The Rich Roll Podcast – Ray Cronise & Julieanna Hever on Everything Plant-Based Nutrition

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Intro
How did Ray and Julieanna decide to collaborate on work?
Ray’s Journey
  • Ray lost 100 pounds using cold stress to accelerate his weight loss, landing him as mentioned, in The 4-Hour Body
    • After losing the weight, dairy, eggs, and yogurt were still giving him problems with his cholesterol. He was still experiencing severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, and he would frequently pass out after meals) and had moderate Type 2 diabetes.
    • Going to a primarily plant-based diet helped him tremendously (he would also eat beans and fruit). The rise and fall of his glucose levels steadied.
  • Ray had noticed how much Michael Phelps was able to eat given how much he swam (around 12,000 calories a day)
    • Water is 24 times more thermally conductive than air, allowing you to lose much more heat when you’re surrounded by water
    • Adding cold stress effectively allowed Ray to double his weight loss rate
    • Metabolism increases under cold stress and during exercise
Oxidative Priority
  • “All calories count if you count all the calories”
  • When we eat calories, the body prioritizes them based on its ability to store them as energy
    • For thousands of years, we lived in a calorie scarce world
    • We can store fat easiest/most and alcohol the least
    • Fat metabolism after a drink nearly goes to 0 because our body chooses to metabolize the alcohol first, as it can’t store it
    • Next on the priority scale is amino acids. After a high protein meal, the reason our metabolism rises so much is to get rid of the amino acids our body can’t store.
      • Even 24 days into a water fast, Ray noticed his amino acid levels were completely normal
      • Once you take the first step of metabolizing an amino acid and turning it into the Kreb’s Cycle, it’s no different than what glucose looks like
      • So, if you drink a protein shake, that causes an increase of amino acids in the blood pool, and for some amount of hours afterwards, the body will prioritize clearing the protein over lipids – it doesn’t need to liberate lipids when it has all the amino acids to get rid of. By the time the count returns to normal, normally people are eating their next meal.
    • Unlike amino acids, our body can store 1500-2000 calories of glycogen
      • People who do a lot of cardio can store more glcogen
    • Alcohol – Protein – Carbs – Fat is the order of what the body burns for fuel. This is known as Oxidative Priority, as defined in this paper from Ray.
      • We can store unlimited fats.  Excess fat is excreted as stool. Excess alcohol/protein/glucose is not excreted as stool, the body just metabolizes it
      • So at a party, if you have a glass of wine (alcohol) and a cracker (carb) with cheese (fat/protein) – the body burns the alcohol/cracker/protein and stores the fat
    • The myth of eating small frequent meals
      • It does boost your metabolism, but only to burn the food you can’t store – this doesn’t dispose of excess fat that you’re trying to lose
      • “The less frequent you eat, the more you tap into your fat reserves”
    • If you’re trying to lose weight, given the concept of oxidative priority, as you’re increasing the amount of fatty foods (nuts, seeds, avacados), you’re going to want to limit the amount of starchy foods (fruits etc.)
      • Eat the fatty foods with salads and cruciferous vegetables (which don’t have a lot of calories) so the body can burn the fat
      • When you start eating high starch (fruits, beans) and high fat at the same time, your body uses the starch, but stores and retains the fat in adipose tissue
The Food Triangle 
  • This is a food triangle Ray and Julieanna created
    • The idea is to get rid of the protein/carbs/fat labeling
      • Food just isn’t as simple as this in nature
    • Their diagram is more focused on how the body metabolizes different foods
    • At the top – leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, stems, celery, asparagus, onion garlic
    • On the left descending side – animal products, eggs, dairy
    • Down the right side – legumes, starchy veggies, fruits, whole grains
  • Eating on the right side of the food triangle is where Ray tends to stick
    • This is plant based side
    • The more plants you add, the more success you have
    • “It may just be that eating a plant-based diet, is a wonderful way to implement dietary restriction without malnutrition” – This is the only way science has extended the length of life in the lab. ” It’s a a convenient way to eat a large volume of food, without overeating.” 
  • On the animal based side (left) you’re adding more fats, amino acids, and proteins
  • “Coconut oil is the white sugar of fats” – Ray doesn’t recommend it
  • Macro Confusion
    • Not all carbohydrates are metabolized the same, for example – lentils vs. candy
    • People are afraid of fruit due to the sugar – but as Dr. Oz showed, the fiber slows the digestion
  • Ray and Julieanna have concerns about being vegan
    • Adding the sugar back into a plant-based diet just doesn’t help
    • “It’s so easy to delude yourself into thinking you’re eating healthy”
Protein
  • Our genes encode about 25,000 different proteins. Some of them last a few milliseconds and some last decades. They are constantly being built and destroyed.
