Issue #6. May 2014
First things first, tune in to hear Dr. Garrett Smith and I on the first episode of the 180DegreeHealth podcast hosted HERE. There will be a new episode published on the first day of every month to coincide with the release of each new issue of the newsletter. In this first episode we mostly answer reader questions submitted on the 180D Facebook page. After recording it, we pretty much decided that wasn’t the greatest format for having a truly productive and focused?conversation, so we’ll be changing that up next month. But we managed to answer tons of questions, with a particular focus on candida and tooth decay, as that was what most of the questions revolved around. Hope you enjoy it! And also welcome Doc Smith to the 180 newsletter where he will be contributing monthly now! For any of you confused about who the hell this guy is, we co-authored a book together and have been in close communication for several years now. 180D is officially a two-man wolfpack now.
This section features new content from 180 founder Matt Stone.
I posted something on’the 180D Facebook page?the other day about fats, and’several people clamored for more. I don’t know what it is about fats, but they are fun to discuss for some reason, perhaps because the mainstream view on what constitutes “healthy” and “unhealthy” fats is indeed so 180?degrees from the truth. And even if the mainstream view is somehow more accurate than I’ve been led to believe it is, the simplistic way in?which fats are categorized in’two to three neat categories is still completely insulting to anyone of intelligence.
If you have fully functioning ears, I’m sure you’ve heard some assumptions and catch phrases regarding fats repeated with peculiar frequency. My favorite mind-numbing dichotomies for classifying fats are:
Plant fats and animal fats,?healthy fats and unhealthy fats, and saturated and unsaturated fats.All three of these dichotomies are meant to mean the same thing. Plant fats are the healthy fats, and healthy fats are unsaturated and vice versa. On the other end of the spectrum are the animal fats which are of course unhealthy and saturated.
That’s neat and all until one stops to realize that the most saturated fat in the world is coconut fat, which, last time I checked,?comes from?a plant. And, almost no one could argue against the predominantly positive physiological effects of the saturated fats in coconut, which are mostly the medium chain triglycerides: lauric, capric, and caprylic acids. Palm oil and cocoa butter also rank at the top for saturation,?and are both plant-derived.
Perhaps with even more beneficial properties are the short-chain saturated fatty acids. The richest straight source of these beneficial fatty acids comes from butter, a deadly animal fat. Wait, I thought saturated animal fats were bad?
Not willing to buy the possibility that butter or short-chain saturated fats are healthy? Well, you better not eat any plants then, because if you want a really high dose of short chain saturated fats–much higher than what you could obtain by eating butter–you’ll get that if you eat a decent quantity of beans, potatoes, bananas, whole grains, or any starchy food really. Turns out the fermentation of starches and plant fibers in the gut leads to the production of tons of these short-chain saturated fatty acids.
Damn, now the richest sources of both short and medium-chain saturated fatty acids come from plants, which were supposed to be unsaturated and therefore healthy. But you’re telling me saturated fats are healthy, but that they actually come from plants not animals like we’ve been led to believe? Dersh. My head hurts.
Headache huh? Must be all the inflammation from the linoleic acid you’ve gotten from all those vegetable oils and margarines you’ve been eating in place of butter. The consumption of those types of “healthy, unsaturated, plant?fats” increase the production of the majority of our bodies’ inflammatory molecules in a fairly linear, predictable?way. Ya see, those fats are converted to some degree to this nasty unsaturated fatty acid called Arachidonic Acid. Yep, it’s an unsaturated fat that’s unhealthy, not a saturated one.
And to confuse you more, this nasty unsaturated fat comes from… animals! Mostly pork, chicken, eggs, organ meats,?and farmed fish. The more corn and soy these animals are fed, the more Arachidonic Acid in their fat and flesh.
Ya see why these simple categories of “healthy and unhealthy, plant and animal, and saturated and unsaturated” are freaking ridiculous? Good. Because there are like almost 30 types of fats or something. I looked that precise number up. Each type of fat has its own unique properties and unfortunately has to be looked at as its own universe. It’s nice to file things into neat categories when you get the chance, but unfortunately when it comes to fats, it can’t be done. Okay, it can be done and has been done, but it shouldn’t have been. Now everyone is dumber because of it. The unsaturated fats from both plants and animals seem to be partly responsible for that.
