150: “The Fat Emperor”, Vegan vs. Ancestral Diets, and Two Meals A Day - with Ivor Cummins
November 22, 2019
Welcome back to the podcast! Today’s guest is Ivor Cummins, a bio-chemical engineer, and co-author of the book called Eat Rich, Live Long. He is the creator of the Fat Emperor podcast, and he is the current chief program officer for Irish Heart Disease Awareness. Enjoy!
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Hey, guys, welcome to this week's episode of Waste Away. And today, I'm so excited to introduce my next guest.
He's a bio chemical engineer and he's coauthored a book called Eat Rich, Live Long. And he's also the creator of the Fat Empire podcast. And currently he is the chief program officer for Irish Heart Disease Awareness. So welcome, Ivor Cumins.
Say thanks a lot, Chantel. Great to be here.
So how did you get this nickname, The Fat Emperor, right?
Well, I kind of made it up one night with my wife. It was early on in my research back in 2013, and I discovered that a lot of what we heard about fat and cholesterol and health was completely wrong. So it was kind of three reasons at the Fat Emperor. One, references to the emperor's new clothes, you know, where everyone knew there was something wrong, like all the researchers did about fat and cholesterol. But they didn't say anything. They kept their heads down. And the other thing is the emperor kind of represents corporate power of the food and pharma industries, which have kind of rigged the game for many decades. And the last part of the analogy or metaphor is, you know, the fat person, the millions of obese people now. And it's not really their fault. It's true. A corrupted food supply mainly that's caused all of our obesity epidemic. So it was kind of like that, a metaphor with three levels.
Awesome. Now, I recently watched a Netflix movie called The Game Changer, and it talks about the benefits of solar, a plant based diet. So what is your opinion on the vegan diet?
Yeah, well, Chantel, I know this one is pretty controversial of late, and that movie is getting a lot of the circulation. So I'd say if you're going to put it simply, all those superathletes and top sports stars who are very driven to be vegan, they've got the benefit of, well, a lot of resources, top nutritionists and all the knowledge. So I think a vegan diet can be quite healthy. If you supplement carefully and you eat the best quality foods and you cover all of the kind of the gaps and that diet pretty well. So my problem would be that the average person who gets the vegan ideology, they won't have all that back open support and top resources so they can end up with nutrient deficiencies. And I think a good example is Dr. Joel Kahn, who's kind of a buddy of mine. He's a cardiologist who's vegan for 40 years. And he's very up front and he's done blog posts saying how important it is that a vegan diet, most have supplementation. And I think that was glossed over in the movie. So omnivorous diets with the nutrient density of meat, fish, eggs, organ meats, all of these things are enormously powerful for our health. So if you're going to take out all of those ancestrally appropriate evolutionary food items that we evolved, you have to be really careful. And I suspect that the movie doesn't emphasize any of what I said.
It just makes the simple, simplified image that vegan is healthy, full stop, perhaps even healthier than eating and ancestral meat and vegetables diet, which I think would be very misleading.
Yeah. And I think the one thing that people need to realize is that they're I don't think there's a nutritionist in the world that wouldn't say eating a lot of vegetables is like no better unless you unless you're a carnivore where you say, you know, you feel like being eating meat is just eating meat is the way to go. I don't know anyone that wouldn't agree that eating a lot of vegetables is really good for you. Like, I think it would be a hard argument for someone to make where they would say, yep, eating eating a lot of vegetables. Would you say eating a lot of vegetables isn't good for you?
Well, no, I'd say meat and two veg was the old phrase before our modern processed food disaster. It didn't say meat and two veg and lots of rice or past or Badajoz. I think that's where most of the problem comes from, the refined carbohydrates, but meat and two veg. Now, there are some question marks with people with autoimmune disease. Celiac is the clear example where eating that plant food, wheat will actually cause around one percent of people to suffer and die. So obviously, the plant world foods, there are risks there. But if you're eating simple vegetables above ground, non starchy vegetables, traditional ones, you know, that gives you fiber for your microbiome and all these things. So I think meat and veg is probably an optimum diet. And the people who have very strong sensitivities are autoimmune issues.
If they caught at the plant foods, they can isolate all the potential problems and then reintroduce plant foods carefully. If they have a serious issue, slowly reintroduce plant foods and see what their problem is.
