I start talking about the life changing insights from the great Deepak Chopra, and end up going off on numerous tangents, crossing over the Breather show barrier and into a full length show.
I mention the benefits of maintaining passionate competitive goals throughout life. Of course there are periods in life where you are totally consumed with athletics, your heavy metal band, or building your business. These are healthy phases to strive for your absolute potential, but when life moves into other phases it’s essential to adjust your goals based upon your life circumstances and your advancing age. I mention how today, on the other side of the big 5-0, I want my athletic goals to promote health and longevity, rather than compromise them as my professional triathlon career most certainly did.
I cover highlights from a wonderful podcast with Dr. Chopra on the MindBodyGreen channel. Chopra, the most peaceful of humans, manages to get in some choice digs about the current US President. Deepak observes that we are living in “collective insanity,” best characterized by the fact that a “dysfunctional narcissist” is able to win the Presidential election. Deepak speculates we are in an age of excessive violence at all levels: from global conflicts to emotional violence in interpersonal relationships. It’s interesting to think of violence in this perspective, since we usually associate violence with the narrow definition of physical violence (guns, war, police brutality, etc.) Deepak says humanity is on a time clock to extinction if we continue at our current pace of dysfunction. However, he sees potential if the “collective consciousness” progresses as we see signs of today (especially people who are listening to cool podcasts, you know?).
Deepak mentions how he starts every day by reaffirming his “4 Daily Intentions.” This stuff is solid gold – please consider integrating it into your consciousness. Follow Deepak on social media and check out the MindBodyGreen podcast too. Here are Deepak’s four daily intentions:
1. Joyful Energetic Body: No toxic people, jobs, or substances.
2. Loving Compassionate Heart: People want attention and acceptance as they are. Even Trump, Deepak says, speculating that Trump didn’t get that necessary attention as a kid.
3. Reflective Quiet, Alert Mind: Deepak says this is how you access intuition and the creative flow. This is different than forcing positive thoughts, which can be merely another form of stress.
4. Lightness of Being: Appreciate the present; no anticipation, no regrets.
We are a swirling mass of atoms according to Dr. Deepak Chopra mind/body expert. [00:01:47]
Everyone should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep. Our sleep patterns can and should fluctuate over the course of the year according to the sun rising and setting. [00:08:42]
After going to be before 10 at night, Deepak meditates starting at 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. [00:12:53]
He says he has not been stressed in thirty five years! Deepak talks about “collective insanity” regarding the state of things across the globe. [00:14:36]
The four daily intentions are things Dr. Chopra reminds himself of every single day. [00:18:30]
Joyful energetic body means no toxic people, substances, jobs….get rid of negativity in your environment. [00:18:56]
Have a loving compassionate heart. People generally want to be accepted just as they are. [00:19:22]
Reflective quiet alert mind is how you access intuition and creativity. [00:20:47]
Lightness of being means not having resistance, no anticipation, or regrets.(Going with the flow.) [00:25:33]
The most profound longevity markers are not vegan diet or strenuous exercise but rather a youthful spirit. [00:27:15]
Usually we think of ourselves when someone asks our age, we think of chronological, but we have three ages, not just one [00:29:57]
Psychological age is how you feel. [00:35:00]
The less sugar you consume over a lifetime will correlate with longevity. [00:36:59]
Orthoexia is getting to be a problem and is counterproductive to our idea of healthy lifestyle. [00:38:53]
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Get Over Yourself Podcast
Speaker: Brad Kearns
Welcome to the Get Over Yourself Podcast. This is Brad Kearns.
“This concept that the most profound longevity marker was not a vegan diet or a strenuous exercise everyday or any of this stuff, but instead, it was a youthful spirit.”
Hi, it’s Brad. I was going to record a short breather show about one of my favorite authors; Deepak Chopra – mind, body, spiritual, medical guru, best-selling author times ‘87. And he just did a great podcast on the Mindbodygreen Channel. I was furiously taking notes and so inspired, remembering these great insights that I continue to hold with me from reading his book “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind”. Now, it’s around 30 years ago when that first came out.