Okay, well there must be an unsaturated fat that is considered to be healthy right? Well yes. There?are two?unsaturated fats that?are considered extremely healthy by the mainstream: DHA and EPA. They come from fish, which, last time I checked,?is also not a plant. Excesses of these are also extremely toxic, and their true benefits are highly debatable.It’s likely that they show benefits in clinical study only because they tend to counteract the negative?effects of all those?other?unsaturated plant and?animal fat.
And, to throw a final wrench in there just for fun,’there’s one rare fat that has many known health benefits. It’s a polyunsaturated fatty acid called Mead Acid. And to get the benefits of this healthy fatty acid, which is produced inside our bodies in the right circumstance, you must avoid all other unsaturated fats!
So, the next time you see?a phrase like?”healthy fats” thrown around in books, blogs, magazines, and television programs, please chuckle. It’s all I ask. It’s impossible to be an intelligent and experienced nutrition scholar and use such a phrase. Completely and totally impossible. Like all things nutritional, it’s probably impossible to even examine a single type of fat and definitively call it “healthy” or “unhealthy.” Nearly all edible’substances have an?effect on the body, and those effects can be beneficial or detrimental depending on context and the?individual interacting with that substance.
That realization, ladies?and?gentlemen, my darlings,?is what is making health writing awfully difficult to do these days (even if I had the time, which I really don’t!).
This section features the latest thoughts, research, anecdotes, and findings of the Official 180DegreeHealth Doctor: Dr. Garrett Smith. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There were once two ladies, P. Yellow and Hilth Nut. ?They were both going on vacation to the next town over, each driving their own fancy future car. They brought the same amount of money to spend on gas for their trip. For you people who need to do the math, let’s say they both had $20 to spend.
The gas station they both stopped at had 87 octane ($4/gallon) and 91 octane ($5/gallon). For the sake of this story, octane means how ?clean? the gas is, higher number implying ?cleaner? gas. ?Note that the 87 octane gas costs significantly less than the 91 per gallon.
After double-checking how much money she had, P. Yellow realized that the only way she was going to be able to afford enough gas for her trip was to buy 5 gallons of 87 octane gas. She did so, and drove comfortably and without problems to the next town over for her vacation.
The same did not happen for Hilth Nut. ?Being a bit of a gasoline snob, Hilth decided that she would only put the cleanest gas in her car, as she believed that quality always trumps quantity. She filled her tank with only 4 gallons of the more expensive 91 octane.
Along the drive, Hilth started to notice her car running sluggishly. ?It didn’t seem like it would have enough gasoline to make it. ?Now, having a fancy future car has its advantages. ?This future car was ‘smart,? in that it could turn things off to get better mileage. ?Realizing that it had insufficient fuel, the car started taking action! ?It closed the windows, slowed down the speed, and turned off anything that was using extra power–radio, heater, GPS, headlights, windshield wipers, etc. ?This made the trip stressful, uncomfortable, and pretty much miserable for Hilth. She just barely got there.
Despite her own obvious suffering, Hilth continued to put high octane gas in her car at the expense of putting in ENOUGH gas to have it run properly. ?Eventually, after wondering why using the highest octane gas didn’t fix all her driving problems like the car bloggers said it would, she found the 180D Auto Shop, where they told her that the most important thing is to put ENOUGH gas in the car first and worry about the octane second!
- Amount of money to spend: ?The size of one’s stomach and appetite.
- High octane gas costing more $$: ??Clean? foods typically have lower Calorie-densities, take up more space in the stomach, and often make us feel full with fewer Calories than we really need to run properly.
- Car running sluggishly: ?Metabolic rate slowing down.
- ”Smart? car taking action: ?The body downshifting the metabolic rate to burn fewer Calories overall…low energy, brain fog, hair falling out, constipation, feeling cold, slow pulse, etc. ?This is also associated with increased stress hormones and anxiety.
The MORAL: ?Make sure you are eating enough carbs and Calories FIRST, only then start worrying about how ?clean? your eating is!
This section features one of the greatest hits from 180D’s seven year blog and its 666 published posts.
8 Badass Ways to Get Healthy
Last year I wrote this for a somewhat edgy foreign publication that seems to have been cryogenically frozen, if not gone the way of the Dodo. I think it deserves a relocation from the files on my laptop to the blog. Enjoy…
8 Badass Ways to Get Healthy
Take a moment to relax. Breathe in deeply. My buddy Daniel Larusso does it. And when he does, wow! Watch out! We were once traveling in Okinawa together and he broke like 10 fat slabs of ice with a single karate chop!
