I just want to give a quick heads-up because we get some great questions every single week which have to do with topics which are so important that there are hours of video and thousands of words in the Ignite Program to cover them in detail. These are things like emotional eating, helping your family to go SANE with you, cravings, things along those lines, and in fact, they’re so important that I can’t do them justice here on these calls and I don’t want the only place for you to get answers in these calls for those key-key topics.
Definitely, actually one of the exciting announcements this week is we’re going to be doing some new stuff with search on the site that’s going to be amazing. We’re going to hopefully be rolling that out this week. It’s going to make it a lot easier to find stuff. Anyway, we’re going to have a lot of fun and we’re going to cover some stuff that isn’t covered anywhere else because I want these calls to be uniquely valuable for you so hopefully that’s okay. Please feel free to chat if you have a question for me specifically.
What’s up, Suzanne and La? I like that. I love the name, La, and Leslie. If you have a question for me specifically, please look down in the lower right-hand corner of your screen. You’ll notice there’s a little chat box which a lot of people have awesomely already used. When you click on the little bubble, you’ll see that you can pick Chat or something else. It’s usually like Q&A or something along those lines. If you want me to see what you write, if it’s a question, please use the Q&A.
Boom! Raina’s on top of it. I was about to say, “And Raina is usually super on top of things.” Raina’s one of our beautiful and insightful and lovely SANE-certified coaches who hopefully you have met along with Rebecca and Laurie and Wednesday in the SANE coaching and support group. They are there for you twenty-four seven, three-sixty-five. They are awesome. They are four of the most awesome people in the entire world. They’re four of a kind. You’re not going to find anyone like Raina, Laurie, Wednesday, or Rebecca anywhere else except in the SANE support group and Raina’s often on these calls because she’s a super star. She just posted a question. If you have a question for me, please do like that otherwise I won’t be able to see them.
So that’s all good stuff. The way these calls generally go, if you’re new to them, is you are welcome to chat if you want. If you do not want to chat, that’s fine too. It’s okay if you’re shy but feel free to chime in. I’ve got questions that have been written in beforehand in the surveys -– like, What times work for you? surveys.
What’s also cool about that is if you ever can’t make one of these calls, please do note that they are recorded and transcribed. Keep that in mind in terms of the questions you ask because it is recorded and transcribed. Also if you can’t make the call, it’s all good because you’re going to get access to the recording and the transcription so if you send in a question beforehand and I have the opportunity to answer it, then you can actually interact virtually even though you’re not live on the call. So we’re going to go over those questions.
I also have some stuff that I want to cover that’s just cutting edge and you probably wouldn’t have a question about it because it’s cutting-edge. I want to make sure we get to that.
Also, I really am going to try to maximize the value we get out of these calls by covering things that are not already in the Ignite Program. Please, if I ever say, “Hey, that’s a great fit for the coaching group” or “That’s covered in the step-by-step program,” please see that as good news; not like, “Oh, Jonathan didn’t answer my question” because, I promise, if it’s covered in the coaching group and if it’s covered in the Ignite Program, that’s because it’s such a good question that we wanted to provide detailed permanent resources for you. Hopefully, that’ll make sense.
Anyway, we have a lot of questions to go through. We usually go for an hour -– no, not an hour, holy moly, ninety minutes or until I pass out. It’s cool here today in Seattle so it’s not going to be one of the days where I pass out. So let’s go ahead and get started. I do want to give priority to the individuals who are here live and asking questions live.
First question here is Diane and Diane is asking, “Why does it show as inSANE when I have a veggie with fat and no protein?” Diane, I’m guessing you’re asking a question about the mobile application here so I’m going to answer this real quickly with the mobile application and with anything even on the website. One, it’s entirely possible that there is a bug. If there is a bug, then we’ll get it fixed.
What more than likely you are seeing is the app and the website score in terms of what’s called a complete SANE meal. What that means is the app and the website isn’t looking at an individual food; it’s looking at a complete SANE meal because we found, through the research that, combining non-starchy vegetables with nutrient-dense protein and wholefood fats together when you eat, eating them all at the same time gives you the best results.
There is a synergy between those three food groups. Because of that, for example, if you use the app or the website and you just say, “Ate a can of tuna fish,” which would be one serving of nutrient-dense protein, while that is a SANE food, if you look at that just in terms of, “Hey, is this individual food SANE?” It is. In terms of a complete SANE meal, for example, would it be good for your long term health and wellbeing if you ate four meals per day and those meals consisted of just a can of tuna?” So, all you ate for the entire day was a can of tuna for breakfast, a can of tuna for lunch, and a can of tuna for dinner, that would not be healthy long term. So what the SANE app is telling you or the SANE website is telling you is that, if this is what you’re eating for a meal, it might be inSANE in terms of a meal because it’s not a complete SANE meal.
Here’s the trick. The trick is generally, if you get two or more servings of vegetables along with protein and along with a serving of whole food fats, that’s when you’re going to get that green SANE score. If something other than that is happening, definitely please post that in the support group or shoot that over to the customer support email address; there may be a bug.
We are in the process of releasing an enhancement to the scoring algorithm. Previously, there were three levels of goals that you could set. There’s going to be five. There may be a temporary bug but what I’m suspecting you’re seeing is -– we’ve definitely gotten questions, for example, even with the SANE Meal Bars. Someone will eat a SANE Meal Bar, which is like, “Well, this must be SANE. It’s a SANE Meal Bar.” They take a picture of it and they store it in the app and then they say, “One serving of nutrient-dense protein,” and the results come back as not green. The answer for that is because it’s not a complete SANE meal in and of itself. Again, to recap, it’s not that that’s bad; it’s just that the app is calculating in terms of your -– it’s looking at a meal relative to a complete SANE meal.
What you will notice is that you do have a daily SANE score as well. Let’s say, for example, that you ate just a SANE Meal Bar or just three servings of vegetables or something along those lines. But if over the course of the day, you hit your servings goals for vegetables, for protein, and for fat, then your daily SANE score would be green because over the course of the day, you hit your goals for all those food groups. If that kind of made sense -– I know it might seem a little confusing but if you pop up and understand two key points –- one is that, complete SANE meals which consist of non-starchy vegetables and nutrient-dense protein and whole food fats, that is the gold standard; that is green. Anything less than that is going to be more towards red even if it’s — like six servings of nutrient-dense protein as a meal is not going to be SANE; that’s actually going to be inSANE because it would destroy your liver.
The real key is thinking about it in terms of your daily SANE score. You’ll see that both in the app and on your website. That’s really the key. If you can string together SANE days consistently, that’s where you’re going to see the biggest results. Please let me know if that doesn’t answer your question. Hopefully, it does. Sometimes I get a little deeper in things. I’ve gotten feedback that I get a little deep sometimes but that’s what these calls are kind of for. Hopefully, it’s helpful. If I ever go too deep, tell me to pop up and I will pop up.
Leslie has one small question. “Can you talk a bit about using kefir while working on this way of being –?” First of all, the fact that you said “way of being” rather than “diet” means you get twenty-five bonus points because it’s so not a diet and I love how you said “way of being.” We should write that down. Raina, please write that down. This is the SANE way of being. I love that, Leslie. “I love the probiotic part and would like to know, A, is it SANE? If so, B, what to consider it to be –- fat, protein, or something else?”
Kefir -– first of all, you’re right on the spot. The probiotics are extremely important. Don’t forget about prebiotics which are also very, very important. We can talk more about that later if you want to know more about that but we want probiotics and prebiotics. You’re right on about getting them from food rather than from supplements, is always, always better. We can talk more about that later if you like. Kefir itself — without knowing the brand and the macros, it’s hard for me to say. Generally, kefir is SANE.
The way you would tell if any food is SANE -– kefir and more — is really looking at three things. This is oversimplification but looking at three things –- protein, fiber, and water. Water is kind of harder to look at for this example. Protein and fiber –- for example, if you look at kefir or anything else, it’s actually really helpful with dairy products in general.
Let’s say the dairy product has a hundred calories per serving. Let’s say that it has twenty grams of protein -– just hypothetically. A gram of protein has four calories in it so twenty grams of protein times four calories means that of those hundred calories per serving, eighty of them are coming from protein, which means that that food is eighty percent protein. Since protein, water, and fiber are the three things that determine SANEity, meaning the more protein, the more water and the more fiber, the SANEr the food is, then that food is almost definitely going to be SANE.
