What follows is a transcript for the podcast: Nutrition for Longevity: What is the BEST Diet for YOU?
Sub-section topics within the interview include the following:
- Doug’s Journey to Vegetarian Nutrition
- Nora’s Fat-based Ketogenic Approach to Longevity
- Jade’s Journey to a Well Balanced Diet - Paleo + Low Carb
- Eat Right for Your Type, A Flexible Approach to Nutrition
- How to Attain a Fat-based Metabolism and Effective Ketogenic Adaptation
- High Quality Fat Intake for Longevity
- Sprouting and Plant-Based Food as Source for Nutrition
- How Nutrition Interacts with Longevity
- Eat Consciously, Don’t Overeat
- Lower Insulin Levels to Avoid Overconsumption
- Consuming Sprouts as a Healthy Choice
- How to Start the Day Towards a Healthy Diet
- When to Eat, Intermittent Fasting and Time Restricted Eating
- Benefits of Eating Seasonally
- Nutrition for Longevity Takeaways
Greg Kelly, ND: This is Dr. Greg Kelly. I'm the lead formulator and scientist at Neurohacker Collective, and for today's Collective Insight Podcast, we're lucky to have three experts in different areas of health, all with a strong background in nutrition.
So first there's Doug Evans, who's a pioneer in the natural food industry and just released a book, which I actually read this past weekend called The Sprout Book. We have Nora Gedgaudas, who I know her and I share a lot in terms of our background with nutrition. She's been in practice, helping people for more than 20 years, is a bestselling author and is an expert both in neurofeedback and nutrition.
And then we have Jade Teta, who like myself is a naturopathic doctor, and has a background, strong background in exercise, sports nutrition, but also himself is a well known author, lecturer and has developed many different programs that have nutrition and exercise as core components.
So with that background, our goal today during the next hour or so is to really focus on nutrition and longevity and give especially insight into areas where we all think you as our audience can really have a lot of confidence if you invest in that area, that there'll be a lot of return for your investment.
So we know there's lots of areas of nutrition that there's disagreement. Our focus today is going to be on things that you can bank on. So with that, I wanted to turn it over first to Doug, just to, since you're the newest author and have a book that just came out, I wanted to introduce you and give you a quick opportunity to just introduce yourself to our audience.
Doug’s Journey to Vegetarian Nutrition
Doug Evans: Sure. Thank you so much for having me. And I feel like I'm the most under educated of this group having cheated my way through high school without higher education. But I do know how to read, and I am very persistent in my quest for knowledge.
But I grew up in the streets of New York city and I was a graffiti writer, and then I became a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne and then a graphic designer and shifted my way into computer graphics. And at the first time, probably at 33, everything was looking really good and then everything looked really bad when my aunt got diabetes and they chopped off her feet below her ankles.
And then my uncle got heart disease and he died. Then my other uncle got heart disease and he died. Then my other aunt got IBS and colitis, and then she died, and then my mom got cancer and she died, and then my father got heart disease and he died. And then my brother had the first of three strokes and a heart attack and all sorts of other complications.
And that was my wake up call from finally being able to take a deep breath and go, "I'm making a little money. I have an apartment, I have a relationship. Everything is good." To, "Oh shit, I better get my affairs in order, because I'm genetically cursed and I'm going to die."
And that was 21 years ago. And that kind of shifted me to literally drop everything. And then I started researching and seeing, was I genetically cursed, or was it lifestyle? And I met someone who was plant-based, she was a vegan. I never heard the term vegan before, I thought it was slang for vegetarian. And in a two week period in April 1999, I went from eating street food and fast food, processed food, candy, soda, the worst cheapest junk that you could have.
That's what I ate every day, to going vegetarian vegan, and then I was raw vegan for 17 years, and now I've become less dogmatic and I eat some cooked vegetables.
Greg Kelly, ND: Great.
Doug Evans: So that's kind of my personal journey, and is the podcast over now. And along the way, fast forward to today, two years ago, I moved to the desert. And not only am I living in the desert, I'm living in the Mojave Desert where it's really hot, very few things grow here and we're off the water grid.
And not only is this a food desert, it's a food desert, because I'm an hour and 15 minutes from a Whole Foods, longer to Erewhon or Jimbo's or anything really healthy. So that's what kind of reactivated my desire for sprouting. And so I was like, okay, I know, I think there's a consensus amongst hopefully the four of us, that vegetables are good for you, do we agree on that?
Nora Gedgaudas: More or less, it depends.
Doug Evans: Okay. Well, all right. Okay. So I believe vegetables are good and I wanted to make sure I had access to vegetables. So I started to sprout, and the sprouting became an obsession. And within a month I was sprouting about a dozen different things. And 50% of my calories were coming from food that I was growing in my 48 square foot kitchen without soil, without sunshine and for pennies, a serving.
And I said, this is powerful information that I feel compelled to get out to the world, because I didn't have a green thumb and all of this gardening, I thought took weeks or months or years, and the fact that you could actually grow edible food within days was a real revelation. And I couldn't believe that the world didn't know this.
And all of the books on sprouting were from hippy dippy trippys, who I actually like. The Ann Wigmores, Victoria Skavinskis and Steve Meyerowitz, but they didn't have the edge to cross over to mainstream. And they didn't address food poverty, food equality, and those are the things that were really important to me.
And so I went and I wrote the book or ... I went to New York, I signed a contract to write the book, and then I actually had to come back and I realized, I didn't know anything about sprouting. How did they give me the responsibility to shepherd this information? And that caused me to set up a lab. So I set up a sprouting lab, not too difficult, 1000 different Mason jars, trays, unbleached paper towels, hemp bags, socks, whatever I could do, and I just started to research.
And then I interviewed people who knew a lot more about me, about nutrition and about sprouting and formula ... How you could live on this and then realized that no one was going to eat these things like I was, unless we had recipes. So we formulated 40 recipes for the book and that's my story in a nutshell.
Nora’s Fat-based Ketogenic Approach to Longevity
Greg Kelly, ND: Great. Well, we're lucky to have you. I know at least with Nora's comment, I'm not an all is none. I tend to always go to quality, so even, an egg's not an egg. A glass of milk is not always the same glass of milk, a stick of butter. So it's always quality, and I think one thing that I would certainly agree to that sprouting in general is a way to improve the quality of many of the things that would be chosen to be sprouted.
So with that, I wanted to turn it over to Nora, who of the people on this I'm most familiar with her work. I know we have a lot in common in terms of some of our nutrition mentors. So I wanted to give you a chance to let our audience know about really your journey to get where you are today.
Nora Gedgaudas: Yeah. My interest in nutritional science goes back nearly 40 years and it's just, it has been a passion. For the better part of that 40 years I never would have imagined I could actually make a living doing anything with that. It was just what I did when nobody else was looking for a while, but I did engage in quite a lot of undergraduate, some graduate study in nutrition, which I found terribly lacking actually.
And did a lot of my own trial and error, developed an interest in the early kind of biohacking work of Durk Pearson, Sandy Shaw, kind of the original biohackers and just studied an extremely wide range of topics. But my interest in nutrition started out with an interest largely in supplementation, because it just seemed like, wow, it's really cool, you take this and it can have this effect.
I struggled with depression, so I found that by using certain amino acids, I could get certain neurotransmitter effects that were noticeable and that was compelling to me. But I didn't really have necessarily an underlying sort of structural edifice upon which I was building these ideas about nutrition. There wasn't any kind of cohesive thing that was connecting all these dots together back to a basic dietary approach to things.
And when you're into the supplement world or you're into kind of the health food thing and whatever, you do get led down vegetarian and vegan roads, and I've certainly ventured down those roads. And they were definitely not effective for me. But I really didn't know where to put it all. I really didn't. And then I managed to spend a whole summer of my life living less than 500 miles from the North pole with a family of wild wolves. Long story, whole different podcast, I guess.
