Written by Christopher Kelly
April 6, 2017
Christopher: Hello! Before we get into this week’s interview with Tony Federico, I wanted to read to you the different perspective sections from one of our highlights e-mails. Are we seeing the beginning of the end of exercise in a pill?
A group in Denmark recently published their findings from a four-month clinical trial on low dose or high dose resveratrol in men with metabolic syndrome. Resveratrol activates the 2-in-1 in many aspects of the AMPK pathway which is activate by fasting and aerobic exercise. In rodents, resveratrol up regulates mitochondrial biogenesis and protects against a number of negative effects of a Western diet.
In this trial, however, no effect of low-dose resveratrol was seen. High-dose resveratrol resulted in high [0:00:43] [Indiscernible] levels, suggesting low short-term blood sugar control. Another paper from the same study showed that high-dose resveratrol lowed levels of the universal sex hormone precursor DHEA but did not affect testosterone levels.
Overall, the clinical trials of resveratrol had been pretty disappointing. We think it is probably because it is unlikely you can artificially dry fasting physiology and see a benefit while simultaneously remaining in a chronically fed state. At best, the two effects will cancel one another out. At worst, the mixed messages result in detrimental effects on blood sugar regulation and hormone signaling as seen here.
Our advice, skip the pills and go for a faster brisk walk first thing in the morning. Our other advice is to head over to nourishbalancethrive.com/highlights, sign up for our highlights e-mail series, and you’ll receive this message plus many other with all references to your inbox each week. Now, over to the interview.
Hello, and welcome to the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast. My name is Christopher Kelly, and today, I’m joined by Tony Federico. Hi, Tony.
Tony: Hey, Christopher. What’s up, man?
Christopher: I am very good. Thank you very much. For people, if you do not recognize Tony’s voice, Tony is the host of Paleo Magazine Radio podcast and he’s also a writer. Why don’t you tell us about yourself, Tony?
Tony: Yeah. A lot of that stuff that you’ve mentioned, at least as where the podcast is concerned, is about to change. I recently accepted a position with Natural Pores, which is a paleo-friendly, whole food, organic supplement company. Still going to be working for Paleo Magazine from time to time but I’m getting ready pass the reigns, or pass the mic I guess should be an appropriate metaphor to the new host. After about 4 years on being on the Paleo Magazine podcast, I’m going to be stepping away in order to wear a new hat and certainly excited to be doing that.
Christopher: So what’s the new role going to entail?
Tony: VP of Marketing. Stepped it up a little bit as far as my job title. The scope of my day to day activities now encompasses not only things like audio content such as podcast but blog articles and social media and advertising on Amazon and Google and all that fun marketing stuff. It’s something I’ve been interested in a long time and obviously I think whenever you work in the internet space, something I was able to do writing for Paleo Magazine and hosting their podcast, you start to see on how all of the businesses done online.
Really it is an exciting time to be in business especially when you’re in online space because you see what’s happening and how dynamic it is and how much opportunity there is. Obviously, someone such as yourself and coaching in everything that you do and health assessments is all factor into it. You can connect people from all over the world to your goods and services. We’re trying to do that. I’m trying to do that with organic, whole food supplements now.
Christopher: I find that marketing piece more complicated than the biochemistry. It’s really hard for me to get my head around and do well. I don’t think it’s my strong seat by any means. The real reason I want to get you on today was to talk about all the things that you’ve seen.
I figured with your job title, the work that you’ve been doing, you have this fantastic 32,000 view of what’s been going on the paleo sphere if you like. I really wanted to ask you some questions about that. Maybe we should start at the beginning and have you tell us how you first came to hear the word “paleo” and why you’re interested.
Tony: I’ve been a personal trainer coming up in a decade. Actually, I think I just crossed the decade mark earlier this year. I studied exercise science in college. I wasn’t particularly athletic kid growing up. My parents forced me to play sports and participate in all those things. Actually, I had more of an inclination towards science. I really love Biology, and ironically, I actually wanted to be a paleontologist [laughter]. It’s funny that I ended up in the paleo community.
I wasn’t a natural-born athlete. I was a little bit of a chubbier kid, a huskier kid, because if given the option, I’d like to eat snack foods and play video games. Thankfully, my parents didn’t let me do that and forced me to play outside. We grew up with a tree in the backyard and a lake. I ended up by default having a healthy active childhood, which actually fits into the paleo model on how to build your environment, not just your own certain habits in your personal self.
Anyway, going through school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Like I said I wasn’t supper involved in athletics but when I discovered that I could basically satisfy my PE credit by lifting weights instead of playing football, I kind of fell into that. I realized that I did enjoy lifting weights and I liked how it was kind of a self-guided, self-accountable activity.
It had a certain element of video game, or gamification to it, because the amount of pounds you’re lifting is kind of like points. You know you get a certain leg level and you unlock moves. So if you learn a new movement, that’s kind of sort of a video game style thing.
That appealed to me. I got into. It was just a hobby I was interested in. So when it came time to get a little bit more specific about my college degree, my mom said, “Hey, why don’t you just do this fitness and wellness thing that they had at the University of Florida?” and I said, “Hey why not? I don’t really have a better idea of what I should be doing.” My associate degree was in psychology. So that wasn’t something I’d want to pursue personally. So fitness seem like a good idea and why not?
Obviously, I went through the training program and got my training certification and really right out the gate started working in gyms in various settings, in box gyms as well as continuing care and retirement communities which where a kind of place where you can buy in and basically go all the way through from independent living to hospice. So I had a really good baseline experience in fitness, group exercise, teaching yoga, teaching boot camps, doing all that stuff.
