Written by Christopher Kelly
March 16, 2017
Christopher Kelly: Hello and welcome to the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast. My name’s Christopher Kelly and today I’m joined by Robb Wolf. Hi Robb.
Robb Wolf: Hey man, how are you doing?
Christopher: I am great, thank you very much. If it sounds like somebody bolted me in a box, it’s because I am in a box. I’m in a satellite office at the moment, in a phone booth. So sorry about the sound, hopefully you can still hear me quite clearly.
Robb: I’m sure you’re coming through better than I am, so thank you for braving the weather to make this thing happen.
Christopher: Oh no it’s absolutely my pleasure. Of course everybody who’s listening is gonna know who Robb Wolf is, but just in case you don’t know who Robb Wolf is, Robb is a former research biochemist and the author of the New York Times best-selling book The Paleo Solution. And Robb, I thought I might start by just explaining why you and that book were so important to me. I mean in the beginning, that book enabled me to reclaim my health and then I found the podcast and I found Loren Cordain’s book with Joe Field, I thought was quite helpful for me at that time.
And you just did an amazing job of turning around my health. I had a lot of gas, I had a lot of bloating, I had brain fog, I had zero in sex with women – it was pretty rough and changing my diet was the first step towards completely reclaiming my health. And then something crazy happens. Like once I got through it all, once I’d done the functional medicine bit and I’d had this amazing transformation, I thought “Crap, I’d really like to do this for a living. That would be really fun.”
And then this guy called Robb Wolf had me on his podcast and suddenly it was a reality. We had all these amazing people coming to us – I say us, it was just me and my wife at that time. And so we started a business, and then all the crazy things started happening. So I started getting emails from people who wanted to work with me, and one of those people is Amelia Luca who is now a registered nurse and functional medicine practitioner who’s been working with me for a couple of years now. Absolutely fantastic woman. And then of course, Dr Tommy Wood heard me on that same podcast!
Robb: Oh wow, wow.
Christopher: Yeah and so I got…I mean do you know how hard it is to recruit people in the Bay Area? I spent a year on Amazon.com trying to do it and completely failed to recruit any software engineers during that time. And suddenly I had brilliant people just like emailing me saying "Can I work for you?" And wow, what can I say? So that's why you're so important to me. Not only did you transform my health, you also launched me into a business I love and you did solve my recruiting problem too, and you can't really ask for more than that.
Robb: And I’m only 5’9”, who they say incredible. Honestly this is totally from the heart, it is so incredible to hear that and part of what is so incredible to me is I... You and Tommy and the work you guys are doing, the work that Marty Kindle is doing - which I guess I played a part in kinda helping him get some of his stuff going now. You guys are the people that I learn from now. Like you guys are the ones that are doing all this really amazing work and so it's just so cool that I played some marginal part in helping to get you guys going in this direction.
And now like when I'm thinking " Oh I wonder what the story is with this, with that", then you guys are the ones that I'm turning to now. So I mean that's just so cool and a really neat kind of cycle of life on kind of an intellectual side I guess. Thank you, thank you for the props and for doing the amazing work that you're doing.
Christopher: Well that's absolutely my pleasure and I should really give credit to Tommy here. So Tommy is obviously the person with the formal education and he works now as an academic and soon he will be working with me full time. And he is like no other guy I've ever met. Even though he has all the formal education and he's worked professionally as a medical doctor and now as a research scientist, he still listens to your podcast.
He still listens to a ton of podcasts, he reads all the blogs, he's just got a voracious appetite for information. And so it's him that loads me up with really good questions for interviews so I can't... All I do is just turn up and ask them, it's easy.
Robb: You…that’s an amazing partnership but you know your way around some metabolic pathways, so don’t sell yourself short. You’ve got to have some decent steeping in that to even be able to take what he’s feeding you and then articulate it in a good way, so don’t sell yourself out.
Christopher: Hi everybody, just a very quick interruption to come over to nourishbalancethrive.com/highlights. That link will be in the show notes for this episode and over there you can sign up for our weekly email where Tommy and I will send you an interesting scientific paper we've read with actionable advice, nonsense that we've read or heard and why it's nonsense. And then something awesome like Robb Wolf's new book Wired to Eat and we'll tell you why it's awesome. So come over to nourishbalancethrive.com/highlights. Now back to the interview.
Okay thank you. Well the first question I have to ask you is why you wrote your new book, Wired to Eat. So after all that high praise – you fixed my health, you changed my career, you've solved my recruiting problem, you've totally transformed my life with this amazing book The Paleo Solution. Why the heck would you write another book?
Robb: You know, it's a little bit like having kids. You have one kid, you are like "Good God, never again." and then a little bit of time goes by and then you know, amnesia sets in and then you forget what an absolute kick to the Jimmy the whole process is. It's kind of funny, like I... This shows really how naive I am.
Robb: When I finished The Paleo Solution, literally as I sent... When I pressed send to our publisher and like this is the last draft, it's the final hurrah, this is going to be a printer book here soon. And I looked over at my wife and said “Well Nikki, we need to figure out what the next step is, you know. Everything's done, I've done it all now." I felt like The Paleo Solution was such a comprehensive [00:05:53] [indiscernible]. Not that it was going to sell like Harry Potter, but it was just like well there's nothing really to be said on this topic, which is hilarious looking back now. Just equal parts naivety and idiocy, but as effective as that basic paleo template in this ancestral health perspective has been for people, there's just been a lot of holes.
Like a lot of stuff has grown up over the years where... And you know this is so much about what you guys are talking about with Nourish Balance Thrive, is this customization and individualization. And that was really absent in the first book. And so that was a piece that over the course of time, I felt like I really needed to be addressed. There were some really interesting research that had emerged looking at personalized nutrition, looking at the huge variability that exists from one person to another with regards how they responded to blood glucose and an insulin release level. And there's just almost no rhyme or reason to the story.
Certain foods like hummus in some folks produce a great blood glucose response. For other people it's terrible and you can't really make heads or tails out of it other than just finding some patterns. And so that was some really compelling stuff. And then as I listened to a lot of people who had started on things like a Whole 30 or a paleo challenge or something like that, a lot of people will start off making good success and then a month or two months down the road, they would kind of spin out. And in talking to these people, it was interesting. The thing that I got from them with a little bit of probing was that they felt like there was something deficient in them.
The whole process should be easier, that this was really hard and if I was stronger, better, more morally fibred or something like that, the whole thing would be easier. And I was thinking about that and I was like "Man that's really not the case." Like if you understand the way that our physiology and biology has been forged via evolutionary pressures, we are genetically wired to eat more and move less, and that means eating anything that's not nailed down and then going and laying down and sleeping ideally.
