I am delighted to welcome Vinnie Tortorich back onto the show! Vinnie was with me once before, in episode 133. Today, he is joining me to talk about his impressive new documentary, Beyond Impossible, coming out soon. I was fortunate to be the first person outside of Vinnie’s team to see his new documentary. It homes in on plant versus animal-based protein and takes a deep dive into methodologies, what marginal land represents, and the net impact of methane and cows.
Vinnie Tortorich is a truth-teller and disrupter. He encourages people to think outside of their comfort zones in an informational yet non-confrontational way. He has connections with individuals like Nina Teicholz, who can easily articulate scientific ideas and research. Ten years ago, Vinnie launched his Fitness Confidential Podcast. It amasses more than a million downloads per month. The following year, he published his book, Fitness Confidential, which became an instant bestseller. In 2019, Vinnie wrote, produced, and starred in Fat, a documentary that rose to number one in several categories across iTunes and ranked well on Amazon and Amazon Prime. A sequel, titled Fat: A Documentary 2, was released earlier this year.
Vinnie was one of the first people ever to talk about the benefits of low carb and ketogenic diets on the internet. In this episode, he and I talk about non-meat products, how our health and wellness have changed since the 1980s, and how much metabolic inflexibility we are currently seeing. We also discuss how some plant-based vegan scientists have influenced public policy and how common misnomers regarding health and wellness can affect our advancement, both as individuals and as a country. Stay tuned for more!
“I have nothing against veganism. The only problem I have is when people lie about the results.”
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- Why Vinnie decided to create his new documentary, Beyond Impossible.
- Why do we need to consume animal-sourced proteins?
- The issues with fake meat.
- Are cows truly an invasive species on earth?
- Why is veganism a social construct of wealthy countries?
- Why Vinnie describes the liver as a gangster.
- Some very wealthy corporate benefactors and investors do not take good care of themselves, yet they drive the public policies that impact everyone else.
- What happened in the 1980s that changed the narrative around fats?
- Why the EAT-Lancet Planetary Health Diet will not improve your health.
- What is driving the concept of the EAT-Lancet Planetary Health Diet, and what will happen as a result of the policies that have ensued from it?
- You can watch Vinnie’s new documentary, Beyond Impossible, on Amazon or iTunes, or you can pre-order it. It will be out in early January 2022.
Connect with Vinnie Tortorich
On his website
Eat to Win by Dr. Robert Haas
Connect with Cynthia Thurlow
- Follow on Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn
- Check out Cynthia’s website
- Check Out Dry Farm Wines: www.dryfarmwines.com/cynthiathurlow
About Everyday Wellness Podcast
Welcome to the Everyday Wellness podcast with Cynthia Thurlow! Cynthia is a mom of 2 boys, wife, nurse practitioner, and intermittent fasting and nutrition expert. She has over 20 years experience in emergency medicine and cardiology, but pivoted to focus on food as medicine. She loves to share science-backed practical information to improve your overall well being and is grateful to be interviewing leaders in the health and wellness field. Her goal with Everyday Wellness is to help her listeners make simple changes to their everyday lives that will result in improved overall wellness and long term health.
Presenter: This is Everyday Wellness, a podcast dedicated to helping you achieve your health and wellness goals and provide practical strategies that you can use in your real life. And now here’s your host Nurse Practitioner, Cynthia Thurlow.
Cynthia: Today, I was joined by Vinnie Tortorich. You may recall, we interviewed him on Episode 133, and today, he returns to talk about his new documentary called Beyond Impossible. And I felt a special kinship with Vinnie, not only do we share an Italian heritage, but I am one of the very first people outside his inner circle to be able to take a look at the documentary, I was really impressed by it. It really focuses in on the plant based versus animal protein, dives deep into the methodologies, the novelty, talking about the net impact of methane, and cows, marginal land what that represents. We talked a great bit about a lot of the non-meat products that are out there, Beyond Meat as well as Impossible Burger. We also spoke on the way that our health and wellness has changed since the bastardization of fats, and the impact on our health, especially, since the 1980s, and the degree of metabolic inflexibility we’re seeing currently.
We did touch on the EAT-Lancet planetary health diet, what that represents, what this very low animal-based protein diet can do for metabolic inflexibility, i.e., make it worse. We spoke about some of the plant-based vegan scientists that are out there and how they are impacting not only in public policy, but are invested heavily on by a lot of Big Ag and companies like Google and Bill Gates. Then lastly, we tied up some very common misnomers about health and wellness, and how that can impact us moving forward as not only as a country that as individuals and why it’s so, so important to not embrace cognitive dissonance. I hope, you’ll enjoy our conversation.
Yeah, Vinnie. So good to have you back again. Like I said, this must be our holiday treat. Every year, we connect around the holidays, and talk about what’s new, and going on in our lives.
Vinnie: Yeah, to answer your question, the holidays seem to be our thing and here’s the deal, that the– I don’t think we should wait for holiday time. Unless you want to hit every holiday throughout the year because I’d love to have you on my show more often, and I’m going to say this right in the middle of your show. I’m afraid that you think that you have to have a book or something coming out to come on the show and that’s just not the truth. I have people over and over, I have the Nina Teichholz and Gary– Well, Gary Taubes, he’ll wait until he has a book to come out.
Vinnie: But Nina will just come on just because, on and on and on, Tim Noakes is the same way. I can call Tim Noakes, and he’ll come on. So, please feel free. Whenever you want to come on, when you have some– any kind of knowledge you want to just throw at us, you’re welcome back. We don’t have to do these holiday things, especially, on my show.
Cynthia: Yeah, no, thank you. And likewise, I think connecting good people and likeminded individuals is really important especially, as we navigate such interesting time. So, I know that you’ve got a new documentary that’s coming out and I’d love to unpack that. I had the opportunity to review the documentary and it’s so incredibly timely on so many levels. If I were to tell you all the coincidental conversations that I’ve had recently about these topics in particular, that’s why– There are no coincidences. There’s every reason in the world for why we are converging on this conversation right before Thanksgiving.
Vinnie: Yeah. It’s interesting, I started thinking about this, I was doing some exercise right before this podcast, and I said, outside of my little team, Cynthia, you’re the first person to see the documentary. Outside of my editor, Nick and Serena, of course, who did a lot of VO and watched it along the way as I was making it, and it always feels weird. I sent it to you last night, I sent it to my buddy, Dr. Drew Pinsky, and Carolla because I’m going to do all those podcasts, too, and they want to see it before I go on. But I’m not doing those shows for a couple of weeks. So, I’m pretty sure, I’m going to go with I’m positive that you’re the first person to see it outside of my small group, on and on and on.
I think my attorney and all those people, that’s in the group. They have to see it because they have to know what they’re going to be up against when we get sued and all that kind of stuff. Notice I didn’t say if we get sued, like when we get sued. You can’t sue someone who’s telling the truth that we can back up every sentence in that documentary. I’m saying all of that ahead of you even telling me whether you like it or not. [laughs]
Cynthia: No, no, no, I did I like it.
Vinnie: It maybe you should go [crosstalk]
Cynthia: But I look at you as a truthteller, whether people want to hear that information or not, you’re talking about topics that we are struggling as a society to navigate. If you believe a lot of the lay press and the media, when they’re extrapolating from what I feel to be poor quality data, and poor quality of research, and telling people, meat is bad, and plants are good, and kind of dividing things right down the line without really understanding all the semantics, all the things that go on. And that’s what’s, I think, incredibly tragic, because irrespective of what side of the fence you fall on, whether you eat meat or you don’t eat meat, we have to respectfully listen to one another.
I think you and I are probably part of a time when there was vigorous debate. I was a Poli-Sci major, the first time around in college, and we had vigorous debate. But we would then leave class and go have a beer together, or go out to dinner, or go on and do something else. But now, things are so polarized, and there’s such a degree of reductionism, and everything gets boilerplated down to us or them, it’s good or bad, and yet, people really need to take the time to educate themselves and understand that it’s more than what you’re seeing in the media. It’s more than what your best friend is talking to or more than just the opinion of a family member, it’s so much larger than that. And that’s why I think this documentary is important. So, let’s start with the title.
Vinnie: Beyond Impossible. [laughs]
Cynthia: Which if you know anything about a lot of these manmade plant-based meat options, it marries to the more popular companies’ names. And I’ve been kind of making fun to be completely transparent. If anyone knows me on social media, I’ve been making fun of some of these companies, because there’s– in an effort to find plant-based protein that mimics animal-based protein, they’ve created something that is not a particularly clean source of protein and is full of inflammatory foods like seed oils, and soy protein isolates, and other things that are largely undesirable. But I’m curious, what got you interested in doing this documentary? For anyone that’s listening, Vinnie has done two great documentaries before this, that in fact two that I thoroughly enjoyed watching and do recommend to my patients. But what made this documentary right now the one that you wanted to film and record?
