Did you hit the snooze button repeatedly until you had to get up, or did you jump out of bed eager to attack your day?
Did you turn to artificial energy — caffeine and sugar — to put some pep in your step, or were your batteries completely recharged from a good night’s sleep?
Did you feel like a rock — static and inert — or did you feel like a rock star?
I tell ya, if you’re not feeling like a rock star all day, every day, then you’re probably not living your best life– and that’s no fun.
Maybe you’re getting to bed too late.
Maybe the automatic negative thoughts in your head (ANTs) are wearing you down.
Or maybe you’re just not feeling passionate about your occupation, and dread showing up to work for another eight to nine hours of trading misery for a paycheck.
The circumstances standing between you and rock stardom abound. But with a few tweaks here and there, I can almost guarantee that your energy and vitality can shoot to the top of the charts.
And I’m not talking about any one hit wonders here. No, I’m talking crazy longevity. Think Jay-Z, Ice-T, or LL Cool J — those guys have been rocking it for decades in one form or another.
In about a month or so, I’ll be officially launching my new website, where I’ll be sharing tips on how to live a rock star life by getting your mind right and following your passion.
Today, we’ll stick with food. Because when you eat well, you sleep deeper, think clearer, and even have enough energy to get through your workday with enough gas in tank to do what YOU want to do after clocking out.
Last night, my friend Kathy Smart stopped by UW Radio to share a handful of tried-and-true tips for feeling like a rock star. Check these out…
Do yourself a favor and remove gluten — a protein found in wheat, barley, oats, rye — from your diet for thirty days. I know, it sounds like a really long time to go without these staples. Just try it.
The first week will be challenging to get through, but I promise that ninety-percent of those who eliminate these foods will feel so amazing that they’ll never want to consume gluten ever again.
Nothing worth doing is ever easy at first. If you’re serious about your impending rock stardom, you’ll give it a shot and stick with it.
Add These Superfoods.
When you get rid of the gluten, you’ll have to replace those foods with some healthy alternatives — and I don’t mean gluten-free goodies like cookies, breads, and muffins. Not even. Those are usually worse than their gluten-containing counterparts.
Whenever I go to the market, every couple of weeks I make it a point to purchase something I’ve never tried before. Who knows, I may have been missing out on something for the past 35 years! I’ve discovered some pretty rad foods like dulse, chia, and asian pears this way.
So next time you’re strolling down the grocery store aisles, pick up one of these foods…
Avocado. Super yummy and contains more potassium than a banana, thus fighting high blood pressure.
Seaweed. Loaded with trace minerals and iodine (for your thyroid, of course). Also high in calcium and iron. If you’re ever at a Japanese restaurant, order the seaweed salad. Totally rocks!
Chia seeds. Sprinkle on a salad, or add to a healthy smoothie. Your digestive system will thank you!
Cruciferous vegetables. These include broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and more. They stimulate the detoxification system, neutralize carcinogenic in your body, and lower circulating estrogen levels. I spent three years testing hormone levels, and found that many of my male clients had sky-high estrogen scores. Guys, eat more broccoli!!! It’ll make a man out of you.
Click HERE to listen to last night’s show in its entirety. Kathy — a chef and bestselling cookbook author — shares her favorite ways to prepare these superfoods.
You can also pick up a FREE copy (PDF format) of her cookbook Live the Smart WayHERE.
Exercise, But Don’t Over-Exercise.
Although it sounds counterintuitive, more exercise is not always better. Too much cardio can actually burn out your adrenal glands and pack more fat on you. Yes, exercise can make you fatter!
Stick with a good 15-20 minutes of interval training, then head over to the weight room (or the park, backyard, beach, or living room) for some weight training — bodyweight movements, squats, lunges, kettlebells, push-ups, pull-ups, etc.
No one ever became a rock star overnight, it takes time. The above recommendations are a great place to start your journey. Once you get a taste of how it feels to absolutely crush your day with energy, passion, and a smile, you will be addicted for life. Why live any other way?
Over the years, I have gotten my fair share of email from readers, viewers, and listeners wondering what they can do if high-quality (grass-fed, free-range, wild) protein sources aren’t quite in the budget.
Well, here’s a pretty cool option — you can drink more bone broth!