But the show went off on numerous tangents, including getting into some commentary about Tiger Woods, including talking about my high jump career as a high school student and into adulthood, and trying to have that bar standard, the delaying of the aging process or that goal. Also, talking about the longevity work of Dr. Peter Attia and blending it with Deepak’s insight, that youthful spirit, psychological youth is the number one most profound longevity attribute among centenarians across the globe.
So, it’s a wide-ranging show with many tangents. I could call it the “Tangent Show” maybe. But it’s going to be centered around the insights from the wonderful author; Dr. Deepak Chopra. So, enjoy. Thank you.
Hey, it’s Brad. I want to do a little breather show about one of my favorite authors; Deepak Chopra. Now, world renowned as the mind, body expert. One of the first guys to really bring mainstream, the blending of Western medicine where he’s classically trained as a physician, longtime practicing physician. And the deep experience of Eastern philosophy that he also brings. I think his first book was “Perfect Health”. He wrote it and it sat around for awhile back in the ‘80s. And then somehow, he got himself on Oprah, and he was talking on a recent podcast how after that Oprah appearance, he sold 1 million copies of his book in the next month. So, the guy went big time really quickly.
It’s now been over 30 years. I know, I was exposed to his incredible book, “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind” back in the late ‘80s. So, that would be 30 years ago. And it was just a page turner with these profound insights that you could call them woo-woo and spiritual, but everything was blended with a scientific reference. So, it was a really rhythmic read where he would propose something like, “Did you know that your cells are constantly turning over, such that you manufacture a new stomach literally every two weeks and a new pair of lungs every six months, and a new skeleton every two years?”
I’m not sure those stats are exactly right, but he was talking about how we are literally just a swirling mass of atoms. We’re not separate from the world around us. These are pretty simple insights from Bradley. Not sure how they line up with the proper syntax from the scientific perspective. But you can kind of get what I’m getting at, and definitely pick up one of his books. He’s written, I think he said 87 books or some crazy number when he was on the Mindbodygreen Podcast. I would highly recommend “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind”. And just going into that for a few pages and getting these amazing insights that kind of change your perspective.
I remember back in the ‘80s or early ‘90s, my friend Janey was into him too and she urged me to go to a public event in Sacramento where he was speaking. And she says, “You got to see this guy in person. There’s nothing like it. He actually glows. He has an aura around him and it’s phenomenal and it’s amazing.” And so, I went to this event with all the woo-woo people. There was a couple thousand people in this giant hotel ballroom. And then afterward, we went up front to kind of get a look at him. Not trying to get a picture or get an autograph because he was swarmed with people. Kind of an informal swarm after his formal talk was over. And I have to admit he really was glowing.
This guy had the biggest smile and you could just feel this positive energy around him, and giving out that love as he gave during his talk, captivating the crowd. So, it really was something else to get up close and see this guy in person. The only other time I’ve experienced anything like that, was going to watch Tiger Woods play golf in person during his heyday back in 2005, somewhere around there. And I urged my friends to come with me the following year because it’s just something else to see this guy with the crowd surrounding him, just come out there and with the energy and the magnificent swing that he puts on the ball and the stuff he can do on a golf course. TV does not do it justice.
Generally speaking, it’s great to watch a golf tournament on TV because they’re covered so well. And now, you have the shot track where you can see the actual shape of the ball as it’s going live off the club face and all the different cameras showing everybody trying to catch up to each other. But if you have a chance, and now that Tiger’s back, this is especially important, get yourself out to a golf course to watch this guy play. There’s nothing like it. I’m going to call him the greatest athlete of all time in any sport for what he’s done at such a high level for so long. And yeah, the crashing and burning and the drama kind of distracts people from the athletic exploits that this guy has shown. And I’m not worried about who he is or what he’s doing off the course. I’m just entertained by his golfing skill and applying those insights to improve my life.
You know, I wrote a book about him called “How Tiger Does It”. This was before he crashed and burned. But most everything in there still is highly relevant to anyone interested in peak performance, and some of the insights that I gather from watching him and put into the book.