So in my newest edition of my book, Waste Away, I talk about how people don't have to deprive themselves when it comes to food, but everyone needs to decide for themselves, what are there red light, yellow light and green light foods, meaning red light foods.
Like when you eat this, you feel terrible. When you eat it, yellow light foods would be things that you're like, I don't feel great, but I don't feel terrible when I eat this. So for you personally, what are some foods that you just say, like, I completely avoid this and what are some things that you say? I don't avoid it, but I don't eat any limitation or in moderation.
Yeah, that's very good, actually. Shantell, it's a bit like Professor Tim Noakes book the banteng diets and those red, yellow and green lists. So I'd say red for me are the refined carbohydrate based foods are ones which have mildren vegetable oils or industrial seed oils, sold the breads, pretty much all of them, unless they're spelt type old fashioned grain breads. Breads are pretty much on the red list because I find that I eat any I want to eat like 50 pounds of them. They're just a massive weight gain instrument and pastas as well. The refined carb and vegetable oil of modern pastas I'd avoid like the plague and basically ultra processed foods in general. So all of the packaged foods in the supermarket, all maybe 60, 70 percent of the center of the supermarket all carry dangers. And then if I got to Yellow Foods, I guess I'd be careful with potatoes. I'd eat them boiled with the skins. So they're less kind of glucose bombs and rice. I'll have some white rice, but in moderation. So there are some of these carbohydrate foods I have in moderation. They tickle your insulin system. You don't want to overdrive that. But occasionally Awakening's does no harm. So they'd be kind of the Yellow Foods alcohols, another yellow food in the sense that a glass or two a wine I really enjoy. But if you have too much wine, not only is that a problem for health, but also it lowers your resistance to eating bad foods. So I find that's a very strong effect and it's something to really watch out for.
I really love your accent, I could listen to you talk all day. So now the question I ask all my guests take me through a normal day in the life of Eivor. Like, what did you eat yesterday and when did you eat it?
Right, OK. Well, yesterday I had a breakfast, just a few eggs in a pan with lots of salt. And that's all from the thing I'll have for breakfast. Eggs, maybe a little meat, but around three or four days a week I skipped breakfast and another few days a week I'll skip lunch instead. So I generally two meals a day and sometimes one meal a day. But if I am going to have a breakfast, it has to be very low carb and nutrient dense and eggs fit really well or an omelet. And I some people say I got tired of eggs as it happens. I don't. So yesterday I had eggs for breakfast. I have no lunch. And in the evening we had kind of a meat sauce bolognese, but I only took a very small amount of the gluten free pasta in all the other people in the family maybe took a little more, but I just took a little on the side and that would be kind of a typical day. Breakfast probably skipped lunch and then the evening meal would be meat and some vegetables. So cauliflower or broccoli, generally the vegetables I'd have and I find it's a very sustainable way to eat and it gets me basically the nutrients I need without having too much of the refined carb or or very absorbable carb. Another little tip is when I do have some rice or potato, I tend to leave it to the end of the meal because we have science now that if you eat your meat and protein up front and then eat the carbohydrates part of the meal afterwards, it's much more slowly absorbed and it raises blood glucose and insulin, much less so even if you do fix what you eat, the order in which we can also be brought to your advantage.
That's awesome. And so, as you know, I've written a book and what I did was I interviewed over a thousand women and I asked them, what did they do? Breakfast, lunch and dinner. And honestly, a huge portion of them, you know, at least probably 70, 80 percent said that they only eight, two meals a day and that that was their simplest and most effective form of eating. And they didn't know they were doing intermittent fasting. They just were like, no, I just my body only needs two meals a day. And so I think it's interesting that you kind of mix it up. I like that where you're like, you know, sometimes I might have breakfast and dinner, sometimes I might have lunch and dinner and kind of change that up.
Yeah, and also when you skip lunch, you can just walk right through through the day, you know, I got a lot on my plate, so I find I can work the whole day and there's no hunger, because if you've eaten a low carb or ketel tending diet for some time, you'll be a very good fat burner burning your own body fat.
So you really don't have the hunger challenges that a modern disease or would have if they skipped a meal. And even my my daughter as well, and other people in the house. Fasting has become very common, even with the younger generation. My daughter was like she just started first year medicine and she she has gravitated towards skipping meals, but not in an old, healthy kind of a food problem kind of issue. But just because she finds like you're the people you interviewed, it's a much easier way to maintain your weight and feel God is to eat the occasional proper meal and be very comfortable with skipping meals and waiting to really enjoy that good meal you have later on.
