This week we have the pleasure of hearing from Jeremy Hendon. Jeremy is the founder of Paleomagazine.com and Healthyrecipesmag.com, and is here to help us get perspective on our *long-term* approach to health and fitness.
The Slim Is Simple.org Non-Profit Nutrition Education Effort
Jonathon: Hey everyone, Jonathon Bailor back with another bonus Smarter Science of Slim podcast. Very, very excited about today’s show. I have an awesome individual who’s out there trying to collect the best health information on the web, the truest health information on the web, and simplifying it and bringing it together, cultivating it, because there’s just so much stuff out there. He’s doing that in the form of two awesome online magazines. The first is Paleo Living. The second is Healthy Recipes, and he is none other than Jeremy Hendon. Welcome to the show, Jeremy.
Jeremy: Thanks so much, Jonathon. It’s very exciting to be here, and thank you for having me on.
Jonathon: Well Jeremy, thank you, and I very much appreciate the opportunity to contribute to both of your magazines, and you’re doing all kinds of stuff, brother. Tell us how you got started really connecting all the dots and curating all the vast amount of health content that exists on the web.
Jeremy: It’s a long and varied story. I have to say that like most people, it’s probably less interesting than it sounds at first, because when you say connecting all the dots, I was drawing all around the dots for most of my life. I had no idea where most of the dots were. It’s one of those stories where, you know, I was an overweight, chubby kid. Never particularly obese or never had any really serious health problems, but definitely wasn’t healthy for most of my life. I kind of changed when I went to college. I had a change of setting, and actually that’s one of the things that I’m most interested in is changing our environment and our habits. But I changed certain things then and it wasn’t the healthiest way to do it, but I found a way to lose weight and get healthier in college and really just started delving into the science.
I spent about 10 to 15 years really reading a lot of medical journals, nutrition journals, not understanding them for 5 or 6 years, and finally coming around to where I am now. I feel like I have a much better perspective, but there is still a whole lot to learn out there, and I don’t think it will ever end.
Jonathon: Well Jeremy, it sounds like we certainly have a kindred spirit vibe going on. It’s fascinating that we’ve arrived at a similar spot, which is, generally speaking, you have two publications. One is the Healthy Recipes magazine, which is a bit more, let’s call it mainstream if that’s a fair characterization, and the other one is the Paleo Living magazine, which is, of course, focused a bit more on eating things that were available to our ancestors, eating things found directly in nature.
But it seems like you did not necessarily start your journey saying, “I want to eat like a caveman,” which is sometimes how paleo is described. You rather just said, “I’m going to look at the actual scientific research.” It just so happens that a paleo lifestyle, or as it should just be called, eating the foods you find in nature, ironically is the quote, unquote, diet that is most supported by the scientific literature.
Jeremy: Yeah, absolutely, and maybe not so ironically. I thought about this a long time ago that, you know, all the things that we’re cooking up in chemical labs now might not be the healthiest things that we can eat. It might not really be great for our bodies. I’ve read a lot of your work and like you said, you’ve contributed some stuff to our magazines. Like you say, a lot of the foods that are out there and natural lead to your SANE approach. That is, they’re a lot more satiating because they have a lot more fat or a lot more fiber — things that actually make us full. So, you’re absolutely right.
I didn’t come to this with any preconceived notions of where I was going to end up. I certainly didn’t start 15 years ago thinking, “Oh my God, I really need to eat like a caveman.” That just sounds so brilliant.
Even now, I don’t buy into 100 percent of the paleo way of life, although I buy into most of it and think that for most people, it’s a fantastic starting place. Once you do it for a while, you can really see how your body reacts and really start to customize it and think about the other scientific ways that you can really enhance your body and enhance your diet.
Jonathon: I love it, Jeremy, and I think it gets back — I sometimes use the analogy, and I’m very curious to get your thoughts on this because you’ve surveyed many different sources, so I’m interested in your perspective here, and that’s this concept of the Tower of Babel. Are you familiar with that story in the Bible?
Jeremy: Absolutely, yes.