But during my time there, I found myself I developed a taste for fat that I didn't, I was fat phobic when I went up there. I believed in the low fat paradigm. I thought that that was important for health, there were kind of mainstream government guidelines. And I was trying to do things based on that. And when I got up there, I ran into all sorts of things that conflicted with that and left a lot of niggling questions in the back of my mind. There was an intuit community I spent several days in on my way up to Ellesmere Island and they were 80% subsistence lifestyle and nothing grew in their environment.
And the community was actually seemed reasonably healthy and fit. They had very little access at that time. I know that that's changed now, but very little access to processed foods and things. Once every couple of weeks a Twin Otter plane would land with some limp vegetables. The grocery store was about the size of the space that I'm sitting in a little six by nine office space, it was tiny, it was the post office, it was a few other things too.
And people liked processed foods and maybe they liked getting their hands on vegetables now and again, but it wasn't practical. It was expensive, and so the people there largely hunted for and fish for what they needed and the kids were healthy, the adults were healthy, I didn't see obesity.
And it just didn't add up in my mind. I got to Ellesmere and all worry that I wasn't going to be able to juice or eat my big salads or whatever, and I got up there and I suddenly just wanted to eat fat. And I spent the better part of the summer eating a very high fat diet, and by the end of the summer, I'd lost 25 pounds, and I was doing pretty well and that just didn't add up. And then once I got back, I stumbled across the work of Weston Price, and it was a little bit like getting struck between the eyes with a sack of wet cement.
It was a real revelation to me, but it also didn't go back far enough. I started asking myself the question, what were the selective pressures that shaped us as a species, that shaped our physiological makeup and our most basic nutrition requirements? And so I dug way back. I went very prehistoric in my inquiry about that, and I found some very interesting things and even Weston Prices work was something that had some very telling things in it.
Of course, he covered over 100,000 miles over 10 years across the planet and had contact with an enormous number of traditional and so-called primitive societies that were available back then in the 1920s and 1930s, we just developed air travel, but there were still all these cultures. And he analyzed the diets of all these people, and he analyzed the health of all these people and the skeletal structure and the dentition and all of that.
And what he found was that people that consume these healthy, were consuming the diets of their ancestors maintain extraordinary robustness, health, freedom from disease, strong mental constitution, seemed to have strength of character and all kinds of the things that we would like to think of as of that would be a consequence of optimized health.
And what many people who appreciated his point of view took away from that was well, just eat real food and it's all good, but that isn't necessarily the way I see it. And it really wasn't even the way Weston Price saw it. He ended up asking himself a very important question. When he looked at the vast range of dietary approaches that he had encountered among healthy populations, he found that there were at least two things they all had in common.
One of which sorry to say with some of the present company was that every single one of them consumed as many animal source foods as were available to them, and in other words, he sought, he looked everywhere he could to try to find a vegan culture he couldn't. But what he did find was that, the greater variety of animal source foods available, generally the healthier the population, but also in every case, the most important food, the most venerated food, the most sought after food and the food that seemed to be associated with the healthiest pregnancies and healthiest babies were the foods that were richest in fat and fat soluble nutrients, nearly always of animal origin.
And so I took that to represent, and I found a lot of consistency in terms of our evolutionary history in those principles and I took that to represent a powerful foundational, basically substrate from which optimize human health can be best built. And so, it was the first person within the ancestral health movement, some called the Paleo Movement.
And even at the very outset, the subtitle of my book was Beyond The Paleo Diet For Total Health And A Longer Life. I was the first person within the context of that movement that embraced a more fat-based ketogenic approach to nutrition. But I also do embrace a wide variety of fibrous vegetables and greens. I'm not a fan of the carnivore diet per se, for reasons that are just too much to go into at the moment.
But I think fibrous vegetables and greens have more to offer us than they ever used to, but not everybody tolerates them well. And so I recommend as great a variety of people can incorporate to the extent that they tolerate them well, and if they don't, well, that's okay too. But I tend to think that in the modern world that we live in, there are numerous phytochemicals that can help us counter some of the uniquely challenging, toxic elements of our modern day environment that our prehistoric ancestors really never had to put up with. So I see that as a potential advantage.
Greg Kelly, ND: Great. Well, I'm going to actually take that-
Nora Gedgaudas: Go for it.
Jade’s Journey to a Well Balanced Diet - Paleo + Low Carb
Greg Kelly, ND: ... that and pivot to Dr. Jade, because when I've listened to your podcast and your message, one of the core things that I hear repeated is the idea you need to find what works for you, and that that can be different for different people. So I'm going to leapfrog off what Nora said and just ask if you could give a little bit of your journey and then what brought you to that message.
Jade Teta, ND: Yeah. Well, first of all, it's incredibly cool to be here with all of you. So Doug and Nora, so nice.
Nora Gedgaudas: Yeah, you too.
Jade Teta, ND: So nice to hang out with you and Greg thanks for doing this. Yeah. So, I mean, I guess I would say I'm maybe the agnostic of the group. I completely agree with Doug, I completely agree with Nora. I completely agree with both of these perspectives and I won't go too deep into this, but to give you my perspective, I've traveled both paths.
So actually both of these paths. So I was a vegan vegetarian for a little while, did not do great for me. I was heavy into paleo for a while, did very well for me, made some tweaks to that. My own health I've kind of figured that out. Clinically though, what I ran into is that when I was pushing the vegan vegetarian approach, I would run into a very healthy vegans and vegetarians. I would also run into very sick vegans and vegetarians. And when I was pushing the primal paleo type approach, I was running into very healthy, primal and paleo people. And I was running into very sick primal and paleo people.
And so what ended up happening for me and my journey as I started to go, maybe the assumption that we make that nutrition is everything and that it solves all of our problem. Perhaps, maybe that's slightly wrong. And what are the other things that we need to look at if we're going to be talking about optimized, nutrition and longevity in general.
And that got me, even though I had a background, we all know all four of us know how this is. I mean, for those of you listening, we all have various education, but in the end, each of us have done deep dives and continued our education to try to round ourselves out. One of the things I did is go deep into endocrinology and metabolism.
And one of the things that I feel like I began to see, and by the way, this is incredibly complex. So in no way, do I have this anywhere near figured out. But one of the things that I began to see is that there was this unique thing that happened when you took certain individuals, gave them certain foods and seeing whether they thrived or not.
So to me, it was all about what I call the four Ps. It is really about that person's unique physiology. For example, one person eats a piece of bread and their insulin goes sky high, and they run into inflammatory issues and they're hungry and they're craving and their blood sugars are all over the place. Another person eats that same piece of bread and they find stable energy and they seem to be focused and they seem to do really well.
So their physiology's slightly different. Why is that? And then of course, there's the psychology of things, right? One person gets stressed out and their hunger goes completely away, and the other person gets chronically stressed out and they're craving cheese cake and popcorn and pizza and everything in sight. So there's the physiology, there's the unique psychology, there's the unique personal preferences, right?
Some people like fat, some people like vegetables, some people like crunchy, some people like creamy, some people like sweet, some people like bitter. And then finally, there's the practical. Some people live in food deserts, where they can't get to the food. Some people live where there aren't animals available, some people live where there's plenty of animals available.
And so for me, when I began to look at this, I started to put my own bias and agenda related to nutrition aside, and just tried to go, how can I figure out what works best for this individual? What do I do? And so for me, I really try to work with those four Ps. And so for me, sometimes my patients get higher fat, lower carb diets. Other times they get very vegan based, vegetarian based diets.
Sometimes they get things in between. And I won't ramble on here, but of course, there's ways I believe that we can essentially assess that, and I'll just go through them really quickly. Then I'd love to just see what Doug and Nora have to add and we can have a discussion about any direction you want to go, Greg.
