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Ep. 23: Dr. Ernie Ward - Is Your Dog Plant-Strong? Think About It.
"I have some really fantastic news to share with you today. Our annual plan stock weekend. This is going to be our ninth is moving online plan stock twenty twenty? It's still gonNA take. Place were marching forward from August fourteenth to the sixteenth, and we're still going to feature are Rockstar lineup of leaders from the plan, strong movement, and now you'll be able to join in from home. That's right now. Travel no hassle. Be Broadcasting. Live from the family farm in upstate new. York register today, and you'll get a front row seat all the action including tours of the homestead in the farm, my mom and pride and joy her garden yoga by the pine some treasured family stories. And a lot more. You'll receive a shopping and recipe list, so you can make an eat meals along with us all during the weekend and videos are included with all paid tickets, so you can watch again and again we have. Really timely lectures from Dr Michael Gregor Dr Michael Clapper my father. 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We want absolutely everyone to join us this year. Visit Plan Stock Twenty Twenty Dot com today and join the tribe. As people have sought companionship during Corentin or suddenly found themselves with time to house train. A new puppy pet adoptions have skyrocketed. It's a silver lining that people are finding comfort, love and happiness with a new furry friend. In fact, over sixty five million households are homes to dogs and cats, and if you're anything like me. Your pet truly has become a member of your family. And when you love someone. You feed them. What you think is the best possible food. Unfortunately, there are a ton of miss out there when it comes to the best diet to feed your pet and today. We're going to dispel some of those misconceptions particularly around meet in protein consumption for your dogs. Just like humans overfeeding and under exercising our dogs can cause inflammation, obesity and disease, but. Just like humans is reversible with the right diet, and you know what kind of Diet that is. We're talking plant strong diets. Dr Ernie Ward is a renowned veterinarian internationally known for improving veterinary. Medical, standards. Creating higher quality of life for animals and promoting healthier habits for pets and people. He's also the CO founder of wilder dog food. That is a proud supporter of the plant strong podcasts this season so today. I want to welcome you. To Dr Ernie Ward to discuss his recent book, the pet. Food Revolution. The clean pet food revolution. How better pet food will change the world? That's a mouthful, but there's a lot in that book. It's a mouthful and it's also. That's pretty ambitious. Claim it is, it is and you know rep again I want to thank you for having me here today. You've been an inspiration to me and millions of others you've helped guide and direct us towards healthier living more sustainable living, so just on a personal note, Dude and pretty soon to be here with you. But the book the book is ambitious. It is a bold statement I. What happened for me is my entire adult life. I've been a vegetarian and Vegan obviously. I think like many people. When you have kids, right gets pregnant. You slip a little less than from the veganism more into the vegetarianism, but over the I've not in animals, and I thought I was part of the solution. Rip I. Thought I'm not the bad guy here. I'm the. The Guy who saving the world, and then in two thousand seventeen UCLA research study came out that proved that pet food was a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions tall. All this animal welfare ills that had fought against you know to the to the climate change that here I was I thought I'm the good guy. And I realized in two thousand, seventeen, I had to. Change like what can I do I'm a veterinarian lying. Start with pet food. Well So you're a veterinarian, right How long have you been veterinarian in? What like what inspired you to get into You know veterinarian. Yeah, that's a great question. I think that for me, I was born into this. I've always known as we say in the deep south since I was knee high to a grasshopper that I was going to be a veterinarian. There's never any decision is just what I was going to be. You know I can't tell you you know. It's just what I was going to be. Because you just loved animals zone I, think so I think that there are people. You know that that have a strong calling and I think a lot of the medical professions may be. This is inherent without, but you know it's just it's just. When I was little, I had a kinship with dogs and cats and cattle I look I grew up in the south. My entire family still farms my mother and father, the only two who actually left the farm and got a little college education and went in the army, and all that kind of stuff to escape the farm so for me. The choice was always. You know I'm just how going to be a veterinarian. But what led me to do this book and to be one of the co? Founders of this plant based pet food company while Earth. Is this journey towards optimal health? Now I mentioned before I had been a vegetarian Vegan, my entire adult life, since I left home because I, just couldn't eat my friends right here. I was committing my life to being veterinarian I really found it hypocritical. Bold. To to think that I would select certain species and kill them. Raise them to be killed and others that I would cherish. Do everything to save a precious minute of life at the at the end of their life so I'd never understood that that this was contradictory. At same time, I'm watching my father have his chest cracked open in his late forties because of a bad lifestyle. Great Southern Diet you know no exercise weight gain I mean rip how many times we have to hear the story, so that was a wakeup call when I'm a young man, and now as I became an adult I found myself slipping into the same habits like most middle aged American male so here I am I'm about to turn thirty I've got. Successful Veterinary Clinic I've got a beautiful wife. We don't have children yet. I realized. Wow, dude! You're putting on weight. You're not in good shape anymore. And so that began my journey towards am becoming iron, man and becoming certified personal trainer coach all that stuff I'm still a veterinarian, but I'm beginning to explore nutrition, and it's direct impact on health and longevity and performance right so all of this now vat, and then in two thousand and five I. I started saying. Wait you know. Why are we seeing so many obese pets pets with obesity, these twenty pound cats, these one hundred and five pound Labrador retrievers, and that's when I started the association for Pet Obesity Prevention, which led me down an entire new pathway towards nutrition and optimizing help for dogs. So you so you started going down this obesity pat path with. For Dogs and cats in two thousand five right right doesn't five, and would it be fair to say that you are now like the pet obesity kinda got. On the planet you know I've been called worse things. Rip It yet, but I think most people associate pet obesity at least in North American and UK with with me Dr Ernie. Forget her for bad, but see the thing about obesity that people overlook we, as humans tend to make it an aesthetic issue, so we want. Look it in a bikini. You know you and I want to look rip at the beach in the summer when we're surfing, but it's about inflammation. It's about a chronic inflammatory state, which is why you can imagine fast forward later in life, and I'm giving the opportunity to formulate a pet food from scratch. You Bet I'm GONNA attack all the Amatori mediators I can, which is why part of why our pet food is made the way it is. So, one of one of my heroes in the plant based movement is a gentleman named Dr John. McDougall, you have right ours. Yeah! Yeah, and he likes to say that there's really only three species that are overweight, right? It's basically humans, dogs and cats all have basically been domesticated right so I mean. Can you explain what's going on there? Is it just because dogs? Cats and human beings are no longer eating their natural food, and we're eating like overly refined processed crap, and and other things I mean what's at the root of it first of all, it's very complicated. An easy answer second of all you know, there's really there you know the fallacy of Carol the Fallacy of nature so you know I think sometimes we WANNA, lock ourselves into this belief that you know. Oh, if we only fed dogs the way they were originally intended, they'd be healthier. It's just not that simple. In fact, you know there is no past reference because we're all constantly evolving senior, it's more complicated, but really for dogs and cats in the US and in the UK. Yes, overfeeding. Under exercising or the two primary drivers, but we can't forget that disease pet obesity, these are pathological states these are. Complete aberrations of the physiology the metabolic pathways so once you get to a certain degree of excess adipose tissue. You're now a disease state now leading up to that you can eat too much too much exercise too little right, but you can also genetics. We know genetics restrung driver in both humans and dogs evidences clear we also have things like hormonal imbalances. Right and you've got. Got All these cortisol imbalances. Yeah, you've got thyroid hormone dogs in particular. You've got environmental pollutants that I'm very I'm getting more and more concerned about ripped every day. When we look at the role of micro-plastics and how much they're appearing in animal meats, specifically, we know that these are indicated disruptors, and they are leading to weight gain a lot of really emerging evidence around that. Again what I'm just trying to paint a picture, it's not just this one thing you know I I wish it were so simple, but it's a complicated issue and we've got to be more scientific about it right. So Let me let me backtrack for a SEC and just say how excited I am to talk to you. Today about this book about your findings about how? How what we change. If we can change what we feed our dogs and our cats, we can actually do probably one of the best things we can outside of how we feed ourselves to really like have an impact on our pets health on the environment climate change all those things so before we talk about more about dog food. Would I love to do is talk about the environment yes? because. As, we briefly talked before we jumped on the podcast here. You. Know if we're not careful here i. think what you guys talk about in the book. We got about twelve years to basically get our shit together right? Yeah, otherwise, we're basically screwed. Right and there's a tipping point. That's what people this twelve year thing that you know leading scientists around the world throughout their like what what people go, look, I get it. That sounds doom and gloom. Armageddon is upon us. That's really frightening and intimidating, but what they're actually trying to say is there's a point of no return that changes then are irreversible, and that's this twelve year Mark Yup and in the book. You guys talk about how? Woman asked you some questions. He's a little layups, but I wanna go in a certain direction, so what percent of Americans have pets? Yeah about sixty five million homes right now have got a dog or cat or a combination thereof, so this is north of half of all Americans love their dog or cat. Okay, so What percentage of the meat that's consumed the United States is eaten by our dogs and our cat. Yeah, this is what changed my life. It's about twenty five to thirty percent of all the meet. The animal derived calories as the scientists say is consumed by dogs and cats in the US. So, twenty five percent you guys basically say in the book. That's the equivalent of about twenty six million Americans right how much they just right right in any given about fourteen million cars, the emissions from driving fourteen million cars a year right significant right, and so this would. This would mean that if dogs and cats. basically a country day would be eating the fifth. Day Be the fifth largest country as far as how much meat. Which is astonishing? Astonishing is right right and so. And I think you and I are well aware one of the greatest or probably the number one driver of global greenhouse gas emissions is animal agriculture right? So, so it's like. We truly by transitioning our pet food right from an animal based one to plant based food. We can go a long way towards mitigating those gleaned greenhouse gas emissions, right and enlisted. Here's the myth. I told myself for nearly thirty years because I'm the good guy I'm the Vegan Vegetarian veterinarian I'm not part of the problem I'm part of the solution, so the the lie that I told myself and that the industry tells people and many people listen to us today believe themselves is that we'll wait a second Ernie most of the pet foods. It's made from animal byproducts. Actually they're not contributing to. To the problem there, actually maybe helping the problem and look if that were true, I would say I Gotcha, but there's two fallacies embedded in that number. One Americans are demanding and paying a premium for more human grade animal meats. That is the hottest thing ever they're also at the same time. Warning higher meat protein diets for their dogs and cats mean there. You can go to a pet retail right now and get a forty, five fifty, five plus percent meet dog food. So that's not byproducts. I mean. That's coming straight out of the human food chain, the second thing the fallacy that's here. Has Not. Only are people demanding human grade, but the prophet that the industrialized farming system makes is coming off of pet food, so see it's thin like getting a lot of farm subsidies we go into great detail, and and how our tax dollars are just propping up these industrialized farm systems, but the reality is. They're making their money selling this stuff to the. The pet food company they charge a premium for human grade meets for dog food, so if you can start to chip away at that you chip away at the profitability, and we've seen this already happen to the dairy industry in the US, so again. I'm trying to attack this from two different areas, an economic one as well as a sustainable alternative protein. yeah, I. Mean You guys go as far as to say that basically pet food is destroying destroying the world. Yeah, that's that's chapter heading. and. That's scary, but what I'm trying to do is to awaken American pet lovers, just like me and you to say look. We're part of the problem. How can we help solve it? Yeah, so I mean this this book. Which I read. which was an? Insanely eye opening is is quite a piece of work. I mean what What point in time did you decide? You know what I need to write a book I need to get involved with creating a clean. plant based dog food. And I need to get after this, ASEC. Well. It's serendipity. Right sometimes in life when the universe just sort of parts and shows you the path you take it and what had happened was I mentioned this ucla study drops at the front part of two thousand seventeen. I am speaking at an the first innovation summit, and I'm talking about different ways of doing veterinary medicine and there's a guy they're talking about. About future foods named Ryan Beth in court, and we just SORTA connected on a lot of levels, obviously at a veterinary conference. There aren't a lot of vegans running around, and we connected on that level and then I did some fact checking? He checked with a couple of buddies a his check with a couple buddies of mine. We found that we were legit. Legit and that's what led us down this so serendipity really did it. The book actually came about as soon as we became like a real company, because I recognize that one of our biggest barriers with selling plant based dog food in the states was to educate the public on the myths of Carnivores, and that meet has magical mystical properties, which it does not and so I knew that a book would be a part of that story and what I've done in this book. Of course I co wrote it with a brilliant animal at this from the UK. A front and old friend of Mine Alice oven she's not old. She's very young, but she's a good friend of mine. And Ryan was just sort of distilled. I unpacked thirty years of my experience and beliefs right here in three hundred pages. Well. So. Are you telling me that you wrote this? And under like a year and a half? Yeah, yeah, it it. It really went quickly, so alice was just an indispensable part of the team so. Not only wanted Alice's part of this because I wanted to get an ethicist perspective. Right I can give you the medicine science. I can give you the vets aspect. Ryan can share with you like all the future biotech San Francisco Silicon Valley scene, but I also wanted to make sure that I was being checked at every point that I wasn't going overboard like you know hey. Hey Alice is this make. Does this make sense? And she brought such richness and depth some these chapters, and what I appreciate about working with Alice's a, she is the absolute best citation hunter ever because I would say you know I read this paper a couple of years ago. German researcher and can't remember way and she would help me find it. Yeah, she's brilliant like that. But she would then take some of these chapters these concepts and say you know I think you need to punch it up. What's what's the real reason like? When we go into pain when I started articulating you that first chapter was a little bit dry because I talk about animal pain in terms of the receptors and the neurotransmitters right like scientists I'm a veterinarian and was like I. Think you really need to lean into more of the feelings, the experiences and so you know that Ada 'cause I went back, and and that's I love. That's a powerful chapter well so. Yeah and I think one of the things that this might have been alison that brought this into the book was and I had no idea that so of everybody that owns pets in the United States, or maybe even around the world, ninety percent of those pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family right I mean and they they loved. Loved them just like they were you know a child or you know part of the family and that being said you also want to love them like they're part of the family. And when you love someone, one of the ways that you show love is by feeding them. What you think is the best possible food right right and so this to me. Is kind of the crux of where I wanna go with you. IS WE SEEM TO BE? Working under this false. This false premise that. The current way were eating are feeding our dogs and our cats. Is the best way. Feeding them meet meat byproducts. which they need because they're carnivores or Omnivores, whatever that means and we can talk about yeah, but but the reality is is that. So the current paradigm, it's a false premise, and then what when they think of feeding their dogs or cats, plant based foods. They're working under a false premise because they think that's not the best way to them. and. We tackle that head on the book because I actually say that I say. This is what I say is I because somehow. If you feed a plant based diet to your dog or cat, you're deficient. Your bad pet parent right. I mean this is where that that holy ethos is coming from, and it's and it's just again. It's predicated on marketing I mean let's be clear. The American public the pet owning public. Really of the world has been bamboozled about this. It's no different than the way we've been booze for their own diet. The sad diet the. Standard American Diet We've been brainwashed to think. Oh, you got to eat meat three times a day. You know, get a big glass of milk you know are your bones won't be strong. This is all nonsense. This is all marketing. This is all subsidized by big business to keep their coffers full, and so you know what I. Try also do in the book is talk about the marketing strategies, these people you, so the first and foremost thing people have got to take a step back and say okay. Wait you know all the stuff that I've been told about. Human nutrition is now really come under question under fire I. Mean People like you, your father, the? Doctor Campbell's all these different researchers McDougal. All these people have said guys. The research doesn't support eating steak three times a day. In fact, it looks like it's pretty darn bad for you. But yet that's what your market. If you turn on the television fast food, fast food, fast food, meet, meet meet, and so what the American public gotTa do to say wait am I not being manipulated the same way around pet food. Right and you are no. You clearly are totally so so I mean so. Let me ask you this question so. Were being manipulated. So how healthy or necessary than is any kind of animal, animal, meat or animal byproducts in the in our pets diet? This is a great question, and this is where the language fails us, and the first thing I want to say is in the book I go into great detail to describe Wyatt I. Don't use the terms. Carnivore Omnivore and an urban core because sciences disputed a turn them over every time. I mean even a herb A rabbit has been proven now. The past couple of years that that Canadian hairs actually cannibalize eat other small rodents in the winter. So there you go right, we everything we think we know. We learned that we really didn't know after all, so I think when I get into what what we're talking about. With these terms Omnivore, and what's the best way I look at it as this number one, you need nutrients, not ingredients to thrive number two. We have in you can. Can you just? Can you repeat that you need nutrients, not ingredients to thrive, so when you say in ingredients, give me an example and ingredient is a nutrient vessel and ingredient is poultry ingredient quite frankly isn't p. right? I mean it's. It's anything so, and that's why we call them nutrient vessels because it's. How do you get those amino acids? Those vitamins minerals whatever nutrient we're talking about into the body, and it's just a carrier. That simple, that's that's first of all nutrients ingredient right? The second thing is we have culturally implicit ingredient biopsies. You probably read constantly. Keep talking about ingredient bias, ingredient bias, and this is a term that I coined several years ago. Just because I I was desperately trying to communicate with my. Colleagues it's like you have a bias. Against certain things I say fungal protein right now I've activated a neural network and your listeners brains that has said wait. Maybe a fungus is something that is a mold. Maybe it's got a negative connotation. I thought Fungal infections were bad like a yeast infection right so. Say Wait a second. We have to overcome a implicit bias that's not based on reality or science right so you're thinking of fungal protein. Is something really bad when we're actually saying? No, it's actually really really good. The same way that you know South Koreans think eating dog is fine. Okay, right? I mean this world hit home with your listeners, but yet in America. You're revolting right now. If you guys could have seen rips face, you know he draws back. He's like what what are you talking about man? Because eating a dog is an agreed that we would never accept in our culture, so there's ingredient bias, and then the third and final thing. Is understand that food has consequences. Now we often think about food consequences directly on our health or the health of our love, dogs and cats right, so it's it's a direct consequence, but we're also have to realize the indirect consequences of the food choices we make, and this is what you do. An excellent job of doing is actually saying okay. Look if you if you're going to eat. Fast Food Hamburgers three times a day two times a day twice a week. Then you're having an impact on farmers on wages on water quality on Air Quality I. Mean You Take Your Pick? But the consequences expand beyond just you yeah, so there's there's a huge effect right Yep Let me, let me dive in a little bit here about how? Some some I think some maybe some fads that are out there right now. What what's like I don't think I even heard this until maybe the last