Bonus: David Sinick – Paleo Hacks


Jonathan: Hey, everyone! Jonathan Bailor, back with another bonus Smarter Science of Slim Podcast. Today is going to be a great show. We have one of the men behind the curtain for one of the most popular Paleo websites. That’s saying a lot because Paleo is awfully popular nowadays and for good reasons. It’s a good stuff. But one of the men behind the curtain over at PaleoHacks.com, a very insightful individual, a fan of Paleo and a fan of helping people to live better through nutrient dense, whole foods so we had to have him on the show. David Sinick, welcome brother!

David: Hey, man! Thanks for having me. I am excited to be here.

Jonathan: It is my pleasure, David. You are a fan of the Paleo Movement and I know from our conversations offline that you had a, let’s call it maybe, an emotional journey to eating differently. Can you tell us about that?

David: Yes. I’ll try not to get emotional while I do it. Essentially, from as long as I can remember growing up—really, when I said as long as I can remember, I guess that’d be from middle school on because I’m just 25 now. I was tired, fatigue. I’ve always been exhausted and little energy. Going through high school, I got into fitness in sophomore high school. [Inaudible 0:01:39] little bit better but I still was fatigue in a regular basis.

I was just like every day around 2-3 o’clock, I would just crash and be dead. Not actually dead but just really unable to function. As a high schooler, I guess, I was just, “Yeah, whatever. It is, what it is.” But this kept going on throughout college and actually got worse to a point where I was… I went to University of Pittsburg for one semester which is a story in itself. But I went to Pittsburg and I remember there’s a period of pretty much three out of the first six months, I was there, period of time when I’d be going to bed like 7 am on a regular basis. For some reason, I could sleep anytime I wanted during the day but not at night.

While this was happening too, I was really depressed. I didn’t have any reason to be depressed. I wasn’t happy with college but I come from a pretty well-to-do family. I don’t have any big emotional stressors on my life. Everything was pretty good but I just felt down all the time.

It just kept piling on, piling on. I went to doctors occasionally because when you’re feeling like that, and I’m sure many people listening have been through a very similar experience of just general… fatigue and depression are not things that are really treated very well, I think, by mainstream medicine. So you go to the doc and say you’re tired, so is everyone else. “Don’t bother me with that.” Or “If you’re depressed, take a pill,” which I will say that I never did. I already was against pharmaceuticals from the start anyway.

I finally [inaudible 0:03:20] I’m 22 years old. This is all just happening as I was little on my life. Twenty two years old, I moved across the country to San Diego and happened to be a neighbor to a guy named Sean Croxton, who if you’re not familiar, runs a very popular podcast called, The Underground of Wellness Show. It also is popular in YouTube channel and blog, everything.

Sean happened to be my next door neighbor and also, at the time my roommate, who [inaudible 03:45] my buddy, Alex, had just switched to Paleo. So I go from Connecticut, which is relatively a healthy place, to the mecca of health food, California—San Diego not being the total mecca but pretty solid—and I’m living with Alex who had just started the Paleo diet. He was like, “Hey, man! All you need to do is eat meat all day.” I’m like, “Oh, my God!” Sean, my next door neighbor, who is but he doesn’t practice anymore, as a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist.

So [inaudible 0:4:15] health problems himself and I happened to decide to take one of the test he was taking. He was taking this food sensitivity test. He had found out that there were a lot of foods that he was sensitive to and that probably [inaudible 0:4:27] more sprouts. He was working with Sean, basically. I was like, “Oh, screw it, I’ll try it. Let’s see what I find out. Maybe, I’ll find a reason why I feel the way I do.” In setting up, it really came to a head because I felt like I was 80 years old. I couldn’t remember my car keys where. I couldn’t remember what I was talking about midsentence. I was still exhausted. It was just not good. This was really the big kind of cataclysmic, turning point for me.

So I took to the food sensitivity test. I think it was a… I want to say a bio health but I’m probably way off. I find out I was sensitive to 21 different foods, which I think was a record at that time for Sean and that began my in-depth journey to figuring out what was wrong. You want me to go into all the rest here because there’s a little bit more to say?

