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TMHS 212: Carb-Cycling For Fat Loss And The Sweet Potato Diet – With Michael Morelli
I remember playing the hot potato game when I was a little kid. The music plays, and the “hot potato” (usually a tiny beanbag) is passed around by kids in a circle. When the music stops, if you’re the unlucky one holding the potato, you’re out! The potato makes you lose.
Well, maybe that silly (and fun!) kids game was onto something. According to our guest today, if you get caught with the potato in your hand (specifically a sweet potato) then you will lose yet again… but this time the loss is in body fat.
Michael Morelli is an absolute superstar in the fitness space. With over 4 million followers and fans on his social media platforms, he’s one of the strongest voices in the health movement today. This guy is super fit, and he’s helped thousands of other people get super fit. One of the tools of the trade: The Sweet Potato Diet. It’s a real food, intelligent carb-cycling approach that just flat-out gets results.
As you’ll discover today, carb-cycling is a valuable tool that’s heavily underutilized because major media hasn’t been talking enough about it. In truth, it’s a way of eating that we’ve evolved with in many ways. Naturally we’d have periods of overfeeding, underfeeding, and basic maintenance. It would be a shift in calories and in food type. Our ratios of macronutrients (the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) would shift much more frequently than the cookie-cutter, same-old-same-old way we tend to eat today. To tap into a way of eating that encourages a shift in your metabolism, and a way that your genes actually expect you to eat, just click play and find out the benefits of The Sweet Potato Diet!
In this episode you’ll discover:
- How fitness superstar Michael Morelli hit rock bottom and ended up in his mom’s basement.
- What carb cycling is and why it’s valuable to know about.
- Why low-carb or ketogenic diets can be challenging for some people.
- The impact that small, healthy amounts of sweet potatoes can have on blood sugar long-term.
- Which culture the highest percentage of people 100+ years old who use sweet potato as a staple in their diet.
- Whether or not it’s a good idea for most people to count their calories.
- Which concentrated sweet potato nutrient is correlated with a longer lifespan.
- Whether or not you’re eating a yam or a true sweet potato.
- Why food choices for most people are not logical.
- How the sweet potato can radically upgrade most of your favorite indulgences.
- Why strict diets tend to be in opposition of human psychology.
- How to carb cycle in combination with exercise during your week.
- What your body will do to provide glucose for your brain if glucose is too low.
- Important mental shifts you need to make when working to change your body.
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
Shawn Stevenson: Welcome to The Model Show, this is fitness and nutrition expert Shawn Stevenson here, with my co-host and producer of The Model Health Show, the very talented, lovely Jade Harrell. What's up Jade?
Jade Harrell: What's going on Shawn?
Shawn Stevenson: Good to see you, how are you today?
Jade Harrell: Thank you, I am emphascited.
Shawn Stevenson: All right, I wasn't expecting that.
Jade Harrell: I know, I know.
Shawn Stevenson: Tell me about it, what does that mean?
Jade Harrell: Well, I'm excited with emphasis.
Shawn Stevenson: Emphascited, huh? Okay, I can roll with that.
Jade Harrell: It's not a condition.
Shawn Stevenson: It sounded like it's something- how did you catch that?
Jade Harrell: Right, you need to give me a protocol.
Shawn Stevenson: I'm emphascited. I like it, it's turning the frown upside down. Make it sound it sounds bad, it's really good though. Like the song Bad, right, Michael Jackson was like you know it, like who's bad, right? So you remember Wesley Snipes was in the video, a little fun fact, they actually asked Prince to be in that video, and he declined, he was like he's not going to be telling me, your butt is mine, nobody is going to say that to me. So just a little fun fact, you guys go a look that up Prince actually talked about an interview himself, little random fun fact.
So everybody, thank you so much for tuning it to the show today, we've got an incredible, incredible episode coming up for you guys, a good friend of mine is on and he is #superstar. Alright, so really quickly, guys every single day for the last four years by my bedside I have Ease Magnesium this is a topical application, transdermal application of magnesium, why does this matter- well over 325 biochemical processes depend on magnesium, when you're deficient in magnesium that is 325 things your body cannot do properly, if at all, right so it's incredibly important and over 80 percent of the industrialized world is deficient in magnesium, chronically. Chronically deficient in magnesium, so please understand that this is so important to your health, your vitality it's known as this kind of anti stress mineral, but one of the ways that it really works is it binds to your ATP, this adenosine triphosphate what you know as your body's energy currency; it binds to that to actually become the biologically active form of it, so you don't actually have energy in the form of this ATP until it binds with magnesium, so literally the energy your body experiences that you experience as a human being, it requires magnesium to be present, that's how important it is.
Jade Harrell: It's in the waiting room like, okay, then we're going to go. We're ready to roll.
Shawn Stevenson: Let's get it going. So with that said, food first, supplementation is a viable option, oral supplementation, but you have to be careful you cannot adequately get your body's levels to the place that they need to be, an optimal place, because of the fact that something called bowl tolerance, where if you take even a little bit too much it will cause diarrhea and flush from your system, you know, basically evacuate your body. And also with that it's going to pull other nutrients out of your system as well. So the most effective way to do this is with the transdermal application and I do it because it works.
So whether this is for something that might give you a little bit more energy, a better sleep, or an energy not in the form this is going to stimulate you, this is a natural reset or balance or homeostasis is achieved in your body, but a lot of people use it for relaxation before bed, which is what I do and also this is great for eliminating pain because magnesium is important, so many processes with muscles and muscle tension, nerve function. So make sure that you get your hands on this, it is something that definitely deserves to be right there by your bedside or something that you take with you when you travel, that's what I do for sure. So head over check them out, it's easemagnesium.com/model, you're going to get 15 percent off over there exclusive, you're not going to find that anywhere else, exclusive alert to make sure head over there check them out right now. And also, I want to let you guys know, we're getting fit right now, we're talking to one of the most guys in the business today.
Jade Harrell: I am trying not to look at him [laugh]
Shawn Stevenson: And one of the things that comes along with that is oftentimes today is thinking outside of the box- nobody is better at that than Onnit, right, they're really the founders of this idea of unconventional training, really pushing into culture, these different training equipment that many people have never seen before, like the battle ropes, right, like the steel maces and steel clubs, I have got a steal club in my house, I have got a couple actually.