Vinnie: I can answer that by going back to what you’re saying before about when you would have, you can socialize with people from the “other side.” I don’t think people realize is, one of the biggest vegan guys out there, a guy named Rich Roll is a close friend of mine. As a matter of fact, when he wrote his book about being a vegan athlete, he credits me for teaching him how to ride a bike correctly, how to go long. Before Rich ever had a podcast, he came on my podcast, I think, twice in the early days and talked about veganism. I have nothing against veganism. The only problem I have is when people lie about the results. So, an actual vegan is not the problem. The problem is, when you have these multinational companies dropping billions and billions of dollars into this whole thing and telling you, this is the way to eat, you know, we’re going to tell the whole world, we’re going to lullaby by the world to sleep and tell everyone this is the correct way to eat.
Going back to Rich Roll, once he started his podcast, since I was a bigger name, the name of the game back then 10 years ago was, if there was a bigger name in the podcast where you got that guy on your show, because that would bring people to your show. So, I went to Rich’s show, we had this nice social discourse, and it was great. We had a great time because we’re friends in real life. And then, he started hearing from vegans and they were like, “You didn’t beat that guy up enough. You need it– Yeah. Why were you such a pussy and why don’t you get on that guy and the whole thing?” Rich actually asked me to come back on the show a second time, so that he can ask me tougher questions, so that he could beat me up a little bit. And I obliged. I went on. I said, “Yeah, I don’t care.” Asl me tougher questions, I’ll give you tougher answers, which is what happened.
It wasn’t like, I don’t shy away. I don’t do what the vegans do and shy away. They act like tough guys on YouTube, but when you put real question to these people, they don’t want to answer and I don’t know if you noticed this in a movie, but I was trying to do a movie where I had people from both sides and I went to the top vegan guys. I went to Walter Willett, I went to Dean Ornish, I went to Michael Greger, and McDougall. I went to all of these guys. I actually went to a bunch more, but I couldn’t just do a whole film of everyone that just told me to basically kiss their ass, they’re not going to do it. But I’ll put the top ones. When you agree Ornish, Wiilett, these are the top, top ones. I could have gone through all the vegan doctors. I went to– the list is way too long and I didn’t want to bore people with it. But you saw the answers. I actually put their letters on screen to show you back what these people have to say to me. The one thing I did do is, I spared McDougall, because McDougall kept writing back to my system, and he started badgering her saying, “Why would you even work for a person like me?”
Vinnie: Look, I didn’t want to turn it into a movie of how crazy these top vegan doctors are. But if I got my assistant Megan here right now, if she told you what was going on, or I showed you those letters, you will go, “Okay, you just, you printed up those letters yourself. There’s no way this guy’s that nuts.” But in fact, he is. But I couldn’t make a whole movie about that. I had to do something.
Cynthia: I think, it’s important for listeners to understand that, you went above and beyond trying to find a balanced discourse, talking about the meat debate if you will, you know, whether it’s animal-based protein, plant-based protein. Listeners of this podcast know that Dr. Gabrielle Lyon is someone that I adore and she is, you know, Muscle Centric Medicine, talks about the superiority of animal-based protein. So, we’ve had some very interesting discussions with patients both on. not just in groups or one-on-one, but online, and people really are very, very confused about the quality of protein, they’re confused about how much protein they need to eat, they’re confused about whether or not plant-based protein is even digestible. And yes, there are some sources of complete plant-based proteins that have the amino acid profile that would allow you to consume sufficient amounts of protein.
But usually at the detriment of your carbohydrate intake or the detriment of consuming way more calories, I think, the comparison is, maybe it’s six to eight ounces of steak is equivalent to six cups of quinoa, but six cups of quinoa is hundreds and hundreds of grams of carbohydrate, and if 88.2% of the population is metabolically unhealthy, that’s a disaster.
Vinnie: Well, let’s go back just a little bit more than that. I like to get sciency whenever I’m on social media, but let’s get a little sciency. The average person knows the three macronutrients. You got protein, fat, carbohydrate. What they don’t realize is, a lot of times within those, they’re the subset. So, an example, you have complex carbohydrates and you have simple carbs. Sugar is a great example of a simple carb that will go in and cause a quick spike and come down. It’ll burn like you threw through a tissue into a fireplace it would just flame really fast, a complex carb will last a little longer, and most dietitians will tell you, “Oh, these are the better carbs. Oh, contraire, they’re a problem, because unlike the spike that you get from say sugar, a complex carb like bread or pasta, or rice, or any other grain will cause what’s known as a load.” So, it will go up and it will stay up for a longer time. So, you have to keep dumping insulin on that to try to put that fire out.
I didn’t mean to get into the whole weeds of that, but you have– within carbohydrates, you have at least two of that you can recognize. When it comes to fat lipids, there’re so many different forms of fat lipids out there. You have long chain, medium chain, small chain, and then you could get into all the cholesterol fats and how they’re all different. You could just get into just a ton of what makes up a fat cell. So, just like with carbohydrate is not one thing. While with protein it’s even more complex because with protein, and most people have heard this term, amino acid. We use amino acids for everything. The deal is that, there are tons and tons and tons of amino acids, right? Well, you can make the best pea protein in the world, the number one pea protein in the world, and you will not have anywhere near the bioavailability of all of the amino acid you need. So, it’s not a complete protein, not even close. The only place you’re going to find all of the amino acids that the human body needs is from animal source proteins. Eggs, and dairy doesn’t have all of them but dairy, and muscle meat from animals, and also livers, and hearts, and everything else, tongue. You’re going to get all of these proteins, but you won’t get that from any other source other than animal protein. That’s where we’re missing the boat.
As a matter of fact, you may notice in the movie, they kept saying, “Hey, listen vegans. You could be a healthy vegan, but you have to take B12.” The vegans will tell you that. You need to take exogenous vitamins which always leads to my question, what we did do before 1947, before we actually knew about B12 is a vitamin? A vegan couldn’t be a vegan before that day in history without being very unhealthy. Now, they’re very unhealthy. You heard Leah Keith in a movie. She said, “Look my bones got brittle. As a reproductive person, I couldn’t have a baby.” Veganism really just ruined her life and she’s not the only one. This happens over and over and over. There’s a group of people out there telling, “You eat this way. We’re going to give everything you need and this fake meat, except you’re not.” Not only that, but it’s worse for the environment and it’s worse for you than eating actual real food.
Cynthia: Well, I think, it’s an important distinction that we’re in such a dogmatic time where people want to be put in a box. You’re in the carnivore box, you’re in the Keto box, you’re in the plant-based box, you’re in the vegan box, and yet I remind people that if people are really looking to clean up their diet, if they’re really looking to improve their nutritional profile, what they’re ideally striving for is to eat less processed food, right? I mean, that’s really what it comes down to. If people are doing that without the use of keto junk food, paleo junk food, vegan junk food, and yes, I believe a Twinkie is technically vegan.
Vinnie: I think it is too, yes.
Cynthia: Yeah, technically vegan. So, if you really are striving to eat a less processed food diet, I can respect that irrespective of what label or bucket you put yourself in. What I think becomes dangerous is not acknowledging intrinsically what our bodies need to thrive and I do have a family member who I will not call out on social media or in this podcast that went vegan for ethical reasons, moral reasons, which I think anyone that’s listening can understand and respect. But unfortunately, what it turned into, she derailed her health so significantly that she’s ended up being profoundly osteoporotic. She was really inflamed and gained 30 pounds, she wasn’t sleeping properly, she was stressed to the max. You can imagine every vitamin that she was, you know, vitamin profile that they drew with labs, whether it was vitamin D, whether it was iodine, selenium, I mean, every vitamin profile you can imagine was off, her adrenals were ever taxed, and it’s probably taken her 10 years to get back to what I would agree– I would identify as a reasonable health profile for someone at this stage of life that she’s in. And she would be the first person to say that she felt really good for a few months.
And then she couldn’t get satiated. So, she just kept getting more and more and more food without finding that satiety. So, she was eating a primarily, I mean, really just a plant-based diet without any even plant-based fats. So, you start to wonder if people maybe feel great for two or three months, because they’re eating a less processed diet, and then they continue with this diet because they’re almost trying to prove to themselves that they don’t need these animal-based sources of fats and protein, but yet intrinsically, I think, some of the reason why they’ve created these impossible burgers, these plant-based burgers that look a lot like meat is because people actually crave it. They actually crave the meat and they would be much better off having a burger than they would be if they were consuming these highly processed foods. One of the things I found fascinating was Pat Brown, who I was not aware of before your documentary, I guess he’s the CIO or CEO of Impossible Burger.
Vinnie: That’s correct. Yes.