Here's the way I look at this, and it's going to kind of, for this panel, I think it will be great discussion. And I imagine no one's going to agree with me, but just try it on for size. Here's the way I see this. I see it as ... As long as your, what I call, SHMEC, it's an acronym. It's a funny word, but it's sleep, hunger, mood, energy, and cravings. This acronym that is basically a window into our metabolism.
If my SHMEC is in check, if my patients sleep, hunger, mood, energy, and cravings, exercise, performance, exercise, recovery, menses, libido, signs and symptoms. If all of those things are balanced and they're not out of check and they're not chasing hunger all over the place and their energy is stable and they feel vital. If that's true and they're optimizing body composition, right? So they are lean and they are not too lean, but not too fat, right?
They have an optimal body composition, body fat percent. So now we've got this SHMEC hormonal sensation in check and we've got optimal body composition. And then when I look at my patients and I take their blood sugar and I take their blood pressures and I look at all their labs and all that stuff is optimized. And we have those three things in my mind, I don't care if that person's eating cotton candy and Snickers bars and …
Eat Right for Your Type, A Flexible Approach to Nutrition
Jade Teta, ND: I don't care if that person's eating cotton candy and Snickers bars and Coca Cola, then I say, good for you. Your schmeck is in check. Your optimized body composition, all your blood labs and blood vitals are in check. And I think we'd all agree, no one on planet earth is going to achieve that with that type of diet. But to me, I just go, "Yeah, I'm more of a paleo sort of lower carb type of dude." But one third of my patients that I see do horribly on that. And so to me, I'm all about trying to find what works for the individual. And so, that's sort of my unique maybe contribution to this discussion.
Greg Kelly, ND: Great. And just for, I guess, fill in the last piece of the puzzle. I went to naturopathic school in the nineties and when I graduated shortly after, I started working with Dr. D'Adamo, the author of Eat Right for Your Type. And one of the things at the time, is that Peter's A diet was very much in the vegetarian camp. The O diet, we would think of is much more in what we now would think of as the paleo camp. B, dairy products were great for, not so good for the other ones. And his work evolved out of his dad's, James D'Adamo, who in the seventies, late seventies wrote One Man's Food. The idea being what we've already touched on, that there can be often different paths for different people to get to health.
And that the core thing I really personally want, and that I've always tried to imbue both into my students and my patients, is that the response is the goal. Don't get fixated on the journey or the dogma of the diet, but let's look at how you're responding and be open to the fact that what worked today may not keep working for you six months from now, six years from now.
And that goes back to one of my first nutrition instructors. And, Nora, I know you're really familiar with Ron Schmid, since you wrote the foreword to his book.
Nora Gedgaudas: Yeah.
Greg Kelly, ND: But one of the key takeaways that I remember from Ron's class in 1993, was the idea that there can often be a big difference between a diet that takes someone from unhealthy to healthy and one that might keep them at healthy once they got there. And so, that idea that we need to be somewhat flexible has always guided my coaching with people. So I wanted to then, kind of work backwards around this time and just get your thoughts on that idea. I know you have, yourself, experienced quite a bit of flexibility in how you've approached things, Jade. I think if I recall correctly, at one point you typically did a much more Keto diet in the winter, and have started to move away from that, but even in that sense, you were seasonally altering what you did. And so again, just wanted to get your thoughts on that idea that we sometimes need to be flexible, but always need to focus on the response.
Jade Teta, ND: Yeah, I think that's exactly right. And I think one of the things that we could say about the reason us four are even sitting here talking right now, is because we humans, we're incredibly adaptable and we're able to exploit many, many different food stuffs and many, many different types of environments. And so I think because of that, not only were we able to exploit many different types of environments, but we also were able to endure or had to endure many different types of food availability. So certain foods would be available during certain times and other times they would not be. And this to me also speaks to a little bit about how our metabolism works. And I think most people think metabolism is predictable, it's linear, it falls in line with our wants and needs and our desires for body composition. And it's none of those things. It's adaptive, it's reactive, it's unpredictable, it's changeable.
And so from my perspective, I think one of the things we may want to start looking at is, working with that changeability. It's one of the reasons why we all know that the stats are basically 95% failure rates for traditional diets and two thirds of those people end up fat. Or, just look at the Biggest Loser study, which was a popular one many of the listeners will be familiar with. And you'll also start to see that maybe one of the things that I would love to get, sort of the panels thought on, is this idea of yes, changing things up quantity wise and perhaps quality wise to keep our metabolism flexible and efficient, in my mind, we don't want a fast metabolism, we want a flexible metabolism. A healthy, resilient metabolism. And so from my perspective, I would love to get everyone's sort of input on that.
And the final, just one word, just so to launch, Nora and Doug into sort of their critiques of this or their agreements with this, one of the things that I'll point out is the Matador study. For those who aren't familiar with this, it's just a recent study that basically came out to say, what is the number one problem that we have? It's not necessarily losing weight, but it's keeping the weight off. And one of the things that they did is, gave an intermittent calorie approach, where they essentially said, one group will do continuous calorie reduction and the other group will do an intermittent approach two weeks in calorie reduction, two weeks sort of normal calorie levels. And what they found is a pretty big difference, despite keeping this equalized over 30 weeks in the group that was taking diet breaks versus the ones that weren't. Now, this is a quantity argument. And I think the quality argument could potentially go into that as well. But I'm interested in that and especially interested in the experts' sort of take on this as well.
Greg Kelly, ND: Well, Nora, since we're working backwards around, I'll let you jump in.
How to Attain a Fat-Based Metabolism and Effective Ketogenic Adaptation
Nora Gedgaudas: Boy. Yeah, so I do agree that we don't want a fast metabolism necessarily. That's like saying you want to have an extra hot burning engine, right? Engines that race cars burn with really hot engines using rocket, basically rocket fuel and they're not necessarily long lived engines. What we want is a healthy metabolism that is robust. I don't know that I'm a fan of the term metabolic flexibility. I know that we're one of, primarily one of two things. We're either primarily a fat burner, primarily a sugar burner. 99% of our culture spends its time relying on glucose as a primary source of fuel, which is a highly volatile, not very easy to rely upon source of fuel that needs to be replenished quite often.
And I see that as inherently inefficient, but it does make a lot of transnational corporate interests, very wealthy, and it also keeps us more or less perpetually hungry, which is helpful for them too. And, it leaves people with the constant need to be preoccupied with where their next handful of kindling is going to come from to keep the metabolic fires burning. Which is why I make a very strong case for and a very well referenced case for in my most recent book, Primal Fat Burner, which is, sounds like a weight loss book. It's not, but be everybody's favorite side effect, I guess, is the idea that number one, it was fat that ultimately made us human in the first place. But secondarily, that a fat-based metabolism is actually meant to be the natural metabolic state of our species. But it takes time to move into a state of what I call effective ketogenic adaptation.
It's not something that happens quickly. It's not something you pop out of and pop back into. It's something that you maintain. And, there are very, very strong, I guess, maybe more to the point of this podcast, there are very, very strong associations and, I believe, between that type of approach and things that are more likely to prolong your lifespan. One of the things that I looked at, and one of the reasons that the subtitle of my book reads, Beyond the paleo diet for total health and a longer life, is that, and it may answer a little bit of Doug's idea that, yeah, there is many versions of paleo out there as there are people claiming to practice it. There's many versions of vegetarian, vegan and keto out there as there are people claiming to practice it.
I actually do come from the standpoint where I believe that there is a foundational dietary approach that is designed to be universal for our species. Look, what defines us as a species, is not our differences, it's those things that we share in common, right? We all may have these unique fingerprints, but we all have fingers. And so when we talk about the, everybody's different mantra, I think what we're looking at are the nuances that get layered on top of that. Some people may have certain, I don't know, maybe somebody has an autoimmune condition. Somebody else, it has extreme, metabolic dysregulation that makes them not tolerate certain carbohydrate diets, well. Some people tolerate that better, but does that mean it's optimally healthy for them? I think that there's a reason to demonstrate that, that's not true.