three or four years, but grain free dog food it's it's almost like dogs when people kind of. Started going Cuckoo for cocoa puffs over, you know everything, gluten, free right and grain free. Like somehow was good for us might be good for our pets I mean I yet and grain, really interesting phenomenon, and if you really look at the history, closely and I and I tried to describe it in the book We didn't want to go into tremendous detail, because it's not a grain free book, but really grain free gained popularity after the two thousand seven melamine pet food. Recall now you may recall that it was a pet food ingredient sourced out of China. They had substituted a toxic compounds that cause kidney failure. To falsely elevate the protein level, so it tricked the analyzers into thinking that this this food had more protein, so it was this was really devious stuff, but it killed thousands of docs in the US and so there's a massive recall, and so I think one of the first things happen was. Pet food manufacturers in an effort to gain market. Share said. Oh whatever that stuff was involved melamine. We're going to go the opposite direction so this market reaction. This is the the rise of blue. Buffalo not coincidentally, because just Blue Buffalo. Buffalo's one of the most popular pet food brands in the United States okay, that's a massive multibillion dollar pet, food brand, and so these are people that capitalize kind of kind of a catchy name. Right. And you can already see what they're leaning into. Totally totally ancestoral all this, so we don't need grains. Dogs didn't fall. Eating grains evolved to eat blue buffalo's or whatever so and again I'm not here to not have particular brand and I'm just giving you a rise of grain free. What grain free actually signaled was higher protein, and so when you start to really dive deep and analyze these formulations and we discussed this in the book you start. Start, to see the protein levels creep up because that was the real market signal knocked the grains out, knock, knock the corn and the wheat, and all this out and replace it with good healthy meats, and so that's where the shift began towards grain free. Now you know the pendulum may swinging back. Look as a veterinarian as a as a person who studies nutrition. I think that grains are fine I think that they actually are necessary for dogs. Cats we can argue around some of the nuances there, but the reality is you know I think we have to start against the spend some of these ingredient biopsies that leaned into it heavily, and we have to go back. What are the nutrients that were actually needing in the body at any given time to myself? Yeah, you know this is. This is very personal for me. Because back in I think it was two thousand and two thousand and ten might have been two thousand eleven. We had a a blue heeler border collie mix. Who at the age of nine? Nine came down with liver. Cancer metastasized throughout his body. We had to have him put to sleep. His name was PD and it it it crushed my my wife and I, and so for, and we were feeding him at the time. What we thought was the best available most expensive food on the market because we loved him so much, and we wanted to give him what we thought was the most nutritious complete dog food out there right right, and unwittingly that probably contributed quite a bit to facilitating You know they cancer I would imagine, but we just made A. A concerted effort at. That moment that because we had another dog that was still alive, named tug, who was one in a million I mean just he and we're like okay. We want tug around as long as possible. We're just GONNA feed him all of our leftovers right and then. and so that's what we did, and so we would make our own business buckets of Bulger, and we'd and and and brown rice and different beans and whatnot, and he went from being probably ten to twelve pounds overweight within four months he was down to his idyllic wait. He actually was nominated as one of the most athletic dogs and Austin Texas, and it was on the cover of this this this really cool magazine here in town, but and so he lived to almost sixteen right yet, and all all plant based Diet, but we didn't know we were experimenting. Try It, so it's really validating. To hear you say that if you're feeding your dogs and we can talk about cats later, but dogs. Ate Plant based Diet. It's fair to say that you're doing okay. They're not going to be haddish absolute. You're not going to be deficient as long as it has the nutrients. Okay. They gotta eat, so it's not the ingredient. It's neutral. Yes, so speaking of nutrients you. We talked about protein for a while. There so. You know human beings from everything that I've researched somewhere between five to ten percent of our calories should be coming from protein. What is it with a? And this is where the math gets fuzzy, because it really depends on which research you went to stand behind a in general so again I'm going to have to put on my hat of the pet obesity expert Yup. Higher Protein. Diets higher fibre components tend to maintain lean muscle mass better same for people right so you? You hear that a lot. And one of the reasons why I think this is is because for dogs. When we look at how they utilize energy, it's very similar to humans, so dogs and humans primarily use fatty acids as an energy source, so you and I we're doing ironman. where out there cooking are fatty acids? In fact, we have to train our selves nutritionally to tap into those fatty acids or not burn carbs because I mean I know you like to do the shorter distances for your speed, but I'm old and slow, so I've tap into the fatty acids, but dogs do this cats now if If you're just listening to your curious, cats do not their ANAEROBIC, so they're. They're going to always use glycogen a form of sugar. So you know again two totally different species, which is why we're focused right now on dogs are we only have a dog food? That's plant based cat foods coming, but it's more complicated, but getting back to this I. Don't think you know I. Don't know that there's a proper amount when we look at the regulations and guidelines, you look like it's in the lower twenty percent of their total nutrition or diet of the day should be an. In Protein for me I do tend to skew slightly higher than that. There are exceptions obviously dogs with Kidney, disease or liver dysfunction a few inflammatory disorders. But in general, I tend to push towards the higher end of protein for dogs to help them maintain lean muscle mass guy in so Your dog food is high protein. What's that thirty one thirty one percents? Yeah, and that was a deliberate act on on my part, and of course, our teams of animal and pet nutritionist because we wanted to to number one quite frankly wanted to to show the world that you could make a high protein plant-based pet food. It had never been done before which was kind. kind of staggering to me years. You're exploring this. You're walking into it and I said my dogs a vegetarian diet their entire lives, but you know I've I've just never like I. Guess. This is what you got right. I guess they can't make higher protein formulation. I guess this is all they can do. And then, of course we discovered these fungal proteins, and the rest is history. But I do tend towards that. In fact, if you my formulation in the current dog food, its high protein, high fiber makes absolute sense is congruent with my mission about obesity, so it's not a weight loss diet. It's just promoting. And where where is most of that fiber coming from? Food well, and this is where it gets really cool. So when you look at the traditional dog diet and cat diet, they're sourcing animal meats, so poultry beef lamb, no fiber, right no fiber with with him when you look at these fungal proteins that we're using, remember that this fungal proteins have a cell wall about ten percent of the total molecules, density or volume. Okay, so the amount so of that ten percent is fiber. I mean roughly speaking. So an of that type of fiber. It's really one of my favorite fibers Beta glucose, which I'm sure you know all about so Beta Kucan's are one of these amazing immunomodulators, and so when you give. What is what does that word? I mean we know modulator means it boost the immune system, and it does this because dogs and humans have specific receptors in their gi track to these Beta lukens and it actually the body says wait. This is a foreign thing I have to turn on a specific of antibodies or immune responses to this, and so it promotes your immune system. This is why Beta glue pins are Kinda the rage now and look I. There's a lot of popular human doctors on TV name. Their name might have Z. in there somewhere but. That are pushing for Beta glucose, but the science solid on it. We know that Americans don't get enough. Guess who also doesn't get enough dogs, so that was one of the reasons why I really was pushing hard for these types of formulations, see rip not only when I was boosting that protein I was also boosting the fibers. It's a really cool little. You give me an example because I know for example when it comes to fiber. Probably, getting somewhere in the neighborhood of sixty to eighty grams of fiber a day like with your dog food like Whoa. How many grams are in the work that way? I have no idea no. I really have to get out the paper and calculator to figure out that one. But in general terms, dogs in America are getting. Little no dietary fiber. Right, because again this push towards grain, free push iron, higher animal protein of it has an honestly as a veterinarian sitting on the sidelines for nearly thirty years practicing, I'm watching these inflammatory bowel. Diseases continue to rise in prevalence and honestly I kept saying it's. Got To be something in the food and I'm not just GonNa say fiber will save the world but I think it's part of the story. Yeah, I, I think fiber can save the world. I know I'll say it for you. And then you know. It seems like this new frontier to this just kind of come into our lexicon in the last. Really three years is the microbiome and I would imagine that's also important with a dog right? It's phenomenal and I can't get into a lot of the research, because it's currently ongoing, and we're working with really an amazing group out of Berkeley. Also animal biomass a doctor Holly Gaunt's dear friend of mine have the most respect and utmost. Trust in her, but we've been doing a lot of studies and what we find when we feed our, we feed. Dogs are food, so they've been feeding a meat based diet their whole life and we put him on our food for a couple of weeks. You see a change in the gut microbiome, you see a richness and diversification. Health signals and and again there's a lot we don't understand about the microbiome, but we do know is that they're shifts, demonstrable shifts and richness of the Gut microbiome, which, at least in human studies are associated with better health, so we're we're again. I can't get until. Bets okay, super exciting stuff, so we're all about the microbiome. What about? So you mentioned obesity. And it seems like especially with humans. What also usually? Of follows closely as diabetes. Is that something that you're seeing with dogs and cats and ripped this? This is why I became so impassioned about fighting pet obesity, and why I spend an enormous amount of my life doing work around pet, obesity and diabetes is is a death sentence for an animal that gets not only does it shorten your life outright, but it's such a burden of care for the owner. Because now you're going to be relegated to doing twice daily insulin injections constant trips to the veterinarian, trying to look at Urine Glucose and Blood Glucose this is really challenging. The good news is that dogs are less likely develop diabetes from obesity than cats cats. That's the only way they get it. I mean this is like so scary right so cats aren't born. There's no jeans. It's when they develop obesity than they develop type two diabetes, and it's not really type two diabetes, but that's closest thing we have for dogs. What they do is they go. They embark upon a long period of insulin resistance and rip you know when you look at longevity like you. Do you know that insulin resistance is another death sentence I mean so these dogs while they don't go outright into failure of diabetes. They're at such elevated levels. GLYCEMIC index is off the charts that they're actually so inflamed that you know Rick I am. I'm Kinda going. I don't know if it matters right I mean this. This is now a definition, and honestly I've been working for about a decade to redefine how we diagnose diabetes. Because again my work with obesity, this has led me down the inflammatory pathway, which of course, just dead ends into diabetes. Would you be able to tell me on average? If. Your dog comes down or cat with diabetes. How many years is that offering their life and you don't WanNa know out so so the problem with cats is compliance. The owners just can't adhere to the treatment. So. It's usually a year. Right somebody gives up. The cat can't take it like that for dogs. You get a little more of a grace period, but in my experience you're still looking at a couple of years, and is it fair to say that the? This is preventable and reversible. Yes, so if you. If you were to change the food right? Maybe start exercising preventable. One hundred percent agree with the reversible. It's depends, so can I don't know how much damage to the pancreas has already occurred? Because humans we can yet, but again it just depends on where you catch them on that spectrum. They do reach a point of no return. Cats reach it much faster than humans are dogs, right? I'd love for you to be part of the solution in leading the charge for change with healthy clean. And environmentally safe pet food for your dog. It's not the ingredients. It's the nutrients that help them thrive in the team at Wild Earth has definitely put together a formula with the best nutrients. Try Back today and save forty percent off your first order by visiting wilder dot Com backslash plants strong today. Now let's learn more about how folks like mark. Cuban have supported this company. So this. Dog Food Wilder that you are a CO founder. Of How long has it been out there? Yeah, so we launched our first dog food. We we had a treat out to the beginning of the year we started the company, the end of two thousand seventeen, so I think by two thousand eighteen like. We were officially did all the paperwork. So this has been a really rapid thing, but we. We had a clear vision and purpose and I think that. Like Hugh. We have a mission, right? You have this something that's driving you. That's not just making money. Then you get things done, and that's really what happened especially you. In the early days of wilder, we were so focused like nothing was gonNA stop us and nothing was going to slow us down and if you said it would take six months, we would say. Why can't you do it in three months you know, and so we push push push and. Because see, the science was already there like I. I think this is one of the things like some of my battery. Colleagues like I. Don't understand how you can do all the studies. It's like Yeah, most the studies already done long before, right? We were just we were literally capitalizing on pre existing bodies of research that were being ignored. And why were they being ignored? I? Mean you've seen this? How many countless times in the human medical world because it didn't serve a market purpose right I mean. Why are you going to say that? Fungal proteins are plant based proteins are as good as if not better than me when you can go out there and there's trillion. TRILLION, dollar Meat Industry I. Mean You know this is? This is some serious stuff that we're going up against so a we were lying on a lot of existing evidence and research, it was already done in fact, a lot of the studies that we relied heavily on in the early days were done to compare meat versus plant based proteins, and of course they would find that they were equal to in many times better, you know the plant pace option. Plant based options were better, but yet nobody did anything that research says this covered up, and then the second thing we did once we got the formulations you. We began all of our testing and this is where you know. Pet owners have to be aware these feeding trials that are being done in America which you know, we talk about in the book I mean this is lab animal testing. These are purpose, bred dogs and cats, so if you do a feeding trial on a dog, in America, then that means that these are dogs that are born live and die in a Kennel somewhere right. They don't have a home. They don't have a you know and look I, applaud. There are a couple of few of them out there that are trying to make it better, but then the day it's still lab. Animal purpose bred for feeding trials. So you know we had to rely on A. A network of volunteers on different people to to help us get these studies done. We worked with an amazing researcher at Oklahoma State. You know who is just as committed as we are to taking lab animals out of this testing, so but you wind up having these little networks of communities that help you do the research. That was really the slowdown like for US getting that from scratch. That's that's and I'm still working on that as you know in the book is sort of. It's a little bit of a cliffhanger. At the very end of the book I talk about this lab. Animals, stuff and the reason. That's the last chapter was because we're still working. Closely, with FDA to make sure that these regulations get revised in favor of of not having to use these laboratory Kennels of beagles labs right right, so You know I've I've got a line of food products. For, humans not for dogs How many! How many different! Plant based dog companies. Are there out there because I mean not many? Like almost like a hand held, it's a handful and honestly there's only a couple that have any market share I mean. There's a lot of little niche brands that maybe pop up certain corner of the United States or UK, but it's very very small on. If we had this conversation a year from now rip, it's going to be a larger number because All of the major pet food companies are now heavily invested in plant. Plant based options. I mean so expect I mean. PURINA's already playing around with this. Royal Khanin you know Mars all of these big companies are are now starting to just like they are in the with humans right right? I mean whether it's Tyson or you know Nestle you name it right there, and they're all getting on board, and I'll tell you. Here's the challenge for everybody, and the challenge. I'll give to your listeners. IS WE'RE GONNA. Have to figure out the marketing from the science because you and I know that when players like impossible and beyond meat come out, they usually come out pretty good products I worry about the metoo generation of deluding down the message, actually producing far inferior products that don't offer the same benefits. I really. We're going to have to watch closely. What happens the next few years? Absolutely and I would imagine that. There's not too many. We talked about this before we jumped on here, but there's not too many that Marion's right. That kind of understand nutrition kind of like you have because you made it. Okay. I take. That is one of the things I encounter a lot. This is the Internet myth that vets don't know nutrition. Oh No, we get a lot and I'll stack my nutritional background against any MD right, so I think we get a really good and a very broad nutritional education. I think what happens is then you get out into the real world and to headwinds hit you straightaway number one people. Don't trust the vet when it comes to food. They think you're trying to sell them something. They think there's a profit motive behind it so every time when you do genuinely and legitimately true, you make a recommendation from the purest ten in your heart that the the the dog cat owner in front of you is like these guys are just trying to make a buck right. The second thing is then you look at who continues to educate veterinarians throughout their career, not during vet school, right? That's one part of the issue, but then later on, we go to continuing education. Then it's who's got the biggest money who can sponsored the tracks and so forth so I think that that's really weird. The challenge is for a company like ours for somebody like me and I know my colleagues appreciate respect and I. Thank them for their their assistants over the years with pet obesity, but now when we're trying to open their eyes to hey, look, there may be alternative protein sources for dogs and cats that you're not really educated about you know. This is the challenge for me the next few years, but to me it's not only alternative protein sources. It's also sources of I mean. I mean they're getting all the essential fatty acids. They need right on these plans. They're getting all the the I would say. Unprocessed healthy carbohydrates yeah. From from these plants they're getting as we talked about earlier. They're getting fiber and and and a much stronger download of nutrients and antioxidants just like just like humans. Right? I mean so. It sounds like a home run, and this is all alien right, so if you talk to the average family practitioner MD in America. This stuff is alien to them. Semi like rip and your father. You know they're like Whoa. These guys I have no. No idea what they're talking about. Sounds Bull, right same thing with what I'm doing. A most veterinarians or like plant based really Beta lukens never heard them, and so it's it isn't education awareness, and what I would challenge you is if you're a pet owner today. If your pet lover I guess, I should say then educate yourself on this stuff. Go in and ask your veterinarian and I've got two things for you number one. If you're veterinarian isn't. In able to have a cogent civil conversation around pet nutrition pet food with you. Find another vet, right? There's there's too many right The second thing is, it needs to be a collaborative effort. Because it does get I, I will not look and I. Know Ryan Will Get mad at me for this, but I'm not gonNa say our diet is the perfect for every dog on the planet. Because I think that's A. A ridiculous statement you I'm a scientist at heart, and I would say you and your dad would probably have to agree like you know. Hey, this works great for some people, but there's the small percentage of people that do to whatever unique physiology dot to work for so you gotTa have this open. Minded approach and figure out what works what happens right now is there's no open mindedness. There's only one nutritional ethos philosophy. Whatever you WANNA, call it. That's actually accepted that meat-based animal meats. Only I'm going. Are you kidding me? Really Yeah. You guys. When did you go on? Show tank Riot Ryan was on shark tank right and so Ryan's the other CO founder right, and so he went on shark tank. How long ago that was in March of two thousand nineteen. Really in so you know. Were you there in the audience? Yes, yes, yes, it was a big deal. Were you nervous as? because. It was ugly I. Mean The sharks through you know it's funny because leading up to this. I said I said here the pushback point. You'RE GONNA. Get right you because you know I, know them by heart. I mean I'm a vet. I'm out in the real world. Why weren't you out there with Ryan up? It got complicated. Actually actually the show made that decision. Oh, and so it look at. Right now we're both prepared to go on really a few days before. They said we don't know about this. I think. They were kind of nervous about this to I. Think maybe the production guys like. Is this really going to work because? One of the things about shark tank. You know they want to close the deal and I think that probably they got a lot of like reservations from the sharks going. Wait what that? Some kind of plant based Vegan dog food I don't know, but I given Ryan a list I said these are these are the hits you're gonNA. Take, and so we had practiced regon over responses, and so forth and sure enough every one of those hit backs. You know dogs need meet. You're depriving them, you know. They're carnivores there, wolves, you know everything I mean