Over the past few months, many of you have reached out and asked “Why did Abel unexpectedly disappear from the internet?”
“Is he ever coming back?”
“…Wait a second, why is his hair so impossibly long right now?”
The truth is, Alyson and I spent the past several months recovering our health and focusing on finding a new place to live.
It’s a long, sticky and scary story, and a really close call. I’ll explain more in an upcoming episode.
The good news is that we’re still quite alive, we found a place to live, at least for now, and we can finally get back to creating new shows for you.
Today, we’re releasing an Ask Me Anything that I actually recorded several months ago, before this whole near death experience debacle. We cover a lot in this episode.
I’ll be doing a lot more of these livestreams and AMA’s in the weeks ahead, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out.
Ok, here goes. In this Ask Me Anything, we’ll cover:
- Longer fasts that last 3 – 5 days
- What to steer clear of when it comes to seafood
- How to kick-start fat-burning again after losing 170 pounds
- Tips on getting quality sleep
- How to start incorporating deep breathing and mindfulness
- Why jumping rope isn’t just for little girls
- And tons more…
I hope you enjoy this one. Hit it.
Ask Me Anything with Abel James
Let’s start with a question from Frank.
“Hi Abel, I love your podcast, Fat-Burning Man. I listen all the time, I even enjoy listening to the same ones multiple times.”
I’ve heard that a few times from you guys, that’s cool.
Frank says, “Since I started The Wild Diet on December 13th of 2018, I’ve lost 60 pounds and I’ve been in a wheelchair unable to do much exercise. I feel great and get a lot of compliments.”
“The question I have now, though, is, I have recently embarked on a three-day fast. And it’s the first time that I’ve ever fasted. I’m just drinking water and black coffee. I’m approaching the three days, and I feel great. I’m considering extending it to five days.”
“Abel, can you give me your opinion on fasting for three or five days? How do you feel about that? I’d love to hear what you have to say. I’m also going to leave you an excellent review on iTunes.”
Frank, thank you so much for the support, congratulations on already shedding 60 pounds since December. That’s amazing.
Some people struggle to lose 5 or 10 pounds in a year. In half a year you’ve already made such incredible progress, so kudos to you.
That takes a lot of personal responsibility, diligence, discipline, and all sorts of things you understand, especially if you’re unable to do much exercise.
That was also the case as well with Kurt Morgan back on that TV show when you guys saw me coach him.
It just goes to show that while exercise is definitely an important thing for lifestyle factors, when you’re talking about getting your body shape, your metabolism and your health in order, it’s really about your nutrition.
It’s about your lifestyle certainly, but especially when you’re trying to change the shape and the size of your body, you cannot overemphasize the importance of eating a solid diet or nutrition plan.
So let’s get to some of your questions, specifically about fasting. I love that you’re fasting.
I was just doing an interview with Dr. Anthony Balduzzi, which we’ll be releasing in the coming months. He’s a really smart dude, and we were literally just talking about three, five and seven-day fasts.
And as you long time listeners and viewers know, I’m a big fan of fasting. I’ve done it myself pretty much every day for the past 8+ years.
And for probably 7 of those years, I’ve been eating one to one and a half meals a day. Usually, I’ll just eat one meal a day at dinnertime.
And so it’s kind of like a 20:4 fast, if you’re talking about hours. I started off with 16:8.
But anyway, those are short-term daily fasts. And that can be great for managing your macronutrients, and for simplifying your life, because you’re reducing the amount of meals that you’re eating.
It’s easier, as well, to avoid overeating when you’re kind of scheduling your days this way, because you just don’t eat for half of the day or more.
That makes it a lot easier for me. I find when I start eating, that’s when I become hungry. And so I put on muscle relatively easily, but I also put on fat very easily.
So depending on where you’re at, you need to adjust the strategies to your goals, to your body type, and all of that.
But anyway, that’s all short-term fasting and that’s kind of a different beast, a different animal from the three plus day fasts.
Now, historically speaking, and certainly when you look at the animal kingdom, fasting is something that we’re all well adapted to do.
If you think about it as something that balances your body, I think that’s the right way to go.
And before I get too carried away, I’m definitely a fan of strategic and well used fasts that are extended if you do them the right way.
There’s definitely a right way to do them, and there are wrong ways to do them.
But the idea is, you think about the ying and yang, and on one side you have the active male principle going forward all the time, and then you have the more balanced and receptive female side.
Now, if you think about the body, if you’re eating all the time, you’re kind of in an anabolic state, you’re putting on mass, you’re putting on muscle or fat, your body has to work hard to digest all of this stuff and turn it into your body, or excrete it, in the case of waste.
So, when you look on the other side of that, the more receptive side, the meditation for your esophagus, there’s the fasting, the meditation for your stomach.
It’s giving everything a break.
And certainly in the animal world, as I said, this is something that happens all the time.
If a dog gets sick, which happens to our dog sometimes because she eats everything and it’s disgusting. She’s right here, by the way, and Alyson’s right here. Thank you for your help Alyson.
One of the first things that animals do when they get sick is stop eating. And a lot of time, that’s kind of how you know that they’re sick.
That’ll happen with humans, as well.
And one of the reasons for that is because the body can spend more of its energy healing when it’s not always digesting biscuits and cookies and barbecue and McDonald meals and chips, and all this other stuff.It actually takes a lot of work for our bodies to turn Twinkies into fingernails. Click To Tweet
So, when you’re looking at fasting for three or more days—you say you’re doing it here with water—you definitely want to make sure that you’re hydrating plenty.
And then black coffee, which is a good way to do it because you’re avoiding calories.
And to do a proper fast where you’re really resting your whole metabolic and digestive system, you want to be avoiding pretty much all calories as you’re doing, and avoiding supplements as well, for the most part, with the exception perhaps of minerals, especially if you’re sweating a lot or you’re in a hot environment.
It’s important to make sure that you have your electrolytes. So, that doesn’t really count as calories or food, but make sure that you’re getting enough of that.
Black coffee, probably not that big of a deal, although there are benefits to going without caffeine. So maybe you try that for a little bit to kind of push you through the fast.