Actually, come to think of it, that was a movie. Sorry. I grew up in America. Try as I might, I spent so much of my childhood in front of the television that I honestly have trouble separating my actual childhood from what I watched on a screen. It didn’t help that I was so blind I couldn’t see my penis clearly until my mom took me to the mall to get glasses. My nose was practically pressed against the television screen.
Wait, what the hell am I talking about? It seems I was going somewhere with that. Oh, yes of course. I want you to breathe deeply and enter into a meditative state. I have something very important for you to visualize in your head.
Hopefully ?a badass? is something that you can picture clearly in your head. I don’t know what you picture in your head, but here are the thoughts that creep in as I dive deeply into this serene state of badass meditation?
When I think of a badass, I picture a guy in jogging shoes standing at a salad bar, picking over the greenest leaves to maximize his chlorophyll intake, asking the staff if the salad greens were thoroughly washed to remove pesticides.
After confirming that they were indeed hand-washed, he feels at least somewhat at ease, which is a miracle considering the fact that he is dining with friends away from the typical all-organic grocery store he is accustomed to, where he KNOWS that the food is all organic and pesticide-free. At this point, he starts to wander down the salad bar to find some safe foods that he doesn’t react to.
Damn. First item cheese. Commercial lettuce is one thing, but non-organic cheese? It’s probably been pasteurized too. ?Um, like, no thanks? he says to himself. ?Plus, cheese makes my tongue feel a little itchy and gives me pimples on my forehead.
?Yessss! I love beets! he thinks as he tries to hide his excitement over the next item in the bin. He has heard they are good for the liver, and his yoga teacher mentioned something about a rare antioxidant in them that can loosen up joints. He piles on extra as his hip flexors have really been tight lately in class, making him a little self-conscious when he struggles with all the Asanas performed in a seated position.
Then, a wave of anxiety strikes him as he inches the pair of salad tongs that he brought with him (to avoid contamination with other people who have touched the tongs going through the salad line) towards the next item? hard-boiled eggs. They look fresh. And he does love eggs, something that has made him wonder on numerous occasions if he might have an allergy. But there’s a problem?
He’s cycling carbohydrates. Everybody who knows a damn thing about how to shave those last few ounces of fat off of the obliques knows you can’t freakin? combine carbohydrates and fat. Carbs spike insulin, and insulin stores fat. If there’s no fat there to be stored, it’s no big deal. But if there is you can pretty much kiss your obliques goodbye. So obviously he can’t eat the yolk. That’s ruled out. But they were pretty much ruled out anyway. There’s no way that restaurant is using high omega 3 eggs. ?Hello! Arachidonic Acid! I’ll pass on the bronchoconstriction thank you very much!
But that’s just the beginning of this pivotal, potentially life-extending decision. Egg whites are great he’s thinking. ?They?re like the most highly-absorbable source of protein. But the thing is, he has been really toying around with the idea of doing a lower protein diet.
But he’s also been thinking about bulking up. The added calories in the yolk just might outweigh the dangers. And he just wants an egg so bad. That just sounds so satisfying to him.
Aha! He comes up with the perfect solution. He will decide later whether to bulk or to continue cutting and eat a whole, entire egg. 10 extra minutes on the treadmill should take care of the problem with combining fat in the yolk with the carbs in the beets if he wants to drop down from 9% to 8% bodyfat. And if he decides to bulk, well, he’ll just be off to a quick start.
Now, now, now. I know what you’re thinking. ?That sounds just like me! I like this weird American writer guy! He thinks I’m a badass!
Au contraire thou nibbler of Goji berries, thou Sultan of Superfoods! This guy is just setting up the scene. Every badass needs a little salad-eating bitch to emasculate.
And it’s at this point in the meditation that our badass enters the scene. As Salad Boy is returning to his table after 2 hours and 23 minutes of trying to decide what to put on top of his lettuce, he is cut off by a massive beast of a man whose trapezius muscles are eclipsing the sunlight shining through a nearby window.
At first Salad Boy is stunned at this man’s rudeness, but then his eyes wander to the two giant plates this guy is carrying back from the buffet. Both plates are piled high with giant slabs of bleeding beef, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, creamy pasta, bread, candied yams, and more. And Salad Boy snobbishly says?
?Have a nice heart attack.
Before he can say ‘saturated fat,? he is grabbed by this badass mofo. The next thing Salad Boy remembers is being lifted in the air by two strong hands that felt like they had been soaking in lava, and dragged across the restaurant to the ice cream dispenser. I think you know what happens next. Brain freeze torture. Salad Boy is traumatized, but the funny thing is, this horrific experience and all, he wakes up the next morning to the first boner he’s had in three months. And it’s a beauty. The kind you could hang a kettlebell on.