It really taught me about conventional fitness diet or conventional fitness approach which is a lot better than the standard American diet. As I taught it to clients, I realized the limitation. For example, the idea of multiple meals throughout the day. There’s a lot of work that goes with having a cooler with little snacks with you at all times. The idea to do an intense cardio and have your heart rate elevated to a certain degree in order to get a benefit lead me to really over exercising and trying to restrict calories at the same which kind of lead to food issues.
Even though I was a personal trainer and look fit on the outside, I was kind of suffering from the limitation of the conventional fitness mindset. My clients weren’t benefiting as much as they could. I saw people who tried to follow my advice and eat more whole grains and restrict calories and exercise more. Some people were successful, don’t get me wrong, but in a lot of people, it didn’t work.
Behold, a personal training client of mine who’s neighbor who’s happen to be an Early Crossroad affiliate, came to me one day and said, “Hey, what do you think about this paleo thing?” Without really knowing anything about it and frankly after I hadn’t heard of it before, I said, “Hey that sounds cool. Let’s do it.”
We basically challenged each other to do ta 30-day paleo diet plan, and that was based on the paleo diet by Dr. Loren Cordain. So me and my client, jumped on it in both feet, and basically I quit all my whole grain, mini muffins, my diet, energy drinks and those things that I thought were fine because they either have low calories or they’re high fiber or they’re whole grains or whatever the case is.
I cut them out and after a couple of days, I’m feeling crappy. I actually started feeling really awesome. That made me realized that there’s something to this whole paleo diet thing. And kind of going back to my childhood and being interested in evolution and dinosaurs and Ice Age animals that also is interesting to me. And I liked as a personal trainer that there is heuristic of sorts that I could hang all these different lifestyles and elements on and instead of them all sort of existing in little separate buckets like sleep is in one bucket and nutrition is in another bucket, and physical activities is in the third bucket.
They all kind of came together when I could see them as oh what does the human animal need? And then you can kind of go from there, and you realized there’s endless opportunities for improving your health from that perspective.
So that’s how I discovered paleo diet. Obviously, that initial 30-day challenge lead to 60 days and 90 days. I actually documented it on my personal blog which I’m no longer updating but it’s still there if people want to view it. It’s the website called livecaveman.com and they can just look up 30-day paleo challenge in the search bar and I can give you the link for that. you can kind of see what I did in that initial time period.
But obviously, I stuck with it. And being someone who is in the fitness business already, I experienced great results myself that this was, no pun intended, the missing link for my personal training skill set and for my personal life. I wanted to get involve in the paleo community. That’s why I sought out Paleo Magazine and after pestering our Editor in Chief Cain Credicott for several months was able to get some content, a [0:09:47] [Indiscernible] interview in fact on our Paleo Mag online website. And that article is also available as it’s also my very first contribution to Paleo Magazine.
Really from there, I covered events, wrote articles, and covered podcasts for them. And that’s how discovered paleo. It’s the client that I actually have to thank for it, a man named Doug. I think he still lives in Orlando, Florida. And I’m really grateful that he did. It changed my life and it changed my professional life. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today as VP of Marketing for a paleo centric whole food company if it wasn’t for that random event, I guess, maybe if you believe in randomness.
That’s how I got into it. It’s really been great connecting with this community and feeling that there’s a tribe out there, people who are really passionate about health and about doing it on a sustainable way, sustainable on a multiple levels, not just for the individual but for the planet as well. I really can get behind that in all my dimensions.
I think paleo for me is much more than how you move. It’s really a mind set and a way of life. I’m a big believer that it has to be personalized, that might conflict with people’s perspectives on it. But if you want we could kind of get into a state of paleo if you’d like.
Christopher: Yeah. That was going to be my next question. What was the diet you’re eating like in the beginning? I won’t even load it anymore. What was the diet like that you’re eating at the beginning?
Tony: I’ve gone through myself many, many permutations of paleo. That’s why I don’t have this real, I guess you’d say religious almost viewpoint of it where I don’t feel like any paleo diet guideline should be considered scriptured just like any conventional diet guideline shouldn’t be just completely thrown out.
So my initial paleo diet “was exactly you would find in the paleo diet by Loren Cordain.” So reading that book I saw lean meats and don’t eat salt and eat primarily non-starchy vegetables and so I did that for the first I believe 90 days. I stuck with that plan. And while I did feel a lot better and I did actually lose some weights.
I was losing a little bit too much weight. And I noticed some side effects, namely, my sex drive went down and I started to think to myself, “Well, okay, I’m probably dropping more weight than I need to. Maybe I’m a little hypocholoric or too low in calories for my activity level.” And I was just having a hard time eating enough, eating the lean meats, not really having seasoning on my food. It kind of make your food less palatable.
So that was making it hard for me to sufficiently fuel my activities. Because stretchy carbs and a lot of other things were pretty much excluded, I didn’t have access to them other. I kind of ran into some limitations with how the paleo diet was laid out by Loren Cordain. It didn’t work perfectly for me.
So then my next step was to explore primal, because along the way I’ve come across Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal Blueprint. I was like, “Ah, this is a little bit different. Now we’re embracing a little bit more fat and embracing some high-fat dairy.” So I did primal for a while and I gained some weight and gained some muscle mass, and my sex drive was coming back. And that was good.