Cynthia: And he said, which I found fascinating that, prehistoric technology is what’s driving the animal-based food industry and that cows are considered to be the most destructive invasive species on earth. When I heard that, I was like, “Wow, that’s profound.”
Vinnie: But by the way, I always have to think about it when you say Pat Brown, because the guy that runs the other company Beyond Meat is Ethan Brown. So, when you said Pat Brown, I may have looked like I was like, “Wait, what?” Because I have to always think about it, because people almost think of or at least I do, because I’m putting this film together for over a year. You have Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat’s, and that’s the respective name these companies, and I was calling it the Tale of Two Browns.
Vinnie: You have Pat Brown, Ethan Brown from lack of tale they’re not related whatsoever, but they’re the CEOs. But let’s go back to it because I know what you’re talking about. Pat Brown is calling cows, an invasive species on earth.
Vinnie: I did the simple task of looking around going, “Okay, where’s the most methane on the planet coming from?” And that methane is coming from as you saw in the movie, India, where they don’t eat the cattle. So, the cattle just have more cattle and they’re running wild. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to India, but when I was there, you got to hit your brakes, because cows will just walk right in front of your car. If they walk through your house, this is considered some kind of religious thing, and is good for you, and what have you, and they’re really sacred about their cattle over there. They’re putting out like, I’m going to say a close to 90% of all the methane of cattle in the world, and they’re not eating them. So, according to Pat Brown, the guy who is for ethical reasons for not eating meat, he’s saying, “We need to wipe them off the planet.” So, anybody who’s following Pat Brown and his famous company, Impossible Foods, your guy wants every cow dead. You know then why are you eating it? But he wants them dead. Am I wrong, am I making this up? You watch the movie.
Cynthia: I did, he said, he wants cows to be gone by 2035 and I thought to myself, “Wow.”
Vinnie: Yeah. [laughs] You just watched the movie. So, it’s all fresh in your head.
Vinnie: You can’t make this stuff up. This is coming out of their mouth. As a matter of fact, I do like one of those record scratches and movies like, if you think he only might have said this once, let me introduce you to another time he said those to another crowd of people. And by the way, I could have done five more of those, but yeah, I think after you show a couple of examples, people get the point. The problem with this movie was keeping it under five hours. I kept it to an hour and a half but it’s what do you cut out. I could literally do another whole movie, and not show one scene that I showed, and have continued on with that. That’s how crazy all this stuff is.
Cynthia: I think, it’s just really, I sat with a curious open mind as I typically do if I’m watching a documentary, because sometimes you watch a documentary and you think to yourself, “Okay, I need to go do a little bit more digging.” But obviously, this is a debate that I’m well familiarized with as my family and I always say carnivore-ish. We have a lot of meat, and some vegetables, and that’s the happy place that we exist in. Although, I always try to strive to not put us in a bucket per se, because it’s this kind of reductionist thinking that a lot of people are gotten into. They want everyone in a bucket, they want everything to be defined, and then, I think, humans are so much more interesting than keeping us constrained by labels per se. So, what I found fascinating as you stated is that, India has the bulk of the cow population because they don’t eat their cows. They are sacred animal there and they produce 80% of the greenhouse gas emissions come and originate from India, which I did not know.
Beyond that, what I found really interesting was the fact that most, again, this is a new kind of term for me when we’re talking about land where people can either farm or they have animal or livestock, the two thirds of what we have in the world is what they refer to as marginal land, which for listeners is speaking to the soil quality and the water level. This is not ideal for crops. But this is where animals can be. So, that’s why it’s important that, we do have animals because they are part of this ecosystem, they are very important. It’s only a third of what’s available in terms of land is really available and high enough quality to actually grow crops. So, we’ve had Robb Wolf on this podcast talking about regenerative agriculture and how important it is that people are cognizant of the fact that it’s not as easy as stating that plants are bad and animals are good and vice versa. Because we genuinely need a little bit of both. I think that a lot of the policies on monocropping, meaning, there’s a parcel of land and what’s done is, it’s just the same crop is used over and over and over again, which creates to poor soil quality, which creates de-mineralization of the soil, which means even if you’re eating organic, we’re probably not getting the same quality soil content that our grandparents had. So, there’s definitely this trickledown effect. I think it’s important for people to understand that it’s not as black and white as we might like to think that it is.
The other thing that I want to add and I know that we’ll probably touch on this is that, if you look at indigenous cultures and so, my husband and I were in Africa in September. We’re in Rwanda, we’re in Tanzania and Zanzibar. And in Rwanda, there’s a lot of agriculture that goes on who work very, very hard. But the concept of veganism is not something that you would see there because their lifestyle is just so hard. They do a lot of manual labor, they’re out farming all day long. I mean, Rwanda is probably the cleanest country I’ve ever been in in my entire life, which surprises [crosstalk] people. But there’s a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. They don’t have the processed food industry like we do here, you just don’t see it, I think, they had one fast food restaurant, and they all found it kind of a peculiarity. They’re like, “We don’t understand this Kentucky Fried Chicken thing. Is that something that’s about Kentucky? I mean, is this something Americans eat?” I was like, “Gosh, I hope not.”
So, the point I’m trying to make is that, there’s so much more to unpack about these issues. It’s so much more than what you see on social media, or you see politicians, or celebrities talking about veganism. For the most part, I’m not talking about vegetarianism, but veganism is largely a construct of very wealthy countries, because the average person can’t just eat plants, can’t just abide by a vegan diet because they would not be healthy. And that’s the concern that I have is that, this has really become a social construct that is, and I think about some of the celebrities that embrace this kind of mindset. It’s something that only someone that has a very wealthy lifestyle that would be able to embrace. It’s not what the average person can do and certainly not what third world countries could embrace because they have people there that are just barely getting by with. Maybe they’ve got a cow, and they’ve got a couple of chickens, and they farm their land, they work very hard for their food.
Vinnie: Yeah, I grew up in a poor Italian family. I think well I’m over exaggerating. By the time my parents were the first to go to college and they became school teachers. So, I grew up lower middle class, I guess, or middle class. I don’t even know what it is. But I lived right next door to my grandparents and these people still, you know, there was a cow slaughtered every year, and we had five acres of garden. It was almost like Italy comes to Louisiana. The way they were concerned, they weren’t churning their own butter by the time I was a kid, but there were those old churns where I would go, “Hey, Grandpa, what’s this thing?” Oh, we couldn’t go to the grocery store back just a few years ago, we wouldn’t have to sit here and turn and outsell. So, all of these people live to be close to hundred years old eating vegetables from our home garden, eating meat, and there was a lot of hunting that went on in my family. I’ve carried on a tradition do a lot of hunting myself.
But you know that was poor people, then. Now, you look at poor people and you look at underserved people in this country, well, they don’t have gardens, and some of them are Inner City and everything else, you know, we live out in a country. They don’t have that opportunity. A lot of them happen to be African-American, and Hispanic, and everything else in the same Hollywood elite that’s yelling about BLM and everyone, all this stuff, whatever it is, are telling you, “Hey, now, go do this thing that you can’t afford.” Well, they can’t afford it. I hate to beat up on him right now because he’s in trouble for the shooting that happened on the set, but he was in my movie. As a matter of fact, it was talked about to get rid of Alec Baldwin because he’s sitting at these world conferences telling people, on his high horse with all of his millions, “Eat like this. Yet, most people can’t eat like this.”
Cynthia: All right. Great.
Vinnie: And by the way, if you’re going to eat like that you better have money for exogenous vitamins and everything else because you’re not going to do it otherwise.
Vinnie: So what’s coming out of one side of their mouth doesn’t match what’s coming out the other side of the same people’s mouths. I just thought I’d bring that up since you did, right?
Cynthia: Yeah. No, I mean– [crosstalk]
Vinnie: It’s just interesting.
Cynthia: Yeah, no, and I think it’s really important. I trained in Inner City, Baltimore and being a suburban girl my entire life it was the best kind of training because we would go to these corner markets, and I was always surprised at what little fresh produce was available. It was all hyperpalatable, highly processed foods, and we would be talking to our patients. There’s a baby nursing student and a baby nurse practitioner student, and we would be talking to our patients about nutrition which back then, let me be very clear, I didn’t know as much as I know now, but there was no fresh produce. They didn’t have gardens in their backyard. They were doing the best that they could, and they sure as heck weren’t going to have the funds to be able to ascribe to a vegan lifestyle. They were lucky if their food stamps or their WIC allowed them to buy much of anything. I can’t tell you how many you know, we would do these home evaluations, and we would see moms that would have the oven open with crawling children because they had no heat, and at least the oven would heat their tiny apartment.