Jonathan: Absolutely, go ahead. Go ahead.

David: So I took a test. Honestly, as Sean said, when you have that kind of sensitivity to that many foods. To test that accuracy and what not, is questionable but you could go and take so much for. But, essentially, if you’re sensitive to that many foods, there’s probably something wrong going on.

So I follow up that test with a mucosal barrier function test and the bio-health 2.05, which one that tells you your hormonal levels – your testosterone, chromosome, et cetera, and find out some very interesting things. One was that my gut was in all sorts of disarray. Lots of dysbiosis which, essentially, is a build-up of bad bacteria.

So essentially, not really being able to digest my food properly which can lead to sleep issues and depression and all stuff you’re not getting amino acids, and what not. But even bigger and the most glaring issue I had was on the 2.05 test, which told me my testosterone levels, my testosterone was incredibly well. I believe it was… I wish I could remember what the measurements are. But essentially, it was on a scale 0-100, 100 being your beast mode testosterone. But mine was 51 and for a 22 year old male, that’s really low.

Jonathan: Sorry, David. What was that number? You cut out right when you said the number.

David: 51.

Jonathan: 51.

David: Just to give you a comparison. My mom took this test a few months after I did and her testosterone was in 57.

Jonathan: Okay. That is very helpful for a frame of reference.

David: So as a 22 year old male, my testosterone was lower than my mother’s. Needless to say, that is not good. On top of that, I found out that I was essentially staged 3 adrenal fatigue, or as I like to call it, AF3. So essentially, my cortisone levels in the morning were really low. I don’t like it too much into it because that’s a whole scientific conversation but essentially, at the end of the day, or earlier in the day or earlier, earlier in the day, my cortisone levels are dropping. I was running out of energy essentially earlier and earlier.

So this was super exciting for me. It’s essentially getting that… it’s kind of a bad news. It’s, “Bad news, you’re sick,” but to me, it was like, “Oh, my God! I know what’s wrong with me and I can address it now.” To not go into crazy, continuous really long, long story, essentially, I combined with the Paleo diet some supplements, continue to work with Sean and guided by Dr. Khalish, I can tell you I’m in a much, much, much healthier place today. The last 2 years have been transformative. I feel I’ve gotten actually younger than older. I must have been beating the crap out of my body up until I was 22. So anyway, that’s my long-winded and all-over-the-place story for you.

Jonathan: Well, David, a couple things that I really want to highlight there, you said you must have been beating up your body. Were you or were you just living the typical, if I understand correctly based on what you described, well-to-do household, not a huge amount of stressors, pretty middle class – upper middle class upbringing, just doing what everyone else was doing? Or were you out doing crazy things?

David: Yeah. I’m not crazy at all. Actually, my ideal fun in high school and still now a little bit, was video games. Actually, no, I don’t have a T.V now. Sophomore year was my first transformation plan. That was when my dad took me to the gym for the first time. I was like, “Holy Crap! I love lifting weights. So I’m going to do it all the time.” So I did that. I was reading a lot of body building literature. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia being the first one I ever read, which is an amazing book.

I thought I was being healthy, actually. I thought I was being extremely healthy. I remember I was counting my calories. I had a food journal. But it was like all my meals were bread. I remember for a long time my post workout meal is a bowl of total cereal, which, if I could go back and eat meat then, I would knock him out. But, yeah. No, I thought I’m being healthy.

That is a general rule. Aside from heavy gluten… I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and stuff, but yeah, I clearly was not as healthy as I thought. Yeah, it is this thing where you think you’re doing the right thing and you want to following your average person’s or average “healthy” person’s list but somehow, you’re ending up in an awful place.

Jonathan: David, that’s something that breaks my heart and I hear more and more. I would imagine you must as well know, I guess, being on the other side and that’s this there’s this new normal. I would be curious if we could get every male in America to take that testosterone test and compare the mean level of testosterone in 22 year olds today than in 22 year olds 50 years ago.