So, yeah, it’s tough making it through real life unscathed, especially when you’re in the high-profile celebrity scene. It’s just tough. I can imagine. Not that I’ve been there with my own boat trying to fight off the Paparazzi and so forth. But you can imagine how difficult it is to be in that celebrity spotlight all the time.
In his case, Tiger’s case, oh my gosh, the new biography that came out, the most comprehensive exhaustive biography and talking to everybody involved in every step of the way from childhood, paints a really … it’s a little bit of a disturbing picture of how isolated and strange his upbringing was, where he was programmed to be this golf champion. And everybody thought that was cool and thought his dad was so cool for mentoring him all the way and making him tough and competitively resilient.
But the dad doesn’t come out very well in this biography. Kind of a strange character that contributed to a dysfunctional childhood upbringing. And consequently, very likely, I don’t know, we’ll talk to a psychologist about that, but very likely contributing him to engaging in that train wreck behavior as an adult.
But, by some account, it seems like he’s maturing, moving on, growing as a person. You can see him more friendly with the media and fans and back enjoying the game. Especially with all those health problems. He’s probably appreciating just the chance to hit a ball without that pain and suffering that he had with his numerous surgeries, especially the back and the knees and things like that. So, I guess I was going to make this about Deepak, but I’ll also call it the “Deepak and Tiger Rumblings Ruminations”.
But anyway, back to Deepak and some of the stuff he covered in the recent podcast. Just given you some great highlights. You can go and listen to it at Mindbodygreen Podcast. So, nice plug for them for sitting down, Jason Wachob, sitting down with Deepak and getting into it.
I like his daily routine – one of the things he mentioned. He says he’s in bed before 10 without fail, oftentimes in bed before nine. How about that? And then I reference all my research and passion for the subject of sleep and the incredible book “Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival”. Where the authors – Formby and Wiley talk about our genetic expectations to sleep when it gets dark. So, we’re programmed for two and a half million years. Our genes are programmed to flood the bloodstream with melatonin on cue, soon after it gets dark in our environment. And for millions of years, that meant when the sun set.
So, we’re highly, highly calibrated with all our genetic and hormonal functions to operate on this sleep and wake cycle that is closely aligned with the rising and setting of the sun. We’re programmed to wake up when the sun rises and get a burst of energy and inspiration and cognitive clarity in conjunction with the rising of the sun and the consequent lowering of melatonin and increasing of serotonin into the bloodstream. The feel-good hormone that gives us that energy and alertness as well as the prominent stress hormone, cortisol. Which is often discussed in a disparaging manner as in producing too much cortisol chronically and causing breakdown illness, immune burnout.
But cortisol is supposed to spike first thing in the morning, and that’s what gives us the energy to go about our busy day. So, we wildly screw that up by introducing artificial light and digital stimulation after dark. And so, right now, as the authors say in the book, it’s not when it gets dark, it’s when we make it dark. So, we flip the switch and only then is our body experiencing the darkness that it was supposed to experience hours before.
So, one interesting insight out of the book was that our sleep patterns can and should fluctuate based on the amount of sunlight in our environment over the course of the year. So, unless you live at the equator where the days don’t change very much from summer to winter, it gets dark at seven in the summer and six in the winter, when you’re down in the tropics. But for most of us, let’s say in Europe, North America, Asia, other areas where we’re up above the tropics, we’re going to have some significant variation between the length of the day in the winter and the length of the day in the summer.
So, in lights out, they propose that everyone should be getting at least eight hours a night. Per medical expertise as often, that’s shown as the optimal baseline. So, in the wintertime, you should be getting possibly up to nine and a half hours of sleep. And in the summer, you can probably get away with eight. But that level of fluctuation, that’s a big generality because it strongly depends on how far above the equator you are, what latitude you live at. And if you live in Scandinavia, Alaska, areas like that, you’re going to have even more fluctuation between your summer sleeping hours and your winter sleeping hours.
So, maybe going up to 10, 10 and a half hours a night if you’re living in those dark climates where you get seasonal effective disorder and all those things. Your body is just simply meant to be hibernating, not operating anywhere near your summer functionality.
