Today, we have a treat for all of you, our listeners! Vinnie Tortorich, one of the very first people to ever talk about the benefits of low carb and ketogenic diets on the internet, is joining us as our guest.
Vinnie started his Fitness Confidential Podcast nearly ten years ago. The show has produced well over 1,700 episodes, and it amasses more than a million downloads per month. Vinnie published his book, Fitness Confidential, in the year following the launch of his podcast. It instantly became a bestseller and continues to sell well on Amazon and Audible.
In 2019, he wrote, produced, and starred in Fat, a documentary that rose to number one in several categories across iTunes and ranked incredibly well on Amazon and Amazon Prime. It is currently the best selling movie ever released by Gravitas Ventures and is teamed with a sequel titled Fat: A Documentary 2, which is now available for resale on iTunes and was released worldwide in the first week of January 2021.
“You can’t eat around a bad diet.”
IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:
- Vinnie discusses how he went from being an exercise physiology student in New Orleans to ending up in California and becoming a major influencer in the low carb/keto zone of genius.
- Vinnie talks about the point at which he started changing his philosophy and thinking beyond conventional wisdom.
- Vinnie describes the nutritional environment in which he grew up.
- The dietary changes that Vinnie made when he began putting on too much weight.
- Vinnie discusses what led to him moving from New Orleans to LA in 1991.
- The resistance that Vinnie encountered in LA when he suggested that kids should stop eating sugar and how that eventually led to him working with the Hollywood elite.
- Why most people fail to understand how much of a chemical processed sugar is.
- Vinnie talks about how and when he realized that being in ketosis is an important tool for maintaining physical health.
- Vinnie explains what keto is and what it is not.
- What happens when you eat too much fake food.
- What it took for Vinnie to get UltraFat, his real, vegan, keto-friendly, on-the-go product on the market.
- What you can expect to see in Vinnie’s new move, Fat: A Documentary 2.
- Vinnie shares his feelings about censorship in the health and wellness space.
- Vinnie talks about what he will be working on next.
Connect with Vinnie
Ultrafat is available from NSNG Foods
On The Fitness Confidential Podcast
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
Everyday Wellness is not just another health podcast. Your host, Cynthia Thurlow (nurse practitioner and nutrition/IF expert) has over 20 years of experience in clinical medicine and wellness. Her mission is to bring you the best, science-backed yet practical information to improve your physical and mental wellness every day. She is a busy mompreneur and knows how important your time is. She has designed this podcast to be short in time and big on impact. She interviews a variety of guests in the field of health and wellness, and discusses important issues, and provide practical strategies that you can use in your real life.
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. Now, here’s your host, Nurse Practitioner Cynthia Thurlow.
Cynthia: Today, this is a treat. I have Vinnie Tortorich, who is among the very first that talked about the benefits of low carb diets and ketogenic diets on the internet. He began his Fitness Confidential podcast nearly 10 years ago, and the show has produced well over 1700 episodes and amasses over 1 million downloads per month, which is incredible. Then, he published his book Fitness Confidential in the year following the launch of his podcast, and it instantly became a bestseller, and continues to sell well on Amazon and Audible. In 2019, he wrote, produced, and starred in FAT, a documentary, which rose to number one in several categories across iTunes, and ranked incredibly well on Amazon and Amazon Prime. It is currently the bestselling movie ever released by Gravitas Ventures. He’s teamed up again for a sequel, which I can’t wait to see and titled FAT, A Documentary 2, which is now available for presale on iTunes. It will be released worldwide in the first week of January 2021. It’s such a pleasure to have you this morning.
I find your journey absolutely fascinating, and don’t make assumptions that necessarily everyone that’s listening, but connecting the dots between going to school into lane, and being in New Orleans, and then making your way to California, and then connecting the dots to actually creating this documentary. Walk us through how that happened, because I think that, it makes sense to me because I have done my research. But I find it fascinating, because when we look back on our lives, and at the time, you may not understand why your life takes a particular direction, but it all makes sense when you look back on it retrospectively. Walk us through how you went from being an exercise physiology student in New Orleans to ending up in California and now, really being a major influencer in the low carb, keto zone of genius.
