Fri, 15 November 2013
Lucas: Welcome to the Yoga Talk Show, your one-stop destination for all things yoga, health and wellness. So hello and welcome, everyone. This is Lucas Rockwood, and I'm here today with Nick Polizzi, who is the creator of Sacred Science and he was also heavily involved with Simply Raw, two films that most of you are probably very familiar with. And if you're not familiar with them, you'll be familiar with them very soon.
I met Nick about a year ago in New York city at a conference, and it's really interesting. There's kind of frontline people and then behind the scenes people, and it's interesting because the behind the scenes people do a lot of the heavy lifting and a lot of the conceptual work and so it was really interesting and exciting for me to meet Nick, who was involved in the film Simply Raw, which already had a huge impact on me and my life and on a lot of our listeners' lives as well.
In any case, Nick's going to be talking to us today about his wild adventures in alternative health, raw food, herbal medicine and medicinal healing. So thanks for joining us, Nick.
Nick: Oh, it's a pleasure to be here.
Lucas: So as we're having this chat, you're right in the middle of a big launch of Sacred Silence, which is a film that you shared with me about a year ago. And for people who are listening who have never heard of anything kind of off the wall, medicine man, healers, (01:23) give us an overview of what that whole project was all about.
Nick: So just going back to Simply Raw, I've been involved in a couple films before The Sacred Silence, and both of them were about alternative healing strategies. One is the Tapping Solution that's all about meridian points and tapping on different spots on your upper torso while going through traumatic events from your past and releasing pain that way, which is more of a Chinese medicine style.
Then Simply Raw came along, and that was more of a nutrition-based, super food-based film. As we made those movies, while we were interviewing the different experts that you saw in each of those, (02:05) it felt like a lot of them, when we asked them about the origins of their teaching, were turning to more indigenous practices, in particular Shamanism.
So we kind of took note of it, but when we were making those films you kind of keep your eye on the ball and keep creating the film that you're making. But I was really curious about Shamanism by the time I had finished making those two films, or being involved in those two films. So once those films were out, the next project for me was, hey let's at least take a look at Shamanism, figure out what it's all about.
And we sort of scoured the globe for the most Shamanic-rich cultures, and the Amazon has one of the most, if not the most, dense percentage of Shamans per capita on the planet. So we went down to the jungle, started doing some research. Not only is there a really thriving culture of Shamanism, medicine man, I'm not sure if your viewers are familiar with this idea of the indigenous healer. (03:14) The Shaman is somebody who plays the role of both the priest, the healer and the wisdom keeper in any given tribe.
If you look into different parts of the world, most indigenous cultures have a Shamanic-type structure, where there isn't really a government, there isn't really
So we thought to ourselves, okay so on one hand we have what we're looking for. There are amazing medicine men, medicine women in this culture that are doing incredible work, but on top of that they have the benefit of a pharmacopeia of amazing healing plants that haven't been studied by modern medicine yet. That's what led us down to the jungle, and that's what pretty much culminated in the film, The Sacred Science.
Lucas: So you're this guy and (04:25) what makes you want to make movies about energy healing, about raw food, about medicine men? Most independent filmmakers are making movies about two disturbed teenagers wandering across the Brooklyn Bridge and things like this. What prompted you to do this? Did you have a health crisis in your life? Is there a health crisis in somebody else's life? Is it just something that's always fascinated you?
Nick: I never really knew what it was until at one of the film festivals we were in, during the Q&A it just popped out and I realized that that was probably what it was. I realized what it was. (04:59) I was hit by lightening when I was 16, and it's really interesting how we a lot of times forget or compartmentalize and disregard some of the significant things that have happened to us in our life as just being, 'Oh, that can't possibly be contributing to where I am now.'
But once I got hit by lightening, and it wasn't some crazy, sacred thing where I was on top of a mountain and it just happened and it was this amazing, enlightening experience. I was playing basketball in my driveway and it was during a thunderstorm, and lightening came up as I was going up for a lay-up and hit my basketball hoop. I was after that, a much different person. It did something. I don't know how woo-woo you want to get, but it definitely shifted something inside me, and there were a lot of episodes I had that were unexplainable. Nick Ortner, producer of The Tapping Solution, a good friend of mine, helped me through and was fascinated by. He had no way of understanding them, neither did I.