it's a really common playbook that is universally applied against any plant based Vegan. I mean it's the same tenants used against humans when we talk about veganism or not eating animal products, and they apply it to the to the pet food, and so so Ryan went toe to toe with sharks, and then what ended up happening? Wow, Yeah, so we. The show is not going well. They, they are nobody's digging it. Out. But Mark Cuban just like quiet, and we had seen previous episodes. We knew the Cuban uses like the guy. He'll either give you a quick. No or he lingers, and then jumps in right, and so he was lingering, he was taking it all in I think he was processing the opportunity. I think that Mark Cuban is a brilliant entrepreneur. And I think at the end of the day. He said, wait a second. This sounds like it's got real potential. This is a good team and he invested heavily and so. Did Ryan go into like the Animal Welfare. The environment climate change the fact that dogs in fact don't need you know meet, and it's actually doing more harm than good, did he? He did he laid out there related out there. Okay, and any of the sharks that you know of plant based themselves no mark. Cuban has recently announced that he's gone mainly vegetarian, so we would like to hope that. Role in that and Mark Cuban actually has stepped up his investments in plant based space, so you think that? Again rip people like you, and and to a lesser extent. People like me were trying to just chip away right by US, getting exposure to a shark. Take audience on television. We would never reach those people so we. We expose them to a new. Right and like mark, Cuban to suddenly go wait a second. There's something to this, and then you know. What is all this stuff and then a movie like game changers drops? Wow this is, this is a big deal and again it's just chipping away as my good friend. Steven Kotler the famous New York Times Pulitzer nominated. Author says you know everybody's duty is to move the ball one yard. Yeah, well, you know there's a quote here in this book. In your book? That I wanna read and it's goes this. It's a paragraph. Of course. There's a far simpler solution, but nobody seems to want to hear it much less implemented. Unequivocally states that in this. Animal to plant sourced protein shifts offer substantial potential for GHG emission reductions switching to an animal meat. Free Vegetarian Diet could reduce food related emissions by sixty three percent. Becoming vegan including no animal byproducts could increase that to seventy percent at the start of two thousand and nineteen, the medical journal The Lancet published the findings of the. Lancet Commission on healthy and sustainable diets. Their verdict was that civilization is an imminent crisis. Earth is at risk, and it's time to put the planet on a better more sustainable meal plan and to me. This is why we need this. Especially in light of what you now I'm reading that twenty five percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by. You know pet food that you know one two Americans have pets that. We! Are If we truly love our pets, right? We WanNa take care of them then. I'll speak for dogs 'CAUSE I. At least our dogs will do predominantly better on a plant-based Yano type of eating regiment. I mean wow. Wow, right, and I thought you were going to read a quote that I'm I'm kind of proud of, but it's gotten a lot of controversy around it and basically Which one is it? Let's say I I. Say I say. The choice is clear. We can feed fewer pets more. Animal meats are feed more pets less animal meat I also have. Highlighted, but that's I. Mean if you're listening today, this is the reality we are facing. I mean this isn't science fiction. I'm not just some personnel. Proclaiming the world is ending I am actually saying look this, say resource, scarcity issue, and so over the next decade. Humanity is gonNA. Be Confronted with. How do we feed nine billion people on the planet? Okay, and it's not quite an active thousand fifty by two thousand, fifty billion billion. So how do we feed them? And so you suddenly realize okay. Every ounce that is feeding a cat or dog could be feeding a child in Africa and I. It's so bad. I don't know if your listeners are aware of this, but the average American cat is fed thirty pounds of fish a year now. We haven't even started talking to more than twice. And we can't. Even today is probably not the great day for cats. Because we got some cool stuff happening, but again it's it's I think it's so excessive that it's nearly obscene Tell me. Wild, Earth you know? You founded two thousand seventeen. I think he says right. How many products do you have? An, like what what's out there right well, currently, we have three treats, so they're all using fungal proteins that use Koji so coach is my favorite things on the planet. What is 'cause? Koji is the Japanese secret sauce. It's an sake. It's in soy sauce in me, so it's. It's an all those great things that give that mommy flavor, so the rich flavor, which is actually I think one of our secrets because that who mommy is is media I guess you would say savery. And again for those are not aware. Mommy is actually a different flavor, right? It's not sweet or sour or meet its Mommy on, so we added that our treats, and that's what went on shark tank with. As we didn't have our food developed by that time, it was in final. We're testing at that point and so The treats are super savory dogs love them I mean so I. Definitely encourage you to try that. Three different flavor skews, and we're. We'll be experimenting with that in the coming year, and then of course we came out with the world's first high protein plant based dog food, and so that's been out now. For since August, so you got one you just once cube. Yeah, and again we're small company. I mean. This is an early days for us. and people are constantly. Know. I want a different flavor. It's like yeah coming. You're only do so much and we do. Take the science seriously. Yes we could. We could have put out five different flavors. Absolutely you can just load in whatever artificial garbage you want, but we really are setting ourselves apart, but that also is is. Your. Dog Food. You're plant based dog. Food is a good for small dogs. Little Dogs, young dogs. All dogs yeah, mean Yep so ours is what's called an adult maintenance diet, so it's good for all old dogs and adult dogs. It is not for puppies yet, so we're working on some staffers, so they have a little bit different requirements they do they and they can still do well on plants yes, yes. Yes like I said we've got some exciting stuff happening. Because there's still some research that's perhaps being done as we speak so I am really excited. That's a you can imagine so from a pet obesity prevention standpoint I have to prevent it in early puppyhood like that's where the problem begins during the first year of life that sets up dogs and cats for a lifetime of weight, gain or healthy weight. Well All I can say is this has been super Super Enlightening right like I i. would imagine and I'm speaking for a lot of people out there that Our eyes have been opened and it's really neat to me that how you guys. Have you know thought outside the proverbial box and? Presented to me such an easy solution. If we in fact truly you know love our love. Our pets love the planet. if one of our values is that you know, we care about animal welfare, this is such a optimal solution. Right and you get to to help all of those things. Animal Welfare Climate Change Environment without sacrificing the health of your pet like we just I think that's the part that is revelation revelation to. Release it is a revolution, but. The revelation for me was when you suddenly look at the nutrients that you can come up with with these fungal proteins and these plant based proteins, and you realize you are not sacrificing health because I think that was a big. That's a big barrier for a lot of listeners today. They're going okay Ernie I'm down with this like I know we got to reduce our meat consumption and be better for the environment in animals. All that stuff but I'm not gonNA. Take a chance of my dog food. Look yet. The evidence is clear the science back it up. We are APCOA approved. We got all the nutritional your requirements and accolades and regulations that you have so. We are now entering into a time when you have a choice and that's really what I want to make. Sure people are aware of that. You have choices. It doesn't harm anything you know in our. Our food doesn't kill animals. They're not purpose bred lab animals. You know it doesn't harm the water supply or the environment I mean i. just want better choices. Yeah, yeah, this is huge huge important. Wonderful work that you're doing, and it gets one of the reasons why I shouldn't say it's one of the reasons. It's the reason why I in the plant, strong podcast decided to. Basically you know partner with you guys for for season two because we are in such alignment with I think where we wanna go and how we want We Wanna see this transition from an animal based economy, too much of a plant based on, and that's why we're so excited to work with Europe because your listeners are the exact people that we want to connect with because they get it already, they understand the health benefits of transitioning to plant based lifestyle. I mean they'd get it, but they probably aren't aware of the same benefits that it could apply to their dog or in the future their cat, and so it's really nice to be able to have these conversations with your listeners, and to actually expose them to a different way of thinking and again provide different choices. Yeah, so let me just summarize here, really really quickly so. Concerned about your pet food safety, right? Let's let's go plant based. If you're concerned about the carbon pawprint of your pet, then let's go pie plant based if you're concerned about your pet and its potential for obesity and diabetes, than let's go plan based, and if you're concerned about animal welfare. Let's go! Plant based piece engine to. Keep it, plan straw, plants drawn. Thanks, thank you. I WANNA, thank. Dr Ward for his compassion and his important work. was wonderful to know that there are people like him who are constantly researching and educating the public about optimal health and well-being for our pets. We love, them like our own family members. So you know it's it's incumbent upon us to feed and care for them just as much. We have choices good, environmentally friendly choices and I want to encourage you to keep it. Plants draw even for the first ones to learn more about Dr Ward's work. You can visit Dr. Ernie Ward Dot com or you can check out his book. The pet food revolution, or you can check out. The show notes for this episode. The plan strong PODCAST team includes. Record, which Amy mackey Patrick Gavin Wade Clark and Kerry. Barrett I wanNA thank my parents Dr Kabul. Junior and an Kreil Hustle Ston for creating a legacy that will be carried on for generations and being willing to go against the current and trudge upstream to the causation. We are all better for it.
Ep. 25: Dr. Nathan Bryan - Nitric Oxide: The Magic Molecule
Ep. 30: Rich Roll - Catching Up with a Plant-Strong Friend
"We were lucky enough to have rich join us at our second and seventh annual plants, stock events, and they were epic. But what's going to be beyond epic is our ninth annual plan stock event, which is gonNA. Be. Streaming live and online around the country and the globe straight from the family farm after a two year hiatus. August fourteenth to the sixteenth that's just a week away with this new format. I couldn't be more excited because everyone gets a front row seat to all the action. We're gonNA pair the science with the practical application. Which means time in the farmhouse kitchen cooking up a storm with Annan Jane. We're GONNA have a world class video crew that's going to give you a backstage pass to not only the farm, but also the homestead inside and out. You're gonNA hear from the Bronx Stars of the plant based Movement including my Father Dr Sarah Stanic Dr Michael Gregor Dr Michael Clappert Brenda Davis Tracy mcwhirter. Marco bogus and a slew of others, and if you can't watch it live don't sweat it. Video access is going to be available with every ticket for a year. Partial proceeds will benefit the foundation a five. Oh One C. Three charity, and if you're having a tough time financially. We get it. Financial assistance is available just visit plan stock twenty twenty dot com. To learn more. I want to welcome you to the plan strong podcast where? Each week we celebrate the heroes of the plans drawn. Today is a very special episode. because. Instead, of, looking forward. I actually take a look back. In, shine the light on. Rich Role. Rich and I. Both abandoned. Are What I'll call steady and stable normal careers. Around the exact same time back in the two, thousand, eight, two, thousand, nine timeframe. To. Release Books and. Venture into unchartered career territories didn't even really exist at the time. We both had young families and. Let me tell you it was. Terrifying. But. When you believe in something so much And when you're being pulled. So strongly in a direction that resonates with your whole being. You have to act in fortunately. Both rich and I did. I record this interview at riches house when I was out in La last fall. So While you won't hear any dialogue around the current issues that we're facing today. You will hear thoughtful conversation on fear. Vulnerability. Suffering epiphanies in life. Learning to give and receive love. Meditation and the bravery it takes to shut our old skin and start anew. It's transformative. So. Even, though we look back this week. As you're listening to both of US reminisce. Ask Yourself. Are there changes in my own life? That I WANNA make. Is there a cause I believe in so much? That I'm willing to give up virtually. Everything. What are my own fears that might be preventing me? From going after these goals. How can I get out of my own comfort zone? I hope that you like rich myself recognize and act on those unique moments in your life those. piff unease that can ultimately alter the course of your life for the better. Perhaps Maybe even this conversation will lead to an epiphany. We certainly hope so. So. Enjoy. My talk with Mr Peace and plants ritual. So Rich Rep. Thank you for having me out to your place. It's never been out here before. and. Quite dreamy to say the least. Well, I appreciate you making the trip all the way out here. We don't exactly live close to town. I don't know where you're staying but I guarantee you. It was a it was a hike out here. So actually believe it or not. It was only a thirty minute drive. Wow. Yeah Right. Yeah. I I wanted to say how insanely proud I am of you and You know when we first met, it was two thousand nine at that crazy little Vegan world right fast And you You I think you've just been named one of the fittest men on the planet I just written the engine two Diet Book. and to see just how far you've come since that kind of moment in time is It's kind of mind boggling to me. Well, let me just say first of all. I WanNa thank you. Because you've been, you've set an incredible example and you've been an unbelievable mentor and have really paved the way with this movement and The work that you do. It has inspired me for many years and it's been a long journey and it's cool that we're both in it to win it and still here, and so it's an honor and a privilege to to talk to you today. Yeah. Well, and and the work you're doing the number of lives that you're reaching And the good service that you're doing it is. Anyway it's just it's I'm constantly going while rich way to be you know. And I, appreciate you being. A champion of this vision that I had from the beginning I'll never forget I sent you a manuscript finding ultra before it came out and I I was a movie called and I ran out of the movie theater to take your call and you were like so few sieve with your praise and so encouraging and that meant a lot to me at that time. Yeah. Well. And so. That book finding all tra- It The reason why I called you immediately because I finished reading I think it was galleys copy or something like that. And you laid it out there. You laid it out there in a big wonderful courageous way The way the way you were. So incredibly honest the way you left yourself just opened his so much vulnerability and that was definitely the feeling It was it was a very kind of vulnerable place to be to kind of tell your story in that way but I but I also knew I mean first of all backing up, I was aware that Scott. Your was writing a book at the same time that I was writing my book, and here you have the world's greatest ultra marathoner. You know Vegan just an incredible human being and I'm here over here I've never won a race. You know. I'm this ultra athlete Vegan person but I'm thinking why would anyone read my book when they can? Pick up Scott's, and I was very aware that the value of what I could share was was directly proportionate to extent to which I was willing to be vulnerable and talk about things. I wasn't proud of to try to connect emotionally with the reader. Right? Will you you do that in spades and you know before this interview I? reread the book and again I was just like. It well written. You know again the way you open yourself up Downright incredible and it made it made me kind of go back through my childhood, my life and explore kind of places where I was. Vulnerable or not vulnerable, and it just made me think about how? How many especially I think boys and men these days they don't allow themselves to be to be to be vulnerable and. And for whatever reason, we've kind of grown up thinking that showing signs of vulnerability a weakness right reality it is probably one of the greatest strengths yet scary were raised from the beginning to put on, put on the face the mask and go out into the world and be this. You know worrier type personality and discovered through pain that there's a lot of strength to be mind in that vulnerability. That's a lesson that I had to learn though it. Didn't come naturally to and I learned it in recovery initially by learning to share my own story and being empathetic and a good listener to other people's stories, and I realized how much courage it takes to do that, and also how much freedom avails you like if you can really put yourself out there in that way and clean that closet out of whatever skeletons you have. Then there's a lightness I think that comes with that and it's very empowering. Do you now. In Your Life. Go Out of your way to be like vulnerable just to like strengthener deepen relationships. Well, I think I'm always doing it inventory of of where I'm at and where I'm hiding things where I'm being you know it's it's it's a process it's not like Oh, I, was vulnerable here and now I always like I have to resist the urge to you know to present myself in a light that perhaps isn't totally genuine and honest but I also think now there is a sense that vulnerability can be this superpower and you see a lot of people doing what I call performance vulnerability. Social Media to get the likes or whatever and I think that's That's something unique that I would not have expected and I think there's issues with that. because. There's an ego attachment to that right. So it's about like then turning the page on that and going even deeper and going even deeper and it's it's a practiced. I'm sure many of you have read riches book, Finding Ultra. And remember his infamous episode. When he got winded just by climbing the stairs because he had gotten. So out of shape physically and emotionally. It almost seems unthinkable that a former collegiate swimmer could barely climb the stairs at the age of forty but that was his reality that he had to confront. It was a life changing moment in a wakeup call to make some serious changes in his life. It also marked a significant moment. Of realizing that, he may be living out of dangerous legacy data's late grandfather Richard spindle who also was a world class swimmer but had succumbed to a heart attack at an early age long before rich was even born. was rich sealing his own fate and I had to know. Does he feel like his grandfather Richard is guiding him. I STILL Feel that like I I just took you over to my container office and I have a team photo of him and also picture of him in high school in his in his swimming trunks you know the full body. Twenties. So I look at him every day and I think about that. You know this is a guy who. I'm named after, and if you look at the images, you can see my likeness within him and he was my mother's father. He was a champion swimmer in the late twenties and early nineteen thirty s captain of the University of Michigan's team, which was like the Texas or the Stanford of that era. His coach was map mad the the now Tori I'm at University of Michigan is called Madman. Now ditore him. He was a contemporary of of the Johnny Weissmuller of his day and he held in American record in the one hundred, fifty yard backstroke, which was an event back then. Narrowly missed an Olympic berth. never smoked was never overweight remained fit swimming Lake Michigan all the time, and nonetheless succumbed to a heart attack at age fifty four. and so I never met him he died when my mother was in college and I know that that was a very traumatic experience for her and part of the reason why I was named after her and here I am. You know not even attempting like not really as a child. It wasn't like I knew that much about him. I don't even know that I knew he was a swimmer, but I just gravitated towards it and it was this dawning realization that in many ways I was walking a similar path. So I actually think about him more now because he was fifty four when he died. You know and so it's it's even more prashant perhaps even then when I was on that staircase or having that you know in the wake of that, trying to reconfigure my relationship with food and lifestyle on And the first time that you kind of had that? if you want to call it, be that Piff, any where something kind of guided you I think was a certain awakening with alcoholism kind of where you're at Spring Brook. And out one of the the counselors there I think said, you know rich changer perception and you can change your reality. And I'm just wondering if like looking back over your. over your life regards to the alcoholism Do you feel like there's One. Moment when dat kind of took hold of you or was it like going back to when you were chugging a beer with Bruce Kimball a recruiting trip because I mean I I knew Bruce Campbell not well But and that that story you told in the book where he did a backflip or a front that he did holding, you did a backflip holding a cup of beer and didn't spill a drop it. Now that is something I will never forget. You say in the book the ultimate party trick. Yeah Yeah exactly. But it was but is there a point where you can single? Pinpoint kind of Oh. Yeah. That's that's when I was having issues with alcohol or. There isn't one moment where I can say here's where I crossed over is a very gradual. but I knew in my heart of hearts and on some unconscious level very early on that I had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol because I was the guy who never wanted to leave the party I was the last one to leave i. was the guy who wanted to go out on a Tuesday night when everybody else was studying and like I was always kind of pushing the edges of that. So I knew that it was a little bit different for me that it was for other people and I think. In a self preservation a. that prevented me from going down the rabbit hole with hard drugs because I I was aware like. I know this is a problem and at some point I'm probably going to have to quit or this is going to get bad. So I'm not going to try cocaine. I'm not going to do those other things because that will just bring this whole house of cards falling on top of itself immediately and I want to keep drinking. You know that was like my mindset and it was a gradual process. Like this erosion of my soul and my ambitions and My. My ability to even exercise self care like my window became very limited to where's my next good time and that's really all I cared