Jonathon: Okay, so it’s just — really just for folks who may not be familiar with it. It’s this idea that there were people who wanted to build a tower that reached all the way up to heaven and sort of make themselves into gods and show that they could do — they could become gods. In fact, when they tried to do this, the tower became so high it crumbled over. The moral of the story is don’t try to outsmart nature. Don’t try to outsmart God. Whatever your beliefs are, understand that we aren’t gods.
Jonathon: The reason I mention that is just — there’s this paradox of since we have made so many scientific — like, since the technological progress we’ve made over the past 50 years, it’s been exponential. We are seeing a greater rate of change a greater rate of advancement and knowledge than we’ve ever seen before. Simultaneously, we’ve gotten less healthy.
You would think that as we become more advanced, we would actually become healthier because we would find advancements that, again, make us healthier. But in fact, the exact opposite has happened and the more we’ve tried to engineer our health, it’s a bit like building a metabolic Tower of Babel. We’ve tried to reengineer nature, and it has backfired horribly. What are your thoughts on that?
Jeremy: I completely agree. I mean, I think it’s a two-sided coin. I mean, we could have whole political discussions on this too, talking about whether or not we think that getting more technologically advanced should also lead to us to be more peaceful. But you know, it’s really a two-sided coin because a lot of people look at what I do on the one hand with the paleo way of life and say, “Oh, you know, you’re against all technology.” I say, “Well no, of course not.” Modern antibiotics, modern medicine — if I break my arm, I’m going to go to the doctor. I love the fact that they have modern technology to fix these kinds of things because it’s brilliant and it saves lives, and there’s no reason to forego most of that technology.
At the same time, what you just said is 100 percent true. We are not often conscious enough or cautious enough about how we use a lot of that technology, particularly when it comes to things like engineering food. People have to realize that a lot of the companies out there engineering food — they’re not evil in any way. They’re not bad people. They’re people like you and I who just happen to have a different job. But the point of their job and of their company is to make money and create products that sell better and essentially, that get people addicted to them.
So there needs to be more conscientiousness. There needs to be more cautiousness when it comes to this technology. What you and I both do is we kind of try to get this information out there. We say, “Hey look, there’s all this technology out there — all this science — and it’s getting misused in some ways. It’s not going to be healthy for you, and it’s not going to treat your body in the way that nature intended for your body to thrive.” We need to kind of think about that and take a step back and say which technology do we want to keep. If you get sick, then you probably do need to take a little bit of medicine or go to the doctor in some ways. Apart from that, we need to look at more natural ways to keep our bodies optimized and healthy.
Jonathon: Jeremy, I love this because I think we can go — and listeners, please forgive, but I think we’re going to have to wax philosophical here for a second. I cannot avoid it, because one thing that I think is a fascinating distinction here — like you made the point of all the technological progress we’ve made and all the medical progress we’ve made. I’ve heard doctors refer to it as, like, ER treatment or crisis management where if you’re in a car accident, there was never a better time to have a compound fracture in your leg than right now. Because if a system just breaks, an acute breakdown in the system, we can go in and we can do pretty amazing things to help bring that system back to life.
But this idea — so that is very different from saying you can break a system down, keep doing what it took to chronically break that system down, and we will give you something that will enable you to keep doing the behavior that caused the breakdown in the first place but in some ways mask the symptoms. Like, giving a diabetic insulin is not the same as putting a leg in a cast, because when we put a leg in a cast, it’s assumed you will stop doing the thing that caused the leg to break in the first place. We are not giving you the cast so you can go break your leg again or empower you to continue to break your leg.
Whereas when we do things like, for example, diabetes treatment, some — diabetes is a potentially fatal disease, type 2 diabetes, but it’s trivialized because it’s like, “Well, you can just take insulin.” Well, wait a second. What’s the problem with that?
Jeremy: Like you said, I mean, the problem is that it doesn’t actually address the cause of that problem. Like you said, if you break your leg in a car accident or falling off a roof, you assume that you’re going to put it in a cast and you’re not going to fall off another roof the next day. Which is a pretty good assumption, because most people who break their leg are not going to climb back up on the roof the next day and try to do whatever they were doing again. Maybe they will a year from now and break it again, but essentially, you’re not doing it every day.