I didn't need to be sold on holistic medicine. Let's put it that way. I didn't need to be sold on energy work. That was something I already had a dose of, probably too soon, without having any way of understanding what it was. But I probably was initiated into some sort of spiritual healing practice when I got hit by lightening when I was 16.
My career has somehow manifested in such a way that I get to make films about this stuff. So that's the origin probably of how I started on this path, and then once I started making films about alternative medicine all the rest of my career kind of just filled in by itself and that's where I am right now. (07:11) I'm on this path of trying to figure out how to legitimize a lot of these archaic, traditional healing methods that have been kind of discarded over the last 1,000 years. So I don't know why I love this so much, but it's kind of all I ever want to do. It's really all I want to do is create films that explore new healing modalities. Sorry, that was a long answer.
Lucas: No, no, it's interesting. I think if the sky parts and strikes you down, I can imagine that would have a profound impact on everything thus forward. One thing that I'd like to ask you about, because you've gone down in the Amazon, you experienced some really freaky, alternative stuff. One thing that I find in the alternative world, and this is me speaking as somebody who's guilty of this, as anybody else, but as soon as we get into the alternative world we immediately assume alternative is better. We throw away all the conventional stuff. So I'm just curious. You took some pretty ill people into the jungle and you took some people who would normally be on very, very conventional medicines to very alternative medicines. I'm wondering your totally biased opinion, how did you walk away from that? (08:26) Did you walk away thinking, hey this is the answer or this is an answer or how did your perception change in terms of finding a balance between allopathic medicine and traditional healing medicine?
Nick: I think I walked away with a feeling that might not be as interesting as I wish it was. I think my feeling was that some of these methods are extremely effective at treating certain illnesses. The neurological disorders, like Parkinson's, incredible. (08:59) There are things going on in the jungle right now that are going to be probably heard about relatively soon, plants that are being discovered that it's like night and day with what you're seeing right now on the market for Parkinson's and MS and things like that.
But other things, like cancer, one of our patients in the film had extreme results, beneficial results from cancer. A few of the other patients didn't, and that was kind of how it was. And I think that's probably why people look at our film as being reliable or trustworthy, is because we show you both. We're showing you what does work, what doesn't work.
But I think that my overarching feeling about these modalities is probably a little bit more boring now than it was before I went down there. I think I went down there with this idea that, wow this is all going to cure everybody. (0948) But I think that my feeling right now is that modern medicine and natural medicine are both very important, and modern medicine is extremely good at treating acute conditions but it's terrible at treating chronic ones. I think that Amazonian medicine and indigenous medicine in general is really good at treating the chronic conditions.
So I think they both have a very substantial role to play. It's just that one of them is dominating right now, and we need to sort of leave some breathing room for the natural medicines to come in. David Wolfe says it really well. He says 200 years ago, if Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall you wouldn't be able to put him back together again. Now you can. But you also have ridiculous increases in chronic conditions, too, right now.
So I think that both of them are very valid, and I think our mission really is to just give voice to the natural medicines that have sort of been ignored or discarded, discredited over the last 200 years. So that's how I feel about it. Just as a wrap up, the beautiful thing about the Amazonian traditions and other indigenous healing traditions, in Siberia and in Australia, is that they treat you from within, so that even the patients that didn't get healing results in our film still email me now talking about how even though their body didn't heal the way they wanted it to there were life-changing spiritual transformations that happened that they continue to feel the benefits from.
Lucas: Yeah, I think there's no question that the mind aspect in healing is just really coming to the forefront right now and it's pretty undeniable to bring that into any kind of healing modality. When I was a teenager, I used to spend summers in the Sierras in California, working at about 10,000 feet with a string of burrows. One summer I was up there and I met this guy. He scared the pants off me, actually. He would spend the entire winter in the cabins that I would live in when I was up there. And spending a winter at 10,000 feet in the California Sierras is like spending a winter on the moon or Antarctica or something. Nothing should live. In May, there's still snow everywhere.
He was this big, big, giant guy, nearly seven feet tall, didn't have any meat left on his body. I kind of got his story, and he'd been coming there and he considered himself the caretaker of this cabin. Nobody had ever hired him, nobody ever knew he came but he'd been the winter caretaker for something like 25 years. He had really, really bad gear, so he would come in on cross-country skis, come in about 35 miles on cross country skis.
In any case, I thought this guy is going to know these plants. I was spending all this time on the land and I was fishing in the creeks and I was really trying -- the truth is, there isn't much. When you get that high, things really start to die. But I figured this guy's going to know the land. It was interesting, he did. He knew every single thing you could eat, and again, there weren't many. And he knew about the different kinds of fish and how the fish were originally brought in and they weren't native and all these kind of things.