about. But it took a long time before there were serious. Like external ramifications like Du Isan run-ins with bosses and things like that. I. Mean that happen. But you know it was many years after that. phillies there like a crazy lightning rod of much needed change. I remember an epiphany I had to write the engine two diet after our early plan strong success at the Austin. Fire Department. We had gotten a slew of media attention. And afterwards, we got bombarded with with letters with postcards with emails and phone calls. about a bunch of firefighters and Austin Texas eating a bunch of plants. And It was about two and a half months. After. We appeared on the front of the Metro Section of the New York Times. And at some point I just realized you know what? It's okay. Then I'm not a doctor that I'm not a nutritionist that I'm not a life coach. I. Just by being who I am a ex. Professional. Athlete and a firefighter. Have the potential to reach. And Change People's lives. Because of WHO I am. and. That's what gave me the confidence. to Go ahead and and write my first book the engine two. Diet. So my question is. What piffle have you had? Take. A step back and really think. Have you experienced any magical moments that spark change. Sometimes. It's a song or even an event that happens other times. It's a person that you cross paths with at just the right time. This happened a rich when he was in Rehab for alcoholism. Another thing that happened that Spring Brook is one of your counselors, his name was Stan. And he said you only have to change. One thing rich and he said everything. Is. That is that a daunting thing like a good thing when somebody says, you only do one thing and that's just change everything right? It's like a Zen Koan. What do you mean like even do that? Yeah. and I think it was just a a a way of saying. The way you're living your life is not working dude like you need to open yourself up to the possibility of doing things differently and I know you think you're this smart guy but your best thinking landed you here. So take a seat and shut up and let let beat open to what we have to offer you and I I needed that I needed to hear that yeah. Well. As you know I've become good friends with a guy named Adam said WHO's been on your podcast and Adam as you know, became addicted to adderall. And he felt like adderall was the key and made him everything that everybody wanted him to be the person that his father wanted him to be. and it led him to a very, very dark dark place and I think in on reflection. was he was perfect. He was perfect individual snowflake but he just didn't have the perspective and he couldn't see it and I look at Adam now and I just you know. Just such a beautiful amazing human being right I. Mean You right look at you and just see a beautiful. Loving sharing. Amazing. Amazing man for whatever reason sometimes. We can't see ourselves with other people see right? Well, there's been a lot of growth to get this place. I can tell you and I think the thing that's beneath what you're saying is the fact that that like drugs and alcohol. They're not necessarily the problem they're like the symptom of the underlying problem there actually the solution in the early days I was very insecure quiet introverted kid who had difficulty making friends and alcohol was my solution brought me out of my out of my self it allowed me to be a social animal. It taught me how to interact with other people ultimately turned on me and it was a very unhealthy vehicle for learning those things but. That's the way it goes right and I know that Adams experience with that was similar and when it all comes crashing down you to relearn all of those skills in a healthy way and that's kind of the journey. To wholeness that anybody in recovery takes. Yeah. And I'm kind of diving into your book here a little bit and and You Know I. Don't know how often you do this, and if if this is you know if it's uncomfortable or not but I just fine. I'm just again because I just read it. I'm fascinated with it and I just have some of these burning questions. This isn't a tense moment in the book and you say you described that fateful day when you took a match out and you burned your inventory lists of all your resentments, your fears, your harm to others, and then you collected the ashes after you burned it and to this day I'm assuming you're still keeping them in Tibetan. seeing bolt at your bedside nightstand Why I think it's just a very tactile founder of where I where I was and what I had to endure and go through to get to the next place. I would say that just because you do inventory like that doesn't mean it's a one it's not a one and done thing I gotTa keep doing inventories. But that was a very seminal moment where I did feel like I had kind of crossed the Rubicon and. And was embracing this new way of living and a lifestyle based on spiritual principles in a way that I wouldn't have been able to prior to that yeah yeah. Another quote that you have? In the book, I have come to appreciate the great beauty. Lies in destruction. The wedding that almost destroyed. Me was necessary to my ultimate salvation and for this, I will always be eternally grateful. I'm just wondering. Do. You feel like you've had several brushes with destruction or oh yeah for sure I mean the only thing I always say like pain has been my greatest teacher there's something about A very painful moment that allows you to kind of wake up and be teachable. of course, the teachings are always available, but the receptivity generally isn't and that's why it's so hard. So difficult for people to change, I mean, you know in your life, you're helping people change lifelong habits all the time, and you've had a lot of successes but I'm sure you've had experiences with people who are resistant to it or just can't make it work and there's something about a scary. Episode whether it's bottoming out on drugs and alcohol or having a health scare that suddenly wakes people up and allows them to step into different reality for themselves I just wish it was more accessible like how can we unlock that for people so that we don't have to suffer in that way in order to get the message we end right go to that extreme where you're able to get the help. You dedicated finding ultra to your wife Julie. You talk about how she's The coolest woman you've ever met. how she has taught you not only. To love, but also to receive love. What's up was sleeping on a tent on roof is that something that I should like be I wave? Everybody thinks that's a referendum on our marriage. Jillian I've been together for twenty years. At this point, we have a very solid marriage. which doesn't mean we don't fight we fight but we have the half life on our fights is very short like we really great communication skills and we have a you know a healthy robust. You know intimate life as well but I had. Especially, as I get older, I've had challenges with getting restful sleep. And a couple of years ago as you know, we have this flat roof out here and we take the kids up there and we could project movies on this wall and we do sleep sleep like on the roof. And there was one night where I just slept incredibly soundly under the stars on just a sleeping bag on the roof and woke up feeling more refreshing than I had in a long time and I and I announced that Julia like I'm going to start become. More like this is great she's like fine and then I would wake up with moisture all over me and I'll wet. So I was getting attacked and it just became one thing after another and I've been sleeping in a tent. Pretty regularly for the last couple of years and it it helps me sleep more soundly something about the call. You know we're in the desert here. So even on a hot day, it's cold at night being under all those covers and I, just I wake up feeling better than I do dragon mattress in there you want. Do I got I got a mattress in there it's not like sleeping on the ground. got a little twin mattress in there. Yeah. Yeah. It's pretty good man. I`ve I've had my best sleeps on camping trips. Instant beanbags had yeah where you're like in tune with. Mother Nature Right so feel feel more connected to the earth that way it's kind of a primal thing and I also. Think, it's a little bit of. A stoic practice like I-. Incredibly blessed to live in this amazing house in this amazing area and that does not escape me. But. I sleep in a tent and you saw my little shipping container where I work out of like that's kind of my little world back there. So if everything went away like it all. Just disappeared on me like. I've realized like I don't need that much. You know I have a lot and I like nice things and all of that but but I'll be okay and I think that that helps me. Calibrate my compass and how I make decisions about how I wanNA invest my time. In that thing I just I read just before the sleeping on the roof where the Ted. You talk about how Julia also taught you to receive love. Yeah Why do you think it's so hard for so many people to receive love we don't. Feel we're not worthy for some reason of it. Yeah I mean I can't speak for other people I can only speak for myself but I certainly didn't feel worthy of it or I felt like if somebody was was. Directing directing towards me that felt indulgent or undeserved, and I've had to learn how to be a gracious receiver of of of love and other good things in my life. You know because I I do feel like I have a deep seated. Sense of unworthiness that I'm constantly trying to work on overcome. Let's talk about your your plant based lifestyle. You credit that for kind of transforming a lot of things in your life going from a couch potato to ultraman triathlete, and then doing that crazy epic five that she did Do you ref- refer to your way of eating as Vegan or plant powered way or what how do you refer to it? I. If the labels get tricky. You know because people get really caught up in them and everybody has different definitions of what these things mean I would say. Plant power plant strong. You know plant strong as your thing I mean I'm not completely oil free. So I don't feel like I can own that moniker I like plant powered plant based. But I got into this initially for health reasons which we can talk about. A little bit more. But as I've as I've been doing this for. Over twelve years at this point. I'd become. A lot more interested in the environmental ramifications and considerations of our daily food choices as well as the compassionate considerations around animal welfare, which were not considerations when I got into this and have now become very important to me So I do consider myself Vegan although that would depend on. The varying definitions of how people perceive that term right? Know the word vegan implies A political perspective and a certain sense of activism that perhaps I don't you know I I don't embody completely but I do it in my own in my own way right through the podcast and the other things that I do right and then you also guidance. For obviously for health reasons and that. The that one comment I made earlier about you going up the stairs and then. kind of having this kind of piffle like, wow you know what I gotTa, make some changes and for whatever reason it stuck there I think maybe the Richard spindle. That he he died at fifty, three, fifty, four, four. Yeah he said and forever impacted you. So you used the plant powered way to kind of fuel you back to health right? Where were you? Well, what happened was? I had that moment on the staircase tightness in the chest and kind of you know really afraid that I was on the precipice of something serious and I did think about my grandfather. But I was very aware that I was having. A moment not dissimilar to the day I decided to go off to treatment for alcoholism. These line in the sand moments that I think can be determinative in terms of the trajectory that you take for your life. Had I woken up that morning when I was thirty one and decided I'll go to Rehab tomorrow and not today maybe I would have never made it. They're like I think there's something about these moments that are that are precious and fleeting and if we're present. Enough, and we have the wherewithal to kind of recognize, their significance. They do hold the power to change our lives in dramatic way. So when I was on the staircase, I thought of that day that I went off to Rehab and I realized like this is another one of those moments like I feel that it's it's all about it's about willingness like I had it wasn't just like, Hey, I should I really need to change on living? It's like I actually want to. Not only I need to I want to you need to bottle this and protect it and channel it immediately because tomorrow I might just change my mind. So I grabbed onto it and that's what kind of lead me on this path of self discovery and this changing relationship with with with food and I have to tell you that. A big part of it. Was Me doing some research and figuring out? Okay. What do I want to do? How do I do this? What's what's the path forward here? And it was it was around I was I on facebook and I came across your page I. think we were already friends or and we didn't know each other but I knew your name from swimming. And and I was just scrolling on your your feed and you were you were in the process I mean engine to come out yet but you think you were writing at the time and you were talking about plant based nutrition and what was going on in the firehouse and the work that your dad was doing and I know about any of that. So you're my introduction to that and I thought this guy was a swimmer at Texas guy was a bad ass and like he's doing this like that is a model that I could copy and so you were like my lighthouse and lightning rod for. For modeling like a way of living that I thought that I could emulate and. I didn't do it overnight. It was six or seven months of fooling around before I. Kind of figured it out for myself but that was the starting point. Well and it's kind of funny how? Julia I didn't think you were serious in right you know you you had to say like, Hey, I really want to do this three or four times right? and. Then you started with the juice, the juice cleanse. I kind of approached it like Rehab like there was something about the experience of being in recovery that was very applicable to changing my habits with food in that. In in recovery you're either you're either using or you're not like it's very black and white it's very binary. You can't like drink once in a while and claim to be sober. So I just applied that kind of mindset to food and thought well animal. I'll just think of animal products like drugs and alcohol and I can just cut them out and that removed. The decision fatigue out of the whole thing and I just took the tools that I learned in twelve step and apply them to my relationship with food, which also taught me the extent to which I was using food in an addictive way to modulate my emotional state which was news to me. I didn't think that I was doing that but I very much was. And that really helped me to not just start but create momentum behind these new habits. Right and then you brought Julie all the way to being like. All plant based. So Julie was you know what most people would consider to be a very clean eater. She was predominantly vegetarian everything that she bought was organic and she is a gifted cook and would prepare these amazing meals while I was going to Jack in the box McDonalds that was her yes right. She wasn't totally plan based but when I made the switch and was experiencing this kind of. Resurgence in my vitality and my energy levels she then in initially in solidarity to me got on board with it to support me but then completely embraced embraced at herself and has gone on to write all these cookbooks and become an ambassador of the movement in her own right got selling the cheese. I know. Well, she starting this new cheese line she's got. She's got a commercial kitchen now, I'll tell you about it afterwards there's a whole thing going on there. Yeah. Pretty cool allow. Yeah. So you're getting back in shape. You decide you know I. Don't WanNa. Just do a normal piddly traffic on. That's not that's not rich role, right? So you got to dive in, you gotta do something crazy and. I, think it was you were reading something about David. Goggin. This beast that had done the the alterman right and that for whatever reason caught your attention, it very much did first of all. It wasn't like I felt like A. Regular triathlons beneath me like I did I attempted to do the wildflower half ironman and. Like I did not have like an auspicious. Introduction to the world of endurance but I did come across this article I mean David Goggin become a household name. Now you know this guys like his his ascendancy is incredible and well-deserved. But at the time nobody knew who David coggins was. He was doing amazing things in the ultra endurance world. But outside of that very small subculture nobody knew who he was and he had just run bad water and a number of weeks later had competed in this race called. Double Ironman distance triathlon in Hawaii and had gotten like second place despite his bike break. It was crazy story and there was something about the fact that he wasn't a natural triathlete. You know not really a swimmer but he had had been able to not only finish this thing but do well that triggered something in me and made me think that's that's where I need to go and that's where you want. That's where I went and then you and then. How many years did you do ultimate? I did it. My first one was in two thousand eight. And that was just can I finish this thing and survived and I ended up I think eleventh. Did pretty well probably learned a lot about a lot. Yeah I learned a lot. So I went back the next year intent on racing it led the race by ten minutes after the first day crashed my bike on the second day, which took me out of podium contention and But I was able to I broke my pedal. It's like a whole crazy story but was able to kind of get everything sorted out and back on the bike and complete the race. And I was I think it was the fastest American I think I got sixth I'm not mistaken that year. Yeah. Yeah and then, and then what was it a year later you and you in a buddy decided to do the the epic five. Yeah. This Guy Jason Lester who I trained with and raced with at Alterman who's incredibly inspiring human being he does all of these races without the functional use of his right arm. Yeah. It's incredible and it was his idea. He's this crazy harebrained idea to try to do firemen's on five wine islands in five days and well, how how. Into this nonsense. Yeah. Were you. So he suggested, are you like that's insane I, don't want any part of it or you like, let me think about it or you're like, oh. Yeah I'm in no I I was I thought I was like done I was like I I have proved everything I need to prove to myself enough suffering for now and meanwhile I'm starting to get attention like CNN did a thing on me and like the men's fitness twenty five. I was like I'm good. I don't why why go out suffer more you know and he it was his idea to do thing he didn't ask me initially and I was like, Oh yeah, that's cool like how I can support you. He finally asked me and I was like I gotTa really think about that and and ultimately You know to be completely frank the amount of time I have been spending training that's time away from my kids and my family and my wife, and it was like it's time for them now like I need to repay that debt and be present dad and you know get back to. You know what's most important in life so it was a family decision and Julia was very encouraging. She. She said I think he should do this and so that's how that's how it happened. Right. Jim I mean. So I have something here where basically Julie. If I'm not mistaken, you're. I don't know if it was your training for the ultra man or maybe epoch five but you. You bombed like sixty miles away. You had to make it home and you're like, what am I doing and then Julie Kinda give you one of a you know one of her I guess patented pep talks and the next day you went out and ran forty miles and you were there I'm wondering like does Julie. Does Julie have to pull you aside very often give you these kind of pep talks. Well, she's very good at seeing the big picture and for contacts. During this time and for an extended period of time like it was very difficult financially I was practicing law less and less I'm doing more and more of this training like it doesn't make any logical sense there's no there's no career path here and so it was it was really hard and so I had back to this issue of masculinity like I called into question might trajectory many times like, why am I doing this? Why do I feel compelled to do this? I should be trying to get a job at a law firm I should be doing this. I should be doing that like it's very emasculating. Provide to the extent that you feel capable of right and every time I had those sort of. Crises of faith. She was the one who said no like. To me, it's clear the path you have to follow this path like the answers that you're searching about yourself and about how we're going to move forward as a family are going to be answered by continuing to pull on this threat, not by retreating going back to what you know and so by holding that line, which by the way everybody thought we were insane and we had friends and family members constantly saying, what are you doing this is doesn't make any sense, but it was her conviction that allowed me to. Continue along this path that. Allows me to even be talking to you today. Yeah. Yeah. I mean I think what you said in the book was when your purpose aligns with your faith right and it's like it happens like the universe doesn't happen the way you want it. Certainly doesn't happen on your time line I can tell you that we will. So you just mentioned that you had you had Had A period, their financial it was Kinda rough. Did you have to did you retreat to? Hawaii or something like that or maybe retreats the wrong word but. We were very close to losing our house. We had had cars repossessed. It got so bad at one point that they took our trash bins way like we couldn't pay our our bill to have our trash trash collection. Taking care of it was. Bad it was hard and it was. Embarrassing really embarrassing and on that notion of like when you're when your heart is true, you know the the universe will conspire to support you. That's in my book and the book had come out and I felt strongly that and I thought. and. I poured everything into getting the book out there when it came out trusting that if I do this and put my all into it that some door will open at some point and the you know the path for will be revealed and that wasn't happening like we were in the aftermath of the book coming out and. I could go speak at a fast for no money but I was struggling to figure out how it's going to put food on the on the table and the thought of going back and doing any this entertainment. Oh. We just felt like defeat. Okay. Right. So I was fully invested at this point trying to figure out how I was going to create a career out of this. And we've had discussions about this over the years and you know you created a model for how how you had done it. And I needed to figure out my own version of that for myself and struggling. And then I got a call from a friend and it was he also he had read finding alternate. He was inspired big. You know business successful business guy who had bought. This property on the north shore of. Common ground and he was trying to figure out what to do with it was organic farm. and. He's like I'm I don't know what why want to do this but I feel like I, want your. Help in helping me figure out how I can turn this property into something more than just a farm do community space or I don't even know. But like I just feel like you would be a good person to help me figure that out and like. I don't know why. Is like. Variance in property development or anything like that. But this was this was the one phone, call an opportunity that we had, and he was willing to fly my whole family out to Hawaii and pay us for for basically consulting and we went and did it and lived in these years on this farm for a couple months Did you did you rent this? Aso. No, it was