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Achieve Ultimate Human Performance

Lesson 17 of 33

Customizing a Plant-Based Diet

Ben Greenfield

Achieve Ultimate Human Performance

Ben Greenfield

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Lesson Info

17. Customizing a Plant-Based Diet

Lesson Info

Customizing a Plant-Based Diet

I know we did go over a lot of information in the last segment and now we're going to get a chance to kind of dig in and not on lee take a lot of time to answer probably some of the questions that might have piled up from the last segment but also some of the questions that I tend to get on a frequent basis about what do I do it from plant based what do I do if I've got kids? What do I do if you know I'm I'm an older athlete of masters athlete you know what? What exactly needs to change in my diet based off of where I'm at because most of us are kind of a unique snowflake and we need to make these little adjustments based off of where we're at in life so I'm going to go over some of the some of the basic needs that tend to pop up but of course let me first address the question that I get quite a bit because diet tends to get very political doesn't like people fight about, you know, being plant based versus being meat based on you know, how many carbs deed are you low carb by high carb ...

um and you know, it's it's this question whether or not there really is like this ideal macro nutrient ratio, I think you can kind of make an argument that humans are able to thrive on a variety of diets like we have, like a qatar been population, for example, that it's, a very high carbohydrate diet we haven't in your population that thrives almost entirely on fats. And you know, I wouldn't say that many of those populations are kind of out liars that have perhaps developed digestive enzymes and digestive systems that have adapted a little bit to the unique environments in which they live. For me personally, though, I would say that the ideal macro nutrient ratio of the human diet could be based off of some observations of what we tend to see. For example, in our ancestors, we tend to see that consumption of just the lean meat portion of an animal that was killed. It was not a common practice. We tend to see consumption of the bone marrow, the fats, the bones, even the brain, in some cases, a lot of the liver, the organs and a lot of these things that would definitely rule out the traditional kind of like ten, twenty or thirty percent fat based in take that something like a traditional food pyramid or, you know, the usda is food plate would recommend and so that's that's one area that we can get a little bit of a clue. From is the fact that our ancestors have always kind of eaten many of the fatty rich portions of the animals that they took down, so to speak we can look at human breast milk which is of course what our children grow on and thrive on and it's about thirty nine percent carbs fifty four percent fat and seven percent protein that can give us another clue into the fact that we may actually be able to thrive on a slightly higher fat intake. Interestingly, compared to an adult brain a baby's brain actually does use much higher amounts of glucose the baby's rapidly developing neuronal system uses a high amount of glucose and so the carbohydrate content of breast milk is even higher then what people who are not actually growing a brain at that very, very young age would actually need so that kind of gives us another clue as far as the approximate macro nutrient ratios we can look at the natural human body tissue composition meaning if we take the average kind of like lean mail and break down there they're natural makeup of carbohydrates and proteins and fats we tend to get right around in that fifty to sixty percent fat twenty to thirty percent protein or ten to twenty percent protein twenty to thirty percent storage carbohydrate type of ratio so it's really interesting only even look at the protein carb fat makeup of the actual human tissue itself we can look at other omnivores humans are of course omnivores like a like a cat for example is an omnivore humans would fall into that category are before would be like a gorilla or a cow and if we look at the natural macro nutrient composition of many of the omnivore's on the face of the planet they naturally tend to select diets when left to eat freely that are skewed towards higher amounts of healthy fats, moderate amounts of protein and relatively low amount of starchy sweet carbohydrate based fuels and then finally we can look at what the human body requires for muscle repair and recovery organ repair and recovery excuse me neuro transmitter formation without actually experiencing nitrogen toxicity and ammonia toxicity from protein breakdowns and when we look at that you know I've thrown around that number of about zero point seven two zero point eight grams per pound of protein to actually grow muscle zero point five five grams per pound of protein to kind of maintain muscle when we look at what it takes for adequate protein without nitrogen toxicity in most people's diet if we take those ratios and then we take how many calories you need to sustain whether or training for a triathlon or just kind of living throughout your daily life it comes out to about ten to twenty percent protein to fall into that range so I'm I'm sorry twenty to thirty percent protein to fall into that range, so not quite as much protein as we perhaps have been led to believe in a lot of these popular muscle magazines, et cetera. Now, based off of all of these clues, I try to target my diet personally towards about fifty to sixty percent fats twenty to thirty percent protein and ten to twenty percent carbohydrate. I've done some experimentation with a very high fat diet that's basically what's called a key tose ist based diet where you really have absolutely