What was interesting to me, I think it kind of relates to what you were saying, is (13:27) a lot of times the biggest revelations are really pretty subtle. His big thing, his big take away from the Sierras was this willow bark. This willow bark, he discovered, was similar to aspirin, which was helpful in terms of pain from his walking around in bad shoes, but he also found that it had this anti-aphrodisiac property, which he thought, of course, a solitary male basically living like a monk in a hut. He thought this was going to be the next big thing. He thought if they just gave this to teenage boys, like the truancy and the delinquency rates were going to completely drop through the floor. But it was interesting and it was really, really subtle. He'd find a natural form of pain relief and a natural way to deal with what would normally drive a man from the forest, which is his libido.
Interesting stuff. (14:29) So I also know in the film, there was one gentleman who didn't make it. Is that right?
Nick: Yes, that's true.
Lucas: That's pretty heavy. How did that impact you? How did that impact the group? Were you prepared for that? How did that go down?
Nick: I was not prepared for that. (14:49) As much as we knew it was a possibility, obviously we took very sick patients down to the jungle, we were prepared for it in terms of on the ground with the right services and everything that somebody would need, but in terms of emotionally I wasn’t prepared for it. I'm an optimistic guy. Even though I throw myself into pretty intense situations, I always like to sort of expect the best result to happen. I wasn't mentally or emotionally prepared for it, and it was a really intense experience.
The gentleman who died, he was suffering from neuroendocrine cancer, and he was one of my -- I hate to say this, but he was one of my favorites of the patients. He and I bonded really well beforehand during our interview. We visited each patient in their home before we went down there, and got a read on who they really were and he was just such an incredible guy. And of all the people that you see in the film, he's probably the guy, even though he's got a serious health condition, he's probably the guy you least expect to be the one that passes away.
In the beginning of the film, we tell everyone five people get real healing results, two people leave disappointed and one person doesn't come back, period. So everyone knows that somebody's going to pass away. Some people think what we mean by that is they're going to stay down there and become a Shaman, but I think most people understand that there probably is going to be somebody that passes away. Most people don't think it's going to be this person.
In a really kind of tacky or inappropriate way, the fact that he passed away was incredible for the shaping of the movie, and I think that he's the kind of guy who is probably humorously, from wherever he is now, looks at it as being the perfect addition to this project, because he was so about what we were doing and he was such a sweet soul and he knew, later on after talking to his family, his loved ones, they had all said goodbye to him before he even came down because his condition had worsened since we had seen him during the interview. So he knew, his family knew that he was going to pass away. He just didn't let us in on it, so it was kind of a surprise.
So yeah, he's an awesome guy and it's really more sad for me, not from the project's perspective but because I just wanted to spend -- I wanted to be friends with him. He and I had plans to hang out afterwards. But from the perspective of the film, I think it really gave us the opportunity to talk about our society, conventional Western society's relationship with life and death, and that was a gift because a lot of what the healers in the jungle talk about is this dying process. It's this fear of the unknown. (17:50) The dying experience, when you boil it down to its essence, really comes down to the fear of the unknown, which is a fear that we experience every single day. It's just that when you die you really have no way of peaking around the corner and seeing where you're doing.
So Gary's passing gave us the opportunity to really go into that, because it shocks the audience. When you see somebody pass away in a documentary that you're attached to, in real time, it brings up a lot of issues. So it gave us the perfect opening for one of the medicine men, named Habin, to talk about life and death and all the misconceptions and all the crazy storylines and how desperately we avoid even thinking about it here in the West and how alive and part of the healing culture it is down in the Amazon. Something that is looked at as being a gift, and it's not nearly as feared as it is here. So it was a really mixed bag, but like everything that's happened with this film, it really turned out to be perfect.
Lucas: (18:56) So I guess the million-dollar question is if you had to do it all over again, would you cast him? Would you bring him down again? Do you think you made the right choice?
Nick: Yes, I do, 100%, 100%. Listen, if I had reason to believe that his passing could have been avoided by him staying up here or having some other course of treatment, then I would obviously not have brought him down. But this man had tried everything, and he was paying like, gosh, I'm trying to remember what the figure is, I don't want to misquote him because he says this in the film, but I think he says he was paying $2,000 or $3,000 a month for a shot that he was getting to sort of keep the cancer at bay a little bit, but it was still failing. And he had no money. He had no ability to afford it. It was not something that was covered by his healthcare. And he said he was sick of it and it made him feel terrible and he was in pain every day, and this was his last and final option. (19:51) So 100%, I would have brought him down, I think it was a perfect way for him to make his transition.