Vinnie: Yeah, it’s strange. Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew [laughs] were talking without me in the room, I heard the show later. They said, “Why is it that some guy that grew up on the bayou had to come along and tell us all that we were doing something wrong?” I looked around and went, “Yeah, why is that? I didn’t figure out anything but why did I stumble upon any of it? How did that happen?” When you think about it, that was the genesis for the book, Fitness Confidential. I didn’t want to write it at all. Most people want to write a book, I did not want to write a book. I was the polar opposite. The reason being is I looked around and there’s too many fitness books out there. There’s too much going on, but my good friend, Dean Lorey, who’s well known for a lot of sitcoms like My Wife & Kids, and he’s one of the brains behind Arrested Development, and that whole thing in Hollywood, he kept saying, “You have a book in you. You need to write this book. You’ve been doing this in Hollywood with these celebrities for all these years. You need to put it out there.” My answer was always the same. “Why would I tell my secrets to the rest of the world? I use this to trade on. I’m a personal trainer, who gets massive amounts of weight off of people in Hollywood, or put muscle on people in Hollywood. Why would I go give that away to the whole world? I won’t be special anymore.”
Well, in 2007, I had a really mean round of cancer, went through my body. I had leukemia. Then, I was sitting with Dean. I wasn’t even cleared of leukemia yet. It was early 2008, and he started yelling at me again, “It’s like you almost died. Any of these secrets that you’ve been using on–” He calls them our people, the actors, and everyone in Hollywood. He goes, “You almost took that with you. Why don’t you just write the book?” He complained about two years, and finally I said, “Okay. I’ll start writing notes.” 45,000 worth of notes later, Dean convinced me to sit down and turn those notes into the book.
Now, the reason I even bring any of that up, Cynthia, is because all of it started when I was eight years old. It didn’t just start when I got to Tulane. It started because I had a speech impediment, because of an ear issue I couldn’t really hear, and I was goofed on, and I had no friends. There was a guy down the street, this Italian guy, friends of the family, and he worked out in his garage, and he accepted me in, and he treated me. This is a guy that was my parents’ age.
Vinnie: His name is Joe Bonadona. He’s no longer with us. He accepted me any other person. He didn’t goof of my speech impediment, and he wouldn’t let me do anything that I couldn’t do. In other words, I can do pushups, because that’s what a kid would do, or I could do pull ups, you could pull up your own weight, but he wouldn’t let me lift heavy weights while I was there every day. I never missed. I marveled at this guy. It was just unbelievable to me. That was the beginning of me falling in love with the human body. Remember it now– you might be just old enough. I know you’re younger than me. Do you remember the Encyclopædia Britannica?
Cynthia: I do. We had it. [laughs]
Vinnie: Remember, when people had those on the shelves?
Vinnie: Well, I would go and look at the one where you see the human body. Because I wanted to see what was underneath there. I was just infinitely curious about the nervous system and the cardiovascular system. I was reading about this as a young guy. When I got a football scholarship to go play at Tulane, they said, “Well, what do you want to do?” I went, “What do you have in the health field?” They said, “Well, do you want to become a doctor?” I said, “No. I’m not smart enough. I can’t be a doctor. I’m an idiot.” But they said, “Well, we can take these courses. We don’t know what it’s going to add up to, but go right ahead.” That was the beginning of me getting into health and fitness, exercise physiology, nutrition, all of it at Tulane, because any course that came along, I took. If it was biology, I was in there. I was doing it all.
Then, at some point, I have to declare a major. You can’t declare a major in that. Well, what can I do with all this? I got a secondary education degree on top of everything else, in order to actually be able to go out and get a job. Because you can’t go out and get a job, and go, “Hey, I know a lot about the liver.”
Vinnie: I don’t know if that was a longwinded way of saying. That’s how this whole thing began. Just being infinitely curious about the body and how it works.