It was just like the time my friend Tyler and I took a store clerk out back and asked him what he wanted to really do with his life at gunpoint, threatening him to start pursuing his dreams in life or else. Sure it was mean and cruel and stuff, but we did the guy a favor.
Hopefully you’re seeing where I’m going with this. Health fanaticism, food phobia, diet paranoia, calorie counting, portion control, and obsession with how your abs look are not the qualities of a badass. If you want to be a badass, start acting like one. This is true even more for women than it is for men, who think that eating 100-calorie snack bars, smoothies, and salads while jogging and doing a few stretches are going to make them undergo a transformation like Linda Hamilton did between the first and second Terminator movie. Not gonna happen.
And trust me, I know some badass women. This one friend of mine from Sweden has muscles, rides motorcycles, has a big tattoo across her back, hacks into people’s computers, and once tied a guy up and tattooed ?Rapist? across his chest after he messed with her. Last time I checked she wasn’t logging all her meals on Fitday, making sure not to exceed her daily calorie quota.
While this might all sound like a big Hollywood movie to entertain you, I am actually quite sincere about this and have explored this topic in exhaustive detail for nearly a decade. My most important ?discovery? in all these years of communicating with literally thousands of people trying to micromanage their health and fitness practices, is that this modern health fanaticism and information diarrhea can ruin your health. Being a badass and just living the life you want to live without remorse, without moralizing your diet or the things you love to do, and being free of the health and body image obsessiveness we’re all told will make us hot, cool, and pretty much any other desirable temperature, is actually the key to a successful and healthy life.
Here are 8 badass ways that you can improve your health?
1) Stop paying attention to the small details of food, and put more focus on how your body works. Who cares how many B vitamins or antioxidants are in a food if you feel miserable eating the way you’re eating, have lost your sex drive, feel depressed or anxious, aren’t menstruating, haven’t crapped in a week, and feel like sleeping all day? Food is powerful medicine when you know how to use it. It is also powerful poison when you continue to follow some guru’s perverse, puritanical rabbit food diet despite obvious signs it is wrecking your body. Most people feel better when they just eat what they want without feeling guilty about it or analyzing it to death. And they look better too, in terms of body fat levels. Here are 40 or so studies on that, in case you think I pulled that one out of my ass. http://www.intuitiveeating.org/content/studies
2) Eat more food, and don’t restrict fats, carbohydrates, protein, meat, grains, sugars, or any other common dietary pi?ata. This stifles the production of stress hormones (most diseases can be traced back to an excess production of stress chemicals in the body), and in turn will make you warm, horny, happy, energetic, and more capable of increasing strength, muscle mass, speed, and power when you exercise ? just to name a few benefits. This literally will raise your body temperature and metabolism, and any number of health problems related to a suppressed metabolic rate can improve. Dr. Mark Starr, author of a book on this very subject, has a chapter on symptoms of a low metabolism that is 85 pages long. That says a lot about the different systems of the body that are affected by poor cellular energy production/low metabolism. I have helped thousands of people from all over the world to achieve this simply by NOT dieting, getting plenty of sleep, and otherwise not being a self-deprecating idiot.
3) Stop eating so many fruits and vegetables and eat more salt, sugar, starch, and saturated fat. Fruits and vegetables are great, in reasonable quantities. And they can be good for some people. Most people I encounter have a low body temperature, are cold a lot of the time, have cold hands and feet, and other obvious signs of a low metabolism. That’s because most of the people that come to me have restricted something from their diets for a long time and have been eating too much ?health food. It has taken me many years to identify the things that raise metabolic rate the best, and that list keeps on growing. But in terms of food, the S’s ? salt, sugar, starch, and saturated fat, you know, the stuff everyone says to avoid, are what yield the biggest improvements in people’s health, metabolism, and well-being. They are the foods people crave when they are stressed, because they are the de-stressing foods. In the right context, these substances have nothing short of a medicinal effect.
4) Eat real food. Real food means stuff that is minimally processed, not packaged in a shiny wrapper, and doesn’t have a tv commercial with a cartoon character promoting it. Real food also means satisfying food that leaves you feeling well-fed. Eating as much as you desire of unprocessed food, high in essential nutrients, can do amazing things ? even help you lose weight without ever being hungry.