no fun if you ever eat out of an italian restaurant because you you're eating like five to ten percent carbohydrates on a diet like that, and I've certainly experimented with that I'll talk about that later is almost like a bio hack to enhance endurance or is a bio hack to enhance mental performance, but I don't necessarily argue that it's a natural diet, especially based off of some of these other observations, I think it's a diet that you can use for specific performance benefits, but what I've just described you is not necessarily akita genic diet, but again, I'll throw out those numbers one more time, about fifty to sixty percent fat, twenty to thirty percent protein, ten to twenty percent carbs in terms of ratios. Now, if you really want to geek out on an entire book that delves into why I personally feel that that's the ideal human diet is a really good book out there called the perfect health diet it's written by an astrophysicist at a molecular biologist really smart folks who have delved into the science of eating and macro nutrient composition and I really like this book as a resource for kind of learning more about why you should eat as many proteins and carbohydrates and fats says as I generally recommend to folks. But you know, before we delve into actual specifics, let me mention that a lot of people do say, well, look at, you know, look at these animals out in the field and how much grass they to the gorilla, you know, stuffing its face with fiber and bananas all day long there's a rural difference between humans digestive system and the digestive system of ruminant or an er before you guys know what that what that difference is anybody want to take a stab uh, peter go for a member of stomachs, the number of stomachs yet the size of the large intestine jessa where you say the same thing huge guts in these animals huge guts that allow them to take a bunch of fiber and turn it into what are called short chain fatty acids. These animals are actually consuming and burning a high amount of fat actually very similar you know the diet of a gorilla once you account for the actual short chain fatty acid production that you get from the fiber breakdown of a gorilla's diet, you get very close to about fifty seven percent or in that fifty to sixty percent fat based range that I recommend that humans get unfortunate we can't make that much fat from fiber because humans have larger brains and smaller stomachs and smaller large intestines so inhuman what we have the ability to do is to gather fat from other sources from perhaps animals that we've killed or plant based sources like avocados and olives and olive oil and stuff like that, right? But we don't have the ability to take fiber and break it down in our high enough ratio into usable fats and usable energy sources in our stomachs and in many cases if we try to do that it can damage your small intestine it can leave to divert diverticulitis it can lead to excess gas excess fermentation so it's important to understand that even though we do have animals that live on our planet that do eat a lot of fiber and a lot of vegetables on a lot of plants it's very difficult for the human body to thrive on on that same amount of plants and be able to actually break them down and use them so that being said and of course we have our cute male model up there along with a girl and the cow with his blue steel look gotta love that we've got let's jump into r r r rules for different different types and we're going to start with vegans, vegetarians and plant based eaters I've personally in raw vegan for a while and have you guys ever eaten vegan or vegetarian? Do we have any plant based eaters in the audience right now so to plant based eaters and I'm sure like out there in the online audience we've got people on a variety of different diets and I certainly don't don't have anything against eating a plant based diet if you're somehow able to go get in a lot of those fatty acids that your body really isn't able to make because it doesn't have a big large intestine and a big stomach and if you're able to address some of the common amino acid and vitamin deficiencies that tend to be present in a vegan or a plant based diet so let's look at what some of those are number one I've seen you eat real food um you know for example jess and I walked past a grocery store yesterday that is known for selling healthy food but if you actually walk into this grocery stores just all packaged foods very popular grocery store but it's all just like packaged organic food that's marketed is healthy but really for full of preservatives and high glycemic index compounds and things that have been pasteurized or heated or full of free radicals, you tend to see a lot of these same type of boxed process foods marketed to vegetarians and vegans everything from, you know, gluten free crackers to process tofu, tio all sorts of things that really aren't that hot for the body. If you're going to be a plant base eater it's important that you eat real food and that you're not rely on packaged foods as the primary source your diet that's. One issue that I tend to see with vegans, vegetarians, omega six fatty acids and high consumption of seeds and nuts and nut butters is something that you tend to see in plant based eaters. That's, another area to be really careful with my mentioned yesterday that you can offset a lot of the imf slama torrey damage that high intake of omega six fatty acids khun do by eating a high intake of omega three fatty acids that those omega three's take up the receptors that the omega six fatty acids would normally bind, too. Unfortunately, it can be tough to get a high amount of fish and fish oil if you're not eating fish and that's why I really encourage people do like like a pesky terrian diet if if they want to kind of sort of go halfway but avoiding omega sixes and being really careful