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TMHS 600: 5 Essential Ways To Upgrade Your Health & Fitness
What if you could transform your health with a handful of simple, practical steps? Many people believe the myth that a radical, difficult lifestyle change is the only route to wellness. However, the key to health is rarely found in cutting out food groups, shady detox products, or logging hours on the treadmill. Often, it’s the most simple and sustainable changes that lead to lasting results.
On today’s show, I’m sharing the full story of my personal health transformation, including my diagnosis and the journey of mindset shifts and behavior changes that led to results. Specifically, you’re going to learn five specific and practical steps you can take to gain control over your health. These five action steps are attainable, realistic, and you can implement them starting today.
Whether your goal is to change your body composition, minimize symptoms, or reverse chronic illness, these five action steps can help you achieve results. I hope this episode resonates with you and leaves you feeling empowered. So listen in, take good notes, and enjoy the show!
In this episode you’ll discover:
- The first thing I learned in my university nutrition class.
- My health history, including my diagnosis and healing.
- How the placebo effect works.
- The power of seeking a second opinion in our healthcare system.
- What instinctive elaboration is.
- How our bodies are literally made from food.
- Which vitamins and minerals are integral for bone health.
- What bioavailability means.
- How processed foods can impact our metabolic function.
- Why the model of calories in, calories out is an oversimplification.
- The relationship between processed food consumption and cancer risk.
- Which bodily processes that water is responsible for.
- The two most water-dominant organs in the body.
- What water-induced thermogenesis is.
- The importance of moving your body for vitality and not for vanity.
- How to slowly incorporate movement into your routine if you’re sedentary.
- The vital connection between sleep and healing.
- How your sleep quality directly impacts your immune function.
- Which preventable disease is the number one cause of death in the US.
Items mentioned in this episode include:
- Organifi.com/Model — Use the coupon code MODEL for 20% off!
- DrinkLMNT.com/model — Get a FREE sample pack with any order!
- The Science of Body Fat & Epicaloric Controllers – Episode 530
- Eat Smarter
- Sleep Smarter
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 Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. On this episode, we're going to be addressing some of the absolute essentials for up leveling your health that are often overlooked. In just a couple of months, I'll be crossing my 20th year of working in the field of health and wellness, and it really got me thinking back to how all of this got started in the first place. I had no idea that I'd be teaching in the field of health and wellness, that I'd be writing books, any of that stuff. When I went to college initially, I was just going on the strength of, "I should do a certain thing." I should, I should. And sometimes when you're shoulding, you start shoulding on yourself and you end up in the wrong place, you end up in a place that you really don't want to be. And for me, I just got this input from my environment, specifically through television, that I should be a doctor or a lawyer, and that was what I attempted to do. So, when I went to the first university, private university, pre-med program, because I saw it on television, that's what I should do if I wanted to be successful.
But the rub was I hated science, I hated it. I would have recurring nightmares about not having my homework done, about being behind in this biology class. It just wasn't vibing with me, there was a disconnect. Now, this is so crazy because it's my deep passion now, it's my love affair, it's my boo, besides my wife, full disclosure, alright? But after that, science, I absolutely love it, I'm so passionate about science. But at the time, I hated it, it was the exact opposite. Now, a big reason behind that was the way that I was taught, I was being educated about... We'll just use biology for example, learning about this miraculous world of the human cell without any context, that what I'm looking at, when I'm looking at that mitochondria, I'm looking at the meal that that person has eaten. When I'm looking at the nuclei, I'm looking at the nutrients that person has eaten. There was a disconnect of how I can influence the makeup of that cell, how I can influence the health of the cell.
Me and my fellow classmates had no idea this was a disconnect, and that disconnect has filtered its way through all of conventional medicine to the degree that cardiologists even at the highest level, award-winning cardiologists, trained for decades in the field, training, education and also application, working with patients, it's very rare to come across a cardiologist who actually understands that when they look at their patient's heart, they're looking at the food that their patient has eaten. That heart is literally made from the food that they've eaten. The heart doesn't just happen, it's made from food. And so having that break in education, not understanding that their arteries and veins are made from the foods that their patient has eaten. The blood running through their system is literally made from the food that they've eaten. And if you ask this cardiologist, "How much education on nutrition did you get in your expensive university education?" They'll tell you much the same as me, "Almost nothing."
Now, I have a little bit more of a curveball to my story because I had the option, it was elective on the pre-med track to take nutritional science. We're talking about my first year in college, I'm in this big auditorium classroom, nutritional science is on the menu, and I took it because... And this is a true story, I took it because I thought that this would teach me how to be more fit, because I thought nutrition was about fitness, that was the connection that I had, so looking at food as fuel essentially, not like how I could have more optimal performing cells and healthy microbial expression and mitochondria. All of that stuff was totally foreign to me. I was just looking at what's up with this fuel, what I got to do to fuel this body. That was my approach and why I took it.
Now, unfortunately, when I get into the class, I see that my teacher is significantly overweight. So, I'm like... I have this disconnect, I have this break cognitively, I didn't really understand it then, but I just felt like I didn't trust what he was saying. I'm here to learn how to be more fit through this class, but this guy is not fit. And this doesn't mean that somebody doesn't have an immense amount of education and experience and that they know that they're talking about, but I just felt like whatever he's applying is not working. Now, I didn't make that association in the very beginning, it took a few weeks of going to class for me to stop going to the class, and I was kind of notorious for doing this. I would essentially go to class the first couple of days, get the book, get the course curriculum, and I would come in on test days. I was just kind of breezing through stuff. School was never really a challenge for me because it's a system, and what it really is based on is a lot of rote memorizations, it's not opening up a sphere or a platform for creative thinking, for debate, for questioning ideas, you simply... They tell you what to learn, they tell you exactly what to do and you do it. Alright, so okay, I get it, I get it, but where I got the most joy from in my education, from elementary school through college was through writing. That's what I really enjoyed the most, but I didn't major...
I wasn't a literature major or... Of creative writing and all that stuff. It was more so just again, falling in line. "You can't make money doing that. You got to do what's responsible, do what's reasonable, do what you can do to be successful." But my joy was coming from creativity. Now, that was rewarded early on in my education, and this was in eighth grade, and it was a teacher of mine, Ms. Blackmore. And she published one of my poems in the school newspaper. We had this poetry project where we had to write all these different forms of poetry and illustrate the book and all these different things. We had to write Haikus and tankas, the freestyle and all that stuff. And she published my kind of freestyle poem in the school newspaper, got read over the intercom. Man, I felt like I was on top of the world, but not because I was particularly special, but because I felt like my words mattered. I felt seen. And that is such a gift to give anybody in this lifetime and this teacher, to this day, I still remember her, I have so much love and gratitude for her. She made me feel like my words mattered. She made me feel a sense of significance, it's a human need. And that stuck with me for quite some time, so I felt like I can express myself, I can write, I can bring words to life.
And I always felt that way since I was a little kid. My grandmother, when I was in kindergarten, she got me this little Garfield writing book. And I just remember, like, practicing my letters and just like being able to write words and just, like, "I can make up whatever I want, I can write stories, I can create, these words, can turn into something," right? It's just this kind of creative capacity. Now, fast forward that, you're going to bump into teachers who don't appreciate that creativity. Again, "Follow the rules, stay in the lines." And in high school, the lit teacher that I ran into, that's what he was on, alright? True story, and man, he had a golf club and he'd be at his little podium, and if he got irritated with the class, he hit the podium with the golf club, just smacking it, jarring the club. He was that kind of guy. Already... "What are you doing already? The vibe isn't matching, stay with the lines, calm down, do what I say, that whole thing.