You could use that heuristic protein, water, and fiber to compare brands of kefir to find the SANEst one. For example, if you had two brands of kefir and one had more fiber in it; one had more protein in it and everything else; everything else is the same and it would be kind of be hard for everything else to be the same but you know what I’m saying, more protein and more fiber means SANEr. As long as the kefir doesn’t have much of nonsense added to it, yes, it’s generally going to be SANE. I believe it would be counted as a wholefood fat — to teach you how to fish rather than to hand you the fish, which is SANE — but if you scored it in the app, if you didn’t eat it with vegetables and a wholefood fat, it wouldn’t necessarily come up as green.
Tying it all back -– to tell if it’s a protein, a vegetable, or a wholefood fat, here’s a general rule of thumb. Something is a protein if it gets more of its calories from protein than from anything else. So the great example here is an egg. A lot of people will look at eggs and, because it’s what they’ve been told their whole life, which unfortunately, more often than not is wrong and that’s why we have an obesity and diabetes crisis in this country, someone will be told, “Eggs are a great source of protein.” That’s half true.
The quality of protein found in eggs is phenomenal. It’s actually the benchmark by which all other proteins are measured so the quality of protein in eggs is brilliant. But if you look at what eggs are actually made of, an egg is about sixty-five percent fat; meaning it’s getting sixty-five percent of its calories from fat. A normal egg has about ninety to a hundred calories in it. There’s about sixty-five of those calories coming from fat. What that tells us is, if sixty-five percent of the food is coming from healthy fats, then that food is a whole food fat; whereas, a can of tuna -– the other food I mentioned earlier — a can of tuna is going to get eighty to ninety percent of its calories from protein.
You can always figure this out just by doing very, very simple math, which we are definitely not fans of doing math at the dinner table but if you want to figure these things out, it’s very simple. What you do is, you just look at the protein, you multiply the protein number by four — so the grams of protein in a serving –- you multiply them by four, which is the number of calories; then you look at that number divided by the calories in a serving. For example, let’s say, a can of tuna fish has hypothetically twenty grams of protein times four –- eighty calories; twenty grams of protein in a serving. A serving has a hundred calories –- eight calories coming from protein; divide eighty by a hundred -– so eighty percent of that food is protein, which means, by definition of math, if eighty percent of food is protein, then it’s more protein than anything else because there’s only twenty percent left over to be divided between the other macronutrients, which is fat and carbohydrates.
Long story short, an egg –- what is an egg? Is an egg a wholefood fat or is it a nutrient-dense protein? Egg –- wholefood fat. Why? Sixty-five percent of its calories are coming from fat. Therefore, only thirty-five percent of its calories are leftover to be divided between protein and carbohydrates. Even if all the remaining calories came from protein, you’d still be getting twice as many calories from fat as you would from protein so it’s a good source of wholefood fats.
The simpler version of what I just went on a little rant about is, you can tell if something is a wholefood fat or a nutrient-dense protein by saying, “Does it get more of its calories –- so does it get greater than fifty percent of its calories from protein or from fat?” Now, if there was ever a food you found that had fifty percent of its calories from protein and fifty percent of its calories from fat, then please just post about that in the coaching and support group and we can help.
As a general rule of thumb, concentrated sources of protein are very clearly getting the vast majority of their calories from protein whereas wholefood fats like eggs, nuts, and seeds are very clearly getting the majority of their calories from fat. That’s how you break them into those categories. Non-starchy vegetables are the SANEst form of carbohydrates in the world so they’re getting almost all of their calories from carbohydrates but it’s a brilliant form of carbohydrate; healthy form of carbohydrate; SANE form of carbohydrate; and of course, fiber, which does not consist of calories at all because your body can’t burn it as energy.
Let’s go here -– next, questions. The questions are coming in hot and heavy today. I like that. I like that very much. Victor –- “Can my wife use my enrollment?” Yes. Victor, just please email your dedicated Ignite Support Team, which I believe is SANElivenow@gmail.com. Absolutely, we’re going to do everything we can to ensure your success and we know that your success is also contingent on the success of people in your household so it is our pleasure to absolutely –- we’ll go ahead and always do a free partner add-on, so no additional charge.
We need you to be successful. We want you to be successful. The whole reason we are all here is for you to be successful so, yes, if you have a partner you’d like to add to your membership, everyone here on this call, everyone who’s watching the call, just go ahead at SANElivenow@gmail.com and you can either share your existing login information or we’ll create another account for you, complimentary, which is cool because we want you to be successful.
Let’s see here. Victor -– “How do you use Oikos Greek full fat yogurt?” Victor, that’s a good question. If you could let me know a little bit more detail what do you mean, “how do you use it?” If you mean “How do you score it?”, it’s a wholefood fat, I would imagine, if it gets most of its calories from fat.
Yes, so let me go to some questions that have been written in here. One that’s been written in is, “How do you prevent saggy skin when you lose weight? I am talking about a forty-to-fifty-pound weight loss eventually.” I love this question because it is actually a very common occurrence that individuals face when going SANE long term because going SANE long term can’t not work, or to phrase that less clumsily, has to work because at the end of the day, we’re talking about eating more vegetables, proteins, wholefood fats in place of addictive and toxic substances and while we always will tell you, while that’s going to take longer than just starving yourself, who cares? Because starving yourself is horrific and it is deadly and it is toxic and it will make you fatter in the long term because it’s conditioning your body to store fat long term.
What SANE is actually doing is it’s healing you at a metabolic level and it’s going to help with the excessive skin in two ways. One is, it will enforce a safe and sustainable rate of fat loss versus weight loss. What I mean by that is, if you are losing a half pound of fat – fat; not weight, fat -– per week. One that might seem slow by the biggest loser standards but as we’ve seen in the New York Times and as we’ve seen in studies over the past thirty years, nobody has a problem temporarily losing weight. It’s fine. The problem is weight maintenance. We’re not here to starve ourselves. We’re not here to do things for twenty-one days only to have everything get worse on day twenty-two. That’s not helping us. All of us that are on this call and all of us that are watching this call have lost weight successfully at least once, if not many times. We already know how to temporarily lose weight. What we don’t know is how to have a lifestyle – a long term lifestyle that makes it enjoyable and energizing and easier over time to maintain an optimal weight and body fat percentage. That’s what SANE will enable you to do.
SANE is going to focus on fat loss rather than weight loss and it’s going to do that at a safe and sustainable rate. Now, this is going to help with saggy skin because, one, you’re not going to burn off muscle tissue; in fact, you’re going to build muscle tissue. This is why we don’t want to be laser focused on weight loss because if you drop a half pound of fat and you gain a half pound of lean muscle tissue, one, your weight isn’t going to change at all; two, that’s going to take care of your saggy skin problem one hundred percent because that lean muscle tissue is going to help to give you that firm toned look rather than the deflated balloon look, which is what happens if we just starve ourselves. Further, when you lose weight at a healthy rate, it gives your skin time to adapt.
Now, if you lose a hundred and fifty pounds, which we’ve seen repeatedly, of course that’s going to take two years. If you’re losing a hundred and fifty pounds faster than that, watch out because that could be causing some long term damage inevitably. If you’re losing a hundred plus pounds, surgery may be required for the excess skin but in the forty-to-fifty-pound range, which is a wonderful goal to have for, like, one year from today, I’d honestly prefer it to not be a forty-to-fifty-pound weight loss; I’d rather it be about body fat percentage. We talked about that a lot on the last call and it’s also in your step-by-step program.
The gist is, when you go SANE and when you get eccentric –- let me put it this way –- so we’ve been programmed and conditioned to say, “I want to lose fifty pounds.” I think what we really want –- please correct me if I’m wrong –- is, “I want to feel like and look like what I think fifty pounds lighter means.”
So let me unpack that a little bit. If hypothetically, you weigh two hundred pounds right now and you envision in your mind what it would feel like to weigh a hundred and fifty pounds and what you would look like at a hundred and fifty pounds, you probably have a sense of what you’d look like and what you’d feel like. Now, if you could look and feel that way and, better, and weight a hundred and seventy pounds, I don’t think you’d care because unless you wear your weight around your neck, which nobody does unless you’re on a reality television show, the only thing that matters for all intents and purposes, I think –- and please correct me if I’m wrong -– is, how you feel and, let’s be honest, how you look. We all care how we look so –- how you feel and how you look.
If we can get you to feel and look like you’ve lost fifty pounds, whereas in reality, you may have only lost, let’s say, thirty pounds but you’ve gained lean muscle tissue; you’ve healed your metabolism; your doctor has now taken you off of myriad medications because you’ve restored your health, well then, the saggy skin actually isn’t going to be a problem for three reasons -– one is, you’ve flooded your body with nutrition so that’s actually going to help with the elasticity of your skin.