not to rely on just like handfuls of cashews and nut butters and aa lot of these seeds and nuts that tend to sometimes form too much of a staple of the plant based diet, it is another thing that's really important we've talked about vitamin k two very difficult to get if you are not eating things like dairy and butter if you're not any animals if you're not eating organ meats and so I do encourage plant based eaters to supplement with the vitamin k to source or to use natto, that fermented soybean derivative that you get at the asian grocery store on a regular basis. Eso vitamin k two is important vitamin d three is also notoriously deficient in a in a plant based diet you khun supplement with plant based sources of vitamin d three. Most vitamin d three supplements come from animals garden of life is an example of a supplement company that makes a vegan based source of vitamin d vegan and plant based eaters tend to have notoriously low levels of cholesterol, and unfortunately, if you have low levels of cholesterol and you go out into the sun, the sun doesn't actually have the ammo that it needs to allow your body to make vitamin d and so if you're a vegan and you just going out into the sun to get your vitamin d you do need to realize that especially if you're not getting a lot of fats in your diet then you may need to supplement with the vitamin d three supplement and you can use a vegan source if you wanted to do that vitamin a or beta carotene is also something that's notoriously deficient in a plant based diet beta carotene is enhanced the absorption of beta carotene his enhanced when it's consumed in the presence of vitamin c remember how I talked about how you could enhance iron absorption in the presence of vitamin c same thing with vitamin a or beta carotene and cooking also enhances release of beta carotene so if you can choose beta carotene rich foods like carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, the oranges, the yellows things of that nature and you could consume those along with something like citrusy or full of vitamin c or even with the vitamin c supplement that's really important to help you get what you need on a plant based diet so that's another thing that really helps out is adequate beta carotene vitamin a if you are going to be eating plants you're probably going to be getting a lot of amino acids from some of those foods that we talked about earlier like keane law you're probably getting going to be getting some proteins from things like beans from leg comes from you know chickpeas things like that on do you need to be careful a lot of these foods have enzyme inhibitors in them. Like I explained, a lot of plants want to pass through your digestive system and get pooped out somewhere so they can grow that's just the natural way that they thrive. So you know, for example, we had hamas for lunch today. Now I would normally go and find out if that hamas was actually made from chickpeas that had been soaked and sprouted to naturally reduce a lot of those digestive enzyme inhibitors that would normally be present in a chickpea or garbanzo bean and as a plant based eater it's likely that you are going to be eating more leg booms and seeds and nuts to allow for adequate proteins and combining a lot of those. But you need to make sure that you're also learning how to soak sprout ferment do things like that we kind of hit on combining iron and vitamin c already, um, vegetarians, vegans, plant based leaders do tend to be lower in iron and so consuming aa lot of iron rich vegetables like your dark leafy greens, for example, but also ensuring that you do so in the presence of vitamin c. It is really important, eso that's. Another thing to bear in mind is that you can use combinations of beta carotene, rich vegetables and vitamin c and combinations of iron rich vegetables and vitamin c you could think of like, you know, a kale salad with beets and like a beta carotene rich squash and then maybe like a citrusy fruit on the side or like some kind of a limb in juice based dressing. So you're getting the vitamin c to enhance the beta carotene and the iron absorption that's an example of how you can kind of kind of hack a plant based diet to make sure that you're covering these variables. So you're probably getting the idea that and you can't you can't be lazy, just eat vegetables, you got to get the right combinations if you want to address some common deficiencies, iodine tends to be a big deficiency in plant based diets. I'm actually drinking iodine right now I mentioned during the supplementation webinar is one of those things you can drop into some water in the afternoon to help kind of give you a little pick me up, and iodine is one thing that you get from, like shellfish, you know, see dwelling animals, things of that nature, so making sure they use a supplemental iodine source is important or eating a lot of sea vegetables, eating a lot of spiraling acc lorella things of that nature really important for plant based eaters, and then finally the last two things that are important number one would be to use vitamin b twelve I like a method called lamin form of vitamin b twelve you can get a sub lingual spray that's absorbed pretty well to get adequate b twelve on a plant based diet so that's one supplement that's important and then also touring taurean is an amino acid that's primarily president animal foods notoriously deficient in people who are eating a plant based diet very important for brain health and for recovery you can purchase touring in a powdered form or in a capsule form now foods is an example excuse me have a company that makes a touring and that would be another one that's really important to include on a plant based diet so those are some of the consideration some of the rules that that I give especially to plant based eaters who like training you know we're wanting to do some