Lucas: Interesting. (20:02) Nick, before we wrap up here, tell people about what you're working on next, how they can get a hold of you and if they want to see what you're up to and how they can connect with your films.
Nick: Sure. First of all, we have a free screening going on right now. It ends tomorrow, Thursday, October 17th. So if you want to watch Sacred Science for free, just come visit us, TheSacredScience.com/screening and you'll get the information you need to register and we'll send you all the details you need to tune in not only to the film but also to a bunch of really awesome guest speakers that we have presenting. Most of them have already presented their material, but we have links to all those things that will be sent to you via email. So again, TheSacredScience.com/screening and you can watch the film for free.
In terms of what we're working on next, this film has really opened up a lot of doors. The first two films were great, in terms of giving us great experience on how to actually go about making film, but this one has been in a ton of film festivals and we've had a lot of opportunities surface since it's been released. It's kind of a tough decision for us. (21:13) We want to either go further into Shamanism itself or start making a film or two about some of the lessons we've learned that have come up from the ceremonies we sat in, things that we've noticed about society that are really quirky and conspicuous that we'd like to point our cameras at.
(21:38) One of our next films is most likely going to take us to the Siberian Steppes and into some remote regions of China and Mongolia, to sort of track down the earliest and potentially the most Shamanic traditions there are on the planet. (21:57) One of our other films are going to be addressing an institution that has existed for thousands and thousands of year and that may or may not be serving us. So there's two different films. We'll keep you posted.
If you join us for the Sacred Science free screening, you'll get all kinds of updates about future films as well.
Lucas: Sounds great, Nick. Thanks for all the information. Speaking of your new films, one thing that resonates with me is everywhere I go I feel like people are desperate for rites of passage and ceremonies, and I think a lot of the interest in ayurvedic medicine, in medicinal healers, in Shamanism, I think a lot of it comes back to that. So many people have lost their faith in whatever it is, so it's interesting stuff. I'm excited to see what comes next.
Again, thanks so much for joining us. (22:49) Everybody listening, check out SacredScience.com, and thanks, Nick, and we'll talk to you real soon.
You've got questions? We've got answers. Welcome to the FAQ round. If you've got something that you want to ask, send your questions to Podcast@YogaBodyNaturals.com. And now, let's hear what's going on with our listeners.
Q: (23:14) I've done a bit of research, and the correct term for my condition is Lordosis. I can't stretch my arms or shoulders back very far. I'm not sure if this is connected to that or something different. Wondering if the yoga trapeze will help to straighten this out.
A: If you don't know, the yoga trapeze is an inversion device that we manufacture and we teach students how to use. It's really fun for spinal decompression. It gives you traction on your spine. It's really great for passive backbends. We actually do core work and upper body strengthening poses on it as well. It's great for functional strength. It's kind of like a yoga version of a TRX, if you've ever seen one of those at a gym. You can do a lot more on this than you can do on a TRX.
In any case, Miranda, in terms of Lordosis, is this going to help? It's really hard for me to say. I'm not a medical expert in terms of that condition. The thing I would recommend is working with a teacher, if you can, and perhaps working with a physio or a chiro who could perhaps give you more structural integration information.
Q: (24:18) I would like to take up yoga class, but which one would you recommend? I've never done it before. I'm 64. I walk my dog every day, and I'm reasonably fit. I've had back problems in the past, so I have to be careful about bending down. I'm an anxious sort of person and get a lot of tension in my shoulders, and it takes me ages to get to sleep at night. Sometimes I don't sleep at all.
A: Great question, Jola. In terms of what type of class I'd recommend, I always say the same thing. Do the type of class you love. So if you're somebody who likes something intense and strong and athletic, no matter what your age, I'd take a look at hot yoga, take a look at power vinyasa, ashtanga-style yoga. The great thing about yoga is it's great for any ages. We have students even coming to our yoga teacher training courses in Thailand who are well into their 60s. We've had people in their 70s. So it's not an age-restrictive thing. Of course, your body's not the same at 64 as it was at 24, let's be honest here, but you can still do a lot of things with yoga and you can get all the benefits. So that's if you're on the athletic side of things.
