensive experience working with both psychiatric and developmental populations as well as gaining experience in high technology areas. He received his B.S. in Psychology/Neuroscience from UMass Amherst, and is a key adviser in the formulation of the truBrain’s cognitive blend (get 20% off on your purchase with the code BEN20).

---------------------------------

The Limitless Pill

In the 2011 movie Limitless, Bradley Cooper’s character gets his hands on a smart drug (NZT-48) that enables him to be cognitively super human. The only known side effect is that his eyes change color while he is on the drug, but that changes over the course of the movie as side effects, including withdrawal symptoms, begin to get worse and worse. It’s a sci-fi thriller with a not-so-feel-good message about addiction and performance enhancing substances. And goons chasing you. Makes smart drugs sound dangerous, right? Like any good sci-fi , this movie questions our assumption on the limits of science. And some of what it is suggesting is not science fiction today. Smart drugs and nootropics are a current reality, being used more and more not to treat or remediate any active condition or complaint but towards boosting already typical or superior performance, in colleges, board rooms, military theatres, and by forward thinking gerontologists. With the wide variety of compounds available today that have some research support for cognitive effects, it is important for you to understand the risks and benefits associated with usage, or at least how to choose smarter, when choosing things that affect your brain. For example, one of the most popular misconceptions about smart drugs is that they are the same as nootropics. This may be due to similar benefits that people use them for, but ultimately they do not share the same range of effects, mechanisms of action, safety and side effects. So - what are smart drugs? What are nootropics? How do we know if something is safe or effective? What are these drugs actually doing to my brain? Why am I asking so many questions without answering them? Keep reading to get this and more information you need to understand these questions, and start formulating your own answers - and your own strategies for selecting nootropics.

---------------------------------------

Smart Drugs vs. Nootropics

A smart drug is generally a prescribed medication or off-label drug used primarily to treat some kind of mental or cognitive disorder. The most common are drugs such as Adderall (dextroamphetamine) or Ritalin (methylphenidate) in the stimulant class used to treat symptoms related to ADHD - although legal and illegal off-label use is rampant. And while they may promote focus and energy in some people, others have dramatic side effect, to body and brain. Smart drugs in the stimulant class also tend to be reinforcing, producing spikes in dopamine and norepinephrine. This leads to tolerance and habit formation, including adverse effects on appetite, mood stability, cardiac function, stress levels and possibly many other unwanted effects - especially on younger brains such as teens and young adults. Irritability and mood swings, anxiety, sleep issues, and other forms of emotional or cognitive regulation problems can crop up over time with stimulant use, as well. A popular atypical stimulant “smart drug” includes the narcolepsy agents Modafinil / Adrafinil, although their effects on cognition beyond wakefulness are unproven, and side effects - while rare - can be life threatening. If attention problems are already present the side effect risk appears to be significant increased, as well. (Kumar, (2008), Approved and Investigational Uses, Drugs. 68(13):1803-39.). In contrast to a smart drug, a nootropic is generally a non-prescribed compound, including vitamins, herb, other supplements, natural or synthetic compound that may increase or protect cognition in some way. The preponderance of research in the past 40 years shows some effects on focus, attention, effects on aging, and possibly cellular metabolism. To paraphrase the definition of “nootropic” as initially coined in this article by the researcher Girugea in 1972, it is something that improves cognition without appreciable side effects, or provides from protection to the brain. In a modern context we think of nootropics as something used not to treat any mental condition or pathology directly, but instead to provide support to peak function, protect against long term risk, and provide daily boost. Across the field, true nootropic ingredients and full blends can now be found largely sourced from natural ingredients. Nootropic blends are designed to leverage synergy effects suggested in the research and subjective experiences. The goals with nootropics should always be to allow for greater and more consistent cognitive effort and flow, without the side effects of a stimulant or other harsh substance.

------------------------------

How Do I Know If A Smart Drug Is Safe?