Jade Harrell: Nobody wants to mess with you right now.
Shawn Stevenson: So these are the things that have been used thousands of years ago, in warrior training, right, and so they brought these to the market as like you can use this to get super fit, right, and so one of the things we've been really pushing into culture lately, and really talking about in the show is high intensity interval training, and these pieces of equipment, you know even kettlebells as well are great tools for you to employ different strategies for HIIT, and we know again, we'll put some episodes in the show notes if you want to get your body in the best shape possible, you've got to have that high intensity interval training as part of your repertoire. So make sure to head over the check them out, they've got the battle ropes, they've got the steel clubs, they've got the zombie bells, the kettlebells, but then they've got like these primal bells with these weird like monkey faces on them, they've got legend bells with like I think it's a Sasquatch on there. They also have a special addition- Iron Man kettlebells. So make sure to head over and check them out and plus of course they've got all the human optimization supplements, and you get ten percent off all of your supplements and foods there as well, so head over there check them out, onnit.com/model, for 10 percent off, now that gets to the iTunes review of the week.
Jade Harrell: All right, this one says "best show bar none", five stars, "I am continually impressed by the quality guests Shawn finds for the show and how he can run right with them. Shawn and Jade have an amazing dynamic and always bring out the best of their guests. If you want to know what you need to be doing to take control of your health from every possible angle, this show is a must listen. Thank you Shawn and Jade for all you do, keep on bringing the awesomeness".
Shawn Stevenson: Bringing the awesomeness, thank you so much, and I promise I will definitely do that, I appreciate you so much for taking the time to leave us the review on iTunes, it means so much to me.
Jade Harrell: Thank you Jeff Agastonelly.
Shawn Stevenson: Perfect, shout out to Jeff, thank you so much my man. And everybody, thank you for leaving the reviews, I truly do appreciate you guys, so keep them coming and of course, hit the subscribe button to the show if you have not done so already, make sure you subscribe so that you get updates. And again, if you haven't left the review, please head over there and do so, because we will recognize that, I appreciate it.
Now, on that note, let's get to our special guest and our topic of the day. Today's guest is a good friend of mine, the one and only Michael Morelli and he is the founder of Morelli Fit, and he has a ton of certifications- certified personal trainer who has helping hundreds of thousands of people transform their lives with his online diet and training programs, he's literally one of the best people In the world at this, if not the best. He's a social media sensation as well, with nearly four million followers and Morelli is one of the world's most popular online fitness experts, and he's here, on The Model Health Show to rock the house, I'd like to welcome my friend Michael Morelli; how are you doing today man?
Michael Morelli: I am awesome, thank you so much Shawn.
Shawn Stevenson: Oh man, it's my pleasure man, this was a long time coming man, we've known each other for a little while now, and I'm excited to have you on, and to share your superhero origin story man. Tell us a little bit about what got you interested in the field of health and fitness in the first place, and make sure to share the part about staying at your mom's house again.
Michael Morelli: Yeah so I hit rock bottom about four years ago, I was at a point in my life, remember carrying two bags of groceries up two flights of stairs and I got up the stairs, and I was winded, I was out of breath and I'm like man, something's got to give, and from that point forward I made it my mission to really put forth some effort into my health and fitness. It also was a little spiritual, I will say, but I started to clean up my diet first. I started you know going through the plethora of diet information, I mean you name it, paleo and low carb, and no carb, and I had tried everything previous to that. So I had a personal transformation of my own, I lost 27 pounds of body fat, I went from about 185 pounds down to about a 150 or so, and I went from literally 27 percent or 25 percent body fat, down to 8, I saw my abs the first time in my life and I was like yes! And I remember I said to myself, I said if I can do this after lots of trial and error, I can show other people how to do this too. But then, I thought to myself Shawn, I said, who is going to take me seriously, right? I mean, all I had was a personal transformation, so immediately I am like alright, what's out there, how can I get more information and in the next six months I got five certifications, literally, I grafted on everything, I was a sponge.
Shawn Stevenson: Incredible story man, you know, this is the thing is that so many people have, and I just talked about this recently with another incredible story, but you can be selfish in that you know you get these results for yourself and you just kind of live your little life in your little shell, you are like you know, I'm too sexy. But you had it as a mandate that I needed to share this, and this is one of the things that makes you so good at what you do, people can pick up that you care, it's something that kind of radiates from you. And so, with that said, so you shifted gears and you started doing what- so you started like in the gym, where did you go from there, how did you get from there to where you are today?
Michel Morelli: Yeah, so during that time I was going through a bankruptcy, I went through a divorce, I had to move back in with my mom at like 31 years old, so you could imagine, right, not fun. Like hey mom, I need to move in and my mom's always been there for me, but I
literally moved into her basement and I started stringing together exercises, and I didn't know that it was high intense interval training at the time I was doing burpees and mountain climbers and renegade rows, and so that's the exercise component that I followed.
But I remember back four years ago, and I know this is the part of the story that you want me to get into, I was debating on whether or not I should post a video on YouTube and really put myself out there, I told my mom like I want to help a lot of people and you know pretty soon it's going to be millions, and she's like yeah right, yeah right. And I remember like it was yesterday, and the video is still up on YouTube, the channel is Morelli Fit, I was wobbling back and forth from side to side, so nervous in my mom's basement like this, I mean, so much so there's probably a groove in the floor Shawn, like literally. Even though I could have just pushed delete or I could have re-recorded. Nevertheless, I pushed publish and it's a six minute abs workout that took me six minutes to get to, because the intro is so long I was so nervous; but from that point forward, I just stayed consistent with my content, I surrounded myself with really good talented people, people like yourself who have mentored me, and I just kept consistent with the content YouTube turned into instagram, turned into facebook, and turned into periscope, and now we've accumulated almost four million followers.
And you know, you mentioned in my intro, there's no fluff there, in the last four years, we've helped through direct products, programs and services over 200 thousand people get in shape. Now maybe millions more who have been following me, but through direct sales of products, programs and services we've helped over 200 thousand people.
