Keys to Living with Vitality with Mark Sisson & Metabolic Flexibility

Struggling to know what to eat & why so you and your family can live with vitality?

Wow, do we ever have an incredible episode today with Mark Sisson. If you’ve been part of the health and fitness community, you know Mark, as he’s had the number one ranked fitness blog in the world for a decade, Mark’s Daily Apple, and a host of New York Times best-selling books and is the founder of Primal Kitchen. Today we cover:

  • What Mark calls the holy grail of diet – metabolic flexibility
  • When and what to eat for your first meal of the day
  • How grains may be hurting you
  • How you can best fuel your body for performance
  • Which parts of the keto diet and intermittent fasting make sense

Resources Mentioned In The Episode:

Episode timestamps:

[02:28] Introduction of Mark Sisson

[04:26] Serving organizations through the Primal Health Coach Institute

[05:34] Living Fully Day & the 8Fs to live fully

[07:01] Establishing a strong foundation through nutrition

[08:12] How to combat eating too much

[09:32] The holy grail of diet – metabolic flexibility

[11:47] Dietary strategies to achieve metabolic flexibility

[12:42] Strategy #1: Cutting out carbohydrates

[14;40] Strategy #2: Ketogenic diet

[15:30] Strategy #3: Two meals a day

[17:50] Benefits of metabolic flexibility

[20:49] The “old” carb loading theory

[22:57] The life-changing decision of cutting out grains

[27:25] Is the ketogenic diet sustainable?

[30:18] Collagen as the 4th macronutrient

[32:29] How to gain weight without gaining fat

[36:03] Free resources and guides as part of the community

Connect with Mark Sisson

Connect with Patrick O’Donnell

Transcript

* This transcript was mostly generated by AI, so please excuse any mistakes, and enjoy!

[00:00:00] Patrick: Hello, and welcome to Live Fit, Ignite Change, where together as a community, we inspire each other to live a fit life, ignite the change we wish to see, and thrive in all areas of life. Wow. What an episode we have today with Mark Sisson. If you’ve been part of the health and fitness community, you know Mark, as he’s had the number one ranked fitness blog in the world for a decade, Mark’s Daily Apple, and a host of New York Times best-selling books and is the founder of Primal Kitchen.

[00:00:34] Patrick: Today, we cover what Mark calls the holy grail of diet. Metabolic flexibility. We also go into a win and what to eat for your first meal of the day, how grains may be hurting you, how you can best fuel your body for performance, which parts of the keto diet and intermittent fasting make sense, and how to see what works for you.

[00:00:56] Patrick: Also what you may be missing out on if you’re not taking in enough collagen and how we’ve partnered with Mark’s personalized health coaching program to make our fit life challenge even better by supporting busy on-the-go professionals in their journey to live a fit and ignite the change they wish to see.

[00:01:14] Patrick: Changing our world does not happen at once. It does not happen alone. It takes a committed group to be the change we wish to see. So together we rise above negative influences to lead by example, making a positive impact at home and around the world. You can learn more. Join us and get show notes at livefitignitechange.com or for short livefic.com. 

[00:01:42] Patrick: All right, here we go. This episode is actually a combination of a couple of conversations with Mark and one that was a live session with our team at DLP Capital on Living Fully Day. Mark will also be speaking at our upcoming health wellbeing and longevity summit in Puerto Rico in November. I’ll also be speaking there along with some of the top health, and fitness longevity minds in the world, including Dr. Hariri, who wrote Life Force with Tony Robbins, Nick Buettner from Blue Zones, Amanda Holmes, CEO of Chet Holmes International, who was on episode four of this podcast, and many more. It will be an incredible event and you can find out more about that and all the amazing resources and tips and tricks that we go into that Mark shares in this episode, in our show notes at livefitignitechange.com. 

[00:02:27] Patrick: So most people know Mark, but for those who don’t, Mark is a New York Times bestselling author of numerous books including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal paleo movement back in 2009. And then in 2017, his book The Keto Reset Diet reached number one overall on all of Amazon. He’s the publisher of Mark’s Daily Apple, the number one ranked blog for over a decade in its health and fitness category. And is the founder of Primal Nutrition and Primal Kitchen. 

[00:03:00] Patrick: Also, personally, our family is in the process of launching our NRI performance nutrition brand, which you heard about in episode seven. It’s been wonderful getting advice from Mark as we go through that process. So let’s dive into the conversation. Hello, Mark. 

[00:03:17] Mark: Yes. 

