The James Altucher Show Ep. 243 – Shawn Stevenson: The ONLY Health Podcast You’ll Ever Need to Hear

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  • Shawn Stevenson from The Model Health Show and author of Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success
  • When Shawn was 15, he ran a 4.5 second 40 yard dash.  The world record is around 4.2 seconds.
    • During track practice in a 200 meter time trial, he broke his hip at the iliac crest. This led to a string of other injuries in the following years which essentially ended his athletic career.
  • At age 20, in college, he gained around 50 pounds. He weighed a total of 200 lbs. and was 5’8″.
    • At age 22, he was medicating himself every night just to sleep, taking a cocktail of Celebrex (anti arthritis pain reliever) and Tylenol PM


  • Water integrates with whatever it is stored with. When water is stored in plastic, light tends to break the plastic down, causing it to integrate with the water.
  • Shawn recommends drinking water bottled in glass to avoid chemicals from plastic (ex: BPAs – which actually function like estrogen, attaching to estrogen receptor sites)
  • It seems like there’s so much health information to remember and live by, so Shawn tries to do things as close to how we were designed to
    • What have we eaten the longest? – produce, vegetables, nuts, seeds, roots
    • How did our ancestors drink water? – they found fresh springs. How do we do this today –
      • Water from springs has never been exposed to pollution
      • Shawn recalls a study in which water from over 40 million US households was sampled and they found significant traces of antidepressants, statins, and chemotherapy drugs
      • Chlorine is typically added to tap water and acts like an antibiotic, basically killing everything. Consuming lots of chlorine has a detrimental effect on your microbiome.
      • Your skin absorbs even more chlorine from showering. Pool water is worse.
  • At age 22, Shawn describes himself as being very depressed
  • He had several herniated discs at the time and was contemplating surgery. He felt he had lost control of his health and at this point vowed to get healthy.
    • Shawn knew he needed to change what he was eating
    • He also knew he needed to move/exercise more


  • Exercise is derived from the word exercism (gettings things out of you, detoxification)
    • We have a lymphatic system, comprised of extracellular lymphatic fluid, which acts as our body’s internal sewage system. The lymphatic system has no pump like the circulatory system. Therefore, when we don’t move, waste builds up in our tissues.
    • We NEED to move more
    • Shawn recommends the rebounder, which is a mini trampoline. He uses it while watching TV or listening to a podcast.
      • Even slight jumping or moving up and down exercises the lymphatic system


  • Food isn’t just “food,” it’s information
    • Every bite of food you eat is an epigenetic influence
  • Shawn recommends trying to get all your necessary nutrients from food first. What you can’t get from food, get from supplements.
    • Use food (earth grown nutrients) based supplements that are cold processed
    • At 118 °F, enzymes in a lot of food are destroyed
  • Get a good balance of cooked food, raw food, and fermented food (saurkraut, kimchi, kombucha)
  • A good question to ask – “Is this what my ancestors would have eaten?”
  • Shawn says “You are what you eat ate” instead of “You are what you eat”
    • Food becomes a part of you, but it’s also important to consider the source
    • 80% of factory farm cows have the human equivalent of leukemia
    • All factory farm cows have antibiotics
    • Factory farmed beef has extremely high levels of omega-6s (pro inflammatory fatty acids). Omega-3s are the anti inflammatory fatty acids.
  • Spirulinna – superfood which was likely the main protein source for ancient civilizations like the Aztecs, 71% protein by weight, activates stem cell genesis

Shawn says everything came together when he started to get more sleep

  • Sleep is more important than food and movement combined. Shawn has the research to back it up. In a study done at the University of Chicago, they took people and put them on a calorie restricted diet. They monitored their fat loss. The first phase of the study they allow them all to get 8 hours of sleep. The next phase is when they started to sleep deprive them. At the end of the study they lost 55% more body fat compared to when they were well rested.
  • Largest secretion of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) when sleeping, which contributes to recovery
  • Melatonin increases Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT Fat – it’s brown because it has more mitochondria), which actually burns White Adipose Tissue (the stuff we’re trying to get rid of). So more melatonin, helps to burn a lot more fat.
  • Sleep helps to buffer and reset our cortisol levels (the stress hormone). One of the adverse side effects of cortisol is that it can break down muscle tissue for sugar.
  • Leptin – the body’s main satiety hormone. Sleep deprivation depresses leptin, and also elevates ghrelin (the hunger hormone).
  • Our brain detoxifies during sleep through activation of the glymphatic system. It is about 10x more active when we sleep compared to when we’re awake. Also when we sleep, our brain cells shrink to about 60% of their normal size, making more room and channels for detoxification.

Top 5 things you can do today to be more healthy

  1. Exercise in the morning.
    • Morning exercisers sleep better at night as they spend more time in the deepest and most anabolic stages of sleep (where the most HGH is produced). This also aids cortisol reset (our cortisol peaks in the morning and bottoms out at night). Many people have trouble sleeping due to high levels of cortisol at night, commonly caused by exercising late.
    • Shawn recommends Japanese Tabata in the morning. It’s 4 minutes total of exercising broken up into segments: 20 seconds of exercise and 20 seconds of rest, repeat. Any body weight exercise can be used.
  2. Implement some form of resistance training 2-4 times per week.
    • Muscle is our body’s fat burning machinery and also acts a reservoir for anti-aging hormones.
  3. Drink more water, at least half of your body weight in ounces each day.
    • Drinking water elevates metabolism through water induced thermogenesis. As we drink room temperature water (~72 °F), our body has to heat it to 98.6 °F. This creates a thermogenic effect which burns calories.
    • As we sleep, metabolic waste products build up in our tissues that need to be flushed out
    • Shawn drinks about a liter of spring water, bottled in glass every morning. Shawns calls this his “inner bath”.
    • Shawn recommends a reverse osmosis home water filtration system. Brittas are made by Chlorox (a bleach company) and only removes the smell and taste of chlorine, but not the chlorine itself.
  4. Minimize blue light late at night.
    • Blue light from devices suppresses melatonin and raises cortisol levels, which hurts sleep quality. In general, for every hour of blue light exposure, melatonin is suppressed for 30 minutes.  Use the “Night Shift” tool on the IPhone. Shawn recommends at least 30 minutes of no screen time before bed.
    • Also use f.lux during the day
    • For Android, use Twilight
    • Blue light blocking glasses(use the code “PodcastNotes10” for 10% off at checkout) 
  5. Meditate
    • Lots of research shows people who meditate fall asleep faster, have better sleep quality, and don’t wake up as often during the night. Meditation also improves symptoms of depression.
James Altucher Show : , ,
Notes By MMiller

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