Now, again, I don't tend to be the do as you say guy. If that's the case, I'm just going to again, I'll come when needed, but other than that, I can't be around this vibe. And so, again, I show up to class... Once I got to college, show up to class, do the work, get my grade, keep it moving. Now, it was within this nutritional science class, in the very first day, the teacher was telling me about how much calories control our health. That was the tenet. That was the first thing that we covered. Calories, if we can manage calories, you can manage your weight. You manage calories, you can manage your health. And of course, get in your essential vitamins in, and minerals. But that wasn't really talking about how does this all relate to me, really. Why does any of this stuff matter? And what's controlling what these calories are doing in the first place? Like, how does that all work? We didn't really get into those kinds of things. They were very superficial teachings. And so even though I did have nutritional science, I was widely miseducated on how nutrition, human nutrition really works in a practical sense. Now because of that experience, I just got nudged more and more to get out of the space of health.
So, I'm like 18 at the time and I was like, "This isn't going to work out. I can't stand science." Even this whole fitness, nutrition, adding... It's not adding up. So, again, this is largely unconscious, these decisions that I was making. But I decided to get out of that and to shift my major over to business or marketing or something else that seemed a little bit more glamorous, again, thanks to television. Now, I've shared this before, but the reason I shifted over from pre-med to marketing was because of watching the movie Boomerang starring Eddie Murphy. That was... I thought that that was iconic. Eddie Murphy's character, he's working like in advertising. I was like, "I'm going to do that." He just makes it look so fly. So that was, again, I didn't have anybody in my environment. I didn't know anybody that went to college, let alone graduated from college in my community, except when I go to school and my teachers, that's it. I didn't grow up around having any kind of roadmap or guidance on what I could be doing and how I can structure and create a life that I enjoy and a life of success. I didn't know what that looked like. So, I'm literally just out here with trial and error, trial and success, figuring things out.
Now, I shift over and here's where stuff starts to get very strange because in one way, if you want to look at it like this, fate had other plans that pulled me back to health but with a brand new perspective, because it was ultimately when I was 20 years old that I get diagnosed with this really devastating condition that really threatened to take my livelihood away. And it was actually in high school when I was at track practice when I was 16 years old, I was doing a time trial at the track with my coach and just from running, my hip broke. So, the iliac crest, the top portion of my hip just broke. And I didn't know it at the time. It was until a couple of days later I went and got an X-ray done. You could see the portion of my hip just broke off, but nobody asked like, "How did a kid break his hip from running? Why is his bones so brittle that that can even be a thing?" They just gave me standard of care, standard of care. "Take some NSAIDs, stay off the leg, here's some crutches." Very simple.
But I did get some ultrasound treatment as well, by the way, which again, at the time, I really didn't understand, and I don't think a lot of practitioners understand that ultrasound is using sound, it is using sound to provide a treatment. Sound. What does that say about our bodies? There is a vibration and a resonance, there is sound expressing throughout every cell, every atom in our bodies. And sound and frequency definitely deeply influences us. So even when I say vibe early, vibes matter. So fast forward, I was a track athlete, high performing, football, but I just couldn't stay healthy, my body was falling apart. I had half a dozen injuries just that year alone, every time I'd get back on the football field, something else would happen. I was just falling apart. And I was breaking down really from the inside out. And finally at the age of 20, I get this diagnosis of degenerative disc disease and this arthritic condition, plus this low bone density, and it's so crazy because the advice is to take some calcium supplements, drink plenty of milk, I was doing it. Why in the world is my bone density still so low? But this is where everything begins to come full circle, and health and wellness begins to be my focus again. Seeing my first physician at the time when I was experiencing what I ended up finding out...
Again, I went in because I was having trouble walking, I couldn't quite extend my leg properly, just having some leg pain. And he had me to go get an MRI of my spine. And I'm literally like, "My leg hurts, why we taking pictures of my back? I don't get it." So disconnected from this kind of internal engineering and how everything is connected. And he put the scan up at two herniated disc L4-L5-S1, severe degeneration, severely degenerative disc, and I remember him putting it up and he told me the condition... Yes, he said, "You have degenerative disc disease," and I'm just like, "Okay, what is that? How do we fix it? Let's go." And I'm just like... Literally, I even ask him, "Okay, so what do we do? How do we fix this?" And he looked at me like, I guess this kid doesn't get it. And he says, "I'm sorry, son, this is incurable. You have the spine of an 80-year-old." Now, even with that today, my upgraded awareness, an 80-year-old spine doesn't have to look that bad. He's talking about all the unhealthy 80-year-old spines that he's seen. At 20, my back looked like that. Not good. Not good. Benjamin Button accelerated aging. In my young state.
And so, what he said to me still didn't land 'cause it didn't make sense. What do you mean? Something happened, there was a cause, and I'm having this effect. What caused it? Let's do something. I didn't quite put these words together cognitively, but I asked him, "Does this have anything to do with what I'm eating? Should I change the way I'm exercising?" I had no context for me to ask him those questions. None, none. But based on my life experience and the little intersections that I had with nutrition, that question, that awareness popped up for me in that moment, or it could have been an everything everywhere all at once type vibe where different dimension me jumped in for a second, and said the thing, and then jumped back and went somewhere else. That could have happened. But at the time, again, I wasn't really sure at all that what I was eating had any effect, I was just asking for something that I could do. And he literally looked at me and he said these words, "This has nothing to do with what you're eating. This is something that just happens, and I'm sorry that it happened to you. We're going to get you some medication, we're going to possibly look at potential surgery for you, and we're going to help you to manage this."
Gives me my prescriptions. Celebrex was hot at the time, got a little Celebrex, and sent me on my way. And I went from kind of a nuisance of a pain to chronic debilitating pain within the next couple of weeks. The nocebo effect had kicked into gear full steam. Everybody knows about the placebo effect; the placebo is when you get a positive injunction that a treatment is going to provide some therapeutic benefit. Now, here's the issue, placebo-controlled trials. Placebos cause a lot of problems in clinical trials, a lot, they have to continuously be accounted for because the placebo group often gets effects. So much so on average, in placebo-controlled clinical trials, placebos are effective about 30% of the time, whether it's a chemotherapy drug, whether it's a blood pressure medication, whether it's a drug for anxiety and depression, whatever the case might be. On average, placebos are 30% effective. Skin creams... The list goes on and on, it could be totally inert.
That's what researchers at Stanford, Dr. Alia Crum, and her team, did. They did what they referred to as the pinprick study, so they would give somebody a... Prick their skin and create this allergic reaction, and it will create a rash on their skin. And they informed the group that they're going to apply this cream and some of the test subjects were told that this cream is going to... It's an antihistamine, it's going to help their rash to go away. And other people in the study, they were told that this cream was an agonist for the rash; it's going to make the rash worse. So, one group is told that it's going to make the rash better, one group is told that it's going to make the rash worse. Here's what happened. Within 10 minutes of applying the cream, which was completely inert and had no therapeutic benefit whatsoever, the people that were told it would help the rash to go away, it started to go away. The people that were told that the cream was going to make their rash worse, it starts to get worse. Again, the cream was completely inert. Now, here's what the researchers found that was most shocking in this study if you really understand this. They found that the strength of the test subjects' reaction to the cream was largely based on their opinion of the healthcare practitioner, of the administering physician, whether or not they thought they were competent. How competent they believed that person to be determined how severe or how much better they got.