You know, personally, black coffee can help me. When I feel like I want something or I feel a little low on energy and I’m doing some sort of a fast, sometimes black coffee can help.
But there’s also a great benefit to giving your liver and body a break from the caffeine and the other constituent parts of coffee, as well. So, try kicking that out for a period.
Maybe if you do the first three days with the coffee, you can try doing the fourth or fifth day without it.
But also, keep in mind you don’t want to be pushing it too far. If your life is falling apart, maybe you should start eating again, but ease into it and go slowly when you do.
Because if you eat barbecue or McDonald’s straight up, you’re going to have a really hard time.
For me, personally, since I’ve been doing pretty much just one meal a day, sometimes I’ll go for a five or six-mile run, or I’ll do my strength workout pretty much all the time, fasted, although I will have some coffee or tea and maybe some fat in there as well.
I haven’t done as many of the extended fasts. This year, I’ve done one over 24, but not quite 48 fast, and I’ll do that every once in a while.
But as time goes on, I see more and more benefit to doing these extended fasts both physically and spiritually.
And a lot of people who I really respect and admire, including many who have been on the podcast like Dr. Perlmutter, the past couple of times he’s come on the show, he’s talked about extended fasting and how he likes to do that.
And so it can be a really valuable thing to work into your habits.
My wife Alyson and I are thinking about doing an extended fast, more like a three-day fast sometime this summer.
So that would actually be a really fun thing to do along with our community, along with you guys, so stay tuned for that.
Make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter at fatburningman.com. Subscribe to wherever you’re watching or listening to make sure you’re caught up because we have semi-solid internet now and we plan to be putting out a lot of cool stuff this summer and this fall.
We’re really going to be ramping it up. So anyway, I appreciate these questions, I want to make sure I don’t harp on it too much.
But anyway, yeah. Fasting Frank, try that three-day, five-day fast, see if you can turn down the black coffee to give your body a break from caffeine, as well.
And then remember, every time that you’re coming back in and starting to eat again, you want to make sure that you’re avoiding heavy foods that are tough on your digestive system.
Make sure you’re hydrating, and remember those electrolytes.
And also, especially for women, fasting can be a little bit different.
You need to make sure that your hormones are cooperating or you’re cooperating with your hormones. So if you feel like you’re crashing, fasting can certainly be abused.
Make sure that you’re not doing it too much, make sure that you’re not sacrificing your health.
This should be done with the goal of improving your health, not sacrificing it and powering through, it’s not about that. So, keep that in mind, as well.
Alright, here’s one from Jason.
I’m going to take a swig of water, speaking of hydration.
Oh, Alyson, I’ll just check-in. Can you see the comments on YouTube and Vimeo at the same time?
Alyson: YouTube isn’t working, but Facebook is. It’s on Facebook and there are comments coming in there.
How is Facebook… Who knows. The Zuckerburglar stole the stream, apparently.
Okay, cool. I’ll get to those Facebook questions in just a bit, but let’s keep going with Jason here. Jason says…
“Greetings Abel. I’m down on the Alabama Gulf Coast where seafood is abundant. What are your thoughts? Anything we should steer clear of?”
Oh man. You know, I love good seafood. Alyson and myself have lived pretty much landlocked for many years, though, in Texas where we met and now in Colorado.
If you can’t get fresh seafood, it’s a whole different ball game. You can, though, but living on the Gulf Coast, you know about the tar balls.
I remember one of the first times I went camping with Alyson, my wife, we went down to the Texas coast and you could smell… The Gulf Coast is kind of the ocean, but it’s not pristine, if you know what I’m getting at.
So the idea is, with seafood and with any meat, anything you’re going to eat for that matter, you want it to be clean. There’s a lot of seafood, and what you want to watch out for in particular is heavy metals.
So, tuna, swordfish, larger fish can bioaccumulate a whole lot of heavy metals that you don’t want in your system.
In fact, if you know of Tony Robbins, he’s been considered a god by a lot of people for many years and was pescatarian for, I’m not sure how many years exactly, but then he had serious problems that he had to work through due to that heavy metal toxicity.
Which is a big issue once it kind of builds up in your system and your bones and all of that.
And detoxing from heavy metals is something that we’ve done before. Actually, Alyson and I were both very high in lead and we went to Dr. Alan Christianson‘s clinic, and we had a couple of other issues.
But you want to watch out for Mercury in seafood.If the seafood isn't fresh, I don't think it's really worth it. Click To Tweet
If you have a fatty fish, that’s buttery and very much high in omegas, I’m a big fan of that. I’m talking about salmon, trout, I like sardines a lot.
So those are some of the go-tos.
The fattier fish, as long as it’s clean, is really good.
We also like Vital Choice Seafood. We get relatively inexpensive caviar from them, and wild caught salmon. It’s just wonderful, it tastes really great.
I’m not like the Casino-Royal-James-Bond-eating-caviar-type normally, but this is a food that is extremely valuable and I think it’s really important to get diversity into your nutrition strategy.
And eating a whole bunch of different kinds of fish is a great way to do that.
So, look out for environmental issues, like pollution, heavy metal toxicity.
One thing that’s helped us avoid sushi, aside from the MSG and flour that’s usually put in the rice and other stuff like that, and just kind of the low quality fish in general.
And if you’re eating right now, I very much apologize.
But it was probably a year, maybe year and a half ago now, I read this article about this dude who was addicted to salmon sushi. Which normally would be a good thing, except the dude got worms in his system from eating all that raw fish.
I used to love fishing growing up, did it all the time when I was a little kid. Went fishing with my dad, with my friends.
But fish get worms, and if you eat raw fish, you can get worms, too.
So, watch out for worms. But in general, the goto pieces of advice for seafood, make sure that it’s as fresh as you can get it, and go for Wild Caught.
Being in the Gulf Coast, I could be wrong, but I believe there’s quite a bit of industrial fish farms, as well, where they feed the fish anything from soy protein isolate to poultry meal, or poultry feces as a food source, where they just living in and eating feces in these tanks.