[00:03:18] Patrick: There you are. How’s it going?

[00:03:19] Mark: Good. You? 

[00:03:21] Patrick: Doing great. Thanks for joining us. 

[00:03:23] Mark: Sure.

[00:03:24] Patrick: Welcome back. Hopefully had a great time in the south of France, right? 

[00:03:27] Mark: Yeah. Well, we were in Tuscany. Ready for a week in Florence.

[00:03:41] Patrick: Awesome. What a time. Yeah. Gorgeous, gorgeous spot. Now back in Miami.

[00:03:46] Mark: Yeah, sort of just coming back from the beach. Yeah. It’s a nice day. 

[00:03:50] Patrick: Oh no, hopefully, we didn’t bring you in from the beach. 

[00:03:53] Mark: No, it’s okay. Fun stuff to do too. Long, long day. Did a nice hour-and-a-half fat bike ride on the sand. So nice kind of fried from that in a good way. 

[00:04:04] Patrick: Yes, absolutely. Awesome. And I’d love to hear too before we dive into knowing what’s next for you. I mean, obviously, we know your involvement, Primal Kitchen, you’re still involved there. Our coaching institute, Mark’s Daily Apple is still rolling. I think just that concept of, we love to support our investors in any way. I don’t hear what’s next. Isn’t there anything we could do there to support this? 

[00:04:26] Mark: Well, I’m yeah, as you said, I, you know, I’m still involved with Primal Kitchen. That’s kind of a fun, fun involvement because it doesn’t require much. I’m just sort of the, you know, idea guy and face of the brand. The Primal Health Coach Institute is something that I’ve been involved with for a bunch of years. So on the one hand we have a coaching program, we put about 5,000 coaches through this so far. And on the other hand, we have kind of the more the retail part of it, if you will, whereas I say, we’re, we’ve got companies that are coming to us and saying, look, we’ve got, we want to take care of employees.

[00:04:58] Mark: We want somebody to look after them in a way that we feel comfortable with in terms of lifestyle procedure, which isn’t just, you know, diet and exercise, but sleep and stress management are on exposure and play and all the things that we sort of talk about and things. So that’s exciting to me. And then, you know, and that’s going great. 

[00:05:15] Patrick: All right. So you’ll hear more about that later. And as we discussed in other podcasts, we’d been running the FitLife challenge for years and recently upgraded to what we called FitLife challenge 2.0, by bringing in Mark’s health coaches to really take the challenge to the next level.

[00:05:29] Patrick: We’ll also link to more on that challenge and how you can get access to many of the initial resources for free in the show notes for this episode at livefitignitechange.com. For now, let’s dive into the live session with Mark. This was recorded at DLP’s Living Fully Day. This is a day devoted to living fully in all aspects of life.

[00:05:49] Patrick: The eight Fs as we call them, family, friends, faith, fitness, finances, freedom, fulfillment, and fun with sessions on goal setting, proper nutrition, meditation, yoga, financial wellbeing, games, workouts, and much more. And it’s not just today. It’s really about living fully each and every day. So it kicks off groups that follow up throughout the year. And it was pretty awesome having Mark on this day. My mic wasn’t perfect for this. So I’ve rerecorded some of the questions. So here it is. So, Mark, the floor is yours. Thank you for being here. 

[00:06:20] Mark: Thank you so much. Thank you for inviting me. I was a little freaked out there. I couldn’t hear you for five minutes, so can you guys hear me okay? 

[00:06:27] Patrick: We’re hearing you great. 

[00:06:27] Mark: All right, good. Yeah, you know, I’m trying to figure out how I can compress what I wanna say today. A two-day seminar into some sound bites that are gonna be half an hour or so, but, I did wanna leave you with some points to consider as you go forward, as people who are involved in not just DLP and living your life. But you know, with families and with other parts of life that you know, comprise of totality so I’m gonna talk about nutrition. I could talk a lot about sleep and sun exposure and play and working out and all this other stuff. But at the essence of everything I do, I talk about nutrition because I think the foundation is so critical to get a strong foundation for nutrition.

[00:07:07] Mark: And one of the first things I wanna say is don’t get me wrong. I love to eat. And so I make a per a point of making sure that every bite of food I put in my mouth tastes great. I think eating is one of the great pleasures of life. I do not want to deprive myself or anyone that I talk about food with this immense pleasure.