of things we've talked about like you know, spartan races and triathlons and marathons and things of that nature it's important to make sure that you play your cards right you cover your bases and those are some of the ways that you can do it so let's go ahead and take some questions if you out there online in the chat rooms have some questions, go ahead and type them in you guys have any questions about anything I've covered so far as faras ideal macro nutrient ratios or ways that you can you could make a plant based diet better we're not straightforward cheryl's gonna question more about iodine is that an iodine? I have died the combination it was just in just in iodine on dh it's kind of if you go to like the pharmacy and you get like the iodine that sold kind of off the shelf at the pharmacy that's really good if you get like food poisoning and you need like some really good anti bacterial antiviral properties right away it's a lot different than like the nascent iodine that I recommend for optimal thyroid function. Um having both on hand is useful having that regular iodine in your medicine cabinet and then having the other stuff to use for your metabolism the nascent iodine I do have that listed at ben gurion filled fitness dot com slash creative live but it is from the same company that makes the edible earth that I talked about is something that you can use to mitigate the effects of radiation on that same company also makes this magnesium oil that I talked about that you continue khun smear on injuries and stuff like that. So how about online? Yeah, I've got a question here because, you know, I have been a vegetarian for a while and I have trained for marathons on a vegetarian diet and I know that there's always that discussion about protein and you've talked about that perfect ratio of your body weight to protein and does that apply to vegetarian protein sources as well? Or is there a different ratio depending on where the proteins air coming from there's not a different ratio it's just important that with protein you you get a good combination of amino acids now I purposefully didn't include approaching on that list because it's kind of a horse that gets kicked to death it's like you know the the meat based eaters always asked the platte base eaters or where do you get your protein it's honestly it's not that hard there's hemp protein rice protein pea protein you've got spiral aena you've got qe lorella you've got combinations of all these leggings and grains and nuts and frankly getting twenty to thirty percent protein is not that hard if you're combining all those foods I tend to see amino acid deficiencies are less of an issue than some of these other issues that I brought up like I mentioned you know I was making that smoothie this company the living fuel that makes this super greens that I put into this movie this morning I use their living protein andi I'll go back and forth between that which is a rice and p based protein and then my goat based way protein just for kind of a change in flavor and a little bit of a change up but usually what you're looking for is a rice a p or a hand I would avoid a soy based protein because of the issues with genetically modified soy and also the issues with some of the enzyme inhibitors and soy, but some of those other protein sources are pretty good. So any other questions before we move on? Tio aging athletes? Yeah, giago and I work strength and power at the gym, sometimes beforehand all use a like a super pump or a pre workout drink, and that allows me teo kind of really slate at the gym, but I think that, um, what I've been experiencing is I'll drop off later on, and I think it might be contributing to a certain level kind of adrenal failure and during an intermediate or advanced usage in terms of time, what's your opinion on those sorts of super, uh, those sorts of pretty well workout drinks that include, you know, good things like you mentioned creatinine and caffeine, but when you have those altogether, do you ever recommend cycling that I know it's a broad question, but some insight from you? Because I I certainly used to be a big fan of using caffeine as a pre workout stimulant and also using a lot of these other adrenal stimulants that you'll find in something like red bowl or I believe super pumped has what high dose caffeine does have a federally in there as well, drew but it has a caffeine bombings eighteen and a host of other things I mean, I person when I was a personal trainer used to go through four to five of those big monster energy drinks per day. I mean, I just lived on energy drinks and especially used them pre workout. The issue is that even though there are really really potent orga genic aid, they exhaust your body pretty quickly and you can even get not only just ah daily you know, drop in energy from that rebound and loss of energy after you get the spike in energy, but over a year long basis you can get that eventual adrenal fatigue that we talked about yesterday. So I am on ly a fan of using caffeine in very limited amounts. I like about the forty to seventy milligrams range. Usually you can get a touch of energy with that effect without getting a big big drop afterwards like this uh, this x two performance that I talked about, which is an eighty p source this has some caffeine in it, but it's the equivalent of about a quarter cup of coffee and so it's it's a little bit different on the other thing to think about is perhaps if you need that that spark an energy using the strategy that I talked about yesterday of relying on healthy inning from something like green tea, a green tea powder or green tea supplement, rather than relying on caffeine or a federal health indian is a lot kinder to your adrenals. So ultimately, I'm really not a fan of pre workout boosters that are direct central nervous system stimulants like that. Good question.