5) Stop drinking so much damn water, especially on an empty stomach. Water is like Kryptonite to someone with a low metabolism. It is a lifeless substance devoid of any electrolytes, glucose, or anything else your cells need to produce energy properly. Every time you take in water it dilutes the salt and sugar in your cells. This is only good when you have too much salt and sugar in your cells, like after eating a really huge meal. At other times, you are better off drinking something containing salt and sugar ? like a sports drink, particularly after exercise or on a hot day. In the world of coffee, tea, diet drinks, barrel-sized soft drinks, smoothies, juice, and the water fetish ? most people are drinking WAY too many fluids in general. I have helped people overcome all kinds of ?incurable diseases? like seizures, for example, by drinking fewer fluids and being particularly cautious about water. Certainly don’t force it down because some Joe Schmo doctor said to drink 8, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Follow generic advice, have generic health.
6) Stop doing ?cardio. Slow-paced exercise on treadmills or Stairmasters and stuff like jogging ? these things will make any power athlete like a sprinter or strength athlete weak, stiff, and cold. If you want a high-performance Sport’s Car of a body, then do high-performance exercise. Lift weights vigorously, do plyometrics, do some bodyweight exercises, dance and play sports? but only step on a piece of cardio equipment to do hard work in short bursts.
7) Eat less often. What are you a gerbil? You don’t need to sit around and eat all day. When you get hungry, eat a nice, satisfying meal. Badasses don’t pack plastic containers with pre-portioned food around with them every day. When you get hungry, eat, and eat until you are fully satisfied. Throw some quality, hard, physical training in there, kept up regularly for years, and your body might actually look better 5-10 years from now than it does currently. Eating less often actually does seem to have legitimate health benefits, and protects against the habit of eating crack-like foods out of boredom instead of actual hunger. Perhaps its most useful virtue is that it enables you to really eat when you eat, instead of just teasing yourself with an unsatisfying portion of what feels like nothingness in your stomach.
8) Stop wearing sunscreen. Spend time in the outdoors regularly, get regular sunlight, and your skin will slowly start to build up a tolerance to sunlight. Hang out for weeks indoors playing video games like a douche and you will go out, get burned, and damage your skin. We know that getting natural sunlight protects against a long list of degenerative diseases, including most cancers. Getting lots of sun raises the risk of getting skin cancer. So what are you gonna do? Die of colon cancer because you are afraid of getting skin cancer? Go outside, get some full-spectrum light without blocking it with any toxic, chemical-laden creams, and do it regularly. If you start to get burnt, put on a shirt and a hat instead.
This section features recipes, cooking tips, and food discussion by Matt Stone.
I pity the souls who haven’t been exposed to the wonders of money spice. If you’re one of the remaining few derelicts that has been with me since ancient times, you’ll know Money Spice like you know Bernarr McFadden. And while those that have been around long enough to totally get what I just said have been burdened with excessive mind pollution spawned on my word processor, these people have been no less than gifted the miracle of food pollution with money spice. Seriously, this stuff can make anything better. I sprinkle it over my ice cream. No not really.
Money spice is simply a homeblended spice mix in the realm of “blackening spice” or “Cajun spice” or “dry rub” if you will. It’s a multi-purpose seasoning blend without the joys of monosodium glutamate or other questionable additives such as that found in Lawry’s seasoning, Old Bay, or some similar store-bought variant.
It takes about a minute to make. Just get a steel bowl (you’ll want to make a lot), and start dumping a bunch of stuff in there. Here’s the stuff I put in there, with the ingredients listen in approximate ratio to one another.I NEVER measure anything, and even if I gave you precise measurements, ingredients like cayenne pepper vary wildly in spiciness, so you’d still be all over the spectrum in consistency with precise instruction down to the quarter teaspoon. I hope this isn’t too difficult for the mathematically or culinarily challenged, which is a polite way of saying I hope this is difficult for the mathematically and culinarily challenged. Screw you idiots. You deserve to suffer.
- ”1 part dried oregano
- 1 part garlic powder
- 1-2 parts cayenne pepper (depending on size of genitals)
- 4 parts paprika
- 7 parts salt, preferably a finer salt like Morton’s canning and pickling salt
So yeah, mix the first four ingredients together, and then whatever amount that comes to, match that with salt. And you’re done and ready for fun. My favorite uses for it are on smoked and grilled meats (heavy use), fried breakfast taters, homemade popcorn (I should do that for the recipe next month actually), and on vegetables. But that’s a very short list of its potential uses. You can also snort lines of it as an alternative to cocaine.