With something like diabetes for which there are a myriad of causes — I mean, there is no single cause. But at the same time, like you said, treating it with insulin is not addressing any of those causes, right? The cause is not a lack of insulin. That’s actually an effect of diabetes, an effect of not having enough insulin sensitivity. Like you said, the science of treating that now has come down to the point that we’re just going to treat the symptoms, and it’s not going to treat any of those causes.
Like you say, we both wax poetic about this, but it’s the huge difference between looking at the science and saying yes, we can treat this acute injury and fix it, or we can have the systemic problem where people are eating terribly unhealthy foods, getting unhealthier day-by-day-by-day. We’re going to let them keep doing that, but we’re going to try to find ways to minimize the symptoms and problems that arise out of that, which is essentially what giving insulin to a type 2 diabetic does. There are a lot more things we could talk about than just diabetes — I mean, in terms of obesity, heart disease — but all of those problems today, like you said, are treated with the end in mind that we’re just going to minimize the symptoms rather than actually cure any of the causes.
That’s where the distinction comes in between using science to its fullest, which I feel like you and I really want to do. I mean, we’re both really into the science. I love reading the science. I’ve always been really into the science, but at some point, we have to take a step back and say, okay, the science is doing a ton for us, and we’re learning a ton from the science. Let’s also take a step back and just look at how we can change our daily lives. How can we change our diet on a daily basis? How can I do little things every day that are going to keep me from needing to take insulin or that are going to keep me from needing to take statins — which I don’t think are great to begin with — but are going to keep me from needing to do things down the line to minimize or have any of those problems in the first place?
Jonathon: Yeah, you hit the nail on the head there, Jeremy. It’s kind of a silly analogy, but it’s the difference between someone who is touching a hot stove and burning their hand and is upset about that and saying, “Well, that’s okay. Let me just shoot some Novocain into your hand, and you’ll be all right.” Just keep on touching the stove, and it doesn’t hurt anymore, so we’re good, right? No, like your hand is eventually going to become — like, I don’t want to get gross — but it’s going to get gangrene and it’s just — you can’t keep doing that.
I think sometimes when — if we have a situation, we have to look at it and say, “Am I using science and technology to mask something that is incompatible at a molecular or a cellular level?” When we get into that, that’s what a statin or that is what insulin for a type 2 — obviously, a type 1 diabetic is born, it’s a different thing. Type 2 diabetic develops over time due in many ways to lifestyle behaviors. If we’re using science and technology to cover something up and to mask something, that is not furthering our goals of being healthy, correct?
Jeremy: Absolutely. I think your analogy is perfect with somebody putting their hand on the stove. I mean, even if it were just like a stove that’s not too hot, but one that’s going to eventually burn you if you leave it on there. I mean, it’s one of those things where you’re not going to leave it on there. You know intuitively that it’s going to burn you in the end. Even if you’re constantly getting shot up with Novocain or you’re taking some other kind of painkiller, it’s not going to be good for your hand, so I completely agree.
Jonathon: Jeremy, as we talk about getting healthier, using that term specifically, you have a really popular article on one of your sites called “Quit Trying to,” quote, unquote, “Get Healthy.” I want to just dig into that a little bit, because we always hear about, like, just do this one thing. Try this one pill. Take this right approach, and you will get healthy. What are your thoughts on that?
Jeremy: I think overall what I have become most focused on over the past couple years is the mentality behind trying to get healthy. Like I said, I love the science and I love to talk about it. I love to read about it, and I love to write about nutrition and things, but I feel like the biggest missing piece for most people is really approaching the whole issue in the right way.
I don’t think there is a single right way, but I do think there are some ways that don’t work in general. One of those ways is trying to, what I call “get healthy.” That’s the idea that someday you’re going to be healthy. Someday, you’re going to reach this promised land. Someday, you’re going to build the Tower of Babel and finally get there, right? I think that is a flawed conception. Healthy is not a state that we reach. Yeah, we can look at certain mile markers and say you’re doing well or somebody is, quote, unquote, healthier than another person, but healthy is a way of being. It’s a way of viewing your life. It’s a way of interacting day-to-day with yourself, with your diet and with everything that you do.