Really, really disgusting stuff if you look into it. So, know what you’re eating, know the quality of it.
The stuff that I like to prioritize from a health-point-of-view when you’re looking at seafood is, well, first of all, when in Rome, you know?
I’m originally from New Hampshire, New England, where if you could afford it, or when it was cheap anyway, you could get some really wonderful lobster.
I love Lobster and scallops if I can get them fresh. We just had some scallops last night. Wonderful.
The sea scallops, not the bay scallops.
Although skate is also delicious, if you can get that fresh. We had some of that in New York City.
So when I go to Boston, New York City, the Northeast, I load up on seafood.
I went on tour a few times down on the Gulf Coast. I’m not as familiar with which fish you want to aim for in particular there, but be careful with the swordfish, the tuna, the heavy metals, and stuff like that.
And then don’t forget about convenience fish foods. Don’t open them on a plane or whatever.
Sardines are a little gnarly, but they’re really good for you.
Jeez, smoked oysters or sardines out of the can, I’ll have almost every day of the week.
And one of the reasons for that is because we are landlocked, so we don’t often get fresh seafood.
But keep in mind, even if you are, those scallops that we had were frozen.
Just make sure that it’s as clean as anything else that you’re aiming for here.
Alright, we’ve got some great questions coming in. Let me just take a second to have some coffee and sort through these.
First of all, I just want to say. Hi Joe, Stephen, Sam, really appreciate you guys coming in and leaving these questions and comments.
Wow. Okay, so this one’s from Joe…
“I’m 290 pounds and 6’3”. I was 460 pounds down to 290, and can’t seem to lose anymore. I only drink water and green tea, but I can’t seem to lose any more weight. Anything would help.”
Okay, so 6’3”, 290, down from 460. You should be feeling a lot different now.
290 is still probably heavier than you want to be, but being 6’3”, it seems like there would be quite a bit for you to do on the physical side to build some muscle and start changing your body composition.
And trying fasted cardio, like another Joe in the chat mentioned, is one of those things that’s almost as intense as it gets, especially when you first try it.
But just to kind of use the opposite end of the spectrum as an example.
You may remember my friend Chaz who I had on my show, jeez, probably a couple of years ago now, maybe even longer than that. I helped to coach him down to 3% body fat.
And just to put it into perspective, Chaz is a little bit like Thor. He’s kind of got that body type, even the long blond hair.
But one of the things that he did pretty much all the time that would help him speed up his progress was fasted cardio—and keep in mind, he was a young buck in his prime, in his 20s.
But if you’re already having issues, like you say. Joe, you’re down to 290 and you can’t seem to lose anymore.
So, now it’s time to take a look at what you’re doing with your daily practices and also put a spotlight on your sleep in particular.
Because if you’re not getting 7 – 8+ hours of solid, quality sleep at night, then your testosterone will be suffering.
You’re going to have a lot of stress hormones kind of just moving throughout your body all the time that are going to be interfering with a more catabolic side, which is going to allow you to lean down.
So, I would recommend taking a look at your sleep and stress.
And there’s always the mindfulness.
It doesn’t have to be hippy dippy, it can literally just be checking in with yourself every few hours and taking a few deep breaths.
In fact, I could use one right now.
Everyone let’s just do it. Just one. Take a few seconds right now to just take a deep breath. Go ahead.
I probably did half of one. But at any given time, especially before you go to sleep.
Let’s just do that one more time. Go ahead and take a deep breath.
One of the things that you can do is make the exhale longer than the inhale. Play around with a hold, how long you hold it.
We’re up here at elevation, 8000 feet, with a lot less oxygen so it can be interesting. It’s given me a lot more respect for breath work, and how to oxygenate the system.
So let’s look at some of those lifestyle factors.
Yeah, okay, Joe, you say you’re 60 years old, it seems harder at your age.
Absolutely, after age 30 or so, testosterone starts to drop, which is already low, especially in the western world.
It starts to drop about 1% over a year and your hormonal state is going to be completely different pretty much every decade. So, you want to adjust your strategy.
Okay, Joe says, “Can’t sleep, waking up every one to two hours at night.”
There it is. That could definitely be it.
So, instead of really cranking on hard with punishing workouts, it seems like you might benefit in fact from something that’s quite the opposite of that.
You could actually need a little bit more rest.
Actually, why don’t I just talk about sleeping for a moment here because it is so important and it doesn’t have to be boring.
Yes, stress is a part of your life, LOL. It’s part of everyone’s life. But it’s a matter of managing it, really.
But let’s talk about sleep for a second.
So, a few things that you could do that really help.
If you live in a place where you can get sun in the morning, try to go out and get some sun, as soon as you can, let it hit your eyes, let it hit your skin.
This is going to help program your circadian rhythm to be like, “Oh, I’m awake now. This is day time.”
And living in this artificial world of artificial light and enclosed spaces, your body doesn’t get the cues that it needs to know, “This is morning, this is night.”
Because when it gets those cues, it starts adjusting cortisol, starts adjusting your stress hormones.
And so, if those are kicking in right as you’re trying to go to sleep or if you’re waking up in the middle of the night with your heart racing, which has happened to me in the past many times, I was a terrible sleeper.
I did a recent podcast with James Swanwick on sleep.
And one of the things that allowed me to transfer into a much better sleeper is wearing blue blockers at night.
I don’t usually wear them while I’m recording because I think it can be distracting, mostly to you guys, if I have them on during a livestream.
But when we’re working on screens, especially at night, getting the orange-colored blue-blocking glasses, and putting them on as soon as the sun sets can really help.
It sounds kind of wacky and arbitrary but that can really help.
Also, built into modern day computers and devices, you can often find some sort of option for cutting out the blue light from your devices after the sun goes down.
For years, I’ve used a free app called Flux in my devices that does just that, and I would highly recommend it.
And then, you know, there’s some funky bio-hacking type stuff, too.
Doing what I do, we get sent a whole lot of different things to try.
One thing that we tried in Austin, when we were in a hot sleeping situation in the summer, we had something called a ChiliPad or OOLER. It’s this temperature-controlled water cooler mattress topper that goes underneath your sheets and allows you to control the heat or the cool of your sleeping situation.