Cynthia: But it’s not so important. I always remind my children, who of course, they think, my husband and I are really old, that intellectual curiosity is what guides the direction your life goes, and for many of us– I would say, for many of us that are listening, we may still be in the lane that we started in after high school or after college. For me, I was always pushing the envelope a bit. Where did you get to a point where you really started to think beyond the conventional wisdom? Obviously, you’re way ahead of the curve with your perspective on hormones and macros, and really looking at the things that are super inflammatory in the body. I loved when I was doing my research, listening to you talk about when you were hired to be on set, or to get a starlet ready, or to get an actor ready for a role, the things you had to do, it was like moving heaven and earth to get people to change their diet, and to commit to an exercise program. But where did you start to change your philosophy, or where did you see things were really not aligning? Because we obviously, and this is a segue into your movie, but we got to a point, 50 plus, 60 plus years ago, where we really got off course as a nation and as a philosophy on nutrition. So, when you enter the scene in the 80s and you’re watching this as when this bastardization of fats was happening, and all of a sudden, our diets were shifting radically and really to our detriment, not to our benefit.
Vinnie: It was right around 1983, 1984. I can’t put an exact date on it, but my diet changed drastically, because around that time– I was always built like a football player. I was a middle linebacker. I weighed 225 pounds and my waist was maybe 30 inches.
Vinnie: Think about that. I’m only six feet tall. I was built almost like a bodybuilder. Never took any steroids or any drugs. It was all done through a lot of weightlifting, a lot of eggs, and a lot of red meat. When you’re on scholarship and you’re on the training table, there’s tons of eggs, tons of red meat, tons of fish. It’s Caligula’s den of eating. It’s just nonstop protein, fat, animal protein. Well, as soon as I was not on the team anymore, I was still working out like an animal. Still had 18.5, 19-inch biceps. My quads was still over 30 inches, because I was still working out. I was still in the gym. I never left the gym. But my waist wasn’t 30 inches anymore. It wasn’t 33 inches, or even 36. It was 38. I didn’t really notice it happening, because I’m not a mirror guy.
I would watch myself do squats in a mirror, because you want to make sure you’re going to– But I wouldn’t come home and look in the mirror. I’m just not that guy. This girl I was seeing in college, Janie, she noticed that I was gaining weight. She just mentioned it one day. As a matter of fact, I mentioned at first. I mentioned to Janie that my Levi’s was shrinking in the dryer. She did what you’re doing right now. She started laughing, and she said, “Sweetie, your Levi’s aren’t shrinking. You’re getting fat.” I never heard that term before. It just didn’t occur to me. That night, I looked in the mirror, and sure enough, there was a gut. I still have the big biceps, the big chest, the big legs, but there was a gut. I noticed that my muscles were smoother. They weren’t ripped the way they used to be.
The first thing I did was I went out to the drugstore, and there was a newsstand, that was long before any social media, and I bought every magazine on the newsstand. They were all geared at women Every one of them. How to lose weight overnight, six pack abs by next week, your butt will be as taut as a bowling ball by noon tomorrow.
Vinnie: All of this stuff. I bought all these things, and I came home, and they all said the same thing. Cut out red meat, low fat, drink Tab. Remember Tab?
Cynthia: Oh, God. My grandmother loved it.
Vinnie: It was geared to women. They painted can pink. It was all this different stuff. I’m looking at it going, “Wait, they’re telling people to eat bread and pasta to lose weight? My grandmother from Italy with a sixth-grade education knew that that didn’t work. This can’t possibly work.” But I also started looking at my own diet, and the one thing that had shifted, wasn’t getting as many eggs, although, I was affording myself a few eggs for breakfast. I certainly wasn’t eating any red meat, because I couldn’t afford it. I was still living in college. I was living on ramen noodles. I was living on Barilla pasta. I would buy Ragu to throw on it. I was affording what I could afford, which was nothing. It was nothing, but starch and carbs. In no time while I was still working out, I got fat. Then, I had magazines telling me that the way I’m going to get thin again, is to do more of what I was doing. All I had to do is look back six months ago, okay, when I was eating the high fat, the high protein, the meat, the eggs, the fish, the dairy, all the things that are telling me not to eat, I was built like Vince Gironda. Now, I look like the Michelin Man. So, all I have to do is reverse what I was doing before, and I’ll go back to where I was before.