I think that kind of approach, if people start to understand that it’s something that you have to do rather than achieve, then it’s much easier to get there. It’s also much, much more enjoyable because once you start to view it that way, every little thing that you do during your day that is slightly, quote, unquote, healthier, is much more appealing and much more rewarding. I think that’s really very important to have those little rewards every day because if you’re just trying to get there, in the end, you’re going to have some falls along the way. You’re going to cheat some days. You’re not going to go to the gym some days or work out, whatever it is you’re trying to do. You’re going to feel like you’re further away from your goal than you were before, and it’s going to disappoint you.
Whereas on the other hand, if you can just do little things every day to try to get a little bit healthier at a time and just constantly be healthier, then that’s much, much more rewarding on a daily basis. I think that’s mentally more sustainable and something that can really help people live a better and happier life, to be frank.
Jonathon: I love the distinction, Jeremy, between getting healthy and being or acting healthy. It reminds me of — one of my favorite authors of all time is Dr. Stephen Covey, the late Dr. Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits and all that fun stuff. He talks about how people have this concept of falling in love or getting to be in a state of love with another person. He’s like, well, you don’t do; you just need to act lovingly. Like, act lovingly and eventually, love will manifest itself. It’s not an endpoint. Loving is a way of being and treating other people, and if you just are that way, love will ensue rather than being the direct pursuit of your life. Do you think there’s a similar parallel here with health?
Jeremy: Oh yeah, absolutely. I love Stephen Covey. I love that particular book. I love a lot of his other stuff. I completely agree that, you know, whether we’re talking about love, health, really any state of being in our lives, we’ve come to the point — it reminds me of something you said earlier when we were talking about ten minutes ago where you said, you know, at some point we started looking for a pill or a cure or something that would cure a lot of the problems. For instance, diabetes or heart disease, we now take pills or insulin or something instead of trying to look at a daily basis and seeing what we could do, bit by bit, to make ourselves a little bit better.
So I think there’s exactly a parallel between what you said earlier, between Stephen Covey’s thoughts on love and between everything that we do to try to be healthy. I think realistically, as humans, we are not set up — and this is part of an evolutionary protocol or an evolutionary look at humans and the human brain. Human brains are not set up to try to achieve goals five years down the road. No animals are. We can do it; we can plan, but we’re not set up on a daily basis to think about what’s going to happen and to take that into account and be rewarded or scared by it five years down the road. Because humans, like any other animal, are evolutionary-adapted to survive from day-to-day.
So you might be able to think a week, a month ahead of time because you’re worried about not having enough food a week or a month ahead of time, but in general, we need to focus on a daily basis on the little things that we do. We need to get rewards out of those. Kind of reward our brain for saying, “Yeah, this is something that’s great. This is something that’s making me better, something that’s making my life more enjoyable.”
I think that last bit too, about enjoyability — and this relates back to love also — is that when you find yourself being able to express more love, express more healthiness on a daily basis, it really leads to a lot greater sense of satisfaction on a daily basis. At least, that’s how I found it, and a lot of people that I’ve kind of helped in this respect and talked to have found that to be the case.
Jonathon: I think you’re spot-on Jeremy. I don’t want to belabor the analogy, but I think it actually fits quite well, because let’s talk — let’s make the analogy again to human relationships. Certainly, there are — like, if we’re experiencing a sense of loneliness, there are things that we can do, like find a random person at a bar and engage in certain behaviors with them that might, for a short period of time, make us feel better. But long-term, that is certainly not going to do anything about that sense of loneliness and in fact, it might compound it.
I feel like sometimes we have a similar challenge with health, where because we feel unhealthy or because we have a lack of energy, we then look to junk, edible products like we might be looking to a junk, temporary relationship in the analogy from earlier to create that temporary fix. But in reality, it really is, to mix all kinds of metaphors, just shooting Novocain into the hand, which we’re just going to burn worse and worse and worse until we fix that underlying mental state. What do you think?