For example, we talked about protein. We talked about healthy fats. That really helps with skin in general so it’s going to restore skin elasticity. Two, you’re going to give your body enough time for the skin to adapt to changes in the way your body is structured. Three, you’re not starving and dehydrating yourself; you’re actually staying hydrated and you’re actually developing lean muscle tissue. Those three things put together are going to help to prevent saggy skin. Hopefully, that is helpful.
Let me just see real quick if anyone had any follow-up questions on that specific point. All right, I’m getting a little bit behind here with the questions. I apologize.
All right, cool. Next question is one that was written in that says, “I am a female and I lift heavy weights concentrically in the gym.” This is actually a rather long question. The summary is, “If I’m already weight training, which exercises should I do as I start to get eccentric and how many sets and how often? I like the idea of spending less time in the gym and getting better results.” I’m going to answer this question in a kind of way that I think is going to be helpful for all of us, no matter where we’re at in terms of our exercise experience.
First point, that’s really important to keep in mind –- really important to keep in mind is there’s so much talk on the Internet and on the news in terms of what is the best form of exercise. Which form of exercise is the best? I think one of the biggest SANE mindset shifts we can make, which honestly is I think the most helpful part of this program because once you get your mindset right and then you get the correct eating and exercise information and you get the correct and helpful and loving SANE social support –- those four pillars -– holy moly -– that turbo charges things.
The SANE mindset shift here is in the inSANE typical world, there’s conversations about which exercise is best. The sort of statement of, “This exercise is best” is a little bit like the statement, “This outfit is best.” What do I mean by that? I think we can all agree that there is no such thing as “the best” outfit. If you’re going to the beach, the best outfit for the beach is totally different than if you’re going to a wedding. That best outfit at the beach might be horribly inappropriate at a job interview. What is the point here? The point is that the context or the goal matters. We can never say what is the best outfit without knowing the context in which the outfit will be worn or the goal of that outfit. So what is the best outfit to wear at a job interview for a job at a law firm? Totally, we can help there.
The same thing applies to exercise. The question of, “Which form of exercise is best?” is only half the question we need to ask or maybe even a third of the question we need to ask. The question we need to ask is, “Which form of exercise is best for goal X, Y, Z, given my age, my limitations, so on and so forth?” In the SANE lifestyle, the SANE lifestyle is all about long term metabolic healing. It’s really important to unpack that. Long term means, honestly, we don’t care what happens over the next twenty-one days. We only care about what happens over the next twenty-one days to the extent that it helps us live better for the next twenty-one years.
What I mean by that is, I think we can all agree that losing ten percent of your body weight in twenty-one days only to gain all of that back and more is worse than doing nothing. I think that’s common sense and it’s proven by the medical literature. You would be way better off from a health perspective, never losing weight than if you had lost weight only to gain it all back. Even if you don’t gain more than you lost back, just gaining it back -– that act of yo-yo dieting can be very, very damaging to our metabolic system.
What we’re always concerned with is long term. We’re concerned with long term metabolic healing. For example, burning calories does not contribute to metabolic healing. We burn calories; it’s energizing. We need to do it but it’s not healing us. The way we heal ourselves is by changing our hormonal balance, by flooding our body with nutrients, by healing damage that has been incurred by our digestive system; and healing neurological inflammation that has been caused by toxic additives and things like MSG, things like those.
Exercise can be used powerfully to help with long term metabolic healing but the key is to first say, “Hey, it’s really important that we all acknowledge and embrace that having an exercise goal of long term metabolic healing is a totally different goal than, let’s say, becoming a better basketball player or becoming a better marathon runner or becoming a better golfer. Those are all different things that you could use exercise to become better at but they’re different so we’d exercise differently.
Why does this matter? This matters because when we actually look at the scientific research and we look at how exercise can contribute to long term metabolic healing, we see two really profound and little-known discoveries. The first is long term. There is no question that exercising –- the faster we move our bodies — so think about it this way. The faster you drive a car, the more likely it is that someone can get hurt. That’s why we have speed limits. Driving at two hundred miles an hour is more risky than driving at twenty miles an hour. Fair?
For example, if you’re on a bicycle and you want to increase the intensity of being on a bicycle and the way you do that is by pedaling way faster, you will absolutely increase the intensity of riding on the bicycle but you’ll also increase risk. Why is this relevant? The more risk we incur, the more likely we are to get injured. The more likely we are to get injured, the less likely we are to be successful long term.
The first thing we need to do is we need to look at the research. We need to say, “What form of exercise is the least risky or has the least risk of injury?” Since we know that there is a direct relationship between the speed at which an object moves, especially a human being and their likelihood of injury, then we know that we need to find a form of exercise that favors slow and controlled movement rather than fast, explosive movement. It doesn’t mean that fast explosive movement is bad. It’s not bad to drive sixty miles an hour on the freeway. I think we would all agree though that it is riskier than driving six miles an hour.
If our goal is long term safety, we know we need to move slowly. That’s actually really good news because when we also look at the research and we look at how do we accomplish the most in metabolic healing, the way we accomplish the most metabolic healing is by triggering the strongest hormonal responses in our body.
One of the amazing things that the right form of exercise can do that nothing else can is, it can trigger the release of really powerful hormones. It’s called the metabolic cascade. You have things like healthy natural doses of testosterone which, of course, exists in women’s bodies as well, just in much lower doses; adrenaline, noradrenaline. These hormones almost serve as like a Drano or liquid plumber to our metabolic system to flush out a lot of the nonsense and dysregulation that is going on.
Now, here’s where this all comes together. The way we trigger that maximum hormonal response is by exercising in a way that activates the most muscle and the most of the individual fibers within those muscles as possible.
If you’ve dug into your step-by-step program, I think it’s right around the SANE 201 lesson timeframe, where we start to talk about the different muscle fibers and how traditional forms of exercise that are done for long periods of time and frequently only activate one or two of the four types of muscle fibers you have. This is really exciting. Can you imagine, for instance, if you never, ever, ever worked your leg muscles in your whole life for whatever reason? You were using a sit-down segue human transport machine. Your whole life, you never used your leg muscles and then you started using your leg muscles. Could you imagine the impact that would have on your health and the speed of results you could see?
Well, many of us -– ninety-nine percent of Americans have never activated, for example, their Type 2b muscle fibers. These are the types of muscle fibers that only get activated when our muscles have to generate a maximum amount of force. For example, no amount of walking ever will cause your Type 2b muscle fibers to be activated; just like no amount of walking will stimulate your bicep muscles because that muscle group is not active in walking. I mean, of course, you’re swinging your arms but you get my point, right?
Similarly, when you’re walking, while your leg muscles are working, only one type of the fiber in your leg muscles are getting activated. When we train eccentrically -– eccentrically is when we train very slowly; that’s the safety and we train with heavy resistance. We can move very slowly but we can use more resistance so that we activate all the muscle fibers. By activating all the muscle fibers, we trigger the most of the hormones which trigger metabolic healing. Because we’re moving slowly, we can do that long term -– long term metabolic healing.
Bringing that back to the original question -– “Which exercises should I do? How many sets? How often?” For all of us, the exercises we should do first, no matter which exercises we do, we should focus on doing them slowly with the maximum amount of resistance that we can use safely for doing about six repetitions where each repetition is going to take about eight to ten seconds on the eccentric portion of the contraction.
A lot of words there –- let me unpack that a little bit. If you’re doing bicep curls, for example, which is actually only going to be working your bicep muscles so we want to –- probably that’s a bad example. When we want to work our big leg muscles, for example, but when your muscle contracts, that’s called concentric and when it extends, that’s called eccentric. For example, when you sit down, that’s an eccentric contraction and when you stand up, it’s a concentric contraction.
Like a lot of things, it’s unfortunate because even the term weightlifting is pointing us in the wrong direction because our muscles are actually stronger when we’re lowering weights rather than when we’re lifting weights so that’s the eccentric contraction rather than the concentric contraction so we should really be focused on lowering weights rather than lifting weights.
The point is that we always want to activate the most muscle and the most muscle fibers possible. Sixty to seventy percent of all the muscle in your body is below your waist so we want to spend sixty to seventy percent of our time working the muscle below our waist. If you’re spending ten minutes working your tiny bicep muscle, that’s great. If you want to strengthen your bicep muscle but if what you’re trying to do is to trigger a maximum hormonal response for long term metabolic healing, then activating all of the muscle fibers in your big leg muscles is going to trigger a way bigger hormonal response than working just the relatively small bicep muscle.