It’s very hard for me to watch whether it’s James Cameron or other Hollywood elite having these conversations and just recognizing that they’re not living the average person’s lifestyle, and I think that’s important to identify that the extravagances and the advantages that so many of these people have. To be clear, I think, you and I obviously have lots of advantages and lots of options. But I think, it’s also important to just identify that you are not going to get the complete amino acid, which is what protein is broken down, and that your body’s going to be able to assimilate and use for fuel, that just isn’t going to be the same if you’re not consuming some type of animal base, whether it’s eggs, or cheese, or dairy. I know some of the vegetarians that I interact with. They still do some animal-based fats or byproducts, and that’s why they kind of round out their diets.
Vinnie: Well, to your point, I’m the type of guy you know, some people think I’m a little too hard. I’m always looking for a universal truth. It’s like, “What’s the truth?” Your liver, whenever I consult with people, I always tell them, “Tell me everything. I want you to start with, I wake up and. And if you wake up and you urinate, start with that.”
Vinnie: Because I need to know what’s going into your mouth at all times or I can’t help you because I need to now think like your liver and your liver is a meritocracy. I’ve always said, your liver is like the worst gangster in the world. If your liver had a gun, it would hold the sideways like that because that’s what they do in the movie when you’re a gangster, you hold them sideways.
Cynthia: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Vinnie: I’ve always wanted to say in these movies. If you hold it upright, there’s a little thing on the top that you can aim with it and now they hold it sideways. Your liver’s a gangster. As I always say, it doesn’t give an F. It doesn’t care. What you put in your liver, your liver is going to process, period. It doesn’t worry about your feelings, it doesn’t worry about what you read, or saw on YouTube, or what Vinnie, or Rich Roll, or anyone told you online, your liver is going to do what your liver is going to do. We can lie to ourselves because we have a consciousness, and a subconsciousness, and everything else. So, we could sit around and lie to ourselves and go, “I don’t know how I got fat.” Okay, your liver knows how you got fat because it had to process everything and it did. So, there’s a universal truth there. Yet, you have these people telling you the truth is not the truth. I thought it was funny when I had James Cameron in the movie talking about his pea protein company, and his wife who really, really, really looked like she can use a piece of meat.
Cynthia: I was surprised because she was part of Titanic, and I remember thinking, “Gosh, she was probably the same age I was when that movie came out.”
Vinnie: I don’t even know who his wife is. What’s her name? Who was she in Titanic because–?
Cynthia: I think, she was the granddaughter of Rose. So, when they had the 1990s version of Rose, it was this elderly woman recounting her experiences on the Titanic, and she was the granddaughter. So, she was this very young woman. And I just recall when I saw her as like, “She looks anemic.” That was my first thought when I saw her in that– in your documentary I thought to myself, she looks like she probably needs some heme protein for sure without question.
Vinnie: Let’s see. I’m looking it up right now. I’m finding a picture of her. Is it Suzy Amis, I guess, it’s her name?
Cynthia: Yeah. That’s sounds right.
Vinnie: Yeah. Okay. Let’s see if we can look up. I want to see how old she is because I’m looking at this woman going, really, you know, because when I’m doing the movie all the time– Oh, okay. She was born in January 1962. [crosstalk]
Cynthia: She’s much older than I thought she was.
Vinnie: Way older? We’re the same age. Okay.
Cynthia: No, no, no. But I’m saying like, I thought she was in her 20s in that movie, she must have been in her 30s, but I thought she just looked very– She had not aged well. Let’s put it that [crosstalk].
Vinnie: Okay, so, she’s my age.
Vinnie: She’s 59.
Cynthia: You look much healthier than her.
Vinnie: Okay, but let’s not compare her to me.
Vinnie: Let’s compare her to a rich 59-year-old who can get the best care, who’s got– Look, I lived in Hollywood for 30 years and I worked with these people. You have yoga teachers, you have masseurs and masseuses on call. Let me explain to you how Hollywood works because all the top trainers know the top masseurs and masseuses and we interchange like, that’s how we did it. If anyone is wondering how you get in and how you stay in, you know which masseuses and masseur to turn on to who, and they know who to send when they need a trainer, and so on, and so forth. That’s why when you see these people, they look so damn good. Oh, my God, JLO. JLO has got to be in her 50s somewhere, right?
Cynthia: Early 50s. Yeah.
Vinnie: This woman looks like she’s in her 30s.
Cynthia: Well, I think, the joke about JLo and I’m going down a rabbit hole, but I think this is important for transparency. She tries to tell people, she’s never done Botox, she hasn’t done anything, and you look at photos, and I’m like, “There is no shame if a man or a female wants to do things to make themselves look more youthful. There’s no shame in that. But don’t lie about it.” [laughs] I think people look at her and they’re like, “There’s no way you look that darn good without a lot of help.”
Vinnie: Well, I can’t speak because sometimes I know a lot of stuff.
Vinnie: So, I got to stay away from it. But what I can tell you is, I’m looking at pictures of this woman who’s supposedly my age. Not good, not good.
Cynthia: [crosstalk] she doesn’t look at me, after working in healthcare for 20 some odd years, I’m a pretty good judge of age and I was like, “I was surprised that she had not aged well.”
Vinnie: Yeah, this is not good. I’m seeing a picture here. If you told me and– Look, I’m not being facetious here. My mother-in-law is 83 years old, Rena and Kristen’s mom. Okay, it looks about like this woman who’s 59. Call me an asshole, call me a jerk, oh, Vinnie, come on, not everyone– This woman has the best of the best. She’s in Hollywood, she’s got people around the clock, she’s got the best of the best. She doesn’t look good. I didn’t even recognize her as being someone from a movie just a few years ago and she’s in my movie.
Vinnie: Standing there not even talking. It’s just James yapping away at the mic and she’s just standing next to him. Okay.
Cynthia: That’s probably the dynamic that they like, I’ve heard he’s got a pretty strong personality.
Vinnie: Again, I can’t speak to that.
Cynthia: [laughs] I’ll say it. That’s what I’ve heard. I obviously don’t know either of these individuals.
Vinnie: You may have heard [crosstalk]
Cynthia: Yeah. But with that being said, I think, what it really speaks to is that, you have individuals who have a lot of money to invest in these corporations, in these companies that have a large impact on the policies that impact all of us. That to me was this prevailing theme to the movie that, when you know more, you do more. So, I think it’s important for people to wake up whether it’s Bill Gates or James Cameron. Bill Gates, who does not look healthy. I think I got in trouble on Twitter because I passed around a photo of him with what I was calling soy boy or man boobs.
Cynthia: And for listeners, who’ve never heard me use those terms, I can be a little snarky on Twitter and I was calling out and saying, this is a man who’s making policies that would impact all of us, and is this really the person we want to– I’m not saying, he’s not a brilliant businessman, he’s smart, but he’s not taking care of himself. Because if he was, he wouldn’t look like that. So, I took a little bit of beating on Twitter when I made that comment. The point I’m trying to make is that these very wealthy, whether you call them benefactors, investors, they are driving public policy, they are impacting all of us. [crosstalk]
Vinnie: Yeah. Look, Bill Gates, if anyone remembers Bill from back in the day, he was this little skinny, spindly kind of wonderkid who created Microsoft, and became one of the youngest billionaires of all time. And these people have a lot of money. Bill and Melinda, I’m not friends with them. I would see him up at the Yellowstone club and up in Montana, but don’t know them. But I remember, whenever I’d see him from– Oh, my God, that’s the spindly little guy. He looks like this like he’s going to die. And then, you’re coming out and you’re pushing all of this world initiative and doing all this stuff going, we need to change the world’s– It’s like “Bill, shouldn’t you at least get rid of three of the five chins before you do that? Maybe get a bra that fits something, do something?” Before you start proselytizing to everyone else because you look horrible. You just don’t look good. You don’t look like the guy you used to look like. Yeah, I get it. You’re old. You know, we all get old but we don’t have to get old and end up looking like he looks. Right?
Cynthia: Right, and something that’s really important to me, and it’s a theme that I bring into all the podcast guests that come on is metabolic flexibility, metabolic health critically important. We know that 88.2% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy, and that’s a study from 2018. I’m sure now, it’s probably worse. It might be 87%, 88%, 90%. So, everyone should be concerned about that. You know, what are the things we can be doing to improve our health? Now, I want to pivot a little bit and talk about fat. Now, you have two wonderful documentaries about fat. If you haven’t watched them, you should go check them out. They’re not super long. Like Vinnie said his documentaries tend to be hour and 30 minutes, so you can digest it in one or two sittings. But you bring on some of the best– what I believe best science writers that are out there. People that are really changing, helping to change policy, build awareness. Nina Teichholz, who’s been on the podcast, Gary Taubes, a lot of other individuals that I think really get us as clinicians really thinking about changing the narrative that we have with our patients.