Shawn Stevenson: Incredible man, such an incredible story. And this is, I wanted you to talk about that a little bit for the aspiring person, you know for the person who has kind of hit their own rock bottom, maybe not with their health but maybe they find themselves in a tight financial spot or a relationship spot, and I mean, literally like you just said it, thirty one moving back with mom's, you're not going to get the girl necessarily, like this a pretty complicated situation to be in. And so, but from that place being able to birth this huge, huge entity that you have today and just the following and the reach that you have and the success, and you know your amazing home and your amazing family in such a seemingly short amount of time is just remarkable, and also when people see you physically that you were out of shape- no, and that's what's possible man when you really get focused, and one of the things you do as well, not just with the nutrition and the fitness, but you also talk about that internal game as well. We're going to come back and talk a little bit about that, but I want to first talk about your new book, it's called The Sweet Potato Diet. And in it, you feature one of the world's most loved foods and this is in a time where super low carb and no carb diets are being very popularized, and you actually say that carb cycling is the best way to transform our health and our body; so what is carb cycling, and how does it work?
Michael Morelli: So carb cycling is really just that cycling your carbs from high to low, and in a seven day feeding schedule, so that you get the best of both worlds, you preserve the muscle mass because some of the days you're in an anabolic state or in a surplus which is also a high carb day, and then you drop your carbs really, really low which is more of a catabolic state, or a deficit, and so you're burning fat. And so the idea is that we manipulate our carbs from high to low so that our body and our metabolism never has an opportunity to adapt to the conditions we impose on it, because you know what I know, right, you get on that thousand calorie diet, you're well below your TDEE, but guess what happens- you lose weight for a little bit, but then all of a sudden you plateau and then you start reintroducing carbs and you blow up like a blimp. And, it's that you know the low carb diets for extended periods of time they drive me crazy, because people are scared of carbs, they think carbs are the enemy, certainly there are carbs that you should be afraid of and scared of, but quality carbs in a cycled format really produce the best of both worlds. We never want to sacrifice, we all want to be in shape and most of us are trying to drop body fat, we never want to sacrifice muscle for the sake of fat, because what we know is that the more muscle ,ass on your body the higher your RMR, your BMR, the more fat you're going to burn and the more sustained you're going to be long term.
Shawn Stevenson: Yes. So this is really important because a lot of people who do like a crash diet, does that even sound good?
Jade Harrell: Well- coming from someone who was ready for something to happen quickly and an impactfully, yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: Crash is not a good idea, but these kind of low calorie diets and what that does to your metabolism, you know and so he mentions this carb cycling to be something is really important and very powerful for shifting your metabolism and keeping it changing, because that's one of the things our bodies always looking for patterns, right, and it gets set you know with a consistent fuel source and that can start to plateau your results as well, but one of the big things as well, I've mentioned this very few times in the show, but if we do ketogedonic diets are popping right now, and for good reason, there are a lot of great benefits and I've got friends who are all about it, and I've done stance as well, but you can run into some problems especially more so for women, and I know Michael can speak to this as well, because women also need a little bit more carbohydrate to fortifying to support their body fat that's actually important, but the big thing here is and also for guys as well is that going low carb for too long for some people can really do a number on crashing, there's that word again, your testosterone all right, so carbohydrates are a part of this function with your hormones like thyroid hormone, thyroid function overall and your testosterone, and these are kind of governing forces for lean body mass and for your metabolism. So we need to be mindful of that, and cycling the carbs is a great idea. So we get a really good principle or background with what carb cycling looks like, but I'm curious really quickly about the book, it centers around the sweet potato right, as the carb choice, so what's so special about it as far as sweet potatoes are concerned,and what are the benefits to sweet potato?
Michel Morelli: Sure, so I'll take you back just a couple of years, I've been carb cycling now for a couple of years, and it wasn't always with just the sweet potato, I have about four or five carbohydrate sources that I stick to, now it's pretty much a 100 percent potatoes, but you know, if you don't like sweet potatoes, it's not like you can't make this work, because we've got white rice, we've got steel-cut oats gluten free, organic steel-cut oats, we've got kinoa and we've got the white potato, we can rely on those as well.
I started experimenting with the sweet potato about two years ago and I didn't like them before, so my aunt used to make sweet potatoes at Christmas, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and she would make them with the walnuts and the marshmallows, and sweet and sugary, I didn't like them then. All of a sudden, I had them cubed up really tiny, dropped in a pan with coconut oil, and my life had changed forever. Like I eat sweet potatoes, you've seen me at SnapChat, I have a sweet potato brownies in my fridge right now that I had with my coffee this morning, I had two fist full of sweet potatoes at breakfast already this morning, so like it is my jam. So to get into the question, why the sweet potato- I didn't know when I was experimenting with the sweet potato why at the time. Then I started doing some research and I'm like holy crap, what a super food this is, I mean, it is nutrient dense, full of vitamins and minerals, not to mention it's a very satiating which means it's going to keep you fuller longer, it's going to fight off and ward off cravings, have you ever tried eating two fists of sweet potatoes before and then going and attempting to eat something else, like you're pretty full after that, you know, even one.
Shawn Stevenson: So true, so true man. You know, it's one of those such a dense source of nutrition and also of course it has the fiber included as well, and you have that along with some high quality proteins and it's like a staple of so many, of the big health stars out there as diets, you know the sweet potato is one of those secrets. One of the things I wanted to share rally quickly before you get into a little bit more with the nutrition that we can find in the sweet potato, there was one study that was published in 2014, they found that at a 122 participants showed long term improved metabolic control of their blood sugar levels, this was measured by something called the hemoglobin A1c, and so that's the kind of a marker of what's going on with your blood sugar long term by eating sweet potatoes, all right. Sweet potatoes! And even the sweet is in the word, right, but because it's a little bit more nutrient dense than some of these other carb sources that are out there, and it has this really interesting, if you look at the doctrine of signatures, right the doctrine of signatures, which is this kind of, it's known as a sign of nature, that's what it translates to mean, and it basically is this idea, this belief system that every food in nature will tell you what it's good for based on the way it looks, tastes, smells or how it functions in nature, right. And so, this food kind of looks like a pancreas a little, right, kind of looks like a pancreas maybe a liver, maybe kind of some of them get a little twisted or maybe like your intestines, right, and what do you know it's beneficial for all of those different organs. So I just wanted to point that out in many long live cultures like in Okinawa, the staple in their diet and also so not just long live cultures, but also fighting starvation and malnutrition, like in countries like Uganda for example, far healthier and more fortifying than something like white rice. So let's talk about some of the nutrients that we can find at sweet potato.