Alright, so please understand this. It was based on what they believed about the person who told them that the thing was going to do what it was going to do. Their perspective of this person's authority determined how their body reacted. And that's what it's really about when we talk about a placebo effect. It's really based on our perception of authority from the person who's giving us this positive injunction that a thing will do a thing. But a nocebo effect is getting a negative reaction, a negative response, a negative injunction based on what a person in a position of authority is going to be telling you what's going to happen. So, when the physician told me that this is incurable, that there's nothing I can do about this, and I'm going to live with this for the rest of my life, I'm going to be in pain for the rest of my life; "Matter of fact, you have the spine of an 80-year-old man. You're breaking down and decaying." Guess what's going to happen? If I believe him, which I did, things are going to get a whole lot worse, and that's what they did.
So, over the course of the next two years, I am still doing the things that I was doing that put me in the situation that I was in, alright? I set aside this important tenet that was left out by my physician of cause and effect, causality. Nothing in our observable reality just happens. There is always a causative agent. There's something that initiates the response. So, to say that this just happens is totally against basic tenets of our reality. And again, if we can hop to a different universe... If we can, you know, go to a different point of view, as far as our galaxy, whatever, where the laws of physics are different, whatever, okay, maybe again, these are things that are quite possible, that cause, and effect doesn't quite add up. But in our reality, in our measurable reality, there's causality. Something happened, alright? I wasn't born with two herniated disc degeneration. My back was fine. Something happened. Now, another little not-so-fun fact that everybody needs to know about is that our epidemics of chronic disease, whether we're talking about heart disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, liver disease, Alzheimer's; the list goes on and on and on... Less than 1% of all diseases are caused by true genetic defects. That's a fact. Less than 1%. We blame our genes. "Maybe he's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline."
Shoutouts to everybody who knows about that old commercial. But anyways, that's what we tend to do, right? So, it's like, "It was just in my cards," right? "It was my genes that caused this issue." And that's what I started to believe as well, because that was the science of the time swirling around; it was even on Time Magazine. "We found the gene! We found the fat gene, guys! We're about to take care of all this fatness. We found the gene! We're going to make drugs for that gene, and we're going to end all this obesity." Did it work? Absolutely not, because that's not how the body works. It's not how science works. Most issues are determined by epigenetic controllers. Our environment, our internal and external environment determines what our genes are doing. Less than 1% of all diseases are due to true genetic defects. We have so much power to influence the expression of our genes.
And so, my body at the time was out picturing a disease state, and what it was really doing, unknown to me and my physician, and the multiple physicians that I saw over the course of those two years, because I got the opinion... Which I always recommend, when you get a bad bill of goods, when you get a bad diagnosis, be able to have some patience and some awareness and get a second or even third opinion before taking dramatic action, because some research from the Mayo Clinic, for example, looking at people who got another diagnosis, you know, seeking out another opinion... The diagnosis was the same as the first diagnosis around 20% of the time. That's it, right? Most of the time, there was a different diagnosis when a person went to a different physician. What the... How? That's crazy. But most people don't know this.
So, with that said, what was occurring in my body, and again, it took me a couple of years to really hone in on this, was my body was adapting to the abnormal conditions that it was being exposed to. So let me break this down a little bit, and this is getting us into some of these essential tenets for our health, and for up leveling our health, for being a better expression of our potential, that are so overlooked, after two years of pain and suffering. And I was in so much pain that I literally was afraid to stand up. I would just sit on my couch, lay on my floor, or lay on my mattress, alright? Which was on the floor, by the way. And I struggle to even get motivated and to get up and to go to school, to my classes anymore. I went from a full credit load to just three credits, I was hanging on one class. And I did that for two semesters. I start off with a full credit load, just keep ratcheting down, and next thing you know, I got a couple of years in here where I'm only... I'm barely hanging on by a thread with one class. I'm almost a college drop-out, shout-out to Kanye. But I managed to hang on.
And over this time, now being completely sedentary, like a significant part of the American population by the way, we're the most sedentary culture in history, in the history of humanity, alright. Now, our body really works on this hierarchy of needs truly. If you don't use it, you lose it. So now not only is my spine and my bones beginning to atrophy but pretty much everything else as well, right? And so that's taking place. I'm full on in my drive-through diet. I'm about that drive-through life, okay. Pull up to the window, and let me get that bag, right? Exchange the... I don't know how it works today, it's been years since I've been to a drive-through, about, again, 20 years. But I would imagine maybe... I don't know if you'd use Apple Pay, scan at the... I don't know what they're doing now. You might send a raven... I don't know, I don't know. But at the time, here's a few dollars, let me get that bag. Let me get that bag of you know what, that dirty, dirty. And so, doing that, eating this way, while being completely sedentary, what's going to happen with my body composition and my body weight? I'm going to get a little thicker. Nah, I'mma get a lot thicker, I got a lot thicker.
And so, I was gaining weight, my degeneration had obviously gotten worse, pain gotten worse, I was barely able to sleep at night without waking up several times due to pain just jolting me out of my sleep. And ultimately, it was after... And this is something I don't share enough, it was within a few days of seeing the final physician and going, I was hoping so much that he would tell me that things could get better, that he's going to help me. Because he was referred to me by a friend like, "You got to see this guy. He's amazing, rarara... " I go to this guy, same thing. "You have degenerative disc disease, this is incurable, here's some medication." He did the same sh*t that the other guys did. And within a couple of days is when everything changed.
Within a couple of days is when my entire world changed for the better, because I realized, and I pictured him, and I could still picture what I was picturing. I pictured him, as I'm sitting there at night, this was late in the evening, I'm sitting on the side of my bed looking at my pill bottle, 'cause I've got to down some of these Tylenol PM, couple Celebrex to try to sleep through the night. And I pictured him having dinner with his family, and laughing, and passing the mash potatoes, and just living his life. And I really realized that he wasn't thinking anything about me. Here I am in pain, here I am disconnected from the future that I envisioned, and the person who I gave so much control over my potential was just living his life. And this is in my mind, I don't know where he was at. He might have had dinner with his family, he might have been at a strip club, I don't know. Okay. He didn't seem like he'd be at a strip club, but it's possible.
But that image in my mind was enough for me to realize that I've been outsourcing my potential, I've been outsourcing my body to all of these people outside of me who were telling me that I was unhelp able. I had just thrown my potential right out the window automatically. And for the first time I asked this question in my mind, I asked, "What can I do to feel better?" I thought about... I just thought this thing in my mind, "What can I do to get healthier? I realize now I got this extra weight in my body, it's obviously putting even more pressure on these lumbar discs that are already degenerated. What if I get some of this weight off of my frame?" I'm just kind of thinking logically, just in terms of just... Again, just basic physics of things. And I also asked shortly thereafter, "If my spine is degenerating, what is my spine actually made of? If my bones... If my bone density is so low, what are my bones actually made of?" All I knew about was calcium, from the commercials.
You know, they got the celebrities with the Steve Harvey milk mustaches. And I'm just like, "Man, I'm drinking milk like crazy, what's going on?" Calcium wasn't the end of the story. Clearly something was missing here. But by me changing this dominant question, they started to change the answers that I got. Now, this is important tenet today in understanding how to up-level our health. There is a faculty of the human mind, it's called instinctive elaboration. Whatever you're posing your mind... The questions that you pose your mind, there is a instinctive reflex to find the answer to said question. We don't like having open loops, alright? Now television producers know this well, they're all about creating open loops in our mind, keeping us coming back for more. This is basic human psychology, we have to have our questions answered, they will haunt us. And we all have a dominant question or a couple of dominant questions that we're habitually asking even if they're subconscious or unconscious. And so, my dominant question for those two years was, "Why me?" Constantly, "Why me? Why Me? Why is this happening to me?" It's just replaying on automatic, over, and over and over again.