If you just look at depression rates, ADHD, just disorders, disease and sickness in children, and I’m going to define anyone under 30 as a child, is not the way the world is supposed to work. We haven’t been on this earth long enough to have that many problems so it makes you question this fundamental assumptions about what’s healthy.

David: Well, yeah. I learned quite a bit about these… that’s one of the things were… what you just said about finding what the new normal is, that’s a lot of things that a lot of people really don’t think about or take for granted. Okay, so the testosterone test I took is not like the typical one you go to MD and do it. I took it through, essentially, a chiropractor referred me. The reference range for testosterone. I went to endocrinologist because I had surgery in my senior year or my freshmen year in college. Sorry, sophomore year in college.

I’m remember getting a testosterone test and they tell me, “Oh, you’re normal. You’re good.” I got the actual test and they said I was fine. So two years later, I’m dramatically low. It’s not like my testosterone drop. It’s that their level of normal is 0-100. If you have testosterone, you’re okay. Not to mention, the basis for that and most of this is just from my… don’t quote me on this as absolute fact but, from what I remember reading, is that, essentially, the normal levels that they show in the reference ranges are not based on new data currently. It’s old data that’s not accurate. It’s just the people that they’re telling they’re healthy are not actually healthy. I think like exactly what you said, if we did redo of finding out what the normal reference range or what the actual reference range is for a healthy person, we’d be way off. It not even remotely close.

Jonathan: It’s shocking, David, because when you hear… one of the reasons I feel the Paleo movement has had so much success is obviously because it works. There’s not a huge Paleo marketing campaign. There’s not these celebrities on television touting, Biggest Loser: Paleo Edition. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you mentioned earlier that you went [inaudible 13:06] Paleo, which means you eat meat all day.

I’m assuming you were just kidding and you mean more… now you’re eating proper Paleo, which is nutrient dense, plants and animals and just staying away from grains, all that kind of fun stuff. But that has such a transformative effect. It blows people’s mind. It’s a miracle. That, to me, is just… when we live in a world where even us thinking that eating food… the fact that it’s not obvious that eating nutritious food makes you feel better, that seems like a surprise to us. What has been done to our brains that makes that happen?

David: I could go in the whole conspiracy theory about it. Did you ever watch Dr. Oz. I remember reading his top 100 healthiest foods, there’s not a single fruit or vegetable on that freaking list. It was a 100 calorie pack garbage. Tue, I follow the money issue… I really don’t know, man. I really don’t know. It’s a bad place our society has been brought to but I think we’re pulling ourselves out of it. I think that the internet is a big… it’s not just a big… if the internet wasn’t around, we’re would not make any progress on this at all.

I don’t know how this message would have been passed because certainly, not getting passed on TV. The only reason why a woman like Nell Stephenson, who co-wrote the Paleo Diet Book with Loren Cordain, gets on Dr Oz is because people are demanding for it because they know about her, very likely through the internet. Not for any other freaking reason; it’s just the money thing.

One of the thing I wanted to touch upon about the new normal, if it’s alright if I change the subject a little bit, is that with the Paleo diet and just in general… are you still here? I just…

Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah. Keep going.
David: You went blank for a second. So it’s not like when I tell people my story and my symptoms and stuff, people… and this isn’t just people that are in their 30s, 40s, 50s, whatever, people my age. The scariest thing in the world to me is that I tell people my age and they’re all, “Oh yeah, that sounds just like me. I’m having those problems, too. I’m 18 years old and I can’t sleep at night. I’m 18 years old. I’m exhausted all day. I have no energy to do anything.” Or “I have rheumatoid arthritis.” Or “I have cat, pollen and food allergies that are so debilitating that if it’s pollen season, I go outside and I’m done.” It’s really bad. Like it’s…

Jonathan: David, that’s why I get so encouraged by a lot of what I see in the Paleo movement because a lot of people who are in the Paleo are noticeably younger. That really encourages me because I do think we are going in the same direction mentally. I think you are on this call and we’re in for a bit of an unfortunate event in about 10 or 15 years because we live in a world now, if we think it’s bad for individuals like you and individuals like me, we now have a generation of kids growing up where 1 in 3 are overweight. Under the age of 6.