There are people that can do okay for a period of time on a higher carbohydrate, utilizable carbohydrate diets, for instance, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's optimizing their health long term. And, out of the three major macronutrients, proteins, fats and carbohydrates, the only one for which there has never been a scientifically established human dietary requirement, is carbohydrate. We can manufacture all the glucose we need from a combination of protein and fat. There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate, which includes vegetables. I'm sorry to say, it's not essential. But, I do think that it can be beneficial. And that's, therein lies the difference. So I'm about starting at bedrock with the things that are essential to us as is demonstrably essential to us in terms of nutrients as a species and doing what is possible to cultivate a more fat-based metabolism, which is easier to maintain, which is, in other words, it's more stable, it's more reliable, even in the absence of regular meals.
And it also enhances things like, I mean, you get a lot of the same effects from a well formulated, by the way, protein, moderate, I moderate my protein intake. A ketogenic approach has a lot of things in common with what people embrace the sort of intermittent fasting and things of that nature. I think it also speaks to why sometimes vegan diets can be very useful, because they're accomplishing the same thing in so far as well, depending on the vegan diet, but particularly, minimizing the activation of mTOR, right. Mammalian or mechanistic-target rapamycin.
... target rapamycin, yes. So that, I believe that, that's important, is doing what we can to kind of keep that at the end of a short leash. What does that do? It enhances autophagi, which is this process by which our cells are able to keep themselves cleaned out. It helps to stimulate regeneration and repair mechanisms, which is automatically anti-aging in its effects and activate sirtuin genes. Intermittent fasting can do the same thing, but it does that intermittently, right? And what I'm advocating is a way of eating that, where one can accomplish this, and you can layer a certain amount of intermittent fasting on top of that if you want to enhance the effect of it, by keeping your eating to a certain window during the course of the day. But in the end, you're accomplishing the same thing without any feelings of deprivation or hunger.
And to me, that is the more sustainable approach. And I do think food quality is critical. Nutrient density is absolutely critical in this equation and by the way, so is healthy digestion. And so, if the person is not tolerating a diet that has animal source foods, you have to ask yourself why, because there is no basis for the idea within the realm of human evolution or our physiological makeup. There's really no basis for the idea, well some people just shouldn't, some people should eat a high carb diet, some people should eat a low carb diet, kind of a thing. It's really clear when you look at the way the human body's designed and the way we evolve, to me, that's the only rational starting place we have.
And then upon that, then we layer, I cross-pollinate these concepts, these ancestral concepts, for instance, with longevity research, in order to better optimize those principles. And then, I also try to take into account the uniquely toxic and comprehensively challenging world that we live in today, industrialized world, that our prehistoric ancestors would have never been able to wrap themselves around. And that's where I think some phytochemicals can come into play and have hormetic effects that may add a greater robustness to the equation, and also a greater dietary diversity, which can lead to microbial diversity in the gut, which then in turn improves oral tolerance and robustness of the immune system. So, anyway, that's where I go with that.
High Quality Fat Intake for Longevity
Greg Kelly, ND: Doug, I'm going to turn it over to you in a second. You've been really patient, which I thank you for. But one thing I did want to comment on, and this goes back to the work of Weston Price, at least as I understand it, but in some of the cultures that he investigated, so one would have been a Valley in Switzerland that really relied on dairy and they prized most specifically, the dairy, the butter that came late summer after cows had been able to graze on the best quality grass that was the most green and nutrient dense for a whole season. So in a sense, my interpretation is, they were getting a lot of the plant based things just with an intermediate in between. That, poor quality dairy would not have worked for them in the same way that essentially having the cows be the interface between the plant based world and there.
So, I personally have never done as well on a high fat diet as some other people that I know and I know when I lived in Hawaii doing a much more plant based diet, worked a lot better for me than when I was in cold winters in New England. So I also tend to personally believe, we need to look at the overall context that that person is in.
Nora Gedgaudas: Well, when I talk about higher fat, I mean, high percentage fat in terms of fat dominating the caloric landscape. So, my protein moderation is, I think, an important part of the keeping toward the end of a short leash equation. And then you can fill the rest of your plate with fibrous, vegetables and greens for the various benefits you might get from that and the added dietary diversity. But fat and fat soluble nutrients are an incredibly critical part of the way our immune system functions, incredibly critical part about, of the way our brain functions. And many of these things are, can only really be gotten from animals that have synthesized them for us, that there are no plant-based correlates that work in the same way in the human body. And so, yeah.
Greg Kelly, ND: I just wanted to pause, because I think there's an area that we might all agree on and I wanted to make sure if there is, that I would point that out.
Nora Gedgaudas: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Greg Kelly, ND: And that would be that, high quality fat is imperative, right? So that no matter what path we are taking for a healthy longevity diet, the fat we eat, we want to make sure is impeccable quality.
Nora Gedgaudas: Absolutely.
Greg Kelly, ND: Is that, would it be fair to say that we all agree on that?
Nora Gedgaudas: Yes.
Jade Teta, ND: I do.
Nora Gedgaudas: All right, Doug, you're back on.
Doug Evans: I agree with high quality plant fat.
Greg Kelly, ND: Yeah, no, I mean, that's fine. We don't have to qualify what type, but the fat we do eat, whether that's plant-based or animal-based, it's, to me, that's the most important thing and a quality perspective. Like, I care more about that someone would eat the best butter than a mediocre blueberry. Like personally, that's just my, how I tier things, because I think, like Nora pointed out, fats are something that is essential if we go back to the work of Weston Price and all the traditional cultures that he investigated, they pride the quality of the fat.
Nora Gedgaudas: Yes, absolutely.
Sprouting and Plant-Based Food as Source for Nutrition
Greg Kelly, ND: So, however we, whatever path to that quality, our individual diet may take can vary. So with that, Doug, yours is much more plant based, so I'm going to turn it back over. You've been patient, you've listened to a lot and I want to get your thoughts.
Doug Evans: Yeah. I mean, my thoughts are much more provincial in how I look at the world and also from experiential for me, having lived the lifestyle like this for 21 years. I'm 53 years old, I'm going on 54 and I'm at the same weight I was when I got out of the Army and I'm in the same physical condition. I'm nowhere ripped like Jade. He's a specimen that I haven't experienced, but in my own way, I can touch my toes. I could do my 10 pull ups. I could do my 25 pushups and I can run 5 or 10K a day, every day and I sleep well for at least six hours a night. I try to sleep for eight hours, but once I'm up, there's no going back. Part of my kind of mission and calling having, I omitted parts of my journey on the business side, where I created products and services that were plant based, but that were perceived to be expensive and elitist and targeted towards the 1%.
And, whether it was cold pressed juice or premium raw food, but at 10 to $15 per serving, it was considered exclusive. And so, when I experienced my personal composting and now I'm rising from the compost through sprouting, which actually doesn't require compost. But interesting enough, I really looked at some of the biggest global issues that we have from climate to starvation, to disease, to the chronic illnesses that are plaguing us, the diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease. And I looked at how I could make a contribution and what could be equal for all. And so, if you were to ask me, would it be better to have premium grass fed beef or wild elk shot with an arrow versus factory farmed, no question from a nutrition perspective, I would agree with the former than the latter.
But when I look at that, I don't, and I'm not a geologist or historian, I don't know how the world is, but I look at it that I don't think that there's enough land mass to provide that same super high quality plant fat or protein for everybody. I don't know if you agree or not.
Nora Gedgaudas: No.