Also, this was the second one, "Why won't somebody help me? Why won't somebody help me?" Which kept me looking to the external world for somebody to come along and help me, help to save me from this condition that I was imprisoned. So, by changing that question from, "Why me?" too, "What can I do to feel better? What can I do to be healthier?" And that became my dominant question, "What can I do to get better? What can I do to get better?" It was just replaying in my mind all the time again. Again, I wasn't conscious, I didn't purposefully take the record off the record player and put a new record on. I didn't scratch up the first record. I didn't scratch the first one up. I just changed the question and it just started playing on its own. So, this led me to some of these insights that we're going to talk about now. How did I go from that person who hated science, whose health was in a place of absolute chaos, to be so young, to working in the field of health and wellness for 20 years, or having that condition leave my reality so rapidly, and to help so many people in these 20 years, and millions of lives impacted?
How did I do that? And it really boils down to these five essential ingredients to up-level our health that are often looked over. Today, we get so complex, there's so much in-fighting, you got all, this diet camp over here versus this diet camp, you got the socials and the greasers, alright? You got these different camps, everybody's warrant. "No, this, you got to have this percentage of... " "You got to do this." And most of the time, they agree on so much more than they disagree on, and they should be focused on the things they agree on and promoting those things more for the people who need it. So that's what we're going to dive into. Now, before we get to number one, this is the lead into it. How did my body get into that state and how did it change using this number one thing that I'm going to share? If you take a condition like type 2 diabetes, right? Epidemic today. Around 128 million Americans have diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or pre-diabetes right now. Adult-onset diabetes is what it used to be called, now it's type 2 diabetes 'cause an epidemic of children have it now, which was not a thing.
It didn't even used to be a thing for children to have this condition. This condition where we're having a pancreas that is producing insulin still, the beta cells are still making insulin, but it's making it in response to blood glucose. And today, with our access to so much abnormal food that is so filled with added sugar in various forms, right now, the average American is consuming about 100 pounds of sugar annually, mostly in the form of added sugar. That's the average. There are people who are doing 200, 300, and some people are doing like five, average. We did not evolve having that much sugar in our diet, period, end of story, especially added sugar. The naturally occurring sugar in some fruits? Yeah, yeah. But all of this added sugar, our genes, our DNA has simply not been exposed to such an insult before.
And so, having that flooding our system so quickly, our bodies have to respond with insulin to get that sugar out of our blood stream to save our lives because all of that sugar running wild in our blood stream can kill us. If you're wondering what I mean, it's kind of like this very volatile... If there's a lot of sugar running around in our blood, this is why, for example, it can create inflammation and degradation and start to tear apart, especially smaller blood vessels, things that reach to... Our capillaries, things that reach to our eyes, to our toes, right? So, we see diabetics losing their vision, having their toes amputated, their feet amputated, right?
This is what happens when our blood sugar gets too high, it can kill us. So, our body and its infinite wisdom, insulin's released, let's shuttle this glucose, changes form a little bit, pack it into some cells. Alright, we're going to shove it into these fat cells for safe keeping. These fat cells will protect us, and our fat cells do. Our fat cells are amazing. The volume of our fat cell can expand about 1000 times their original size. Unbelievable, unbelievable. Should they do that? Probably not. But they can. Our fat cells are incredibly helpful and protective and resilient, but we're at war with that, we don't respect them. It's just doing what it's programmed to do. But it's never been exposed to what we're exposed to today. And so, as this insulin is getting produced in response to this abnormal blood glucose, if this keeps happening again and again over time, and your body is just screaming and spurting out all of this insulin, eventually your cells are going to down-regulate their ability to hear that cry. It's just too much getting packed into our cells.
It's kind of like getting spam in your inbox, and now it's just like getting sent to the junk folder, like I can't even hear, that's too much. It shouldn't be coming in here; I didn't sign up for this. That's what's really happening. And so, it's this adaptation that the body has with the insulin sensitivity going down in this onset of diabetes or pre-diabetes. But what the condition is, it's not a death sentence, it's not the end of the story, it's not something that doesn't have a resolution, it is simply the body in its infinite intelligence adapting the way that it's operating while being placed under unideal conditions. That's what it really is at the end of the day. That's what a disease is. A disease is not who we are. It's not our identity. I don't have a sticker on my shirt, when I have type 2 diabetes that says "My name is type 2 diabetes. I am diabetes. I am a diabetic." I don't have a label sticker on my shirt.
It's a disease state. And a disease is the body adjusting its function and performance while being placed under unideal circumstances. What's the unideal circumstances with the diabetes? It's flooding our system with all of this absolutely horrific amount of sugar that we're simply not designed in any form or fashion to be able to handle. But our bodies are just figuring out a way, "Okay, I'm just going to adjust this thing here, we're going to create these symptoms, we're going to create these conditions in the body to keep this person alive." Diabetes saves your life. Now that for some people it's just so off of their radar or even a tough pill to swallow, that the condition is actually an adjustment by their body to save their life. It's an adjustment by their body to continue to keep this person alive while under unideal conditions.
That's what happened to me. That's what happened to me. My body manifested this condition, my body expressed this condition, my spine started to break down and degenerate. My bone density was rapidly declining. My body was making these adjustments to operate under unideal conditions. Now, let's talk about why. Let's talk about these five essential factors here, these five essentials for up leveling your health and fitness. These are the five main things that I did that transformed my health, transformed my reality, and led from this life of self-centeredness and constantly looking out for my own safety in this volatile environment that I grew up in, to a life of service and focusing on how can I serve, how can I help and uplift others?
Number one tenet here, very essential, very simple, but easily overlooked. We already highlighted this a little bit. Your body is made from the food that you eat. Your body is literally made from the food that you eat. You get to choose what you're making yourselves out of. Your cell membranes are made from your menu. Your mitochondria are made from your meals. Your cell nuclei, they're made from the nutrients that you eat. Every cell, every tissue, every organ, every organ system is made from food. So, we want to make our bodies out of real food. This is so simple, but it's so overlooked. Again, because there's a lot of infighting and debate about which real food... Real Food. Number one, real nutrient dense foods, and I'm going to give you a couple specifics here. So, for example, when I was concerned about, okay, if my bones... If my bone density is so low, what are my bones really made out of? And again, all I knew about was calcium. But by asking a different question, eventually I found out that nutrients like, vitamin C. I didn't know vitamin Cs matter for my bones. I knew about it for the immune system, that's it. Vitamin C is one the most powerful antioxidants, but also, it's a bio-potentiator for the building a bone and supporting your bone from degradation.
But also, vitamin C is important for the health of our skin and for our sleep quality as well. There's some data published in PLOS ONE about being deficient in vitamin C leading to more interrupted sleep cycles. The list goes on and on. Vitamin C isn't just a one-trick pony. Vitamin C is important for my bone density. Where was I getting vitamin C in my diet? Man, I was drinking Hawaiian Punch, maybe there's some synthetic Vitamin C in there, I don't know. But I was not eating any citrus, I could tell you that. When I say... Listen, I ate fast food 300-plus days of the year, 300 plus. I got to put that plus on there, because I can't say 365, but it's damn near close. 'Cause there's a couple of times I didn't have a couple of bucks. And so, I had to stay at home, and you eat what I might have had stocked away, which was usually if I wasn't eating fast food, I was eating ultra-processed food at the crib, alright?
So, family sized can of ravioli would be on the agenda. Or a box of Velveeta Shells & cheese. A box. I would eat a box as a meal. Box of Velveeta Shells & Cheese, and I put a little pepper on it, 'cause I'm like, trying to spice it up like, "Oh, this is gourmet," right? That's what I was eating. I was making my tissues out of this stuff. So, was I getting adequate amounts of vitamin C? Absolutely not. Also, for bone density, vitamin D is essential. Calcium can't really do its thing efficiently without vitamin D, vitamin K as well. Magnesium is needed for the health of our bones, zinc, amino acids like glycine, several other factors, and these are all noted in peer review clinical trials. I wasn't getting that stuff in my diet, in my drive-through diet, in my processed food diet. And even omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to contribute to bone mineral density.