Michel Morelli: Yes, so really quickly you touched on glycemic, right the glycemic load of the sweet potato is very low and that's also what makes it a really good carbohydrate for fat loss, it manages in some levels it's not going to spike your insulin or your blood sugar which is really good if you're trying to drop body fat. In terms of nutrients, vitamins, minerals I've got a list here in fact, there is so many to even remember- vitamin a, vitamin c, vitamin d, vitamin e, k, thiamine, vitamin b6, b12, Ii mean you name it, calcium, iron, magnesium which you talked about in your intro; phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc. I mean, it's insane and I didn't know this two years ago, and now fast forward a year, I started to dig in I'm like this is it, it is the sweet potato. Because when I first started writing this book, it was simply just a book about carb cycling, but for me, after helping 200 thousand people take their fitness to the next level, it was how can I simplify this, right carb cycling for a lot of people is really scary, it's like oh my gosh, what carbs, what do I do, well if you've got a fist and you've got a
sweet potato you can pretty much do this thing.
Shawn Stevenson: [laugh] It sounds like you're going to punch the sweet potato, but I totally understand, it's just a simple measurement practice, right. And I want to talk about this, because you've been so successful at helping people to transform their bodies without such a focus on counting calories, weighing their food, I still have people asking me about that, about what do you think about weighing your food if you are trying to- if you're in some kind of a really rigorous thing where you're in a competition, maybe you know, but I know many athletes today who are competing in bodybuilding competitions, things like that, who are not weighing their food. So let's talk a little bit about that, what are your feelings on people like being so neurotic about counting calories?
Michel Morelli: Ii think you can become very obsessed with it, and I think for some people at work, some people in need to know okay, down to the crumb. Other people are busy, lot of people are busy, more people are busy, and so for me it was simplifying this so that I can reach as many people as possible, because what I know is that a lot of those if I've got a measure and I've got to weigh it, and I've got to prep, and I've got to do all this stuff, it just gets in the way of getting it going, and this is really just measuring your food with your palm, your fist and your thumb for fats, and you can do this entire thing just with your hands as tools.
Shawn Stevenson: This book itself The Sweep Potato diet book is an absolutely beautiful book, I love the way that it looks and the recipes are mind blowing, they're scary good, guys so make sure that you check this book out. But something else that I wanted to mention- earlier you talked about some of the nutrients that you could find in there but the vitamin A content is off the charts, and there's a study that was published a little while ago, that found that vitamin A content found in our system is correlated with our life span, so kind of like the lower amounts that people had the more likely they were to basically die earlier, right. So, it's one of those little interesting things to keep in mind, and again, long live cultures like the Okinawans utilizing this is a staple in their diet, it's not an accident, but of course we always want to be mindful of for you as an individual, maybe a smaller amount of sweet potato might be ideal, maybe a larger amount for some people, I know have had phases where I went ham on sweet potatoes, and all the different varieties, shout out to the Japanese sweet potato, by the way.
Michel Morelli: That's my favorite.
Shawn Stevenson: I bet it is! It's #cake potato right, it just says like cake, it's so delicious. So I wanted to ask you what about the difference, a yam and a sweet potato, is there a difference with these?
Michel Morelli: Yeah, yeah, so the yam is not cultivated in the US, right, a yam is very coarse and hairy whereas a sweet potato is nice and smooth. So all of the yams in the US are actually sweet potatoes. The yams grow in tropical climates, and so we sort of been fooled a little bit, but I want to take you back really quickly because we didn't talk about the fact that sweet potatoes are actually anti inflammatory, they're known to reverse arthritis, they're also known to fight the free radicals that cause cancer, there are studies that show that they reverse auto immune disorders, I mean, we can go on and on about this and I guess I get so excited and so passionate about it, because you know, there was the year of the quinoa and the year of the kale, this is the year of the sweet potato my friend.
Shawn Stevenson: Let's go, and you are the mayor behind it bro, I love this.
Michel Morelli: Let's go, right, I even got T-shirts, wait until you see the T-shirts that we've got, it's the shape of a potato, the sweet potato and it says sweet potato diet in it, and its colored it's on the front, it's so great [laugh]
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, you go ahead and send me one when we get off the episode today. So another thing that's again kind of highlighted in your work and that people follow you for, you know we're talking about millions of people following you on the different social media channels, is your focus on mindset. And you actually layered in some of that information into The Sweet Potato Diet, in the book itself, and the fact that the principles behind body transformation including what you call emotional weight gain, emotional weight gain- can you talk a little bit about what that means?
Michel Morelli: Yeah, oftentimes we're binging and eating, it's mindless eating, it's because we're bored or we've got emotional attachments to food and food is the comfort, and you know I was going back and forth and I was like should I put that in the book, should I not put put it in the book, and it's become so much a part of my life, I talk about awareness and I talk about mindfulness that I just had to, you know I just had to go there with it, because I know so many people are suffering with it, and I guess a quick tip for your audience is that if you find yourself mindlessly eating or bored, sit back and just watch the thoughts, don't judge, don't criticize, don't condemn, just sit back and watch and just do that- observe and nothing else. That's the first step for me, it's really helped me, because I've been through it, right I have those days where I'm stressed out, the kids are upset and where do I go- right I go to the pantry.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. This is really important takeaway for today that needs to be layered into all of our work, if we are talking about helping people to transform their health and transfer their bodies- you have the statement in the book you say that beneath your choices are emotions, not usually very much logic, right, so logically I'm going to eat the healthy proteins and the healthy fats and the high quality carbohydrates, emotionally- that long john looks fantastic, right, with the sprinkles, those sprinkles are basically spelling my name. Is says Shawn on the donut, so why would I not eat it? That's not logic, that's emotion.