It’s cheap. It heals the gut, thus improving nutrient absorption. And apparently, when consumed in sufficient quantities, it reduces our protein needs. In other words, we can get away with consuming less protein.
Sarah Pope covered this topic pretty thoroughly in her Real Food Summit presentation, which I have posted for FREE viewing as part of yesterday’s blog.
Check out the video clip below in which Chef Lance Roll and I discuss this fascinating benefit of that magical elixir we call bone broth.
Never in my life did I imagine I’d be so head over heels about a soup made from bones.
I guess you can say I have quite the man crush on the rich, brown liquid that fills my coffee cup each morning.
It makes me feel warm inside, and puts a little pep in my step.
And oh my, is it tasty!
But my fondness for bone broth goes well beyond its taste and warmth. There’s a reason why it’s called the magic elixir — and it’s a darn shame that more people aren’t drinking it.
There was a time, not long ago, when bone broth was a part of just about every meal we consumed in this country, as it provided the base for soups, gravies, and stews. Unfortunately, with the disappearance of the local butcher as well as the invention of brain-cell-killing MSG — which gave processed foods an artificial meaty flavor — preparing broth became a lost art.
These days, very few of us even know what it is, or why we should be consuming it.
So today I thought I’d share with you my own personal Top 5 Reasons Why Bone Broth is The Bomb. Here we go!
Reason #1: Bone Broth Makes Your Joints Feel as Smooth as Eggs.
Yes, that was a Dave Chappelle reference. If you don’t get it, don’t worry about it.
In her ridiculously awesome book Deep Nutrition, Dr. Cate Shanahan writes…
“The health of your joints depends upon the health of the collagen in your ligaments, tendons, and on the ends of your bones. Collagens are a large family of biomolecules, which include the glycosaminoglycans, very special molecules that help keep our joints healthy.”
Bone broth is loaded with glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). In fact, I’m absolutely certain that you’ve heard of one of them — glucosamine. Yep, those supplements that seemingly everyone is taking for joint health contain one of the GAGs we get from consuming bone broth.
You know me, I’m a food-first kind of guy. Here’s just one of the reasons why I prefer Real Food over supplementation…
Notice I said that glucosamine is just one of the GAGs contained in bone broth. When you consume broth you also get chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and likely a bunch of other equally important GAGs that have yet to be discovered.
What’s more, the GAGs we get from bone broth are resistant to digestion and are absorbed in their intact form. According to Dr. Cate, these intact GAGs like hormones, stimulating cells called fibroblasts which lay down collagen in the joints, tendons, ligaments, and even the arteries.
I can personally attest to the joint-healing benefits of bone broth. Before I began drinking it regularly, I had been dealing with a lingering dull pain in my left shoulder. After about a week and a half of daily consumption, the pain completely vanished. My knees feel much better when running stairs as well.
It’s truly powerful stuff!
Reason #2: Bone Broth Makes Your Hair, Skin, and Nails Look Dead Sexy.
I know people who, in a quest to recapture a youthful appearance, will pay top dollar for products that boost collagen — also the main constituent of hair, skin, and nails.
As we age, production of collagen declines and we start to see the outward signs of aging.
Out here in San Diego (Land of The Beautiful), botox — a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum — is all the craze for the reduction of lines and wrinkles.
That’s kinda weird, in my opinion. And expensive.
Personally, I’d much rather prepare and consume bone broth to keep my skin, hair (if I had any), and nails looking fabulous than have a toxin injected into my face.
But that’s just me.
(By the way, broth is super cheap to make on your own.)
Reason #3: Bone Broth Heals Your Gut!
Let’s keep it real. Most people reading this blog right now are experiencing some kind of gastrointestinal challenge — constipation, diarrhea, food sensitivities, leaky gut, or even autoimmune disease.
One of the most vital nutrients for healing the gut is gelatin. Yep, the stuff that makes the Jell-O jiggle.
There was a time when gelatin was the most studied nutrient under the sun for all of its healing virtues. Times have certainly changed.
To make a long story short, the intestinal lining is supposed to be permeable in order for nutrients to pass through. However, this lining can become too permeable due to lifestyle factors such as poor diet, stress, long-term contraceptive use, as well as bacterial and fungal overgrowths. Just think of poking huge holes in your window screens at home. Yes, the good air will pass through, but the flies, gnats, and mosquitoes will too.