Yeah, and I would say that also in the women I interviewed, they would say, you know, if I am looking to lose weight, I will just eat one meal a day, like if they've gained a couple pounds. And for me personally, like if I'm I usually two meals a day, but when I want to lose weight and I'm feeling like I've gained a couple of pounds, me going to one meal a day really will burn that fat and get me into fat burning mode very quickly.
Yeah, it's perfect, Chantel, and the other thing is by skipping breakfast and lunch, you've already had your overnight fast so your insulin is low and then by going the rest of the day, you're really into fat burning. And then when the evening comes, you can enjoy and save or much more. I find a really good meal and your stomach tends to also have contracted somewhat. I know this sounds funny, so when you have that evening meal, you don't really feel like overeating at all. You can actually feel full quite quickly. It's it's a great trick and it's pretty much how we evolved. I think it's species' appropriate for humans. That kind of behavior is much more appropriate than the modern five three meals a day plus a couple of snacks. That's insane.
It is insane. And when you're working like for me on the days, I really need to get a lot done. I'm definitely skipping breakfast and lunch because I just will go through and power through and get so much more done. And I don't kind of have that wall of like after lunch, I'm starting to get a little tired.
Let's jump right into the listener questions. This first one is from Kate in Winchester. My social life is taking a big hit due to this one meal a day. I'm trying I used to meet friends for lunch. Now that is now I don't have lunch. I don't want to shop because I don't want to spend money on clothes that won't fit for long. What are some ideas to do with friends that don't involve eating or spending money? Kate in Winchester.
Whoa. Yeah, that's that's a good one, because people sometimes react badly when you're skipping food or they think you have the food disorder, so. Well, I mean, there's there's any amount of things you can do. You can go for a coffee. Unfortunately, most of the coffee shops of all these pastries and bad foods there. But if he can stick to having a coffee with people without the food, that's perfectly reasonable. A black coffee with some heavy cream is not fasting, but it's it's also not gorging on the big meal. I guess you could go and try and think of activities that are relatively low cost. I mean, you can meet someone for bowling or something like that or to do a little sport perhaps. And I'm thinking aloud now because I probably work so much, I don't have the problem with the midday activity gap. And but yeah, people go for a walk either. I mean, that's a practice that has fallen away. If you go to a nice park and walk and talk, I mean, that's a that's a great way to have a good conversation, the fresh air and very healthy. And if you find the right venue, you know, it can be really a pleasurable thing also. So why not do something like that instead?
And I also think the thing that that she said is I used to meet friends for lunch. That is to me where she should say no, she should still meet them for lunch. Like, just because you're going to a restaurant doesn't mean you can't eat and you can have so much fun. I've gotten to the point where a lot of my friends, because I fast so much, a lot of my friends, the first thing they say, are you eating today? Like, they just are like because usually one out of three times or two out of three times, I'm going to go to lunch with you, but it doesn't mean that I'm going to eat. And so all my friends might be eating. I'm still having a great time.
Yeah, absolutely. And I'm the same myself. A coffee is a great thing to have. Like a black coffee. You them. So you're still having something. And you can also some people, if they want to fib or tell a little white lie that they can indicate that they had a late breakfast and they're really not hungry. If they don't want to admit that they're purposely fasting. That's another little.
Well, I just think it's I think they should just say I think they should just be honest and say, listen, I'm not physically hungry right now or I'm fasting during this meal. It's totally fine. Now, they will get to the point like like my friends do, that they it's like just commonplace. Like no one's ever trying to be like, oh, Chantel just eat a little something or just have this or I feel bad. Like the very first time it was a little awkward because they're like, are you sure you don't want to eat or I feel bad eating in front of you. That was the first time. Now no one is everyone's like, oh hey, what's up? It's just common place. And you want it to be that way. You want to share that experience with them.
Like, I feel so much better by doing this and it motivates them to not push you to try to eat when you're not wanting to eat at that meal.
Actually, that's a great point, Chantel. And it kind of as I was saying what I said, I was thinking of that you're not really showing leadership by telling fibs, you know, but for someone who really feels under peer pressure, it might be a back up. But, of course, to say to people what we just said, that when I have a really healthy breakfast, I find that I feel much better in the afternoon. I work better. I think clearer.