If you prefer a more calming practice, if you like meditation and if you like quieter classes, take a look at local classes that might be called hatha yoga, they might be called yin yoga, they might be called restorative yoga, sivananda or integral yoga. Some of these classes might have chanting and they might have Sanskrit words and perhaps even things connected to deities and religion. That may or may not be of interest to you, just as a word of warning, but many of them will not as well. You can always feel comfortable asking the studio about those things. It's always a good thing to ask, if you do have concerns about that.
In terms of your nightly sleep, using gravity yoga right before bed is very, very effective. We also teach a belly breathing routine that's very, very effective for falling asleep at night. We'll try to link to it here in the show notes. Belly breathing is when you lay on your back, you relax your belly completely and you breathe in and out through your belly, usually to a four count. So you inhale for one, two, three, four, and then exhaling for four, three, two, one. You keep your chest still, your face relaxed and you breathe just into your lower abdomen. So your belly swells and fills on the inhale and it falls and collapses on the exhale.
And what this does is it has a very strong effect on your central nervous system, and again, you switch from that sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system. You switch from your right nostril preference on the exhale to your left nostril preference on the exhale, and your body starts to really calm down. So that would be my suggestion for you.
Q: (27:02) I had pots break 14 years ago and never healed properly, so cannot walk for more than a block without so much pain. I cannot use this foot in the yoga swing but could use the knee. I have carpal tunnel in both wrists. I cannot lift weights, use bands, do push-ups, et cetera, and will not be able to use my hands in a yoga trapeze. Do you have any tips for using the trapeze that way? I bought it to release my back pain.
A: Okay, Susan, this is a great question. I'm not sure. You said you had a break. I'm not sure what kind of break this was. I'm guessing you broke something in your spine. I'm not really sure. In any case, it sounds like you have quite a bit of pain in your body. The yoga trapeze is fantastic for getting traction on your spine. The one caveat to that is you do need to be able to get in and out of it and you do need a fair amount of mobility to be able to utilize it.
Now, there is another inversion device which is very, very common. It's just a lot bigger and a lot more expensive, but it's called an inversion table. You might have seen them before at a chiropractic office or at a health fair. It's a long table. It looks like a massage table, and it tips and goes all the way back and you can invert on the table. This might be something that might be more appropriate for you. With carpel tunnel, with pain, if you can't do any kind of resistance training, this might be a safer thing for you to try. So think about that.
Q: (28:27) I'm morbidly obese, I'm 5'2" and 223 pounds. I'm on a disability pension so I'm limited on the food we can afford. I eat lots of tuna, chicken, potatoes, frozen veggies, et cetera, because the fresh stuff is out of my price range. Would you have any tips on losing weight? Also, what other products other than the yoga trapeze would you recommend for me?
A: In terms of other products, I wouldn't recommend anything. If you're on a tight budget, just to natural activities that you love. If you like to walk, go for a walk. If you like to dance, put on a DVD and dance. Put on some music and dance. If you like to play with the neighbors or the kids or whatever it is, do that. There's this myth that in order to be thin or lose weight you have to do extreme exercise. It's almost never true. In fact, almost always the opposite is true. We have a sister business that I own and we do a lot of work with obesity and weight loss, and our most successful clients do little or no extreme exercise at all. Usually they do natural activities, just like walking around, playing in the park, very, very natural things. It's not necessary to get extreme. So that's the first thing.
In terms of eating healthy on a budget, this is a real challenge. Cheap food is fattening food, and that's a really, really sad state of affairs but it is a reality. Healthy food is more expensive, and people like to tell you that it's not but good food costs more. And that's just part of the situation. Now all of that said, there are plenty of options that are lower in cost and almost equal in terms of nutritional value. It sounds like you found quite a few of them. Frozen vegetables, for example, are nearly as good as fresh vegetables. So that's perfectly fine. Your cheaper meats, like tunas and chickens they're not too bad either. What I might recommend, if you're a meat eater, is go and try to get less common meats, like organ meats and like leftover pieces from really high-quality meats, for example you might get organ meats from grass-fed cows which would normally be very expensive. The organ meats will be very inexpensive and they're very, very nutrient-dense.
But all things considered, if you're thinking about investing in products, I would for sure invest in good food. And it doesn't need to be super expensive, but for sure it's going to cost more than even takeaway food from a restaurant. So with all that said, please keep in touch and let's see if we can figure out some good tools to help you and we'll go from there.