But let’s at least touch on, what changed in the 1980s? Because this is important. Any of us that were growing up in the 1980s, lived in the 1980s, there were a lot of policy changes, there was a narrative that shifted towards focusing on fat and demonizing fat, and at the consequence of us going from largely being fairly healthy to all of a sudden having extraordinary rates of obesity, and metabolic disease. One thing that I thought was particularly powerful because for me being a visual learner, you had a picture of Woodstock, the original Woodstock from the 1960s. And then, you had the 1990s version. The stark difference between very thin, healthy looking individuals at Woodstock versus 30 years later was really profound. And that, I mean, that’s not 20 plus years ago. So, I think it’s important for us to unpack what happened to the processed food industry and the narrative that was changing with probably your own clients that I know with patients who had conversations that clinicians were having with their patients.
Vinnie: Yeah, you know, it’s funny. I used Woodstock 1969, and then the new Woodstock, and what I thought about doing and I did it, I changed it to the Woodstock-to-Woodstock thing. I showed people who weren’t really exercising or doing anything just living their life in 1969, and what I did have with some people coming across the finish line of triathlons– full-length triathlons, like these people trained hard enough to go 16 hours, because the cut off is right before 17 hours in most of them. That means they swam over two miles, they got in shape to ride a bike after that swim for 112 miles, and then after that 112-mile bike ride, they did a 26.2-mile full marathon. These people were in incredible shape, and if you watch them come across at the 14- and 15-hour mark and see most of them are obese. You’re going, “Okay, I’ve just proven by going to and I’ve been to a lot of finish lines, a lot of marathons and triathlons that you cannot run on a bad diet.” Because the first thing that happens to these people when you do these marathons and triathlons is, you buy the magazine, and the first thing that magazine says is, you need all the maltodextrin you could get in your body, you need to keep fueling up every 20 minutes.
But the reason I left that out was because I would have had to have taken the movie in a different direction. Because now, I’m bringing in something else. The whole exercise component, I just want to show a snapshot of these two times in history, 30 years apart, same event. And by the way, I didn’t find one picture of each. Go online folks. You can go look at a thousand pictures of 1969 Woodstock, most people are naked or very scantily dressed.
Cynthia: It’s true.
Vinnie: And [unintelligible [00:43:11] 30 years later, and I wasn’t cherry picking photos here at all. I kind of went, “Ah, that’s good enough and that’s good enough,” because it’s what the truth was. I didn’t have to go very deep. So, what happened in that time? Well, it was very confusing for me. Well, I talked about it in FAT one, where the McGovern commission started off to try to figure out how to feed poor black people in the deep south. And they were trying to come up with food stamps. We didn’t have food stamps, you mentioned. What did they call it now? You mentioned–
Vinnie: WIC program.
Cynthia: WIC is what I saw in Baltimore.
Vinnie: Right, which is a form of food stamps, right? So, the Democratic Party was trying to get another Kennedy elected Robert F. Kennedy, who ended up dying during that cycle. Not from health folks, he died of a gunshot wound. At any rate, McGovern said, “Hey, if we can prove that we need to give poor people food stamps, then they’ll vote for us.” That’s the method they were using. So, they put together what’s called the McGovern committee. Interestingly enough that Committee met on and off for 10 years. [laughs] They just kept meeting, and meeting, and meeting, and meeting, and during that time, Ancel Keys looked around and went, “Wait a minute, I’ve been pushing this initiative since the late 1950s of carbohydrates being the main food. Let me see if I can push that through the McGovern committee. At least I’ll have some kind of stronghold.” And that’s the part of history that most people don’t realize that, this guy from Minnesota University, he was basically the doubt and– I’m not getting political here.
Ancel Keys was to Dr. Fauci of his time. As a matter of fact, Fauci was like, “Hey, Ancel, hold my beer. Let me show you how this is really done.” So, he poised his initiative through, so the McGovern committee that started out to try and figure out food stamps ended up, at the end coming up with a food pyramid and said, “This is the way we need to eat. All of these carbohydrates on the bottom, and then on the middle shelf more carbohydrates, on the top we’ll put just a little meat and as a matter of fact, we’ll say dairy, but we’ll put bits of dairy off to the side and just a little dairy. But you want most of it to be a big base of carbohydrates.” Guys like me, you got to remember I went through the whole 70s in the gym. I walked into a gym when I was eight years old in kind of clean towels, and oiled machines, and Joe showed me how to use all this stuff. And it was all about eat eggs, eat dairy, eat meat. That’s how you grow. I became a good athlete through the 70s. I played D1 football. They don’t just let you get a scholarship because you are very average. You have to be one of the best high school players in the country. So, I’m going through this, I get to college.
I’m in college, and on training table, it’s eggs and beef for breakfast, and all the bacon you can shove in your mouth, and the only people that really ate peanut butter and jelly were the big linemen who were trying to put some girth on their gut. We looked at bread and all this kind of stuff is how you put girth on. That’s what the linemen did. They were trying to gain that girth. They’re like big sumo wrestlers. But a guy like me, you want to put on muscle, so that your head doesn’t get knocked off, but you need to be fast. So, it needs to be functional way. This is what we did all the way through college and during that time, there started being this talk about high carb. All I could think was my poor Italian grandmother would always say, “Don’t eat too much pasta, you’re going to get fat.” No education by the way from Italy. These are Italians going, “Oh, that’s too much pizza. Eat some chicken. Have the fish. Not too much with the pizza.”
All of a sudden, in 1980, I want to say 1984, somewhere around there, I was in Aspen training people. I was one of the early trainers in this country. I’m in Aspen and everyone’s reading this book called Eat to Win by Dr. Robert Haas and everyone’s going out there’s a place called Mezzaluna’s, which became famous because there was one in Brentwood. That’s where OJ’s wife had her last meal before someone killed her. At any rate, I’m going to Mezzaluna’s with these rich people every night because they’re sponsoring me to be an Aspen, and get them in shape, and do all this stuff. They’re all getting mounds of pasta. I’m like, “You’re not going to get shrimp on that, you’re not going to get like chicken, chicken cacciatore on the menu. You’re not going to get to cacciatore. Look, they got Osso Buco. No, no. Dr. Robert Haas says that will make you fat. This is how you stay healthy.
I’m thinking but I got two Italian grandmothers and my great grandmother from the old country. She barely speaks English. They have something else to say about this. It turns out that all three of those women none had educations were all three correct. Now, how can these poor Italian great grandmothers and grandmothers know so much information, yet, Robert Haas is put this book out called Eat to Win and All of a sudden everything became a big pasta dish. Next thing you know, you have cheesecake factories on every street corner by the 90s where everyone is like, “Oh, macaroni grill, [unintelligible [00:48:29] pasta dish. Why because it cost him two cents to make and they charging you a ton of money for all the pasta you want. The dish never goes empty. We’ll come put some more pasta on it. We started doing all this stuff and then, oh, it got worse. It got worse. SnackWell’s came around.
Cynthia: They were horrible.
Vinnie: Once we got it– Oh, you remember this, right? You’re young, but you remember this. How can you get fat from SnackWell’s? There’s no fat in them, only carbohydrates. SnackWell. Yeah, we got fatter and fatter.
Cynthia: Well, I just remember that the resounding thing. So, I was graduating college in the early 1990s, and my roommate and I, we were mindful of our fat intake. I remember we bought nonfat cheese, which by the way doesn’t melt and was disgusting and we bought SnackWell’s. SnackWell’s, what do you think happens when you take the fat out of something?
Vinnie: You got to put more sugar.
Cynthia: [crosstalk] up the sugar to make it palatable. They were awful. It was like eating cardboard and you were never satiated. So, this is kind of goes back to the same thing that you know, when you demonize fat and you take fat out of things, you don’t have that same flavor profile, you don’t feel satiated, you want to continue eating. So, it’s a boon for the processed food industry and it comes to the detriment of our health. I think back to when I was in school, you might have one or two obese kids and now, a lot of my peers are talking about the rate of obesity in children and health issues that you would see in an adult, you’re seeing now in children, NAFLD, which is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, they’re seeing type 2 diabetes in children, they’re seeing issues related to elevated uric acid levels, which is making– I mean, it’s just unacceptable and yet, it really started with those dietary recommendations and the food choices and that kind of paradigm shift that occurred.
So, you mentioned and I promise this ties into our conversation, a really interesting variation of a new diet. It was a diet that I had not been familiarized with. It is kind of a modern-day planetary health diet which I promise kind of aligns itself with our conversation. So, there’s this EAT-Lancet and they are recommending this planetary health diet, which is supported by of many of these vegan physicians, and Walter Willett in particular is affiliated with the Harvard School of Public Health, and from what I understand, has been there for a long, long time. So, he’s had tremendous influence over that university. And when we really talking about hardcore academics, Harvard is held in great esteem. So, you can imagine the influence that he has over a lot of the policies that are being made. But let’s unpack what this planetary health diet is? Because when I looked at this, this is not going to make us healthier. This is going to be a problem.