But for other reason, maybe because of the carbohydrate curve that Marks have details in the book, I started getting focus on carbohydrates, especially low-carb diets. I read Gary Taube’s book “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, and then I went low carb, really restricted carbohydrates down to almost nothing. I don’t know if I was [00:13:26] [Indiscernible] or if I was producing any key tones, not necessarily it was on my radar that time. But I went low carb and kind of feel it was okay. It made me feel a little bit loopy but I get used to it.
What that did was that it helped me get out of that must snack all day mentally. I think it did helped me tapped into my body fat stores a little bit. First thing that I had to do in the morning was crush a big bowl of oatmeal. Back in my trainer days, I was conventional and gym rat. I remember there was plenty of times when me and my wife was on vacation or whatever. I wake up ravenous and eat those carbs. Going low-card broke that, but I still don’t feel optimal.
I know a plenty of people would argue with me about this but I did health screening at my work. I was working at a resort at Orlando at that time. And my cholesterol have gone from an average of 180 to 200 to over 300. Now at that time, my dessert was 100% chocolate, like Baker’s chocolate and Grass-Fed heavy cream. And I was almost having that every day.
Now people might say dietary fat does not necessarily influence cholesterol levels, but I think perhaps the amount of dairy fat that I was consuming and probably the fact that I was overconsuming calories in general at that time may have something to do with it. I personally just think to continue to eat that causing my cholesterol levels to be extremely high. I’m comfortable it higher than the norm and I’m certainly not advocating statins and other cholesterol controlling medication except in extreme circumstances, and even then, it’s questionable whether or not they’re beneficial. But for me that’s a sign that there’s something a little bit off.
Then I moved from the low carb to into a more healthy diet approach and started experimenting with safe starches. From there I did interment and fasting. From there it’s a kind of a bit of hodge podge of all of these different approaches. Prior to going into paleo, I tried vegetarian for a time period. So I really had this whole background of having tried many dietary approaches and realizing each one of them added something. I would say vegetarianism added vegetable and the value of calorie count vegetable added that into the mix. So there’s a benefit there.
But then there’s limitations. Then it’s the next step. Okay, paleo. Boom! Now I’m getting some of the artificial sweeteners and stuff out. Okay, that’s good. Now what’s the next step? Ah add the healthy fats in. What’s the next thing? Oh, maybe an “I don’t need to eat all the time” or “Maybe I can fast from time to time”. But then there’s also “Well, shouldn’t I be metabolically flexible and be able to deal with carbohydrates as well as fat?”
So each different permutation of paleo and each different dietary intervention offered something a value but also had its own limitation. That’s how I arrived where I am right now. I’m going to be 34 in two months. I weigh the same like this is high school. I was a sophomore in high school and I weighed 185 and I weighed 185 today. That’s 20 years later.
I think whatever I’m doing is working. I don’t over exercised. I get good sleep. I feel good. I eat some carbs. I eat mostly paleo every once in a while I divert off and, oh my gosh, have some slice of bread [laughter].
Christopher: Is there a photographer waiting to take a picture and [laughter]?
Tony: It’s funny. I did have some little like toast points one time with bone marrow at a restaurant during a paleo event several years ago. The next day someone was like, “Oh I heard you had some toast at the other night.” So I haven’t been perfectly paleo for a long time, but for me, it works.
If I have something that can contains gluten, every few weeks, every couple of months, my system handled it just fine, I see that as a sign of having a robust, healthy digestive tract. I certainly have been exposed vis a vis my podcast to people who believe you should be able to handle a lot of different even potentially toxic foods. And if you don’t, it’s not necessarily that the food should be avoided forever.
It’s a sign that you need to heal your digestion, get inflammation under control and do all of that work, because your reaction to it is actually a symptom of an underlying imbalance, and while taking that food away, gluten in the case for many people, taking that away relieves the symptoms because you’re taking away that irritant. You still have to do the work that heals the system. And if you’re able to do that, I understand to some people it may be too far gone or they’ve advance auto-immune disease and maybe they never can add those foods back.
I’m speaking in general terms in to the general person. If someone’s decently healthy to begin with and needed some tweaking. If they do those tweaks and they get themselves kind of running, you know if you have that occasional treat, that’s what I think about it, a little treat, maybe something a little indulging, you should be okay. That’s where I am right now, where I still adhere to the paleo mindset but I don’t fit into a particular box when it comes to my own diet.
Christopher: I absolutely agree with what you said but for me, personally, I am an ex-smoker. In fact, I am an ex-smoker. I used to smoke cigarettes when I was about 17 or 18. I just quit.
Tony: Me too, man. Me as well. I was a pack a day for a couple of years there.
Christopher: Oh my god. It’s such a terrible idea, but I mean I stopped [0:19:06] [Indiscernible]. From that point on, you become an ex-smoker right? Someone who really can’t stand. You’re really indifferent to cigarette smoke that day, and now you absolutely can’t tolerate it at all. Maybe there’s a little bit of that in me. I used to make it, and now I can’t stand a sight of it.
Tony: I do feel that way to a lot of things. If I go to a grocery store, I’m always struck by the fact that 90% of the food “isn’t food”. My treats are always whole food treats. Let me just say that. So if I’m going to eat some bread, it’s going to be a piece of striate at a really good restaurant or made by somebody. I’m never going to be like treating myself with wonder bread and marshmallow fluff or peanut butter or whatever, and that’s actually what I used to eat back when I was uninformed.
But I really lost my taste for a lot of those things. I feel like those super processed foods, I mean, it’s almost like if you do encounter them, they taste more wax or some sort of non-food substance.
I really have lost my taste for a lot of things. For those things, there’s no going back. There’s really no temptation.