  • All of these proteins are made of 20 different amino acids
    • However, 9 of these amino acids (the “essential” ones) only come from diet 
    • Plants can photosynthesize all 20 – as you go up the food chain, you get a larger concentration of these amino acids
    • “Dietary amino acid restriction is how we’re extending life in the lab”
  • Breast Cancer – if you take breast cancer and breast tissue cells in a Petri dish, and restrict them both of methionine (a type of amino acid), breast cancer has absolute methionine dependency (so they all die) while the breast tissue cells live
  • A plant based diet may just be mimicking amino acid restriction
Protein Shakes
  • They may be helping you grow muscle, but just because you’re more muscular doesn’t mean you’ll live longer
  • Casein and whey come from a milk extract and are probably more hormonially active, above and beyond just the calories/grams of protein
  • Is huge muscle mass a good thing long term? We don’t know, but we’ll find out soon.
    • Ray suspects the anabolism from trying to put on so much muscle, could perhaps be problematic as you approach the age that age related diseases start to accumulate
    • We know dietary restrictions works, so “eating to get big” may not make sense
“All food is habit. Craving is a form of addiction, not survival.”
  • When you say you had a craving, you’re just validating your decision to do X
  • The foods are scientifically designed to activate the reward centers in our brain
  • The more you eat a certain food group, the more you will want that type of food – can confirm, I follow a ketogenic diet and constantly crave fats
Ray’s Request
  • Everyone has a choice to transform their pallet and change the types of food they like to eat
  • He has the goal of changing 10,000 people’s lives
Food Quotes
  • “If food is served in a restaurant, it’s served for the average population”
  • “Every meal is a celebration for the average person out there” – this is a bad thing
  • “Eating whole plant foods, closest to their natural state, is the way to go”
  • “If you can’t give up a certain type of food, you probably should”
The Ketogenic Diet
  • To learn about ketois and the ketogenic diet, check out these Podcast Notes from Dom D’Agostino’s appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience
  • Ketosis has helped us to survive times in which food was scarce
  • Ketones can activate longevity genes
    • Ketones are basically an intermediate step of fat metabolism
  • Perhaps the diets people are eating to stay in the state of ketosis, are not the best
  • “Ketones may not be the magic elixir, but the diet may be restrictive enough to have increased health benefits (in spite of the ketones, not because of it)”
  • Feeding frequency is one of the easiest ways to be chronically over nourished – people who follow a ketogenic diet are more likely to compress the eating window
    • During fasting periods (or between meals), metabolically a lot of housekeeping is going on (just like when you’re sleeping)
  • Ray thinks it’s a stretch, but it has its benefits, especially relative to a normal diet
  • You can support 100% of your VO2 max with glucose, and only 50% with fat
How to Start on a Plant-Based Diet
  • Keep it simple – look at it like learning a new language
  • Find recipes that appeal to you
  • If you like meatloaf, try a lentil loaf. If you like chili, try a bean chili
  • There are around 75 recipes in Plant-Based Nutrition, 2E (Idiot’s Guides)
  • “You don’t need to be perfect to get started” – as humans, we tend to over complicate things
  • If it doesn’t have an expiration date, buy it – the stuff that doesn’t need labels (fruits/vegetables)
  • “Eat less frequently and eat more fruits and vegetables, then you’ll do well. Just don’t soak them in oil and salt.”
What are some common mistakes people make?
  • “The main obstacles we have to success are the social pressures of eating”
  • Today, it’s a lot more socially acceptable to say you haven’t eaten for X amount of days
  • The more often you eat, the more likely you are to over eat
  • “Food is the ultimate social lubricant.” – We take breaks to sleep and work, everything else is a meal
  • Some of your worst sabotagers, are the ones who care about you the most
  • Hazard = Risk*Exposure
    • You’re more likely to make mistakes, the more often you eat – Maybe you should only eat 1x a day?
  • Fear of loss is more motivating than desire to gain
Random
  • “In nature you don’t have contradictions. Contradictions only exist in our interpretation of nature.”
  • Check out this blog post on Paleo vs. Vegan by Matt Fraizer from No Meat Athlete
  • When Ray has people start on a plant-based diet, and they are losing weight, he doesn’t have them exercise
  • Ray is 53 and claims he feels like he’s in the his 20s
  • Ray once fasted for 24 days
  • 2 billion people around the world are either overweight or obese
  • Use oils for flavor, and don’t cover your food in them
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