And that's what made us successful in the past but now, we can order food to our front door, pop it in the microwave, work from home, never get out of our underwear and so we've created a situation where from that evolutionary biology perspective, we've kind of like won. Like you can get maximum calories, minimum effort getting them but we've so won in that regard that we are actually making ourselves incredibly sick and it's a very difficult trap to get out of. A big driver in writing Wired to Eat was trying to defuse the morality in the sense of guilt that a lot of people have a round this just process of diet and behaviour change.
And so it's different than The Paleo Solution which clearly was very much starting from this like "Hey look at these hunter gatherers, they were pretty healthy. Maybe there's something that we could learn from that." Whereas this one is still really leaning heavily on ancestral health and evolutionary biology but it's really starting from the fundamental question of how does appetite regulate the way that we eat and the way that we live? What are the factors that go into modulating our appetite?
And this thing ends up kind of cutting through the macronutrient wars, the high carb versus low carb debates. All of that stuff kind of settles out in pretty interesting fashion where everybody that seems to have little bits of truth, it's really kind of crystallizes and becomes much more obvious as to where these things are [00:09:44] [indiscernible] when we start looking at this whole story from the neuro-regulation of appetite, optimum foraging strategy, those types of concepts.
Christopher: You fall into those category of people that help me understand the world and I absolutely love those people, because once you understand how things are likely to go, it makes you understand how they are likely to go wrong, right. So you remind me actually of when I went to university. It was actually the 2nd year before I started learning how to program, even though it was the computer science undergraduate degree. The first year was just them teaching us principles, and once you understand principles, who cares what the programming language is, right?
Christopher: That’s just a minor detail that comes at the end, like it’s really all about the principles. And so this name Wired to Eat, I think is so perfect because it helps us understand how we’re likely to behave.
Robb: Thank you! It’s funny, the publishers hated the title at first. Hated it. It was actually a battle with those guys. They’re really amazing people but I didn’t realize it but 97%, 99% of the health wellness kind of self-help books are ghost-written. So you’ve got like a celebrity chef or whatever and they’re gonna do a book and they have a person they can kind of contract with the individual and they write it. And the books are oftentimes very good, but they’re kind of formulaic. And the way that I write – I didn’t even realize this – but one of my provisional editors observed that even though this is a technical book, it’s written in a novel format. You need chapter 1 to get chapter 2 to get chapter 3. And man, my publishers freaked out. They were like “When are you gonna tell people what to do?” And I’m like “In the goddamn implementation chapter.”
And it was kinda crazy, and initially they hated the title Wired to Eat. And I am prone to making things overly geeky and kinda doing a research group in my own head like “Oh that seems great” and then everything else kinda goes south, but this idea actually came from my wife. And so that’s where I was like “Nikki’s always right, so I’ll kinda lean on that.” But thank you, I’ve been pretty tickled with the response to the title and then some folks like you have read the book and generally pretty favourable reviews which is honestly kinda nerve wracking because the first book did really, really well for a first-time author and then a brand new genre.
And when I went shopping around to talk to publishers [0012:08] [indiscernible]. There was huge fear of missing out, like these folks are like “Oh you did pretty good the first time so we don’t wanna miss out.” And there was huge and well-placed scepticism. “Was it a flash in the pan or can this guy actually do something a second time?” And I really didn’t know. Like it was pretty…was and still is pretty nerve wracking because I’ll read back through The Paleo Solution, I’m like “Man this is pretty good stuff! Am I gonna be able to do something better than that?” So thank you for that.
Christopher: Did you ever not just think “Well screw them, [00:12:38] [indiscernible] medium is quite tired and what I should really do is a training course or a retreat or something else.” Did you ever have that kind of dilemma?
Robb: You know, I thought about that and you know a little bit of the backstory where I’ve been working on this risk-assessment program here in Reno for like 5 years. And I thought that that thing was just gonna grey guns and it’s growing but it’s been a much slower process to get that thing off the ground than what I had anticipated. And it’s just there’s all kinds of structural issues within the medical system and what not, and so I had been fiddling with an outline for a book for a long time. Just chipping away at it. That was one thing that I learned about doing The Paleo Solution, was the better your outline is, the easier the book writing process is gonna be.
And so even though I wasn’t 100% sure if I would do a second book, when I thought about shopping this thing around and kind of seeing if there was any interest, I had a really, really, well fleshed out story there and it was easy to articulate kind of the vision that I had for it and we had a really favourable response from the publishers. But I had kicked around the idea of Tucker Max’s book box and the Amazon self-publishing options. Because then you’ve got 100% autonomy.
But if you have some goals with like New York Times bestseller list and then also breaching into brick and wood stores, that can be challenging for you if you do the self-publish route. So it literally…this is as close to my engineering background gets me, but I had this big spreadsheet and it was like all the pluses and minuses of the different routes to go. So it was kind of an interesting process even deciding to do the book and then go with the publisher that we did.
Christopher: Talk about your work with the city of Reno. I know that I know a little bit about it because I’ve read a pre-copy of the book, but not everyone will know. And that for me was a major selling point. I almost would’ve moved that section to the front of the book because once you know about this, you’re like “Shit I’m in.”
Robb: Right, right. And you know it’s funny…so 5, almost 6 years ago now I guess, we moved to Reno. We wanted to get out of Chico, California. We spent about 9 months in Santa Fe, New Mexico which was really beautiful but it wasn’t quite where we wanted to set up shop permanently. But it was a low enough stress environment that we managed to get pregnant there, which was awesome but we had to figure out where we were gonna set up shop and hatch our first kid. And Nikki’s father lived here in Reno. Sort of like “Okay, there’s no state income tax. We’ll go be there for a brief period of time and then figure out where we’re really gonna go.”
Robb: And we were in town maybe 3 weeks and I got a phone call from a guy who identified himself as Green. And I was kinda like “Okay this is weird.” And he said “Hey I’m part of the medical clinic here in town, you should come down and see what we have going on.” So I rolled downtown and walked into this medical clinic and on the walls are a bunch of my books and Gary Tobbs’ books and Loren Cordain’s books, and I’m like “What alternate reality have I walked into?” And Greeny ended up being the guy Dr Jim Greenwald, who is a now retired but formerly pretty darn famous orthopaedic surgeon.
And he and a group of other healthcare providers in this medical clinic, 2 years before I arrived on the scene, they had started a pilot study with the Reno police and Reno fire department that involved triaging these people, finding the folks that were at high risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, getting these people on a low carb paleo diet and modifying their sleep and exercises as best they could. Based off of the results of the pilot study alone, it's estimated that they saved the city of Reno $22 million with the 33 to 1 return on investment. And I was like " Holy smokes" I've had some talks where I've mentioned I felt like there was an opportunity to see something like Moores law apply to medicine but it was only going to come about by the application of this evolutionary medicine, functional evolutionary kinda interface.