By the way, you said I was one of the early guys on the internet doing this. Okay, yeah, it was on the internet. But you’ve got to remember, Atkins was already around back in late 70s, and I defer to that and look back at that, and of course, everybody would go, “Well, you know Atkins, you will look good. You will be a really good-looking corpse.” I had no reason not to believe that because everything I had learned in college said, “Yeah, you can lose weight on this diet, but it will kill you.” That was the beginning days of me starting to question everything that was around me.
Cynthia: I think it’s really important. I know for myself, I take great pride in the fact that I started to pivot from my traditional allopathic western medicine approach, because I was in cardiology, and much to your point, I had these patients who already had disease. They already had blockages, and they had stance or bypass surgery, or diabetics, and/or they had all the above. It was literally we were just writing prescriptions. We walked through the hospital, and it was everyone was on insulin, because nearly everyone was an undiagnosed diabetic. In the hospital, the fastest way to control blood sugar is with insulin injections.
I finally got to a point where I kept saying there has to be more to this than just writing prescriptions. As much support as I got from my peers, they all thought it was nuts, when I kept saying it all starts with food. We are so far off. We’re telling our patients to avoid bacon, to avoid eggs, to avoid red meat, to have these highly processed starchy foods, and to consume many servings of them. You really think about most allopathic healthcare providers get little to no education on nutrition, and the education you’re given is very carbohydrate focused with minimal fats and certainly not the high-quality fats that you and I embrace and advocate for. You start to– if you follow the curve and for anyone that’s watch Vinnie’s movie, FAT, you get a really nice timeline on when this started. Certain names get thrown around. Ancel Keys, but it actually started way before then. It’s been these 150 years of us getting so off course, and I think it’s important that there are people out there that are challenging the status quo. I’m sure for you, working in Hollywood and the mindset, I’m sure has been calories in, calories out. CICO, it’s all about CICO. It’s all about– You see calories on a food item and you just assume, “Okay, I just have to go run 20 miles to work off what I just ate.” It’s so much more complicated than that.
Now, did you grow up in a family where I would imagine, your good Italian parents, much like my own, we were way ahead of the carb eating, organ meat, and crunchy foods, we had whole grain bread that my mom would make. My mom was very focused on protein and vegetables with every meal. Were your parents, they did they embrace the traditional Standard American Diet philosophy, or were your parents putting more nutritious, less processed foods on the table, and yet, that’s the environment that you grew up in?
Vinnie: It was a weird environment for me. My family, not just my nuclear family, but the whole Italian plan, they called– We lived on about a five-mile stretch on Bayou Lafourche. It’s mostly Cajun country, but you have these enclaves of Italians every now and again, and our family was one of those. They were all farmers. That’s what they did in Italy. They came to United States– They actually came through the Port of New Orleans, and they’re all farmers, or as they call themselves, croppers. The reason I even bring that up is because I didn’t realize that other people went to a grocery store to buy vegetables as a kid. Everything was grown in the garden, and we had about five acres worth of garden, and that took care of the whole family. Everyone worked the garden, so everything from potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, any kind of collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower. I carry a knife in my pocket every day. Yet, I never use it. But the reason a pocketknife was always in my pocket was, I could just walk by the garden, pull a carrot out, and you didn’t have anywhere to wash it. I’ll just scrape the dirt off, and the peel, and eat it. The same thing with turnips. I’ll just scrape the dirt off of the pocketknife, and also sweet potatoes, which I don’t encourage people to do.
Now, these were all starchy foods, but that’s how into vegetation we were. Besides that, my parents were school teachers. They have four boys, so they couldn’t afford to buy meat in the grocery store. They would share a cow with the neighbor. We would get a half a cow twice a year, something like that. So, there was a lot of red meat. My mom’s family, they were not farmers. They were fishermen. They, everything was fish. So, every nighttime meal was either fish or red meat with tons of vegetables. People think Italians sit around and eat lasagna and eat pasta all day. You come from an Italian background, I come from an Italian background, pasta was considered a Sunday meal, and it was kind of a fun meal. It’s like, “Hey, we get to have pasta today, or it could be lasagna,” whatever it is. You said, organ meat. I can’t stand liver. I have to force myself to eat liver. I take liver tablets. I do the cubing of liver. I do everything not to have to eat liver. I don’t want to hear anyone tell me, “Oh, yeah. If I made it for you, I know how to smother it.” No, you don’t. It’s still liver to me. But yeah, it’s very important.