like we I was ensure that we were going to be able to hang onto the house and I thought maybe were just moving to why now like maybe we're living in these years and we're not going to go back like it was a very uncertain time. And I was very grateful for that opportunity like it's he literally saved us. but but after being on that remote island for a period of time, I started to get a little bit antsy. I was feeling very disconnected worked. So hard to try to begin a conversation around these ideas that I felt strongly about and cultivating a little bit community around that, and it felt like I unplugged that plug and that's when the idea to start the podcast happened. It. was just a creative impulse like a way to continue the conversation that the book started. And Myo my what amazing conversations he's been having the last seven years. What started as a podcast with his wife in a Yurt in Hawaii. has turned into one of the most popular podcast on the planet with Thought Leaders Actors Authors and and more. He's now inspired millions of people there was thoughtful dialog around plant based nutrition and activism. And most certainly. There have been episodes. That have also left a lasting impression on him. Well, I had this conversation with this guy called Rip Essel. Stan. Some point what episode was that Oh she like to come on that was It's not like that like everybody who comes comes on the show. Has Something to offer and I learned from that person, but it's not like it ends up on a list and that becomes a daily habit. It's more like it goes into the gray matter get synthesized in some way. Yeah, you know. Yeah So it's not. I mean. I've learned a lot about. I was very conscious from the beginning that look it's not going to be a fitness triathlon podcast. It's not going to be strictly a plant based podcast I wanNA have a river, a very broad aperture to learn from all different kinds of people to continue my own personal growth. Trajectory so. Yeah. I've had people on entrepreneurs, business people, musicians, actors, doctors, athletes like. People and you know I've learned. I've learned something from every single person and the amazing thing is that as you know I'm sure. There's something about the formality, the structure of recording a conversation like this that makes you very present and aware of what's happening and there's a connection that takes place. So after you've had that, it's like you've you have the shared experience with another human being and that human being is impacted by as well. Yeah, and neither of you will forget it. So these people become important people in my life they become friends and colleagues and mentors and advisors in different ways. Let me ask you this. What is it about you? What it kind of is it about me? That, we kind of seek out suffering and pain. You think it's because of the swimming background and just we had that we have this idea that you know no pain no gain and we feel like, okay if I can be totally obliterated at the end of the day. I've had a successful date like training. I mean I think that's part of it. That's probably the unhealthy part of it like I have to suffer I. Don't feel like I did anything today. That's worthy. But I think the healthy part of that is that human beings are hardwired to to. I think we need. Challenges Difficulties. In a physical sense through suffering in order to connect with who we are like it is a teacher and I, think it it when you when you are in that place of pushing yourself and your heart rate is elevated and you're in some level of discomfort. It's empowering and it makes you presence. And it? It's it's like this experience that. How do I? How do I put this in words? That I think. Reveals character. And Is. A very honest truth teller about who you are and where you're at in life you know it creates it creates. An honesty, right. There's a purity to it. And I think we're all living. Comfortable lives of luxury ensconced in and cubicles and. Driving in air conditioned cars and sleeping in air-conditioned. Bedrooms. And we've lost that tactile relationship with our bodies and with the Earth Yeah and it's no mistake therefore that that. You know. Hundreds of thousands of people run marathons every year and you're seeing the tough mutters in the Spartan races and all these and the explosion of the ultra running Subculture, all of these are edition to me that we come to comfortable and that there is something about that experience. That is fun that fundamentally makes us human. Yeah. Do you feel any? urged desire. To like put a carrot out there again for you are you like dissatisfied going for your, you know your runs in your bikes in this. Amazing. You know area. Well. Because I I do you know what I mean, i. i. like you like if I. We probably both have buddies that that think about like that one weekend year, they get to go to Vegas and play golf with their buddies like I don't fantasize about that. I fantasize about like what would it be like if I just moved into a cabin in woods and all I had to do is train all day long every day you know that sounds to me like heaven you know what I mean like I need that in my life I live a very busy complicated life now and I don't have the time bandwith to do that and I have to make peace with that I still carve out enough time for self care to get out on the trails and and. Have that experience in my life? And do the yearning to go and test myself but. I don't. Know that I need to and do some super crazy thing that no one's ever done before. But I do feel like it's important for me to stay connected to that world like whether it's once a year. Once every two years you know getting out of my comfort zone doing something that scares me a little bit I think that that's important. How can you be more honest with yourself and how can you test yourself in a way that that scares you and makes you uncomfortable and I think the more that you do that the more alive you feel yeah and the more present you are in the other areas of your life when you look at that event that that Jesse Slur. Has Every year where did it? I JUST DID IT in Utah Yo. How was it? It was incredible Jesse. He's amazing. Human being he doesn't have to do any of this stuff like he's got a great life and he's all set right. but He created this event called Twenty, nine, zero twenty nine, which involves Reynecke rents out a mountain. Zero Twenty because that is the elevation of Mount. and. The idea is you hike up a mountain and then you you take the Gondola down and you repeat until you have achieved the altitude of Mount. Everest twenty. Nine thousand twenty, nine feet. And on paper, it doesn't sound that hard. You're like you just hike and you take the Gondola. Down like how hard can it be? I. Did the one in Utah this past summer and it was like a two point three mile hike up the mountain with I can't remember how much elevation gain but you had to do with thirteen times in order to achieve that and you have thirty six hours to do it. It was hard. It was hard and what was cool? I. Mean I was doing it with my heart core endurance buddy. So it wasn't like wasn't gonNA break us like we were having fun and taking our time. But what was great about it was that it wasn't a race they don't even keep track of. WHO's in the lead or anything like that? It's irrelevant. It's two hundred and fifty people that are there to have a shared collective experience doing something difficult and getting out of their comfort zone and the majority of these people. Hadn't really done anything like that before these aren't hardened ironman athletes. These are like every day executives who who are trying to like connect with themselves in a way and to see these people. Endure like this isn't a ten K. that's over in half an hour like these people went through the night. They didn't sleep. They just went thirty six hours straight until they finish with headlamps on how you choose. Youtube? We did we did ten. and. Then it was like ten or eleven at night and we hit the Hay and woke up the next morning and completed it now but it took it took like from six in the morning to ten at night to get ten. Yeah and you don't you don't just sign up and do this. I mean did you train specifically for this? I mean, I should have I didn't really I mean I'm out trail running all the time but I didn't do like training specific for this. So how how ugly they get for you? It was it was. She have to dig into the paint. It was hard I mean the the the. was was tricky for me. I mean a little bit in the pain cave, but it wasn't like you would you killed it on? No no no. No I'm swimming masters world record holder yeah. Yeah. That was. Lot I. got that one but. I I swim I do a little bit of biking out of the running. I'm not doing so. Yeah Dogs love adventure as much as humans and. While they may not be doing amount evers challenge up a mountain like Jesse Hitler. They do need the energy and fuel to run climb and play. Just like we do. Wilder dog food provides that source of energy with whole plant based clean protein in their formula so that your dog can live a life of adventure right alongside you. Try it today by visiting the episode place at plant strong. PODCAST DOT COM to claim up to fifty percent off your order. I'm just I'm just naming off some people here because I just have found them to be so moving like Paul de gelder right? Right. The shark shootout you should talk to him for your podcast I did season one good i. did he was he was spectacular but you know one of the things I'll just. Let's talk about this with with with Colin crossing the Antarctica with Paul de Gelder and the shark attack, and now he's as you know. The the host of of Shark Week. Discovery Channel and it seems like they're always kind of. Pushing him to do the next kind of crazy thing right for for ratings and stuff like that and Colin is GonNa have to do something to top what he just did. And it's like at what point are you like? What enough's enough I don't have to make. put my life on the line again, and again like there's something about what you just said like the the athlete who so attached to going further and longer and just can't you know can't ever get off that horse that I think is or can be unhealthy and I've had this conversation with Ross Edgeley who swam around Great Britain did you That all the way around Great Britain and the Iron Cowboy who did fifty? Fifty states days it's like once you have a taste of a crazy adventure like that and you succeed it's like, okay what's next and what's next and there's pressure like now you gotta top it. You GotTa do this and I think you can chase that dragon to to dark place, and at some point I think the greater journey is about becoming. Emotionally whole like are you chasing for ego or is there something you still need to discover about yourself in the world by virtue of doing that and having an honest conversation with yourself about about the motivation behind it I think is really important You feel it. Said, you're fifty, three yeah yeah fifty-three. With where you are right now in your life. You content. I am. I, am people ask me. What's next or what's the big? What's The big vision like what are you working on and I have ambitions and things that I'm working on and projects that excite me but This is all that it is. If tomorrow the lights go out I'm good. I don't need anything more than what I have. I don't need. It look if the podcast gets bigger, that's great if I can get the what. Truly like. I built this thing I have this platform I have the privilege and the responsibility to you know, shepherd an audience of people to a better place in their lives to be an agent provocateur of positive change and that's such a gift like I can't think of. Anything. I'd rather do with my life and I'm fully engaged in it. It's incredibly meaningful and and rewarding. And it doesn't need to be anything other than it is you know. I mean I want for nothing like I, just like I told you I just have my birthday. Chilis like what do you want for your birthday and I was like I Need anything like I just want I want to be with my family and I want to experience love you know, and so I my goals are, how can I deep in the intimacy that I have with my wife and my kids and? THEM TO BE. The best humans that I'm capable of of doing and get to turn on these mics do this thing and occasionally out people asked me to come and talk to them or whatever. Like it's all it's all gravy math you know and and so I guess it's my version of what Paul Together had to say like I don't fear death because I feel very alive and fulfilled in what I'm doing. I, don't feel like I have unfinished business and. And I'm just I'm grateful for what I have and I didn't have to get bitten by shark experience that you know what I mean. You got bitten by other things but yeah. You recently did your big live podcast with Paul Hawkin. A. Was that just lights out gang busters where you thrilled with how that turned out? There's incredible. There's incredible. Is Make. You want to do more of those? Yeah. I mean the idea was knocked it out of the park with that one established that I can fill a room of eleven, hundred people so that I can engender the confidence of venue booker's across America and set up a tour for next year. So yeah, I'm still ambitious like. That's kind of the evolution of the podcast and I think. A big part of that is the fact that. That it makes this digital thing analog, right? Like we're we're having this conversation and it's real for us but it's an abstraction for everyone. That's GONNA listen to it How can you? How can you cultivate greater communiqu community community and connectivity amongst the people who are impacted by while you do that by bringing them together right. And that's what I wanted to do, and we learned a lot through that experience. I mean have Paul like that guy's amazing. You know what a beautiful human being he is and the work that he's doing. So the whole thing was like really extraordinary experience and I can't wait to do more of them And then here in the studio I mean you have people like. Maybe the vast majority of your guests now probably come here. Yeah I do it here. That's. Pretty cool. Wasn't. Always. A traveling salesman for a long time. Yeah I know. Occasionally like I still take my kit when I when I when I get on a plane and go somewhere so I can grab interviews here and there but for the most part ninety, five percent of them now. Have come here to do it, and so I'm looking at this chalk while here and you usually have the person that you interviewed their name right there and maybe some drawings. Do you do that? Do that you do? Yeah and so is that kind of? Help get you into that head space and a little bit like I. Think it's a nice touch guess too because they come in and they're like that actually took time for that guy to do that like I. Feel Welcome. You know it's going to be okay like it's a way of saying this is a this is a. This is a warm place where. where you can feel comfortable when you look in the mirror, you like what you see. Most of the time. Yeah I, hear you. I'm the same way. Yeah. I mean, look you know very much a work in progress. I got. Plenty of laws. Things that I that I could do better for sure. Yeah. It's at some point. Recently I think I heard you say that Was I'm one a year, maybe your instagram stories or something like that about how the podcasts have just been a diversion from you writing. Another book or more books and I heard that and I was like bullshit I not now just hear me out here and I was like bullshit I go. You you've probably got an I. Don't know I'm just making shit up right now but. Ten million, twenty million downloads of your podcasts over the years there's no way higher than. Tun's up by four while three or four. That's okay. That's phenomenal but I don't see any book having that kind of reach. So if your goal is to reach people I, think what you're doing with the podcast is like is spot on. Right. So I mean so. That's true like I can that that that's a that's the most powerful argument against writing another book like I flip on a Mike and I reach way more people than. Than you know if I was to write a book, I gotTa take a year and a half and focus intently and deeply on that, and it might reach a fraction of the audience reaching every every every single week on the podcast. However, I still think that. The written word has its place and there is An ephemeral quality about the podcast like nobody goes back and listen to episode ten. You know it's like it's kind of that's ancient history, right but there's a permanence to a book and you know a tactile experience that comes with that that I think is important and I do I do feel like. I have a facility for writing and do I want to say and? It's hard when you're doing the podcast all I. Mean this really is a fulltime job pretty much so. Carving out the time to do it just becomes harder and harder and easier to dismiss. Well and then and then the the right up shoe. For each your spend all this time on that I don't think anyone reads it or cares but I care. Oh, I want you to know that I do and I'm like, wow I mean. Rich rich really put some time and thought and energy into that, and it's it's usually. I think a very beautiful synopsis of You know of the interview and and and it actually it makes me hungry to want to dive listen to I'm glad to hear that. But I've often thought why did I start doing that? Because I established that I do that? Have you doing it? Whereas everybody else or the podcast is writes a sentence or two sentences and. Now, like I have to do this flowing because I was doing I'm putting up a show tonight. So before you got here, I, probably I probably spent two hours on. Writing that little right about the guests that's going up tonight and then I think. This crazy crazy use of my time. But I don't know I can't I can't stop doing it. Well, you know. I enjoy reading it. Feel better. A. You and I have been in the plant based space for well over a decade Right I feel like. We are a pretty amazing place where this thing is going to just bust wide open the we're gonNA see a Su Su Nami fall upon us. Are you feeling the same way hundred, percent, hundred, percent I mean look around. The mainstreaming of the plant based movement is undeniable whether it's the game changers documentary or it's the proliferation of all these plant based food companies I mean the plant based food sector, the plant based milks, plant based dairy products, meat analogues, all of this. This is the fastest growing most robust part of our economy right now in many ways, there are venture capital funds established solely to invest in these types of companies. Totally that is something that would have been unheard of and I, know when you and I first started trying to figure out how to how to like. Career in this world, a lot of people were like you can't make a living doing this, right like you can do it as a side hustle but you're gonNA have to get a job at some point and to see this This embrace of this lifestyle that both of us have been advocating for. So long in such a Ma had such massive scale is unbelievable I. Mean we are if we haven't reached a tipping point yet, we're inching up to it pretty quickly here. Yeah. No I I read an article just the other day that talked about how by two thousand thirty. The livestock you just you know animal agriculture and we'll be obsolete. It'd be death by thousand cuts. The podcasts that I put up earlier this week was worth PAP round from impossible foods, and that was like that's the drum that he's beating and you know his ambition, his mission is audacious like to end animal agriculture but the impact that his company has already had that space and ask him and he'll tell you he's just starting as will ethan. Brown and everybody else who's in that space on the other thing besides I guess you call them these these plant based meets, but there's also going to be. There's this thing called precision fermentation where it's almost like you're actually you know growing. Beef chicken or whatever. And it's right now it's just the cost to grow. So ridiculous but the prediction is by two thousand thirty. It'll be ten times cheaper than what it is right now today soclean you know grow a cow, cut it up all that stuff and I mean so whether it's plant based whether it's actual animal that's grown in a lab. Actual you know animals out in the fields wherever they are. You know in pens that's going to be obsolete no more. It'll be eradicated just like smoking cigarettes wasn't twenty percent of the population is now smoking cigarettes right? Ninety three percent of the population now is what now eating meat and meat byproducts. So it'd be cool. If two, thousand thirty, we can range time below twenty percent eating crazy. Yeah, crazy. Yeah and then and then everywhere I look climate change right? People weren't talking about this ten years ago. What's great is that now there are so many entry points for people to embrace this lifestyle. So somebody WHO's not compelled by the health argument or by the the the compassion argument very well may be moved by the environmental concerns of our food choices or you know any version thereof so. I think it broadens the lands and allows more people to see the incredible benefits living this way and I and I'm wondering like. In how many years is that GonNa? There's going to be such a stigma associated with eating meat. That, it's similar to like smoking cigarettes slate. On cool. Cool dude totally, and on top of that, how about the civil rights argument like I think that we will look back on the way that we treated all these animals and just be appalled right and think how could people have done that in the way that we look back on the way that we treated indigenous cultures Yep absolutely like you said when. You first interviewed me I. Think it was in. Late December. Maybe two thousand sixteen said it checks every box. Yeah. Write checks everybody it's like it's rigged nature rink and they're like, why don't you can't you see what's right in front of you? Totally and now people are waking up and realizing that. One of the things that I'm trying to get better at and I love to get your advice opinion is being mindful in in maybe starting a meditative practice the only form of meditation that I do these days is I go out and I swim I, go out for a bike maybe a run. So it's like. Meditation in Motion Yeah but I don't ever really sit still. Yeah and. I'm wondering what any recommendation how do I start? Are, the benefits. Instantaneous does the take awhile. The benefits are not instantaneous it's sort of like getting back into the pool when you haven't swan a couple years like you're going to have to, you know go through some discomfort before you start to see results or when you begin a new dietary protocol, it's not going to happen overnight but you're comfortable with that. You know without processes like and I think for myself. For many years I sort of just said or per declared that my meditation was riding my bike or going to the pool or or renting and I thought that it was the same thing I said that's my meditation. What I've realized is that there is a qualitative difference between. A formal meditation practice and the kind of. Active Meditation Mindfulness that you that you get from physical activity. and the difference really is in there's something about. Cultivating a practice of stillness. that. Allows you to be. Present in your life. And Be The Observer. The objective observer of your experience from a more detached perspective. At the very least. In a very tangible way. It gives you like that extra. It's almost like time slows down. And you have that extra moment like let's say. You're. Walking into a situation. Where you know it could be fraught with conflict or somebody's GonNa push your buttons rather than just instinctively react like you always do in and perpetuate whatever cycle you have without individual you get that extra moment. And you can think like not thank you can you can calibrate your response And that in and of itself is like superpower, you know just just be like. Oh I was going to say that but like actually it'd be better if I said this or what am I really trying to do here or where's that person really coming from? You. Know that