But you know we have very sparse examples of where this stuff is working, so this was a rather large example. A very robust data collection and our clinic actually consults with Dr Gerald Reeven of Stanford who is the guy who coined the term metabolic syndrome, and he actually loves the work that we're doing there. And so it was really a huge validator and it was actually part of what lit a fire under me that although I feel like people have overly used the paleo diet concept as an end all be all instead of a starting point, but also was like " Man this stuff is really powerful. More people need to know about it and also know about how it's been implemented in a citywide institutional level."
Christopher: You know you talked about... You mentioned this in the book actually, this mindless process of asking "Is this paleo?" And I've seen how unhelpful that can be once you get to a certain point. But for me personally in the beginning I just needed someone to give me a list of foods that were the right answer. If you had kept asking me "Well how do you feel now?" "Still shit, still shit, still shit." Until somebody gave me a list of foods that we're not going to make me feel shit. But I'm just wondering, what did you get these guys to do? What were they eating before and what were they eating afterwards?
Robb: You know what that's a really good question and this is kind of a cool feature of this whole story. So maybe about 8 years before I arrived on the same here, there were two University of Nevada Las Vegas police officers. No, three of them. Within a one month period, two of them had a heart attack and one of them had a stroke – or two of them had strokes and one of them had a heart attack – but the basic takeaway is 3 of these UNLV cops almost died in one month.
They were all cardiovascular disease related and they all – because it's assumed within the state of Nevada and a lot of states are like this – that these public servants like police and fire... Because of the stress and demands of their job, a lot of these chronic and degenerative diseases are assumed to be kind of a workman cum labouring industries issue. So these people survive, then they are medically retired. And when they are medically retired, the on the books cost is about $1.5 million to $1.8 million.
The real cost can be 5 to 10 times more than that. And so there's a huge potential loss of life, which is really important but when you look at... You do a little digging and like underfunded pensions and underfunded medical plans and stuff like that, particularly at the state and local level in this things like for police and fire departments and Teachers Union and stuff like that. There's not enough money in these things. Like there's going to be a really crazy wake up at some point and so this is where Jim Greenwald – Greeny – and other folks said “Hey can we find these guys early and do something about averting this catastrophe?” And so they tracked down Gerald Reeven and started consulting with him.
He give them some recommendations about what to look for as far as digging up metabolic syndrome. And again, this is now maybe about 6 years ago. So they started screening a bunch of cops and firefighters and they in fact found a lot of people they were metabolically deranged, had some insulin resistance – particularly the people who are on night shift ended up having problems. But this is what's so cool about this study that they did. For two years they took the cops and firefighters and took them from the cop and firefighter diet, got them eating closer to the recommendations of American Dietetic Association's guidelines, and these people got worse.
Robb: Like the cop and firefighter diet was better for them than what the ADA recommendations were. At least their kind of takeaway understanding of this stuff. And we have dieticians that meet with all these people once a week and all that stuff, so there was really a problem here. But what it did is it caused our doctors in the clinic to say "Okay if the recommended approach isn't working, what's the null hypothesis? What's the other side?" And so they found Gary Taubes’s work and started kind of playing around with that. They ended up finding my book and implementing that.
And so what they would do is have individual consults with a dietician and an exercise physiologist. They gave them a real simple template of yes/no foods and they did weekly check-ins, they had group meetings. We also developed a program called Train the Trainer where we would actually train health coaches in a police department or fire department. And for like every 20 people we ended up training 1 or 2 health coaches, and so these were people that were on the dime of the police or fire department but they had real interest in CrossFit or paleo diets already.
So they were already passionate about this and they became an effective liaison between our clinic and the local police and firefighters. And it was interesting because they actually ended up offloading a decent amount of work that was required to keep these people monitored. They loved doing it because it was kind of outside the scope of their normal work and their colleagues really trust them because they were a cop or a firefighter.
They didn't want to go give up the intimate details of their crappy diet and whatnot to our dieticians and doctors, whereas they really trusted their co-workers. So that's a way larger answer to your very concise and on point question, but it's interesting that we have 2 years of data where following the recommendations of the ADA made these people worse. We switched it all up and really found some really remarkable success and there were some other features to this which is part of why it's been very difficult to replicate this. We had buy-in from the chief of police, the chief of fire, the mayor, the city council, the old guard medical establishment and there was really a pretty heavy duty cultural energy that if you were one of the people that was basically labelled "dead man walking" because you went through the risk assessment program and it's like "Dude don't sneeze, you're going to die right now."
If you were the Dead Man Walking, there was a pretty heavy duty culture leaning that encouraged you in a pretty profound way to toe the line with this new program. And without that kind of social structure, we found it very difficult to get buy-in, people just don't care. Which kind of circles back to a lot of the point of Wired to Eat.
The whole food, social media distraction, 24/7 entertainment, everything in our lives are set up in such a way that it is working against our revolutionary biology and this is part of the reason why it has been so hard to get buy-in on this risk assessment program, because really all the structures are set up to work against us and not for us. And it's been a fascinating process trying to breach some of those areas and try to get broader acceptance with this.
Christopher: What buyer markets were you using to identify these guys that were dead men walking?
Robb: So you know... That's a really, really good question. And so they were using initially just the standard lipidology panel. You know, like total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides. From the work of Gerald Reeven then you start looking at things like triglyceride to HDL ratio, HDL total amount relative to LDL total amount. Which was helpful but there were a lot of people sliding through the cracks, like they had done some work with the FBI and there were a couple of people that had flown through the basic lipidology or the basic screening panels and they looked okay, and these people ended up having heart attacks at like age 35, 40, stuff like that.
And so they started to working with an outfit called LipoScience, an ND Phd William Cromwell. And he’s one of the primary people that pioneered the technology of NMR spectroscopy applied to looking at lipo proteins, which are the things that actually carry cholesterol around the body. So we got HDL particles, LDL particles, there would be like a zillion different particles and so we really started looking at lipo proteins as the main surrogate or indicator of insulin resistance, and there’s some proprietary stuff where they look at LDLP and also some stuff called glycae and a couple of other markers that LipoScience is pretty oblique about the algorithm they use.
Robb: But there’s some indication that it will ferret out the beginnings of insulin resistance years before you see any of the classic biomarker shifts, like suppression of HDL, A1C elevating and what not. But these are the things that they started using to do more granular testing. What they were really discovering is there are a group of people that are what’s called discordant. So in general, the number of lipo proteins that you have will kind of linearly correlate with how much cholesterol you’re carrying around in those lipo proteins. But in certain people it becomes discordant and this seems to be particularly rampant in folks that are on shift work or are in a hype-vigilant state, high stress.
But these people, if you just look at their cholesterol levels and their triglycerides and their blood glucose, doesn’t look particularly crazy. You know, it’s maybe a little elevated but nothing that would really raise anyone’s alarms. But then when you look at their lipo proteins, we’d like to see say like LDL particle count to be under 1000. Some of these people are 3000 and 4000. But they didn’t have particularly elevated cholesterol, so they had the discordant process and they would normally be the person that is missed by conventional screening but would be picked up by this advanced testing.