Doug Evans: You don't agree. Okay. Well, that's okay. So that's my belief. I think that when the, and even if there is the physical land mass to provide all that grazing, et cetera, the profit structure of how the food industries and especially with how they're run where every fraction of a penny and basis point matters towards profitability, et cetera, there will always be differentiation from super premium. I remember having a Kobe steak for a hundred dollars versus a subsidized 99 cent hamburger, fast food hamburger.
So, what I looked at, was saying, how can the world, how can people have access to high quality food that is disease free that's high in phytochemicals, high in micronutrients, high in thiocyanates, that can satisfy hunger and satisfy good movements. And so, I've been my own guinea pig on this. And then, watching the level that sprouts have been around, I don't know how you look at this, but my framework is, there would be no life on this planet if seeds didn't germinate and sprout and grow into vegetables and fruit trees and feed. And when we talked about animals kind of being the intermediary of converting, like someone says, well, where does the cow get its protein from? It's getting it from grass. It's getting, where's the dairy get coming from? It's all coming from the plants themselves. So the biggest mammals are converting these plants. So, that's about the extent of my scientific purview on it. But what I could say is that sprouts and my personal diet, 50% sprouts, some fruit, because I really like fruit and I process fruit well. And then vegetables of all sorts. And I like fungi, I love mushrooms. And I think that the economic advantage of sprouting is such that was in comprehensible to me before. Where if you were to go into a health food store and buy a pack of sprouts, it's $5. If you were to grow your own from the seed, and I'm talking about premium organic sprouting seeds tested for pathogens, with high germination rate, it's 20 cents, 30 cents worth of seeds, and therefore no special equipment required, no soil, no sunshine, provincial things to be able to feed people. And we talk about local, what is more local than growing your own food on your own countertop? And if someone, because I do, help, I don't use the word coach, guide, advice, et cetera, but I help people who want to sprout.
If someone wants to get protein and you look at some of the sprouts that have high protein content or high fat content, the legumes or hemp seeds or lentils or peas, the fascinating thing that I learned in doing the research were that if you were to take lentils and on the second or third day of the lentils and sprout them, you double the antioxidant levels and you triple or quadruple the level of vitamin C and you're increasing the fiber by 50% to a hundred percent. So these dormant little seeds or legumes, with a little attention become these nutritional powerhouses, if you value those things there.
And then one cup of lentils can have over seven grams of protein in them. So that's surprising that people are saying, and they also, and I'm not prepared on the fat discussion, but I feel that there's so much that can be derived from seeds, germinating, and spouting. And rather than recommending, I do own the domain sproutarian, but I'm not promoting a sproutarian diet. What I'm kind of analyzing is that sprouts can be an incredibly useful tool to give people, to compliment their diet that are low cost, easy and accessible, and that they can fit in where you talked about quality. I think that food grown on your own can potentially be very high quality.
How Nutrition Interacts with Longevity
Greg Kelly, ND: Okay. I think I am pretty sure we would all agree that growing our food to the extent that we can is, thumbs up. And I know my background for sure, local is something that I prize. With that, I wanted to make sure that we diverted back into the idea of trying to help clarify some areas, especially as nutrition interacts with longevity, and find out if we could really maybe guide our users. And one of the... I guess I'll just start with a story. But when I was graduated college in 1984, going into the Navy, it occurred to me that I had no idea what to eat. My entire life up until that point someone had always put food in front of me and I just ate as much of it as, of that meal, I wanted.
And at the time one of my buddies I was lifting with said, "Hey, read this book," which happened to be, I believe it was called Eat To Win by Allison Haas, which we would-
Nora Gedgaudas: Oh god.
Greg Kelly, ND: ... we would think of today as much more-
Nora Gedgaudas: you are.
Greg Kelly, ND: Yeah... of the low fat, high complex carb. But really my takeaway, and I've seen this with patients over the years, is the big takeaway of how I apply that was, I just looked at the amount of fat in everything I picked up. If it was low, I put it in the shopping cart. If it was high, I didn't. So my heuristic was fairly simple. It was what I would think of is like a low fat, no fat guidepost to making my food choices. And obviously I have a very different one now.
I know each of us on the phone has different ones we've evolved and different from each other. But what I was hoping is we maybe could each share one or two rules of thumb that we're comfortable giving most people in terms of something that if they apply that, that simple rule, it doesn't have to be super in depth where we feel good, that that would lead them down the path of healthy longevity as it interacts with nutrition. So with that, I'm going to start and give it to you Jade, since you've been on the sidelines here for a bit.
A. Eat Consciously, Don’t Overeat
Jade Teta, ND: Yeah. I mean, I think the major thing that we need to look at is we need to look at, and we have to, in my mind be pretty evidence-based here and essentially say, what is the number one killer? Well, obesity, diabetes, these things are leading to heart disease, cancer. So the first thing is, what do we do about obesity? It's two thirds of the population are essentially overweight. This is going to crush you, make you a susceptible to chronic disease, mess with your function. So here's my sort of four rules based on the evidence for everyone listening.
First of all, do whatever you can to not over eat and over consume, which essentially means you need to control hunger and cravings. How do you do that? Well, actually, both Doug and Nora have some solutions for each of you, depending on your particular direction you want to go. Protein, fiber and water are the best ways to do this. If you are in the Nora camp, it's protein. This is by the way, this is without a doubt-
Nora Gedgaudas: I see fat as actually the...
Jade Teta, ND: Yeah. And what I'll say is respectfully, go and look at the research on this. You'll find protein is the number one macronutrient.
Nora Gedgaudas: I understand what you're saying.
Jade Teta, ND: Carb is next, fat is last. Now fiber, if you can't do protein, you can do fiber like Doug. So that's rule number one, don't overeat. Rule number two is eat high nutrient dense foods, wherever they come from. Again, both in Doug's camp and Nora's camp, there are extremely beneficial foods in both sides. So depending on where you're coming from, just get nutrient dense foods, that usually means whole foods and things like that. And then the final thing I'll say, kind of goes back to the no overeating thing, and that is watch your palatability. Try to avoid hedonistic, highly palatable calorie dense foods that are rich in combinations of starch, sugar, fat, salt, and alcohol. Have enough of that stuff to satisfy you so you enjoy your diet, but keep that stuff to a minimum so you don't overeat. And that to me is a solution for longevity for most people that doesn't get into the biases and dogma on either side.
Greg Kelly, ND: Thanks Jade. With that, I'll let you up next, Nora.
B. Lower Insulin Levels to Avoid Overconsumption
Nora Gedgaudas: Right. So, one thing that it seems to be consistent among most centenarians are healthfully low insulin levels. Anything we can do, which of course the fat storage hormone, if you're talking about obesity. So doing what we can to minimize our body's requirement for insulin is a very important part of the equation. We know from all the longevity research that's been done over the last 100 years or so, that the two things it turns out, and also through the work of Cynthia Kenyon and her discovery of mTOR and all of that, or her discovery of the idea of caloric restriction and that the insulin seemed to be the factor that... that minimizing the need for insulin seemed to be the most important factor that she discovered in terms of doing the most to maximize lifespan and activate longevity genes.
But mTOR also is a really important part of that equation. And that's primarily associated with the amount of protein that we consume. By moderating the protein we consume to just what we need and not exceeding that, we keep mTOR in check, it activates repair and regeneration mechanisms, and it also helps to maintain a healthy state of autophagy that works consistently well. So from the standpoint of, for instance, vegan diets, well, they tend to be pretty low in protein and available bioavailable protein and so you're automatically kind of keeping mTOR at the end of a short leash. And then depending on what else that that is that diet consists of, you may also, you may or may not, if you're eating sprouts you're minimizing insulin, too, so that's fine. But those would be the fundamental principles.