[00:07:26] Mark: Having said that, I realized a couple of years ago that you know, you just eat too much. And that’s a problem for a lot of people and whether or not it manifests itself in becoming overweight or in pain. It also can manifest itself in certain sorts of undiagnosed disease states, increased insulin insensitivity, metabolic syndrome, type two diabetes, and propensity for cancer. Things sometimes that you don’t even see but are manifesting slowly as a result of some of the food choices we make.

[00:07:59] Mark: Now, in this sort of epiphany I had about eating too much, I realized that some of the biggest issues are like appetite, like, okay. Like, okay, you eat too much. Right. Great. How do you, how do you combat that? Cause I’ve got an appetite. I’ve got the hunger, I’ve got cravings. What do I do? That’s going to kind of create the greatest strategy for me to optimize my life in the context of wanting more energy, wanting to maintain muscle mass, wanting never getting sick, and wanting most importantly not to be not hungry all the time. 

[00:08:31] Mark: And what we see over the past few decades is sort of a direction led by our government that says, you know, we wanna eat multiple small meals throughout the day. We want to eat you know, a carbohydrate or grain-based diet. We want to cut back on fats. We want to cut back on salt. That’s the latest one that just came out. And this has not worked for a large number of people. So in the years that I’ve been studying and I’ve been researching and writing about this topic, I’ve kind of done from The Primal Blueprint, which paleo diet into experimenting with the keto diet, experimenting with time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting.

[00:09:15] Mark: And once you cut through all of the numbers, the macros, you know, how much protein, how much fat, how much carbohydrate, how many calories, when should I eat? How often should I eat? How much water should I drink? When you cut through all of this, you come to a basic sort of commonality, which I call the holy grail of diet.

[00:09:32] Mark: And that is what I call achieving metabolic flexibility. And what does that mean? Metabolic flexibility means that you derive energy throughout the day from whatever source of calories is available. It could be the food on your plate, could be the carbohydrates on your plate, could be the glycogen in your muscles, could be the glucose in your bloodstream.

[00:09:51] Mark: It could be the fat on your plate of food. It could be the fat stored in your body. It could be the ketones that your liver makes. When you have metabolic flexibility, your body can draw upon all of these energy resources, and over time, several things happen. First of all, you tend to burn off your own stored body fat.

[00:10:11] Mark: So you tend to trend toward what we call an ideal body composition. Now that’s phenomenal. Second of all, you sort of, you unburden yourself of having to eat glucose every couple of hours, carbohydrates every few hours because of energy swings throughout the day, or because of dips in blood sugar, this sort of dissipates goes away.

[00:10:31] Mark: Your hunger, your appetite, your cravings, they dissipate. And so you’re not so compelled to want to be near food and eat food and schedule your meetings around the next meal. When you achieve metabolic flexibility, you sort of come to this realization that you were designed, you were evolved as a human being.

[00:10:51] Mark: So to eat. And unfortunately, you’re wired to overeat. That’s part of the legacy of being a human evolving in two and a half million years of evolution when food is most scarce. So we are built to store energy in the form of fat. And if you think about it, it’s an awesome, awesome tool. The problem is we’re also designed to take that fat out of storage and combust it and burn it as fuel when there is no food around. Obviously, the problem today is we’re confronted, we’re bombarded with food everywhere we go. 

[00:11:20] Patrick: So to chime in here for a minute, this is so true. Our bodies were simply not made to have all of this food around all the time. And certainly, not all sugars processed foods and grains have been modified over time. And that’s why in the FitLife challenge, we talk about coming up with empowering alternatives to find foods that you love without all the bad stuff. So to continue the next question, how would somebody achieve metabolic flexibility? What is the dietary strategy? 

[00:11:47] Mark: Well, there are several. You could cut carbs. By cutting carbs, which means cutting sugar, sugar retreats, bread, pasta cereals, and kind of limiting your menu if you will, to meat, fish, fowl, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, a little bit of fruit, maybe some starchy tubers once in a while. When you eliminate carbohydrates like that, given any sort of eating strategy, whether it’s three meals a day or two meals a day or skipping meals, the body very quickly gets a message that it’s not gonna be getting a lot of carbohydrates.

[00:12:22] Mark: It’s not gonna be getting a lot of this food that turns into glucose and gets stored in your muscles of glycogen. And so the body says, oh, we have a plan for that. We can take body fat out of storage, we can combust it in the muscles. We can burn it as fuel and eliminate the need to eat for long periods of time.