Christopher: Right. And how do you think those people would have done on the Kraft test? I know you know what that is so for people listening that maybe don’t know what it is, it’s the 4 hour glucose tolerance test with insulin. So each mark... You drink a bowl of some insulin, maybe 75 or 100 grams of glucose and then every hour on the hour you measure glucose and insulin. Iver Cummings has been an amazing guy at championing the work of Joesph Kraft and [00:27:18] [crosstalk] [indiscernible] test and they would have just flunked that so badly.
Robb: I guarantee you they would’ve flunked that test, and this is something that I’ve brought up within the clinic to try to maybe do some correlative studies and I haven’t really had any buy-in with that. But the…let’s talk offline because William Cromwell – the guy who’s the head of cardiovascular disease research at Lab Core – he’s the guy that pioneered this stuff. He’s the one that’s in charge of doing all this type of continuing research, but he has some biomarkers that he’s claiming have a 15 to 20 year early predictive value for saying “Yeah you’re gonna develop type 2 diabetes.”
And so it’d be really interesting if we had some sort of a sliding scale there, and then if we could do some Kraft testing and then maybe get some correlations or some slopes so that we could say “Okay if you’re at a Kraft value of this, then your lipo proteins may look like x, y, z or whatever.
Christopher: Maybe this would be a good time for you to talk about some of the bonuses that are available to people who pre-order the book. I think I could turn this interview around fast enough for those to still be available, ‘cause I listened to an interview on SoundCloud recently, so do you wanna talk about these bonuses?
Robb: Oh yeah let’s see here, we’ll see if I can remember what’s going on with that. So the book will be released March 21st but prior to the release date, we have 4 bonuses. The first one is a workbook which basically helps you to do a really effective job of implementing the 30 day reset and the 7 day carb test, which are the two kinds of implementation pieces within the book. And this workbook takes you step-by-step through the triage process, by figuring out where you are insulin resistance, insulin sensitivity spectrum and that will kind of determine what flavour of a lowish or moderate carb paleo type diet you're going to start with.
And then from there, based off of the results that you get – both subjective and objective measures – then that's going to determine how you tackle the 7 day carb test. And so the workbook is really cool, I had hoped to put something like that in the main text of Wired to Eat, but the main book is already like 400 pages. So the publisher again was like "No way, we are not sticking another 50 pages in there for the workbook." So there's that and then there's a really awesome interview, I think it's about an hour, an hour and a half long with William Cromwell, who is the head of cardiovascular disease research at LipoScience.
So we go through all the recommended blood work that I have in the book and then also we talk about some of these other right on the edge of FDA acceptance and whatnot of these things like glycae and these really long-term predictive numbers that he's looking at. So I've got that interview and then we have a special offer from Thrive Market, which is basically I have a curated list of goods to fill your pantry.
Robb: Like ideally similar to the first book, when you get ready to do this, you clean up your pantry and then we gotta refill the pantry and Thrive Market has offered a $20 gift card for all the folks that pre-order the book. That applies only to US residents, unfortunately. But still pretty cool gig. And then there’s one other thing, I can’t believe I’m blanking.
Christopher: It’s the bonus chapter, lies down…
Robb: Oh the bonus chapter! You know this better than I do! I should have let you do this. So this was supposed to be the first chapter of the book and again, because of the length of the book and also I think to some degree the publishers just not quite understanding what the heck I was up to – they really felt pretty strongly about pulling that [00:30:59] [indiscernible] statistics out of the book.
But it basically sets the stage for how we’ve arrived at our current kind of food and healthcare situation and it looks at kind of the academic…the interface between academia, politics and also I guess where the media ties in, and then also the basic economics that have been involved in this whole story. And it’s honestly my favourite chapter of the book, it actually has some really funny, pithy stuff in it and also some kind of heartbreaking stuff. So that’s the 4th bonus that folks get when they pre-order.
Christopher: I’ll look forward to reading that. I haven’t read that part yet but I…
Robb: [00:31:37] [indiscernible].
Christopher: I know, I’ve already got it. I pre-ordered it. You sent me the pre-order copy and I read that, it only took me 2 sittings to read the whole book and then I just pre-ordered it. I wanna up to searching it in Kindle, you see, so I had no qualms about buying the book on Kindle as well. The funny, pithy thing is one of my favourite things about you, and I think we’ve talked about this offline before – that somewhere there needs to exist a Wiki that contains all of Robb Wolf’s quotes.
I’ve highlighted a couple here that “Most Americans understand how to do their taxes better than how to eat. The paleo dies is more misunderstood than a goth kid living in Arkansas” is one of my favourites. Tell me what you meant by that when you said it.
Robb: Well the deep south – which is where my mum’s side of the family is from – is populated by a lot of really amazing people, but sometimes they’re not the most open-minded folks. And you know what, a goth kid living in the deep south could probably get some pretty long hard stares from people. So that’s the implication with that, yeah.
Christopher: Talk to me about your experiments with the continuous blood glucose monitor, ‘cause I’ve also worn one of these gadgets and I pricked my finger a bazillion times and measured blood glucose, and that was very helpful. Especially in the beginning, very, very helpful. I was obviously on the road to disaster in the beginning and I’ve certainly turned that ship around. And then wearing the continuous glucose monitor, it revealed some things that were still quite surprising to me. So I’ll give you a couple of examples.
One was the…when I raced my bike, my blood glucose just goes completely bonkers and so obviously eating carbohydrate or protein is not the only thing that raises blood glucose in theory. But the other thing that was quite surprising for me was that just going for a simple walk, right. So you have a big meal, maybe a little too many carbohydrates and you think you’re doomed just to sit there and watch your blood glucose creep up to a 180. But actually if you just go for a walk with your kid – like toddler pace walking is enough to lower my blood glucose, which I found quite surprising. So tell me about what you’ve been doing and what you’ve learned.
Robb: Yeah and you know my experience really parallels yours. I don’t know what it is, like I love science and I love quantification. I don’t know if it’s because I was a biochemist for a long time and like every damn thing that you do, you weigh it and measure it. And like maybe my early years with CrossFit, where they were into the zone and they wanted you to weigh and measure everything. Like I’ve just been almost allergic to a lot of the quantified stuff. I’m just like “No, no I want it to be experiential.” But there’s a reality that at some point, good data – like empirical objective data – is really valuable.
And so I make some recommendations in the book about using a blood glucose meter to track your blood glucose response to meals, and that’s part of the 7 day carb test. And so my wife was like “You know, you really need to do this too.” And I’m like “Okay.” I managed to work with an outfit which... I think we both know these folks. They are the people that are licensing this technology of checking the gut microbiome, doing blood glucose monitoring and seeing how you respond to foods, and then they make recommendations about what your kinda like optimized diet is and what not.