There was a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One, they found that the consumption of omega-3s can improve bone mineral density, specifically in the hips and the lumbar spine. Those were the two areas I was breaking down. Oh my gosh. So, this was a recent... This was a recent study. I came across some data on this back then, but more and more, there's so many studies on this, there's so many studies on this now. But is this being prescribed to patients? Because degenerative disc disease is also epidemic levels. Are they being educated about how important it is for them to make sure they're getting some omega-3s in their diet? Absolutely not. They're being prescribed anti-inflammatories. They're being prescribed opioids. So, what's the solution here? Because it's not just start being a natural pill popper and go and get these nutrients 'cause I tried to do that. That's the first thing I did, to be honest. When I found out about these things, I was just buying supplements. Number one, that was expensive as hell. And it helped... It did help a little bit, just to be clear, it did help a little bit, but I got a lot a bit broker and my college budget just wasn't doing the trick. And here's a big key though that I eventually very quickly in this process realized because the conditions forced me to which was, it's not just getting these nutrients, but the nutrients need to be bio-available, bioavailable.
What does that mean? That means simply that they are efficiently assimilated and utilized by ourselves, so it's a real thing. Bio-available isn't just like a fancy word like Jordash or, I don't know, Saint Laurent. Bio-available means efficiently assimilate... Why'd I say Jordash? Bioavailability means efficiently assimilated and utilized by ourselves. And in our haste to dominate and control nature, which is really the central tenet in modern science, we missed out on the fact that there's an underlying intelligence that animates all of life. When you isolate things into parts, you negate the power of the whole. A synthetic nutrient, though it might have the same chemical make-up, it does not have the underlying intelligence, and even more tangibly speaking, the supporting elements and nutrient co-factors that magnify its resonance with human cells. Our cells for hundreds of thousands of years plus, we've had a certain interaction with food... With food, not a supplement made by Vinny at the factory, food. Food. That's what we've evolved having an association with, we're making our bodies out of food. Today it's different. Are we missing something when we have these synthetic versions of nutrients, the synthetic version of vitamin C or vitamin E versus what's coming through in a whole food source or a whole food concentrate.
Let's take vitamin E for example. This nutrient is important for the healthy function of our cardiovascular system, our brain, and even the health of our skin. Well, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that natural vitamin E from food has nearly twice the bioavailability of synthetic vitamin E, nearly twice the bioavailability. If we're needing these nutrients and we're trying to harvest them from synthetic sources, we're going to have some trouble. Our bodies are not going to get what they need. What is it going to do? It's going to drive hunger because the number one driver of our hunger is nutrient deficiency. Nutrient deficiency is truly behind our cravings, and also our desire to eat more and more food. It's one of the factors, let me be clear, it's one of the big factors. Also, of course, addiction, the whole thing... But the human body's intelligence is always seeking like... Your body knows in its own language if you're deficient in zinc and vitamin D, and it's going to send out signals to you, motivate you for certain behaviors, whether that is motivating you to go and roll around in the grass and get some sunlight, like our aminals do... Aminals. Some kids, say it like that when they're little... Like animals do. Humans have left our own devices; we like to go and roll around at the beach.
Why do we like that? Why is it so relaxing and enlivening? Why do we like that? Because we're aminals. We're aminals. It will motivate us to these behaviors or motivate us towards eating. So, if your brain has an association that you've ever gotten some vitamin C from a certain food, it would spark a craving. But for most people, today they're not going to have access, immediate access to those sources. So maybe they're deficient in vitamin C, they spark a craving for some grapefruit, or for some oranges, for some kiwis, whatever the case might be, but they're living in contexts like I grew up in where nearly everything in the household is processed foods, and they're just like... They feel a hunger and they would like maybe something with an orange-y vibe to it, so I'll go eat some orange sherbet ice cream or something, or pop an orange chocolate, the chocolates with the assorted... Basically with the assorted chocolates you got to... It's like roulette, you got to find out which ones got the stuff in it, sometimes it could taste like a delicious orange flavor or sometimes it could taste like toothpaste. Don't know. That's what it's all about. Chocolate roulette. So, these are behind many of our dysfunctions and how we are associating with food in our world today. There's a reason behind it.
We're lacking real food. You've probably heard the statistic, and I've been pressing this upon culture, many people are sharing this stat now because it's crazy. And by the way, this stat is from years ago, so trust and believe, it's probably gotten much worse, but... About 60% of the average American's diet is made of ultra-processed foods, keyword ultra-processed foods, because process foods... This is where you can get into a little bit of like, Well, what about, what about... The what about is you missed the point. Lots of stuff can be healthfully processed and still have great benefit to the human body. For example, you take a tomato, and you turn it into tomato sauce, right? So, you got tomato, you cook it, you add a little olive oil, some spices. Amore, right? That's what happens. Versus, you take some whole grain oats and then you expose it to abnormally high heat and processing and add in corn syrup and artificial flavors and artificial ingredients, and then you got f*ckin Lucky Charms. That's ultra-processed. How did we get Lucky Charms? Did we just get lucky? How? Doesn't make any sense. There's no route. There's no connection to anything real anymore. It's a joke. It is fake. It's not even real food anymore. You can eat it. So, I guess you put it in the camp of food, but it's fake food. It's trixie. One of the cereals even call it tricks. They called it tricks. Gotcha.
So, I gave that example with vitamin E. So, we're talking about real food, the bioavailability. That's what makes the magic happen. So, not only was I able to assimilate these nutrients and get them to my disc, to my circulatory system, to my bones, to all the places that need to be, because now I'm seeking out the food sources... What's another one? What about specific antioxidant food sources? Well, the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that... This is one of the popular foods today. I actually just went and saw a friend. You know, LA, man, it's hard, you could throw a stone and hit a juice place or acai bowl place, or a Whole Foods, it's crazy. When I transformed my health in St. Louis, there was one Whole Foods in the city, period. St. Louis is big. One Whole Foods. That was it. When I moved, there were three. So, it took like 10 or 11, maybe 13 years before the second one popped up on my experience of being in the field. So... But here, oh my goodness. So anyways, I saw... I was just walking down the block as I was leaving, and I literally walked past just literally within a block and a half, two blocks, three different places that had acai bowls, alright?
Acai is out here. Okay. Now, the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that acai actually... The consumption of it actually raised participant's antioxidant levels, it wasn't just like it might be here, or the synthetic takes some pop and lock inversion of some whatever artificial combination of said antioxidants, but the real food source itself raised the antioxidant levels of the participants demonstrating how effectively it's absorbed, again bioavailable, by our gut. So, acai has ORAC value of like, 103,000, which means it's 10 times higher in antioxidants in pretty much any other fruits you see in a conventional produce aisle. This is what we have access to today as well, we can basically up-level or intelligently supplement our possibly deficient diet by getting just a couple of things that have these... This word 'superfood' has been thrown around so much as well, but just like, such a remarkable combination of nutrients or rare nutrients that we can target those things. And also again, this isn't... Number one, is food first, we got to get that through our mind.
Food first, and then whole food supplements like acai. You're not going to find an acai berry out here, just on the block somewhere, because of just the shipping and all that stuff, and keeping it fresh and bioavailability, the processing and all that stuff, to have it in its best form, and you're not in the Amazon somewhere, it's going to be a frozen pack. It's going to be frozen, but then it could be organic, it could be... And freezing actually retains certain nutrients. Other nutrients can be damaged from freezing, but for many, really majority of nutrients, it's going to be able to help to retain those things. But also, there's concentrates of things like Camu Camu Berry, another high source of vitamin C, acai. And also, even with some of the conventional fruits and things like that, like blueberries and even beets. Beets are hot out here right now. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that drinking beet juice boosts stamina up to 14% during exercise.