[00:12:42] Mark: So this one strategy of just cutting out carbs has been a very successful and effective strategy for a lot of people. Now, another way, if you wanna go a step further down that road would be keto. Keto is basically an eating strategy where you really do eliminate carbs to a great extent. And in so doing the body starts to again, get this message that there’s not gonna be a lot of carbs, and the brain, which is used to historically, derive energy from blood glucose.

[00:13:15] Mark: You know, if you’ve been dependent on carbohydrates, your whole life as part of your diet, you know what it’s like to skip a meal or to go four or five hours without eating, you get lightheaded, woozy, you feel dizzy. You don’t feel yourself. You get angry. All of those are manifestations of low blood sugar and low blood glucose.

[00:13:35] Mark: And that’s the brain going, where’s my fuel? Like what did you do with my fuel? Well, after a few days of this sort of deprivation, if you will, of carbohydrates, the brain says, Hey, I gotta plan for that. I can burn ketones and this is one of the most elegant things about human anatomy and human bio physiology.

[00:13:56] Mark: And that is that your body can take the fat out of storage. It can burn some of that fat for fuel in the muscles, but it can also convert some of that fat in the liver to ketones, which I would call the fourth fuel of the human body. And the brain can do very nicely on ketones. In fact, the brain prefers ketones over carbohydrates in many cases. And so as you become what we call fat adapted and keto-adapted, your requirement for carbohydrates drops, and your hunger, your appetite, and your cravings for carbohydrates recede. And you come to this amazing space where you realize that you can skip a meal with no adverse effects at all. 

[00:14:40] Mark: You either by design intentionally or by mistake you know, a flight got delayed and they, you know, and now you’re flying for eight hours without five hours without eating, not a problem. The brain thrives in this kind of environment if you’ve developed metabolic flexibility. So one way is to cut carbs. Another way is keto, another way, sort of a combination of the two to get to the point where you’re so good at burning fat, you choose to skip a meal every day and you eat in what I call a compressed eating window. So my latest book is called Two Meals a Day, and it basically describes the process of realizing, first of all, that breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. In fact, it’s for a lot of people who are metabolically flexible, it’s like a waste of time and it’s too much food. 

[00:15:30] Mark: So you get to the point where you’re now doing two meals a day, sometimes one meal a day and you become flexible with how you eat. This is another strategy. And yet another version of that would be to fast every, you know, one day, every week. So eat from like, you know, your last meal will be one evening and then you’d go an entire 20-hour period without eating and eat the next day at the same time.

[00:15:54] Mark: Important to realize that I am not suggesting that you hammer your way through this, that you beat yourself up, that you force yourself to be hungry. In order to get to that sort of a situation you have to train, you have to eat in a certain way that prompts your body to make more mitochondria where the fat burns to prompt your body, to wanna build more enzymes that take the fat out of storage and send it to the various areas where it’ll use it as fuel. 

[00:16:23] Patrick: Chiming in again real quick here, we always say that everybody is different. Meaning everyone’s body is different. So you have to find what works for you, but there are certain commonalities and it’s about finding the foods that will fuel your body. Regarding breakfast, people often ask me when they should eat their first meal of the day, but really the question shouldn’t be when, because again, that’s finding what works for you. What is important is the what. Making your first meal of the day when you break your fast filled with good fats and good proteins.

[00:16:56] Patrick: And again, we’ll link to all of these checklist meal plans et cetera, in the show notes at livefitignitechange.com. And as we continue with Mark and two meals a day, he typically eats about, you know, 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM and some find it better to eat soon after they wake up and then stop eating earlier in the day.

[00:17:14] Patrick: For me currently, as I’m doing a muscle-building and weight-gaining program with my son, I can’t get nearly enough calories in two meals a day. So I’m testing out eating three meals at about 10:00 AM, 2:30 PM, and seven with the family. So I’m getting in what I need to gain and still hitting that 12 to 16-hour window that studies have shown allows the optimal time for your body to make more mitochondria and I’ll keep testing and change again if I find something even better. So to continue, the next question is, is it easy to hit metabolic flexibility? Can you just turn this on and then have it work for you from day one? 

[00:17:50] Mark: So it’s not as if you can just magically turn these buttons on, you have to do the work, which involves again, a decrease in carbohydrate intake, maybe skipping some meals once in a while, but there are kind and gentle ways of doing this. This does not have to be like an all-out grind and, you know, a suffer fast for a week to get there. Once you achieve metabolic flexibility, now there are a lot of benefits that come with this. Again, one is this whole thing about having energy all the time. And it’s a steady state of energy. It doesn’t dip and swing and does all these wide gyrations throughout the day.