We always want to pick exercises that work the most muscle possible. These are things like leg press, squats, lunges -– things are going to work all of our leg muscles. The next biggest muscle group is your back -– your back muscles. These are things like rows and pull-ups. There’s obviously way more information about this in the program. Next is your chest muscles and then your shoulders and then your arms and then your abs because, again, it’s great to have a strong core but having a strong core is a different goal -– I’m not saying better or worse -– it’s a different goal than the long term metabolic healing. What we’re trying to do is long term metabolic healing.
So which exercises should I do? You should do exercises that activate the most muscle fibers possible in the biggest muscle groups possible. In order, that’s legs, back, chest, then shoulders, then arms. What that means is, you should never do an arm exercise until you’ve done your leg exercises because you’re going to get way more metabolic benefit from those leg exercises than you would for your arms.
How many sets? How often? One set to what’s called a complete eccentric failure. You can read more about this in the program and watch videos on it. It is self-limiting. What I mean by that is, if I were to tell you to go run a marathon and then sit down for five seconds and then go run another marathon, you’d be like, “That’s crazy. I can’t run two marathons back to back. It’s self-limiting.”
Exercise is self-limiting when done properly. When you exercise eccentrically, it is so effectively and potently working your muscles that, let’s say, you were to do an exercise and you were to lift and lower a hundred pounds and you were to do that properly eccentrically as we do not have time to cover in this call but it’s covered in detail in your program. If you tried to go in and do that five times a week, it would be physically impossible because your Type 2b muscle fibers can take anywhere from four to twelve days to fully recover because the more force a muscle fiber generates, the longer it takes to recover.
This is why we recommend in the program, you’re going to be doing one eccentric exercise session per week and one smarter interval training session per week. How many sets is usually, it’s one set of six repetitions at a slow tempo. Again, this is covered in detail in the program. You are doing that once a week simply because if you try to do it more than once a week, it’s physically impossible because your muscle fibers haven’t had time to recover. Hopefully, that is helpful.
All right, so next question here is — how to eat SANE with an ileostomy? Real quick –- we cannot give medical advice. Ileostomy is a surgery where modification is made to the digestive system but this is a great question to unpack what SANE is. I love earlier the comment -– forgive me –- I forget who said it but you know who you are and you get bonus points. He said “the SANE way of being.”
Whether or not you’ve had an ileostomy, whether or not you have cholesterol problems, whether or not you’re pre-diabetic, whether or not you’re pregnant, whether or not you’re going through menopause or andropause for males and females respectively, you always want to work with your primary care physician when making any lifestyle change.
What’s really cool about this is, for example, for the SANE family member who’s had an ileostomy, what you get to do now, which is so cool, is, you don’t have to go to your primary care doctor and be like, “Hey, I’m going to go on the grapefruit/cabbage soup diet, which is like “You eat exactly this and then I’m going to take these fifteen pills that this person on the Internet sold me. Is this safe? Is this safe for me?” Which is totally a valid question because, like, just eat cabbage soup and grapefruit and take this thousand dollars’ worth of pills which aren’t regulated by the FDA and –-“ Whoo! I don’t know if that’s going to be good for us.
What you get to do now is, you get to go to your doctor and you get to say, “Doc, you know my medical history. My goal over the next — forever –-“ that’s the first point. It’s not your goal over the next twenty-one days -– “My goal for the rest of my life because I want to live the best of my life for the rest of my life -– I don’t want to do something for fourteen days because if I only do it for fourteen days, what the heck happens on day fifteen?” I want to make small, sustainable progress that I can maintain for the rest of my life.
“Doc, are you ready? Are you ready, Doc? I am going to try to eat so many vegetables –- in this order, Doc, in this order -– I am going to try to eat so many non-starchy vegetables. Doc, when I say non-starchy vegetables, I mean, things you could eat raw. I’m not necessarily going to eat them all raw but, Doc, you know, like potatoes and corn, we can eat those raw. That’s because they’re not vegetables; they’re starch.” Your doctor would be like, “Hey, that’s a good point.” She’ll be like, “Yeah, that’s a good point.”
“I’m going to try to eat the vast majority of my food as non-starchy vegetables -– things like green vegetables, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, peppers –- all of that beautiful colors of the rainbow -– those vegetables. Then I’m going to try to eat nutrient-dense protein –- so these are white wild-caught seafood whenever possible, humanely raised meats, dairy products that are higher in protein and much lower in sugar. Then I’m going to try to get quite a bit of my energy from wholefood fats because I know that nuts and seeds and eggs, for example, are a great source of energy and they don’t cause a huge insulin or hormonal reaction in my body.
I’m going to try to eat so those non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, and wholefood fats in that order and I’m of course going to enjoy maybe some of that low-fructose fruits as well, like blueberries and strawberries and citrus fruits. Doc, I’m going to try to eat so many of those foods in that order that I’m just too full for processed starches and processed sweets and processed trans-fats. Do you think that’s okay, Doc?” I promise you –- I mean, I know not all docs –- I mean, you can become an MD in the United States without taking a single class on nutrition -– but if you say that to your doc, you’re going to get a resounding “That’s a good idea.”
What your doc can then help you to do is refine that SANE template for your unique medical concerns. For example, if you have problems with kidney stones, you might adjust the certain types of vegetables you’re eating to reduce oxalate intake. If you have a peanut allergy, obviously you’re not going to be eating peanuts even though they’re right in the middle of the SANE spectrum. The cool thing is, with any pre-existing medical condition, you always want to work with your physician.
What we’re talking about with a SANE lifestyle is eating so much of foods that fill you up with abundant nutrition that have been proven over tens of thousands of years and that have been proven in thousands of peer-reviewed research to help heal your body, eating so many of those that you’re too full for processed starches and sweets, and in some ways, that’s a little bit like going to a relationship counselor and saying, “Hey, I’m going to do everything in my power to be more loving and more trusting and more considerate to my partner and I’m going to try to be so loving and trusting and considerate that I don’t have time to be critical of them anymore and I don’t have time to do sort of annoying things. Do you think that would make my relationship better?” They would be like, “Oh yeah, I think that’s a pretty good idea.”
Of course, they might need to do some customization based on your unique partnership but it’s the same thing here. The basic SANE framework is, at the end of the day, it’s saying, “Look, we were told that “X, Y, Z is healthy” in the 1960s. that was wrong and it’s now being widely acknowledged as wrong. We have fifty years of science that has updated our definition of healthy. Our definition of healthy is now –- I mean, the word healthy has become meaningless honestly. If you ask ten people, what’s a healthy food, you’re going to get ten different answers.
Instead, we’ve spent the past fifteen years coming up with new criteria that is actually measurable and actually based on science and we call that SANE -– satiety, aggression, nutrition, and efficiency. Non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, wholefood fats, and low-fructose fruits are just point blank the most satisfying, unaggressive, nutritious, and inefficient high water, fiber, and protein foods on the planet. If we eat more of those in place of things that are addictive and toxic like processed starches, processed sweets, and processed fats, it’s impossible not to get healthier.
Just like breathing in more clean air will make you healthier. If you do that in place of breathing in polluted toxic air and secondhand smoke, same thing here, man. More clean purified water in place of toxic polluted water –- always going to help your health. You can do it with confidence. You can do it with confidence if you’re seventy years old; if you’re seven years old; if you’re male; if you’re female; if you’re pregnant; if you’re trying to get pregnant; if you’ve never been pregnant. There’s all these different things because it’s just about doing what is actually healthy for your body. Hopefully, that is helpful.
Let me see if we’ve got some written in questions here. “If I make my own kefir, would I base it upon the percentages in mil or do I need to run down the effect of the fermentation?” Leslie, if you’re making your own kefir, I would say you’re a rock star and keep going. I’d look at the raw ingredients and if they’re mostly fat, we’d call it a wholefood fat. If they’re mostly protein, we’d call it a protein. Honestly, I think you’d just get a hundred bonus points for making your own kefir because that’s awesome so I would focus on the fact that you’re rocking your kefir and take it from that. I would not run down the effect of the fermentation. I don’t know if that’s going to be a big issue long term.
Victor -– “Is it okay to use resistant potato starch as a prebiotic in SANE? How often and how much?” If the only way you’re getting in resistant potato starch is by eating potatoes, then I would say no, it is not. Let me be very clear. I love how you phrased this question, Victor, and I really appreciate how you phrased this question. “Is it okay?” Is it okay? Yes. You can do whatever you want. I mean that genuinely because some of us have different goals than others.