So nutrient density is a really, really critical part of the equation. And that's a critical part of maintaining a form of satiety that doesn't make you want to overeat. And there are a lot of people starving themselves into a state of obesity by eating food of very low nutrient density, poor quality. And as they eat, they constantly feel like they have to keep eating because the body is still craving nutrients that it hasn't got. So it's not all hedonistic stuff. It can be blood sugar issues, obviously can also lead to the overconsumption of food and all that kind of a thing and lead to these rollercoaster eat states and metabolic dysregulation. But when you maintain a diet that is higher in nutrient density, and we're talking about the highest quality proteins and fats, you automatically don't need to eat as much. It's just, you're just not hungry.
In fact, some people I have to remind, they're like, "Well, gee, I can get by on one meal a day," it's like, you really need to meet your nutritional requirements here. We don't want to get overly enamored of not eating, and that's the worry that I have with all of the fasting craze, is that people may be working themselves into places of nutrient deficits with that. And fat-based ketogenic approaches are sometimes guilty of doing that. People, after a while, they're not getting enough of what they need to in order to meet their nutritional requirements. Some people call it caloric restriction with optimal nutrition. Yeah. I mean, but we need to be meeting the foundational nutritional requirements without activating too much mTOR or insulin. So those are my key principles, I guess.
Greg Kelly, ND: Great. Well, thank you. And Doug, do you want to share one or two simple rules of thumb that you might-
C. Consuming Sprouts as a Healthy Choice
Doug Evans: Yeah. I think that for most of my life, I was an emotional eater. So food was a reward. Food was punishment. Food changed my state. And I ate very quickly and before the food registered to my brain, so I would overeat. And I think it's very important to be present with food, that I look at everything that I put in my mouth as a life or death decision. Right? If you eat the... you ate too much salt, you would die, right? So there's things that could be poison. And so if you're present with the food, then you can analyze this and say, am I hungry? Is this serving me? Where did this come from? What kind of nutrients are in this? My personal kind of standard is I look for fresh, ripe, raw, plant based, local, organic, in season. Those are the standards that I go through and it's very hard.
And that's where sprouting kind of opened up a whole plane that now by eating copious amounts of sprouts, I feel abundant. Like there's a level of lightness in my energy because I'm no longer concerned about where my food is coming from. And I have yet to been able to overeat sprouts. I can overeat most anything. I would remember going to Smith and Wollensky Steakhouse in Brooklyn and eating a steak. And then I got a side order of lamb chops, and then I got a shrimp cocktail and then I had the ice cream. And the fat released the pleasure sensors in my brain. And that even if I wasn't hungry, I would still be able to eat because I wanted to eat more. And with raw sprouts, I've yet to been able to overeat. Like I'll eat a lot and then all of a sudden it'll be like, oh, I'm done. Like I'm done.
Greg Kelly, ND: So I just want to point out for our audience, clearly they work for you, at least they work right now really well. And again, one of the... and this, I know Nora, Jade, me to a lesser extent, have worked with many individuals over years and sometimes the thing that works super well for one person, isn't always going to be the best solution for someone else. So I just want to make sure that our audience doesn't essentially globalize one person's experience and assume that's going to be theirs, because sometimes is, sometimes it isn't. But that said, I think sprouts are a great addition to literally almost everyone's diet, at least worth the shot and see how you respond to them. Go ahead. I don't want to-
Doug Evans: Yeah. With that, I think that the idea, and we didn't talk a lot about some of the things and I just, since you're all scientists in one form of another, that within the cruciferous family of vegetables they have the glucoraphanin, which gets converted into sulforaphane after it's chewed or grinded or broken down. There's probably 1500 papers in the last 12 or 18 months on the benefits of sulforaphane for autism or for cancer or for immune system, and all of these things that are being kind of revealed from these parts and that the sprouts, the broccoli sprouts can have 20 to 50 or up to 100 times the amount of the glucoraphanin, AKA sulforaphane, than the mature vegetable. And so when you think about nutrition profile of what's desired, and it's not what I'm doing to tailor things for people, but what I want to do is connect the dots.
And I just had an hour and 45 minute interview with Dr. Jed Fahey at Johns Hopkins University, who discovered that broccoli sprouts had the most sulforaphane 25 years ago and publish the papers on it. So I want to invite these three other doctors, esteemed members to just look into some of the nutritional benefits of sprouts that are available and see how you can incorporate in research. Because I'm curious, and I'm not a scientist. I'm just curious about how they can be part of it because they are so accessible, where one broccoli seed in one year can create 600 broccoli seeds. So they multiply themselves with probably the least amount of water usage and can be grown in a very controlled environment. Yes.
Nora Gedgaudas: Yeah. In my most recent book, I actually do recommend sprouting as a way of supplementing plant based foods because it's inexpensive and it's something anybody can do in their kitchen. I do think that the degree to which we can create our own food, it's awesome. And I have broccoli sprouts in my fridge right now. And I do think there are a lot of potential benefits. I think where we might differ is whether that represents a form of complete nutrition or not for our species. I don't believe that that's possible, but I do think that they have certainly have those have those benefits. And so I don't debate whether they have some nutritional benefits or not. I know that they do.
Doug Evans: Well, thank you. And look, I used to be very dogmatic and now my heart is just open, and what I want to do is share bits of information and not make other people wrong. And so I appreciate your point of view and it's very, very impressive to hear you speak, right, and your background, and I know that you are earnest and sincere in the information that you are sharing and conveying. And I think that the more people are open, and Jade is also very open. And I love having the dialogue with this so that people can benefit because I think that's why I'm not promoting a sproutarian diet, encouraging people to go back to food equality. And food quality can be enhanced through growing low cost organic seeds on your countertop.
Nora Gedgaudas: Sure.
How to Start the Day Towards a Healthy Diet
Greg Kelly, ND: Great. Now I wanted to shift gears again. I know one of the things over the years that I've heard both with people I work with, but it even comes up here at Neurohacker Collective, would be how to start the day. I know when dinner time, when I had patients I was working with, tended to be something they had a lot more comfort about how to execute that in a healthy way, breakfast was a completely different thing. So I'm curious if you have any gems in terms of ways you've had the people you've worked with, Jade, start their day in terms of high quality food.
Jade Teta, ND: Yeah. I mean, I think I'll go back to individualizing this. To me, I look at it like there are many different ways to approach this. Some people can skip breakfast and do just fine. Other people skip breakfast and end up eating a booboo burrito and a large pizza for lunch as a result of skipping breakfast. And so from my perspective, I think what we all need to do, everyone listening, is essentially just ask yourself, when I eat versus I don't eat, what happens at the next meal? When I eat nothing but carbohydrate versus nothing but fat, what happens at the next meal? And become more of a metabolic detective and starting to understand what works for your physiology or not.
Are you going to do well with oatmeal? And you're going to... That's going to get you to the fact where you end up having a nice steak with salad for lunch, or as a result of having that oatmeal, are you going to end up having burrito or a burger? Are you going to have steak and eggs for breakfast? And as a result of that, is that going to make you eat better or worse? Or if I just skip breakfast all together, because some people, once they start eating, they keep eating. To me, it's incredibly individualized. There's no way of getting around that. So each of us have to take that ownership on ourselves instead of trying to outsource it to experts, in my personal opinion.
Don't ask me, you know your body better than me. In my opinion. I can give you some guidelines to essentially say here's what helps with hunger for most people and cravings for most people. And here's sort of what the research says. But remember research is a tool for averages, not individuals. And so what we need to do is take the onus on ourselves and do some of that work. So I would say that, remember that acronym. Hunger, energy, and cravings, H-E-C, what keeps my HEC in check, what throws it out of check. What foods do I need to eat so I eat more of the better foods later, versus what foods do I eat that make me eat worse and more later. And that's how I would answer that question.