Vinnie: Do you remember at the end where I showed the World Economic Forum and this guy Klaus Schwab is there, and it almost looks like something Mike Myers would have done in one of his, what was that movie where he’s like Mr. [unintelligible [00:51:37]?
Cynthia: Yes. [unintelligible [00:51:39] My husband has all those Austin Powers movies.
Vinnie: Austin Powers. But he was like, “I will cure the world and I will have 1 million dollars.” Klaus is up there and it looks like I took that from a movie. It’s like, “Wait, where do you get that, didn’t you feel like–?” Every time– I get the chills every time I see that guy, he’s sitting in a chair like Mr. Evil from those movies is like, “I’ll chase the world [laughs].” Here is like you’re sitting there going, “This is what’s going on and we’re all asleep at the wheel.”
Vinnie: Yeah. Klaus is up there doing this thing and we’re all gone, “Yeah, you go, brother. You go Klaus Schwab.” He even has a name that sounds evil.
Cynthia: Yeah, and once for the sake of listeners that may not be familiar with this planetary health diet, which I was not, it’s half a plate of fruit, vegetables, and nuts, the other half is grains, plant proteins, unsaturated plant oils, and then, it’s a modest portion of meat and dairy, and some “starches and sugar.” But what I found really fascinating was that it’s two and a half pounds of carbohydrates per day. Do you think that sounds like a good suggestion/recommendation for a metabolically unhealthy population?
Vinnie: Two and a half pounds? If you said to me, “Vinnie, you need to eat two and a half pounds of carbohydrates.” I would have to– it would take me– How much time I have? It’s like, “Well you have to do it within a week.” I think I can probably skirt it in over the course of seven days. Two and a half pounds, think about what that is. Two and a half pounds. I don’t see– They want you to have this every day but if you look at the food pyramid is not that far off. It’s like, I want to say like, I talked about in my first movie like 11, or 12, or 13 servings of grains per day of sugar and grains, and they don’t even tell you what a serving is. So, if I want a big plate of pasta, that’s one serving. I know what the servings are because I went looked it up, but you don’t just find this by googling it, you got to do deep google. Like you got to go 10 pages in, and find some government sites, and go really dark web to figure it out. But these guys– Go on.
Cynthia: No, no. I was going to say, I find it also disturbing because it makes me think about the oatmeal argument. If you’ve heard this on social media that a lot of us have started talking openly that oatmeal is about the worst thing that you can eat-
Vinnie: That’s right.
Cynthia: -if you’re an adult because it’s designed to be like dessert. But most of us can’t handle that carbohydrate load. So, my teenagers who are very athletic and are very active, they can eat whole bowl of oatmeal.
Cynthia: But the average American cannot and so it kind of goes back to when you were saying it would take me a week to that amount of carbohydrate and I think about the oatmeal. Like people would say, “What’s wrong with oatmeal?” If I call it out on social media, people get very triggered when you talk about their starchy grains, and their gluten breads, and everything else because they derive a lot of satisfaction. There’re all these chemical byproducts of consuming a lot of these specific macronutrients, whether it’s neurotransmitter involvement, serotonin, dopamine, etc., whether it’s the hormonal influx for a lot of people. If we’re talking about a metabolically unhealthy population, we already have people that have an insulin problem and if you’re eating frequently and you’re eating a lot of carbohydrate, you’re not serving your body well.
Vinnie: No, once your body is broken, it’s almost like telling an alcoholic, “Ah, you can go off every Saturday night and just do what you’re going to do.” I haven’t seen that but several years ago, I came up with the F-quinoa t-shirt because everyone’s like, “What’s wrong with quinoa? It’s got proteins.” No, it’s carbohydrate. That’s the vegan, that another one is vegan lies. Quinoa is no more special than– In fact, I can argue that rice is better for even quinoa if I was going to sit around and argue. But yeah, they come up with all these different things that they want you to think and believe in, it’s not an argument whatsoever. It’s just not good for you. Eat it, and have a continuous blood glucose monitor on you, and tell me what happens.
Cynthia: Yeah, and I [crosstalk]
Vinnie: See what will come on that.
Cynthia: Well, it’s interesting. I got in trouble on social media recently. I’m not an arguer on social media. It isn’t worth my effort or my time that there was a vegan cardiologist who came after me like a harpy, you know, kind of swooped in. And my listeners know, I’m very respectful of people. So, we were having this conversation. She was telling me it was dangerous that I was suggesting nondiabetics have glucometers or have continuous glucose monitors. In that context, I said I think it’s one of the most empowering things that you can wear even if it’s short term, if you’re doing continuous glucose monitor or if you’re looking at a glucometer, and you’re checking your blood sugar because if you know more, you’ll do better. I think a lot of people unknowingly don’t realize that certain foods they eat are elevating their blood sugar for longer than it should be or they’re getting these massive glucose spikes. I tell people if your blood sugar goes up by more than 30 points, you have had too many carbs. I mean, that’s the awareness that people need to figure out for themselves that we know what foods served them best and it goes back to the buckets.
The dogma that, sometimes people need to be carnivores, some people need to have a little lower carbohydrate, some people might benefit from cleaning up their diet and doing plant based maybe for a month or two and then bringing– indoctrinating some more protein, but this mindset that more processed starchy carbs are going to be better for the average person is just blatantly false.
Vinnie: Yeah. There couldn’t be anything further from the truth. I think the problem for the vegan doctor that you’re talking to, the problem becomes, I can sit here and just bloviate them on your liver as a meritocracy and your liver will always tell the truth. But guess what, when you have thing on your arm that’s connected to that thing in your hand, that cell phone that most people can’t let go off, and is telling you what’s happening in real time, the argument to that doctor is now completely over with. So, of course, that doctor doesn’t want anyone to see the truth because we can now show you the truth with a CGM, and that doesn’t help those doctors bottom line or any doctor who’s telling people. Because now, people more and more can see the truth and then you have to go to your doctor and say, “Doctor, you told me this.” And I guarantee you that doctor has tons of people walking in there going, “Hey, doc, look at this. Look at this.” That doctor’s going, “This is blowing my hole. I’ve been lying to these people for all this time and now they have the truth right there on their phone. Now, what do I do? What do I tell them this time? How does that work?”
Cynthia: I think it’s a distinction of qualifying and saying, we should be lifelong learners. Even if we’re clinicians, we should be learning throughout our lifetime. When I knew better, I changed what I was saying to my patients and my whole methodology. I think there are definitely people that are saying, “Oh, my gosh, I learned something for my patient. I need to look into this, I have to be transparent.” When we know better, we do better as clinicians, as human beings. I think on many, many levels there’s a lot of biohacking devices whether it’s an Oura ring, whether it’s a CGM, any of these devices that track information and I see that is a win. Like if I can get the patient to be more concerned about their health, that’s beneficial. But also, kind of learning more about the process like, I know more about hormones, and whether it’s insulin, and glucagon, and blood glucose, and leptin, and [unintelligible [00:59:39] leptin, etc.
I now know more– far more now than I ever, ever did. And a lot of it has just become this rabbit hole that you dive down. So, I think your documentary is certainly shining a light on. There’s this lack of transparency with some of these discussions. I think there are important discussions to be had. One thing I want to tie into the planetary health diet, you mentioned and it is a nice visualization. So, you have your handout and you’re talking about portions. These are the portions of cheese, whether it’s cubes of cheese, that these are the portions of beef or animal-based protein that this planetary health diet recommends. It’s like the size of a cube of cheese. When I say a cube of cheese it’s like when you’re at a dinner party and you have hors d’oeuvres being passed, and there’re little toothpicks and a piece of cheese, that’s the portion of animal-based protein that is being recommended. I giggled even more when I realized, when you had your handout, you had four portions, you said this is the portion of meat that this diet is recommending. I thought to myself my kids would scarf that down in like two bites. Like it’s almost laughable that that’s [crosstalk] animal-based protein that they’re recommending.
Vinnie: That was for a family of four, four kids. Here’s what I did. I was on set because the way I have to do my documentaries is, I have to plan out what I’m going to do. I sat down– I went out to California and I sat down one time in front of a camera, and I have to know what’s going to be coming. So, I just do it all, I just talk it all into a camera, and so I have to pay for a set for that day as cameraman, and as key grip, and lighting guys, and all that stuff. I know you’re looking at it going, “Wow, all that? You didn’t look that good.” So, when you do that, you have to have a craft–, it’s called craft services. So, you have to have craft service table and you have got to let these people break for lunch, and do all this stuff, and you have to feed them. Well, while we were there, I was talking about that on camera, and I said, cut the camera for a second. I said, “Do we have any kind of scale here?” They said, “What kind of scale’s that like?” “Like a gram scale.” One of the guys, he goes, “Yeah, I weigh my coffee. I have my coffee–. I brought it with me so I can weigh my coffee beans” because he likes to make the perfect coffee every day. I said, “Do me a favor. Plop a piece of that cheese on your coffee scale and let me know what it is.” He did.