Christopher: I absolutely agree. You mentioned Mark’s Daily and that was something that you said that I’m not going to put any into my mouth unless it tastes good. That’s totally right. I mean, bread. I absolutely go to France and they bake twice a day. You go to the bakery. That’s good stuff. Go to the supermarket here in Santa Cruz, trying to find a good loaf of bread. Good luck with that. It’s not just going to happen.
Tell me about how the industry has been catching up with the paleo idea. Maybe one of the reasons that you have good success with the diet in the beginning was because you restricted your food choices and you weren’t able to eat this junk that was maybe making you slightly sicker than you should have been. And now I feel like the industry has catch up, they’ve caught on this scene and marked up some opportunities and maybe people making some products with the name paleo but perhaps with different versions of the crap that get you into trouble in the first place.
Tony: I was at a supplement store here in Jacksonville, Florida, where I live now. There’s a product on the shelf called Paleo Protein. It certainly was not paleo protein, and it was a company that I’ve never seen in any paleo shows, and it’s probably a company that sort of saw that paleo was a thing on Google. They wanted to jump on the train, but their product is on the clearance isle.
So apparently, it wasn’t doing so well. So I think that there’s some feedback from the market place as well, that kind of filters out that kind of stuff and kind of requires products that claim to be paleo to be actually good in order for them to succeed in this consumer-based.
But kind of a 10,000 foot perspective on things, I think what you’re asking me before, within the paleo movement in itself when I was first involve back in 2010-2011, somewhere around there, it really was just Loren Cordain, Mark’s, and Rob Wolf, [0:22:06] [Indiscernible], some of those initial authors and thought leaders.
But as paleo movement has grown, the paleo thoughts had evolve, as kind of I mentioned in my own process, people like Paul Jane came on the scene and awakened the dialogue about starches and the whole 30 which was long seem to be kind of more restrictive paleo cleanse, a hard reboot version of the paleo diet. They added paleo or potatoes to their list of approved foods. They added [0:22:38] [Indiscernible] to their list of approved foods.
So within in the paleo movement, as it has gone on and as there are more books and people involved in the paleo sphere as it had matured and grown and advanced in paleo effects have been happening, [0:22:49] [Indiscernible] had been happening, as you mentioned there are companies coming in and attempting to poach the paleo dollars, but there’s also companies that’ve emerged organically from the paleo movement. And a lot of those companies, there are some good things happening in terms of ingredient quality and sourcing.
I think a lot of those things are noticed by food producers at large. Compared to 2010 when I first went paleo, there’s more grass and beef more available. There’s way more options for food items at least don’t have hydrogenated oil or high fructose corn syrup. There has been a lot of push backs against trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. You’re now seeing an embracive healthy fats now, although it’s not strictly paleo.
Bullet-proof coffee [0:23:36] [Indiscernible] recipe du jour has really gone mainstream. I think they had bullet-proof coffee on Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon or one of the talk shows recently. I think there’s certain elements of paleo that leaked out into the general populists, concurrent with the paleo movement itself growing and maturing and evolving. One of the things I did with Paleo Magazine was other business spotlight featuring. So I could see all these little seeds of people who had a help transformation and perhaps they had their jobs displaced with the economic downturn of 2007-2008 during the great recession.
These folks started blogs. These folks started companies. Really, there’s all these innovation and all these growth, some really cool stuff happening as well. I’m really proud of where the paleo movement is going, how much it’s done and the fact that it is having influence on culture at large. Sometimes, you see people joking when referring to paleo but even references and TV shows and things of that nature, getting a little bit more serious like, “Oh yeah, paleo.” As you might say, “Oh yes, its vegan.”
I guess paleo is becoming more normalized. And I think that’s good because it brings all the other stuff with it. We focus on ingredient quality. We focus on sustainability. We focus on transparency.
For instance we got a paleo certification through [0:25:01] [Indiscernible] and her organization. They had a certification where companies can be apply to be paleo certified and certainly several of our products are natural force of paleo certified and many other products are paleo certified as well. It’s an additional guarantee to the customer that things have been scrutinized and then we can put the stamp of approval on them and say “This is paleo.” And that’s an approval process that stands outside of something like the USDA organic label, which, for better or for worse, has been coopted with many large food companies and doesn’t carry the same weight that it once did.
Perhaps we’ll get to that point sometime in the future where paleo has been corrupted, but I think people are going to keep evolving and keep demanding stuff that doesn’t kill them. And I think that’s not a big ass. And that’s really what we’re asking for. Don’t sell us products that’ll kill us and give us diabetes and heart disease and also others and promote autoimmune dysfunction.
How about you give us real food? That’s what people are asking for, and if the paleo community and the paleo business community is able to deliver that, great, but if not, there’s going to be more people down the road. These millennials as they keep saying grown up, I think it’s not going anywhere. We’ve seen throughout history people rejecting status quo in many ways. the status quo fake food certainly runs its course.
Christopher: I certainly appreciate that. One thing we see in the supermarket here in Santa Cruz for the first time is Mark’s avocado or mayonnaise which is very much appreciated. The only mayonnaise that we’ve seen that’s not got some sort of vegetable in it and is therefore quite toxic and should be avoided. That’s pretty cool that it’s going to happen in your supermarket and organ meats has started to become popular again.
Before the butchers were like, “What the hell are you talking about? We don’t have that.” But now the situation is improving. I just wish the same would happen with fish as well. It’s obviously a part of the paleo diet. Right here in the ocean, there’s a shockingly poor selection of fish. My guess is that people are not demanding it. If paleo could become less cool and less exclusive and more people were doing it, then maybe more of these things in our local supermarkets.