[00:18:24] Mark: You trend again, torn an ideal body composition. So you tend to burn off most of your stored body fat and for people who are very overweight, that’s one of the more impressive sorts of results that we get from this. You tend to reduce your risk for heart disease and cancer because your fasting insulin drops and fasting insulin is a blood marker that would indicate, a higher level would indicate increased risk for metabolic syndrome, type two diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and things like that. So all of your disease risk factors drop. Your immune system gets stronger. I’ve seen this throughout. COVID, where people who have you know, good eating habits and have metabolic flexibility, are resilient to COVID like very resilient to COVID. 

[00:19:08] Mark: I had it myself. I got it over Thanksgiving last year. It was like a mild summer cold. I don’t wanna you know, belittle anybody’s experience with COVID cuz it’s, it was horrible for a lot of people, but I would suggest that if you have good metabolic flexibility you’re much more resilient in that sort of a circumstance.

[00:19:24] Mark: You maintain muscle mass. As we get older, we need to keep our muscle mass. People who tend to be more in favor of eating a lot of carbohydrates on a day in day out basis, tend over time to lose their muscle mass a little bit quicker. We call this sarcopenia. So I guess I’m gonna, I could ramble on again for two days, but the point is if you can achieve metabolic flexibility through any one of these strategies and you can actually do it as a vegetarian.

[00:19:50] Mark: It’s not as easy, but you can do it. If you can achieve this metabolic flexibility, then you have achieved what I think is probably the cornerstone of a very healthy lifestyle. So, with that, Patrick, if you have any questions or anything. 

[00:20:06] Patrick: Awesome. Thank you, Mark. We did have a couple that came in initially, but I will open it up to the group if anyone had any in the chat box, or if you wanna shout it out here in the room, we’ve got a mic too. If someone does that, if not, I’ll dive into a couple of ones. I’m gonna go ahead with the one that was asked. Okay. We’ll start with that one. But if anyone else has ’em go ahead and put it in. So one of the questions came to me and it was actually pretty interesting. I’d actually like to get your answer on it because we were talking about this diet, particularly primal keto, and the reason that grains were not needed.

[00:20:35] Patrick: And you know, the initial replies, oh man, I need my pasta. I need my bread. I work out so much. And you know, of course, I had my own answer. I was about to dive into it, but I’d just love to hear your perspective too on that and when we, where you really do get the fuel from. 

[00:20:49] Mark: Sure. So somebody says they work out a lot, are probably still attached to this old carb loading theory, which is your muscles you know, when you work out hard, you burn a lot of carbohydrates. You deplete your glycogen. When you deplete your glycogen, you hit the wall. And so nobody wants to hit the wall. Look, I was a top endurance athlete, for most of my life. And I was a sugar burner, as we say. And I was carbo-loading every day, a thousand grams of carbs a day, every day.

[00:21:13] Mark: Cause when you do endurance training, you sort of like, okay, I burned all those cards up today, but I’m gonna go do it again tomorrow. So I have to refill those stores. Well, if you switch it around and you go, wait a minute, I like, I wanna be a good fat burner. First of all, just, I don’t wanna be carrying out around any extra body fat.

[00:21:31] Mark: And second of all, I want to be able to go longer periods of time without depleting my glycogen. So the more I can run at a six-and-a-half minute mile burning fat versus depleting my glycogen, the better an athlete I’m gonna be and the more competitive I’m gonna be. I mean, the number of times I’ve gone to the starting line of major marathons and seen how many marathoners, there are in this race who are overweight, who are 10, 15, 25 pounds overweight despite the fact that they run 35, 40, 50 miles a week. Something’s going on there. And what’s going on is they’re very good at burning sugar, which they replace every night, but they’re not very good at burning fat.

[00:22:14] Mark: So the idea that you would need to load up on carbs to be athletic is actually, I think counterproductive to being a strong athlete. One of the record holders for most endurance runs these days is a completely keto guy. He will do a hundred-mile race, set a record, and not eat anything during the race. Trains on keto, trains, you know, low carb.

[00:22:38] Mark: He might have, you know, some carbohydrates the night before an event, just to top off his glycogen stores. But the cool thing is he can do that. And then, because he is so good at burning fat, he mostly burns fat, but now he has enough glycogen because he’s metabolically flexible. He can use both equally efficiently.