It turns out we just had to take a knife and shave a little bit off of one of those little tiny chunks of cheese and he goes, “Okay, that’s the weight that they’re talking about in the planetary health diet.” So, I said, “Okay, take your scale and give me four like that.” That’s where I did the– this is what they want one person to eat every day, and this will feed [laughs] a family of four. When you see it that way, you finally go, “Okay, this is crazy.” Go tell that to– You are speaking of Africa, go tell that to the Maasai people in Africa. [laughs] I’m sure those guys would hit you. [laughs] [crosstalk] all that meat. They only eat meat there, you know?
Cynthia: Well, it’s interesting, when we were in Zanzibar, I actually got to meet some of the Maasai tribe and they were incredible, they were really incredible. They’re just the most tall, statuesque individuals I think I’ve ever seen, just these beautiful bodies, and we were watching them, they were chanting, and it was just an incredible opportunity to see just– I love everything about being on that continent and learning more about the culture. Now, what do you think is actually driving the concept of the planetary health diet? You made some allusions to the net impact this will have on prices of meats, and policies, and taxes, and subsidies. This is something that this awareness piece of your documentaries, I think, is really important. The big takeaway is like someone can advocate for these nutritional policies, but how does that impact us. Like those of us that are meat eaters, what will this do? This is going to mean that we have less– You know, we have to budget buying less meat because it’s becoming increasingly more expensive.
Vinnie: I don’t know that. We know right now that there’s been some supply chain breaks and meat has gone up in price, and look, these are multinational companies that are handing money to people like, when we show the trail companies like Cargill, and Unilever, and even Tyson, which is a meat company, they funnel money to people like Walter Willett at Harvard, and then they do these really dodgy epidemiological studies. Even within those studies– Nina Teicholz has done a lot of work on this. Within those studies, they prove that it’s actually more meat is better for you, but they put that aside and then show you what they want you to see. So, they squint really hard even though it keeps saying meat is the way to go. They do these weird epidemiological studies and then they squint really hard, and then Walter Willett gets paid. He hands some money down to a scientist to squint and then you have these multinational companies with the likes of Bill Gates and all these other billionaires going, “Okay. This is what we have. Let’s put together this forum.” The whole thing wreaked of– It was mind boggling to watch what these people are doing. They’re putting together these forums and they’re getting in on with the World Health Organization and CDC.
Cynthia: You know, on so many levels I think that we have to be our own best advocates and we have to look objectively, unfortunately, there’s almost a knee jerk reaction, people are so polarized and so dogmatic that they don’t listen. There’s no more communication on both sides of the fence. I think it’s particularly distressing to me because I have children growing up through all of this. I’m trying to navigate, do we watch the national news, do we watch cable TV news, where do we get our information from, how do we objectively look at things? You touched on epidemiologic studies and for anyone that’s listening it’s not familiar as of research terminology. Epidemiologic studies are sometimes a good way of saying, there might be correlation and causation here, but we need to do deeper research. We need to look at randomized studies, we need to set up opportunities to learn more about this.
Unfortunately, what ends up happening is the media will grab hold of or social media will grab hold of an epidemiologic study and then they extrapolate it as fact and I think that becomes dangerous. I think that is certainly something that I find particularly concerning and I’ll give you one example. A lot of people that follow me want to know if it’s healthy to use certain medications. So, I always remind them that unfortunately when I was a baby nurse practitioner, there was a big study that came out that said, hormone replacement therapy is terrible, it causes cancer. Well, you have a whole generation of women who went off hormone replacement therapy or women who didn’t take hormone replacement therapy. They come to find out that the study population for that particular study was not particularly healthy. 65-year-old women that already had either comorbid conditions or diabetics, smokers, well, they’re not even a healthy population to look at the impact of using HRT. So, I remind people that it’s really important that we can look at things objectively and say, “Okay, that wasn’t a good study to extrapolate to a whole population of women because now we’re seeing the side effects of not considering hormone replacement therapy.
To answer your question, I think, it just really begs deeper reflection, it really begs the conversation to be ongoing and to not be shortsighted. Like I mentioned, whether it’s the keyboard warriors on social media, and affectionately I have an avatar for when I get nasty messages or comments on social media, I always say, “This is Fred and Fred is a 45-year-old obese man who lives in his parents’ basement, and does all sorts of things all day long on his keyboard warrior to try to make everyone’s lives as miserable as his.” So, I think from the context and the perspective of, we have to take a look, we just have to have these ongoing discussions. That’s why I think it’s so, so important that people are creating these discussions, having these discussions, encouraging people like ourselves to talk and to connect because if we’re not talking and connecting, we can get very blunt. We can get almost put like blinders on and we only want to think one way, and that’s dangerous, and that’s problematic.
Vinnie: Amen. You couldn’t have said it and I couldn’t have said it any better. The question is, where do we go from here? Yeah, someone like you and me, and I’ve had these conversations with Nina and other people, and we’ll sit around and go, “Oh, are we getting anywhere?” Then our reminders like, when I started doing this back in 2011, I wrote the book and the book became a big deal and holding, no one really knew about this. Now, as I say in the movie, when someone like Vinnie in the internet or someone like Cynthia goes on the internet, or someone like Shaun Baker goes on the internet, and we cure one person each. Okay, there you go. But then, we cure two people, and then [unintelligible [01:09:17] comes into the equation. And now, we’re curing more people and Brett Scher comes into the equation, and Brian Lewinsky’s, and all these other people start joining in. Dr. Tony Hampton, everybody starts curing people, right?
Well, now, it’s not just a couple of thousand that Vinnie cures, or Cynthia cures, or [unintelligible [01:09:37] cures, or Nina Teicholz or anyone else, now it’s not tens of thousands. As I said in the movie, it’s hundreds of thousands that go off of blood pressure medicine, type 2 diabetes goes away, their A1C go from 10 and 11 down to 4.8. They’ve stopped taking tons of medication. Okay, it’s on epidemiological study. Isn’t that the actual basis for an epidemiological study or am I just making this up? Am I just fooling myself? I’m always telling that to Nina, we might think that we’re not making a difference because we wrote these books, and we did this, and I know you have another book coming out, you’ll be on my show whenever it comes out, we’re putting this information out there, and people are going, “Hmm, maybe I should try that. Maybe I need to do that.” In that case, we are making a difference.
I got quit writing books because I realized I can do more because people like watching stuff. They like listening to stuff. So, I do a lot of podcasts. I do five a week. When I’m finished here, I’m doing a podcast. It’s what I do. I sit on this mic all day and I make movies. In three years, I’ve made three movies. Can James Cameron say that? No, he can’t. [laughs] But you know, it’s what we do. We just have to keep doing it and hope that it makes a difference.
Cynthia: For really reflecting on the N of 1, I have people they’ll say to me, “Well, you’re not doing research anymore and you’re in a different environment,” and I say all the time, it’s impactful when you see that certain strategies are really very effective, whether it’s eating less often, whether it’s eliminating specific foods, non-sugar or non-grains, which is huge. Whether it’s lowering your carbohydrate intake, or eliminating alcohol, or eliminating processed sugars. It has a huge impact and it just really speaks to the how inflammatory a lot of these, whether it’s meal frequency or particular foods that we’re consuming on a daily basis, and how that impacts our health in very negative ways. I think creating greater awareness is really important. What’s interesting was I stumbled upon– because it’s a blog. My husband’s an engineer. He’s always kind of looking a little deeper at things. There are still people that are out there that as one example, they believe that weight gain is just a function of caloric intake and has nothing to do with hormones. I think it’s so shortsighted that so many people are not open to the opportunity to learn and look at things a little bit differently. Ben Bikman’s of the world, and Jason Fung, and people that are doing incredible research in these areas, and I reference frequently because I think it’s so incredibly important.
Because oftentimes people are told they’re crazy when they have an out of the box kind of perspective methodology. But then over time, if they’re having more and more people that are seeing results, using different strategies, and finding the shared collective. When all these great minds come together and certainly get a lot of them in your podcast and I do as well, you start to wonder that there’s more to it than we realize that whether it’s the power of connection by voice with a podcast, or with a documentary, where you can see things visually, or reading a book, or some other modality of meeting at conferences and speaking events, and things like that. It has a tremendous impact on the way that we choose to live our lives and our lens with which we see the world.