is like a huge thing, I think. And I, it's just allowed me to be. More aware of when I'm like running pattern as opposed to. Actually. Coming from. A conscious place or the best version of what I have to offer a situation. A long would you say you and earnest started your your practice I mean first of all let's be clear like I'm not perfect at this and I do it in. I'll go I'll I'll go on runs and then I'll get interrupted and then I get back to it and it's like you know I could be a lot better with the consistency in my practice but I do know. It was I. don't know how many years ago but maybe by. Five or six years ago I started doing it with some regularity and like I said, I'll have seasons where I'm really good and then I get off and I have to get back on. But when I'm doing it consistently every day anywhere from usually twenty minutes but sometimes it's five or ten You know thirty days into that like you start to really feel different and you you have to kind of do that to get to that place where you can recognize the benefits of just like anything else. Do you, Julie. Talk much about your. Your meditated proceeds much further down the line in turn like her practices like doesn't let anything get interfere with like her morning situation. She's really good about what kind of time does she carve out usually for she'll do like she'll also combine it with like tea and journaling, and it's like a whole thing. I mean it's probably a forty minute thing she does but she'll wake up at like four in the morning four thirty in the morning pretty regularly to do it. Yeah. I I know in your You yet an interview with Tim Ferriss where he went to this V passionate. About it because I have younger brothers WHO's been like ten of them. As A vow of silence right and you're just basically meditating. and. I. Think Tim was saying it almost pushed him over the edge and you in his interview with you. Yeah he was like I don't necessarily recognize. Like really hard I've heard that from other people as well. But what is your brother? Say I mean obviously he's getting a lot out of it or they wouldn't keep doing it. Oh Yeah I know he was Zab. He's always kind of. Had A, bit of a spiritual bent to them and for five years he went out and was kind of. Practicing Buddhism you know kind of off in the wild. but he? Loves the experience by the end he just says it's like you know rain is falling over every poor your body it's like magical and I'd love to. Carve out ten days to try and do it. Yeah. But attempted to I've never done it. I've never done anything like that. Yeah. Yeah. We'll do it together. To be competitive with. Rich still sitting there I can't leave. Me Yeah. All, right. So I'll just I'll I need to start. Start being mindful and the other part of your question is like, how do you start and I? Think it's never been easier. In the same way that the the whole plant based thing is blown up like the mindfulness meditation space is exploded as well. So. There's all these APPs now whether it's head space or COM. Sam Sam Harris Waking Up is great. He has all this really robust instruction. It's very easy to understand, and he kind of takes you through the practical implications of what you're doing and you could set timers and set aside the time and it's just like anything else make it a priority. You know it's not like. It's that thing where you say I never have time but you know as well as anyone else for things that are important you make the time. Yeah. So it's a question of whether you. You're willing to make that decision to prioritize it. So on a day to day basis right now with everything you got going on you know. Eating the way you e being mindful trying to get out for a runner, a swimmer, a bike, your family you know doing your all your work are are you? Are you planning your days Audi flying by the seat of your pants or like some in intention behind like each day and each week? A lot of is flying by the seat of my pants. Especially since our. Our like our family is now split between these two homes because of my teenage daughters schooling and and every day it's like, all right. What do I have today and where's Julie and who needs to be driven where a lot of it is like transportation logistics of moving kids around and things like that, and a lot of that dictates like how I set the schedule. But I do have to be regimented like I. Know There are certain days where I'm at where I'm here, and that's when scheduled my podcast and the meat you know like, but I try not to schedule anything before twelve because that's when I train and do other things for self care and that doesn't I don't always succeed at that and then there's traps and things that come up. So there is forecasting like I, know these things that I want to be doing in the next year or several months and plotting out well into the future on that stuff but a lot of times. My Palm in front of my face and I'm just looking at what needs to get done today. With the podcast you do you get nervous at all before any interviews or just just like so Like. Second Nature to you it's get excited or I do I do get nervous and excited way and I think I mean look I've done like five hundred of these things right now. So it's like if you know I, don't know what I'm doing by now like I'm Never GonNa know and you know but there's always ways to do it better and I go into every one of them With this. Earnest desire. To make it. Is Great as I can make it like I want it to be the definitive conversation without being you know what? I mean. So I put pressure on myself. and. Ninety nine percent of the time I don't achieve that. But that's got. That's what I go into it for. And whether fall short or not like there's only so much control I have over these these sorts of things I've learned techniques and ways to kind of make it the way that I wanted to make it but I I take I, take it seriously like I do a ton of research. So like a ton of research like couple hours I mean just depends upon interviews. Yeah. I mean I do a Lotta author so I do my best to read their books and Sometimes like I get halfway through or seventy percent three or listen to audio book. But I really try to be steeped in in in their world is I can't like I just tried to enter their world for a couple of days. So I could be listening to three different audio books at the same time because I know I have these people coming up. So I just try to be you know kind of in it at all times and I'll open up like thirty tabs on a browser and just go deep. Are you are you doing audio books? Are you reading or because of all it depends on the kind of book to but. Audio books. Because I got and trained to. So if I'm on my bike or I'm running like I'm also preparing for a podcast by listening to what this person has to say but I think there's also what I've also learned is that. you can prep too much for somebody and then it's stale because you know the answer to every question. So there's a certain. Spontaneity that that you want and that only comes with. Curiosity it's hard to be curious when you know every when you know everything about the person right and so I think it's more engaging for the listener if you're well-versed but not an well. So when I was starting this, I was like, Hey, I want to get in touch with you and you know. Ask you bunch of questions about doing podcast I never never actually followed up on that right which is really stupid of me right but you know I, had to learn and I'm I. Mean I'm on learning every day round learning right now I mean I was like I was nervous coming into this this because you're like this is your space right? This is. I'm just you know this is your thing and. I'm like all right I. WanNa talk about you know finding also talk about where I was trying to figure out where I wanted to take and what I've realized is. You know. The best thing is just you and me talking, right it's like all this stuff I wanted to go like in the beginning of this interview right now I'm like man you have to allow it to go where it wants to go like there's a letting go. And that that comes with just showing up and being present, and if if if I say something that triggers something makes you curious then that's the threat that you pull. Yeah. Exactly, and you're in that interview where they have their list of ten questions or whatever, and they ask you the question and you Blah Blah Blah and you answer it and they go. Awesome. Next one, right yeah, and it's so dry and uninteresting because that person is not present for what is it actually having and and that and that to me is the most important thing in doing. An interview doing podcasts and you have to have that you have to let go and you have to have faith that. You're going to be present. Yeah, and and so what and there's a real art in listening, right? Yeah and not just well think about this. Have you ever been at a dinner party and Ben in conversation with someone and and like. Couldn't think of what to ask the person like if you're listening and you're engage in conversation like you're not thinking like, what's my next question right now you're just you're just responding to what's happening, right? Totally. When we were talking and when you interviewed me the first time. I talked a little bit about my relationship with my father and. How he was not a fan of me continue to be a triathlete after us a number of years he thought I was kind of on a On a fool's mission and it was his phantom mistress and it was not healthy and that I was avoiding getting married getting a real job and all this other stuff and. My father and I have A. Much healthier relationship now but when I was reading finding ultra. You know the relationship with your dad and some of the resentment I think that you had. With, your dad and I just I just WanNa know and now that I have a son, right I mean, where are where are you with your relationship with your dad? My relationship with my dad now is really good. It's really good It's not as enmeshed as yours because you guys like work to. Work Together but we went through a lot. And you know I I, put him through a lot. And then he put me through a lot. We've we've you know we've been at each other for a long time, but we finally arrived in this place of of of of love and mutual respect that feels really good part of that is. A lot of growth that I've undergone but also growth that he's undergone as well and what's great is now like now he writes books, he writes historical biographies. So he just wrote this book about Marshall came out and it's like being well received and he's doing. Like he's doing event in New York with general portray us like it's crazy. You know. So I'M GONNA. Go for that and he my parents came out for the live event and that was like. For them like they're trying to wrap their heads around what I do and they don't quite get it but they. Had My doubt on the podcast and so he was able to experience listen to that. Yeah, and we talked about are we went you know pretty deep into our relationship on that which was pretty cool. So. There's been a ton of healing there and. I. Think. He finally kind of understands like what I do and what I'm about and and and he's proud which feels good to me. Because he was like for a long time, he's like, what are you doing? You know? And I get to be proud of him in this third act with him being this author, which is great and and you know to have him on podcast and try to support what he's doing is a pretty cool way of of trying to pay it forward for him to Is he still driving A. M. G. Midget? He finally sold that thing but only recently he kept it up in Michigan for a long time, I? Mean that was I remember when he bought that thing I was like thirteen or something like that. Yeah I don't an old girlfriend that had an MG midget and. That thing around all the time. So I saw that you know when you wrote the book that he was driving or had one and still had, and I was like I got to find out if he still has that thing. Every once in a while. On the road and I'll be like data saw mg and he's like an MGB or a midget know like it's a difference like not many midgets around. Rich go kart engine in it. So I didn't say this in the very beginning so I'll do it now but the whole. Concept of season two of the plans strong podcast. Is the heart of a hero and it's to have people on on the podcast that are really changing the game and changing the game and and Kinda showing people how How to do what they thought couldn't be done and. And just. Bringing people on board with this movement and you. I think better than just about anybody epitomize that with what you've done with your. Incredibly rich powerful podcast. And I just WanNa say thank you for. Sharing a couple of hours of your time with me and Look forward to the next time that we get to see each other. Whether it's an event who knows where but you are. A truly plan strong brother and it's been it's been great i. appreciate that that means more to me than than you can possibly imagine, rip. It really does. So thank you for. For letting me share a little bit today and you know on that on that subject of like kind of the heroes or the heroes journey where all you. Now we're all we're all the heroes of our own lives. Right? We're all the movie stars in the movie of on lives and you know I think that. People look at change and they're scared of it or they're intimidated by it or they or they see somebody else has done done at but they don't see that own the ability that they have within themselves and you know my story or the work that I do on the podcast and the other thing stands for anything. It's that change isn't just possible like it's what we're here to do. We're here to grow and we're here to evolve and we're all sitting on top of these reservoirs of of potential and so if you feel stuck. I assure you that you have the capacity to improve your lives not just with your relationship with food, your diet, your nutrition. But in every facet, an area of your life, and that is something that comes across in every guest that I've had on the show. When you ask me, what have you learned from all of these people all of these people have demonstrated that in different ways in their own lives and so what I mind from that is, is that ability that capacity resides within all of us? You are one. Articulate. mazing human being man hey, with that piece engine to. Clan strong and you say peace plan peace-plan. Rep Thank you appreciate it. On behalf of rich and myself. Thank you for listening and inviting us into your cars, your kitchens, your minds, and your hearts. We could not do it. We do without the support of people like you who are as passionate. As we are about making this world happier healthier and more fulfilling. You've helped us. So how can we help you? Remember. You are the hero of your own journey. But we're here to support. Reach out it plant strong podcast. Dot Com to visit all of our resources including our meal planner rescue ten x online course, and of course. Plans doc twenty twenty that takes place next week. Piece. Engine to. Keep it plan strong. The plan strong PODCAST team includes will record which amy mackey Patrick, Gavin, Wade Clark, and carry Barrett. I WanNa thank my parents Dr Kabul the elston junior an Kreil Essel Ston for creating a legacy that will be carried on for generations and being willing to go against the current and trudge upstream to the causation. We are all better for it.
Ep. 26: Adam Sud and Tara Kemp - The Power of Plants in Addiction Recovery
"Season Two of the plan strong podcast as you know, has been centered on the theme, the heart of a hero thankfully. Even in the midst of our unforeseen global crisis, there are always those who go against the status quo. unafraid to wade into difficult and unchartered territory. In the hopes of finding solutions for our long term health and making the path for the rest of us. Just a little bit easier to follow. Well today's guests are some of my favourite heroes and yours. Adam Sudden Tara Kemp. A Dream Team in the plant based Movement for the last several months. Adam. A repeat guest, a great friend of mine along with Tara have been enveloped in a groundbreaking research in study. Into, the far reaching impacts that plant based nutrition can have an addiction and recovery. Not just to help. People stay sober. But an all facets of recovery resilience. Fashion physical health and spirituality. Believe it or not. This study is the first of its kind and is backed and supported. By an enthusiastic and reputable team of physicians and experts. This initial conversation took place last fall at my office when. They were just starting down this path and at the end of this interview. I have a live catch-up interview at my office. With Adam to get caught up on their latest information and findings. If you're looking for a beacon of light for the future of the plant based movement, look no further than Tara Kemp and Adam said they call their study, the infinite study, which is wildly appropriate because these to have an infinite level of compassion. Passion commitment and dedication to helping people reconnect with their true selves and rediscover their self worth. If you don't have your ticket for plans dot twenty twenty. What are you waiting for? We've got fifteen presentations from the brock. Stars of the plant based movement. We've partnered with a world class video team to give each of you. A front row seat to the tour of the farm inside and outside everybody will be getting a list of the meals for the weekend along with the recipes and ingredients, so you can cook along with an Jane and myself for. For breakfast, lunch and dinners know that each household ticket will allow you to view the whole weekend again and again and again no that partial proceeds are going to the s Olsen Foundation of five. Oh, one, C., three, doing really wonderful work to spread the good news about Plants Visit Plan Stock Twenty twenty. Dot Com and sign up today here. We are season two of the plan strong podcast and I've got Adam. Saad and Tara Kemp here We're GONNA. Talk about some exciting research that you guys are both deeply involved in, but before we get into that kind of groundbreaking research that you're doing kind of first of its kind I'd love to. Just talk a little bit about how I know both of you. And I both. Like different backgrounds, so I'll start with Tara Tara. You and I I. Think if I'm not mistaken. We go back to plants DOC. Going back to two thousand twelve I mean I attended the first ever plant stock. And that was when we chatted I went off. I was like one of their like. I want to say maybe like five people total who were under the age of forty. One of them and that was when I came up to you and ask you if you needed any help, because I really wanted to volunteer, and that's when I started writing for the daily beat, yes, and then the College Greens, yes, and and so you and you were there with a boyfriend at the time, and then also one of your best girlfriends right so as three of you. And you guys parents along. Yeah, and then you guys became known as the College Greens. And and if I'm not mistaken you also. A little bit. With engine to and you even wrote a book we did. What was the book. What was the book about? It was about helping kids to make the transition, so it was for parents and kids to do together the First Section was a lot of scientific research and background for parents to understand why this was a healthy way for kids to eat, and then the second section was recipes for kids and parents to make together in the third section was activities for kids like coloring or word searches, or you know grocery store, scavenger hunts and things like that to help them. Enjoy the food, and you guys did a really spectacular job on really thorough and. I think well maybe what we should do is. We should put a link to that. Book for people. I mean you know yeah. I mean at the time when we first made that it was. It was such a feat to put that whole thing together and I remember. We were all really proud of it. Probably looked at in like eight years. It really is spectacular and so since the College Greens. You've gone on in. You're now doing some some really cool stuff in the plant base space Talk to me a little bit about what you're what you're doing. But. Don't talk about the research. You're doing okay, okay? Yeah, so I mean I, have been very fortunate to work with a lot of different groups and. Work with a lot of the greats and the luminaries within the movement. I worked at the Physicians Committee for years with Neil. Barnard I worked at forks over knives, and then most recently with mastering diabetes with Robbie Barbaro and Cyrus Kamata who I know that you recently had on the podcast as well and. That's been amazing, and so now I'm doing my PhD at Northern Arizona University, and like you said doing some research that will get into later, but I'm also doing some coaching and hosting retreats, and that is amazing and so fun for me getting your PhD in Psychosocial Health, which is under the umbrella of interdisciplinary health. So yeah. Very Fun stuff for me Okay all right. Maybe we'll get it back. In a little bit. To. Say That one more time the whole thing psychosocial health psychosocial health, which broken broken down, means what exactly so it's the psychological and social aspects of your health, so I'm doing a program that is this larger umbrella program of Interdisciplinary Health. That brings together public health, psychology and sociology. So I'm taking obviously a perspective of nutrition, but I'm really looking at the psychological and social aspects of our health, really the intra personal like the relationship with your self and interpersonal relationships that you have with others. All Right? Now Adam, yes. You and I go back to two thousand and ten. Yes. When you came to an engine to immersion. and I in for people that don't Know Adam was on season one. Yes, of the plans strong podcast if you want to. Listen to the, Amazing know if you want to hear a deep dive. You can go there, but for those that don't know just joining us now. Can you give us a reader's digest? Version of kind of your your journey through. Recovery and where you where you were when? You and I met in two thousand ten When I attended your one year. I think the first or second engine to immersion and I was. You know over three hundred pounds at the time? Did Not, know that I was dealing with diabetes and heart, disease and I was battling at the time a ten year struggle with substance abuse. and. Unfortunately you know, reach the point to where I attempted suicide and. Ended up, going into Rehab rose diagnosed with diabetes and heart, disease and a bunch of psychological conditions. And how did to face the facts that I needed to do a lot of work on myself? Both inner and Outta work. in the outer work included a plant based Diet and the inner work involved a lot of self, love and self acceptance, self compassion work. And as a result. was able to not only reverse chronic illnesses. And lose nearly two hundred pounds, but at the same time completely regained the experience of being alive and learning to love myself how I show up every single day and love how I moved through this world and It's just been an incredible journey. Now so. When did you get this idea for this research? And what exactly is? The research study that has never been done before that. You are now going to talk about. Yeah, by my you to talk about it obviously sure. Really, fun, because I was just thinking about this this morning. Interestingly enough five years ago is living in Nepal. And I was doing a session of yoga and I was the only person there so as Yoga, this Yogi and he asked me. To project, five years in the future. And I never allowed myself to do that before. Something, that was terrifying for me as a person in early recovery at the time I only had about a year sober. So I didn't like to look that far ahead, but I did and. I got these flashes of being able to. Bring together the power plant, nutrition, self, love and. Substance Abuse Recovery and I went back to my my where I was living at the time, and I wrote in a journal that I had that. I'm going to prove. That there is a powerful connection between plant based nutrition and addiction recovery, but I'm not ready yet. That's where