When you are under metabolic distress for 25 years, by the time you are 30… most people are not under biological stress for a cumulative total of 25 years in human history until you’re older. That’s why people say, “Oh, aging stinks.” Because there’s a certain amount of stress that builds up on your body that eventually wears you down and burns you out.

But just like when you see this Olympic gymnast who are 14 and they’re in the Olympics but we fail to realize that they’ve been doing gymnastics since they were 2 so they actually have 12 years of experience under their belt. We have an entire generation of people growing up that will have 25 years of chronic inflammation in their body by the time they’re in their late 20s. If we think healthcare is a problem now, what are we going to do then?

David: Quite a big issue, huh? It definitely concerns me when I see you in my age but, I guess, for sure with younger people because most people with kids now don’t really have a clue. They’re being told on television that Frosted Flakes are part of a balanced, healthy breakfast or that kid’s meals. It’s bad. I think, honestly, Jonathan, the big thing and part of the reason why I’m so happy that I get to do a Paleo-like stuff and promote the Paleo movement, is that, the real solution is just education and forcing change. This isn’t bad. This is know the tiny balance.

In the food industry, it really… I don’t know. To me, it kind of comes on to us versus Monsanto. But I’m sure there’s other players involved but them being quite the biggest. It’s like just people need to learn about it, tell friends about it and educate themselves on healthy really. That’s how it works. Otherwise, it’s never going to change, it’s just going to get worse.

I guess it’s easy to go either way in terms of predicting the future and say it could go super negative or super positive. I do feel like we are making a turning point towards a better, a healthier population. But yeah, there’s definitely going to be a big health crises coming up soon unless people get their act together.

Jonathan: David, I definitely echo that message of hope and especially when I hear you, someone who is an influencer in the community, working with one of these top websites, Paleo Hacks. Really, if we can take the mindset it’s us versus Monsanto. It’s us against the Coca-Cola, who puts out the ad campaign, that it’s only 140 calories and not that it’s us against anyone who isn’t Paleo. Sometimes if everyone… because there’s a bunch of different flavors of ‘don’t eat processed products’ and that really seems to be the devil. Right?

There are plenty of ancestral civilizations who ate really starch heavy diets. There’s all these debates in Paleo communities about macro nutrient ratios and blah, blah, blah. It’s everyone who thought processed food was bad… like T. Colin Campbell. I did podcast with him. He hates the processed food industry. He also really doesn’t like meat, but he really hates the processed food industry.

So what if we could get all of these internet nutrition enthusiast from all walks of life that all agree that Coke is killing kids and that Monsanto is poisoning our food supply and all banned together and be like, “Let’s put our differences aside.” It’s as if aliens invaded earth. Let’s all work against those people. Do you think there’s any hope for that?

David: Oh, man. Jonathan, I got to tell you, I have learned quite a bit about people and their egos in this industry. Yes, there is hope. I would like to quantificate, if I can. I actually post about this in Facebook the other day. When I get inspired, sometimes I post rants. This is what I’ve seen more in the more mainstream fitness space. It’s in Paleo for sure. It’s anywhere where there’s a bigger… I don’t know. ‘Cause’ is not the right word but something that people are following. A big thing in the Paleo communities is like, “Vegans suck. Fucking…” I’m sorry. Excuse me. Vegans, they…

Jonathan: They’re not good.

David: That. Here’s basically what it comes down. I see a lot of people post stuff on Facebook; they’re professionals, like personal trainers and fitness people and they’ll say things, “Gluten-free is a fad.” Or “Here’s another article that show you how it is a fad.” I have the most in-fighting in this industry about what’s right and wrong. I’m the new chef. We’re like, “No, you’re sweating the small stuff, not actual big picture stuff.”