Greg Kelly, ND: Fantastic. And before I turn it back to you, Nora, I just wanted to point out a common area that now both in their own way have mentioned, and that's the tuning in, really paying attention to what we do in the moment, but also how we respond later in that day. And what Jade is talking about is often called the second meal effect in research. And it's the idea that what we might do at breakfast is actually going to then shape what we gravitate towards eating at lunch, and also how we metabolically respond to that. One of the core principles in being able to individually self identify a healthy diet over time does require this paying attention aspect. So with that, I'm going to give it back to you, Nora.
Nora Gedgaudas: Sure. Well, again, as with many things, it depends. I do think that the I acknowledge the existence of bio-individuality, but I debate it's its foundational role in making determinations. I think that there are foundational... that there is such a thing as a foundational human diet. And bio-individuality is something that is layered on top of that as nuance. But we live in a very complex world and some people...
We live in a very complex world. And some people have gone through the pains of developing a fat-based metabolism; other people more reliant on a glucose based metabolism as a primary source of fuel. And depending on that, those people are going to... A person that is prone to hypoglycemia is not going to do well skipping breakfast, right. They're just not going to do well. And so somebody like me, to be honest with you, and this is not at all typical, I haven't eaten a damn thing today. I've just been so busy with stuff. And I just only just sort of realized that I'm like, what did I do to, oh geez, I haven't eaten anything.
For me eating is more of a choice that I'm able to kind of pick and choose the healthier alternatives when I do sit down to eat. I do try to eat more than once a day because I want to get all of my nutrition in, but I can go for really long stretches of time. I've actually gone as long as 21 days. I don't recommend this for people. This was like an N-of-1 experiment that I wanted to just sort of see what happened. But I went for 21 days doing nothing but drinking water, maybe a cup of tea in the morning. So I took in fluids, but I didn't eat anything. And I had my blood sugar as low as 50 with no consequences whatsoever to my mood health or energy equation. It was very, very interesting. My ketone levels I monitored and all of those things. And then of course, once I got to 21 days, I thought, okay, enough of that. I'm hungry. I would like to eat something.
But the fact of the matter is that if you're relying on more of a fat based metabolism, it's easier long term. But if a person has trouble getting there, there may be reasons for that, that need to be teased out. So the other thing we need to keep in mind too, that really hasn't been touched upon particularly, but an area of tremendous strength and passion for me is in the arena of immunologic research and auto-immunity. I'm the only member of my family that doesn't have an autoimmune condition and I'd kind of like to keep it that way. And so I've put a lot of effort into that and food sensitivity issues can frequently dictate. Very often the foods we think we want the most are foods that maybe, we may be sensitive to in some ways.
And so I pay attention to what people crave and all that kind of thing, but that doesn't necessarily tell me what it is that's best for them. You know what I mean? We're a long ways removed from the natural world in which we evolved. We've lost a lot of our instinctual sensibilities about that. Some people think, well, I crave chocolate and beer, and that's what works for me kind of a thing. And I don't know that we can trust those instincts as well as we maybe once upon a time might have been able to. But at any rate, what somebody does first thing in the morning to get their day started, it's really going to depend on who they are. And some days I will have something for breakfast and a lot of days I won't and I'll relegate things maybe to a certain window in the afternoon or whatever else.
So I think the safe answer, ultimately, is it really depends on who you are and maybe what your compromises are, what your symptoms are, what it is you're trying to accomplish. Are you overweight? Are you underweight? Do you have an autoimmune condition? What kind of lab testing have you done to determine what your triggers might be? All of that stuff kind of has to factor in. I've spent more than 20 years working in private practice, working with the brain and doing nutritional consultations for an extremely wide range of physical and mental, emotional issues. I'm always trying to get people to move in a certain direction, but you have to start wherever you are. Right?
Greg Kelly, ND: Yeah. Well, one of my mentors, one of his catch phrases is don't let what you can't do stop you from what you can do. So my approach has always been, let's find out what you can do and let's get started on that. And let's not worry so much right now.
Nora Gedgaudas: Exactly.
Greg Kelly, ND: About the things that you can't.
Nora Gedgaudas: I agree. Yeah.
When to Eat, Intermittent Fasting and Time Restricted Eating
Greg Kelly, ND: So we've talked a bit about what to eat, food quality. I wanted to talk a little bit about when to eat. We've loosely touched on a few different roundabout ways, intermittent fasting, or more specifically time restricted eating. So Jade, I know you have both personal experiences with that and do a lot of work with that. So you want to talk a little bit about the role of time restricted eating and other intermittent fasting behaviors may have in longevity.
Jade Teta, ND: Yeah, absolutely. I think there's no question that when you look at the research and again, remember research is a tool for averages, not necessarily individuals, but when you look at that pretty clearly, long periods of time without food are a wonderful thing to do for our physiology and our metabolism. And so from my perspective, when people hear that, they essentially go, okay, that means I have to miss meals. And we run into, as Nora rightly points out, we run into modern day sort of constructs; the three square meals a day is a modern day construct. It's not something that we humans evolved with, right? So we can benefit from long periods of time without food. So the way I sort of break this down is I do think, and this is one place where we can kind of pin me down and you may or may not agree with this, but I do think we humans require time with food and time without food.
And so I would say we should at least be shooting for 12 hours without food. And then at that point, and this to me is an important piece. You have all the things that we need to do to repair autophagy, as Nora mentioned, we won't get into the biochemistry of it. But I do think you need that equal time. Then at that point in time, this comes to sort of what Doug was mentioning about tapping into your physiology and understanding about hunger, energy, and cravings, which again is something that we must learn. And so at that point, you eat when you're hungry, but not so hungry you're going to know your arm off, right? So you give yourself this time and then you check in to essentially say, how hungry am I? And that could mean that you're eating your first meal at 8:00 AM your first meal at 10:00 AM, maybe your first meal at 12:00 PM, or maybe you're like Nora, and you can go the whole day and that's when your body says, "Hey, I'm ready to eat".
And you can see that some of us get very intuitive about this. I sometimes eat three meals a day. Sometimes I eat six little meals a day. Sometimes I go the whole day without eating; not because I know what works for you all who are listening, but because I am practiced at this over 30 years and also working with clients. So my rule of thumb is give yourself time without food, at least 12 hours. That's number one. Number two, eat when you are not ravenous, but hungry. Stop eating when you are not completely stuffed, but full and satisfied enough. And whether that means six meals, three meals, one meal is sort of unimportant to me.
Greg Kelly, ND: Great. Great. Nora, I just want to let the audience know there was a lot of shaking head agreement while Jade was speaking.
Nora Gedgaudas: Yeah, yeah, yeah, no. Yeah. I think that there are certainly benefits to extending the window in which we don't eat or relegating the window which we do eat to a certain number of hours per day and giving our body some rest in between time. I think that there, that there are good benefits to that.
Greg Kelly, ND: Fantastic.
Nora Gedgaudas: And I don't have a problem with that at all. Yeah.
Benefits of Eating Seasonally
Greg Kelly, ND: Great. So another thing I wanted to get thoughts on was shifting a little bit of what we do seasonally, and I know it's something that I typically do. I'm a farmer's market kind of guy. So I tend to eat what's mostly in season in terms of fruits and vegetables as well, but just wanted to get your thoughts and your experience working with patients, both whether you think that's valuable and how you coach people to do that. So this time I'll start with you, Nora.
Nora Gedgaudas: I am very much a proponent of trying to do most everything local, to the extent that we can. And seasonal, there are potentially some benefits to that. The problem is that, with seasonality, obviously the foods that are available in certain seasons, that's great. Avail yourself of those. I'm a big proponent of supporting local farmer's markets, developing a firsthand knowing of where you food actually comes from, establishing a relationship either with the local ranchers or whatever that are raising your animals for food and getting to know them and seeing what they do and all of that. And also getting to know the local farmers that are growing whatever the vegetables and things like that, or just growing your own for that matter.