Michel Morelli: And because I know that and because I know that that's not going to change for a lot of people, I created some recipes that you can put in place of that doughnut, right, we've got chocolate chips sweet potato cookies, we've got sweet potato waffles and pancakes and brownies, I'm telling you what Shawn, you decide to make these sweet potato brownies, you're going to forget all about the long johns, the cream filled donuts and all of it because they are that decadent and that good.
Shawn Stevenson: Oh my goodness, did you hear this- sweet potato brownies, I mean, come on now. Recently when I was out in LA, I went to this fantastic like farm to table place and they had sweet potato donuts and I was like yes please, I went to get some, but it's just understanding that we can number one, one of the things that we really strive for, and this is what I have done in my practice over the years and making it so that people feel comfortable and they feel excited and connected rather than pushing away or feeling some kind of deprivation and against what you are trying to share with them, is the fact that this can be pleasurable, this experience and what we do is let's upgrade the ingredients, right, let's upgrade the quality of that food, so we're not just eating like a regular old Homer Simpson style donut, like we're upgrading the nutritional profile, it's still a donut, right, this is something for the treat session, not cheat. A I love that you talk about that too, the difference so let's actually just talk a little bit about that- you don't like when people talk about cheat meals, why is that?
Michel Morelli: Because you're not cheating, you're rewarding yourself. I mean if you've been on track and you're following this then I give you a reward meal on this plan, right, you get to have that and really all that's going to do is build resiliency, if you're spot on and you know this right, you spot on and you deviate, you put that crap in your body after not having it for a while and I'll tell you, yet you're either you're going out at one end or the other, you
know and you're like oh my gosh that's how that food makes me feel, I don't want that anymore. And so, for me, it's like go ahead have the reward meal.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, so what's so interesting is that for many people in their psychology it's really all or nothing, like I'm just going to have two slices of iceberg lettuce with a dopling of bird seat on top and that's my diet, right, that's all I can eat. And so we really get bound into this deprivation restriction mentality, that if I'm going to be fit and healthy and lose weight I have to restrict so much in my life, and that can be dangerous because I promise you, we're talking about a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of people who can endure that kind of abuse. With humans there's this driving force for us, number one is to avoid pain. The other one is to move us towards pleasure, we have those things so if you're trying to mute that pleasure part of your life it's going to be a big struggle so I love that you incorporate that and I call it the treat meal, you call it the reward. So putting a frame on it like that and upgrading the ingredients, make sure we got really high quality treats available and just enjoy yourself.
Jade Harrell: Yeah and you have to get to a point where we don't want to end up at war with ourselves. You mentioned all the time about having grace, the person that we need to get to that goal needs us to be supportive, and we're talking about ourselves, but when we get into that deprivation, that resentment, that regret and it's just you add the stress and the tension of trying to get there and then if you fail it's always in those conflicting terms.
Michael Morelli: Yeah totally I think the thing is Shawn, and you and I both agree right, I'm not trying to sell a diet book, I don't want you to be on a diet for thirty days and lose a little bit of weight right, I'm trying to sell a lifestyle, I'm not trying, I'm choosing to sell a lifestyle, this is a lifestyle book and I know that in order for me to help you create a lifestyle, I've got to help you overcome the barriers, I've got to make sure that you're not restricting yourself, I've got to make sure that you are able to eat your sweets and your treats, because that's how you're going to create long term success, that's how you're going to be happy. The deprivation and the starvation and all that stuff- that's short term, you and I we have a mission to change the world, forever, and the only way that we do that is by introducing something that is sustainable and that creates long term health benefits.
Shawn Stevenson: Absolutely man, absolutely. So, with the sweet potato diet it's also layered with real food, right that's really the foundation of it; the sweet potato is like a highlight, it's a feature of this incredible program. And there's principles that we abide by as a culture here with The Model Health Show that are in the book as well, so I'd really love all the recipes in there to get a huge like, you know the emoji, the thumbs up emoji- huge thumbs up, for sure. So a big part of your program in what you're pushing out in the culture and helping so many people with, is definitely the fitness aspect. So let's talk a little bit about that, exercise is a big component of what you do, so what do you recommend as far as exercise is concerned?
Michael Morelli: Good question. So I haven't touched on this a lot, because the sweet potato diet in and of itself is going to do the heavy lifting, your biomarkers, your health you're going to be full of energy, you're not going to crash because you're going to be full of carbs every single day. Now with that, exercise is a huge component of just vitality, the people that exercise studies show that you're going to live longer more vibrantly, so in here there is an exercise component. Three minutes out of a day, three minutes that's it, I give you body weight exercises in your living room, again we're removing all of the barriers in the road blocks if I say hey you've got a carb cycle and you're going to have sweet potatoes and you're going to do all these things on nutrition side, but then I want you to get to the gym and I want you to go there for sixty to ninety minutes and I want you to do these exercises, the sets the raps, and I want you to do high intensity, then I want you to do this training and all these things- what happens? You don't do the diet. The nutrition is going to work, so let's focus there, and keep the exercise minimal just to keep you moving, and then we start building it in, so it goes from three minutes, to five minutes, to ten minutes, to fifteen minutes, to just thirty minutes every other day, that's it.
Shawn Stevenson: Wow, you know this reminds me of an interview that is coming up for everybody, that I don't even want to give this away but somebody dropped this knowledge bomb that there was a study done for a year, so a year-long study and the participants were doing essentially like forty five minutes a day, five days a week of exercise, and they only lost five pounds, they did cardio traditional cardio exercise, and which was accumulative like comparable to somebody just dieting, like the people who dieted lost more weight in the study, just from diet alone without the exercise. So I'm so glad that you brought this up, because this is where to really focus, they say of course, this is well known statement now the abs are made in the kitchen, that's where health is really made, that's where our fitness is really made, you know, because it's really one of the building blocks; what are you creating your metabolism out of, your metabolic organs, what is your thyroid made of, right is it made of that donut that I talked about earlier or is it made with higher quality foods, high quality proteins, high quality carb sources like sweet potatoes, things like that, we literally get to choose what our tissues are made of.