Q: (30:56) What is your view on eggs? I'm eating organic, free-range, cruelty-free eggs pretty much every day for breakfast with spinach and avocado. What alternative, high-protein, vegetarian breakfast could I eat?
A: Eggs are really, really interesting. If you've been hanging around YOGABODY for a while, you know for over decade I just eat plants, so I haven't eaten eggs in a really long time. But in my day, I've eaten plenty of eggs. Eggs are interesting in that they have a very, very bioavailable protein. They seem like an animal food that we are made to eat, more so than other foods even in that they're very easy to digest.
A couple of problems with eggs. First of all, they come from chickens. Chickens are a really messed up animal. It's kind of like a poodle. You know when you see a poodle, like you go to Central Park in New York and you see these poodles getting walked around and this poodle looks sort of like an Easter Bunny/fur coat/I don't know what it is. It's really a mutant, and a chicken is very much like that. It's a very strange animal, and it's fed terrible, terrible foods like GMO corn and all kinds of really crappy grains. A chicken in the wild eats all kinds of things, like rats and mice and bugs and grasshoppers and leftover garbage. Chickens are really wild scavengers. And then they put them in cages and feed them really crappy food and antibiotics, and it's really a disaster.
In terms of eating organic, free-range eggs, I feed these to my kids. You've just got to be careful. A lot of the free-range is kind of a joke. A lot of the free-range just means that instead of being in cages, the chickens are just all on the floor smashed into each other. It's really no better. There are more and more and more truly cruelty-free eggs available, and I'm a huge supporter of that.
So here's the deal with eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein. Eggs are also very allergenic, and people develop allergies to them. The breakfast you talked about, eggs with spinach and avocado is something that my daughter loved beyond belief. For two years straight, every day she wanted eggs with spinach for breakfast, and suddenly now she won't eat eggs and it hurts her stomach. She's developed an egg allergy, and it's very common. If you talk to body builders, weight lifters, they often develop egg allergies as well, from over eating eggs. It's the white of the eggs that people develop an allergy to, the protein. I'm not sure why. I haven't seen any compelling research to explain why. I have a feeling it's because, like I said, the chicken is a funny animal. I don't believe in it as an animal. I think there's something wrong with it.
So that said, eggs from any other animal are better. If you can get duck eggs, for example, if you can get ostrich, any other kind of egg you could possibly get are going to be more nutritious and more natural than a chicken egg.
In terms of other high-protein, vegetarian breakfasts, the best breakfasts are not breakfast. Breakfast food is crappy food, by definition. The sweet cereals, the breads, the grains, all that stuff is gross. Eat dinner for breakfast. I like to eat leftovers from dinner for breakfast. Anything is great. Since you're a vegetarian, you just want to avoid the dairy. Dairy is so inflammatory. It's really a disaster of a protein. So if you're not eating meat, you want to make sure you're getting a good high-fat, high-protein breakfast. One thing that I like to use are sprouted lentils. Sprouted lentils are really, really great because a lot of the starch has been eaten in the sprouting process, so they're protein-dense, very, very easy to digest, very inexpensive and very fast to make. But the best breakfast food is not breakfast at all; it's dinner eaten for breakfast.
Q: (34:31) I'm confused about conflicting information about fruit. There's been a lot in the news about how fruit has too much sugar and should be avoided. What's your view on this?
A: Yeah, so fruit is really controversial. There's this guy out there called Durian Rider, and he says you should eat 30 bananas a day and then there's other people out there, Dr. Mercola tells you if you eat more than 5 pieces of fruit a day you're going to explode. I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. I come from a raw food background, so there's been periods of my life where I lived exclusively off of fruit, and at certain periods in my life I did really, really well off just fruit. At one point, I had less than 5% body fat, really great energy. I was able to work about 12 hours a day and maintain about a 3-hour per day yoga practice. Kind of extreme, but I was fueled by fruit during those days.
These days I'm a lot more conservative about fruit. First thing I'll tell you is it has a lot to do with climate. Where you live really affects your sugar metabolism dramatically. Your age dramatically affects your sugar metabolism. So what I mean by that is on the internet if you search around for these 80/10/10 guys or these fruitarians, the ones that look really, really good, and there's some really, really healthy-looking people out there, women in particular that people get really excited and they say, wow these people look like models. They look fantastic, and they're eating bananas and peaches all day, so maybe I should go do that.