Tony: You know, I’ve noticed Wild Planet sardines and same catch tuna and things of that nature are available at my grocery store. I was at Costco this past weekend. They actually had an avocado mayonnaise as very similar to the one Mark’s produces on giant palates in Costco, read the ingredients, and the sweetener honey, the avocado oil, there’s no additional ingredients. I think it’s really leaking into the mainstream.
Another thing that was interesting at Costco is that they’re selling a tub of coconut oil purely as a beauty. Put it on your face or use it as a hair mask and rub it on your skin as a moisturizer. The ingredients, 100% extra virgin coconut oil. That’s something that came in from the paleo community. People weren’t rubbing themselves with pure coconut oil 5 years ago. It would have been some moisturizer with 50 ingredients with the same way with people would eat the same bread with 50 ingredients. So I think there is a demand for these types of products and the producers of the products are taking noticed. They’re either coming from the paleo community itself or they’re coming from some larger companies.
[0:28:15] [Indiscernible] for example was acquired by General Mills last year, and they’re still selling very high quality sourced ingredients. But you’re seeing them in, I was in Wawa convenience store in Maryland this year, they had Epic Bar products in the Wawa and Grass-Fed beef jerky. These are things that users would not have seen before. I don’t think there’s some improvements. We’re not done yet though. So it’s definitely not the time to become complacent, but I think we’re seeing some progress.
Christopher: Yeah, it’s regrettable how many of these things you have to order online. I almost feel guilty when so much of our food shows up once a month from Amazon. Surely, that’s not paleo, is it? It’s a lot of packaging. Everybody knows what kind of job Amazon sometimes does with the packaging. They send individual cans of sardines in a single box. I hate all that, and I wish it was available in a conventional sense. I mean hopefully it will be in the future.
Tony: Yup. And I do think that’s one of the reasons why people still want to make an active role, you know, like you said, what’s truly paleo? I think I was a couple of years ago, my dad asked me, he’s a long-time hunter, “Hey, do you want to come hunting with me?” I think I’m kind of an adverse with the idea of shooting a deer prior.
I’ve mentioned before I’ve attempted vegetarianism at one point. I’m certainly would have been open to that then, but several years into my paleo experiment, I’m like, “You know what? If I’m going to eat meat, I’m going to take responsibility for what’s happening each time I eat a piece of meat, and an animal had to die in order for me to have that meal.”
Tony: “I’m going to be the start of that process, and I’m going to see it through the end.” I went hunting with my dad, and sure enough, conditions were right and a buck appeared that was an appropriate size and antler dimensions for me to shoot it.
One shot, boom, went down and a couple of seconds it’s all over. It’s a spiritual experience. I’m not going to lie.
It’s an emotional experience to see an animal that was majestic prince of the forest. It’s Bambi’s dad. Sorry for any Disney lovers out there who might be having a hard time with this conversation, but that’s the truth of it. There’s a majestic creature and I, as an Apex predator in this particular situation, kind of exacted my will upon it and took its life, and ate it. I appreciate that animal. I’m grateful for that animal. I know I own a debt of gratitude to life itself for the fact that not only I shoot that deer at one particular point, but every time I eat meat and every time I eat anything. Because everything we’ve eaten had come from some living thing.
So the more that we can get connected to that, regardless of what is happening online as far as the paleo is concerned or whatever, regardless of what’s happening in your local grocery store or policy or who knows what, regardless of all of that stuff, if we on a daily basis can try to get a little bit more closer to our food, the natural order of things, whether it’s a garden, whether it’s a farmer’s market, whether it’s cooking a meal, I mean, to cook nowadays is a revolutionary act.
To take whole ingredients and turn them into a meal that you can have for yourself or for your own family, that’s really not supported by the market place at large. There are companies Blue Apron that are helping people to cook more, but by in large we’re taught in grain. If you watch TV for 10 minutes to the commercials, we’re in grain in every single meal premade and delivered via a drive thru for the most part or have someone drive it to your house and drop it off.
I think we can take back some of our birth right which is that connection to the food and the planet that we’re living in every time we do something like that. for me, I think that’s paleo, that’s a dynamic process. That’s not something that you can pin down or maybe anytime you try to write something like that down, automatically starts to become dated because it’s a moving target, where you are in your particular life today.
Christopher: What was the meat like from that buck? I’m just wondering.
Tony: It’s great!
Christopher: I just wondered how fatty it was compared to we have got some really nice grass-fed ribeye form the supermarket the other day. It was so unbelievably fatty, which was phenomenal, but I just doubt whether a wild animal was ever that fatty. What was the buck that you caught like? Was it fatty or was it lean?
Tony: It was pretty lean, man. I mean they’re out there. They’re moving. They’re eating a paleo diet for a deer. They’re eating exactly what they need to be eating. Granted, hunters put out corn and grain and things of that nature to draw them in. But by in large, they’re nothing in wild diet. They’re fighting each other and procreating and doing all that stuff. They’re pretty active.
There are certain cuts of meats from the dear like the back strap for example, it’s not a muscle that’s used in locomotion or posture which is typical where stuff muscle whether it’s a deer or a cow comes from. So the back strap is not one of those muscles, so it is very tender and you can treat that as a flame in the yard or a stick, barely grill it. If you want to go crazy, you can trip it like a bacon and treat it like a bacon wrapped fillet because you can cut it very similar.