Whatever your use for it, please call it “money spice.” There is no other appropriate name for it. My history with this nomenclature goes back to my very first batch made and taken into the Wilderness where I starved to the point of impotence and insanity for 44 days. Money spice was pretty much the only thing I brought with any flavor, used almost exclusively to season the warm trout stews I prepared. I hope you discover the same affinity for it as I have, but in more metabolically-favorable conditions.
This section highlights one of the best health-related videos on the web each month.
This is an old video, it’s far from dazzling, and it’s meant to be a promotional tool for Katy Bowman’s movement program that came out four years ago. So don’t exactly grab the popcorn for this. Rather, I made this the video of the month because I really think Katy is a treasure trove of useful information. With my own hectic schedule of late, and up to 70 hours a week or more with ass in chair in front of my computer, the health lessons that lie in the biomechanical realm are calling out to me (SHOUTING, actually). You won’t regret the time you invest getting familiar with Katy’s work. You can find out more about Katy at her website:?Aligned and Well…
This section features an article by one of the leading minds in health each month.
Rob Archangel’s Update on Hair Mineral Analysis and “the Calorie Experiment”
Rob here. Over the last six or seven months, I’ve been undertaking a couple of health experiments that I’m gonna share with you. One is targeted supplementation working alongside Dr. Garrett Smith, based on hair mineral analysis, and the other is a 180-inspired body recomposition effort. I’ll talk more about the body recomp stuff as that involves a more sustained day to day engagement, but will touch on the supplement routine as well.
First off- why?
Over the last couple of years, I served as the point of first contact for a lot of people writing in about 180D. One of the recurring questions I got was about how to safely lose fat without sacrificing metabolism. Is it possible? Is there any hope for people to change their body over the long term? Matt has long emphasized the dangers of creating intentional calorie deficits and the statistically insignificant number of people who become “long-term losers.” The body’s internal autoregulation system is powerful, and working against that tends to produce backlash, in both metabolism and in body composition. For most people who find their way to this site, simply emphasizing eating adequate food, getting quality sleep and movement, and addressing stress will be the recommendation.
But I wasn’t satisfied with that as a final answer, and many people here continue to look for next steps to letting that extra weight go after they’ve done some metabolic rehab. Bright, compassionate and experienced folks like Amber of Go Kaleo, Antonio Valladares of Evil Sugar Radio, and Anthony Colpo have all written about the potential of using calorie management and very SMALL?and strategic deficits and surpluses’to help transform one’s body without sacrificing health. Though skeptical, and keeping a keen eye on avoiding metabolic mayhem, I decided to give this approach a shot. I started working with Michael Bombard, a commenter on the old blog, who offered to coach me pro bono, and said I’d be welcome to share my experiences with the approach he advocates. And so this is that check in.
In some ways, it’s been a standard weight training “cut,” but done slowly and prudently, and with meticulous tracking. I started at around 185 or 190lbs, and have been steadily losing about 1lb per week to my current weight of 155lbs.
This method may not work for all, and it probably wouldn’t have worked for me at an earlier time in my life. It requires a lot of attention to detail. I measure my food with a food scale, and log my macronutrients every day. I also log every rep and set of my weight training. (I lift 3-4X/week, focusing on big compound movements primarily with de-loads integrated and routines shifting to maintain progress). I take my scale weight every morning before I have breakfast, and send a weekly progress report with photos and a log of how I was feeling, how training went, my energy and strength levels, overall compliance, body measurements, etc.
It’s a lot. But I think it’s been very valuable, and I can look back and see progress from week to week and month to month. I can also see trends and patterns and recognize day to day variability as part of a bigger progression, and not freak out.
I’ve found that after my first few weeks, tracking has been pretty simple. It doesn’t feel like a hardship. And I have flexibility. Sometimes I’ll miss a session or two at the gym. Sometimes I’ll miss some sets and be off. Sometimes I’ll be traveling and can only guesstimate my food intake. But I’ve found the 80/20 rule applies. It’s not as important what happens every so often, but what I’m doing consistently most of the time that counts.
Initially this was difficult. I had all sorts of hang ups that made this tough, and the calorie restriction was NOT easy. I didn’t want to commit myself to a life of weighing and measuring my food and contribute to food neuroticism. I didn’t want to experience sustained hunger and I was afraid of metabolic slowdown. Cold hands and feet, and dry skin and scalp are two of the issues I’ve experienced and didn’t want to sign up for more of that. ?Here’s how I’ve dealt with it:
Hunger: Yeah, it happens, but it’s not incessant and may even be a good sign that metabolism is not tanking. I incorporated some higher satiety foods (like potatoes), and reduced fluid consumption to help cope. I also had one, and later two re-feed days per week every week.