The truth is, that might work for you. It might work for you in the short term. I've never seen it ever, ever, ever work in the long term, and I'm paying attention and I know people who've tried and they really deteriorate with age. So if you look at that fruitarian community and you look at the people in their later 30s, in their 40s and especially the people in their 50s, it's a train wreck and they have oxidative stress and they're aging really rapidly. And I haven't seen their blood work, but I promise if you were to do a glucose tolerance test it would be a disaster. Your weight, if you're only eating fruit, tends to be manageable. On any kind of whole food diet, your weight usually stays under control. But that has nothing to do with your hormones and that says nothing about your fatty acid levels and things like this.
I went off on a little bit of a rant there, but let me just tell you thing about fruit is that the fruit we're eating today is nothing like the fruit we had even 100 years ago. Let's talk about an apple, for example. A wild apple is a bitter, mealy, barely edible thing. A modern apple, I can eat literally five or six of them in one sitting and I can still want more. So yes, our fruit is way, way, way sweeter than it used to be. This has been done through selective breeding, in some case GMOs, but mostly just selective breeding.
And so what this means is when we're eating fruit, we want to focus on low-sugar, high-micronutrient fruits. That tends to be things like your berries, like your cucumbers, like your tomatoes. Yes, cucumbers and tomatoes are fruits. Anything seed-bearing is a fruit. And so you want to try to avoid the really, really, really sweet ones like watermelon and bananas. Those are very, very sweet. They're not bad for you, but it's a lot of sugar. That said, if you're an athlete, if you're very active, that can be a great source of carbohydrates for you.
The thing about fructose, especially concentrated fructose, is it's one of the most lipogenic things on the planet. What lipogenic means is lipogenesis, it goes into your liver and starts forming belly fat very, very quickly. So were you to try to gain a lot of belly fat really fast, let's say you were a method actor and you wanted to gain a bunch of weight really, really quickly, the absolute best way you could do that is to eat a whole bunch of fructose. It would be really, really easy to gain a bunch of fat. And the reason is, is because of the way it's metabolized. And so you need to be careful with fructose, especially isolated and concentrated fructose. So high-fructose corn syrup, like the stuff that's in soda pops, everybody knows you should avoid that.
But if you're eating fruit, here's just a general, general rule. You shouldn't be eating more than five pieces of fruit per day, and if you're eating other kinds of processed carbs, if you're eating any kind of grains, any kind of starches like breads or rices or pastas or any of that stuff, you need to be even more careful. So sometimes you'll hear people about going on a fruit-free diet and losing weight. Well, this is true and this does happen, but a lot of these people, they haven't given up their processed carbs. So they stopped eating fruit, but they're still eating lots of bread and lots of pasta and lots of rice. I would be much more interested in you getting rid of the grains and eating more fruit, because they're more healthy, they're more micronutrient-dense.
But as a general rule, again, I've gone on a real rant here, but about 25 grams of fructose a day or less is a good rule of thumb. Depending on the fruit, that could be just a couple of pieces or it can be about five pieces of fruit, if you're eating low-glycemic fruits. High-glycemic fruits, there's nothing wrong with them as long as you're active and as long as you're not eating too many other starchy foods. When people get into plant-based diets, oftentimes they end up eating all kinds of crazy starchy foods all day long and their blood sugar levels get all out of whack.
Q: (39:53) Is there any limit on how often we should be eating beans?
A: Beans or legumes are a really interesting food. We tend to think of them as a protein food, but they're actually pretty starchy. Most beans are around 10% protein, so not that high. Certain beans, like soy beans, are extraordinarily high in protein, but of course they have a couple of drawbacks that make us not want to eat them all the time. I like legumes a lot. I've come to like them more and more over the years, and I'll tell you why. I've learned how to prepare them better. Most beans give you terrible gas and bloating. They have oligosaccharides, which is a form of sugar, that we're unable to digest. But there are simple ways to overcome those digestive issues.