Cynthia: It definitely is. I hope my mother’s listening to this. My mom insisted that my brother and I loved liver growing up, because she would make it with bacon. I always remind her, “Mom, we didn’t love the liver, we ate the bacon.” Then, we complained about having to eat liver. That was a mainstay of our existence. I always say that I’m so very grateful that I had those experiences. My grandparents had this incredible garden. I can still smell it if I think about it. They loved to cook. I always say, for me, that Italian background was really focused on food quality, and it was certainly focused on the togetherness of meals, sitting down for a meal. Sunday, meals it was– my stepfather always called his pasta sauce gravy. Oftentimes, I do remind people depending on where we’ve grown up. Sauce was called gravy. He had a gnocchi board, and he and one of his buddies, they would roll gnocchi in our kitchen. I often remind them that was most definitely not something we were doing every night. It sounds like that definitely provided an appreciation for you growing up, recognizing the hard work of having accessible vegetables in your backyard as opposed to going to a grocery store, which I think for most, if not all of us, that is where we go or the farmers market, not necessarily having the ability to grow our own fruits and vegetables.
Was it interesting for you, as you were making these associations with, when you change your diet and you’re eating more starchy carbohydrates that your body was changing, even though, you’re still exercising, at that time, did you pivot and go back to eating that more protein and fat focused philosophy? Was that something that you then brought to your clients? When you eventually transitioned into being out on the West Coast, was that really the focus of your work or was it more focused on the actual physical exercise? Did you provide the nutrition piece as well?
Vinnie: I couldn’t go back to it right away, I started making some changes. I went to beans more, because beans are cheap. You could buy a big bag of beans and cook them up. I would buy tuna fish when it was on sale. There were some companies, I don’t know if people remember this, but they would put yellow labels on them with black writing, and it would just say tuna.
Vinnie: On our beans. It was– I don’t know if it was government subsidized food or it was called, what was it called generic branding or whatever?
Cynthia: Mm-hmm, like other brand.
Vinnie: They do not do that anymore, right?
Cynthia: I don’t think so. I think the labeling laws are a bit more strict. I think they have to be more– Well, they should be more forthcoming as far as I know.
Vinnie: Yeah, I was buying [laughs] cans of stuff that’s yellow labeled that said tuna on it.
Vinnie: Sure enough, there was tuna in there. I don’t know if it was any better, any worse than chicken of the sea. But I was affording wherever I could afford, and around that time my training business started taking off. This is before training was a thing in this country. You didn’t hear of training. Not every soccer mom became a trainer. Down in New Orleans, I was the only guy. As a matter of fact, there was so few of us in a country that back then Shape magazine came from LA and did a whole story on me, back in 1983, 1984, 1985, somewhere around there.
Vinnie: I couldn’t understand this newfangled thing that was going on. Jake was in Hollywood, I was in New Orleans, there was a guy in New York. They were like five of us in the country, doing what we’re doing, and they were like, “So, you’re going to people’s homes?” Yes. “They accept you?”
Vinnie: Yes. I remember the people who worked for these people up and down St. Charles Avenue, the chefs and the maids and the whole thing. The guy working in the yard, I knew them all, because I would say hi to him. They will say, “Wait a minute. Let me get this straight. You get paid to make them work?” Yeah. “They pay you for that.” Yeah. “You’re sitting there drinking coffee, but-
Vinnie: -telling them what to do, and you get paid.” I’m like, “Yeah, that’s the gig.” Nobody understood it, including me. I did not think that the training thing would go on for me for as many years, it went for like 35 years.