But they sent me a CGM, a continuous blood glucose monitor. And after I got over the fear of slapping this thing on the back of my arm, 'cause the probe...when I took it out, it looked like a piece of thread. But when I got ready to push it in, it looked like a giant 5 gauge needle that you could aspirate all the volume of my body in one pull, but it ended up not being that dramatic. But I noticed a similar deal well if I didn't have a baseline of activity, almost regardless of what I did, I had kind of not the best blood glucose response even if I was kind of eating on the lower carb side of things.
Whereas even if I got out and walked I just did a little bit of light calisthenics or something, it really helped me to deal with my blood glucose which I think both of us have kind of arrived at this interesting spot where probably a bunch of our glucose management should be handled by that non-insulin mediated glucose response, not just the pancreas.
Robb: And so that’s where the physical activity helps to smooth out some of that insulin story. There was a lot of confirmation of what had been subjective but really compelling experience on my part, consuming things like white rice and white potatoes unless it was right after a blistering Brazilian jujitsu session. Unless it was a huge volume and intensity of activity, like 50 grams of carbs from those sources would put me at near-diabetic levels and I would feel like hell for a long time. It really showed me that if I experienced a really big delta in blood glucose, even when the…
So the blood glucose goes up and then it goes back down. What was interesting is that on the back down side, that blood glucose would be like 80 or something like that. Or 85 or what have you. I felt pretty bad because of the difference of what I just experienced. Whereas if I went 3 or 4 days of eating low carb and my blood glucose was at like 68 to 74, I felt amazing but that’s because my neurons in my brain had not just experienced an order of magnitude delta or change in what my blood glucose response had been. So there was a really interesting stuff that I pulled out of that.
One of them was just that in general, our bodies really don’t like massive swings in blood glucose levels. Like that seems to be a way to make people feel really bad, particularly myself. And just as an aside, this is part of…the way that I set some of the benchmarks in the book, like what I would assume to be okay versus not okay with regards to the response to blood glucose was based off the best data that I could pull out of some anthropological studies looking at hunter gatherers that had done an oral glucose tolerance test. And generally if somebody does an oral glucose tolerance test, they take 100 grams of glucose.
If they stay under 200 mg per decilitre, then it’s generally like “Okay you’re fine.” But these hunter gatherers would respond… these are little people, generally. That’s something to keep in mind too – the bigger the person, the relative delusion that occurs here – but these are relatively small people doing this [00:37:54] [indiscernible] of glucose. And the hunter gatherer response was between 90 and 110 mg per decilitre. It was almost like they didn’t even do anything. And so what I took away from that…
And there’s a lot of contention around this topic, but I kinda used that as a benchmark of saying “Well whatever your situation is, if you eat in a way that your blood glucose kinda looks like the way that a really high-functioning hunter gatherer would function at the outer extremes of being exposed to an oral glucose tolerance test, we’re probably gonna do okay with that.” And so I kinda was able to map a carbohydrate types and amounts that would keep me within those perimeters pretty well.
Christopher: So do you think that’s a reasonable target for everybody then? And we talked earlier about the ‘one size fits all’ and I just wondered whether we’ve just kicked that can down the road [00:38:51] [crosstalk] [indiscernible].
Robb: Leave it to you to ask that super thorny question. I’ll go out on a limb and I’ll say yes, and here’s my “Oh shit” exit out the back door when I’m proven wrong on this, but here’s my thought with it. I make a point in the book that some people pull the genetic lottery. Like they’ve got great genetics, they’ve got a great early life experience – vaginal birth and they’re breast-fed and they didn’t get antibiotics until they were 12 and they only had one round of it. And then you have people like me who were vaginal birth, not breast-fed, antibiotics all through my childhood, got put on tetracycline for acne when I was 13, stayed on that until I was 23.
Got giardia when I was 26, developed celiac…you know, I’m on and on and on. I have a situation that…so what I’m trying to do – even though I have arguably shallow into the gene pool opportunities – I can modify my nutrition and lifestyle in a way that I have a hormonal and a blood glucose profile that looks similar to somebody who has highly advantageous genetics and kinda early life history. And so that…and it’s an assumption. It’s definitely an assumption but in working with clients and fiddling with myself, I’ve noticed that if people…you know, some people just need to be tighter with things if they’re gonna get a little bit better health markers, better body composition, just generally feel better.
Robb: So you raise a really good point about is there a one size fits all story here, but there is also I think a pretty good argument that we start dealing with the bell curve and standard deviations and what not. There are people that can handle these extended periods of elevated blood glucose and extended periods of elevated caloric intake, and they handle it better than others. Chris Masterjohn has been talking about this stuff, really fascinating that you develop type 2 diabetes when you lose the ability to expand your fat mass. It’s kind of the point that he’s making, which is really, really fascinating.
And some of that goes into nutrient deficiencies and substrate scarcity which is kindda mind-blowing because it’s like you’re over-reading how you have substrate scarcity. He had some really incredible ways of explaining all that. So we’ve got some bell curve standard deviation stories there, but I think in general, there probably are some somewhat Goldilocks sweet spots that if we generally stay within these operating perimeters, we’ll probably see some pretty favourable stuff. But you raise a really good point, that’s in…my defence of that point is really pretty subjective. So it’ll be interesting over the course of time, what would we see that either supports that or modifies that position.
Christopher: Yeah I think that the temporal aspect of it is really important. That was certainly what I saw in the beginning, was exactly what you just said with Chris Masterjohn. So diabetes was the price I was paying for not being able to get fat and my body fat at that time was unmeasurable with calipers by someone who was trained to use them. My blood glucose was 120 or something, it was really high. I forget what it was exactly, it was definitely over 100. And now with the continuous blood glucose monitor, I can do tests. Like I tested out the difference between a homemade and a store-bought cupcake and the store-bought cupcake was gluten-free and all of that.
And that was a massive difference – it barely registered the homemade cake – somebody that actually put that amount of sugar into the recipe will start to ask question once you get to whatever amount of the sugar bag being empty. But obviously the store didn’t do that, they just keep pouring and pouring, they just wanna make you happy. And…
Robb: Oh fascinating, wow.
Christopher: Yeah there’s definitely a difference, even if you think that it’s still a good quality store-bought thing. And my blood glucose would go up to…I think I got up to about 160, despite in one quite small cupcake. But interestingly, I don’t have the symptoms anymore. So before…I know you talked in the book about having blurred vision, I never had that but it would be the downside that I’d feel.
I’d be ready to eat somebody’s arm 2 hours later and really feeling quote nauseous and awful. Now I can’t feel it at all. Like I can’t feel 160 milligrams per decilitre, and I wonder whether something’s changed with my metabolism, now that I’m sort of able to handle the high blood sugar, even though it’s still not a good thing.