For those of us in a more reasonable latitude where we have that, getting dark at five in the winter and getting dark at nine in the summer, like me here in northern California, we’re going to strive to increase those hours of sleep during the winter. Tone down the exercise ambitions just because it’s colder, darker. Your body’s not meant to be pushing at peak condition like you might be trying to do in the summer. A lot of times for athletes, that aligns with the competitive schedule, so that’s cool. But just being respectful of that fluctuation between your summer and winter patterns, especially when it comes to hours of sleep.
Another aside, but back to Deepak’s daily routine. So, he’s often in bed before 9:00 PM, definitely before 10. Of course, watch out coming on the flip side, rising at 4:00 AM and meditating from four to six. Wow, that’s a big chunk of time and that’s why he’s a healthy guy, leading the charge for mind, body wellness and health. But wow, what a huge commitment. Not saying we are all advocated to model that. I know I’m not going to meditate from 4:00 to 6:00 AM anytime soon. But oh boy, wouldn’t it be nice to somehow get in bed often before 9 and for sure before 10. I really, really would love to do that. And boy, you just seem to run out of time a lot, don’t you?
But I’m really trying to say that 10 is my goal. And then when I see that 11, oh my gosh, that’s when I really do exert some discipline and I just flip that lid closed. If I happen to have a screen in front of me and I’m engaging in entertainment or catching up on work or doing something, that is the absolute drop-dead deadline to jump into bed.
So, I hate when it’s 11 and I’ve missed my goal of 10 and my secondary goal of 10:30, which is my realistic usual lights out time, 10:30. I always say 10, usually 10:30. And when it’s 11, I feel a little bit disgusted that I broke my promise. And that’s what really gets me fired up, motivated to just slam the door, slam the light switch, slam the computer close.
Also, Deepak is going to yoga class seven days a week. So, he’s got that down, he’s got the meditation down. He makes sure that he gets his 10,000 steps everyday. And he eats what he calls mostly plant-based, mostly vegetarian style diet. So, good for him. Pretty healthy and all those things contributing to his comment that he literally has not been stressed in 35 years. He reflects back to his early days as a physician and in residency, overworking, and he was smoking and drinking too much back then. Imagine that, Deepak Chopra. But he says, “Yeah, it’s been about 35 years since I’ve been really stressed.” Oh my gosh, I love that comment. Hilarious.
He goes, “Now, I experience flickers of stress.” And one of the things that really stressed him recently was the presidential election. He has a lot of juicy stuff to say, peppered in throughout the show about Trump. And I really appreciate the way he expressed his opinion on that. He’s always coming from a kind, gentle, loving place, but talking about how the collective insanity (that’s a quote) of today’s world is deeply concerning him. And he actually put a time clock on it. He says, we’re on a clock right now. The way we’re behaving and operating with our abuse of the natural environment and our attempt to solve problems through violence at all levels. Talking about the national level, the world global level of course with our concerns about North Korea and the violence in these countries in the Middle East.
But also, trying to solve problems through violence at the personal, interpersonal relationship level. Not Physical violence necessarily, but emotional violence, emotional abuse, things like that. Really profound things to think about right now.
He’s also looking at radical poverty as another one of these things that are indicative of collective insanity on the globe. And pointing out that the ability for someone like Trump to get elected is also another indication that we’re engaging in collective insanity. The news cycle where we’re constantly fed 24 hours a day, this fear-based programming – another example. So, he predicts that if we continue on our wayward ways, our collective insanity, we’re looking at extinction of the human race in 30 years.
Now, in the next breath, he has that hope and that positive inspiration for the future that we are building a critical mass of collective consciousness to pursue a more joyful and peaceful world. And that if we can keep heading down this road, then massive change is possible. But it does take that awakening of the collective consciousness. I love that.
Oh, one more thing for his daily routine is that every morning he does one Instagram post and one Facebook live post. And then he goes off social media and goes about his busy day. He does a lot of work at the Chopra Institute in La Jolla, California where people can come for a retreat-type experience, and who knows what else he’s doing with his incredibly busy schedule and great communication to the large following in the world.