Vinnie: But I did everything I could in New Orleans. At the time I was doing NBC affiliate. WDSU would have me on to do three- to five-minute things on the different shows. They’re competing station would also have me on, Channel Four WWL, which is I think was the ABC affiliate. I started my own radio show that came on Wednesday afternoons. It was very popular that they also put it on Saturday. It was twice a week. It was called Talking Fitness on a different network. I was doing everything I could. That led to people going, “Well, you should be out in LA. You’re not in a big enough market.” Plus, the weather was nice in LA.” I was into cycling so big at the time. It’s like, “Oh, my God, I love being on a bike,” and it rains all the time in New Orleans. It’s like, well, the weather is nicer, it’s warm year round, and maybe I can.
The big emphasis of me moving there in 1991 was that, I saw that kids were getting fatter. I was working at Newman school. Newman school, think of as just the most expensive school in New Orleans. It’s where Archie Manning’s kids went. Every politician’s kids went there. The kids drove Porsche 911s to school. I’m not making them–
Vinnie: It is that kind of school. Old oil, money, that kind of deal. I was the strength and conditioning coach there on top of what everything else I was doing. I saw kids getting fatter, and fatter, and fatter. Obviously, not the Manning kids, they went on to win Super Bowls, but I saw this problem going on. So, when I got to LA, I marched right into Disney, I marched right into Nickelodeon, and they took meetings with me, and I said, “Listen, child obesity is on the rise.” You have statistics? “No,” I was a schoolteacher, “I’m telling you, this is on the rise and is getting worse.” “Well, Vinnie, we have statistics right here, and we see that what you’re saying is correct. What do you suggest we do? I said, “Okay, I could do some children’s programming. We’ll talk about exercise. We’ll get some young Olympic athletes to come on, and I would interview them, and we’ll do all this stuff.” They’re going, “Yeah. Yeah, yeah. We love it. Olympic athletes. Yeah, I know. Michelle Kwan. I know, yeah, we’ll do this.” Michelle Kwan wasn’t around yet, but they were doing all this stuff, and they were all into what I was talking about. Then, I would say, “Yeah, and we got to get them off of sugar.” Then, the room would just go quiet.
Vinnie: “What are you talking about?” “Yeah, Coca Cola and cereal. Got to go. Fruit roll ups, out of here.” They were like, “Hang on there, pal. We can’t do this. We got to advertisers. This ain’t going to happen.” That’s how I sat around LA for all those years. Nobody would even listen to me, when I said that we need to get sugar out of these kids mouths. Didn’t want to hear it. I just carried on doing what I did. Playboy Corporation figured me out and said, “Wait, this guy can get these playmates to stay thin? This is great.” Playmates date actors, actors need to stay thin. I ended up in that world. The rest is history. I started working with the Hollywood elite based on that. But I couldn’t get anything else rolling, because I was going to tell people not to eat sugar. Nobody wanted to hear it.
Cynthia: It’s a shame when you think about the fact that the industry has so heavily influenced people to not make the right choices, meaning, from an organizational level, Nickelodeon was all on board, Disney was all on board, until they start realizing that this ultimately impacts them financially. Therefore, they’re just not going to bring that content to their viewers, and yet, we now recognize and know how addictive processed sugars are, how hugely inflammatory they are. I did an N of 1 experiment at my home, and had a couple days– and this is really relevant, I promise.
But a couple days, we’re doing a lot of baking. I’m a traditional mom around the holidays. We always find healthier options or versions of things. I was in the kitchen with my 13-year-old, and I was sampling some things. Over five days– granted, I’m in my 40s, but over five days, even though these are paleo and largely keto type recipes, it’s still junk. I gained four pounds, and I’m someone that’s five feet three. Four pounds means a lot. Normally under 100 and 120 pounds. I have a scale on my house. My husband’s an engineer, and I literally said to him– This was four days of baking and eating a couple cookies here and there, I gained four pounds, just to give you some sense of how inflammatory sugars are. Yet, it’s infiltrating every opportunity granted probably with COVID, social distancing, probably not as much outside the home, but every drink, every condiment, all of our processed foods have either got high fructose corn syrup or some derivation of sugar, which there’s 50 different names. How interesting that these large organizations were on board with everything you were saying until it was like womp, womp, womp. They weren’t interested in hearing the pushback about sugar.