This is how leaky gut — or gut hyperpermeability — works. Undigested food particles can slip through the gut lining and pass directly into the bloodstream. No bueno! When this happens, the immune system freaks out and starts attacking the very foods you eat — we call these food sensitivities.
Over time, this can turn into an autoimmune issue by which your immune system thinks your thyroid — or any other tissue, for that matter — looks like the piece of steak molecule it’s been fighting off for the past few years. In other words, your body starts to attack itself.
According to our good friend Dr. Thomas O’Bryan, autoimmunity will soon be the number one cause of death in this country. Gut hyperpermeability is a big reason why.
What does bone broth have to do with any of this? Well, the gelatin in bone broth spackles the excess holes in the gut lining, so to speak. It’s quite the handyman, and should be part of any gut-healing protocol.
Reason #4: Bone Broth Reduces Your Need for Meat and Protein.
This is pretty darn interesting. In her fantastic Real Food Summit (RFS) presentation, Sarah Pope revealed that studies conducted in the 1800s demonstrated that when there is plenty of gelatin in the diet, the body’s need for protein from meat sources can be reduced by as much as fifty-percent!
We all know that purchasing quality meats can be hard on the wallet. The good news is that you can make bone broth for dirt cheap and thus save money on meat.
Not a bad deal.
By the way, you can watch Sarah’s RFS presentation below for FREE until Friday night. You may learn more about ordering the entire set of summit videos, audio files, transcripts, and bonuses HERE.
Reason #5: Bone Broth Helps Get the Toxins Out.
Here’s another golden nugget from Mrs. Pope. The liver is the master organ of detoxification. Unfortunately, it was never intended to withstand the very toxic, chemical nature of today’s world.
The liver is certainly under assault on a daily basis, and its capacity to detoxify is limited by the availability of the amino acid glycine.
Guess where you can get tons of glycine from? Bone broth, baby!
For now, forget about all the fancy detox programs you’ve heard about. Do your liver a favor by giving it what it needs to do its job most effectively.
Gosh, I can go on and on with this blog. The benefits of consuming bone broth are endless. That’s why it’s the bomb.
Down below, you’ll find a list of resources including a couple videos on how to make broth at home, as well as some excellent articles.
If you missed last night’s radio show, it was all about broth. My main man Chef Lance Roll crushed it! You can listen to the show HERE, or click the player below.
Last Saturday, I had the privilege of presenting at the Black Male Empowerment Summit at Georgia Southern University (GSU). In the hours leading up to the first of my two talks, I wondered if these young men (and a few women) would even be interested in listening to me babble about holistic health and wellness for an hour. Turns out they were.
They raised their hands and asked great questions.
They shared their own experiences.
They expressed their frustrations with the limited access to healthy food.
These young people really cared.
Despite their interest in the topic, I wondered if I had really made an impact — would any of my attendees actually put the information to use?
Then this week, while I read Will Allen’s book The Good Food Revolution for the second time, I came across a passage regarding a recent study of one hundred sixth-graders who had participated in a hands-on, garden-based nutrition education program. Allen writes,
“(These students were compared) with two other groups: students who were taught nutrition lessons in a classroom and those who were given no nutrition education at all. The researchers found no significant difference a year later in the vegetable and fruit consumption of children without nutrition education and those who received nutrition classes. The students who received hands-on training in a garden, however, increased their fruit and vegetable intake by more than two servings a day.” (Allen, 160-161)
No, I don’t typically work with sixth-graders (then again, maybe I should), but I can’t help but wonder…
Does the power of the real food message reside in the information alone, or is the most powerful impact sparked by a real life physical connection with the soil and where our food comes from?
Is spending a day on a farm infinitely times more transformative than reading a book or a blog?
Will Allen seems to think so, and I tend to agree with him. The urban agriculturalist writes, “My own experience tells me that if we can expose young people to more fresh, delicious food — and create positive emotions around those experiences — that we can increase the chances that they will adopt more fresh food into their diet as they begin to make independent food choices later in life.”
But this begs another question…
In the Black community — or any other neighborhood where healthful food is scarce — where does one go to come into contact with these fresh, delicious foods, and to experience these positive emotions?