[00:22:57] Mark: One other thing about grains. Grains, my life changed when I cut grains out of my life and I was 47 years old when I finally discovered the grains were the reason for my irritable bowel syndrome, for my acne, for my GERD, for my arthritis in my feet, which was the main reason I had to quit running.

[00:23:16] Mark: All of these afflictions went away when I cut out grains because I’m not celiac, but I have a very strong aversion to gluten and it occurred to me that if I was there defending my right to eat grains for those 47 years in the face of all the evidence that I’d read and all the research, how many tens of millions of people must be negatively impacted by the grains that they’re eating without even really making the connection.

[00:23:45] Mark: So I think the whole grain thing has been you know, there’s a lot of politics behind the US Department of Agriculture recommending six to 11 servings of grains each day, but this is changing and I think we’re getting, you know, I think even our government, which is like is 25 years behind is coming more and more to realize that healthy fats, good sources of protein, fruits and vegetables, those should be the main parts of your diet. Not grains, not beige, a lot that you gotta put something on for it to taste good. One other thing that I wanna add about this, the question also, I think involved, like because I like to work out, I want to eat my pasta and I work out to be able to do that.

[00:24:23] Mark: Well, some people work out so they can eat more food. And I find that to be fascinating. Like why would you do that? Why would you put yourself through that sort of an extra 45 minutes a day of working out just so you can have a few bites, more of something you probably shouldn’t eat in the first place?

[00:24:39] Mark: It’s always been bizarre to me. So the thought experiment I came up with a few years ago was most people I think operate under the rule of, okay, for myself, I’m gonna see how much I can eat and not gain weight. What can I get away with? How much of this meal can I eat? Not feel like a slog or you know, a glu, how much of this dessert can I eat and not feel guilty?

[00:25:00] Mark: How much and it always kind of comes down to, you know, like where’s the edge for this? Well, what if you pulled it back the other way? And you said what’s the least amount of food I could eat at this meal? And maintain muscle mass and maintain energy and not get sick and most importantly not be hungry.

[00:25:18] Mark: And if you can get to that point where you realize that every bite of food, and again, I want all my food to be fabulous. I want it to taste great. I wanna enjoy it. If somebody says here’s a kale salad with some lemonade or some lemon juice on it, I’m like, nope, you keep that. It might be good, but I’m, you know, I’m not choking that down.

[00:25:37] Mark: I want every bite of food I eat to taste good, but I also know when to stop. I know when enough is like, all right, the first bite of cheesecake, that was a ten. With the second bite of cheesecake, I was an eight. By the time you get to the fourth or fifth bite of cheesecake, now you’re just having a contest with yourself to see, you know, how much or little you could get away with eating, but you’re not really enjoying it that much. So there’s a certain amount of intuitive appreciation for the type of food that you are eating that you know, you develop also as a result of this metabolic flexibility. You really appreciate every bite of food even more. Yes. 

[00:26:15] Patrick: That was awesome. Thank you so much. And the next question comes from Megan. Her question is about the keto diet she asks, ‘Is that something that is sustainable and has longevity? Because when I think of keto diets, I think of a lot of protein, red meat, and a lot of fat. And I have a lot of heart disease in my family. So I kind of try to avoid those kinds of things. So I’m just wondering what is longevity to a diet like that and is it sustainable?’ 

[00:26:41] Mark: Well, there’s a lot to unpack there. First of all, as we get further and further down the research, we realize that meat and fat are not the approximate cause of heart disease. It’s inflammation and oxidation. And a lot of this inflammation comes from other types of foods that we eat. Sugars and polyunsaturated fatty acids from seed oils, for instance, that’s a huge one. And so it’s, you know, I think a lot of times we sort of, we hold the whole heart disease theory off there as I can’t do the keto because this runs in my family. Well, there’s probably a lot that you could do with a keto-type diet that would enhance your health and probably reduce your risk even further for that. Now, is a keto diet, a ketogenic diet sustainable?

[00:27:25] Mark: It is. I know people have done it for a while. I don’t do it. I use keto as a tool. So keto is one of the strategies I use to maintain my metabolic flexibility. For example, I might go four or five days of just eating keto and by choice, I’m not even or not even by choice, by design, by like, oh, I just look back in the last three or four days.

[00:27:45] Mark: I had steak, I had fish, I had chicken. I had some vegetables. I had some wine but I didn’t have bread. Didn’t have pasta. Didn’t have, I was keto for those three or four, five days. However, I just got back from Tuscany, Italy. Are you kidding me? I’m not gonna eat pasta in Tuscany? I had bread, I had pasta, had pizza. Didn’t have a lot of it, but I’m just saying I didn’t, you know, I wasn’t thinking, oh, I’m gonna lose my keto card. I’m gonna get kicked out of keto because I’m eating these. No, what I did was I said, okay, I spent all this time orchestrating my life around developing metabolic flexibility.