Jeremy: Absolutely. You know, I would even go a step further to say that this all sounds a little bit foo-fooey, I think, when I talk about it sometimes. But there’s hard science behind it too, whether we’re talking about one-night stands at a bar, whether we’re talking about eating junk food when you’re upset or not feeling healthy or in some other emotional state. These things actually affect your brain chemically and affect your entire body chemically. They have chemical releases, endorphins, dopamine responses, and they actually affect the way that you feel on a chemical and physical level.
So, it really is something like you said that our bodies and our minds view as a quick fox, but in the end, it’s not a fix at all. It is like shooting Novocain into your hand while leaving it on the stove. You’re not fixing the loneliness by going into a bar and having a one-night stand. You’re not fixing your health problems by eating a little bit of junk food or even eating a, quote, unquote, health product or a supplement, which people are still really into supplements.
I find that, you know, a lot of my readers will ask me questions like, “Oh, is this supplement great? Will this supplement help me with my health or help me with this problem?” My response is always, “Well, it’s kind of the wrong question to ask.” It might actually — some supplements might actually have some positive effects. They might actually do something small, but it’s kind of the wrong mentality to take because you’re not really addressing the core root of the problem, like you were talking about. You’re not taking your hand off the stove. You’re not fixing your loneliness by acting in a loving or relationship way every day.
With health, it’s the same. You have to talk to yourself in a different way. You have to actually learn to enjoy being active, eating whole, real foods, and I think what it all comes down to is approaching it differently.
Jonathon: I think it’s no coincidence that we actually refer in many ways to eating and our lifestyle — we talk about our relationship with food. That’s a common term. “What is your relationship with food?” Just think about that, back to your point about supplements, which is beautiful. If we’re in a, God forbid, in a dysfunctional marriage or a dysfunctional partnership, there are all kinds of, like, “Just try to use I-statements when talking.” Just try to like — these [indiscernible 22:32], again, back to Stephen Covey — more of these practice-centered approaches. Whereas, what we really might need is to go a level deeper in that more of a principle-centered approach.
That’s one of the things that’s neat about paleo where it takes more of a principle-centered approach, which is this template of we evolved over many, many millions of years. We evolved in a certain environment and the further we’ve gotten away from that environment, the sicker we’ve gotten. That doesn’t mean we need to all go live in caves. It just means that let’s be sensitive to those changes, and let’s look a level deeper.
Again, we didn’t — it’s not as if we had always been sick and then the supplement CoQ10 pills out, and a bunch of people were no longer sick so therefore, the cause of our illness is a CoQ10 supplement deficiency. No, it’s not. Like, we were all healthier before a CoQ10 supplement even existed. Does that mean it’s bad? No. But does that mean it’s more important than just eating a lot of vegetables and fresh meats and seafoods and whole food fats? Absolutely not.
Jeremy: No, I couldn’t agree more. I mean, we focus on all — not the wrong things — we focus on the small things. I don’t want to discourage people from focusing on some of those things, because especially for some particular issues, they can be really great. If you really have a vitamin D deficiency, you should be supplementing with vitamin D if you’ve actually gotten it tested. But at the same time, long-term you should be getting out in the sun more. You should be eating more, you know, seafood that’s high in vitamin D, things that are more long-term, daily solutions to these problems. I just couldn’t agree more, the analogies that you used there and the whole logic behind it.
Jonathon: Focusing on the big stuff. Tell me what you think about the following, because I think we’re really onto something here and that’s until you’re getting the bulk of the foods you eat, from a volume perspective, should be nutrient-dense plants. So we’re talking low-fructose fruits. We’re talking non-starchy vegetables. Then probably the bulk of your calories, because those fruits and vegetables are very — they’re not calorically dense; they just take up a lot of space. The bulk of your calories is going to be coming from nutrient-dense sources of protein, such as like a grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, and whole-food fats like nuts and seeds, avocados, cocoa, coconut. That’s really the three big pieces, is it not?