Class Description

Professional athletes and elite exercisers may be able to train full-time, but what about those of us who want a better body or to achieve amazing feats of physical performance but have busy lives and jam-packed schedules? Athlete and author Ben Greenfield will arm you with the tools, strategies, and systems you need to look, feel, and perform at your peak physical and mental capacity, without spending your entire day exercising or dieting.

In this course, Ben covers topics such as how to avoid injury, imbalances, or overtraining, how to address crucial elements that most exercise enthusiasts overlook, and how to quickly develop natural, ancestral strength, balance, mobility and physical function. You’ll learn how to customize your daily nutrition and workout fueling protocols so that you can get adequate calories without destroying your metabolism or expanding your waistline. From your gut-brain connection to mind-hacking tactics to sensory system enhancement, Ben will show you the crucial role the nervous system plays in fitness, and will reveal strategies for being mentally and physically prepared for any challenge life may throw at you.

Whether you want to run a marathon, do an Ironman triathlon, complete an adventure race, launch into Crossfit, are a dedicated gym junkie, or just want to shed fat fast and get rid of fatigue, this course will equip you to feel your best and perform at your peak capacity.

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10 Human Performance Meals

7 Day Done

creativeLIVE Home Detox

Health vs Performance Slides

Become Superhuman Resource Guide

Body Products and House Cleaners

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Ultimate Human Performance Exercise.mp4

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Ben delivered an exceptional three-day seminar at creativeLIVE that I was lucky enough to attend. His expertise in all facets of health & wellness was on full-display -- and his presentation was clearly articulated & engaging He was friendly and responsive to feedback and gave actionable recommendations which are already paying dividends in my life -- especially in the areas of energy, mental clarity & sleep quality I strongly recommend Ben -- he walks the walk & talks the talk -- genuinely cares about helping other people and possesses a real gift to teach & inspire

a Creativelive Student

This is one of the best courses I have ever seen! So much value for money and so many amazing bits of information jam packed in. What a brilliant guy! Geeky information presented in a down to earth way. I can not recommend this course enough. I don't think I have ever been bothered to write a review for anything (EVER) but this was SO good I had to share. Well done Ben and thank you Creative Live!


Ben Greenfield has a lot of information, best course I have taken in regards to Nutrition and Fitness. There is a lot of knowledge and their a great couple and both have a lot of information to offer, I even like the lame jokes that he makes. Very nice and knowledgable couple.