Bananas, alright? So, Whole Food concentrates. And my kids, even my oldest son, he's really into green, he does like greens concentrate blend every day without fail. I see this kid do this. My youngest son does a red superfood concentrate. Both of these come from Organifi. And Organifi is just super... Even the company self is super about family. They're taking the whole food and creating a concentrate, cold temperature processing to retain the nutrients. But again, food first, and we can have this extra layer of health insurance as well. Go to organifi.com/model, that's O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I.com/model, they have 20% off every one of their incredible blends. They've got the green juice formula, the red juice formula, they both taste amazing. And again, just a huge fan of Organifi, just helping to make this stuff easier, getting some of these really potent superfoods into people's bodies. But again, food first. So again, eat real foods, whole foods.
So, what I was doing was finding out about some of the different foods and focusing on real whole foods, making things like green smoothies. Just upgrading the ingredients of the things that I was making. So instead of going to McDougall's... No disrespect to McDougall's. Shout-out to coming to America. But McDonald's for a cheeseburger, go to Whole Foods, get grass-fed beef, and I was getting sprouted grain bun or whatever, I was just trying to take a step in the right direction. That was a mighty step, and upgrading the ingredients and the sourcing, and avoiding a lot of the processed crap that was coming along with it. So, with the green smoothie, then I find out about these green superfood concentrates so I stack that, that's going in there too. So again, real foods, whole foods. I started flooding my tissues with all of these bioavailable nutrients, and, man, things start to get better very, very fast. Now, here's the other key... So that's number one, eat real food, essential foundational tenet that's often overlooked.
Number two, avoid fake foods. Avoid the things that are degrading your health. It's very difficult to solve a problem if you're still doing the thing that created the problem. Common sense, right? Very, very logical. And so, if we have a wound, let's just say we have a cut on our hand, and the cut, already your body knows what to do, the cut will heal. But if I keep on messing with the cut, like poking at it, if I keep on... If I put a gummy bear in the cut, if I pour Mountain Dew on the cut, if I keep messing with the cut, it's not going to heal. The body knows what to do, but I keep inhibiting the process. So, avoiding the things that degrade your health. So again, what are our tissues made out of? They are made from food, and we get to decide which foods we're making.
Now, the question is, how are these abnormal compounds, these fake foods, actually affecting basic metabolism, basic cellular communication, ourselves being able to efficiently communicate and send signals and to perform functions the right way? Well, a recent study published in the Journal of Food and Nutrition Research set out to find if there's a difference in the amount of calories we absorb and the amount of calories that we burn or expend based on whether or not we're eating a meal of real foods or a meal of processed foods. And so, what the researchers did was, they gave test subjects sandwiches. Now, already you might be like, "Sandwiches aren't real food." There's degrees, there's always degrees to this stuff. Because, for the whole foods group, they did whole grain bread, so this is more minimally processed, whole grain bread and cheddar cheese. Cheddar cheese is like four ingredients. So, you got the milk, you got some enzymes, you got little salt maybe in the mix. But the other sandwich that they compared it to, was a sandwich with white bread, again, this is heavily processed, because, again, you don't see no white anything out there.
Wheat isn't growing white, it's brown. So, processing the hell of it to make it white, using various agents to bleach it to make it the color that it is, and what about the nutrients? What happens to those nutrients that were once contained there? And they also use, instead of cheddar cheese, they that used cheese product or what would be equivalent to Kraft Singles, because, a little not-so-fun fact, it's not called Kraft Cheese or Kraft Cheese Singles. They're called Kraft Singles because there's not enough cheese in the cheese. Because if you look at the ingredients, it's a list. It isn't just a few things, three or four things like cheddar cheese, it's like 10 things. It's got different combinations of other ingredients to make this "single". So, you got a whole food sandwich, processed food sandwich, consuming both, tracking their caloric, assimilation and expenditure, and here's what they found at the end of the study. When the test subjects consumed the processed food sandwich, they had a 50% reduction in calorie burn after eating that fake ass sandwich, 50% reduction in calorie expenditure versus when they ate the more real food sandwich.
So, what that means is, their body held on to more of the caloric energy that they consumed, it got stingy with it. It was like, "I'm just going to go ahead and hang on to this. I don't know what this is... " Let me give you some reasons. Again, this could be creating what I refer to as a hormonal clog, where that cellular communication of hormones being produced or not produced are throwing off the body's ability to... The cells' ability to communicate and understand what the hell to even do with this fake stuff, thus creating a clog in the system and hanging on, making the body more stingy in retaining these nutrients, tucking stuff away in your fat cells, because just like, "I don't know what to do with this. Fat cells, you guys are good at keeping us safe. We're just going to go in and set that in the storage box for a little while we figure this out." So, these are just a couple of... I'm bringing some color to it, but these are very remarkable and complex cellular processes that our bodies are doing, but it boils down to simple principles. We're bringing in these fake foods, very abnormal things, from the perspective of our DNA, from a perspective of our genes, and the body is just thrown off on what to do with it, very simple principle.
So, another part of this story is that the two sandwiches were the exact same amount of calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates on paper, same. If you leave it up to conventional size, conventional nutrition, it doesn't matter. Calories in, calories out, all calories are created equal. All calories, under one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice, all of those things... It's ignorant. Yes, calories matter. Yes, caloric deficit for weight loss, yes. But that is far from all of the story. So, whenever you see somebody popping up, just, "Are you struggling with weight loss? Have you tried a caloric deficit?" They don't know what they're talking about, alright. We have several epicaloric controllers that literally decide what calories do in your body, and it's going to be radically different from person to person. Chances are that person got results by being in the calorie deficit, and that's good for them. But guess what, they run into issues with their gut, with their thyroid, with what... Something's going to happen. Then they're going to find me, they're going to find information for them to help them sort out what's going on because, "It's worked for me at one point, but now my body just doesn't seem to be agreeing with me, it doesn't want to do the thing that it once did."
There's so much more to the story, we're so much more. We can't isolate it into these little ignorant parts. Okay, with that said, same on paper same calories, same proteins, fats, carbohydrates. But the processed food sandwich made the person hold on to 50% reduction in caloric expenditure after eating that sandwich, so keep that in mind. And we've done master classes on epicaloric controllers, by the way. We put that in the show notes. If you're like, what does that mean? It's another term I'm impressing upon culture, and it's very important for us to understand because this was what I was not taught in my university nutritional science class, nothing remotely close to it. Our level of science, and in our level of research and awareness today is light years beyond that, but yet, it's not filtering, it's way into the university setting and it would, right now at this pace that it's at, take decades for that to happen unless we step up to make it happen.
As a part of this, The Model Health Show is a platform that provides an opportunity to reach people who are influencers of influencers. So, because of this show, I've had the opportunity to guest lecture everywhere from the Neuroscience Department at NYU to the amazing people, the cold hands and warm hearts of folks up in Canada at Dalhousie University, and the list goes on and on right. But this is being able to get in those doors and to get to students and to start to teach them things that actually work and working with folks out of Stanford and working with folks at Harvard, some of the most prestigious institutions as well, because their names carry a lot of weight. But when it really boils down to it, it doesn't matter if people are being taught the wrong sh*t, that's why this is so powerful. This never existed before, the ability to go outside of what you're told, "This is how it is end of story, no room for questioning things, no room for analysis, for expanded thinking, for thinking about causality in situations," the list goes on and on. This is what we have today with the advent of these different media, so it's a wonderful time to be alive because we have access to so much, but also, it's a difficult time to be alive as well, because we have access to so much.