I wrote and I put the book away. And then. Because I knew I wasn't ready at the time, and I was going to give myself the opportunity to create an environment for myself where I was confident that I could do it. And then last year the opportunity came about, and I found a treatment centre willing to do this research study that we talk about and amazingly at the exact same time. Tara started her PhD work at. And after which dovetails completely, yeah, yeah, and I had. I didn't know at the time. When I was living in Nepal, we met about a year later. That was only a year after Nepal that we met yeah. Okay, cool or two years. Something like that and. I just knew that Tara had to be involved and amazingly she had the opportunity to do it, and we're going to start the study this month. which is five years exactly? When I did that session with the Yoga instructor. That's a little russell. Little, cosmic right pretty incredible. Wow, everything! This study has been pretty design, and there's been a lot of amazing energy behind this just the incredible people in passion and amazing. You could call them coincidences that have fallen into place. Around this study which we'll talk about. Well. All right well. Why don't we talk about the study? Yeah, let's do it. So. What is it? So it's called, we're calling it the infinite study. In the we call it the incidence study simply because the treatment centre were running. The research study is called Infinite Recovery Terry actually came up with an amazing anagram part. But What we're wanting to do is we want to investigate the effects? That nutrition has on early addiction recovery outcomes. When we started. When I started my recovery I notice a profound change in myself as a result of not only addressing. How move to the world in regards to self, love and self acceptance, but the profound impact. That food had on my ability to show up for myself. And We started to design the research study and came. We came to understand that there's never been any research done on early addiction recovery outcomes and any diet whatsoever. And if you think about it. Why do you think that is? I mean it was so surprising to both of us. As we were starting to dig into the literature and I was looking for okay, what has been done before? And how can we do it differently or build on it and it was like Oh there's. Basic I mean there is a foundation to an extent we know. That, for instance, food plays a role when people are initially recovery that it's something that they can structure their day around because. In the past when they were in the depths of the addiction, day was structured around. How am I GONNA? Get the drug. Where am I going to get stuck? When am I, GONNA use Etcetera and food is something that you eat at least three times a day, so it's another thing to structure your life round. It's also something that very often becomes a substitute for the drug, because it's an easy thing that when you I haven't developed new coping mechanisms, you know it's something that you can utilize to numb or to get whatever you were meeting and. So we know that that happens. We know that food does play a role in. Whether! It's weight issues or just over eating or anything like that, but food plays a role during recovery, and that it's an important part of it. We also know that when someone in recovery is taught about nutrition principles that they're eating habits improve, but how does that actually affect their recovery from addiction? We don't know there's literally never been a study to show that and that was. Mind blowing to us because as Adam has said before you know this is. An affliction that affects the physical body so intensely and most people when they enter addiction recovery their bodies in a state of malnourishment, whether that's the malnourished obese or whether that's truly being emaciated by. If, you're treating your body with you, know if you're. If you're addicted to drugs, you're not taking care of your body, and you're not thinking about nutrition in the large majority of cases, and it affects your body's ability to assimilate nutrients into to all sorts of things, so the fact that we are looking at nutrition was just astounding to both of us. And I think it comes down to the fact that we talked about this on the season. When is that? We treat addiction from dependency model. That, we look at someone and say okay. This person is addicted to heroin. They're problem is heroin. Let's create an environment where they have. They can do anything other than heroin and call it. Success and I'm okay with the idea of saying. We need to get this person off of heroin. That's obvious but to say that heroin dependency addiction is A. It's a MISSTEP. Because anybody in addiction recovery. Myself included when they when people told me drugs where my problem. I just had to say I'm sorry. Drugs have never been my problem. They've been my solution to not knowing how to love myself and not knowing how to show up best for myself. I don't know how to live with my son so properly. Drugs were my ability so the fraud, so the problem then is not knowing how to love yourself. It comes. That's a huge part of it, but what we're saying is that what I'm saying is that they look at someone who's addicted to heroin and say, let's create an where they can do anything other than heroin called success and I don't believe that success because that's not treating the underlying issue of how do I show up best and live my life in a way that allows me to move forward positively to where life is meaningful enough right that heroin adderall cocaine drugs in any form sex whatever is no longer necessary to escape a life that's become so is that the problem I think so? Well and it's interesting because there is so much disjointed nece within it because. As Adams said we treat it from a chemical dependency model today. In most cases you know there is the twelve step program though they. They know that there's this extra part of it, but so often it's just like. Are you using? Are you not using and that is sobriety? Whereas when you look at the way that it's actually documented, it's within the DSM five and things. Things like that. It's like this is. We know that it is categorized as a mental and behavioral health issue. We know that the root is psychological and emotional, but then we treat it from this chemical descent dependency standpoint, which doesn't really make sense, and that's why, for our study we're looking at these mental and emotional and spiritual factors as well as the physical outcomes and. Our. Primary outcome resilience because to us. That's what's really going to foster. Sobriety is someone to be in a state where when life gets difficult, they have healthy coping mechanisms to help them. Get through that period without reverting back to the drug. Wow, this. All sounds so incredible and like you I am actually shocked that a study like this has never been done before. Can you explain the actual study design and how you're? About doing it. Yes, absolutely, so it's a randomized controlled trial, which is the gold standard in research and for anyone who doesn't know having random association helps to make the research generalized because it shows that there is no inherent bias in creating the different groups. So when someone joins the study, they will be randomly assigned to either a treatment group or a control group control group then is going to be fed. McDonald's and Burger King. No eating, basically what what is already served at the Recovery Center, which is actually very nutritious honestly. This recovery center has a much higher standard of nutrition already in comparison to other recovery center, so if we were to be working with different recovery center, we'd probably would see. Greater differences between the two groups. which is a bad thing for the research, but a great thing for the people involved, and so we just have to take that. Humanistic approach and be like. Hey, this is great for them. And so one group will be eating the standard diet that is offered there and basically have. No restrictions, no guidelines. It's just you know. Eat What is offered? And then the treatment group will be eating a whole foods. PLANT BASED DIET SO A. Plant based Diet that is. Strong Diet. Yes, exactly plants strong all the way. Process no oil all. All of that. Plant based, low fat fast. Shark. And Yeah, and so, and then there's also nutrition education component, so the control group will be getting nutrition education that is just based on the standard American Diet, the dietary guidelines offered by the US government, and then the treatment group will be receiving nutrition education. This is once a week. It's like sixty to ninety minutes per session, and they will be understanding the scientific foundations as well as the bigger picture perspective of a plant based Diet. Group GONNA be. We're planning to have ideally one hundred participants, but we'll see and its rolling admission. So this is going to be happening over the course of the next year or so, and we'll basically have admission rolling one year, and then if we reach one hundred participants before that will stop otherwise, we'll just do it for one year and see how many we get, and we really don't know we. Have you know there's no way to know yet? How many people will sign up? We're planning to start recruiting in a week or two and. We'll see from there. We'll get a good a good idea in the first month or so, how many people that are coming through? Decide to sign up and join the study, but we're hoping that it will be a lot. Because the center itself is very supportive and very excited, and they really want to encourage as many people as possible to join the how many people are at this particular recovery center? Right so the current? Recovery Center there's two houses. One holds about eighteen people in the other one holds thirty six people because they just opened a new facility in Liberty Hill which is amazing, ninety seven Acre ranch. And they will be transitioning everyone to the ranch facility and turning the current facility into their detox wing. But I. What I think is really exciting, is that? Like terra mentioned before, is it? We're not looking at sobriety as an outcome, because this is a research in the early stages of recovery, so we're looking at those mediating factors that go into creating a foundation for strong recovery. How do these different diets? Impact your blood biomarkers. How does it change your gut? microbiome this microbiome study, and how do those changes relate to validated scales of those factors of recovery that are so vital important things like depression anxiety. Eating disorder, resiliency, spiritual growth, self compassion, these are the factors that really strengthen one's ability to sit in those uncomfortable moments, and have the resiliency to move through it with grace, and not revert to old behaviors that are no longer serving them, so you're the thinking. Is that by transitioning to a whole foods plant strong diet? It will because you have a stronger microbiome because you're feeling like a Jillian box. Because you have greater mental clarity all these things you'll have greater resiliency to Kinda. Get through the tough times. Taken early in early recovery. It's more than that it's also there's a subconscious understanding that when you sit down to a plate of food that you haven't that you know is healing your body that in and of itself can be an affirmation of recovery that can be an incredible basis of self efficacy they can say to that can be a person statement three times a day that. That today is about being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Today is about how do I show up and say I'm worthy of this. Even though for the longest time I felt, I wasn't today I am and I'm going to live in that space and then also know that the nutrition that you're putting in your body is creating an environment within yourself to make those shifts and to create. Create the new the new neural pathways that allow you to be like I said resilient in being comfortable, being uncomfortable, which is going to be such a part of an individual's life that first year recovery. Yeah, so it's so it's several fold deep. Yeah, one of the things that I always remember that I love about you know going back to two thousand and probably sixteen when you. You first gave a fifteen when I gave a talk at one of our immersions was how that by eating these these whole nutritious wholesome plant based foods three times a day three times a day. You are basically telling yourself that I'm worthy I deserve this I love myself and it's amazing how that little act consistently meal after meal after meal day after day, then kind of. Has An exponential effect exactly I mean every action that we take sends a message to ourselves so when you're feeding yourself those nutritious foods, you are sending yourself that message that I am worthy of these things I am someone who takes care of myself, I am someone who values my body, my health and my nutrition and it's it's a cyclical thing as well because as someone starts to experience that mental clarity as someone experiences. The Understanding of Oh I know how to take care of myself. As someone starts to drop, weight sees their cholesterol, lowering things like that that also intern breeds more self esteem, and make some want continue, and obviously we don't know if these things are definitely going to happen. That's why we're doing the research you know we can look at to Adam Story and see how it has affected him we. We can think about ourselves and how this dietary approach has affected us each in such amazing ways, but that's why we're looking at all these different factors, and it'll be interesting. It'll be fun, and even from the spiritual perspective as someone is learning about a plant based Diet and their understanding food is not just between me and the food. It's not just me and the calories me and the nutrients. This picture perspective of how it affects the environment, it's a an extension of a value system, and it helps to build that sense of connection, not only with yourself, but with the world around you and a sense of disconnection is a core route of addiction, and so as someone is building that sense of connection, and they're showing up for the world in a way. That feels good to them in a way that they're proud of in a way that they feel connected to that greater whole. Hoping that that can facilitate resilience in. Exactly what I was about to talk about? Because when when you, if you were to really look at a person who's in in the in the throes of addiction and really struggling. If you ask them to honestly tell you how they felt all talk from my personal experience, they feel broken, forgotten and unacceptable to the world. Right because they believe that they're doing their best, and they can't get a handle on things. They must be the flaw in the system, and because they're a flaw, no-one wants them around which makes them feel forgotten, which is really? It's a crippling experience, and you also feel unacceptable to others to the world around you are. You're not only not of service. Your detriment to the greater goings on that was once incredibly meaningful to you a connection that meant so much and what I really love about what a plant based Diet for did for me was that it completely shattered that belief because I believe I was broke, and that's why I could never do well, but by adopting a plant based. Diet I, saw all these things that I believe were personal flaw in me. Start to reverse. which made me understand that I am not broken that I am worthy of reconnecting to those truly meaningful bonds in life that hadn't forgot me had forgotten how to connect to them, and that the fact that they had no point never wanted me to be a part of it I had just simply forgotten how to be a part of it and food. was that avenue that allow me to relearn and rediscover remember. That's like to say so much. That recovery is not a transformation to a new version of yourself. It's a practice in remembering who you've always been before. The world got its hands on. You and food allowed that environment for me. in order to learn those things and relearn those things that I had forgotten. Boy You guys were so impressive. Sitting here going! Wow, this is like this is the next generation. Just like coming up through. The, Plant. Throughout the plants, but but so you WanNa say something I was just going to say I. Mean Adamant I one of the beautiful things about getting to do this research together. It just feels like such a beautiful collaboration, because since the first time that we met, we have this shared perspective on these things about this human condition about the process of growth, and even though Adam has his story with addiction. I've just always felt that his is just a human story. It's it's this research on addiction is not just going to have implications for the world of. Of Addiction Recovery, it will have implications for us as human beings, because we're all going through the process of finding acceptance with parts of ourselves, that feel unacceptable to the world, and that we feel shame or self criticism for and learning to build healthy coping mechanisms to deal with things when life gets difficult and learning how to show up for ourselves and make peace and have A. A peaceful beautiful in our world, and it's all about that relationship with ourselves, then as we build, and strengthen enables us to show up even more fully for the world and to me. That's addiction recovery, but it's such a good microcosm for what it's like to be human in this world in general. Yeah, I really like what talked about when we first started talking about this. You know you said what you. You find so fascinating about addiction. Recovery is that it forces individual. Do the inner work today that every human being ends up needing to do at some point because with someone struggling with substance abuse tomorrow is very much, so not guaranteed I know that's a fact for everybody, but it's much more extreme in that situation and right now. They want to accept that. I'm addicted to adderall because I'm an addict. Or I'm addicted to this because I'm an addict or I'm suicidal because I'm. Mentally ill or depressed, because I'm mentally ill and I, really just I'm not a fan of that way of thinking that when you when you really look at the situation that's occurring a person who is an addict because there are human pain. And our person is suicidal because they're human and pain and a person's depressed because there are human and pain. And when we can stop trying to define people by what they struggle with, maybe we can start to see that they just need someone to listen to their needs, and then we can start to say oh, your needs make sense. Your pain makes sense, and then we can stop this dependency model focus, and we can start to look at the human, and how do we best serve a human in recovery and food is a part of how a human exis- so let's investigate how to best serve that person regards to food so. We can start to reconnect them to what's truly meaningful so that the pain becomes less and less and less, and they start to feel that joy in that self love, and be able to be in pain and be okay with it. As Adam says. Food is how a human exists, so let's investigate how to best serve that person in regards to the food they eat. The same is true for your pet and thanks to the work of our partner. Wild Earth they are serving the needs of our dogs in the best way possible. Wilder dog food is packed with clean protein sources, high-quality prebiotics and dietary fibers. All to ensure a healthy gut for your pop. No junk meat and no fillers here just real food sources for your dog's health and wellbeing scroll down to view the show notes or visit plant, strong PODCASTS, dot com, and Click on the wilder banner to clean your exclusive offer for up to fifty percent off your dog food purchase. Who who are some of the other? People that you've brought in to be part of this this research study. so amazingly. We have quite an incredible team. Ever best team ever so terror is the lead investigator. And what? What does that mean exactly that basically means that I developed the study protocol, obviously with the help of my advisors and other mentors and people on our team, but I developed the research design and protocol, and as we are gathering the data I am the person who is overseeing that and making sure that it's all coming in as needed, and then once we once we are starting to really have that data gathered. I will be analyzing it putting it together. I'll be the lead writer on all of the manuscript and things like that I'll be the one that is. Taking that data and turning it into the narrative that we want to share with the world, and we have doctors Denisha shares I, K who who were they? And why are they important? So funny, enough terrified and they were on the first season of the paint store. If you for the listeners who are not aware of Denisha shares I. In my opinion and I know Tara feels the same way in list of top humans on the planet. They are among them. they are some of the world's leading neuroscientists there the others of the Alzheimer's solution they run the healthy minds. They have a nonprofit called healthy minds, initiatives, and they do the brain health. Is called the brain health clinic at Loma Linda University. I forget the exact name but the brain. Alzheimer's Prevention and rain health wrote or CO directors at Loma Linda so there there's the the the the leading authority on understanding of how lifestyle impacts cognitive function through the aging process, and so their understanding of how nutrition plays a role in cognitive decline in cognitive repair is bar, none and I'd met them at plant stock, not this year, but last year, and that's when I was first starting to think about the study and I walked up to them. Introduce myself and we hit it off really well, and I asked him I said. Is there any do you know enduring your research? Are you aware of any any studies that show the benefit of nutrition on addiction recovery and I remember deans response like it was yesterday he goes. Unfortunately, there is no research showing any benefit of nutrition on addiction recovery outcomes because it's never been studied. The Because, it's never those last five words were very important and. And I told him that that was something I was getting ready to start doing, and I asked him if he'd be willing to share any of his research just on cognitive function in nutrition and. Their response was absolutely we're GONNA help you. One hundred percent they create a google drive. They simply all of the research, and I was sort of consulting with them. In the beginning just for help and I remember Taranaki were talking like. Maybe? We should ask them if they would like to be. Co Authors on the study and I got an call with them and they. They've been just amazing. We we're on video calls con con constantly trying to create the best design and they were so helpful. And I said listen you know we I really appreciate you. I really appreciate the consulting that you guys are doing with us and helping us, but do you have any interest in co authoring the paper and their response was. Absolutely. And this is something that's so important and so I asked him I said you know. What can I offer you? In order to make this happen is that? You don't have to do anything we're on your team. And they have just been the most incredible support for us, and it's really elevated the study to a completely different level because of the esteem and the recognition that their names Kerry. Congratulations that's that's fantastic. Incredible, I wonder. Size it's like. Two and a half three years ago. Never even heard of is all of a sudden you especially, if you're in the plant based world, you cannot move without seeing them somewhere and especially because I think he's been on Dr Oz like times. Something, they're just. To call them. A force of nature would be an understatement, and it's not just Denisha. It's the whole FAM-, Family Since Alex and Sophie Yeah there. Yeah, I look at them like. What a promise for the future right! So true. And their whole family mission is to reduce suffering. Yeah, so