So, now let's move on a little bit, now say somebody's already got their nutrition locked in, what do you recommend for exercise, like what is a big thing that you're out there talking about, because again I see you hitting so many different people with this information, so what is the exercise protocol that you like to promote the most- is it long distance cardio every day? Michael is that what you did to get fit? Let's talk about it.
Michael Morelli: It's not, short burst, it's high intensity interval training, I do like the idea of a foundation with weights, right I do believe that there is a need for strength based work.
Combine that with some high intensity interval training, fifteen minutes, that's all you need, you don't need to go into more than that, unless like you talked about earlier maybe you're competing or you're trying to sculpt the physics, you trying to get big round shoulders for a show, then it makes sense to spend more time on those body parts. But for longevity and real lasting health, quick foundation, quick some weights and then some HIIT, that's what I suggest.
Shawn Stevenson: Perfect, perfect. Now let's tie all this stuff together, so how does carb cycling play into a fitness routine? Well say that somebody actually is experienced like they were lifting weights a few times a week, they're doing a session or two of HIIT training, what is the ideal way to do the carb cycling, should we be doing higher carb on the day that we're lifting or what, just break this down for us man, let us know.
Michael Morelli: Yeah, that's a really great question. So yeah, so the higher the intensity of the day, the more carbs in theory you should eat, because you're going to need the energy, right so I always structure a carb cycle, my highest carb days are on my highest output days, meaning leg day, right, you got a leg day, that's a high carb day. Now, you start to go into some of those other body parts, even on the low carb days you're still fine, but definitely like if you're going and you're like you said, you've got some athletes on here that are doing marathons or they're running a few miles or something like that, you definitely want to structure your workouts around, or your highest intensity workouts around your highest carb days.
Shawn Stevenson: Perfect, perfect. And that's of course, this is something that I've used and I haven't even told you this yet, but I've used this personally for a long time and I do this because it works, especially on the days where I am putting heavier loads on my body, it's where I'm going kind of uplevel the carbs that I'm taking in, and predominately over the years it's been from sweet potatoes, you know funny enough. And he also mention there's other viable sources, but one of the big reasons why is to support that anabolic hormone production, because again I told you at the tail end like really being yourself down; so my good friends that do ketogenic diets, because it's so glycolytic, you can't do HIIT training really, maybe it's even shorter, smaller, little bits, and the thing is, you really in a way because the diet is so stringent in some aspects, you don't need to do as much. But that kind of takes the fun out of it for some people, it's just like there are certain things you can't do, because it's so gyicolytic, you can't do HIIT trainig, maybe it's even shorter, smaller, like getting in there doing heavy dead lifts, you know a couple of times a week even, might be too much, you can overload your nervous system and just the healing factor might be a little bit blunted. Now there are anomalies of course, there are people who can do this stuff and they're good but for the vast majority of people you need to have a certain level of food source that you've evolved consuming for replenishing the muscle glycogen, that's a big, big component of it.
Michel Morelli: One thing I want mention too really quickly Shawn for your audience, is that if you've got legs for example, I use legs because that's usually the most intense day for a lot of people, you can actually structure most of your carbs for that day before you work out and after you work out, and we know carbs post workout are an absolute must, because they help shuttle the nutrients into the muscles, right for faster recovery.
Shawn Stevenson: Absolutely, so can you take us through an example what a week would look like, you've got different formats in the book, so let me give that caveat, there's different ways that people can do carb cycling, but let's just say we start the week with Monday- leg day, and so take us from there what a carb cycling regiment would look like.
Michel Morelli: Yes, so Monday would be your highest carb day, right, so for example, and we give you three different cycles in the book, there's a quick fire cycle which you'd start if you've never done any carb cycling before, you start quick fire and then you do that for thirty days and once you complete that you go to the second cycle, and then you finish with the inferno cycle which actually has some no carb days, believe it or not you can really torch that, think about high carb day and then dropping it to no carbs, and for those that are listening, no carbs just means no starchy carbs, you can have vegetables because we don't count vegetables as carbohydrates, only the starch stuff. So Monday- leg day, highest carbs you're going to have a fist or more of sweet potatoes at every single meal. Now, if you want to double up and have two fists for your meal before you work out and post workout, and then just cut the amount in those other meals short a little bit, that's fine just because you need the most jam packed energy during that time period. But then what would happen on the next day, on for example Tuesday, maybe you do some list training, maybe you play some basketball, but you're going to cut your carbohydrates in half, right, so instead of a full fist you're going to just take a half a fist and have a half a fist at every meal. And then you just continue to rotate that, that's a pretty basic cycle, we go more into depth when you get into the book, there's halves, and you cut it in half again, just depending on what cycle you're on. And then in the book also we actually give you examples of workouts and how to structure your carb cycle around various types of workouts if you're an endurance athlete or if you are strength training etc.
Shawn Stevenson: Got it, a great example would be today, and also I want to make an important little caveat or side note here, I've seen this firsthand, the benefits of lower carb diets, ketogenic diets, things like that, it is not that you cannot perform doing these things, it's just it's more difficult for some people, all right. Now, with that said, your body shifts gears and that's why this is tied in here with the carb cycling, you can't have those days where you can even get into a ketogenic state, right, where you're avoiding the carbs for the most part, and so that gives us little kind of boost in changing your body's fuel source over to these ketones, and your body can become very efficient at doing that.
Some people that are performing at a high level that have adapted their body to doing it, there's a process their body has called this gluconeogenesis where their body is basically creating this glucose because your brain needs a certain percentage of glucose to function, there's nothing else that it can do out of proteins, so the protein source that they are taking in will be able to break that down, or your body's tissues, your protein tissues can be broken down to provide that glucose, which some experts say that is not a problem, some experts say is not so good. So these are just things to be aware of, and it's really catering things, if you know that you're just going to be sitting around, living a life of coasting, you've got a lot of Netflix and chill in your life but not the not the sex kind, because that's what it really means, Chilly Willy the penguin, yeah sorry to break the news to you. So if you're going to have a very kind of docile lifestyle, then maybe you want to err on the side of lower carbs, no carbs, so called no carbs very difficult to get no carbs, especially if you eating this important carb source we haven't talked about which is vegetables, right, green veggies specifically, so it's really catering things to you, but living an active lifestyle, like Michael is promoting, sweet potato diet is right up your alley.