As a rule of thumb, it is the nature of science to be wrong at times. We’ve come a long way since we accepted that the theory behind the Earth being the center of the universe was wrong. We understand that new research may overturn old knowledge. So how can we truly know the risks and benefits of long term use of nootropics or smart drugs? A red flag in understanding the harm of a substance is the body’s ability to handle an overabundance of this substance. Small amounts of toxic substances may be beneficial in the short term, but the magic happens when we look at what is happening in the body when we get too much. Something as simple as a cup of coffee may seem harmless, but caffeine in high amounts can cause dizziness, anxiety, and even cardiac arrest or death. Caffeine mimics the action of the neuromodulator adenosine in the body. This leads to higher adrenaline and cortisol levels. Even in typical doses caffeine can deeply affect our sleep and cause heart arrhythmias for some people. Alcohol has even worse short and long term toxicity symptoms at non-moderate doses, and some people struggle to keep their dosing moderate. In better doses - perhaps a couple cups of coffee a day (without sugar) and a drink or so per day on average, these substance are actively health promoting, and reduce risk for many brain and cardiac diseases. When you are picking substances and compounds, dosing should be cautious at first. From this, a couple rules come out - 1) don’t take any compounds, substance, or blends of substances that don’t list all their ingredients out in plain amounts. Proprietary blends with lump-sum amount hiding buzzword-compliant list of magical ingredients known as “fairy dusting” in the supplement industry. Don’t be fooled. Read the ingredients. Figure out why and what is in there, and if you want it. 2) don’t chase suspicious research chemicals without much history of use or safety profile. Experiment on yourself if you like, but you only have one brain - make rational and cautious choices. There are nootropic, smart drug, and cognitive enhancers that have been around for decades - something released last week as a “Research Chemical” with a bunch of numbers and letters for a name and no human studies isn’t worth the risk to you. Not for years.

-------------------------------

What About Adderall & Modafinil Safety?

Smart drugs such as Adderall can cause dangerous lows, psychosis with extreme use, rebound fatigue, and depression, even at lower use levels. As an amphetamine, Adderall can act as a reuptake inhibitor, meaning that it can compete with other neurotransmitters for reuptake. Specifically it is thought to block the uptake of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are associated with reward behaviors and our nervous system functions, respectively. This causes a flood of these neurotransmitters onto multiple receptors, causing neurotransmitter depletion and overexcited receiving neurons. This large “signal” is the reason for the focus, but also responsible for some of the side effects that go along with this class of prescription drugs. Existing research is also a bit weak on any improvement that Adderall or other stimulants may have on short term memory or cognitive function, and some actually may impair function. Modafinil, also known as Provigil, is an example of a smart drug that has been used like a nootropic. Modafinil is prescribed to treat sleep disorders, but when combined with a normal functioning brain, can potentially cause increases in cognition and awareness. Just like Adderall, the use of these drugs outside the medical field does not make them a nootropic. Modafinil is also a reuptake inhibitor for dopamine, causing the same type of neurotrasmitter flood as Adderall. However, Modafinil may also affect the histaminergic pathway, which deals with wakefulness and the delicate immune response of the body. Histaminergic neurons in the brain are more active during wakefulness and slow their firing pattern as we rest or sleep. Modafinil’s “beneficial” side effects may come from this heightened histaminergic neuronal activation, but too much activation can cause apoptosis, or cell death. In addition, this has been shown to cause adverse skin reactions that required hospitalization since the histamine pathway also deals with our immune system. Modafinil may increase your intelligence, but can be extremely dangerous to the health of your brain and body.