To me, by the way, when I use the word Paleo, I really just mean, “Just eat real food.” Which, by the way, is something I totally stole from Sean Croxton. Just eat real food. That’s about as simple as it freaking gets. But the thing is in-fighting about silly, stupid things every day. I saw a funny [inaudible 0:22:03] one post about kale and how it is killing you and how you should never have kale. The point of the post was to show you that you can easily twist information to you’re your agenda, if you want to.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that people need to get over their own egos and get over there need to be right personally and yes, then do what you’re saying. Bond together. Focus on one common goal, something we can all agree on which is eat real food. Then, work from that platform. If you’re fighting each other, who’s winning there? Who’s really winning? Are you winning because you were able to “beat” someone in an argument on the internet about whether, oh, my god, about raw dairy.

Or is it Monsanto that’s like, “Ha-ha,” walking the way to the bank.” People need to get over themselves and actually serve the people that they’re saying they’re serving. Negative in-fighting will only make it worse. Just the dogmatism. Jesus Christ, just stop it. I got to tell you, I have actually the meaning to do a video or some sort of rant on this Paleoacs because definitely, there’s some of that risk in the community a little bit sometimes.

People getting negative and snippy with each other about silly things. If someone ask a question, then they go, “Oh, that’s a dumb question.” Come on, it’s food. We’re trying to help each other be healthy. Why would you try to hurt someone’s feelings because they don’t know something?

Anyway, yeah. I could say I want more but really…The goal would be, obviously, like you said, we’re supposed to bond together but there’s a big…what’s it? Social consciousness. Social consciousness needs to evolve or something profound like that.

Jonathan: David, I think it’s amazing that individuals like you working with communities like Paleo Hacks, which I could imagine the hundreds of thousands of people you guys touch, having that message and having that message of unity. Heck, man, if you ever wanted to have a national, unite around, just eating things you find in nature day, I’ll be happy to join forces with you.

I almost sometimes wonder if someday if we do this well enough, Pepsi and Monsanto and Unilever will actually start paying people to cause and prompt in-fighting in the community online because they could just sit back there and relax and say, “Ha-ha. Let’s distract them and have them argue with each other while we continue to sell sugar to children in schools.”

David: Jonathan, that’s happening right now. That’s happening literally really right now. It happens in every industry but if you do some digging, reta.com is a huge site. It’s actually a very similar platform that Paleo Hacks. There’s some stuff going around outside there now like fracking. There’s a lot of really internal fracking post shown up there recently. Yeah. I guarantee you, they’re not done. They know it’s coming. It’s a battle up. I don’t think we really begin to actually fight it yet.

We’re not currently really a threat. We may be on the radar but… I don’t know. I will also say this, is that it’s a little scary to actually point out Monsanto as an enemy, even though we all know that they are. Considering how in-depth with the U.S government. I feel like they’re going to show up at my house and black bag me and I going to just disappear.

Jonathan: Well, if they do that, you will die a noble death because we will all know why it happens. So there you go. You’ll be a martyr for the whole foods movement.

David: A martyr. That’s what I always dreamed as a little boy what I wanted to be.

Jonathan: Well, David, certainly we could talk about this for days and days and days but I just wanted to, again, salute you for having this message of common denominators and unity and fighting the greater cause which is saving lives. Because you have a wonderful platform on which to promote that. So thank you sir, I appreciate that.

David: Yeah, [inaudible 0:26:19]. I’m happy to talk with you for sure.

Jonathan: Well, folks, I hope you enjoy this animated conversation as much as I did. We’ve been talking with the great and noble, dare I say, David Sinick, with PaleoHacks.com. If you haven’t check out PaleoHacks.com, do check it out. Sounds like it’s a place where you can come and not get sniped at. If you do get sniped at, shoot David an email and be like, “Hey, got something like that on your site. Figure this out.” David, thank you so much for joining us today.

David: Yeah. Thanks, man.

Jonathan: Folks, I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Please remember, this week and every week after—eat smarter, exercise smarter and live better. Chat with you soon.

This week we have the pleasure of hearing from David Sinick. In his own words:

“I run paleohacks.com, one of the largest paleo sites on the web.” (David is quite an understated guy 🙂 )