Robb: That’s fascinating. And again, maybe you could make an argument that there’s still within…again like a given time frame, maybe you’ve got 4 of those exposure in a month or 2 weeks or what have you, where the effects would start kind of being cumulatively deleterious whereas one of those exposures just ends up being a hormetic stress response. And then when you get the second exposure, you’re actually [00:43:54] [indiscernible] against it to some degree. So it’s super non-linear and this is where it gets fascinating and it’s kinda funny, you know.
Some stuff like whole 30 and even just the basic paleo diet template itself – although that kind of reminds me like pre-Christian era, like Judaism where it has a zillion different rules that you’re supposed to follow – but stuff like whole 30 is really interesting in that it gives you very crystal clear lane lines. Do this, don’t do that, do it for 30 days, blah blah blah. And it’s pretty darn effective and people are able to wrap their heads around it. But then there’s a zillion caveats that pop up and lots and lots of points of customization and I’m sure you struggle with this all the time in your clinical practice.
What’s a heuristic or a story that is simple enough to get people moving in a favourable way, but then how do we not turn that into stone tablet religious doctorate that we then have to fight against at every step? That’s a constant process, but it’s a really well-made point. Even in my effort of really trying to sincerely help people with this guideline of let’s stay under 115 milligrams per decilitre after a meal. Does that have the same merit for everybody everywhere at all times? If we look back at our experience from everything else we’ve seen, probably not. There probably are some caveats in there but in the writing the book, I didn’t even really thought that through that much.
Robb: So in the second edition, you can help me figure out what the caveats are and we’ll give you attribution on that.
Christopher: Yeah well one of the caveats that you did mention – which I think is very relevant here – is…and I’ve heard you talk about this in person actually, you gave a presentation at the University of San Francisco about a year ago, and that conference is actually coming up again. Sadly I won’t be able to make it this year, I’ll be snowboarding. Maybe not sadly. So you talked about the septic patient which I think is just one of those things that when you understand this, the world just makes more sense. So can you talk about the septic patient now?
Robb: Yeah so Every first year medical student learns about sepsis, which is a situation in which either a surgery that's gone wrong or a wound that's not healing properly and bacteria make their way into the circulation and they start shedding cell walls of their cellular membranes and these constituents are really aminogenic, amino-reactive. Stuff like lipo polysaccharide just makes every vertebrate on the planet... If it gets exposed to LPS, its immune system just freaks out because it's in an impending life or death situation.
And the septic patient- the poorly controlled septic patient – looks virtually indistinguishable from the poorly controlled type 2 diabetic. They are elevated blood glucose, they are dumping blood fats out of the liver, they are processing gluconeogenesis, you may see elevated ketones. These people are drowning in nutrients in the type 2 diabetic individual, because there's some loss of signal transduction. There is a missing piece of recognising an inflammatory process from an anti inflammatory process and it just creates a feed-forward mechanism and the septic situation is virtually identical to this.
Like it's very difficult to distinguish these things. But this isn't an acute really kind of over the top situation, but what I started looking at when I thought about that situation...I forgot how that got on my radar. It was a long time ago, it was back when I was doing my Paleo Solution seminar deal. Like the 8 hour seminar I was doing a long, long time ago. But that got on my radar and then I started thinking about what would low grade sepsis look like.
And I started looking at lipo proteins and insulin resistance, and interestingly one of the primary adaptations that the body goes through doing the septic event in the acute phase, you see a plummeting of lipo proteins and cholesterol because the lipo proteins actually act to detoxify the lipopolysaccharide and help to mitigate it's effects on liver damage, because this is where the process really starts getting into a nasty feed-forward mechanism once the liver starts getting impacted.
Then it's unable to regulate the things it's supposed to do, and so all hell kinda breaks loose after that. So the lipo proteins will drop initially and this is where interestingly people with very low lipo proteins and very low cholesterol, if they get particular types of infections, they're much more likely to die from those because they die from the toxic aftermath of dealing with the infection. Whereas people with elevated cholesterol and lipo proteins actually end up handling infections much more readily.
And so what we see in the chronic septic individual –and this would be like celiac disease that's undiagnosed, SIBO, some sort of intestinal permeability – we tend to see a creeping up of the lipo proteins because these things are helping to detoxify this is lipopolysaccharide that's leeching it's way into the circulation and we tend to see a creeping up of elevated blood glucose largely in response to the systemic inflammatory process that's going on there.
Christopher: Yeah absolutely and I think again you've described me to a T, right. So when I was 3% body fat and diabetic, that's exactly what was going on. I had a belly that was like a basketball, it was huge. I was just so bloated.
Robb: Wow that's interesting.
Christopher: Yeah and then my stool test was just covered in vipers - pinworm and yeast overgrowth and protozoan parasites - and once I got rid of all that stuff, then suddenly everything started to get better. So I think you are absolutely right, I think a lot of people today I walking around with some sort of metabolic dysfunction and that's what's really going on, is something in your gut.
And I maybe even see this out on the trails on the mountain bike, you see guys that I doing a manual job, they are outdoors in the sunshine, they're sleeping really well. I don't know what they're eating because I haven't seen them eat, but still they've got these huge rock hard beer belly, it's like really rock hard like almost to the point where it's kind of sagging down over their...
Christopher: I mean what’s going on for this person? It’s not a movement deficiency and how bad could their diet be to achieve this? And so there has to be something going on in their gut.
Robb: Yeah I completely agree. This is where…you know, the calories in, calories out model is valuable up to a point but it misses part of the story – the completely insulin or hormonally driven story is valuable but only up to a point. But then when you really start pulling in the gut dysbiosis, that epigenetic signalling – like I literally just got a paper this morning that’s called “Chronic inflammatory systemic diseases and evolutionary trade-off between an acutely beneficial but chronically harmful program.”
Christopher: Now that sounds like an interesting paper.
Robb: It’s really amazing and Pedro Bastoff just shot that to me this morning. So we have a bunch of these responses which again – this kinda goes back to the discordance theory in kind of understanding why navigating the modern world is kind of challenging. In the past, we largely had to deal with acute stressors, acute infections, maybe some chronic infections in the form of parasites, but even within the parasites, there seems to be some immune modulating elements to them, like they’re not…I wouldn’t call them symbiotic, but there seems to be some suggestion that maybe our guts are actually expecting a certain degree of…
Christopher: Right, right.
Robb: This is where people with Crohn’s disease – it’ll actually affect them with a variety of pinworm that is only transient in the human gut, so it sets off an inflammatory response and then the Crohn’s disease goes away and they end up exposing them every 9 to 12 months or something like that and it seems to mitigate that whole inflammatory process. So maybe there’s some expectation, like literally the gut is kinda like “Hey parasites, where are you?”
Christopher: It’s kinda like when you take a guy with a broken heart and then you drop a brick on his toe. And just for a moment, he doesn’t think about his broken heart.