Jeremy: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I would also throw in there being — moving around some.
Jonathon: Oh, certainly. Yes, that’s true.
Jeremy: And getting sleep. I think sleep’s the most important one.
Jonathon: Also water. Water would probably need to be in there too.
Jeremy: And air.
Jonathon: And air.
Jeremy: Just a small one. You can’t [indiscernible 25:15] yourself off from that. Absolutely, from a dietary nutrition perspective, I don’t think — unless you have, like we were talking about at the beginning of this podcast — unless you have an acute problem, something that’s causing you severe problems that you’ve had diagnosed, say you’re really deficient in a vitamin or something that’s causing severe problems, unless you’re in one of those boats, which most people are not, you’re right.
What it all comes down to is eating nutrient-dense food that’s non-toxic. I think that’s as simple as I can put it, and that’s usually how I tell it to people because a lot of people know me as somebody who practices the paleo way of life. There’s a lot of confusion around what paleo means, and I try to simplify it as much as you try to simplify the science and say, “Look, all we’re trying to do is eat foods that are higher in nutrients, lower in toxins. That’s all we’re trying to do.”
Jonathon: And really just eating in a way that furthers our goals. If our goal — I mean, to be very clear, if your goal is — let me back up. There are people who can smoke and not get lung cancer. That doesn’t mean we should recommend smoking, and it also doesn’t mean that smoking isn’t a causal agent in the development of lung cancer. That said, is there a place in your life to eat edible junk food? Well, I would say the question to ask yourself is, is doing that enabling or furthering your macro goals in life? If it is, of course, that’s fantastic. But if it’s not, then the question is — again, let’s look at our goals. I can promise you, as Jeremy has said here, focusing on drinking a lot of clean water, getting a lot of high-quality sleep, staying active and eating nutrient-dense foods, man, that’s going to cure what ails you and that’s really going to empower you to be the best sense of yourself more than any pill, powder or potion ever could. What do you think?
Jeremy: Yeah. I’m going to answer that, but I’m going to jump back to your smoking analogy because this is the one that always gets me. Whenever I start talking to somebody who’s a little bit skeptical about eating more nutrient-dense foods and, say, cutting out what I think are some toxic foods — particularly processed foods, processed sugars — and a lot of grains — particularly grains that contain gluten — they’ll always say, “Oh well, my grandfather lived to be 95 eating those foods.” My response will be, “Well, did you know anybody who smoked but didn’t die of lung cancer?” You know, it really doesn’t mean that just because somebody could do it that it’s a good thing, and secondly, that they didn’t have any negative effects. Those people may have been tired all the time.
There are a lot of day-to-day parts of our lives that actually improve other than just avoiding lung cancer, avoiding heart disease, avoiding diabetes. Day-to-day, I have a ton more energy when I eat well, when I’m active, when I get out in the sun, when I sleep well. Day-to-day, I feel much happier. I don’t ever get depressed. Occasionally, if I’m eating badly or I’m not sleeping enough because I’m really busy at something, I’ll feel my whole mood change. I’ll become much more negative mentally about how things are going in my life and the direction things are headed. But if I’m eating well, if I’m sleeping well, everything changes. So on a day-to-day basis, I think those are the things that people can really latch onto.
So to answer your question, yeah, I completely agree. I just wanted to jump back to that smoking analogy because I find it’s one of the funniest things that I hear people say, “Oh, I knew so and so who lived to be 95, and they ate this junk food all their lives, so I must be able to do it.”
But I do think there’s room in anybody’s life, if it’s furthering your goals, if it’s going to make you happy, once a month to eat a bit of junk food, I’m not the person who’s going to tell anybody to stop that. You know, I cheat occasionally. I don’t particularly like when I do it, and I don’t really intend to do it very often, but of course, it happens. Because sometimes — and then I don’t beat myself about it, because I look at my diet and I say, “Well, I’m doing pretty well 99 percent of the time, so I eat badly 1 percent of the time.” It’s one of those things. You have to kind of take it in context. Learn how to talk to yourself a little better and actually be compassionate and forgiving, and figure out what your real goals are so that you can enact those on a daily basis.