So, I like that idea where he’s taking his day off of engagement in that constant hyperconnectivity stimulation of social media. But again, in the evening he’ll spend 30 minutes getting his news and scanning the social media, if necessary, wherever he wants to obtain his news from. But again, trying really hard to filter out what he calls the militant skeptics. So, he doesn’t give a hoot about those folks. And also, filtering out that collective insanity and focusing on the interesting stuff. Trying to stay hopeful, right?
One really cool thing that he talked about was the four daily intentions. And these are the four things that he reminds himself every single day of how he wishes to live his life. So, it’s kind of that, the morning affirmation during the meditation or finishing the meditation, I would assume.
The first one, he says, is joyful, energetic body. So, this means no toxic people, no toxic substances, no toxic jobs. Get rid of toxicity and negativity in your environment and preserve that joyful, energetic body. Eating healthy foods, healthy situations. So, pretty simple to understand that one. I love that; joyful, energetic body.
The next one, he reminds himself, the next intention is to have a loving, compassionate heart. And he explains that people are looking for attention and acceptance. Acceptance as they are. He says even Trump. So, that’s interesting to think about. Where it’s not often that people come to you looking for critical feedback, right? They’re sometimes hopefully open and receptive to it. Especially in those situations where you’re sitting down with your boss at a performance review, you’re going to make yourself open to possibly critical or constructive feedback. But generally speaking, people want to be accepted even as they are, or just as they are. And they also want the attention.
So, how about that? You go with a loving, compassionate heart throughout your day. You give people the attention they crave and the acceptance they deserve without trying to change them, fix them, lecture. Especially someone like me in the health and fitness realm where I’m working hard, trying to spread a message, create programming and then realizing sometimes the hard way over the years, that you have to wait until people are ready to receive, to even bother with trying to dispense a message or effect their mindset, change their mind. It’s not going to work. So, instead, come to it with a loving, compassionate heart.
The third daily intention is reflective, quiet, alert mind. This is how you access intuition, creativity, vision, and imagination, and are able to live life in a state of flow and have those peak experience as we talk about so much and strive to accomplish, trying to get into that flow state. And if you’re starting to bristle at his sort of breezy, woo-woo statements that he’s famous for, again, he details so very well in his books how these concepts are scientifically validated. That if you can create the situation of a reflective, quiet, alert mind, if you can strive for that position, you will get into this flow state and be at your peak cognitive function.
The great researcher on the concept of flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, has books on this topic and brain science and brain research telling us that when we have fears and anxieties, and all these modern afflictions that are so epidemic, we get into this overactive, monkey mind state where we’re just constantly processing thoughts, often negative thoughts. We are consequently producing stress hormones and inhibiting the flow-like state where our brains work the best. What’s actually happening is reducing oxygen delivery to the brain, increasing inflammation in the brain due to the nature of our thoughts, stress, anxiety, fear, things like that.
So, one thing on this note that Deepak was talking about, the reflective quiet, alert mind that really spoke to me was he said, don’t force yourself to be positive. Don’t force those positive thoughts through. Because I’ve tried really hard to be a positive person and navigate stress and navigate difficulties with this unfailingly positive, optimistic approach. And I feel like that has served me pretty well. You could have worse problems, but a lot of times it’s not helping the situation. It’s sort of a fake way or an inauthentic way to maybe avoid pain, suffering, hard conversations that need to be had. But instead, you’re just smiling your way through it or saying, “Hey, things could be worse.”
I know in my case, things like necessary career transitions or financial difficulties or things like that, where I was always looking on the bright side rather than getting into the heart of my problems and facing them like a grownup. I just kind of tried to smile my way through it and doesn’t work too well.
So, what Deepak said about that was being exasperatingly positive is just another form of stress and can actually cause for a turbulent mind. I feel like I also lose touch with my real emotions when I’m unfailingly positive, and I’m not really examining my present situation very well. Especially looking at my weaknesses and things like that. A quick example, let’s say, I’m going to a race and I get my ass kicked and I come home smiling because, “Hey, at least I got seventh place and I got a check. If I had gotten ninth, I wouldn’t have got anything. And I’ll do better next time. Just think on the bright side.”