Vinnie: I think I can add that to your show. Let’s see here. See if I can do this. Yeah. [Womp, womp, womp effect]. Did that come through on your end?
Cynthia: Yes, it did.
Vinnie: I’ll take care of your show for you.
Cynthia: Thanks. [laughs]
Vinnie: Yeah. If I say something cute, [canned laughter]
Cynthia: Love it.
Vinnie: We can do it all. [laughs] Just something for the show from my end.
Cynthia: I appreciate that.
Vinnie: Yeah. We’re recording this on Christmas Eve, which shows that we both have passion for the subject. Most people are sitting around making eggnog today, and it’s pouring with rain here, and I think you’re north of me is probably pouring with rain where you are.
Cynthia: It is indeed.
Vinnie: Most people would be hunkering down with some eggnog, and eating cookies, and the whole thing. My wife is very traditional. She’s from England, and she makes all of this incredible English pastry and all this stuff. We don’t even pretend to make it paleo, because I believe in it doesn’t matter what you between Christmas and New Year’s. It only matters what you eat between New Year’s and Christmas. I’m not going to eat around something that would normally be really tasty. I got to be honest with you to pass three or four days. Every time I come back in the house from a run, or a bike ride, or whatever, it’s warm, and it smells incredible. But I haven’t tasted anything yet.
Vinnie: I will. It might be tonight. It’ll probably be tomorrow, because we’re going to have the big Christmas meal tomorrow evening, and then, I’m sure she made something that I’m going to really enjoy, but I really do watch myself.
Vinnie: Not because I’m worried about four pounds. I have football injuries, I have a lot of traction machine down here, I got all these injuries to take care of. I feel 100% better when I’m sugar free completely, when I’m in ketosis. I know as soon as I eat something, I’m going to enjoy for five minutes but I’m going to wake up sometime in middle of the night with pain, and you got to ask yourself, “Is that worth it?” But it’s worth it for me to see the smile on her face, and to enjoy it in a moment, and my daughter is here, and the whole thing, all of that is worth it to me to have a half a day of, “Oh, now, I feel like crap. Now, my stomach, oh,” everything is a little weird. But it just goes to show you just how much of a chemical this stuff is that we don’t need. It’s a foreign object to our bodies.
Most people don’t understand that, Cynthia, and here’s why. Let’s take alcohol. If you’re not a daily drinker, if you have one drink, you’re a cheap drunk, man. You’re feeling it, you’re loopy, but if you have a couple of drinks every day, you would have to have double that to feel the same thing. Well, we all know that alcohol is poison to the body. But we do it knowing what’s coming behind it. Sugar is poison to the body, but if you’re eating it every day, we get used to it. It doesn’t make it right. It’s still wrong, but we do it.
Cynthia: Absolutely, and for anyone that’s listening, I think it’s always important for me to be transparent. This is why I largely don’t eat processed sugars, because I don’t feel good. Although, I don’t have football injuries, I have a nagging plantar fasciitis, and what’s fascinating to me, I’ve had more foot pain over those days when I was eating sugar, and it didn’t occur to me till last night. I was like, “Why is my foot bothering me so much?” It’s because it provokes all this inflammation in our bodies. Not to mention the fact that, it puts our hormones on a bit of a roller coaster, and more often than not, when I’m talking about macros, and I love that this is my segue into your statement about ketone bodies are the fourth macro. We’re talking about protein, and fat, and carbohydrates, and how critical the first two are. You mentioned ketone bodies, and this is a nice segue into what I believe to be a really powerful way to fuel our bodies the most efficiently, and really tap into fat as a fuel source, as opposed to sugars, which is what most of us that are listening– maybe not all of my listeners, but most of us that are listening, if you’re eating a standard American diet, you’re not utilizing those fat stores. You’re really using carbohydrates and sugar as your fuel source, which is not efficient, and provokes a whole constellation of hormonal issues.