I'm all for doing what we can to remove the middleman of the grocery store. I think increasingly that's becoming important and learning to develop that firsthand knowing of where our food comes from. And that puts a lot of weight on local. The fact of the matter is though that, for us, even though we may witness a change of seasons in our environment, we live in these artificial climate controlled environments now as a modern day human species, that's not necessarily natural for us. But I don't really care if you're living in Minnesota in February when it's 40 below zero, winter ain't coming for you anymore. So where our prehistoric ancestors, for instance, may have gotten a benefit from activating fruit to kinase by eating a lot, a lot of ripe fruit in the fall to put on some body fat and develop a certain amount of insulin resistance to be able to get through the leaner months ahead, that's less of an advantage to our species today.
So again, I'm a fan of taking a look at the unique constraints of the world that we live in now. Animal source foods are kind of a year round thing that are always available, for the most part, so to me, that's not something that I do seasonally, but like you, I really do enjoy farmer's markets. And I love to support local farmers and ranchers working hard to do the right thing in the right way for the right reasons. That's who I want to give my food dollars to. And the extent to which I can raise or grow or hunt or fish or whatever my own is the extent to which I think that can only be beneficial.
Greg Kelly, ND: Great. Thank you. And Jade, your thoughts.
Jade Teta, ND: Yeah. I think me and Nora probably agree here in a sense, I don't think that for most individuals, that it's a good idea to, it's kind of an advanced technique, right? For most individuals in the average west, it's really enough just to kind of get them getting down to the basics, what satisfies them so they don't under overeat, what is nutrient dense. Once you get to that point, then I think if you're very advanced and you want, as an add on, you certainly can eat seasonally, but I take a slightly different approach this, and then just from my perspective, I say, what would we humans, what's going to benefit us, keeping that metabolic flexibility in a resilient, responsive metabolism that can at times handle no carb and at times can handle no fat, so we burn it off our bodies. And the seasons sort of train our metabolism to do that.
So there is some useful experiments in our brain that we can kind of go through to essentially say, what and how should we be eating. For a real quick example so I don't take too much time, but think about summertime. It's a time of abundance. It's also a time where you can move a lot. So eating more and exercising more, very much like our modern day athlete that has a very, those two inputs food in, exercise in, create a metabolic outcome.
As we get into fall, we start getting into that, maybe four week period around Thanksgiving and Christmas and new year where we're oftentimes eating more and exercising a little less. Not a problem if it's done for a very short period of time and perhaps beneficial for our metabolism to experience that on occasion. But then it needs to be followed up with maybe an eat less, exercise less, time period, a metabolic winter, so to speak. So our metabolism can get used to that particular state.
Then of course, in the spring, it's usually a time of eat less, exercise more. And as long as we're not doing that for too long, we're not going to run into some of the metabolic compensations that we get. For most individuals, I would say for 98% of people, it's a non concern. It's not really something they should be bothering themselves with versus just doing some of the other things we've all talked about in my opinion.
Nutrition for Longevity Takeaways
Greg Kelly, ND: Great. Okay. Well, we are almost out of our scheduled time, so I wanted to start to bring things to a conclusion. And with that, I will give Doug one chance, but I wanted you just to, if you could let our audience know one or two of the things that you think are most important for them in terms of take homes for nutrition and longevity. And let's keep this as brief as we can so that when our team cuts it up, it will be more soundbite.
Doug Evans: Okay. You want me to go?
Greg Kelly, ND: Yeah, please.
Doug Evans: So I think what's important is perspective. And to realize that we come, if you're able to listen to this podcast, you're in a really good shape. So you've won the ovarian lottery, you have access to technology and information, and that focus on the things that you can do. So that's the really important part. So come from a place of gratitude, focus on what you can do. And then I think, we didn't talk too much about water fasting or intermittent fasting or the like, but I think that my recommendation is to eat high quality foods and be very aware of them and create a framework that works for you, whether it's eating slowly or using a timer or spreading the things out, because it's very easy, especially in times of pressure, to use food as a drug.
And so just, I look at food now is food is nutrition, it's for sustenance. It's necessary. You know, food is probably the number one addiction in the world, above gambling, sex, drugs, because you have to eat, but how much do you have to eat? And when do you have to eat? And what Jade was talking about is once you start to eat, your lighting an inferno. So how do you manage that?
And I think, could you manage it by being present and really not like... This is my other soundbite, when you eat, take the few minutes or however to eat and don't try to multitask and be on the computer and be on the phone or watching TV or other things, because you will not be present to the food. You know, digestion begins with the eyes. And I found if I'm present with the food, I have a much better experience with digestion, with assimilation, with consumption and volume. So thank you.
Greg Kelly, ND: Fantastic. Thanks for sharing that.
One thing I just want to mention before we'll turn it on to you next, Nora is, in a general sense, like our brain and body are these amazing learning machines and one of the ways they learn, whether that's in a classroom where we're trying to learn a new language, math, science, or about food is the investment of attention. So the tips you gave your soundbite there, I think are really important. Our brain and body are going to try to learn about everything that we consume. Let's help them out by paying attention to it. So with that, Nora, I'll let you wrap things up from your perspective for our audience.
Nora Gedgaudas: Yeah. I think that as a species, we are much more alike than unalike, from one person to the next. In other words, we all have the same types of organs and tissues, the same hormones, certain same neuro-transmitters, the same fundamental types of tissues and the same type of brain, the same basic digestive system from one person to the next. And the degree to which we can operate in alignment with our evolutionary and genetic heritage as a human species is only going to move us basically in the right direction. Just because our ancestors did something is not necessarily a good enough reason for me to want to do the same thing. Just because something grew out of the ground, we chewed it up, swallowed it didn't drop dead doesn't necessarily mean that was the optimal food for us or for them.
And that's where our longevity research comes into the equation. From my perspective, where I cross pollinate these ancestral concepts with longevity principles, in order to better optimize those in our human anatomy and physiology in our ancestral roots for the world that we live in today. And so, understanding that with there are fundamental nutritional requirements we all have as a human species that we have to meet, and once we've done that, we can add to that things that hopefully only enhance and are not likely to interfere with the quality of our health.
And the more we can embrace food in its natural states, grown in natural ways and not on the Island of Dr. Moreau as Monsanto would have us eat, the better off we are. It's a starting place, right? It's the best starting place for us all really.
Greg Kelly, ND: Fantastic. And I'd just like to add my two cents on that would also be and processed and prepared in ways that traditional cultures around that work.
Nora Gedgaudas: Right. Exactly. Yeah. Of course.
Greg Kelly, ND: Fantastic. And Jade, we'll end it here if you could give our audience a few parting pieces of wisdom.
Jade Teta, ND: Yeah. I think without a doubt, you have to stop overeating and over consuming. That is absolutely clear in the research. We need to stop overeating, which means in my mind, a couple things. One, to control your hunger and your cravings in the way that makes sense. We've talked about that for you. The other thing is remember you can overeat so-called healthy foods, and that's not going to be help helpful for you either. You want to regulate your hunger, or you want to decrease your calories. You want to strive for very nutrient dense foods.
And finally, my tip would be do everything you can related to stress, mindfulness, you've heard some of that. And also the quality of the foods, decreasing the palatability so you're not overeating. And when you do that, you will achieve a calorie deficit and hormonal balance, which are the two things required to live a long functional, healthy life.
Greg Kelly, ND: Well, I just got to say, I'm thrilled to have hosted this time with all three of you. And thank you so much for joining us today.
Nora Gedgaudas: Yes.
Jade Teta, ND: Thanks so much. Nice to meet you both, Doug, Nora.
Nora Gedgaudas: It's been really great meeting you guys.
Doug Evans: Thanks for hosting us.
Jade Teta, ND: Thank you.
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