But maybe if I look deeper and realize that perhaps, I was goofing around in my training prior to the race or I had overtrained because I made mistakes and wasn’t as disciplined with my thought processes and my commitment to be intuitive rather than regimented. My ego, my insecurities got in the way of my trading decisions. And none of that stuff came out because I was talking myself into how fortunate I was to be seventh place.
That’s a pretty simple example and this stuff also plays out when it comes to relationships or career decisions. Where you can say, “Hey, at least I got a job right now.” Instead of looking deeper and saying, “I’m drifting away from my passions and my highest expressions of my talents and I have to do something about it, immediately. I have to go get my resume back onto the website and be aggressive and proactive about keeping aligned with my mission and my highest talents. Okay. So, reflective, quiet, alert mind instead of that exasperatingly positive mindset. Love that one.
Finally, the fourth one, the fourth daily intention is lightness of being. And in this situation, he’s talking about not having resistance, not having any anticipations, and not having any regrets. Operate with this standing conclusion that there is no explanation for anything. Okay, that’s getting a little deep for Deepak. Love that one though. A lightness of being, just going with the flow is how I would define that for the layman’s purposes, right? Just a lightness of being. No anticipation. How about that one? Think about that for a second.
You’re anticipating how this is going to go, how that’s going to go. You’re going to the speed dating night at the eight-minute table and you’re wondering and thought processing and playing out scenarios in your busy, active monkey mind rather than a reflective, quiet, alert mind. So, great stuff and notice how they tie together so well.
So, again, a review, the joyful, energetic body. Get rid of toxic substances, circumstances, people, jobs, great stuff.
Next, the loving, compassionate heart. Knowing that people crave attention and acceptance as they are.
Next, a reflective, quiet, alert mind. This is how you access intuition, creativity, vision and imagination, and get into that flow state. Don’t force those positive thoughts or be exasperatingly positive just for the sake of being positive. That’s merely another form of stress.
Finally, a lightness of being, without resistance, anticipation or regrets.
I want to get a little deeper into his concepts that he presented about longevity that have stuck with me for 30 years, just absolutely mind-blowing. And this was content in the book “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind”. And the lasting memory I have from that is that he’s talking about the most profound longevity markers for humanity, and how studies of pockets of centenarians around the globe have come up with this concept that the most profound longevity marker was not a vegan diet or a strenuous exercise every day or any of this stuff. But instead, it was a youthful spirit that was the most common longevity attribute, the most profound longevity attribute shared by disparate pockets of centenarians around the globe.
I think there was an anecdote from a 113-year-old lady in one of those longevity pockets in the Caucasus mountains, Russia. And she was working in her garden on her hands and knees. And the interviewer said, “Why don’t you get someone to help you? You’re 113, you’re still digging a hole for your tomatoes.” And her answer was, “Well, this is my garden.”
Now we have books called “The Blue Zones”, a popular best-selling book, where the guy is traveling around the world and examining the lifestyle practices of these folks that live in the blue zones. One of them is the Island of Sicily and the traditional lifestyle that’s there. How the people engage in these nurturing social occasions. And that was a profound one for him. And also, they get plenty of exercise. They’re eating this healthy Mediterranean diet. He talks about the Okinawans and how some of their social practices, their social customs are really supportive of longevity as well as the healthy dietary patterns. And it goes on and on. So, some of this stuff is now 30 years later being a promoted and further studied by the great book, “The Blue Zones”.
Oh, another pocket was the Seventh Day Adventist in Loma Linda, California, random. But these Seventh Day Adventists who were abstaining from toxic substance and also have this great social network. Most people look at them as a little bit off the beaten path, a little unusual with their deep religious practices. But a lot of good longevity benefits for those folks.
Here’s another one that’s just stuck in my mind for so long where Deepak is detailing how usually we think of ourselves when we ask how old we are. We just think in terms of chronological age. But literally, scientifically validated fact that we actually have three ages, not just one. Chronological age, the year you were born is the least important of the three. The other two ages are first, your physical age. And this thing has been leveraged in the fitness world into a business model.