Even within the SANE plan, there’s ultimate SANEity –- sixteen servings of vegetables. Then there’s other individuals like my mother, who’s a great example, she’s like, “Jonathan, I’m happy with where I’m at. I don’t want to deteriorate but I’m happy with where I’m at.” She’s saying, “If I’m going to eat some potatoes, I’m going to eat some potatoes.” She’s happy with those results. So that’s all good.
SANE isn’t here and I’m not here to say, “That’s okay” or “That’s not okay.” What I am here to tell you and what SANE is here to tell you is that potatoes have a lot more non-SANE things in them than other things you could be eating. For example, if your goal is to take in prebiotics, there are other sources of prebiotics that don’t have all the hormonal implications –- negative hormonal implications –- that potatoes have. I mean, if you’ve been through the program a little bit, potatoes are inSANE.
Bottom line -– potatoes are inSANE. If you look at them relative to non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, wholefood fats, they just have lower satiety, higher aggression, lower nutrition, and higher efficiency. It doesn’t mean they’re bad. This isn’t a moral judgment. It’s just that based on the SANE framework, we have a very simple quantifiable framework and we know that, for example, potatoes are less SANE than Jerusalem artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes are a fantastic source of prebiotics.
Now, they’re not as easy to find as potatoes and that’s why, for example, in our SANE Meal Bars, we use prebiotic fiber as the second ingredient because we know it’s otherwise hard to get prebiotic fiber. Potatoes are actually a great example of — for example, breakfast cereal -– you go down the cereal aisle, it always talks about, “Hey, Sugar Smacks are an excellent source of Vitamin D because we’ve taken processed nonsense and put a bunch of sugar on it and then we’ve taken synthetic Vitamin D and sprinkled a little bit on top and now, because the FDA isn’t doing their job, we’re allowed to say that Sugar Smacks are a great source of Vitamin D.”
Again, according to that logic, I could take –- this is a glass of water but imagine that this was a can of soda. If this was a can of Pepsi and I said, “Hey, this can of Pepsi is inSANE but watch this. This is Chapstick but imagine that this is a vitamin pill. Okay, this is a can of Pepsi and this is a vitamin pill and I said, “This can of Pepsi is inSANE but I’m going to take this vitamin pill and drop it in the can of Pepsi. Now, this Pepsi is good for you because it has a hundred percent of fifteen different vitamins and minerals because I just put a vitamin pill in it.” We would know that adding good to something that is objectively not as good does not make the thing that’s not as good good. Smoking a cigarette and then taking a Vitamin C tablet is not making smoking cigarettes good for you.
With potatoes, with breakfast cereals -– we have to keep in mind that while there are good things about almost every food -– I mean, truly, soda is the worst thing in the world but if you are starving to death on a desert island and then a two liter of Pepsi is dropped in front of you, it can save your life. Fortunately, that’s not a problem for any of us. Almost every food or food-like substance on the planet has some redeeming qualities.
The question isn’t, “Does this substance have redeeming qualities?” Potatoes obviously have some good stuff in them. There’s no question. Potatoes have been a staple of civilizations throughout the world. But the question we’re facing here is much different. The question we’re facing is not, “Hey, how do we feed Ireland?” That’s not the question. The question is, “If we’re suffering from pre-diabetes; if we’re suffering from metabolic dysfunction; if we’re trying to reverse gut dysbiosis; if we’re trying to re-regulate our hormones; if we’re trying to reduce neurological inflammation, are potatoes the best food we could be eating to do that?” The answer is no.
It doesn’t mean they’re evil; it doesn’t mean they’re bad; it doesn’t mean you’re wrong if you eat them; it just means that we can only fill our plate with a certain amount of food and if we fill our plate with inSANE food or less SANE food, we have less room to eat SANE food. My recommendation in the SANE Program and the research’s recommendation is always we just want to focus on eating the SANEst foods possible. Even if a food has some resistant starch in it, we would want to make sure that we’re finding foods that are within the SANE spectrum that also have resistant starch. Hopefully, that is helpful.
The next question here that was written in is, “How do you know when your hormones have been healed? When does the body/mind want to eat again?” Oh, these are two separate questions so let me answer them one at a time. These are great questions.
“How do you know when your hormones have been healed?” One way is to get a blood test done by your doctor. This is actually the easiest way. If you haven’t done this, I would strongly recommend it because it’s way more indicative. The scale will not tell you anything about metabolic healing at all. In fact, the scale could be saying you’re doing great; whereas in reality, you are slowly destroying your metabolism.
That is exactly what happens when we starvation diet. The scale says you are being successful but what it’s not telling you is that you’re destroying your metabolism and what it’s not telling you is that if you ever stop starving yourself, all that metabolic damage is going to come back to haunt us. That’s why 95.4 percent of people who are told to starve themselves end up worse off than if they never did anything in the first place. That’s why me and the entire SANE team are here because that’s heartbreaking and you deserve better than that. Don’t use the scale. Get a blood test.
Go to your doctor and just tell them you want the works — cholesterol, A1c, hemoglobin -– everything. You want a complete blood panel done and then come back in six months and have it done again. For example, hemoglobin A1c is a great indicator of your baseline insulin levels. They can also usually measure testosterone levels, estrogen levels, key sex hormone levels, various cholesterol levels, cholesterol particle size -– all those types of things. Those are telling you what’s going on on the inside of your body. When the inside is healed, the outside will heal itself. That’s the best way to do it.
“How do you know when your hormones are healed?” Get a blood test. Then get a blood test every six months afterwards.
“Why does the body/mind want to eat again mid-afternoon and/or evening when you’ve been full at lunch or dinner? Is it just retraining your thoughts, not related to emotional eating?” I love this question. So this person’s not saying, “Hey, I’m not super stressed out but I’m eating and I’m full but my brain is saying -–“ and please, if you’re on the call, tell me if I’m misinterpreting this –- “but my body and mind is just telling me to eat again.” Love this.
I’m not in a crisis emotional state but I feel like it’s just time to eat. A lot of different reasons for this. First of all, we live in a culture which is constantly giving us eating cues. It’s all just eat all the time. It’s snack time. If you dig into the way the food industry works, the reason the food industry has been so profitable is they invent new meals. I think Taco Bell is the greatest example of this. They call it Second Dinner or the Midnight Meal or something like that. Taco Bell is famous. They’re basically saying, “There’s a new meal. It’s the meal you eat at 1 a.m. in the morning after you go out partying all night.”
The idea of snacking or snack food, when you think about that, a couple of generations ago, there was no such thing as snack food; there was no such thing as breakfast food. The concept of breakfast food is marketing. Regardless of your belief structure, whether you believe in a higher power or whatever, whatever you believe in, it did not say, “Eggs are meant to be eaten in the morning.” That is totally something that marketers invented because now we can have breakfast cereal and we can have mid-afternoon snacks. Part of the reason we’re prompted to eat even when we’re not hungry is we’re just surrounded by silent cues and that’s fine.
How do you overcome that? Awareness is number one. When you are aware that people are trying to manipulate you and when you are aware that you don’t need to eat; that it’s a marketer trying to deceive you, this is actually how we turn the tide against smoking. We tried, for the longest time, to reduce childhood smoking by just being like, “Childhood smoking is bad” and that didn’t really cause any change. But then, the powers that be discovered that if the message to children became, “Tobacco manufacturers are tricking you; they’re trying to addict you and manipulate you”, teen smoking dropped because we don’t want to be lied to.
Americans especially love the word “freedom” so if we think that anyone is imposing on our freedom, we’re like, “That’s not cool.” I’ll tell you what. Just like cigarette smoking, we now know that processed starches and sweets are addictive and cause permanent damage. When you see all these media cues and all these marketing cues telling you that you need to eat, and I guarantee you, they’re not like, “Eat more spinach. Eat more salmon.” It’s always eat “garbage”. The number one thing is just to see that for what it is, which is, they are trying to manipulate you. That’s your number one defense because, I don’t know about you, but I’m not okay with being manipulated and losing my freedom and my right to be happy and healthy. That’s not cool. I think that awareness is step number one.
The other is just habits. If you are in the habit of eating every day, if you are in the habit of eating at 2 p.m., the way those habits and those things work is usually there’s a trigger. There’s a trigger and then there’s a response in your body. We’ve all had things happen like this where something happens, like our alarm clock goes off, we don’t really think about it, we wake up, we start to put on different clothes, and then we – actually, I’m sorry. Most people had this experience so if you haven’t, I’m sorry.