It takes a little bit of work. Specifically, buying beans dry, soaking them overnight and then cooking the snot out of them. That's one option. So you buy beans, you soak them overnight and you cook the crap out of them. It really, really helps with digestion. Of course, that cooking is not that great for the protein, not really that great for the micronutrients. But anyway, that's the way to do it. The other option, which I'm a huge fan of now and at any given time I have fresh lentil sprouts in my kitchen, is sprouting lentils. Lentils come in quite a few different varieties. They have very, very unique flavors. Some are peppery, some are more sweet. And when you sprout them it eats quite a bit of this starch. It makes them much more protein-dense, makes the protein more bioavailable, it eats a bunch of the sugars, it's predigested. And then I'll very likely cook them, stir-fry them or boil them in soup and they're very fast to cook, very easy to cook. You don't have to cook them nearly as much, and they're great for you. So I'm a huge fan of legumes.
They do have some anti-nutrients and things, which people get a little bit too hung up on them. You just need to learn how to cook. If you don't know how to cook, I would say beans are not for you.
Q: (41:43) Why is it so hard to lift up your upper body when on the floor doing bekasana?
A: Bekasana is a frog pose. You lay on your belly, you bend your legs, you reach back and you grab your feet and you lift your chest up. That all sounds fine. Do a Google search for it, bekasana, it looks really easy and then you go to do it and you feel like you're dying. It feels like your kneecaps are going to explode and your heart's going to burst. Why is it so hard? There are a couple of reasons, Marilou. Your shoulders tend to be tight, and your upper back tends to be tight and you really need to open up there to lift up and it's just a really intense, awkward position. So that's about all I have there.
I will tell you, you'll make progress really quickly. If you practice it every day, you'll make progress really quickly. Just be careful with your knees. Be really careful with getting adjustments in this pose. A lot of teachers like to sort of sit on you, and I do not like that in terms of your knees. It could be really risky there. I hope that's helpful.
If you have questions, please send them to Podcast@YogaBodyNaturals.com.
It's now time for the bendy body nutritional tip of the day. Raw food, edible insects, tropical oils, why not? It's all fair game. Here we go. Let's talk nutrition.
(43:03) Today's nutritional tip is all about water. The conventional wisdom is drink eight glasses of water per day. The only problem is, what the hell does eight glasses of water mean? Is that 8, 8-ounce glasses? Is that 8 liters of water? Is that 8, 12-ounce glasses? Who knows what that is? So here's my thing with water. You need to drink a lot more than you think. There's a couple of reasons for this, but one of the biggest reasons is the food that you're eating right now tends to be very dehydrated. A lot of people eat packaged and processed foods, and even the meats and things like that that they're eating tend to be dried. They're not nearly as wet and as water-dense as they should be, which means we need to drink more water.
(43:46) So how much water? Well, I like to drink about two liters per day. When I'm in Thailand, I might drink as much as five or even six liters per day, which sounds crazy but it's really hot there and I do a lot of yoga and I sweat a lot. It really depends on you. But for almost everybody, I find that a little bit over hydrating makes them feel really, really great. It reduces your hungry, it helps with elimination, helps you clear up your digestion and your skin. So it can be really great. So if in doubt, I'd ere on the side of drinking too much.
(44:17) So how do you do this? People get really stuck. The first thing is keep a bottle of water on your desk, and at your home keep a bottle of water on the counter. And by bottle of water, I don't necessarily mean a store-bought bottle of water. I have glass bottles at home that I filter water and put them in, and when I just leave them around on the table I end up drinking them all. There seems to be no limit to the amount of water I'll drink if it's sitting around. So literally, a jug of water on the counter, on my desk and I will drink it down no problem at all. I'd encourage you to do the same. If you're somebody who's out and about all day long, carry around with you a water bottle and carry a large water bottle, a nice big one. That will help you to drink more water.
(44:57) The second thing is, add something to your water. The things that I like best are lemon, fresh lemon, cucumber, sounds gross but it's good and then the last thing is we have something called Total Hydration, which is an electrolyte formula. It actually helps you absorb 43% more water. They've done clinical trials with firefighters. It's not necessary for everybody, but if you're somebody who struggles to drink water, is chronically dehydrated, the signs of that are constipation which is very, very common, and headaches, it can be a big help. If you're a hot yoga student, if you're an athlete, it can be really effective as well. You can learn more about that in the YOGABODY store. Regardless of whether you use Total Hydration or not, the key thing is drink more water. Keep it around. That's the simplest way to get it down.
You've been listening to the Yoga Talk Show with Lucas Rockwood. You might not know this, but I live and die for your iTunes reviews and ratings. So help me out. Head over to the iTunes Store and give me some love. And when you're done with that, you can grab the complete show notes, links to everything mentioned in this show, plus all kinds of other yoga shenanigans, at YogaBodyNaturals.com.