In these communities, food is seldom associated with soil but with drive-thru windows and cellophane packaging. Instead of food being the source of positive emotions (and thus healthful choices), food companies link their health-less products to the consumer’s positive emotions for Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. It’s actually quite brilliant.
What is even more brilliant is what Will Allen is doing to bring agriculture back to the inner city. Each year, Will and his Growing Power team — located in Milwaukee, WI — produce 40 tons of vegetables and raise 100,000 fish on just three acres of land, and in an urban area where soil quality is typically poor due to the lack of animal life and organic matter.
Even more amazing than the immensity of Mr. Allen’s food production is the effect his organization has had on the surrounding community, where disinvestment has led to an exodus of supermarkets and an influx of fast food joints and corner stores.
Growing Power is a place where visitors can literally reconnect with their roots. People of all races can dig their hands deep into the soil and feel where real food comes from. African-American men, women, boys, and girls can recapture the generational wisdom of growing and cooking their own food. The shameful emotions of slavery and sharecropping are replaced by a brand new enthusiasm for self-sufficiency and community.
I can’t stop wondering…
What if those students attending my presentation knew how to use earthworms to turn waste — discarded vegetables and fruits, meat scraps, coffee grounds, and paper products — into the most incomparable fertilizer?
What if they knew how to create an inexpensive system for growing fish while at the same time raising plants by using their roots to clear toxic nitrogen from the water before returning it to the fish via gravity?
What if they had spent just a few days of their youths preparing affordable fruit and vegetable baskets for impoverished families?
What if they had, just once, risen at 4am to harvest organic asparagus, collards, spinach, and carrots, and taken them to market the following day to earn income through nourishing the bodies of their neighbors?
If they had had these exposures and experienced the accompanying emotions…
Would they still consume junk food, order meals through a talking menu board, or give two sh*ts about what LeBron and Kobe have to say about anything other than basketball?
Would they need me to fly across the country to tell them what real food is?
At the conclusion of each of my sessions, I challenged the students to be the ones who change the health of future generations of African-Americans. Empowering health habits are just as easy to pass down generationally as poor ones. Be the change.
The world needs more Will Allens. He exemplifies the change more than anyone I have ever come across. His story has inspired the heck out of me. I suggest you read The Good Food Revolution. At the very least, watch the video below to learn more.
Tomorrow morning I’ll be hopping on a bird and flying to the great State of Georgia to speak at the Black Male Empowerment Summit at Georgia Southern University.
My presentation, entitled How to Survive College with Your Health Intact, will offer these young men simple tips and strategies for avoiding the typical health challenges — weight gain, depression, blood sugar dysregulation, and more — that students often encounter by the time they make that final walk across the stage.
But that’s not what I’m embarrassed about.
What’s had me feeling a bit ashamed over these past couple weeks, as I’ve prepared for my talk, is my complete disconnection with the history of agriculture and its impact on the Black community.
It’s been 25 years since I moved from Oakland, CA, where my neighbors and classmates were pretty much all of color, to nearby Alameda, a predominantly White community where I was one of only three Black kids in the entire school.
I’ll never forget the first day of fourth grade at Saint Philip Neri Elementary School. I sat in Mom’s Volvo station wagon crying my eyes out as I looked out into the playground trying to find a single Black face. Talk about culture shock!
Alameda is where I would call home until I left to attend San Diego State University in 1995. I probably don’t have to tell you the demographics there.
By no means are my memories of living in a Black community ones of poverty or hardship. My father was one of the best shoe salesmen Macy’s had ever seen. Mom worked for the phone company.
We lived in a two-story house with a well-kept lawn and a tall palm tree in the front yard. My brother and I had a room dedicated to toys — The Toy Room, we called it — and a swing set and basketball court out back.
Every night, we sat around the kitchen table, talked, and ate Mom’s home-cooked meals. I can even vaguely remember Mom (then again, maybe it was Dad) growing strawberries, tomatoes, and lemons in the backyard. But the vivid memories of spending many Saturdays on my hands and knees pulling weeds will never leave me.
I hated pulling weeds.
Soon after my parents divorced, Dad hit the road and never looked back. My brother and I were two young Black kids being raised by a Mexican mother in a White community. We were mixed up, both literally and ethnically.