I remember the website, it used to be called realage.com. I don’t know if it’s still there. There’s many others like this where you take a questionnaire and it spits out what your real age is or your physical age. So, hopefully you get a score at or below your chronological age. But the concept of physical age. Let’s take Jack LaLanne, when he was 90-years-old and he was able to do 100 pull ups. He would be in the 99.99 percentile for the 21-year-old males walking around the college campuses, even the athletic types. So, he literally had the body of a 21-year-old when he was 90 because he was able to perform these incredible feats. And there’s no other metric that’s necessary to talk about.
I jump over a high jump bar that’s higher than it was when I was in high school. In high school, I was a skinny, little distance running geek with no power and I loved high jump. I just loved the fascinating physics aspects of it and the challenge of transferring energy from a curved run up over to jumping over the bar, spitting out of that vortex and trying to launch yourself over the bar. And I also, had no really natural physical aptitude for it. I was built to be an endurance athlete, which is not explosive power, but more of just the carrying on and being able to suffer. So, the high jump was sort of my passion to go and practice after I finished the brutal workouts of the long-distance running crew.
So, when I was this little high school guy, I could only jump five feet, which is not bad. It shows that I have some competency. I knew how to bend over the bar, but as I picked up the sport again, when I got older, finished with my endurance career, my triathlon racing, looking for something fun to do and coaching the middle school kids in the various track events.
So, I was drawn back to the high jump and I got pretty serious about it and trained a lot and do a lot of jumping sessions and was able to improve my personal record over the years. Starting at age 40, when I returned to it, I cleared five feet again. So, back to where I was in high school. And then over the ensuing years, I got up to a personal best of five-foot six, also clearing five-foot five at the age of 51. Which if I looked at the rankings for USA masters, the senior track and field competitors, that was equivalent to a top 10 performance.
Of course, I didn’t do it in a meet because I don’t care enough to go sign up and pay for going to a meet and waiting around for my turn to jump. I just like to do it in an empty high school stadium when no one’s there. But it was a great achievement for me because it also represents that I’m doing everything I can to delay the aging process. If I’m able to do an explosive, powerful effort, which requires a lot of flexibility, fitness, all those explosiveness, all those attributes that you’re supposed to lose when you age, I can say that I’m in the similar physical condition at age 50 plus as I was when I was a 17-year-old high school in many measures, by many measures. Okay?
Of course, I can’t do a one hour 46-minute Olympic distance triathlon anymore. I’d probably need an extra hour to get across the finish line of those same race courses that I used to slam. But in many ways, those capabilities that I displayed when I was a professional competitor are not aligned with longevity. So, I was very fast and very narrowly suited for the challenge of Olympic distance triathlon. But that training, to get to that point, came at expense to my health and arguably accelerated aging during those 10 years when I was training at that extreme level.
So, now, with my goals being weighted toward, of course, having fun, continuing to have passionate competitive goals, but also golf that promote longevity. It feels a lot better. So, my physical age, whatever it is, I don’t think you have to put a number on it, but it’s just to keep that concept that you’re challenging your body to perform physical feats of fitness and competency that delay the aging process.
Then finally, the most important according to Deepak, is your psychological age. The most profound promoter of longevity is your psychological age, and that’s how old do you feel. Now, this is strongly correlated with your physical age. When I clear the high jump bar at five-five when I’m 51-years-old, I feel young and excited and exuberant and boy, it’s really nicely aligned. And if I was hobbling over with a cane to watch a track meet of young kids jumping over the high jump bar, I wouldn’t have that same psychological sense of youthfulness.
So, keeping fit, keeping active, keeping healthy, engaging in hobbies, nurturing a dynamic social community, not getting stuck in toxic situations, toxic jobs, toxic relationships. Not narrowing your social circle as we commonly see in the aging process where people get out less and less, they have fewer and fewer friends. You got to do something about that and preserve that youthful spirit and that young psychological age.
What’s really cool is all this stuff is, what would you call it? Sort of in the esoteric category, but you can nicely blend this stuff with the modern, medical and scientific work on longevity from folks like Dr. Peter Attia – the longevity expert who’s known for his endurance exploits and testing the human limits of the body and performing these intense self-experiments. Where he’s injecting himself with insulin and seeing how he can handle it or peddling on a bicycle and measuring his output and his ratio of energy burned when he changes his diet. Showing that he can become fat-adapted to a profound effect where he’s burning mostly fat instead of mostly sugar just from a short period of dietary modification.