I think almost everyone I’ve ever met has had this happen at least once to them. You’re sound asleep and then you wake up, for whatever reason, and you quickly go downstairs or wherever and you start your day. Then you look over at the clock and, while you’re acting as if it’s maybe six, seven, eight o’clock in the morning, it’s like two o’clock in the morning and, for some reason, your body just woke you up and you’re like, “Oh, well, I just woke up.” The trigger, the cue, is, I woke up. I woke up so now I’m going to go fix my coffee and do my stuff and you’re doing that because it’s an automatic trigger, even though it’s not time and then you realize it and you’re like, “Oh.” — put the coffee in the refrigerator or whatever and go back to bed.
The same thing can happen with anything. There is a trigger or there is a cue and then the cue causes the trigger, causes the habit to happen, and we just need to establish new habits. Again, the number one awareness point there is you’ve got a habit; you’ve got all these social cues; just identify it and maybe write it down. I know that might sound a little bit silly but physically writing down, making explicit a thought, is hugely powerful psychologically. So if it is 2 p.m. and you do feel the sensation that you need to snack even though you’re not hungry at all, create a new habit.
The habit is, at 2 p.m., when I get the sensation, not only do I acknowledge it mentally but I acknowledge it physically. I pull out a piece of paper or a napkin or whatever and I write down, “Ha, 2 p.m. Random food craving happened.” Then, what you’ll find, and this is kind of crazy, is it will start to subside. It will of course take a little bit of time but even immediately, by acknowledging that feeling and writing it down on a piece of paper, your body, just the act of acknowledging it, and your mind, the act of acknowledging it -– awareness and acknowledgement is critical. If you can do those two things, that’s really going to help.
Then the last part of that question was, “Is it just retraining your thoughts?” Yes, it’s retraining your thoughts but I want to give you that concrete action to take. Please don’t just -– there’s a very famous series of psychological studies summarizing -– people will be like, “Hey, don’t think of a white bear.” If I tell you, “Don’t think about a white bear,” of course, what do you think about? You think about a white bear because the way your brain works is if -– and this is the same reason that starvation-type diets don’t work -– is because when you tell yourself, “Don’t do something,” there’s a little monitor in your mind which is like, “Don’t think of a white bear,” “Don’t think of a white bear,” “Don’t think of a white bear,” “Don’t think of a white bear,” and of course that means you’re thinking of a white bear.
The answer is not to be like, “Don’t crave food at 2 p.m.,” “Don’t crave food at 2 p.m.,” “Don’t crave food at 2 p.m.,” the answer is, “Hey, wait, I’m craving food at 2 p.m. so, yes, I’m going to retrain my thoughts but the way I’m going to retrain my thoughts is by consciously acknowledging that thought and then consciously transcending it by awareness and then taking the action of writing it down and maybe popping in to the SANE coaching and support group and saying – this is definitely what you should do actually. This is a perfect used case scenario for the amazing SANE Support Group and Coaching Group, which, if you’re not in there, social support is so important.
This is a perfect example. When that happens, pop online from any of your devices and say, “Hey, I have a goal. My goal is to bring awareness to and to transcend this habit so when the cue happens, instead of me going and getting a Snickers bar out of the vending machine, what I’m going to do is say, “Hey, it just happened again. I’m going to write it in this SANE, loving, safe support group, and then I’m going to move on with my day.” I think that’ll be very, very, very helpful for you. Hopefully, that makes sense.
All right, here, let’s see if we’ve got other questions written in. Deborah -– “Are Quest bars good? I choose the flavors that does not have sucralose in it.” Deborah, I used to work with Quest Bars. Quest Bars are one of the better bars out there. If they don’t have sucralose in them, of course. The reason we created the SANE Meal Bars and SANE Cravings Killers is because they are far superior from a SANEity perspective in terms of milk protein isolate is not in any way, shape, or form, an optimal source of protein. For example, we use grass-fed whey protein concentrate which is radically better for your health.
But of course, our bars don’t contain erythritol — not that erythritol is bad but they’re just not in there. Quest Bars — the number one challenge you’re going to face with them is, one, the source of protein and, two, they’re so sweet. We really can’t –- we have to be super sensitive to the level of sweetness we’re taking into our body because one of the most transformative things that you can experience when going SANE is to retrain your taste buds, to re-sensitize them to sweetness.
What I mean by this is that it is common for people in the SANE family to, after even as soon as one month, depending on how long they’ve been and how intensely they’ve been eating other sweets –- part of the reason eating vegetables is hard is because most people think vegetables are disgusting. The reason why most people think vegetables are disgusting is because their taste buds have been very much desensitized by taking in processed starches and sweets.
By way of example, if you’ve never drank alcohol before and you were to drink very light four percent alcohol beer, you’d still feel the effects of alcohol because you haven’t been desensitized to the effects of alcohol. But if you’ve been a heavy drinker your entire life, then drinking six ounces of four percent alcohol or beer is not going to have any impact on you.
We must, to be successful long term – it has nothing to do with avoiding the taste of sweet. We absolutely can enjoy the taste of sweet but we need to enjoy the taste of sweet in a natural context, in a natural concentration from SANE sources.
My number one concern with Quest Bars and the reason –- the major reason that we decided to create the SANE Meal Bars and the SANE Cravings Killers is because, in addition to the ingredients in the Quest Bars, they’re just too sweet. What’s called hyper-palatable –- that’s the actual clinical term – hyper-palatability –- it’s fun to look up on the Internet if you want to –- when you want to eat foods that are hyper-palatable, they can actually hijack your brain and can cause you to crave more and more and more and more.
Anyway, Quest Bars are easily in the top one percent in terms of quality of protein bars that exist -– but that’s not saying much because the vast majority of protein bars are like Snickers bars that they’ve stuck protein in. it’s the whole Pepsi with a vitamin pill in it comparison. But if at all possible, just in terms of quality and in terms of hyper-palatability, the reason we provide the SANE super foods that we provide is because we know there’s a need for them. Anyway, hopefully, that is helpful.
I’m not trying to sales pitch you. I’m just trying to tell you that the reason that we produce what we produce is because we know there’s a need for it and often times there’s no other place for you to get it and we want to make sure that you have everything you need to be successful.
If you want to test this for yourself, it’s actually kind of a fun experiment. After you eat a Quest Bar, even if it doesn’t have sucralose, put it this way. When you stop eating Quest Bars and you transition to eating a lifestyle that isn’t hyper-palatable, if you then go back to eating Quest Bars and you bite into one, you’re going to go, “That is so sweet!” Because of course, a Quest Bar is not sweet relative to a Snickers Bar but a Quest Bar, relative to a SANE natural lifestyle, you’re going to find it’s extremely sweet.
Again, you’re not bad or wrong if you’re eating Quest Bars. Quest Bars are radically SANEr than the vast majority of bars out there but I just want to be completely open and honest and transparent with you about the pluses and minuses of Quest Bars and to let you know that there is a SANEr option available. Hopefully, that is helpful.
All right, next. There’s a question here about emotional eating, which is extremely important. It’s so important that it’s covered in detail on the Program so I’m not going to talk about emotional eating generally because I want you to have all the resources you need and it’s covered in detail in the Program. What I do want to cover is, in this question, we talk about chocolate. The individual says, “I always turn to chocolate.”
One thing that’s extremely important and extremely cool is that the reason that chocolate is the single-most craved food in the world is that cocoa or cacao, which is the primary ingredient in chocolate, is one of the most neurologically active foods on the planet -– holy moly. There’s a reason we crave it -– because the neurological response –- the dopamine, the serotonin response to cocoa and cacao is huge and it’s hugely positive –- hugely positive.
So cocoa and cacao –- notice I’m not saying chocolate because they are not the same things –- cocoa and cacao are an ingredient found in chocolate. Let’s call it the active ingredient. You know how a certain kind of shampoo will say “active ingredients” -– or any prescription cream or gel –- the thing that makes it a gel is not an active ingredient but then there’s something like peroxide — that’s the active ingredient. That’s the thing that is doing the magic or doing the medical thing. Cocoa/cacao is the active ingredient in chocolate.
Now, here’s the secret, which is brilliant, is if you just enjoy SANE-certified recipes that contain cacao or mood-boosting cacao -– cocoa powder. We also have pure, what’s called, cacao nibs –- so they are just pure cacao nibs. They taste like nuts. They’re not sweet at all. There’s no sugar added. What’s amazing –- and here’s the secret -– here’s what I do. I actually take un-Dutched cocoa powder because Dutching is a chemical process that actually removes a lot of the antioxidants.
You’ve heard about acai berry. We love acai berry. It’s good stuff. Blueberries, the polyphenols in wine — the fact is, cocoa and cacao; way more of all that good stuff than any of those foods. Cacao –- raw natural cacao and cocoa is one of the top ten most therapeutic foods you could ever eat and it just crushes those cravings. Boom. That’s why our Cravings Killers has one of the primary ingredients as cocoa, cacao, [inaudible 1:10:50], things like that.