So, it really matters on where is our attention, and we want to get more folks plugged into empowerment. And that's what this is really about. Now, I want to also share one other aspect with avoiding these fake foods, how are these abnormal compounds affecting basic functions like cell replication. Cancer in and of itself, there is a malfunction taking place with normal cell replication. Does processed food exacerbate that problem with normal cell replication? Guess what, a recent study published in the BMJ, one of the most prestigious journals in the world, tracked the dietary habits of nearly 105,000 people to see if there was any connection between processed food consumption and the incidence of cancer. What the researchers uncovered was staggering. For every 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in a person's diet, there was an additional 10% increase in the risk of developing cancer. So, every 10% increase in processed food consumption leads to another 10% increase in your risk of developing cancer. So, if right now, if you started a baseline, 10% of my food is made of ultra-processed foods, right we're at a 10% risk, I go to 20% of my diets made up of processed foods, 20% risk...
It just keeps on going up. Lockstep, 10%, 10%. The problem, 60% of the average Americans diet is ultra-processed foods. Is it not an accident why cancers of all types have skyrocketed, colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, stomach cancer, the list goes on and on and on. Things that were once rare are now normalized, what are we making our cells out of, it's not just what are we making ourselves out of, but what are we doing to the processes of energy production when our bodies are forced to use fake food to try to make energy? What about cellular communication and cell replication when we're using fake food to make those copies, what do you think is going to happen? This is not okay. And we know it, we know it. But that's not what you're going to hear again, in these conventional settings, you're not going to hear this on major media. Why is that? You already know the answer to this, right? What happens on commercial breaks? Get your f*ckin Papa Johns, get your beer, get your... Or they got some new snacks, new cereal, whatever, and all by the way, they're sponsored by Pfizer.
Oh, by the way, major media, pharmaceutical companies provide billions of dollars annually to these major media networks. Do you think for one minute they're going to tell you to get physically and mentally healthier to decrease the shares, the profit margins for their sponsor? As we're promoting and ignoring the problem that's causing our epidemics of disease, it's just pushing more and more customers right to the front door of a drug company. But we don't have to be a part of that anymore, as a matter of fact, we could change that. But it starts with us. Number one, eat real food, bioavailable nutrients. Number two, avoid fake food. Avoid the thing that's causing the problem. Number three, this is one of the simple things that I utilized to transform my health and it's so simple, stay properly hydrated. Now, this isn't some superficial cookie-cutter thing, this is one of those things that's... "Drink eight glasses of... Eight ounces... " And make sure you drink plenty of water. Why? Why? This is why, this is a list of just some of the things that water is responsible for in our bodies.
Water is responsible for the maintenance of our DNA, it's operating in a water medium, facilitating reactions in your mitochondria, this is where fat is burned by the way. The actual end product of that process, this is happening in the mitochondria, it's happening in a water medium. Maintaining the integrity of your blood, your blood is over 90% water, it kind of matters. Also, this is how you're transferring nutrients and oxygen and immune cells throughout your body to assist, for example, also assisting in waste removal. That's important as well if we're talking about the lymphatic system. So, water is needed to create your lymphatic fluid. Building fluids for your digestive tract, you don't want that dry tract. And your digestive secretions, the secretions... Speaking of secretions, secretions of the reproductive organs, so the vagina and the penis. The vag and the peen. Those fluids, the seminal fluid, and the vaginal fluid, this is also... Where do you think it's... Where do you think the wet wet is coming from? You need water.
Regulating your body temperature, water is required for that, this kind of thermal regulation. Creating the cerebral spinal fluid of your central nervous system. Making the synovial fluid of your joints and your discs. My disc were dramatically degenerated. It looked like little pieces of fried bologna, little triscuits, little smashed up, they looked bad, it's like black, when I was just 20 years old. After going back nine months later from that moment of decision and getting myself healthy, I could see the light shining through my disc. The degeneration was reversed, my two herniated disc had retracted, and they were in place. What are my disc made of? Water. It's a huge component, but here's the thing about it, it's non-vascular, let me be clear. The disc are non-vascular. So, what does that mean? It's not getting like a direct blood supply or just like blood and water just flowing right there, it's a process of remote diffusion, so even throughout the day, if you think about it, gravity is just kind of weighing on you and the disc are getting compressed, so you start off your day taller than when you end the day. Okay, little fun fact.
And so that compression is one of the things, again, you can kind of... Especially with the disc being that they're non-vascular, you need to really make sure that you're super hydrating your system, especially if you're in a state of dis-ease with the disc, to make sure that your body has enough fluid to send there in the first place, because it might be one of the last places to get it, 'cause our bodies often work on this hierarchy, your brain is most essential. If you're dehydrated and you drink a glass of water, your brain is getting all of it. Well, pretty much all of it. It's getting the majority, it's getting as much as it possibly can, your brain is the most water-dominant organ in your body next to your lungs, so this can be somewhere in the ballpark of around 80% water. So, your body, evolution could give a crap about a couple of your disc if your brain is losing volume because of dehydration. Now, during this time that I was struggling with my health, I'm telling you, I know that... People... There's these things that you can go a couple of days without water, you can go weeks without food, you can only go a few minutes without oxygen, man, I can go...
I went without water for a long time, long stretches, I barely remember going over to my sink... At this time, around the year 2000... The year 2000, around the year 2000, shout-out to Conan O'Brien. People weren't buying water like that, water is coming through the faucet, why would I buy it? If I'm going to buy something I'm going to buy Gatorade or buy a soda or buy some juice. I was definitely about those juices; I was like super... I was like Juicy Smollett out there. Shout-out to Dave Chappelle. I was on the juices, and I rarely drink water, so of course you're getting in a little bit of liquid through those mediums, but often they're coming along with compounds that are going to dehydrate your system, because water is needed to process everything that you're bringing in as well. So, I keep on having this net loss. Every now and then I get super thirsty and go guzzle a glass of water, but that could be days at a time, and I would ever do that. It's crazy to say that. Some people might not think that that's a reality, but for many people that is... And I know this for certain because that's what happened with me. And what I've been advocating for us to do, and I just saw the other day that it was going around, I guess on TikTok is really popping off right now, about...
16 years ago, I started doing this process of what I call taking an inner bath or an inner shower. And it was a little nudge from somebody that I was learning from, David Wolfe... Shout-out to David Wolfe, Avocado Wolfe, AKA some call him the chocolate Pope, not from the skin complexion, but he likes chocolate a lot, but he said something about the inside being more important than the outside, and it just made sense, he's like, "A lot of people are concerned about taking an outer bath, but what about the inside?" So, I'm just like, I'm going to start taking an inner bath every day or an inner shower, and so that's what I've been doing for 16 years, every day. No matter where I'm at, no matter what country I'm in, no matter what time I'm getting up. None of that matters. The first thing I do after pee-pee, after going to the bathroom, first thing that I do is I drink at least 20 ounces of water. I take my inner bath. And there's a couple of things, number one, that's going to help to flush out metabolic waste, your body goes through tremendous amount of processes while you're sleeping at night. And also, this stimulates this water-induced thermogenesis which we've got some peer-reviewed data I put in my most recent book, Eat Smarter, about stimulating this metabolic response to where our body is now basically burning about 30 additional calories just from drinking water.