And now’s a good time to mention: my calorie levels have actually gone UP as the cut has progressed. I started at 2750cal, plus 3400 once a week as a re-feed. That later went to 2900 cals plus 3600 re-feed, then later to a second re-feed day, and most recently I was still losing at around 3400 cals plus one 3900cal re-feed. It’s incredible to me. I have a friend, about my height and weight (6′, 160lbs), who’s doing a standard calorie cut, with no resistance training, and has been eating 2000 calories per day. That tells me that this process does not have to be dramatic or severe in order to be effective. In fact, it probably should be slow and relatively comfortable. We kept raising calories so that I wouldn’t lose more than 1lb or so per week, to help ensure lean mass preservation and allow for more dietary freedom.
Ancillary low- metabolism related issues: Yes, my hands and feet have gotten cold, and that is concerning, and my dry skin and scalp has not resolved. However, even when I was re-feeding for long stretches, those issues persisted. I’ve found that other interventions, like engaging in relaxing or meaningful activities, or paying attention to salt and fluid consumption a la Eat for Heat tend to help. This is also partly why I decided to try HTMA with Garrett. More on that in a bit.
Why I Think That Has Been Effective So Far
I recognize that this six month or so window is when lots of “success stories” happen, only to later back slide as the programs prove unsustainable. Maybe that will happen here. We’ll see.
But I think that has been effective for a number of reasons: the resistance training is a key component and has allowed me to retain strength and muscle even while losing fat. My diet has been very flexible, not restricting any food group or macronutrient, or keeping to any particular feeding schedule. The primary concern was keeping protein levels at around 1g/lb of bodyweight (which I have gotten primarily from non meat sources, like dairy, beans, grains, gelatin, protein powders, etc.). I’ve eaten plenty of ice cream, pizza, mashed potatoes, etc. along the way. In fact, I live right next door to a pizza place, have worked there a couple nights a week just for fun and to learn how to make great pizza, and I’ve eaten 2-3 pizzas per week throughout the duration of this process!
The re-feeds and scaling of calories as high as possible have prevented some of the metabolic downsides of acute and sustained scarcity. The accurate tracking and weekly check ins really allow for tweaking and observing trends and shifting them toward the desired goals. And the whole process has been an exercise in intention. I gained weight deliberately?last spring (about 25lbs) because I committed to “bulking” and increasing strength and size. (This “re-feed” probably helped prime me for the weight loss that followed.)
Then I committed to losing the added fat in a deliberate way and took steps every day to help with that goal. I attribute my success as much to that setting of intention as to anything else, as it set the stage for me to follow through consistently.
Anyway I’m happy to answer questions if there are some. Like I said, this isn’t for everybody, and I don’t presume to be some expert in what’s right for all people in all circumstances. But in the interests of ongoing exploration and sharing, I’m writing this. Michael, by the way, is offering free assessments and critiques of current programs for a handful of folks who might be interested in his recommendations. You can email him at email@example.com (It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I receive no kickbacks or compensation from him, and he didn’t even ask me to write this. He’s just been a great dude and very supportive to work with, so I’m glad to pass on his information).
Hair Trace Mineral Analysis With Dr. Garrett Smith
As mentioned, I’ve also been working with the Doc for the last few months using his HTMA testing and targeted supplementation. Won’t have as much to say on this, but here are some thoughts.
Like perhaps many of you, I was skeptical of a supplement regime. I’d also heard some dodgy things murmured about hair analysis. But I knew a bit about Garrett and the overlaps between his work and Matt’s work and approach, and he was bullish about the prospects of this. He’s seen some incredible results so far and invited me, as a 180D site author, to take part and share my thoughts on so promising an intervention. Recognizing that I was already in the midst of a diet and training experiment, and it’d be hard to tease out results of one versus the other, I decided to go for it anyway. Kind of a magic shot approach, rather than magic bullet.
I’ve deliberately not read very much about it or what to expect, trying to minimize any placebo effect. But I took my initial test, got the results back a week or so later, then had a good hour long chat with Garrett about what was going on, what the assessment was, and what sort of supplements he’d recommend. In my case, there were two primary supplements, then some second and then tertiary-tier recommendations.