As I grew older, I became well aware of the fact that I was missing out on Black culture. In an attempt to make up for it, I read books like The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Soul on Ice, and Manchild in the Promised Land. I can tell you all about the Black Panthers, Fred Hamptom, and the FBI’s programs to destroy the reputations of black leaders (and more).
But one thing I couldn’t tell you about is the connection between agriculture and the current state of the black community. It never clicked. That is, until now.
I have Will Allen — an urban farmer based in Milwaukee, WI — and his book The Good Food Revolution to thank for that.
What’s Race Got to Do With It?
I’m sure many of my readers are wondering what race has to do with it. We live in a time when a Black family lives in the White House. Haven’t we moved beyond race?
In some ways we have, and in others we have not. Yes, we have come a long way in terms of race relations, but all is not well and not everyone is healthy.
Although we as Americans have a right to choose, many of us are running low on options, especially when it comes to our food supply. This fact is no more evident than within this nation’s Black communities where it is easier and much cheaper to purchase a Hostess apple pie than an actual apple, where the closest supermarket is 20 minutes away but the convenience store is on the next corner, and where the food is almost always fast.
In his book Will Allen quotes his good friend Sharon Adams as saying, “Any time you live in an area where you don’t have healthy choices, you don’t have a healthy community.”
Modern disease has run rampant amongst all races, but lack of healthy choices has hit the Black community hardest of them all. It is said that one in every two Black babies born in the year 2000 will be diagnosed with diabetes at some point in his or her life. The odds are 1 in 3 for babies of all other races. Four out of ten Black men and women over the age of twenty have high blood pressure. And Blacks are thirty-percent more likely to die young from heart disease than Whites. (Allen, 7)
Race has a lot do with it.
Lack of access to healthy food has a lot do with it.
Unfortunately, not much is being done about it.
The Great Migration
What never quite struck me until now is that it has only been 3-4 generations since Blacks were agriculturalists. Our ancestors worked in the fields where they grew and harvested asparagus, collards, parsnips, watermelon, and more. Not only did they grow these foods, but they also knew how to prepare them. Farming and cooking techniques were passed down through the generations. Through their knowledge and experience with managing soil and thus the production and preparation of nutritious foods, Black men and women were able to maintain their physical health.
And then it stopped.
This country’s agricultural system was built on the blood, sweat, and tears of Black slaves and sharecroppers. With the Emancipation Proclamation came uncertainty amongst the freed slaves. Allen writes, “…some were said to have walked to the entrance of their plantations only to turn directly around and come back.”
Many of these freed slaves became sharecroppers, entering into agreements with their former owners. These agreements allowed the sharecropper to use the landowner’s farm and tools to grow crops. At the end of each growing season, the landowner would take the crops to market and split the proceeds with the sharecropper.
In theory the sharecropping system seems far more appealing than slavery. However, sharecroppers often had to borrow money from their landowners at the beginning of each growing season. Once the harvested crops were eventually sold at market, there was little, if anything, left of the sharecropper’s split. Season after season, many found themselves in worse debt than when they started.
The breaking point occurred when the Great Depression drove crop prices way down. Sharecropping was no longer worth the trouble. Southern Blacks packed their bags and hopped aboard segregated trains to the North in hope of new opportunities.
It is said that over six million men and women took part in The Black Migration. Most simply wanted to put the hardships of slavery and sharecropping behind them. In so doing, a long history of self-sufficiency and survival through agriculture was lost. Life on the plantation was, for many, a source of shame. Gone was the pride of living off the land. Thus began a community’s dependence on a food system that reflects everything that has gone wrong with agriculture since.
Stay tuned for Part 2 next week. We’ll discuss how Will Allen has brought agriculture back into the inner cities. It’s an inspiring story.
Hate to leave you hanging, but I have to get ready for tonight’s FREE webinar on adrenal dysfunction. It’s at 5pm PT/8pm ET. If you haven’t registered click HERE! Or come back to this blog Monday to watch the recording.
Documentary film maker Eric Merola returns to the show to discuss the ongoing saga of Dr. Stanislav Burzynski and the goverment's war against his highly effective antineoplaston cancer therapy.
Topics will also include Gene Targeted Cancer Therapy, the social media campaign against Dr. Burzynski, and why the FDA remains in opposition of a therapy that has proven to be more effective than the current standard of care.