So on that note man, I'm really curious about the results that you've seen with people employing this protocol, can you share a little bit about that, like what could people have to look forward to, what kind of results can they look forward to?
Michel Morelli: Yes, so to touch on what we were talking about with regards to exercise and nutrition and sort of what we’re talking about before, I just had a message from a guy by the name of Nick and he did no exercise for seven days, started the sweet potato diet and lost seven pounds in seven days without stepping foot in the gym or doing one bout of exercise. I got a girl Melissa who lost 12 pounds in 13 days, I've got three girls now, we just landed the women's world magazine cover, I've got three girls, three that have lost over 60 pounds in less than six months on the sweet potato diet. I've got another guy named Jake, he lost a hundred pounds in less than a year, and now he's a certified personal trainer, teaching the sweet potato diet. I can go, Shawn, I can go on and on and on, the thing that I knew is I needed to create momentum fast, because what happens is you get on a diet, you don't see results, and you give up; if you see results fast, you can take that momentum and that can carry you through. If I'm after lifestyle sustainability, I know that I've got to create some early momentum, and if I can do that your chances of sticking with it are much greater. So I know that right out of the gate, you're going to start dropping body fat.
Shawn Stevenson: Oh man, you know what, one of the things that you do with social media is sharing these stories, as well, and people getting to see other people because Michael is a fit guy, they are like oh he's been fit forever, he didn't live in his mom's basement, none of that stuff, but this is why it's important for you to share your story, but also sharing these other stories that you do so well, and it's one of the things that attracts people when they see people like them, right who are able to achieve these kind of results, and I'm really grateful for you for that man. And so I'm curious, what's the model that you're here to set with the way that you're living your life personally?
Michel Morelli: Hm, that's a really good question. I'm a father of two, and I've got a family and you know, my goal is to continue changing lives, I see people no matter where I'm at, a lot of people look on healthy let's face the reality, a lot of people are overweight, they're sick I
saw a woman at Lego Land the other day she was hacking up I could tell she was very sickly. I see people like that now Shawn and I say to myself I want to get her to the next level. Right now it's just an awareness, it's just an awareness that as I see somebody it's like how can I take that person to the next level.
So my model is to continue taking myself to the next level, right, holding myself accountable, sharing my experiences on social media. I'm a father of two, I've got a fiancé at home and I've got a dog, and I'm building a company, and I'm still staying very healthy, I mean if you don't make healthy a priority, you're going to make illness your priority, at some point, right not your priority, I shouldn't say that, but illness is going to come. And then all of a sudden it's like I wish I would have made health my priority.
Shawn Stevenson: You know what, you just said something profound, I'm writing that down; if you don't make health a priority you're making illness a priority, that's true, it happens by default.
Michael Morelli: It does, and you know what, the reality is that oftentimes we don't value our health until we begin to lose it, and then what, it's like oh crap, now I've got diabetes, people are like oh it's hard, it's hard to go to the gym, it's hard to diet, well, you know what, how hard is it going to be when you have diabetes? How hard is it going to be when you have an oxygen tank, how hard is it going to be when you've got ten medications that you're on- hard now, no now it's easy, it can get really hard, really fast if you don't take action though.
Shawn Stevenson: Yes, man, and also when you fall into that state, it is infinitely more difficult to turn things around, and that's really what our work is, to try to find that in for people connect with that why so that you don't have to get things that bad to change, right, because when all boils down to it you know, everybody wants to have health, I mean, our goal is not to be the richest man in the graveyard, but that's what many people are doing, you know, we're striving and putting so much of our life energy towards a job to try to make money and end up losing our health in the process, right. And then end up getting in touch with guys like you to try to get their health back and spending all their money again.
So it's this crazy vicious circle we are right now working and being examples that you can have it all in the process. It might take a little bit more strategic planning absolutely, that's part of the human psyche and our gift this prefrontal cortex we have to be able to map things out, to be able to you know, use our particular activating system, particular cortex to point out specific goal points, and have that part of our brain scanning for things to help us to achieve our goals, that's what we're designed for. But, so often we forfeit that in the name of trying to get a dollar, right, and not to negate the fact that that matters right. Shout out to fifty cent, you know, like get rich or die trying to get it.
But, we can do that in a way, like he said, he's got a family, he's got a home, he's got multiple businesses, he just wrote a book, and writing a book can be one of the most unhealthy ventures endeavors you know, because of so much time just you with that computer you know. But he's been able to structures life in such a way that his health has been a priority and he shares that with people, and we all have that as a possibility.
Michael Morelli: And you sense something too Shawn, you said find that why, right, find that motivation. For me you know it was my kids, it was my kids when they were born, like man, I got to do something, I know you've got kids and so you can relate and many more people probably have kids who are listening. Your kids are watching you, they are watching every move you make, and they are picking up on everything you do. I get people all the time that say gosh your kids eat, you know, my son comes asking for bone broth, he asks for sweet potato, they eat avocado by the spoonful, right and everybody comes to me and says gosh, I wish I could get my kids to eat like this, first thing I say- how are you eating, because they're eating how you're eating.
Shawn Stevenson: You just said it bro. And that's what it really is guys, like this is why and I
love this question, I love that this brought this out The Model Health Show, you know, and walking, talking, being the representation of what's possible, right, because so many of us have these grandiose ideas about what we're going to do in the lives of other people, specifically for our kids, the number one thing is what you're doing, because I remember the commercial for say no to drugs and like the dad comes in he's like found the little boys like drug stash, it's little weed stash, he was like what is this, what is this, he comes in his room and it sounds like I saw you do it, I saw you do it dad. And then the commercial fades to black or whatever, because it hits him like, oh wow well I guess he's been watching me. Our kids are always watching us, our family is always watching us, even if they're not falling "in line" with what you want them to do, the best thing that you can do is to be the best version of yourself.