Great stuff. And Dr. Peter Attia’s insight that he floored Mark and I with when we were interviewing him for the Keto Reset Diet book, was that his favorite all time longevity marker is Insulin AUC – Insulin Area Under the Curve. Meaning that the less amount of insulin you can produce over your lifetime is going to be directly correlated with how long you live. It could also be characterized as the less sugar you consume over a lifetime is going to correlate directly with longevity.
It is known that across all species, the individuals who produce the least amount of insulin tend to live the longest. And we can’t test this with humans. We can’t starve humans and see that the more they fast and the more meals they skip, the longer they live. But there’s been some good science to support this. And actually, there has been some experiments, the famous experiments by Dr. George Cahill at Harvard in the ‘60s that Peter has studied intently. Where he was able to actually starve these folks for 40 days, wilfully and notice their blood ketone levels, their glucose levels, blood glucose levels and blood insulin levels, and how those things sort of adjusted to the lengthy period of caloric restriction. And how many health benefits came out of that.
So, it’s undisputed in the scientific community that fasting and calorie restriction is strongly correlated with longevity. Not a lot of us are interested in starving ourselves for years and decades, just so we can live a little bit longer. But the idea of transitioning over into a low-insulin producing diet is very interesting and strongly correlated with longevity.
Now, here’s the missing piece that I’m going to close the show with when we talk about Deepak and the youthful spirit and enjoying life. And then we talk about the nuts and bolts and the logistics of minimizing your insulin production. We kind of want to wed those two together so that you’re enjoying yourself in the process of optimizing your diet and your exercise program. Because what we’re seeing now, especially in the ancestral health community, the people on the cutting edge and trying new stuff and willing and disciplined to do whatever it takes to be healthier and clean up their diet even further, is this concept or this condition of Orthorexia that’s an excessive obsession with the perfect or with the correct, to the extent that it brings stress into your life.
So, when we get too worked up about eating a perfect diet or avoiding unhealthy foods like the plague, it tends to increase basic stress level. Because you’re going around, seeing that your choices are minimized. You’re passing on the celebratory events of life because you absolutely can’t let a bite of cheese cake cross your lips. And if you have a few sweet potato fries, you feel guilty and you feel bad about yourself. And these negative emotions come into the picture.
So, we want to carefully blend this commitment to health with the idea that we want to have those four intentions everyday, right? Joyful, energetic body. Loving, compassionate heart. Reflective, quiet, alert, mind and lightness of being. And when we talk about joyful, energetic body, so we definitely don’t want to get too worked up about our commitment to healthy eating, such that it brings negative energy and stress into the picture. But we also don’t want to drift too far over onto the rationalization side where we’re saying, “Hey, everything in moderation seven times a day,” as we shovel junk food down our throats at every opportunity.
So, it’s a difficult balance, a difficult tight rope to walk. I’m really in favor of enjoying life and being mindful and celebratory at times, where you can really, really enjoy yourself and have really well chosen, exquisitely crafted treats. If they’re going to enter into your mouth, make sure it’s the absolute best homemade celebration time, treat of whatever you choose. Whether it’s alcoholic beverage or a delicious dessert or something like that. But the mindless consumption of junk food, followed by the rationalization that everything in moderation is the way to go. That stuff I’m going to challenge.
So, we put that altogether, that insulin area under the curve objective for longevity and then the youthful spirit. And then we have some fun stuff. Thank you for listening to this show. Talk to you soon. Let me know what you think.
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Tribali was started by my friend Angela Mavridis in Southern California – lifelong family restaurant business member. She was a vegetarian for 35 years and one day she had a steak, felt great, and started on this path of experimenting with creative ground beef recipes and flavorings in her kitchen. All her friends loved it. She was buying tons of ground meat from Whole Foods and they’re like, “Hey, what are you doing with this?”
So, she brought them in a little sample. They loved it. They flew her to Texas to meet with the national buyer and they said, literally, “Start a business and we will place a large order.”
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