every day they get up as team. Shirzai and you know they're. They're doing such amazing where. Who else who else do you have So? We have a young doctor named Dr Frank Coosa Mono. Who was doing his microbiome study? At Columbia University and Interestingly I had just done an episode on a podcast called plant proof. And? We talked about the study, and then he reached out to tear an via instagram and was like. Hey, listen I saw. I see you guys are doing a study that involves microbiome. D have a microbiome specialist on the team. And interestingly we didn't at the time. It was something that we were really researching. We were searching for someone again. All everything coming together and. I was in Costa. Rica at the time and so I, called like your. This is your language. You'd get on the phone. You talk this. Spring Guy who I've been following for a while on instagram. And she calls me back like an hour later and I thought she was crying at first. But she's. She was laughing. She was so excited. She's like he's so in. He's so an and we're GONNA we're using the wing laboratory at Columbia University which is one of the most advanced microbiome labs in the world. And his understanding he's plant-based himself and his understanding, and his passion for microbiome work is just so unbelievable for people that don't know. Yeah, and let's keep this relatively brief, but what's the microbiome and I mean, can you? Can you give me a quick answer on that shirt? The microbiome is basically the Microflora, the the micro organisms that live in our gut, and we are very early on the brink of understanding. Just you know as a scientific community in general, we are very early in the stages of really understanding what the effects of this. Microorganism community that lives in our guy. How it affects our bodies in our minds, but we know that it does when there's a huge connection to our wait to our health, overall to how we assimilate nutrients to our brain health to our mental health cravings. Yes, to all of it rose emotional health, yeah! Just it affects everything, so we're taking fecal samples at various points to understand how the Gut Flora is changing based on the dietary protocol or not, and really looking at how that then correlates to these other components that we're looking at like. How does that affect the depression and anxiety scores? How does that affect waiting cholesterol? How does that affect you know all of these things so? It's very exciting. and. Let's just say that we are comprised of ten trillion cells right. Your microbiomes comprised of one hundred trillion. Ten Times more and do we have any? Any idea on how quickly microbiome starts to. Transition when we're doing is day one. You do a fecal sample and day five FICO sample, because it's that fast, and we were even GonNa. Do Day three, and then we were like. Oh let's let's just say day five just in case, but our initial plan was to do point zero and then day three. Yeah, but we switched it today. I've even heard that the microbiome. It's considered like the Oregon. Is You know what connects are basically our what our guts to our brains. Anyway if you think about if you think about the fact that in terms of physical physical health, everything comes down to cellular mechanisms, right to to some degree. In the majority of cellular mechanisms that occur us there this microbiome. How could it not have a profound impact on how we moved to the world? and I'm glad that it's starting to become a new field and avenue of research, but like terrorist said it's so new. And it's really exciting because of how new it is. So, let's Let. I wanted to say more thing which is to you know going back to the research team just to give a shout to my adviser, Jay Cutler. He has been an incredible support in this process and such a good mentor to me and I mean I took a leap in reaching out as an early student to bring in a new study because that's not something that's typically done typically. Students will just support the work. That's already being done at a university so for me to come in and say hey. I have this new study idea that my friend wants to do with me, and for him to you know it was. It was a leap for him as well to say okay. Let's do this and we'll take it on together. And he's been an incredible support and he is. He's amazing in his own right in the plan base, research space or in the research base in general and yeah, I just wanted to include him in the that team set. There's been a lot of people that sell great. Dr Elizabeth windings. Early on with really like how do we are? We GonNa, go about doing this. GD Our status Titian. She's been there's been there's. There's a whole team behind this study and we're just two voices here by. Yeah, so let's say that I'm. at the Liberty Hill recovery. Center is that what it's called or called the ranch the ranch? Okay, let's say I'm at the ranch. And I get assigned to the. Control Group, that is not getting the plant based meals. Are, they all. I mean I guess what I'm wondering is so you've got these these these people? You got the two groups. Are they going to be eating together of eating separately? 'cause I would I could listening very divisive. Wasn't. Navarre's. Going over how we're GONNA, make this effective so. Also, how? We really didn't want people to feel more isolated. Doing such a huge part of early recovery to feel connected not feel separate, so this was something that we spent a lot of time going over. How are we going to create an environment where they don't feel isolated? They don't feel divided. Yeah, and so how you do that. What we essentially decided to do is batch random association so when people come in. We will it still randomly done, but we will have groups at a time, so say in one week five people sign up. All five of those people will be put into the same group and then the next week, if six people signed up all six of those people getting put into a different group, and so there will always be two different groups of people who are going through the study at one time, but we don't want anyone to ever be alone in what they are and. How does how does mealtime work You guys are people eating together, and you can have the standard American Diet. Yes, and then the the plant based people eating at the same tables different tables. Yeah, if it's going GONNA be all in the same area is going to be controlled right so individuals. Let's say the Treatment Group they would come in and be served their food and we do. We do food photos. We know what they're eating. How much they're eating when they're eating. And but. Interestingly. In! We really don't see it as being like that much of a point of contention. Because you're not going to be alone, you're going to be with a group of people, and it's a smaller than average size treatment facility where there's such a huge every other thing that you do. Is All about connection and community, so we don't really see it as being the one thing that's going to break that. I actually believe that we're going to see people being very supportive of it. And then we'll see what happens in the future. It would be ideal to have two separate centers one. That is entirely doing one another those entirely doing the other, but we didn't have that opportunity to kind of with with. What you have, but something that we didn't mention that I. Think is also an important part of the research design that is advantageous and just has been awesome opportunities that this. Recovery Center. Is the full continuum of care, so we are having people. As soon as they exit, detox will be recruited to this study and if they start, they have about three weeks of patient where they live at the facility. There's you know it's basically a very entirely controlled environment, and you know they are eating what they are being fed, and we have the full control over what the menu is and how their day looks and then after that three week point approximately. They have another seven weeks of the intervention, and that is when they're an outpatient, so they're still spending the majority of the day there, but they're eating breakfast and dinner outside of the facility and then lunch they pack themselves, and so they're eating on their own, and so we are still doing twenty four hour. Dietary recalls to track what they've been eating and we're still running all. All of the measures in terms of like physical mental emotional spiritual health, but they're on their own, so we've got the first three weeks of this controlled environment, and then the next seven weeks of tracking. Do they stick to it? Does this work and so I think that is really exciting to have both of those environments being tracked as they head into sober living, right? And so you obviously have the menus. All figured out. They rotating around sweet potatoes OATMEAL rice and beans. Pretty diverse menu finished putting it together a few Yeah, the other day, and it's you know we've got all sorts of different cuisines. All sorts of different it's. Broken up like by what three week periods or A. Week! The rotate would rotate round back, you know. There's a different lunch and dinner every single day for four weeks and you know Brenda. Help us with training the staff and yet helping us come up with the how we're going to be very much based on the engine to immersion sort of style like you have. Individual ingredients that you put on a plate and you sort of assemble food onto a plate rather than having been. Everyday all that was the initial plan, but now they. It's full recipes, yeah! What was that Anagram that cool? So infinite is investigating nutrient dense food intervention to nurse increased treatment affects. Just rolls right up. You guys I know. You've got an interview to yes, I, you know I just. Can't say how proud I am of you Adam of Utara and The contributions that you guys were making in in this space and then beyond the space. When I think about so many people that are as we talked about Not Happy for whatever reason trying to find value trying to you know feel like they're doing important work moving through this life and the number of that are. Suffering from addiction to opioids, and you name it I. Don't think that this work that you're doing and I think the results are gonNA. Come from. It could come at a at a better time, so thank you for being such courageous. Thought leaders and and making this come to fruition huge. Thank you the world. Your your support in both of our lives. I know that we both value your place in our lives, and we love seeing what you're doing, and you're an inspiration to last so much very much so I wouldn't be alive without you, so you know that's. In for those who WanNa fall along with what we're doing. My nonprofit is funding the research, so you can go to the website, which is plant based for positive change dot. Org and as the research is going on, we'll be posting. Right now we have video that talks more about it in depth, and you can follow along with what we're doing if you WANNA make a donation to the nonprofit. You can't as well. All of the donations are going. Go towards the research study. You guys! Thank you with that piece. Take my lead piece engine to keep a plant strong. Adam lives about five minutes from my office, and so he was kind enough to zoom on over and get me caught up on where he and Tara are right now six months into their. Infinite study here up all right. I am here with Adam side. Adam Gosh, the last time that you're you and I were sitting at this table with Tara, it's right. It was November fourteen th believe it or not? Last year and we were talking about the research study that you and Tara and the shores is, and everybody were embarking on. Yes, and it's now at least six seven months later. We were in the midst of covid nineteen. And I'd love to get an update on where you guys are in your research study, and just can you give me a just a quick thirty second? Encapsulation as far as what the research is. Yeah, so yeah, we. We actually started. The research study officially began January first of this year, so we're six. In the seventh month of it right now and what the study is essentially investigating is the impact of nutrition and nutrition education. On early addiction recovery outcomes so amazingly and we talked about this in the when we met earlier. This has never been investigated. They'd never investigated how nutrition impacts the the mediating factors of early addiction recovery, so your mental health outcomes as well as your physical health outcomes in regards to strengthening those factors that create hopefully long term recovery and. The treatment died as a plant based, diet, and then we have nutrition education to support that Diet. The controlled is what they're already serving, which is an elevated Western Diet? It's meet its eggs dairy. It's a it's a huge reduction of refine processed foods, but again it's a western. Diet and so. We've created a nutrition education to support that protocol as well and then we look at how each of those impact. Various blood biomarkers, microbiome changes, and how those changes relate to changes of measuring anxiety, depression, self, compassion, resiliency, spiritual healing, eating disorder. Obsessive compulsive drug use essentially. How does what you put into your body and your understanding of what it does re the self efficacy that's gained from the knowledge of how food impacts your entire self create a stronger foundation for which an individual can recover upon. So yes! That's a pretty incredible incredible study. It well, I mean just gets me excited. Just hearing you. encapsulate all that in one fell swoop, and so where are you now? Six months in this is months seven and every single piece of data that we're capturing is completely novel. Right we. There's never been a study of any kind ever done on this exact. Scenario right, no one knows diet does for an individual and earlier addiction recovery treatment center never been investigated so even the treatment. I mean sorry. Even the control diet is completely novel data, right? It is a first of its kind research study, not just the plant based Diet all. and. We have some early results back and what we've discovered is that in the ten week? Intervention because it is a ten week intervention, the first three to four weeks, or within the hospital Rehab setting the following six to seven weeks are in sober living. Is that the average individuals dropping significant cholesterol levels with a greater drop in the treatment group try triglycerides levels are dropping with a greater drop in the treatment group. The anxiety depression resiliency scales are doing better in everyone with a greater result in the treatment groups. We're seeing a amazing qualitative data so the we're capturing the actual data on biometrics, but also capturing the stories of how people feel. About the recovery they're experiencing. We got people saying this is my first, my second, my third time in recovery, but this one's different in that individuals speaking about being on the plant based Diet that it is allowing them to connect to something greater than themselves. They feel connection to nature. They feel spiritual connection to themselves. They experience a mental clarity. That they haven't experienced. Previously. Someone because they will s reports time in recovery. We're also hearing that and people are first time in recovery, also hearing from people who this is their second time. It's a common thread that we're hearing from people on the treatment. Diet and you know, we look at Work Dr, be about brain fog. And what happens when you start to increase your fiber intake? How repairs the blood brain barrier and We're seeing it, but we're seeing it and how it plays out for someone who really is experiencing some dysregulation with their mental clarity. And how that impacts our emotional health, and how that is can either make things more difficult more empowered in recovery, but you can't. You can't tell me that you're surprised. By these results I'm not surprised, but at the same time I'm just. I'm so excited because we could make amazing assumptions based on what you and I have experienced. What we know has been has been shown to research through epidemiological studies through randomized controlled trials on various specific processes in the body and we could say. It's going to do better. The plan based is going to do better, but now we know. Now it's not a guess and not only that now for the first time ever we can say. Look the thing is everybody who's coming into the treatment into the into Rehab. is seeing improved results because people typically enter very very sick, either over fed under nurse or underfed and undernourished, chemically dis- regulated through some abuse or through medication misuse they're emotionally unstable and so everybody for the first time getting a sense of structure. They're getting a regular diet. That is more nutrient dense, no matter which diet they get than what they were doing before. They're offer their destructive substances, so everyone is seeing an elevation in their overall wellbeing. But the treatment diet. The plant based Diet is doing better and I'm not surprised by it and now it can't be for the first time we can say with confidence. This is what is happening. Are you guys able to measure like how much better it's doing? Yes, yeah, yeah, so we have validated scales measuring every single outcome that we're looking at our primary outcome is resiliency. Scale called the Conor Davidson resiliency. Scale was specifically designed to measure the effectiveness of PTSD treatment, and so what it really is is. How does whatever the treatment that you're using create a greater opportunity for the individual to confront a difficult situation, and then move through it with positivity and grace, and be able to make. A greater future for themselves to where win, that situation arises again they have tools, and so we're now seeing that diet. Isn't the only answer for it, but it creates an opportunity to have greater success. I'm just blown away that. This study is finally coming together. We've been working on it for two years and then to see the data. The data is great and I love it. But what what really gets me going? What really fills? My heart is the qualitative stories somebody saying? I felt like I couldn't recover I. This is my fourth time and I felt broken. I felt like this. I'm just going to be a habitual rehab patient. Constantly, going in and out like the revolving door individual. And now it's different. and. I feel a greater connection to myself feel a greater spiritual connection to how I move through the world. I feel a greater connection to the natural world around me, and it's so funny, because an interval saint and I never thought this happened. I was convinced I was GONNA leave. pepperoni pizza. And now I feel like for the first time I don't worry about what I eat and then have had a negative impact on my view. How I view my body. There are people who had. Issues with. Eating in order to you know how they felt about their body, and now they have a loving relationship with what they put into their body, and how it relates to the way that they feel about their body. Because one of the things that I tear in very passionate about is you know loving. Your body isn't so much what your body looks like. It's loving what your body does for you and one of the things I find empowering about a plant based Diet and recovery is that it very quickly gives you evidence that your body is never given up on you. Very quickly shows you that even in the worst of your moment's. Your body was like. I am going to fight like hell for you. GimMe the environment to do it, and you will be amazed, and I will love you like you've never been loved before. and. That's what we're seeing so amazingly with the data with the stories in the Treatment Diet I love that your body is never going to give up on. You never has right. If ever, there's evidence of it. You take a very sick individual. You put him on a plant based. I like the retreats. And in three days, the entire biometrics for different if that's not evidence that the body has been fighting for them since day one. I mean I don't know what is you know it's not? It's like people think that their body is sick and you're trying to make well. Your body is well, and it's trying to fight the disease. and. This is absolute evidence of that. You know it's like. It's like your body has been sitting there. And you get this opportunity. You give it this diet. You create this environment and you will hear this voice from inside you. Saying I've been waiting my whole life for this. And it's just the most like that. The stories are what really hits hits home for me. Yeah. Because! We look at data all. You want glad we're gonNA. Have it because academia the research? Industry, the love it. But I want people to feel empowered I. Want people to feel like they're learning to love themselves. I want people to feel like they're reconnecting to what makes life meaningful because that's what's going to allow them to have a life that they enjoy and be okay with the ups and downs to experience pain and discomfort and sadness and still. Love it and appreciate it. See it for what it is. Is this like? Recognition that we are capable of such amazing breath of emotion There's A. Saying from an amazing person. And she says that. Grief. Is As sacred as joy, the receipt of having loved. That's good and so. You know if diet can help people connect to that understanding. It's just unbelievable. Well that's that's a great. That's a great update on everything. That's going on now just just to kind of. Tease people just a little bit. Is there any chance that we'll be seeing a book for you in the future and we can have you back on the podcast to talk about that. It is in the works right now so I got. I'm working with the literary agent, an amazing literary agent who actually is Dr. B.'s literary agent and worked with people for people that haven't listened to that podcast yet. Who is Dr? Be So dr will wits wrote the book fiber fueled, and it is. Is Maybe the most comprehensive and best written book on Gut. Health I've ever read, and he has an amazing social media presence. As well we're going does amazing instagram lives and TV's and posts all the time. He's very dynamic very intelligent, and he's very. He has an amazing ability to present his knowledge in a way that is absorbed easily by every single person. Yeah, if you haven't listened that podcast, go back about four or five episodes. You'll, you'll enjoy it. Okay, so we got a book coming down the pipe we've got. This study that is you know six months in rolling along nicely. Anything else you want to share with us. That's extremely exciting going on in your life. You know I mean just. Living every single day. Largely. The studies taking up. A lot of my time. The book is now something new that I'm really excited about. And So working with mastering diabetes. We're doing that. Are you know doing that every single day and? If I'm not mistaken. You'll be making an appearance at the plant stock Oh. Yes, the shirt by the way. Yes plants doc. Plans Talk Twenty, twenty, twenty, twenty I can't wait. It's going to be great virtual. Virtually. Brought to you from the Allston family farm. Absolutely I'm excited about the new ground, so we'll see exactly yeah. These two are going to infinity and beyond to help people come out the other side of addiction and recovery. Well beyond just sobriety. If you're struggling. Know that you are not unwanted. And you are not forgotten. You are a whole person. And through the work of heroes, like Tara and Adam, it is our hope that the path to rediscovering your wholeness starts with a whole foods. Plant strong diet. To learn more visit. Our show notes at plan strong podcast dot. COM OR Plant based for Positive Change Dot Org. We'll see you next week for another episode of the plan strong podcast. Strong podcast team includes will record which Amy mackey Patrick Gavin Wade Clark and Kerry Barrett. I WANNA. Thank my parents Dr Kabul Yelstin Junior and an Kreil Hustle Ston for creating a legacy that will be carried on for generations and being willing to go against the current and trudge upstream to the causation. We are all better for it.