In fact, it’s the corresponding as the same as a fillet in a cow. It’s the back strap on the deer. There are certain pieces that are really tender and don’t need a lot of preparation. But some of those tougher sections you either have to cook them low and slow. I made a really great venison ham over the holidays which I treated like a chuck roast and cooked it in the crock pot, basically fell apart and garlic and all sorts of good things.
That was almost a shredded beef or a barbecue flavor by the time I was done with it. A lot of ground meat from the venison will actually grind it with taco. If you’re going to one of these local processors out in the middle of nowhere, be in Georgia or where you’re hunting, chances are that that’s not grass-fed talo to begin with.
Even in that process there are some things that are left to be desired. But is it better? Is it more connected? Is it a step at the right direction? Yeah. In addition to reconnection, I’m a big proponent of doing the best that you can rather than trying to be perfect, because perfection again is illusive. You won’t actually catch it. If you can be a little better today rather from yesterday, even if you’re still far from perfect, I think that’s good enough.
As far as the venison is concerned, you got a whole spectrum of meat there. Most of it is pretty lean. But there’s definitely some good stuff to be had.
Christopher: What are the types of business you’ve seen to do well under the paleo umbrella? Is it just the food products? What else have you seen do well?
Tony: Coaching, health information. There’s lots of summits out there. For example, if someone is interested in thyroid health or if they’re interested in gut health, there’s lots of various online summits that people can check out and get lots of very good information about those specific health conditions. For example, autoimmune paleo is big. There’s a lot of resources specifically for that.
There’s lot of informational niches depending on the type of paleo you’re interested in, usually that’s dictated by why you are interested in paleo. Whether you have performance goal or appearance goal that can lead you down to different paths. I think there’s a lot of opportunists with practitioners within the paleo movement.
I recently attended a physicians for ancestral home event in Miami, Florida, and talked to a group of very well-renowned of physicians in the ancestral space as well as physicians who are new to the ancestral health space, about the importance of social media. This is another community that were getting people involved in. I believe you yourself, Dr. Kellish?
Christopher: Yeah, that’s right. You know quite a lot of my history. Tony actually interviewed me for a piece that went into the Paleo Magazine. That was really good for us. We really got some good clients from that one article from Paleo Magazine. It’s a really good magazine.
That was my story. I got into this, the Kellish Training, first of all. And I did a bunch of other training courses. What we do now is long since more often which I think is quite unique and that because Tommy joined us. Tommy is actually a member of that ancestral health, a recent scientist himself, who’s been part of the paleo community for a long time too.
What we do now is completely unique. That’s how I got started. We’re still doing that training course because Kellish was the one that fixed me in the first place and I had fantastic results with him and I also had fantastic protocols in the beginning. So you think that’s a thing. Sorry?
Tony: That’s a whole other channel, Educating Health Care Practitioners. That’s what physicians in ancestral health is about. And people like Dr. Kellish and Chris Kesser, they’re doing with their practitioner training and helping people. If a practitioner wants to get out of the conventional model of practicing medicine or practicing health care, it’s very scary because they’re going up against some cultural indoctrination but some systemic limitations. Their license might be threatened if they tell people try a low carb diet.
Let’s say somebody comes in diabetic, and the doctor says go low carb and doesn’t give them a diabetes medication like metaphormine or insulin or what have you. That could practically be seen as breaking a hard protocol. I think resources for practitioners, that’s an emerging field, support for practitioners, that’s an emerging field.
Within the paleo community obviously you have food but there’s also health care, there’s also lifestyle products, I would say the Squady Paddy falls into that. that’s a game changer. If someone is listening into this, if you don’t have a Squady Paddy, you should get one because you’re doing it wrong. It’s crazy. That’s a thing we could’ve gotten wrong. But we did somehow.
There’s this whole spectrum. If I look at where I am right now, I’m talking to you. I’m at my home office. In front of me I have a daylight lamp that I turned on in the morning. I have my computer set up with F-lux. I’ve got a night lamp above me. So my entire light environment is kind of a two-in-two promoting a proper circulating rhythm. That’s all that’s came about is me as exploring the paleo lifestyle and thinking about how is my light intake affecting my health? Am I consuming the right types of light throughout the day?
That’s something that’s certainly wasn’t on my radar when I was a personal training just getting into the business. It’s absolutely on my radar now. And up until recently, when I was training with personal training clients. That was a big thing I talk to people about. At least shift on your iPhone if you’re going to be on it. Try to dim the lights before you start going to bed at night. Use somebody’s special lighting solutions. There’s even plug ins that you can use for your TV that basically function as a kind of like an F-lux display warming.
Christopher: I wonder when that would happen.
Tony: It’s not built into the TV themselves. That’s what I’m waiting for. You connect to your one of your HDMI cables or whatever, you can feed it to this box and then that feeds into the TV. You can get the similar effect as it’s seamless and really has dialed in it. I like it to be. And that’s happening. That’s part of the paleo movement. And that’s something you might not heard of 5 years ago, but now that’s on people’s radars.
The fact that Apple built that into their iOS. That shows that they have enough people saying “Hey, I want something that warms my display.” So I’m on iPhone before bed, which everybody does, whether they admit it or not.
It may not be as bad as it’s used to be. Is it perfect? No. but its compromise. It’s about being better and it’s about a little bit more connection. And if we’re connecting a little bit more to our ancestral environment, vis a vis some of these modern day technologies, that’s a step in the right direction and that’s a little bit better.
Christopher: Have you seen any products or services or technologies or trends in general that you think unhelpful but still for technically within the paleo umbrella?