So for me, I tend to get really temperamental from a heat perspective.
I’ll be sweating and if I’m sweating then I can’t sleep, and I’m waking up, and then it’s hard to fall back asleep because I’m too hot.
We tried the earlier version, it was like the beta version of the chiliPAD back in Austin, and that works great in that sleeping situation.
And now we live up in the mountains, it’s much drier. It just snowed a little bit last night, so it’s a different sleeping situation. But we’ve got two sides of it.
Alyson keeps hers set at like 88°F or 90°F, or something like that, which would drive me crazy, but she loves it.
And then I keep mine at like 67°F.
So with the sheets over us, we keep the windows open, we don’t have air conditioning here.
And so, when you have your temperature taken care of, and when you have the amount of light in the room well taken care of, you want it as dark as possible.
It’s funny. The sun just came out. You want light in the morning, you do not want any light of any kind falling on your skin, or on your eyes, or anywhere else at night.
Our room isn’t perfectly dark, to be honest, but we’re just renting this place. Because it’s got one of those high ceilings and it’s got this big window up top, and so I put my head fortress on.
I put my sleep mask over the eyeballs so that light doesn’t get in.
I cover up almost all my body with the sheets and the blanket so that the light doesn’t fall on my skin, and you can even use earplugs if you need them, too.
So trying stuff like that. A little bit of breathing, some Valerian tea or sleepy time tea, the blue-blocking glasses, all these things are here and there and only cost a few bucks.
From a few bucks to less than 100 bucks, or whatever. And with the amount of sleep medication that’s prescribed, and it’s been prescribed to me in the past to help me sleep. I’ve tried it, it’s something you can get hooked on.
Thankfully, I didn’t personally. But Kurt, back in that TV show, he lost 87 pounds in baout four and a half months or so.
He couldn’t get off one of those sleep medications, so be careful with that stuff.
There are a whole lot of different, more natural, holistic things to try to help your body sleep, instead of forcing your body to sleep, if that makes sense.
Magnesium at night can really help.
Also, I like working out earlier in the day or in the afternoon, and then in the evening is when I fill up on food, and after that I get kind of sleepy because it’s like a food coma.
That’s when I eat my one meal. That seems to work for me. So you can kind of move that stuff around.
Okay, so Katherine, this is a great recommendation to Joe.
She says, “Joe, have you considered functional medicine? I’m 58. It’s about everything Abel is telling you, mindfulness, stress, etcetera.”
Yes. Find a great functional medicine or naturopathic doctor, if you can, obviously easier said than done.
Alyson, what am I forgetting from a sleep perspective?
There are so many different things that you can try, but I think if you stick to the more natural side of things and you stay away from prescription drugs.
Alyson: Exercise is another good one.
Yeah, that’s another one. On the strength days, when I really push myself, exercise-wise, I get sleepy at 8:30pm, sometimes 8 o’clock. I just really tired because the sun has gone down.
And it totally depends, actually, on the time of year.
We’re almost at the solstice again here, so that changes my sleeping schedule and keep that in mind for yourself, as well.
Avoiding alcohol? Big one. I’ve done that with Alyson since last October, I want to say, and that really helps sleep, it really does.
And if you guys have thought about buying chiliPADs or blue-blocking glasses. The chiliPADs are getting up there, price-wise, compared to the blue-blocking glasses and stuff (but here’s a coupon code for 30% off: ABEL30).
But just try one at a time, see if any of that helps.
Because trust me, I used to be one of the worst sleepers ever.
I never really prided myself, honestly, on being a poor sleeper or getting away with less sleep because I honestly couldn’t get away with it.
I would get sick, I put on weight. I just felt terrible, it was really tough.
But you can go from a terrible sleeper to a decent sleeper. I wouldn’t call myself a great sleeper now, but I’m a decent sleeper and that just makes such a massive difference.
If you’re like plateauing or you’re not getting incredible results for a while, take a look at your lifestyle, take a look at your stress, take a look at your sleep and see what you can do there. Maybe it’s time for more of that yin instead of the yang, right?
Oops, I punched the microphone. Maybe it’s time for a little more self-care, for a little bit more mindfulness, deep breathing, and doing the things that relax you that you know are helpful.
Being health for a lifetime is always going to be more about balance than it is about forcing yourself to do anything.
So keep on trying. You got this.
Okay. Give me a second here and I will try to catch up with these comments.
Joe asks “Have you tried the carnivore diet or zero carbs?”
I’ve covered that in a couple of past livestreams and I’ve ranted about it. But I’ll say this, this kind of relates back to the extended fast.
For me, if I’m only eating one meal a day, I’m avoiding carbs for like 20 hours every day.
So that’s not a carnivore diet, that’s more of like a autophagy diet, I guess. Or a fat-burning man diet, if you want to go there.
But the healthful parts, it’s not about eating meat. It’s more about what you’re not eating.
So, eating zero carbs for three days, five days, seven days, can be a great thing for your body to give it a break from sugar and carbs in general.Despite what most people think, you don't actually need carbs to survive. Click To Tweet
But I will say that I cycle them in and out. Mostly out, but we do eat sweet potatoes and whole food carbs and occasionally, some sweeteners too when we’re looking to indulge.
So you don’t have to be 20 net grams of carbs per day or less.
In order to be healthy, you don’t need to adhere to any strict plan about carbs. It’s more just like 50 or 100 net or not net.
I don’t count, it doesn’t matter once you get the hang of it.
You know what a carb is. You know what’s sweet, you know what’s processed and what’ll get your blood sugar really high and then crashing again.
So, try to learn that for yourself because it’s different for everyone’s body, and that can really help.
Alright. Man, we’ve got a lot of questions here.
Thanks Sam, Brenda, Jamie, Back porch Paleo, Stephen, Doug, really appreciate you guys being here with me.
“What do you think of jump-roping and how much time do you think is good to spend daily if you’re new to it?”
I write in my book, jumping rope is not just for little girls. And if you think it is, it’s time to rewatch Rocky.