What you can do, for instance, for me, I love –- it’s not sweet; you can make it sweet if you want. I mean, you can always add erythritol or xylitol or stevia or Luo Han Guo to make something sweet. There’s way more information about that on the site and in the SANE Store but I just take cacao –- mood-boosting cocoa powder, I take cinnamon, I take some peppermint oil, and then what else do we do? Some vanilla extract or some vanilla bean –- mix it up in a shaker bottle or just put it in a blender, blend it at a low speed, you can use hot water, sort of like hot chocolate. If you want it to be a little bit sweeter, you can put a little bit of a SANE safe sweetener in there but I don’t even use any sweetener at this point.
Just drinking that, think of cacao and cocoa –- almost like -– well, it is; it’s a medicine that you can take to curb your cravings. This is the freaking beauty of the SANE lifestyle. It’s not about giving up chocolate at all. It’s about looking at the science and saying, “What is it about chocolate that makes it crush my cravings?” Because crushing cravings isn’t a bad thing; that’s a good thing. Your body may, in some context, be creating something for a reason. So what we do instead is we say, “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.”
Cocoa/cacao –- brilliant for you. Let’s create hundreds of recipes -– so you find them in the recipes section of the Ignite website –- and just start cooking with and making beverages out of and smoothies with pure cacao/pure cocoa powder/pure cacao nibs. Oh my gosh. One, it’s like a natural antidepressant. It’s great for mood and that’s just pure science. Two, it is incredible at helping with cravings because I promise you — and I so appreciate you asking me this question –- it’s not about white knuckling it ever; it’s not about being like, “Ugh, just fight through the craving” because you can’t do that forever. We can do that for a short period of time.
You can take your hand and dip it in ice cold water and just brute force it but eventually either your hand’s going to freeze off or you’ve got to pull it out of the water. The same thing happens with anything that requires willpower. What’s brilliant about when we go SANE in this way is we’re never saying, “Don’t eat sweets.” We’re saying swap inSANE sweets for SANE sweets. We’re saying swap toxic, addictive, sugary chocolate for the active ingredient in chocolate and if you need to sweeten it, use a SANE sweetener.
What’s brilliant about that is, one, you’re actually going to be able to indulge those cravings but it’s not actually an indulgence because it’s good for you. Cocoa and cacao are some of the SANEst foods in the world. I mean, you actually look at the nutrition. They’re protein and fiber and nutrients. It’s incredible. They’re incredible. They’re therapeutic.
In addition to that, while you may think, “Hey, it’s sugar that I need”; it’s really not. While you may –- let’s be very clear. I want to be very transparent with you. Cocoa/cacao/cacao nibs –- they’re not sweet. They’re not. They’re actually quite bitter. Just like if you’ve ever had milk chocolate versus white chocolate versus dark chocolate, the darker the chocolate -– the reason it’s darker is because it has more cacao and it’s healthier for you but it’s more bitter.
As your taste buds change, as you go SANE –- and this happens quickly –- we’re talking a month; maybe two –- think about that -– a month, maybe two of SANE eating; retraining your palate. Imagine if one hundred percent cacao -– today, you taste it, it’s bitter; broccoli -– bitter. But if in two months -– give it two months -– if I could give you a pill, if your doctor could give you a pill that said, “Hey, take this pill for two months and on day sixty-one, that stuff that tastes bitter to you is going to taste good. It would just taste good.”
How much easier would it be to be SANE if, honestly, you found vegetables to just be tasty and you found otherwise bitter chocolate to be good. How much easier would it be? You say, “Jonathan, it’s easier but that’s crazy talk.” If you drink alcohol at all, I bet the first time you drank it, you thought it was bitter. I bet if you continue to drink alcohol, you probably like the taste now. If you don’t drink alcohol, I bet you know someone who does drink alcohol. Alcohol is bitter. It’s super bitter but you can develop a taste for almost anything.
You can train your taste buds to enjoy almost anything with repeated exposure and by reminding yourself when you’re eating it that it’s brilliant and it’s beautiful and you’re not depriving yourself of anything. Hopefully, that is helpful. That would be my strong, strong, strong recommendation.
A question here is –- “I have a lot of arthritis and fibromyalgia. It’s hard to stand up and chop and prep. I’m wondering what you’d recommend for us that have physical and time constraints on preparing or cooking.” So the number one thing here is, you’re absolutely right that we do need to spend a little bit more time in the kitchen. There is a lot of resources in the program about batch cooking and batch preparation. That is the magic. The magic –- the secret –- is batch cooking and batch preparation and we get into that.
Any time you’re going to cut vegetables, you don’t just cut one vegetable. You cut a bunch of vegetables, you prep them for the week. Any time you’re going to cook, you don’t cook one meal; you cook five servings of it and you freeze it. The one investment that you might want to make is if you can, you get a stand-alone freezer so that you can cook in bulk, put it in the freezer, make your own frozen meals. It’s super helpful. This is covered in detail in the Program so please just dig into that.
Time-saving tips, saving time, saving money -– batch cooking, bulk cooking –- covered in detail and it’s so transformative. It’s so transformative honestly. Batch cooking/bulk cooking -– if you get that right, you will save easily –- you will easily cut your grocery bill in half when you go through the Program and you learn how to do this and you’ll cut your time cooking down five hundred percent.
I’ll be very honest with you. If the only way to go SANE was to say, “Oh, you have to go to the grocery store and cook a new breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day,” that’s not going to work. It’s just not going to work. When you batch cook and you batch grocery shop -– covered in detail in the Program –- you’re just pulling stuff out of the fridge, pulling stuff out of the freezer. It’s already made and it’s easy and that really, really helps.
Next question here has to do with -– “As I understand the SANE food list to be as SANE as possible, we should not eat fruits and carbs.” Yes, I’m definitely sorry. That is not true.
What we should do is we always want to eat the SANEst forms of protein; we always want to eat the SANEst form of fat; and we want to eat the SANEst form of carbohydrate. The SANEst form of carbohydrate in the world is non-starchy vegetables and that’s actually the thing we want to eat the most of without question. The vast majority of what we put into our body should be the SANEst carbs in the world, which are non-starchy vegetables.
Let’s be very clear. I’m telling you right now. The single number one most important thing you can do for your health from a dietary perspective is to eat ten times more of a specific carbohydrate –- and that specific carbohydrate is called non-starchy vegetables. Boom. We’re not saying, “Eat less carbs.” What I just said is, “Eat radically more of the best carbs.” What we’re saying is, eat so much of those fantastically SANE carbs that you’re too full for processed and addictive junk, processed and addictive carbs, processed and addictive fats, and processed and addictive proteins like Spam and hot dogs and processed meat that has nitrates and all that nonsense stuff.
It’s not about low carbs; it’s not about low fat; it’s not about low protein. It’s about high-quality carbs, high-quality fat, high-quality SANE sources of protein, and fruit. For example, with fruit, we just want to say order the SANE fruits, order the inSANE fruits. The SANEst fruits in the world are going to be the ones that are most satisfying; they cause the least hormonal aggressive response; they have the highest amount of essential nutrients in them; and they’re the least efficiently stored as fat. They are berries and citrus fruits.
Certainly, while I’m saying, eat ten to sixteen servings of non-starchy vegetables per day, you definitely don’t want to eat sixteen servings of low-fructose fruits per day simply because that’s too much sugar. To be as SANE as possible, it’s definitely not about not eating fruits or not eating carbs; it’s about eating non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, wholefood fats, in that order, and then the SANEst fruits possible, which are berries and citrus.
Also, please, please, please, free yourself from the following myth, which is fruits and vegetables are one food group -– because they’re absolutely not. You always say to eat more fruits and vegetables, which causes a lot of people to think that eating grapes –- like, “I’m going to eat more fruits and vegetables so eating more grapes is the same as eating more kale.” It’s so not. It’s so not. You could eat fifteen servings of kale and still not taken as much sugar as you would from a serving of grapes.
One way to think about fruits is, fruits are non-starchy vegetables with ten times more sugar. That’s an oversimplification but there are no substances found in fruits, a.k.a. plants, that aren’t found in vegetables. Fruits just taste better because they have a lot more sugar in them. What’s good is you can make vegetables delicious by preparing them properly with wholefood fats, seasoning, salt used in proper quantities, butter, bacon, healthy sources of fat that we can use to make non-starchy vegetables delicious. Again, it’s not about “fruits are not bad”, we just always want to put vegetables first and then the next source of optimal carbohydrate is going to be the SANEst fruits which are berries and citrus. That is certainly outlined there in the food list. Hopefully, that is helpful.