Now, what if we do that a few times a day? That's where the value comes in at, with making sure people are drinking water for weight loss, but not overdoing it. And also, what about the type of water because the water also needs to be coupled with electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge, they enable cells to talk, signal transduction, they enable all of our cells to do everything, period. Let me just get right to the point. The sodium potassium pump is required for basically every one of your cells to do everything that it does. That's how important these electrolytes are, no joke. Even your mitochondria, your mitochondria is not in an bioactive form unless it's binded with magnesium, another electrolyte. This is how important it is. And so, I am a huge, huge fan of making sure that we're getting our electrolytes via foods, nutrient-dense foods, but this is a place for people to add in an electrolyte supplement if they're getting it from a place that is sourcing things correctly. So high quality salts. There are different types of salts occurring in nature. There isn't just sodium salt, there's also potassium salts and magnesium salts and calcium salts, there's different types of salts. So, taking these naturally occurring things and creating something that has the right ratio of what the average person needs.
That's why I love LMNT. Go to drinklmnt.com/model. That's drink-L-M-N-T.com/model. You get a free gift with any purchase, they're going to send you a free bonus sample pack with a variety of different flavors when you order from drinklmnt.com/model. Now here's another thing. No sugar, no artificial colors, and any of that stuff, just the electrolytes in the right ratio and stay salty. Stay salty. Go to drink-L-M-N-T.com/model. Let me give you one more reason why… Researchers at McGill University found that sodium functions as a literal on/off switch in the brain for specific neurotransmitters that support and control cognitive function and protect the brain against numerous diseases. Sodium is that important. Sodium enables your brain to actually retain the water that it needs. If you don't have the right amount of sodium, you might be like, "We're just getting sodium in all these processed foods... " When you stop eating that garbage, when you stop eating fake foods... The vast majority, we're talking upwards of 70%-80% of the sodium intake in our culture today is from processed foods, and it's coming along with so many other things that can cancel out or compete with sodium, and it's also in these abnormal forms, it's ultra-process crap.
When you stop associating with that stuff, and we get real food going in the mix, this is a place to ensure you're getting your electrolytes and also this has been seen for folks that are doing the ketogenic protocol, for example. Electrolytes, super important. Go to drinklmnt.com/model, again, exclusively, you get a free gift with every purchase. So, water, that's the other thing I started doing, my inner bath, getting my electrolytes, eating real food, avoiding the things that was causing the problem. Man, I got better fast, but it couldn't have happened as swiftly without number four here, which is to move your body for vitality and not for vanity. The real reason that exercise and movement matters is that it dramatically increases assimilation of nutrients and elimination of metabolic waste, that's what movement is for.
The side effect is getting a little sexy. That's a side effect but we in our culture is sexy first. If you want the sexy, you got to get a little flexy, you got to go and hit the weights, go and hit the treadmill, all that stuff, but it's not about that. The changes to our body composition are just a side effect, it's a bonus of getting metabolically healthier. And so, the goal really with movement and exercise is to increase our vitality. A recent meta-analysis published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity suggests that exercise can positively enhance the number of our beneficial microbial species, enrich our micro-flora diversity, and improve the development of commensal bacteria. Now, here in the United States, 70% of our citizens have digestive diseases currently, again, that study was from years ago, but that's what's happening, epidemic. A big part of that obviously, is the health of our microbiome. Exercise is required for vitality, not vanity. Again, it's not a... No disrespect. Still, come on, you can look sexy and do your thing. Nobody is like, “You know what, I want to look terrible."
Do things to make you look good and feel good, all this stuff, but please understand, exercise is required for you to be a healthy, functioning human being, it's required. Now again, exercise improves assimilation of nutrients and elimination of metabolic waste. By me having the audacity to start moving when I was sedentary for two years really... And I just started doing what I could. I didn't go from two years of planting my behind on my couch, to going and running five miles or going and dead lifting 400 pounds, which I eventually did by the way. But what I did was, I just went and started using a stationary bike at the university. I started to walk around the track. I started to pick up a couple of weights after several weeks had went by. I just took one step at a time, literally, and little did I know that that was dramatically improving how my body was processing all the good stuff that I was now taking by upgrading my diet. So, these go hand-in hand.
And finally, this essential building block, this essential tool that we all can utilize to up-level our health, is still often overlooked. According to the CDC, about 115 million Americans are regularly sleep deprived. Number five is to sleep like your life depends on it, because it does. It's during sleep that the vast majority of anabolism and healing takes place. When I started sleeping well, because that was my biggest struggle over those two years, was sleeping at night. When I started to change what I was doing during the day, it helped me to get better sleep at night. And when I started sleeping well, wow, I got better so much faster. And before I knew it, it was as if I was living in a different reality. I felt so alive, and everything was clicking. And it's because I was giving my body these very simple but overlooked pieces, components, ingredients, to have a healthier expression. And it's important to know that our sleep impacts every single area of our lives, it impacts the function of our immune system dramatically. There might not be anything that controls the function of our immune system more than our sleep quality.
It impacts our cognitive ability dramatically; we all know what it's like to be in that mental fog. But also, research that was published in Atlantic, for example, took test subjects, this time it was done on physicians, and they had them to complete a task in this particular study. Then they sleep-deprived these physicians and had them to attempt to complete the same task again, the exact same assignment. And what happened? They made 20% more mistakes doing the exact same thing, and it took them 14% longer to do the exact same thing. They lost safety and effectiveness, they lost both of those things by being sleep-deprived. And that was just from one night of sleep deprivation by the way, and as a matter of fact, even our cardiovascular health, let's take a gander from... I just pulled the, if you're listening to the audio version, my book, Sleep Smarter, off the shelf behind me. And there's a particular study in here that I mentioned in the introduction, it's pretty eye-opening. And this particular study, this was published in the journal, Sleep, and it followed 98,000 people for 14 years. That's a long time to follow somebody. It's like, "Damn, why you following me?" 98,000 people for 14 years and discovered that people in the study who got fewer than four hours of sleep per night were twice as likely to die prematurely from heart disease.
Now specifically, it was women in that study. Twice as likely to die from heart disease. What about the fellows? A study reported in the World Health Organization tracked the results of almost 700 men over a 14-year period. They found that men with poor sleep quality were also twice as likely to have a heart attack and up to four times more likely to have a stroke during the study period. Heart disease is still the number one, the number one killer in our world today. Despite popular media framing things to be more relevant and more important, heart disease is the number one killer still. And these are things that, again, when somebody's going into their physician and they find out that they have risk factors and they have symptoms of heart disease, and I'm saying symptoms because again, the labeling of these things could be devastating in and of themselves. But their physician, chances are, highly unlikely are not telling them to address their sleep quality or even asking them about their sleep for that matter.
Again, so sleep like your life depends on it because it does. I appreciate you so much for tuning in to the show today, and this is such an important episode to share very, very practical, simple things. And of course, we've got masterclass episodes on improving sleep quality, up leveling our nutrition, and obviously, my book, Sleep Smarter, international best seller. It's translated in somewhere around 21 different countries, or languages right now, so it's international as well. So, if you got people that you know and love in other countries, it's very likely they can pick up a copy as well, and, Eat Smarter, my latest book, very happy and grateful to say it's a USA Today national bestseller, it was a top 10 audio book in the United States. So many wonderful accolades, but most importantly, what are we going to do about the information? It's one thing to have a wonderful practical, entertaining, inspiring book, but it's another thing to put these things into action, and that's what it's really all about. And I appreciate you so much for taking action to hang out with me today. We've got some epic episodes coming very, very soon, some incredible interviews, some powerful masterclasses, so be sure to stay tuned.
Take care, have an amazing day, and I'll talk with you soon. And for more after the show, make sure to head over to themodelhealthshow.com. That's where you can find all of the show notes, you can find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you got a comment, you can leave a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome, and I appreciate that so much. And take care, I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content, to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
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