Anything that gets your heart pumping and you sweating is going to be good.
So, personally speaking, jump-roping has been something I did in gym class in elementary school.
And being Fat-Burning Man, I’ve gotten a few jump ropes. Some of them weighted and some of them otherwise. And I tried them, but I don’t know, I don’t think I’ve quite built the skill for it to catch on for me.
I like running, I love mountain biking, been doing that for a long time.
I really kind of have my cardio and then for warming up, I’ll do jumping jacks or light jogging, something like that.
But all this is not to say that jump-roping is bad or not cool at all, because jump roping is great. It’s awesome training, and is really good for getting all your limbs to work together and getting the timing down.
Jumping in general is really good. Rebounding machines or trampolines, or whatever. All this stuff is excellent for you.
So, how much time do you spend daily if you’re new at it? Go for as long as it’s fun, really.
It’s like, if you start playing piano when you’re a little kid, and you take piano lessons, or whatever, and then it makes you hate piano and you never play again.
Don’t do that with jumping rope, I guess, is a quick way of saying that.
Go while it’s fun, make sure you get a sweat while you’re doing it, and then don’t feel any obligation to really do it more than that.
Honestly, once you get that physiological response where your body has an elevated heart rate, where you’re sweating, your lymphatic system is kind of draining, and blood is moving throughout your body and all this great stuff.
Once you’re there, you know you can keep doing the cardio if you want, but it’s not going to burn much more fat.
The point of working out is not to burn off calories, it’s to really nourish your whole physiology, your whole system.
And so that’s the goal there.
Stephen says, “You look amazing man, you’re getting younger.”
Thank you. Hopefully our advice is working on ourselves, too.
Doug says, “Peace out, folks. Keep up the good fight, sir. Your integrity is priceless. Got to run.”
Doug, thank you so much and glad that you made it.
Lorraine says, “Hey, what is your take on organic medicinal mushrooms? Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane.”
Awesome question. In fact, in my coffee right here, Alyson was kind enough to make us a pot of coffee with 10 different kinds of mushrooms including the 3 you just mentioned.
So yeah, mushrooms, especially in the West, are a very under-appreciated part of a solid nutrition plan.
It’s a wonderful way to get adaptogens in, and biodiversity of nutrients in your diet, all sorts of cool stuff.
There’s a lot of research being done now about mushrooms and there are so many different kinds, and so many different benefits that I am just a total amateur here.
But I’ll have plenty of true experts about mushrooms on my show and podcast in the future.
And let’s see, there are a couple that you can actually go back to and just look up right now, and listen to.
One is with Tero of Four Sigmatic. We talk about mushrooms a lot in that one.
And then there’s another one with Jeff Chilton, too, where we get into mushrooms specifically.
And then a few where I talk about how my parents got into foraging for mushrooms in the backwoods of New Hampshire, where we grew up. They were really into it.
We got to go out with them and find a whole bunch of wild Chaga growing on the birch trees.
And Lion’s Mane is incredible. Dad was great at preparing it. Which usually just means frying it up in butter or olive oil, or some other delicious oil.
If you can get any of these mushrooms fresh or wild out in your area with a true mushroom expert, do it.
Go out in the woods, have them show you around.
Be really careful and don’t do it yourself, because there are obviously poisonous and toxic mushrooms that you want to avoid.
But yeah, get into mushrooms.
They’re a wonderful thing to put into teas, coffees, or to just take straight up as a supplement.
And mushrooms are awesome to add into your culinary habits, as well.
They’re definitely used so much in other parts of the world. They’re literally like a course in a lot of the places that we have visited.
So make sure that you get them in there, too.
Norrie asks, “Is The Wild Diet same as Banting?”
Yes and no. Not really. For anyone who isn’t familiar with it, Banting is really cool and has been around for almost 100 years now.
People have understood this low-carb, low-sugar way of eating for over a century.
And if you look back, I remember seeing something from like 1911, I believe it was, looking at the dietary recommendations for diabetics back then. And it’s basically Banting ketogenic-style diet.
Depending on how you use words. Atkins, low carb, carnivore—what they all have in common is the avoidance of sugar and processed carbs for the most part.
So, in a sense, I think the Wild Diet is mostly about what you’re not eating. It’s dietary self-defense, right?
It’s not about this outrageous diet plan that’s going to get you all these results, because it’s magnificent and this magic bullet, or whatever.
No, it’s not like that at all.
It’s more like, here are the fundamentals that we understand about our physiology, about the way that we move, we exercise, and our lifestyle. Principles that have worked with hundreds or thousands of people, things that we can all agree on that are a good way to go, if you want to lose fat or boost your health or achieve almost any result.
At this point, I’ve done over 300 shows with experts in all sorts of different domains and there are so many different results that you can get.
It’s not about what you call it, as much as what you’re actually doing with your life.
So the Wild Diet is not really meant to be a diet as much as a philosophy, where you’re eating as nature intended.
And I don’t want to make it more complicated than that, really. Because if you can apply that lens to most of the stuff that you’re eating, then you’re going to be winning anyway.
It doesn’t matter what you call it.
I’ve talked about this before, but if you put yourself into the camp of, “I’m a vegan” or “I do Banting” or “I do the Wild Diet” or “I’m a carnivore,” then it’s really problematic in the long term because you don’t want to be following dogma.
You want to be building the skills that it takes to navigate a crazy, unpredictable world, and maintain your health in the process.
Try not to get caught up in the words, and pay more attention to the principles that work.
The principles that work in these dietary practices may at first seem totally different from each other.
Because I’ve been vegan, I’ve tried Banting, I’ve tried cyclic ketogenic diets, and everything in between. It doesn’t matter what you call these things.
It matters what you do and it matters how honest you are with yourself, in terms of meeting your own health goals. So, you got this.
Try to build your own internal compass and you’ll do just fine.
Alright, this is from Joe, “What’s your take on cold showers and saunas?”.
Cold showers. I grew up, as I said, in New Hampshire. And in the winter to save money, mom and dad would sometimes keep the house at like 57°F.