Robb: Exactly, yeah! And so those are really some interesting features, but again, wrapping all of this around the neuro-regulation of appetite, we end up kind of addressing the caloric issue, the insulin issue. If we’re thinking about the qualitative nature of the food, then we start getting into the gut microbiome. When we address sleep and photo period, then we’re addressing the hormones and we’re helping to augment the success of our neuro-regulation of our appetite. Then you put in community and then we’ve got a stress mitigative kind of effect. And so it really is a multi-pronged approach.
And to the degree that somebody is kind of living outside that process, like you’re talking about these guys and it seems like…okay lots of sunlight on the skin, check. Lots of physical activity, check. But maybe not the best home life, bad check, you know. Had tons of antibiotics as a kid, bad check. Really likes big gulps and Slurpees, bad, bad check. And it ends up in those individuals, even though lets say the caloric load isn’t as nasty as what we might see in other situations. But because of the gut permeability, we get a disproportionately large release in lipo polysaccharide, which is then pro-inflammatory.
And so we’re really just getting more mileage out of the calories, then. Like the body gets into a stress state and it tends to store them as visceral fat, which is itself a pro-inflammatory signalling organ, essentially. And so within pretty tight caloric perimeters, we can have things look very, very differently depending on some of these different inputs, which goes back to the whole 1000 calories of Slurpees are very different than 1000 calories of broccoli and salmon, for example.
Christopher: I wanted to talk to you about managing complexity, ‘cause I know it’s something you’ve thought about and we talked a lot about food and carbs and insulin and lipo polysaccharides and all of that, but of course there’s so many other things that are important to achieve health and performance and longevity. And you talk about those things in the book and photo period is a really good example of one of those things.
But how do people manage their complexity? So even to this day, I personally struggle with trying to juggle all of these things. I know about everything but I’m not necessarily doing everything at the same time. So how…have you seen other people have the same problem and how do you manage it?
Robb: Yeah I mean and how many days have I just rocked in a fetal position on the ground, trying to figure out which thing I’m supposed to do. Theoretically, I’m an ‘expert’ on this stuff and I’m like “I don’t know what I should do, you know.
Christopher: Working from home is not good for social isolation.
Robb: It is not, no. And that’s part of the reason why I go to jujitsu and that’s probably part of the reason why you go out and do your mountain biking stuff. Like you just have to do that or you just go crazy. But it’s…you know, I’m a big…you kind of alluded to this in the beginning. If you understand some big picture concepts, then things get a little bit easier, and I’m a big fan of economics and decentralized systems and factals and all that types of stuff. What I’ve learned from a very cursory study of all that is whether you’re talking about the weather or the economy or the physiology, these things are – for all intents and purposes – infinitely complex systems.
Like maybe they’re not exactly infinite in the mathematical definition of the term, but for our purposes, until we reach the singularity and we have an omnipotent machine that can calculate every positional consideration of every molecule in our body and figure out what our full time course is – short of that, we’re just kind of left with a mount of information that is overwhelming to try to deal with on a reductionist, part by part basis. But if we kinda pull back and look at things from a bit of a big picture scenario, then we have this sleeping photo period piece, we have the nutrition piece – which is basically eating.
We have a movement component. And then we have what I call a community or socialization and I look at that both with regards to the people that we hang out with, the organisms on the planet, and then also our microbiome that’s in our gut and on our person. And there’s complexity there but it’s not crazy. Like to manage the sleep and photo period piece, go to bed a little bit earlier, wear some blue blockers, set up a f-lux on your computer so that you’re minimizing blue light in the evening.
Get out in the middle of the day when it’s sunny. There’s some really actionable things that you can do to that gets that moving in a favourable direction. Nutrition – as contentious a topic as it is – it’s kinda cool.
When people have debates over religion, you have to die to figure out who was right about that. if you’re an atheist, you never find out if anybody was right because you’re just gone. But with nutrition, you can try it for 30 days and see how you look, feel and perform and go from there. So nutrition is kinda interesting in that even though it's a challenge sometimes to make some changes, we've got a couple of big picture buckets to stick people in.
"Okay try high carb vegan. Okay that didn't work, try low carb ketogenics. Ok that felt pretty good but we have some problems. Okay maybe a little bit more just kind of whole foods, low [00:58:07] [indiscernible] carbs based off physical activity and then going into physical activity, trying to be as active as possible and have a lot of variety and have meaningful connectivity and loving relationships. And so we're really effectively able to manage that complexity with these simple approaches.
And this is where I really like stuff like CrossFit or martial arts. CrossFit in particular although the volume and the intensity and the very building coaching can be a real bugger, but a well-run gym - if people are really on point – you go into the gym and they are going to talk to you about sleep and photo period. They're going to make some dietary recommendations for you, movement and exercises baked in a cake and you typically have a great community. Like people really like going to these things because there are wonderful people there and the coaches are good and all that type of stuff, and I think that's part of why CrossFit has been so sticky if it's a well run operation.
It addresses all four pillars of health and I'm really hard pressed to think of another phenomenon that does that. Jujitsu and martial arts ticks a couple of the boxes but usually food isn't a big concern, certainly not hammering home sleep and whatnot. But most of these strength and conditioning coaches – if they're savvy at all – they're really integrating all this stuff together. And I think that that's a wonderfully simple way of managing the complexity, the complex needs for our health and wellbeing.
Christopher: I love it. I've got one last question for you. I know that most of the people listening to this podcast will probably be listeners of your podcast too, and there'll also be practitioners or somebody who's interested in making a career change and I know that you get this question a lot - what should I be when I grow up? So what's the latest and best answer to that question?
Robb: Oh man it's still pretty piss poor and the big thing that I... I throw a couple of things out to people. One of them is recommending that they do something like Myers Briggs personality test, mainly with an eye toward that whole introvert extrovert spectrum. And if you're not familiar with that... And some people really like the Myers Briggs, some people put it right up with astrology. I found it to be reasonably helpful but you know, some people if they are around a group of people and they're kind of the centre of attention – and this could be like a park ranger who takes people on tours and they're just really enjoy having a group of people that they're talking to. And they can do that 8 hours a day and they are more jazzed and energized by the end of the day than they were at the beginning of the day – that person's an extrovert.
Robb: They gain energy from the process of being around other people. Some people are a bit more introverted and it's not that they don't like people but they just need some quiet and some down time. And then of course there are people that are more in the middle and they like to bounce back and forth. But being really crystal clear about where you are on the spectrum, I've seen a lot of people open gyms or become physical therapists or something like that, who are huge introverts. And even though they wanted to be in a position of helping people, particularly like that gym, you need to be on.
Like every person who comes through the front door, it's like "Hey Charlie, how you doing? How's the dog?" It's a hand job on the way in, it's a hand job on the way out, it's sometimes lot of drama, huge amounts of people interaction. So really having a crystal clear sense of where you are on that energetic level, like what makes you excited and motivated and what things leave you depleted and flat.