Tony: Unhelpful? So paleo stuff that’s not helpful. That’s a curve ball. That’s what I want to clarify with you. Did I just hear him correctly? Okay, I would say that what I think is unhelpful is for instance, if someone goes online, let’s say somebody posted a picture of a meal or whatever, and they go, “That’s not paleo.” And they nip pick that person’s meal and basically troll them online.
I’ve been on the receiving end of that, people saying, “That’s not paleo.” Basically, the paleo police, I don’t think that that’s helpful.
Christopher: Right. And this could apply to other various too, right? I heard this sort of thing, people will post a video of themselves, a squat, and somebody would say, “That’s not deep enough. That’s not proper squat.”
Tony: Exactly. That is a reflection of a mindset that got us into trouble in the first place. I think that that is something bigger than paleo. What most paleo is understanding Mother nature. I think part of our nature is we want doctrine. We want to know the rules. We want to know what game we’re playing. It’s how we navigate our lives. Whether we know it or not, we are accommodating other people and society and we’re trying to find some firm ground to stand on.
Reality, in life, is not firm ground. It’s dynamic. Every day is different. Every day can’t be taken for granted. It’s a blessing that we all wake up in the morning and have a day ahead of us. Because it’s not guaranteed. I think to get into this mindset when you’re nip picking other people or shooting other people down or imposing your other beliefs to other people, it’s not helping.
What it does is it encourages a kind of tribalism and it encourages people getting into new clicks and I get it. It’s a product of our ancestral brain just as our taste for sugar and our desire to be a center as possible. There are certain things that we do have kind of engrained into those deeper kind of reptilian quadrants of our brain. But that’s where our prefrontal cortex comes in.
Maybe my paleo inner caveman, maybe my inner caveman is literally what is driving me to be more sedimentary, to eat more processed foods and to be a jerk. Maybe what I need to do is be evolved caveman to understand those tendencies, to understand those inclinations when I have a feeling or hen I have a thought trying to put it into perspective, reflect on it and have some space and respond rather than react.
I think that’s a much bigger conversation than paleo that’s kind of getting into just a human being and how to conduct oneself. But as far as things that aren’t helpful I see within in the paleo community, that’s a big one. That’s definitely on the top of my list. I think anything that promotes a perfectionist approach, very similar, you know what, everybody’s got to figure things out, and everyone’s going to be doing it a little bit differently. You can put guidelines out there, but let’s not confuse A truth for B truth.
As you kind of hinted that before, there are some paleo products out there that maybe declare themselves to be paleo. We’re saying don’t be a perfectionist and don’t be the paleo please. But you also have to think for yourself and make decisions for yourself. If you see a product on the store shelf that says it’s a paleo on the label, still read the ingredients, still check it out. It doesn’t mean it’s just a freebie that you kind of just pick it up and maybe, “Okay, this is fine.”
It’s something applies to some paleo certified. So for example, we have supplements that we sell in Natural Force. Are they for everybody? No. I think they’re for certain people. And I think there’s a plenty of people out there that are going to benefit from them, but everybody needs that determination for themselves.
We still have to be the driver on our own car. We’re still the author of our own lives. We got to still think about these things and decide for ourselves if something fits into our life or doesn’t. Just because somebody that we think is cool or well-informed or an expert in the field that’s to do somethings, that’s we should check our brains out and just go along with the crowd.
We still need to think our way through it. If we don’t, that’s when the paleo movement gets into trouble. If group thinks sets in and we start getting too focused on a dogma of some sort, then we’re going to kind of miss the real benefit of paleo which is living a dynamic engaged life, where you understand yourself, understand the world a little bit more but you don’t think that you all have it figured out because we’re all learning and we’re never going to know everything.
Christopher: Right. Everything is changing. Tell me about Natural Force? I was completely unaware of it before you just mentioned it. What problem are they assessing out to solve?
Tony: The very first problem that they set out to solve was the lack of a decent quality pre-workout. Pre-workouts are, if someone is not aware, very popular within the conventional supplement world. As a teenager into weightlifting, I used to go into the GNC all the time. I remember at some point several years ago, things like rip fuel and fat burners have been out for a long time, but at some point, pre-workouts became kind of a category into themselves.
There was this idea of taking something that has some stimulants, that has some maybe vasodilators to help your blood flow increase, something that’s kind of help you pumped up, ribbed up, and ready to go work out. That became a product category.
Across the board, universally, these things had artificial colors, artificial sweeteners in them. Yeah they may have stimulants, certain ingredients and nutrients and vitamins that work but to take those, you took a lot of other crap that you really didn’t need [laughter].
Christopher: The brighter the colors, the stronger the superpowers [laughter].
Tony: Oh, you know I think that’s part of the marketing. You drink this neon green or blue liquid or whatever. And you think you’re going to literally hulk out or turn into and X-men or an X-woman. Joe Rakoski and Justin Quinn, the two founders of Natural Force. Justin was actually working at a supplement company and Joe was a personal trainer. Because of the natural fit, they met each other at a supplements store and started talking about workouts and started talking about supplements and start working out together.
They realized that there wasn’t a decent quality pre-workout out there. There wasn’t anything that was just made from whole foods that just actually works. So they just bought a bunch of raw ingredients from the supplement store from Justin was working in and sourced what they could online and started making kind of home-brew pre-workouts with different herbs and superfoods and eventually stumbled upon a recipe that includes things like beetroot powder and naturally derived caffeine, so the herb guarana that are orange.