Getting ready for school it’d be -20°F sometimes outside, and with the wind chill -38°F, oh man.
I just got so much of that when I was a kid that I didn’t get into the cold shower thing.
Although I’ve done polar bear plunges for fun up in Canada. And I’ve done that when I was in college, and some other stuff like that.
So anyway, I think it’s good for the body.
But I kind of avoid cold showers, I like them hot.
I like going in the shower, making it relatively short. Not too long, I don’t want to waste too much water, so I make it short and hot and just like, kind of get in and get out, usually.
Now on the sauna side of things, sweating is a wonderful thing for the body for so many different reasons.
We don’t have to go down rabbit holes and explain scientifically or through chemical processes why that’s important. It’s obvious.Any time you're sweating and you've just exerted yourself, you're probably feeling better. Click To Tweet
Now, if you’re sweating all the time just as a matter of living in Texas, that’s not so cool, and it’s one of the reasons that we live in Colorado now, as a matter of personal preference.
But saunas used strategically to help you sweat, to help you detoxify and what have you, can be really great.
Infrared saunas are a big craze right now. And if you guys are familiar with Joovv, the near infrared light therapy, I’m having one of the folks from Joovv on, actually, right after I record this to talk about light therapy and all of that.
I won’t be livestreaming that, but stay tuned to fatburningman.com and I’ll be releasing that one soon.
The folks at Joovv were kind enough to send us a really big unit to try. I’ve never really tried light therapy like this before, and I’m a big fan.
It’s probably one of the reasons that you guys say that I’m looking younger in addition to the bone broth, the vegetables, the fasting, and all the other stuff that we do.
I really do think that some of this more modern technology can really help us if we use it strategically in the right way and not for evil, like the Zuckerburglar does.
So, as long as you’re paying attention to what’s important in your habits, you’re trying different things, you can find these really wacky things that do in fact work.
Like, I still wear those Vibram FiveFinger barefoot shoes when I go out for runs.
Some of these things that other people have dismissed as fads long ago still work really well.
Like PEMF… Boom! I’m working electro-magnetism on myself right now, so I don’t collapse from doing livestreams and podcasts all day.
We’ve got some aromatherapy going over here, too.
I’ve got some nice mental focusing blend, which is lemon oil, peppermint oil, wintergreen oil, basil oil, rosemary, and grapefruit.
Look at how much fun you guys can have with all of this.
I’m not saying that all this stuff works.
I’m more saying, “Hey, isn’t this fun to play with? Isn’t this different from the story that we’re given from the traditional western medicine system that told me 10 years ago that I’d be fat and sluggish for the rest of my life, and this was just my genetics.”
No, it’s way better than that. It’s more fun.
There are a lot of little hobbies to get into, and it’s not all about being a luddite, and going out into the woods and foraging for wild stuff.
It doesn’t have to be like that. It’s more, like I said, it’s about a compass.Let's use some common sense. Taking pharmaceuticals is like taking Napalm, a lot of the time. Click To Tweet
It’s not as targeted as it says it is. And a lot of times there’s collateral damage.
And so if you can avoid going in that direction or the surgical direction, and trust me, I’ve taken a lot of unnecessary pharmaceuticals.
I’ve taken unnecessary surgical procedures, as well.
And in hindsight, especially, you can see what serves you and what doesn’t.
When you go the pharmaceutical and surgical route, a lot of times it’s permanent, or it’s putting a band-aid on a serious problem. It’s not getting to the root, and that’s really what it’s all about.
Joe says, “Do thinner people have lower body temperature? I cycle with someone with three to four layers, and I’m cycling with one.”
Yeah, that’s one of the things that happens when you lose weight, you lose your blanket. It’s a layer of fat.
When you look at, especially sea animals, you can see that they have an enormous amount of blubber to help protect them from the cold.
And essentially, on a human, it’s performing the same function.
Coming from a colder place, that was the reason that I was carrying a little bit of extra weight for a while, in some ways, because it can be uncomfortable to be cold.
But that makes me think, one thing that I didn’t mention about the cold shower thing, is when I go out for a run or when I do Qigong outside, or when I do other exercises, a lot of times, and this is not for vanity reasons, it’s only the squirrels that see me, but I will just be wearing pants or will just be wearing shorts.
I’m not wearing a shirt, even if it’s 30°F or if it’s 50°F. When the sun’s out in this climate, it feels great to have the sun on your skin, even if it is really cold.
So my Qigong, Tai Chi, yoga exercises or whatever, I’ll do for about 10 minutes. And at the beginning I’m cold, but by the end of it I’m warmed up.
And even if I do have goosebumps, I feel comfortable. Comfortable enough that even if it’s 30°F – 50°F, I feel good in the sun. In the shade it’s a whole different story, especially if it’s windy. And then I’ll meditate after that.
And even though it was really cold at the beginning, after just those 10 minutes of light exercises, doing that meditation afterwards is kind of, I don’t want to say mind over matter.
It’s not like I’m some guru heating up my internal temperature.
It’s more like when you go out for a run, or when you go out and do something physical, you do get warmed up and your body, your physiology changes.
And it goes really well after that, even with fewer layers on, right?
So, at the beginning of your bike ride, or at the beginning of your hike, or your run, you’ve got all these layers and then just you’re cold still. But then after 10-15 minutes, you just want to rip all those layers off, don’t you?
So that’s a great thing to honor.
And I think any time you can kind of get away with less and be healthy about it, and smart about it, the more your body is going to adapt and be cool with fewer or be fine with fewer clothes.
Like Wim Hof, he’s one who we’ve been in touch with to hopefully have him on the podcast soon.
Didn’t he hike Everest barefoot, just in shorts or something like that?
And 10 or 11 people have died on Everest this week. It’s crazy stuff.
But once you’ve worked with a body and step-by-step adapted to these crazy situations, or maybe even not so crazy, just more elemental, then your body adapts.
And isn’t it nuts to think that this dog that’s right here, or your cat, whether it’s -40°F in Minnesota or New Hampshire or whatever, or 110°F down in Florida, your cat’s going to be fine.
It changes its own natural coat.