[00:28:20] Mark: Whether it was the days that I ate keto, whether it was the times I didn’t, I chose not to eat a meal. But now, I get to benefit from this flexibility by having some pizza or having some pasta with cream sauce or having this amazing piece of bread with butter and not feeling guilty, not feeling bad. I mean, some people who are mostly keto, if they have a bunch of bread or pasta, they feel like crap. Well, that’s not metabolic flexibility. That’s being so tied to keto in a lifestyle that it’s messed you up on the other side. So I just use keto as one of the many arrows in my quiver. One of the tools in my toolbox is to maintain metabolic flexibility.

[00:29:03] Megan: That makes sense. So it’s a balance. It’s a balancing act kinda.

[00:29:08] Mark: It is, but the beauty is when you know all these variables, you can simply you know, you don’t have to think about it. You just do it and it comes naturally. It’s intuitive that by the time you finally get around to this, it’s not like you have a, you know, a plan for the day or you have a weekly schedule or the macros and things. No. It literally happens organically and intuitively, which is, I think what life is all about. 

[00:29:31] Patrick: And I agree. It’s great when it becomes a natural way of life. We always like to say, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. And real quick on keto, just to add, there’s a healthy way to do it and an unhealthy way. And what Mark’s talking about has been a good way. Yet some just try to stay in ketosis by eating fat bombs and other unhealthy fat foods. And that’s really not the way to go. And it’s been shown that that can be harmful for long periods of time, especially for women in their reproductive years. So this comes back to like everything, finding what works for you and eating what works to fuel your body.

[00:30:04] Patrick: Speaking of fueling your body, a question came in on the chat on collagen supplements, and I actually used the Primal Kitchen Collagen drink mix so I know and appreciate your thoughts on collagen. Yet, I’d love for you to share your thoughts with the group.

[00:30:18] Mark: Well, I would consider collagen the fourth macronutrient after fat, protein, and carbohydrate, because I think collagen is a specific type of protein that you don’t get from meat. You don’t get it from the flesh of an animal. You get it from skin and grist and bones and eating nose to tail. And since most of us over the years have sort of gotten away from this nose-to-tail eating and only eat the choice cuts of beef for the last 20 years. We’ve been sort of, we’ve kept collagen, good sources of collagen out of our diet.

[00:30:48] Mark: So one of the reasons I developed a collagen supplement was I realized for myself, that I wasn’t getting enough collagen. I don’t, I’m not a big fan of bone broth. I drink it once in a while. Collagen used to be jello and was a good source of collagen for kids, this gelatin. Many of you probably had parents, and mothers who used Knox gelatin for their fingernails and hair.

[00:31:08] Mark: We don’t see those anymore. So there’s not a really good source of collagen other than collagen supplementation now. And I have to say I had a series of years where I had a bad Achilles Tendonosis that was not resolving. And I was recommended that I get surgery, which I was not gonna do. And I started supplementing with a lot of collagen, like 30 or 40 grams a day.

[00:31:29] Mark: And the Tendonosis that I had for like 18 months went away in about three months. So I became a huge fan of collagen realizing that my body was because I didn’t give it the raw materials to repair the tendon issues and Achilles, it went to plan B, which is to build scar tissue. Well, I didn’t want scar tissue. I wanted a rebuild. You know, tendon tissue. So, that’s really, I’m a huge fan of collagen supplements.

[00:31:54] Patrick: Awesome. Thank you. And then to wrap up, I guess for the last, maybe I’ll make it a two-part question, cuz there was a question that came in here for those like that. You see the question in the chat box. ‘What book should we start with?’ And I think related to that, your latest book right now is Two Meals a Day. And for the question that came in from someone was like, ‘Okay, I’m actually looking to gain weight and I don’t wanna be restricting my carbs. Can I eat more and try to or not restricting carbs, but restricting overall, like can I eat more?’ You know that, so in that thought, what your thought would be related to that? Trying to gain weight and then to start with. 