Next question is, “Can you address inflammation and how SANE eating helps reduce that in the body?” Inflammation is best thought of as – one second, my throat is inflamed right now. Inflammation has gotten a bad rap. Inflammation is not – there’s so much of this in the health arena. It’s like, “Insulin is bad.” Insulin is not bad. If you don’t have insulin, you have Type 1 diabetes, which is no good; you’ll die. If you don’t have insulin, you’ll die. Insulin is required. If you don’t have proper levels of cholesterol, you die. Cholesterol is not bad; it’s too much and the wrong kinds. Same thing with inflammation –- we have been led to believe that inflammation is just bad.
Inflammation is not bad. Inflammation is what your body does when something bad happens; whether it’s an infection, some kind of damage –- it becomes inflamed because your body is sending essentially like repair units –- think about inflammation like firefighters. If part of your body catches on fire, it’s inflamed with fire and then firefighters are dispatched to go put out the fire.
Now, the problem is that the vast majority of us, because we’ve been given incorrect information, are chronically inflamed. It’s not just, I got a cut on my hand; it becomes puffy and red and inflamed, which means it’s healing, which is great. If it didn’t get inflamed, it would become sepsis and it would become infected and it would be no good. So inflammation in the proper dose, in small areas for short periods of time, is critical for life. What is not good is if our entire body is constantly on fire and therefore our body is constantly deploying these firefighters to put that out, our body just breaks down; it can’t keep that up.
What we need to do to minimize inflammation is as simple as saying, “How do we avoid the foods and the lifestyle decisions that trigger an inflammatory response?” How do we avoid those and how do we replace them with anti-inflammatory foods? For example, when we talk about eating wholefood fats, nutrient-dense protein, low-fructose fruits, and non-starchy vegetables, these are all extremely –- especially when eaten as complete SANE meals, which we talked about earlier. It’s an extremely anti-inflammatory diet, meaning that it helps to quell those fires; it helps to put those fires out.
A very common form of inflammation is inflammation in our arterial walls. This is where we hear about heart disease and heart attacks and clogged arteries because when our arterial walls become inflamed — when we eat processed starches and sweets, they become inflamed -– our body releases cholesterol to try to patch up that inflammation and then science from forty years ago got it wrong and said, “The problem is that there’s too much cholesterol building up in our arterial walls. If too much cholesterol builds up, there’s an arterial blockage. We have a heart attack. Certainly, that’s bad.”
Like, you don’t want to have arterial blockage but the problem isn’t the cholesterol. That would be like saying, “My neighbor’s house is on fire. The problem is that there’s firefighters there.” The firefighters didn’t cause the fire; the firefighters actually are trying to put the fire out. The problem is someone threw a lit cigarette in the garbage can. The problem is not your body reacting to the inflammation; the problem is not your arterial walls having cholesterol deployed to repair them; the problem is that your arterial walls are inflamed because you’ve been told to eat the wrong foods.
I don’t want to go off on a cholesterol tangent but the different forms of cholesterol –- there are certain forms of cholesterol that go into repair the arterial wall. Then the good form of cholesterol comes and takes it away, recycles the cholesterol, so on and so forth. The point is, you have foods that contribute an anti-inflammatory response and you have foods that contribute an inflammatory response. Non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense proteins, wholefood fats, low-fructose fruits, when eaten as complete SANE meals, are radically anti-inflammatory and inSANE foods are inflammatory.
So just by going SANE, you will radically reduce, one, just the baseline levels of inflammation in your body, but much more importantly, you will resolve the metabolic damage that caused the inflammation in the first place. That’s so important. You can take ibuprofen and reduce inflammation but you’re not solving the cause of the inflammation. That’s what we’ve got to do starting with starvation dieting. Yes, we can lose weight by starving ourselves but we’re not solving the underlying neurological and gastroenterological and endocrinological or hormonal causes of weight gain in the first place.
It’d be a little bit like if you took your son or daughter or niece or nephew or someone you were babysitting -– a small person -– and they had a fever and you said, “Oh my gosh, this person’s body temperature is elevated. I need to get their body temperature down.” So you took this little person, you fill the bathtub full of cold water and ice, and you put the person in a bathtub and you said, “Oh, this is brilliant. Their body temperature is falling.” We’d all say that’s crazy. Please don’t do that.” Because, one, you’re not addressing the cause of the fever and, two, yes, we’re lowering the body temperature but we’re actually doing more harm to the body.
You might say, “Jonathan, that’s kind of a morbid weird example.” But the reason I use that example is, that’s what’s happening when we starvation diet. Putting a human body in an ice bath is putting them in an energy-deprived state to suppress body temperature but it’s not curing the underlying problem. Taking a human being and depriving them of energy, a.k.a. food, is putting them in an energy-deprived state that is harming them. Yes, in this context, we’re not talking about lowering body temperature; we’re talking about lowering body weight and we could say, “Oh, look, their body weight is going down. This is working.” Not only is it not solving the underlying problem but it’s actually harming the body.
So what we have to do –- and to close on this inflammation question because it’s not just about reducing inflammation; that’s the surface. That’s just like saying reduce weight or reduce body temperature or reduce cholesterol levels. The answer is, What caused cholesterol levels to get out of whack in the first place? What caused body temperature to enter a fever state in the first place? What caused the hormonal clog in the first place? How do we reverse that?
The way we reverse it is by replacing inSANE food with SANE food. It’s by replacing the social pressures and nonsense that we’re exposed to every day with loving, SANE social support. It’s why hopefully you’re in the SANE support group, the coaching group, and every day you’re spending anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour, as your schedule allows, maybe five days a week, just immersing yourself in the step-by-step program because, just like with food, we want to take in so much good that we don’t have room for inSANEity with our mind. We want to take in so much good social support and so much good simple proven science that we don’t have room for all the inSANEity.
Then when it comes to exercise, we replace the sort of chronic stress that’s inflammatory. Excessive low-quality exercise can be highly inflammatory. That’s why our joints hurt. That’s why we’re in a constant state of inflammation. People are popping ibuprofen after workouts because it’s like, “Oh, I’m constantly inflamed.” We don’t do that. We do low-dose but very therapeutic forms of exercise and then we do restorative physical movement like yoga and Tai chi and stretching and meditation and walking and just being active.
We SANEitize our eating. We SANEitize our social support. We SANEitize getting eccentric with our exercise. Then we SANEitize our minds. The overarching philosophy is always, it’s not just about eliminate the bad –- that doesn’t work. What works long term is saying, “Crowd out the bad with so much good. Find those SANE substitutions that your SANE coaches will help you with all day every day in the SANE support group, that your step-by-step program will literally guide you through step by step every single day.
There are so many resources and so much love and support for you in the Ignite Program, if you can take on that mindset of “How do I, with my food, with my exercise, with my social support, and with what I’m taking into my mind, how do I set up my life so that I am taking in so much good that I just crowd out the bad?” Pursuing the positive rather than attacking the negative -– actually that reminds me of one of my favorite stories and I think we’ll close on this because we’re out of time and I do apologize if I didn’t get your question, I will carry it over into the next session.
There’s a famous story of Mother Theresa where she was asked –- this was during the conflict in Vietnam –- she was asked, “Mother Theresa, we’re organizing a march against the war in Vietnam. Will you participate?” Mother Theresa was quiet for a moment and then looked back up and said, “No.” The individuals were shocked. Mother Theresa just said no to participating in a march against the war in Vietnam. That doesn’t make any sense. They asked why. Mother Theresa, in her typical very calm, centered, blessed manner, looked back at them and said, “I will not march against the war in Vietnam but if you have a march for peace, I will lead the way.”
I think that is so profound. We try to promulgate that same spirit throughout every aspect of your SANE Ignite Program, which is, march for peace; pursue the positive to the extent that you just don’t have room for the negative.
We’re so honored. I know I am personally; I know all your SANE coaches are; and I know all the amazing SANE team members that are working behind the scenes are so honored that you’ve given us the opportunity to help you with that. We’re out of time here. We’ve got another session right around the corner so I hope you will join us for that one as well.
I thank you so much for blessing me with the opportunity to spend ninety minutes together. It always flies by -– this evening -– and I know you have a lot of things going on so to spend your time with me here is truly an honor. Thank you so much for that. I hope this was helpful and enjoyable for you. It was certainly the highlight of my week so far. Thank you again. I look forward to seeing you next week. All right, see you soon. Remember, stay SANE.