Vinnie: Yeah, you’re absolutely right and we just have to keep doing it, I guess. I don’t know what else to do. Is that, oh, it goes back to that old joke of you know, this farmer in Texas is rancher, he’s driving along, checking his fence line, and he sees a turtle on top of one of the fence posts, and he says, “Turtle, how did you get here?” The turtle goes, “I have no idea.” He says, “Turtle, how do you expect to get down?” Turtle goes, “I have no idea.”
Vinnie: Sometimes, I feel like that. I just started doing all this because I wrote a book and I wanted people to buy the books. I went online and started talking about the book. Next thing you know, people are going, “What else you got?” Then I’m like, “I don’t know.” I expected to do the podcast for six months. I didn’t even know what a podcast was. The week before I started my podcast, we’re coming up on 2000 shows now.
Vinnie: My nephew said do a podcast. I was like, “What’s that?” You’re just talking to a mic into a computer. I was like, “And who’s going to hear it?” I was confused about the whole thing. But here we are. I feel like the farmer is going, “Hey, Vinnie, how did you get on that post?” “I don’t know.” “How are you got to get down to?” “I don’t know.” [crosstalk]
Cynthia: Yeah, I think, life can be very serendipitous. We reflect back on how did I get to where I am, it’s suddenly all makes sense. All the little steps that we’ve taken, prepared us for where we are today. So, share with the listeners when is your documentary released, how can they check it out? Because I think it’s a really impactful, helpful one and how can they connect with your other documentaries, FAT and FAT 2.
Vinnie: By the time this podcast comes out, you can get Beyond Impossible, probably on iTunes and Amazon, a few other places. You can pre-order it, you can do pre-sales. So, I always recommend that people do that because number one, you won’t forget for eight months, and go, “Oh, yeah, wait, I think I heard about that on Cynthia’s podcast.” So, as soon as– while you’re listening to this podcast, go out and buy it upfront. So, when it comes out, it will show up in your queue, and you can watch it. It also helps us with IMDb and everything else. It comes out in early January. It will be released. If you buy it in December, you’ll wait a few weeks and it’ll be out. So, that’s FAT: A Documentary, the original. That’s the whole name of it, folks. It’s called FAT: A Documentary. That thing became this juggernaut for me. As a matter of fact, that movie free solo was at the top of iTunes for like eight months or something like that. Our movie came along and toppled that movie. We stayed at the top of iTunes and Amazon for a few weeks, and then the Aretha Franklin movie came out and toppled us, but only for a few days. Then, we went back on top again and stay there. We have screenshots of all this because I said, in my life this will never happen again.
So, that movie, the first movie did amazingly well. Not one of, it was a number one documentary of all time that privatized venture ever put out. I’ve seen it on most major airlines I’ve been on at some point or another. Someone, people from around the world, Malaysian Airlines. I wasn’t on that airline and someone, “Hey, look your movie is on Malaysian Airlines and it’s on 65 VOD.” So, it’s in every country and every part of the world. I get cards and letters. Actually, I call them cards and letters, they’re emails from every corner of the earth. People just love that movie. I just noticed and I have the hat on right now. So, if anyone’s watching this video, I still have a bunch of these hats, I wear them. And then during the pandemic, I thought I would tell the rest of the story because I had a lot of great interview left and we talked about Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz, and Bret Scher, and all that during this podcast, Dr. Eric Westman, I could go on and on and on. It’s like, it’s a who’s who of how to lose weight and get healthy.
I put out FAT: A Documentary 2 is the continuation of FAT 1. Even though, it didn’t make the numbers that FAT 1 made, it’s still doing very well. It did very well throughout the pandemic, it still does very well. And critically most people are saying, FAT 2 is better than FAT 1 including my mother. So according to my mom, FAT 2 is better than FAT 1. FAT 1 is still the number one movie Gravitas has ever put out across the world. I’m shocked that me, a non-filmmaker was able to make that movie. And now, we’re coming out with Beyond Impossible, and let’s hope Beyond Impossible does more than FAT 1 did because the world really needs to see this film and I’m really hoping everyone goes out and watches this.
Cynthia: Wow, I’m proud to call you a friend and someone that is a disrupter. You’re forcing people to think outside their comfort zone but in a way that it’s not confrontational, it’s informational. You obviously have great connections to a lot of very important people that are able to articulate scientific ideas, scientific research in a way that makes it very accessible, and a particular nod to Nina Teicholz who really does a fantastic job with this. So, how can my listeners connect with you? Obviously, you’ve identified how to find the documentaries, you’ve got a prolific podcast. As you mentioned, you record five days a week, which is just incredible. But how can people connect with you on social media? It seems like you’re pretty active on Twitter. I do see you on Instagram but Twitter, you seem to be much more interactive.
Vinnie: Yeah, I go on Twitter twice a day and answer every question on Twitter including the guy who said, “Why is his vitamins got synthetic stuff in it?” There’s good reason for that. Let me answer him here again, because he was just being an asshole.
Vinnie: So, let me help this asshole out is, because when you’re making a vitamin, in some cases, we went after the best ingredients in the world. Sometimes, if you put a food sourced ingredient, just like real food, it will lose its potency and actually ruin the vitamin, ruin the whole vitamin. So, you can’t just put synthetics whenever you’re doing the 13 essential vitamins. You have to use synthetics and that’s the choice I made. I don’t think anyone wants a vitamin they have to refrigerate. That’s why no one does it. So, that’s why we do that. I didn’t mean to get into that but I saw that question, I was like, “Hey, man, I don’t shy away from anything.” You want to ask the question? I’m going to give you the answer. What else did you at– You asked me something else in there and I–
Cynthia: I was asking how to connect with you and I was saying, if it seems like you’re more active on Twitter.
Vinnie: Yeah, I’m on Twitter twice a day and I answer every single question unless someone is being really jerky, and I didn’t mean to call that guy A-hole. He’s probably a super nice guy. But you know, that’s where I am, I have a Facebook group. It’s got like 30,000 people in it-
Vinnie: -and it is NSNG Vinnie Tortorich’s No Sugar No Grains group on Facebook. They’re arguing about what I said or didn’t say, how I said it. So, there’s that. There’s vinnietortorich.com. That’s where you can find all of the podcasts and where the movies are, and everything else. But when my movies are released, they go through Gravitas Ventures, they’re a big deal. I’m shocked that they still pick up the phone. I’ve only ever dealt with the President of Gravitas, Brendan Gallagher. I don’t know how that works. I don’t think everyone gets to do that but the first time I contacted him, I found the president of Gravitas and I wrote to him, and he was like, “How did you even get my email?” I was like, “I looked it up and I got it.” He goes, “Yeah, send me the movie,” and he watched it himself, and I’ve only ever dealt with the President of the company.
And sometimes, we’ve made handshake deals, and then his suits will go, “Well, we don’t have this in writing.” He’s like, “You have to go as Brendan, we hand shook on this on the phone.” And then he’ll say, “Oh, yeah, that’s the deal.” We’ve done three deals like that before the lawyers get involved. He and I just get on the phone and chat. I’m just shocked that they’re still loving my movies, and they like what I’m doing, and I’m going to just keep doing them, I guess, maybe I’m done. This might be it, the end.
Cynthia: [laughs] Oh, no, I think, you’ve got a whole lot more in you. [crosstalk]
Vinnie: I don’t know. You’re taking my life away from me. [laughs]
Cynthia: Well, it’s always a pleasure to connect with you. I’m glad that it worked out serendipitously that we can record you know couple of days before Thanksgiving.
Vinnie: Yeah. Whenever you’re ready to come up with that book, what’s the book? You are telling people what the book is called?
Cynthia: Yes. It’s called Intermittent Fasting Transformation: IF45. So, it’s all about fasting in women. And it’s published on March 15th 2022, and so, yeah, I’m super excited. I feel like it’s a little bit of blood, sweat, and tears. But it’s all good.
Vinnie: It is but just keep going. Anyway, I can support you. Let me know. We’re going to do a podcast right when it comes out and Cynthia, do me a favor.
Vinnie: Please. You send me the thing because going through assistants, it drives me nuts because I think I’m talking to you and I’m talking to someone else, and she’s going, “I’ll tell Cynthia.” And I’m now confused.
Cynthia: Yeah, I will be happy to.
Vinnie: People like Carolla and Dr. Drew, we just call each other. Hey, Drew, I need to hear this. Great. Let’s just do it. You know, it’s so much easier for me.
Cynthia: Yes, I agree.
Cynthia: I totally agree. I think it’s interesting whether people realize this or not that the onslaught of communication, I kind of run through my emails when I open them up in the morning besides [unintelligible [01:23:11] and take a deep breath, and I just tried to hit the things that need to be hit first, and then delete what does need to be deleted, and I deal with the rest. It’s kind of slogging through the snow. It’s just what you have to do.
Vinnie: Yeah, well, keep doing what you’re doing, and you have a big fan here, and thank you for having me on.
Cynthia: Absolutely. I always enjoy supporting you.
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