Jonathon: I love the point about being compassionate and forgiving, Jeremy, because I think — you had mentioned a couple times, sometimes, let’s call them, for lack of better terms, haters, people who sit around, “Ah well, I’ll just be hate, hate, hate.” They always want to find something wrong with everything. My biggest thing is — and there’s even, to be very clear, even for the people who are really into nutrition and specifically are into the paleo lifestyle, there is certainly much, even, potentially hating going on between the best way to do even that. People get so wrapped around the axle.
What is just ironic to me is — the point here is if what you’re doing is working for your goals, which may be very different and are, in fact, almost certainly different from my goals, great. Like, who cares? Like, even from a paleo perspective, the irony is that if you look at the difference between Maasai tribesmen and individuals historically in the Pacific islands, the ratio of animal to plant foods is vast. So to say that there is just like one right — the idea of right or perfect for everybody is so wrong. It’s what are your goals, and is what you’re doing enabling you to do that? If it is, awesome, and if it’s not, you know what? There’s a lot of science and there’s a lot of evolutionary common sense that might be able to help you out. What do you think?
Jeremy: Absolutely. I’ll bring in another analogy. If you go out and talk to professional elite athletes in any sport, they will tell you that the way that they live is not ideal for health, overall. I mean, if we have some general concept of health, they’ll tell you that they do a number of things that are not good for their bodies long-term, but it’s very much in furtherance of their goals. For instance, as a bodybuilder, is it ever really healthy to be at three percent body fat? No. Humans are not designed to be at three percent body fat. It’s a huge strain on your body. There’s a reason that it’s so difficult to get down that low, but male bodybuilders do it because it’s in furtherance of a goal that is incredibly important to them.
People look at bodybuilders and other elite athletes and think oh, they’re doing all sorts of healthy things. Well, they are in general. Ninety percent of what they do is very healthy, but then there’s 10 percent of it that is not really healthy from a practical standpoint. It’s just in furtherance of those goals.
Absolutely, it really depends on your goals. Like you, I kind of get tired of all the haters out there who, you know, just want to say, “Oh, you’re doing this wrong.” “Oh, why is this different?” “Oh, you have no support for that.” Twitch my response as well. Actually, yeah, we do have support for all of it, and B, things are going to be different from person to person. With anybody you talk to within paleo or any other sphere who’s really into the science, who’s really into the nutrition and the health aspects and has been doing it for a long time — in my sphere, people like Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, those types of people — they’re the first people to tell you that there’s a lot of individualization.
At the same time, there are certain things like — for instance, gluten’s not going to be good for anybody. You may not have as much of a reaction to it, but it’s not going to be good for anybody. I mean, there’s some toxicity to it, right? Just like eating arsenic’s not going to be good for anybody.
So, there are going to be some basic rules that we could say, “Look, there are not going to be any humans this is really going to be good for,” but at the same time, there is a ton of variabilities. It really does depend on your goals. It really depends on your body. You know, some people are going to do better eating 50 to 60 percent carbs. Some people are going to do better eating 20 to 30 percent carbs. But so long as you’re getting those from good sources either way, high-quality sources like tubers and things, you’re going to be much better off.
Jonathon: Jeremy, I couldn’t agree with you more. In some ways, you can judge the validity of a source of nutritional information by whether or not their message is one of, hey, there are some pretty universal principles. However, there is going to be some individual variability, depending on your goals.
Much like, to again borrow — just to conclude here with another analogy from our friend Stephen Covey, he gives a wonderful illustration in his book of someone walking up to another person and being like, “Oh man, my vision is so blurry. I can’t see anything. Can you help me?” The person takes off the glasses they’re wearing and places them on the face of the other person, and the other person is like, “Oh my God, that’s worse. I really can’t see anything now.” And the person who handed them their glasses is like, “You’re so ungrateful.” Like, “These glasses work perfectly for me. I cannot believe,” like, “clearly, this should be helping you.”