And I think, if we’re honest with ourselves, humans have a bit more power in that regard, than we realize.
So as it relates to the sauna or cold therapy thing, I do believe that cold therapy, red light therapy, all these things are absolutely worth trying and they’re things that I definitely work into my own habits, as well.
Okay, I only have a couple of minutes more here, so I’ll do two more.
Pam says, “Hi Abel. I’m a fellow Austinite and I found you in an unusual way.”
“I had never heard of you or The Wild Diet until a week ago when I was led to you by a spiritual teacher.”
“I have been researching several lifestyle options to help me heal this body and reverse Type 2 Diabetes.”
“I’ve been torn between the whole food, plant-based, no oil route or the keto route. Could they be any different from each other?”
“During my chat with my friend teacher, your name and diet was suggested as a good option. I looked you up, felt 100% drawn to you, and bought The Wild Diet and the online meal plans.”
“I am just getting started and I know I have big challenges. I am a 58-year-old female, about 50 pounds overweight, with hypertension, hypothyroidism, and sleep apnea.”
“I know all these conditions are reversible. I see them as evidence that I took some wrong turns on the yellow brick road, got lost in the forest, and now the flying monkeys have shown up.”
I like that way of describing it.
“I’m so ready to go back to Kansas, so to speak, where I am healthy and able to be more active. I just want my life back.
My biggest concern right now is how to effectively begin the workouts. I’ve been sedentary for about 10 years and I don’t want to do anything stupid that would result in injury.”
“Do you have any recommendations or suggestions for over-50 females, in terms of the workouts? I really want to do this. I know it is time. Thank you for getting well, and sharing all that you have learned. Kind regards, Pam.”
Pam, thank you so much. Just notes like this, so you guys know, really lighten my heart and make all this seem worth doing, especially when it gets rough out there.
And it gets rough for everyone, including me.
So, I really appreciate your comments, your kind words, and also the fact that you’ve accepted that perhaps you took some wrong turns. Because you have to accept that before you can make some serious changes.
So, thank you for the flying monkeys remark, I guess, is what I’m trying to say.
But as it relates to the workouts, if you’ve been sedentary for 10 years, it’s really smart not to want to do anything stupid.
The first thing I would recommend is, if you can, find someone in your local area who can physically show you how to do some of these exercises.
Any trainer worth their salt is going to tell you to do the right functional types of exercises.
If they’re trying to get you on expensive machines all the time, then maybe it’s time for a different trainer.
But just simplifying things, because that’s really what it’s all about.
You want to focus on strength from your core, strength from your hips, and your legs, and your back.
And the ways that you do that are by doing primal movements where, if you’re listening or reading this, obviously you won’t see, but just doing a squat by going up and down, a nice deep squat.
And in the beginning if you haven’t really been active in 10-plus years, it’s going to be hard to go through the full range of motion. But that’s really what you want to aim for, eventually.
You don’t need to use any resistance at the beginning, just body weight type stuff is probably going to be fine.
And eventually, down the road, adding some strength training can be extremely important, maybe even more important for women than men, especially after the age of 40 and 50, once the hormonal environment starts changing. Because you need to maintain your bones if you want to be healthy as you age.
And maintaining your muscle mass or even creating more muscle, as you age, is going to be one of the biggest hedges against the downsides of aging.
You’re going to feel young, or even younger, even though you are technically older, because your body’s state is one of constant regeneration when you’re building strength.
So anyway, start simple. Focus on squats, push, pull. And it depends on how far you want to go with it.
It doesn’t have to be a physical fitness thing where you’re like one of those flying monkeys on a jungle gym, doing all that crazy CrossFit stuff or powerlifts.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
Literally, just for a few minutes a day, if you can do air squats or squat with your back against the wall or chair squats, some sort of variation. There are so many different things to do, that I can’t even get into them right now.
But as long as you get started, you go slowly, you find someone who can help teach you to do it right and not get injured, I cannot over-emphasize that enough, then go for it.
But that’s actually one of the reasons that I don’t put out a lot of exercise videos and stuff, because—free videos, YouTube, online learning is great—but sometimes you need someone there to make sure you don’t blow out your knee or do something super serious.
It’s important to have the right form if you have past injuries and surgeries, like almost everybody does. It’s important to mind those, in particular.
Everyone’s in their own body, and so, moving it correctly and without injuries is so important. So thank you, Pam.
I have just a minute more here, so I want to make sure I get to this one. But Pam, thank you so much for the question. You’ve got this.
And the hypertension, hypothyroidism, and sleep apnea are all things that I was struggling with about 10 years ago, now.
So, yes, you can make changes. You can improve your condition. And I’m really glad that you got in touch.
Alright, Brian says, “Hi Abel. I’m struggling with habitual alcohol use. It’s not a huge problem, but I’m definitely operating at a six instead of a 10. Looking for insight and motivation to get out of this rut once and for all.”
Brian, I hear you. I was there for many years of my life, as well.
Thankfully though, I grew up with an older brother that was a negative example, from a drug and alcohol use perspective, so I was totally straight edge until college, and abstained from all drugs and alcohol.
So that’s my normal operating system, I guess you could say.
And it’s kind of easy to go back to that. Easier than it is maybe for some other folks.
Alyson, as well, came from a Mormon family, and didn’t drink alcohol until she was in her 20s.
So for us, when we’re just like, “Hey, you want to give up alcohol for a while?” it’s pretty easy. In fact, we joke about it now.
I say, “Not drinking alcohol is addictive.”Not drinking alcohol is addictive. Click To Tweet
Because the things that happen in your life, once you get used to feeling that good, and feeling like an 8 or 9 out of 10—I’m not going to say that once you stop drinking alcohol, you go to 10 out of 10 all the time.
That’s not how it works.
But I can say that if you’re at a six right now and you’re drinking, then it’s a pretty easy win.
Try to kick that out, you’re going to save money. And one of the ways to do that is to just don’t buy it when or where you normally would.
It’s in this culture, something that you just do. You have beer, you have wine, and you have alcohol to honor your guests who come over, as a courtesy.