That's a biggie, and then also some thought towards your economic risk tolerance. So if you are really risk averse individual, then I think doing like - say like what you're doing Chris - is this independent health coaching which could be like a complete feast or famine based on how things go or how much you're willing to hustle.
Some people are not okay with that. Or the person may be okay with it but the significant other is not okay with that. That's another really big consideration. Lot of people think that they are entrepreneurs until they are pulling money out of their savings, and then they're not quite as entrepreneurial as what they thought. And that cushy guaranteed job is starting to look more and more appealing. And so you may want to help people, you may want to get some of this background in ancestral health, but you really want kind of a guaranteed basic income.
And so some things like a physician assistant seems like an amazing opportunity to me because now there's enough practitioners out there that you could probably find someone that... if you're really into women's health or paediatrics or what have you, but you wanna talk about sleep, food, exercise, community from this evolutionary biology and ancestral health perspective, you’ll find somebody that you could probably go get some work going on. So then you’ve got your more guaranteed baseline, but you’re working in an environment where you can focus on things the way that you wanna do your particular type of medicine or coaching or what have you.
So I guess the 2 things I would really consider on the career – what your kind of energetic modality or introvert or an extrovert, and then what’s your risk tolerance with regards to your profession. Are you okay with some feast or famine or do you need a more guaranteed baseline, but maybe not as a high a potential of the…high reward if you make everything really work well and you create the better mousetrap.
Christopher: I think that’s great advice. There’s one thing that I would add to that though, and that’s if you’re listening to this and you’re still not feeling 100%, then you should finish fixing yourself before you make this decision, because…
Christopher: I know from my personal experience. I used to be this very introverted, very gassy programmer sat in the back office of a hedge fund somewhere. And the fewer people that I could make eye contact with during the day, the better. And now, I’m on a podcast interviewing Robb Wolf, speaking to over 100 thousand people, I can’t imagine a greater shift. And of course, this is perfectly explained. When you get sick, what happens?
Do you feel like going out and partying when you’ve got the flu? Well of course you don’t, and that’s maybe something to do with ancestral health, and really you’re trying to stay away from the rest of your tribe so you don’t make them sick as well. But the response might not be completely appropriate. And so I’ve certainly seen that in myself that once I fixed my shit, then suddenly I was a lot more extroverted.
Robb: That’s a fantastic point. Yeah, absolutely.
Christopher: And I was like you as well that I had the cash. I burned through all of my savings since year 1 and year 2, and it was quite a lot of money. I did quite well with the Yahoo! shares around 2000, and that money was always sat in the bank. And I kind of burned through it in year 1, year 2. But now I’m doing alright and I’m happier than ever. So I think people who are listening to this and thinking “Oh shit, should I make the career change? I don’t really like my job.” Absolutely do it. There’s so many people out there that need your help, so I really wanna encourage people to do it.
Robb: There really are and you know with some of the things that are happening, like the Cleveland clinic certifying physicians in functional medicine, like the Kresser Institute certifying all kinds of folks in functional medicine. Every year now…so Kresser ends up graduating like 200 people every 6 months or 200 people a year or something. That’s 200 people more than existed in 1998 when I discovered this stuff and really needed a lot of help. And so there’s other things that are popping up and what that means is there’s just the potential for some exponential opportunities to get in and help people.
Robb: And although it may feel like a very saturated market, no matter how good we are at doing this, there’s gonna be somebody who’s gonna die from [01:05:48] [indiscernible] complications, who’s gonna leave a family without a mother or a father decades earlier than what they should have because one of us didn’t get in a position to help that individual avert what was an avertable course. And this is the story of my wife’s mother. She died at the age of 50 from complications from a minor surgery to address some issues in her ankle from rheumatoid arthritis.
She became septic and there was a long chain of medical mishandling, which lead to her death. And I met Nikki 3 months after her mum died, and now we just…if I do a search in my email, ‘rheumatoid arthritis testimonial;, I’ll probably get 600 hits. And lots of these people like “Hey I’m in full remission.” Anywhere ranging from full remission to “I live a dramatically improved life.” So this is one of those things that haunts me like when I get down, when the internet trolls or on point and I’m just like “Ugh fuck you guys.” But then I’m like “Okay there’s people out there like that.”
So really, I’m super glad you brought up this career path story because there’s a lot of really, really good gratifying work. And this maybe circles back to the beginning of the…the introduction of the podcast. You never know what work you’re gonna do is gonna influence other people and then how that’s gonna feedback on your own life. It’s really an amazing process.
Christopher: Yeah absolutely. Well since we said that lots of people listen to this are coaches or practitioners of some sort, is there a way that people can buy the book in bulk? They’re gonna read it themselves obviously, everybody’s really excited about the book. I know how excited I was about the book. But if this was something that all practitioners wanted to hand to each person as they walk in through the door, is that something that you can help them with?
Robb: Yes there is, would you like me to just give you the link for that for the show notes?
Christopher: Yeah that’s what I’ll do then, I’ll put the link in the show notes. [01:07:44] [crosstalk] [indiscernible].
Robb: URL. Yeah, yeah.
Christopher: Excellent. Was there anything else I missed? Was there anything else that you wanted to talk about or call people to?
Robb: I don’t think so, you left very few stones unturned. I already took notes on some stuff that I need to do for the second edition of the book – making sure that my recommendation on blood glucose levels really is more than just a hairball assumption – so no. I think you did a fantastic job. And again, like I am so honoured that I’ve played any type of a part in your career path and what you’re doing ‘cause I mean you and Tommy and a lot of other people are just doing amazing work. You guys with this engineering background are getting in and dismantling the bullshit in just a stunning fashion.
It’s really super impressive and it’s kind of a golden age for where this stuff could go, because we’re getting to a spot where we can do some really good data analysis, but it’s not [01:08:45] [indiscernible] of like “Oh I spent $300,000 to hack my biome.” It’s like no we spend a couple of hundred bucks, looked at the stuff that mattered. Here’s the way that we analyse the data and this is what it means for you. And that’s huge, like that’s gonna save lives and really improve a lot of people’s lives.
Christopher: Well thank you, that’s high praise indeed and it’s been an honour to interview you. Coming full circle, it’s only the second time I’ve ever interviewed you and I remember that first time when me and my wife Julie were so nervous that we couldn’t do the intro and Robb had to do it for me. I was so delighted with it, it sounded fantastic. You’ve got such a great voice for radio, so. Wired to Eat is the name of the book you gotta pre-order. You’re gonna order it right away so you get the bonuses and then of course the Paleo Solution podcast you’re already listening to and robbwolf.com
Robb: Thanks man, it’s such a huge honour to be on your show. Thank you.
Christopher: Cheers Robb, thank you.
Robb: Take care, bye-bye.
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