The point here, the analogy here is, certainly, there are universal laws of how our eyes work, and all glasses work basically the same way. For example, like glasses that are completely opaque and that do not allow light through them will not serve anybody. But in terms of the type of prescription you need, the style of the glasses that you wear, there are universal principles that we all agree on. But just because a pair of glasses helps me to see better does not mean that that specific pair will help you to see better. However, that doesn’t mean you should put duct tape over your eyes. There are universal principles. What do you think about that analogy? I think I kind of went off the deep end there, but I don’t know.
Jeremy: No, I love it. I mean, the duct tape one got me in the end. Yeah, but you shouldn’t give up on glasses just because the first pair didn’t work.
Jeremy: It doesn’t mean, you know — if you’re allergic to nuts, don’t eat nuts. I think they’re healthy for some people, but some people have allergies to nuts. You can’t eat them. I’ve had people email me and they’ll be like, “Oh, these recipes have nuts. What should I do?” I’m like, “Well, you shouldn’t eat that recipe.” I mean, it’s not for everybody.
I actually have a food manufacturing business too, and our product has nuts in it. People are like, “Oh, can you make it without nuts?” I say, “Well, first of all, I can’t because this product, I just can’t make it without nuts.” I’ll say, “Secondly, it’s not for everybody.” I’m not going to make — there’s no perfect out there. There’s no perfect diet.
There are bad things, like you said, and there are glasses that don’t work for people, but it doesn’t mean that all glasses are bad. There’s not going to be one pair that works for everybody. It would be amazing and somebody would be really rich if they came out with that pair or that diet. In fact, you and I should start looking for that. It sounds like a good business model, but I don’t think we’re going to get there.
Jonathon: Exactly. Just like you’re not going to find a universal corrective lens or universal contact; however, you probably will find some common denominators. I think that’s really the key. What can we all do to align ourselves to those common denominators that map to proven biology, which is when we talk about the science, and also map to common sense, right? Because that’s sometimes, when we — we need both of those. We need both the common sense approach and we also need a little bit of science. Not a little bit, I would argue, a lot of the scientific validation, because sometimes common sense, again — common sense tells you the earth is flat. I look outside; it looks pretty doggone flat to me. Of course, it’s not, but it does look that way. So sometimes, we have to counterbalance our common sense with some science.
So Jeremy, this is — certainly, we could talk for hours and hours and hours and certainly, you have a massive amount of insight. For the listeners who want to learn more, what are the best places they can go to learn more about you and about your work?
Jeremy: Absolutely. I’m going to throw three out there. The place that they can find everything that I do in terms of what I write is at Jeremyhendon.com. Then I have two magazines, and I have special free subscription offers for your listeners to both of those magazines, which are right now only on iPad but will be on Kindle in the near future. The first one is Paleo Living, and your listeners can go to Paleomagazine.com/ssos for Smarter Science of Slim, and the second magazine, which is an amazing magazine if I do say so myself. I think your readers will love it. It’s called Healthy Recipes Magazine. That one is at Healthyrecipesmag.com/ssos. If they go to either of those links, they can find codes for free, three-month subscriptions to those magazines if they have an iPad. It’s really easy to get, and I hope they enjoy it.
Jonathon: I actually just went to Healthyrecipesmag.com, and the screenshot on the first page is a chia seed pudding, so it looks like sanity will abound in these magazines, which is certainly great. Just listeners, so that you can make sure you can find him, again that’s Jeremy, and his last name is spelled H-e-n-d-o-n. Right, Jeremy?
Jeremy: That’s right.
Jonathon: Beautiful. Well, Jeremy, thank you so much for joining us today, and thank you for all of the curation and cultivation of great, non-ideological information out there. I think it’s wonderful, and certainly we’d love to have you back on the show, brother.
Jeremy: I look forward to it. It’s been a ton of fun, and I hope your listeners enjoyed it.
Jonathon: Thank you, and listeners, I hope you enjoyed today’s show as much as I certainly did. Remember, this week and every week afterwards, eat smarter, exercise smarter, and live better. Talk with you soon.
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