So all of these types of ingredients to get the same effect with artificial colors, artificial flavors, or fillers. Because if you look at a lot of supplements, you’ll see things like magnesium stearate. It’s not that the supplement needed the magnesium stearate, it’s because you need magnesium stearate for the machines that make the supplement, because otherwise, things would get gumped up and they wouldn’t flow. So they make all those nice little capsules, caprites and pills. You need stuff to keep the machine going. You’re ingesting that when you buy that supplement.
Maybe it has some great stuff in it, but you’re getting some extra stuff that I don’t know how much silicon dioxide or titanium dioxide or magnesium stearate is healthy, but if you’re taking a lot of supplements, you’re taking a lot of that stuff. And you’re probably not looking into the effects of those ingredients the same way that you’re looking into the effects of the active ingredients.
What Joe and Justin did was create something that’s only active ingredients, there’s only whole foods, there’s only raw organic. It wasn’t organic at that point but raw whole food forms of superfoods that still got the job done. Once they came across their particular recipe, they realized, “Hey, this may be some nice side hassle.” So that’s what they did.
They kind of decide business going along parallel to their professional careers. Justin got into real estate, and Joe opened up gyms. At a certain point, this pet project based around this initial product which is called Raw Tea, it started to really take off, and they realized that there’s a much bigger opportunity that they have even realized. Their solution for their own problem was solving a problem for a lot of other people.
So they invested more and more into the company and from the time that they start from that original product in 2009 all the way to today, they’ve continued to add additional products. We’ve got along with that Raw Tea, there’s a hundred percent whole food intro workout that’s based on the [0:49:19] [Indiscernible] described in born to run that was used by the [0:49:23] [Indiscernible] and there’s a recovery nectar and we got an organic pre-workout based around matcha green tea.
As the company has evolved, they continue to innovate into these areas to make things that sticks to its original, what we call our BS-free guarantee of no fillers, no artificial colors or flavors, and whole food ingredients that actually do what they, they are what they are, and that’s it. You’re not getting any extra stuff in there. For me, if I were to start with a supplement company with everything that I know, it would look like Natural Force when they approached after I wrote, you know, just like how I met you, I wrote about an article about Natural Force several years ago.
I’d see them at paleo effects and different events, and a few months ago, they’ve approached me and say, “Hey, we’ve got a position, you’d think you’d be a great fit for it? What do you think?” It’s a big decision I had to make for me and my family. I was working full time as a director of a fitness center here in Jacksonville, in addition to my work with Paleo Magazine and everything else. So I decided to step away from all that to work for this company, and after being with them for several months, literally zero regrets.
I’m standing right now, in my home office, barefoot and comfortable clothes, and I’m working. I’m lucky. I’m grateful. I pinch myself every day to be in a position where I’m at, I’m in. I’m thankful for my client who introduced me to paleo, for Paleo Magazine for giving me a vehicle into this community and to get to know people like you, and Joe and Justine, and every other business that I’ve come in contact, the person that I’ve come in contact and to do speaking engagements.
I’m a real fan of paleo. Yeah, as a movement, we’ve got issues but who doesn’t? I think by in large, pretty much everyone in this community is in it for the right reasons. I’m in it because I want to help people, Natural Force is in it, because we want to help people, the paleo movement is trying to help all the people, and I think that’s a pretty cool thing.
Christopher: It is a very cool thing. Well, congratulations with everything that you’ve achieved. That’s really a fantastic story. Will we continue to hear your voice online somewhere?
Tony: You know what, we’re actually talking about that today, so we’re going to do something. So we’ve got a few more episodes of Paleo Magazine radio that are going to go online, so obviously, our followers in the Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, you’ll get those. But I was just talking to one of our owners, Justin, and I think I’m going to explore some new types of audio content, let’s just say that in a conjunction with our website and blog and content for 2017.
We’re actually on a middle of a big website redesign. Natural Force is going to have a new online presence here in a couple of months. We’ve got a brand new content in the queue that I think is exciting. And one of the things that we’re going to deliver that is through the medium of audio. So people will definitely be able to continue to hear my voice on naturalforce.com. Maybe not a traditional podcast but will still get the job done.
Christopher: You’ve got a face for TV but the voice is very good too. I’m glad to hear it’s going to be used to its full potential.
Tony: I appreciate that.
Christopher: Where’s the best place for people to get in touch with you as you’re transitioning? Can I link to your social media accounts?
Tony: Yeah, absolutely. That’s the main thing. Social media, everything is happening in there right now. I’m a big fan of Instagram. So you can find me @tonyfedfitness on Instagram, Facebook, and on Twitter. It’s all the same handle. I’m very active there. I’m doing a turnaround time for this podcast is probably such that you’re people listening to or miss out, but I’m in a middle of a book giveaway right now. So I’ll do stuff like that, content as far as exercise, if you like to do pull ups, if you like to do barefoot running, if you like paleo books and potentially winning them basically for nothing because I’m more or else giving all these things away. Come check out my page. That’s how you can follow what I’m up to. And then obviously you can see what I’m doing via my new company, via Natural Force, and we’re @naturalforce on social media and naturalforce.com online.
Christopher: Awesome! Well, I will of course link to these things in the show so that people will find them easily.
Tony, thank you so much for you time. It’s been a pleasure to catch up with you.
Tony: Absolutely, man. I appreciate that I could come in full circle, and after interviewing you many, many months, and maybe even years ago, you got to flip the mic around, and now you have your own podcast. That’s again, an example of evolution that happens in this paleo movement. Everybody just keeps expanding and growing. It’s one of the things that I really like.
Christopher: It’s fantastic. Thank you.
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