-------------------------------

Enter Nootropics

Nootropics, like truBrain’s cognitive blend, and a few other products on the market, have dose-toxicity levels much lower than salt, caffeine, and especially Adderall. There doesn’t seem to be any neurotransmitter depletion, tolerance or habit forming potential, adverse body side effects, or impaired brain function, from most true nootropics, by Girugea’s definition. The mechanisms for nootropics lie within the structural connectivity of the brain, the optimization of blood flow and oxygenation, and the fortification of brain regions over long term consistency. Nootropics act more as a super supplement to protecting the brain. Girugea’s own first synthesized nootropic (in 1964) is still in use today and has been shown to have effects on mitochondrial metabolism, cell membrane fluidity, and functional connectivity in the brain. Piracetam is this poster child for nootropics, and one of the main ingredients in truBrain nootropic blends. It is one of the only compounds used in that formulation that can not be found in nature, however it was originally derived from - and has structural similarities to - the neurotransmitter GABA. Since Girugea bought piracetam to light in 1964, there has been lots of research to support the benefits of piracetam. It has been shown to positively affect our cell membranes and to have neuroprotective and pro-metabolism effects on cells. The fluidity in our membranes changes with stress and old age, as well as moment to moment as one method of regulating receptor activity. By keeping our membranes healthy we can promote the cells ability to communicate. For example, truBrain combines other membrane oriented supplements - including choline. The cell membrane - especially in the brain - relays ongoing control signals and messages from other cells to the inner processes of the cell. Neurons’ membranes in the axon (wiring) and soma (cell body) help generate and propagate electrical signals, sum distant signals, and even have computational and complex learning functions related to changes in membrane function.Healthier and more active cell membranes bring us increased activity and cell communication, and hopefully better cognition. Piracetam along with other truBrain ingredients such as magnesium, choline, and DHA, increases in brain plasticity and are designed to improve cognition and efficiency under processing load - or peak performance, versus remediation. Nootropics may support increased cognitive potential as well as long term protection. The truBrain team added L-Theanine and L-Tyrosine to support neurotransmitters of GABA and Dopamine, respectively. You can use a similar or different strategy when building your own nootropic regimen, but use a strategy. Know why you are putting an ingredient in, know how it might interact with the others, and be sure that dosing is safe. When you are planning your nootropic or nutraceutical regimen, think in terms of nutrition support to cell metabolism and function, amino acids, natural or near-natural compounds, and avoid bad fats and harsh chemicals that give a momentary boost at the cost of later crashing or having other more serious side effects, such as excess sugars and caffeine. And don’t forget what else you put in your mouth - additional DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids (in grass fed meats, deep sea fish) are excellent for brain health. Craft your diet like you craft your brain supplement regimen - or have both catered / curated for you in a high end product. If you do create your own blend, think precise selection, not shotgun approach, and add slowly to your regimen.

--------------------------------

The Problem With Instant Gratification

As a culture, we often hear false marketing claims or create mindsets about what is possible with our health. We see ads that advertise a pill that gets rid of “stomach fat fast”. Truthfully, fat is lost uniformly in the body and the fastest and healthiest way to lose weight it about 1-2 pounds uniformly a week. So we eat poorly and don’t exercise for 2 years and then criticize our healthy workout plans and diet 1 month in when we don’t get the results we want. The healthiest and most effective things in life are often the ones that we do routinely. Consistency is key. This is true if you are talking about athletic performance, academic or intellectual training, or nutrition and supplement support. While not “necessary” like supplements or medicines, nootropic use follows this principle as well. There is another rule, emerging. If something is strongly “felt” dose to dose - if it gets you high, or wired, or sedated...it’s a smart drug, recreational drug, or something that may enhancing some aspect of performance (perhaps at the expense of another), but is definitely not a nootropic. And finally, nootropics should be sustainable. With some nootropics there is an initial loading phase followed by a maintenance phase, and while subtle, results can be felt fairly quickly on the timescale of a few days. The contrasting quick highs / crashes of coffee, alcohol, smart drugs, and even quickly digesting carbs are definitely experienced more immediately, but have consequences that make them unsustainable for many people.

------------------------------

Summary

So in summary - here are a few initial rules to help select your own nootropic or cognitive enhancing blend:

  • Know your ingredients, and their amounts.
  • Don’t spend your money on obfuscate fairy dusting or expensive blends that are full of caffeine or random research chemicals.
  • It’s not a nootropic if it has side effects.
  • Your nootropic solutions should focus on mild nutritive and metabolic support, for long term gains and protection. Break the cycle peak and crash that you get with too many stimulants, and avoid the more serious side effects that you risk with smart drugs.
  • Nootropics don’t get you high, altered, or wired.

And don’t forget the other accessible and evidence-based brain and cognition improving methodologies we have at our disposal today: meditation, yoga, and other contemplative (attention training) practices, biofeedback and neurofeedback, diets high in good fats, and other modifiable behaviors you can implement to take control of your brain health and performance. So take care of your brain - the tools are out there, to support health and shift performance.

Leave your questions, comments and feedback at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Also, if you want to try the nootropic that Dr. Hill helped design, grab truBrain and get 20% off on your purchase with the code BEN20.

1 2 Next »