Michael Morelli: And I give you one more example about that, because I hold this so close because I've got such, you know the kids are our future man, like you know, they're growing up and kids are getting diabetes at younger ages, like this is really almost personal for me, you know my kids, you know they're on their ipads every once in a while we try to limit it and and whenever they're on their ipads I'm always reading a book, right I'm not hey you guys need to read a book, I'm just reading a book, there's only one way to create change and that's their leadership. Finally, right, after a year maybe my son instead of picking up his ipad the other day, grabbed a book, I didn't say he needed to grab a book, I just kept reaching for the book and now he starts reaching for the book.
Shawn Stevenson: I love it man, so good.
Jade Harrell: How old are your children?
Michael Morelli: I've got a two year old, he's about to be three, and then I've got a four year old who turns five in September.
Shawn Stevenson: Perfect. Well man, so The Sweet Potato diet now available in bookstores and online, or can you let everybody know where they can find the book and pick up a copy like today?
Michael Morelli: Yes, it's at Barnes and Noble, I believe it's at Books-a-Million, I know it's on Amazon, that's usually where everybody goes, sweetpotatodiet.com, I've got a site dedicated to this, it's got recipes there, there's a three day eating plan if you want to take it through a test drive, you get a couple of recipes, there's actually a couple recipes on that list that are not even in the book, there's a sweep potato humus that is to die for. I'm all in, you know if you follow me on social media and I know you do Shawn, like I eat sweet potatoes or they are 100 percent my carb source there, almost 100 percent of my kids' carb sources, and it's changed my life, it's changed my life and I'm just excited and I'm really appreciative of the opportunity to share this with your audience.
Shawn Stevenson: Hey man, it's my pleasure to have you on, I appreciate you, you are somebody that I consider a friend and who's doing amazing things in the world, and I just really looking forward to what you're going to do next man and I want to see you crush it with the sweet potato diet, man and just reach as many people as possible. Because the stories what's already happened is phenomenal and I just think it's going to get a lot bigger, so thank you for coming on men.
Michel Morelli: And I appreciate you too, thank you so much.
Shawn Stevenson: Awesome. Everybody thank you so much for tuning in to the show today, I hope you got a lot of value out of this. I appreciate you immensely for taking action, because just by you listening to this episode shows that you are somebody who is dedicated to becoming the best version of yourself, you want to be more, you want to have more, you want to do more, and that is a good thing, you know, we want to appreciate that about you, because that's what really drives us to evolve as a human species, life is always moving forward you literally cannot stay the same and stay where you are because in a way, you're going backwards, you can't just stay the same; life is continuing to move forward and so we need to move forward with that, and always looking for spots that we can improve our personal development, improve our health, improve our relationships, our emotional fitness right, and also of course tying in work that we love as much as we can, and what kind of gift that we're giving back to the world.
And Michael has found that, he's somebody who is really dowed that in and kind of out of his own desperation, but he built this kind of empire and in the process, it was through him getting fit and him feeling this feeling and I know there are many people listening right now, like you change your life and your health and just like you want to tell other people about it, you can do that, you know and let Michael be a great examples, I would highly recommend you follow him and see what he's up to. So we'll put all of his social media channels in the show notes as well, and of course the book The Sweet Potato Diet.
And again keep in mind that this is all about what works best for you, you know, there's many different diet programs out there, and even though the word diet and I'm glad he kind of mentioned this is not necessarily this isn't a diet a diet, it's just a way of eating, but that word can bring up some kind of weird connotation to it, deprivation restriction this is not that, for sure, and there are many other amazing diet programs out there from this diet, I've mentioned the ketogenic diet before, we've got incredible experts who've been on with their awesome cookbooks from the Wheat Belly Cookbook to Natalie Jill's cookbook, lots of different things to choose from, but it's about identifying what works best for you.
So maybe like you were like Michael and you still are, like sweet potato- no thank you, this protocol is based on real food and you can slip in a lot of different carb sources for different meals, you know, but it's really about the message and what Michael is providing, if you are into sweet potatoes like I am for sure, I mean, my goodness these recipes are super good man, I can't believe some of these things, like the brownies for example, never heard of such things, what kind of evil good scientist would think something up like this, right and it's all there for you in a way that makes sense, in a way that structured gives you a plan for execution, that's what he's great at, he's great at delivering those plans for execution.
And so again it's about doing what's best for you and employing this carb cycling is something I've been doing myself personally for quite a long time, and so those days when I am doing a stronger metabolic load, the dead lift day, squats and all that good stuff, I am ratcheting up on the carbohydrates; and some days like today for example, where I'm just in the studio with my studio boo, you know we're making magic happen, having great guests on you know but I'm not lifting necessarily, I'm kind of lifting these mental muscles sometimes after the show I do like, you know what, I need a little treat session, treat yourself, but generally what I'm looking for in a day like today, this is going to be my lower carb session, a traditional carb day where I'm not eating potatoes and rice and things like that, I'm not hitting the gym, you know, so I'm good and actually I'm feeding my body a little bit more a brain nutrients you know.
And this a good time to bring in some of the fermented veggies and things like that, that's what I have for breakfast, two different kinds of veggies, I had the brussels sprouts and avocado, protein source, your choice could be some eggs, could be some you know some sausages whatever it might be for you, but it's really about again structuring things in a way that works. So that's for me, so Wednesdays that's my no traditional carb day, that's a day that I generally don't eat carbs. But, I'm sharp, and it is because my body is good, like I've replenished my muscle glycogen, now I'm going to in tomorrow's workout guess what- I'm going to be right there at the edge, my body is going to start to pull from stored body fat faster, I bring in the carbs and they're going to be the first thing my body uses instead of this body fat. So, employ these strategies, check out this book, The Sweet Potato Diet, make sure to follow Michael he is a beast, and you're definitely going to be pumped up with what you learn from him.
I appreciate you guys so much, take care, have an amazing day, and I'll talk with you soon.
And make sure for more after the show you head over to themodelhealthshow.com, that's where you can find the show notes, and if you got any questions or comments make sure to let me know and please head over to iTunes and give us a five star rating, and let everybody know that our show is awesome and you're loving it. I read all the comments, so please leave me a comment there, and take care everybody, I promise to keep getting you more powerful, empowering great content to help transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
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