But keep in mind, it’s your house and you don’t have to keep alcohol around just because.
Like, literally, you can do whatever you want with your life.
And so, if you’re serious about kicking out something like booze, which is a horrible, addictive substance at its worse, then giving away your booze or bringing it all to a party and just leaving it there with your friends, as a gift to them and whatever, that can help.
What else? Whenever my sleep is suffering, I just try to be honest with myself and if I’ve been drinking, alright, it’s got to go.
I feel better, not right away, but after about one or two weeks.
And so I do the not drinking thing for months. Jeez, almost every year.
I’ve probably done that since I started drinking, because after a while of drinking, you just kind of know that it feels terrible and it’s worth making some changes.
So, looking for insight and motivation to get out of this rut.
That’s kind of what alcohol is, too a lot of the time, is a rut.
Where it’s like, if you’re in the habit of drinking by 3:00pm or 5:00pm, it’s like, “Alright, time for some booze. I’m feeling a little haggard.”
But that’s what I’m saying, after those two weeks or so, if you avoid the booze, you don’t get that same thing. It’s not time for a glass of wine anymore.
You don’t feel like having that glass of wine is in fact helping you unwind because it’s really not. Your brain starts looking at it differently.
I don’t know how best to explain this, but your brain starts to realize that it’s not a great thing for you after you’ve been away from it for a few weeks.
So, I would say, if it’s not a big deal and you’re just kind of like habitually drinking booze, what if you just drink—and it sounds kind of lame—but drink some tea or drink a seltzer, or find another fun drink for you to have to swap out at night, which is usually when people are drinking.
Instead of that booze, look forward to waking up earlier with more energy.
And when you do—I accidentally wrote a poetry book, started up jazz piano lessons again, and started up jazz guitar lessons again.
And now I’m practicing for two hours every morning, having already written the book and done all this other stuff.
I didn’t even really try to do this, it’s just like I had more space and energy in my life.
And so when you do, that’s addictive.
I don’t want to trade drinking a few glasses of wine that might turn into a bottle of wine at night and sacrifice the two hours of practice and learning that happens, and then all the other stuff that I do with my day after that.
And so, not drinking becomes addictive.
So Brian, that’s probably a good note to end on because I have to go.
But yeah, if you’re at a 6 out of 10, try just kicking that booze out, cold turkey.
It’s easier than you think.
If you want to, relisten to the James Swanwick interview that we put out about getting rid of casual drinking.
I think it’s such an easy win for a lot of people.
Also, keep in mind, we’ve been brainwashed to think that champagne, wine, and beer means celebration.
Alcohol is a depressant, and any link with celebration is brainwashing from marketing.
As a musician who was paid in booze and food and all this other stuff for a long time, and oftentimes had to bring the party or that was part of the gig, that can be a tough pill to swallow.
But once you start to realize, you can celebrate in so many ways that have nothing to do with alcohol, your life can just get a lot better.
So give that a shot, Brian. Let me know how it goes.
And anyone else who’s interested in that, just write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and keep in touch with us, because we’re doing our best to try and build a community here of people who can make positive changes in their lives.
And I’ve thought about maybe doing a challenge, like a no-booze challenge, with some of you guys.
So, if there are enough of you out there who are interested in that and you would like to join in, then definitely drop a line, get in touch and we’ll do it.
Because we don’t just do this for kicks, we do this because we’re trying to help as many people as we can.
And this world is messed up. It messed me up, it messed my wife up, it messed up most of our family, and we’re all just trying to help each other through.
I have to go, but I really appreciate all of you folks tuning in. If you’d like to support us, please check out the shop at fatburningman.com with all of our educational programs.
I’ve got a new book that we just launched called, “Designer Babies Still Get Scabies.” It’s satire and poetry.
And then let’s see what else. Wild Superfoods is our own family company.
My wife, Alyson, me, my mom is a holistic nurse practitioner and herbalist who’s going to be coming out here.
Hopefully, we can film some videos about not only the health supplements that we have right now, but some new really tasty and cool stuff that will be coming out in the next few months.
But anyway, I think we’re still running a sale right now. Go to wildsuperfoods.com, if you’re in the U.S., and get your nutritional goodies there.
And every one of your purchases helps support us, keeps us free of the corporate machine, or as free as we can be. And free of corporate overlords.
So once again, I really appreciate all of your support.
And you don’t have to buy anything, but if you just want to support us, please share one of my podcasts, or shows or books or fatburningman.com or whatever, really appreciate it.
You guys are the best. I’ll be talking to you soon, thanks again once more.
Before You Go…
Here’s a review that came in from Camp FJ, who says:
Loved it! The Wild Diet is an excellent book. This book literally changed my life. I am down 93 pounds and feel better than I was in my 20s.
Wow! That is incredible. Thank you so much for putting everything that you learned into action.
I can only give a template for how to navigate this, and hopefully simplify things a little bit, but I know that putting it into action is definitely the most important and difficult part. So congratulations to you!
Now, you may have heard that I’ve been working on a brand new book.
Well, the wait is finally over!
“What the heck is Designer Babies all about?” you ask.
It’s a subversive, hypnotic little book that confronts dark questions, conspiracy theories, magic, and histories’ mysteries with dazzling flurries of irresistible rhymes and ridiculous rants.
You’ll meet indestructible robots, world-conquering pumpkins, $300 million dollar fighter jets, dog-eating dinosaurs, judgemental Sasquatch, and for the first time ever, The Dastardly Zuckerburglar.
Speeding through true stories of eels on cocaine, you’ll ultimately discover why designer babies and brain implants won’t save us as we tumble toward the Singularity.
I narrate the Audiobook myself, and right now we’re giving it away for free.
How To Claim Your Free Audiobook Narrated by Abel James:
- Step #1: Order the Paperback version of Designer Babies Still Get Scabies from Amazon.
- Step #2: Enter your name, email and Order # in the form on this page.
- Step #3: Check your email for a note from Abel James with a link to where you can download your free goodies
What did you think of this Ask Me Anything? How are you balancing indulging and eating well this holiday? Leave a note below to let us know.