I feel much better to wait for an evening meal. It just really suits me. And you should try it, because unless you do that for a little while and get used to, as you know, it will feel odd to skip a meal. But if you get used to it, it feels much better. It's a win at the end of the day.
All right. This next question is from Mark in Madison, which I don't know where Madison is, but he says, I'm a sixty three year old man. I've been doing the paleo diet for eight months. I got some blood work done last week, and my doctor told me that my cholesterol is very high. Do you think it's because of my diet? And should I stop stop it, even though it's helped me lose about twenty pounds?
Yeah, this is a common one and there is a slight cholesterol code, dotcom with Dave Feldman, which deals with the hyper responder's, which is a new name for people. When they go really low carb or ketel, their cholesterol can jump quite alarmingly. And the thing really to tell people is that even the top experts in the field, like Castelli, the director of the Framingham study, the longest study ever running, they acknowledge 30 years ago that the LDL cholesterol on its own doesn't really mean much when you look at it on its own. So you have to look at the ratios. So your total cholesterol divided by your LDL cholesterol should be below five. And that's much more important than the cholesterol values alone or your triglycerides, which you can also get in your cholesterol test. If you divide your triglycerides by your HDL good cholesterol, that's Trigg's over HDL. That should be below two in American units. So these are much more important measures on your blood, insulin and your blood glucose levels and HBA, Wannsee and inflammatory markers like CERP. There's many, many great measures of health in the blood test and LDL or total cholesterol. They're actually very weak predictors of future events or health issues. So I'd say you have to educate yourself. A lot of my videos discussed this at length. I can send you a couple of links later that explain in depth what I just said. And they could be really useful resources also for people who are concerned.
Good. This next one is from Emma in Pasadena. If I switch to a high protein, low carb diet, how can I make sure I'm still getting the vitamins and nutrients like potassium and fiber that I normally get from carbs? Emma and Pasadena.
Right. Well, potassium, if you take as an example, so you get potassium and avocado, I think is a large load of potassium and you've got spinach and low carb above ground. Vegetables are great sources of potassium, magnesium and many other minerals. So I think a low carb diet, it doesn't mean you're missing all the vegetables and fiber. In fact, many people on the low carb diet eat a lot of vegetables and fiber full of nutrients and minerals. And there's no problem whatsoever, I think, diet. Dr. Dotcom in Sweden, run by Andrea Seinfeld, he's a medical doctor. If you just Google that, they've got great articles on low carb and getting your fiber and your nutrients. Also, potassium is high in shellfish and in quite a lot of meats as well. And you get magnesium and me to get magnesium, which is very important in coffee, for instance, and in obiter. Chocolate, more than coffee. Sorry. So bitter chocolate and cocoa is huge amounts. Magnesium and nuts are a very rich source as well of many minerals. So I think your low carb diet has to be well formulated. And I think diet doctor is a good resource for that. And we certainly coverers in our book is Rich Live Long. We have a whole chapter on minerals and nutrients that are important and what all the foods are to make sure you target them.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on our show today and tell listeners where they can find out more about you and follow your work.
Right. Well, the Fat Emperor Dockum, that's Teiji Fatty MPR or Dotcom, because some people. Pollari oh are. So if you go there and you scroll down the homepage, the subscribe buttons there, which would be fantastic to subscribe to, but if you Google my name, I Commins, you'll immediately get a lot of links to my podcast, YouTube and the Fatime per dot com. So that can be the easiest way sometimes to get the hits. And the last thing I'd say, Shantell, I work on behalf of Irish Heart Disease Awareness, which you are keen to mention at the start, and I hate FDA.
Desai is our website and there you'll find out all the crucial information about the calcium scan to find out if you have heart disease and to do something about. So if people go to FDA data, that would be fantastic and share the message around.
Awesome. And so tell us, when you when you go there, what were you saying that you can get?
When you go to IHT, say, on a Friday date, i.e., yes, on the front page, we've got a series of two to three minute videos which will explain all about the calcifications scam, the CT scan of the heart and the CAC score. So it's all explained at around seven or eight minutes. And it's a crucial scam to find out if you have heart disease, how bad it is and if you need to take action. So it beats all the other blood tests and other stress tests and all the other measures of heart disease. And one five minutes gone.
Oh, awesome. And I'd love to put that in our show notes as well. If you send that link to us, we'll put that in the schnitz. And if you have a question that you want answered, go to questions at Chantel Ray dot dotcom. We'll see you next time. Bye bye.