[00:32:29] Mark: Yeah. Great question. So when you get, when you wanna gain weight, obviously you wanna gain muscle. You don’t wanna gain fat. It just does you no good. So you wanna gain muscle? So in that case, I would be eating more, you know, certainly more calories, more protein, but the major issue in gaining weight is you must sort of trick your body into wanting to build muscle. And that means you have to go to the gym and lift heavy weights. So there’s a lot of weight training involved in putting muscle on. And then I would make it a very protein-centric diet. I would pay attention to my healthy fats. And then for the carbs, you know, I would certainly, I wouldn’t restrict carbs, but maybe I’d even stay away from like the green leafy carbs and maybe I’d go to sweet potatoes, Rudy Vegan’s turnips, things like that for the carbs. Yeah. So if you’re trying to gain weight, there will be a point at which your genetics, your familial genetics will say we’re done. You know, I mean, I fight to keep my weight on. I basically should be a hundred and fifty-pound guy and I weigh 169 and I have to fight to keep on.

[00:33:28] Mark: And I say that because my dad weighs you know, he was my height and weight one in the one forties, my two brothers weigh, don’t weigh very much, but they don’t lift weights. So I lift a lot and that helped. And I eat protein substantially, but I don’t wanna gain fat. So I would rather put a little bit of muscle on and not be and not gain fat. Then put, you know, a lot of weight on and have much of it be body fat.

[00:33:54] Patrick: Awesome. Well said, well, I mean, I can’t thank you enough. I mean, what a pleasure. This was incredible. I think I could talk all day about this and keep asking questions. I’m sure this room could too, but what a pleasure having you on here. And I think, I will say at least a lot of the stuff, your philosophies, people ask some more questions in the chat box, some specific meal plans, and really we’re going right into the next session which I’m talking about is how to live fit with vitality and lead into FitLife challenge and a lot of that kind of stuff. 

[00:34:23] Patrick: It has many of the things that Mark had recommended. So you’ll get more of it as we move right into that. But first off, truly, just really wanna thank you for being here today and you know, all that you’ve done, not only today but in this industry, giving us the books, giving us the tools, the talent, basically, everything to be able to follow and live healthier lives. So thank you.

[00:34:40] Mark: Thank you, Patrick. And thanks for having me. Yeah and The Primal Blueprint is the number one book and then, Two Meals a Day. So those are the two I get, The Primal Blueprint and Two Meals a Day. Thank you. Thanks, everyone. 

[00:34:51] Patrick: Awesome. Thank you, Mark. Wow. How was that? Pretty incredible, right? Wow. So much information packed in there. And I certainly hope it sheds a little light on what you can do to fuel your body with the right foods to live with vitality. Mark has devoted his life to reading research studies and tried it on himself. And I’ve done the same following his lead and finding what works for me.

[00:35:16] Patrick: Similarly, it’s these methods that form the basis of our FitLife Challenge that has helped hundreds of people get fit in a fun supportive environment since 2016. As mentioned earlier, we recently improved the challenge, partnering with Mark’s firm to bring personalized health coaching to the challenge, which really brought it to the next level and helped to continue to deliver those amazing results which you heard about in episode seven.

[00:35:39] Patrick: All of that info is at fitlifechallenge.com and that, and all of the information from this episode, along with how to get access to the checklist and meal plans will all be added to the show notes for this episode at livefitignitechange.com. Again, I hope all of this has served you, and if you’d like an exact plan to follow and, or a supportive group to help you through the process or your journey, we would love to assist you.

[00:36:03] Patrick: If you resonated with this and would like to live, fit and ignite change in your life, you can get started for free at livefitignitechange.com/start, where you can join our community of high performers and get access to our kickstart resources for free. You can choose if you’d like to start on the path to getting in the best shape of your life and or ignite the change you’d wish to see by casting a vision and taking the steps to get there.

[00:36:31] Patrick: You can get plugged in at livefitignitechange.com/start or for short livefic.com/start. Also, my family and I are igniting the change we wish to see in the world by helping others live fit. We were sick of all the process, sugar-loaded foods and drinks marketed to us, especially to our youth.

[00:36:52] Patrick: So we’re developing a line of truly delicious grain-free, sugar-free products that children and adults love as part of our NRI performance nutrition brand. Learn more and join the NRI insiders for free to be the first to hear about samples, launch parties, and specials at inrive.com. That’s I-N-R-I-V-E.com. Thank you so much for tuning in, and please be sure to like share rate and review this show.

[00:37:21] Patrick: This is what’s needed to help reach more and serve more. So together, we truly can ignite the change that we wish to see. Thank you so much for your help in making it happen. And I hope you make it an outstanding day and go forth to light love and serve the world and live the life you’ve always imagined.

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