Results so far: Positive, I’d say. Again, some of these changes are happening in conjunction with my diet and training changes, but I’ve noticed some shifts in my attitude and approach. I feel a little more energetic, a little more confident and forward, a little less hesitant. Warmth of my extremities has maybe improved, but I also moved to Florida, so it’s hard to say. Dandruff and dry scalp have remained present.
Overall, I see no reason not to continue. Cost is moderate, probably around $1-$2/day, depending on what your analysis suggests and what your budget is. It’s not zero dollars, but despite being personally keen on keeping my expenses low, it’s still affordable in my book.
I’ve scaled up and am now taking around 10 supplements a day (mainly in the morning, plus a couple before bed), and I concede that it is annoying. But, like food tracking, I’ve come to see it as a bit of a meditative practice, a daily reminder of my commitment and intention to my health. Garrett is also very flexible about supplement timing, the number of supplements needed, and making this easy to comply with. His primary goal is for this to be simple and easy to integrate. If that means just using the bare minimum number of supplements, and the most economical ones that are still effective, no problem. Or if you only want to take the pills once a day, and whenever you remember, and not necessarily at specific times and in specific sequence, he’ll work with you.
Again, it’s hard to pin down specific effects, but I feel good about doing this, and suspect that, over the medium to long-term, this practice will contribute to better overall health. I’m happy to answer more questions on this front too if anyone is curious. Good luck, y’all- happy experimenting!
This section features some thoughts and experiences shared by a 180 reader. If you would like to contribute, send an email to rob@180degreehealth, and you can be the next featured reader.
180 Reader Monica Rodriguez
Monica is a former client of mine. We worked together for over a year before Monica finally let go and truly overcame her struggles with a decade-long?eating disorder. I’m so proud of her, she is now reaching out and helping others that are having the same struggles that she had, and she’s even translating Eat for Heat into Spanish!Muchas Gracias! ?
Hello my name is Monica Rodriguez and my goal by writing these words is to inspire you and make you realize how powerful and magnificent you truly are. If someone had taught me this every time I felt alone, awkward, different, and scared, my life would have totally changed.
I remember spending most of my childhood and teenage years wanting to fit in, never feeling good enough and having the need to prove myself to others, coupled with an extremely high degree of perfectionism and dissatisfaction.
When I was 15, I could not stand it anymore, and I developed an eating disorder that lasted for the next half of my life. No matter how much support I received from my loved ones and friends, this nightmare would not go away.
I tried mending my fears and obsessions around food by trying every diet out there, which only made it worse. I thought that dieting, detoxing, eating alkaline, whole natural foods and cleansing would solve all my problems and bring me to a place of peace. Finally, the misery that all of this brought me was too big for my heart, and I surrendered. This was my breaking point, and it was when miracles started to happen.
I had asked for sincere help, and the Universe answered. All of a sudden, I came across the right teacher, the right book, the right place, and my consciousness started shifting. One of these beloved teachers was Matt Stone, whom I trusted beyond my rational mind because my intuition kept pointing me towards his work. At first, my fears were too big, which kept me stuck, but all of a sudden, I just felt inspired towards doing what I needed in order to feel alive again.
I realized that I am much more than what I thought I was. I am not only a body, but an infinite, powerful, loving being expressing myself in this world through my body. As a result of this deeply felt realization, I started having the most positive relationship with myself and food. I finally realized who I truly was.
We are powerful creators, and we can choose the reality we want to live while we are here on Earth. For me, rejecting and punishing myself was not a choice anymore; I wanted to look and feel healthy and radiant, but most of all, I wanted to feel wholeness, peace and ease in my everyday life.
So I followed my heart, trusted, surrendered, and went after my dreams. I stopped looking for answers from the outside and instead I started listening to my heart. I finally realized that our external word is a reflection of our internal state. And guess what? My eating disorder vanished, my fertility came back after many years of absence, ?and I feel more free and peaceful than ever before! My life started soaring, my relationships flourishing, and I know this is just the start! Looking back, this struggle was my biggest gift, as it brought me back to my essence.
I discovered that my struggles were the doorway that led me to my Spirit and the vastness of my being. I learned that there is no one size that fits all and all you have to do is listen to what feels good for you without judgment or labels. It all starts on the inside, remembering who we truly are.??
I will never give my power away to others, because now I know that I already am everything that I am looking for, and so are you. We all have our own unique experiences, different backgrounds, different dreams and desires, and when we honor and go after what feels right for us individually, we are heading for miracles.