But let’s pivot and talk a little bit about macros. I know for you, this is an area of interest of yours in particular, and I know that you’re very fat focused, which I love. It really aligns itself with my own philosophy about recommending how, and when, and where to eat. Where did you or when did you come to the realization that being in ketosis is really an important tool for harnessing, what’s best in our bodies in terms of trying to remain slim and trim or whatever you’re really focusing on? If you’re out trying to prepare someone for a role on TV or a movie, obviously, maybe getting making their muscles bigger, so they’re in a stage of growth, but for those people that are looking to maintain and not buy into these limiting beliefs about your age, so you have to just accept that. It’s normal at 45 years old, that you’re going to gain 10 pounds, and that’s just the way things are, just recognizing the way that our bodies are really designed to thrive.
Vinnie: The first clue came in 1981. I was in one of my classes, I can’t remember which class it was, we’re talking about macros, and a professor said, “Fat is our body’s preferred energy source. Your body wants to burn it.” As a matter of fact, he went on and on about the reason we can store fat is that if you stuck in a famine or you’re caught out on a glacier somewhere, your body will start using its own fat. That’s why we can only store fat. He goes, so fat is what your body, that’s your energy. A very young Vinnie wrote down, “Fat is energy.” Then, several weeks later, we were talking about something, and the professor said, sugar is fast energy, and if you’re running, or if you’re doing any prolonged exercise, your body just burns sugar. I raised my hand and I said, “Back on the 25th, you were talking about fat being the preferred fuel. Now, you’re saying sugar? Which one’s going to be on the test?” He just like with most professors, they all got an ass full of me right away, because I was asking real questions. They didn’t like that. He said, “Well, it’s sugar.” I said, “But emphatically you said, if we’re on a glacier or if we’re stuck in famine and fat, and your body can only store fat.” He goes, “Well, your body can store sugar too.” I said, “How?” He goes, “In the liver and in your blood, and a little bit in your muscles.” He goes, “As a matter of fact, it’s what we use for short-term energy.” I said, “So, okay, short-term energy. But what happens when we run out of sugar?” He goes, “Well, you need to take in more sugar.” I said, “What if I’m out on that glacier?” Professors hated me.
Cynthia: You challenged them.
Vinnie: Right. He was like, “Well, yeah, then the fat would kick in.” I said, “Well, why can’t the fat just kick in?” He didn’t really have an answer. I didn’t have an answer. I was just asking the question, but it’s that curiosity that we’re talking about and after paying attention to being in the lab at Tulane, when we were in the lab, it was like a Gatorade commercial. We would take the members from the track team, and we would have all of the EKG stuff hooked to them, and we will collect their gas, the thing in their mouth, and we put them on a treadmill, and we’d just run the crap out of them. We run them in the top end of zone four, and we’re sitting there pricking their fingers to get the blood measurements and holding. We had to do all those labs. I’ve told the story ad nauseum, but it makes a lot of sense. I was having lunch one day, sitting out on the park bench with this girl, Linda. Linda Wilde. She’s still a PT, I think somewhere around Duke. After I ate my sandwich and she ate her sandwich, we had just come out of the lab, she handed me a bag of M&Ms that she had taken a hit off of.
Now, if you remember bags of M&Ms used to be about three or four inches high. It wasn’t the supersized bag. It was just like a little bit of chocolate, just enough to make you enjoyed. She pours a few out in her hand, and I pour a few out my hand, and I eat them, turn the bag over, and I’m looking at it, and I went, “Huh,” and Linda didn’t pick up my hand. I went, “Huh.” She goes, “All right, what’s wrong?” That’s what nerds do. I said, “This little tiny bag of M&Ms have 178 calories in it.” She goes, “Yeah, so?” I said, “Okay, we just had a track star, almost puking his guts out in zone four for 20 minutes in that lab.” She goes, “Yeah.” I said, “He didn’t get to 178 calories. We measured his calories. We measured his expenditure. He was just under that.” She goes, “Okay.” I said, “Okay? We cannot run off a bad diet. They’re telling us calorie in and calorie out. This is a bag of M&Ms. We just had a sandwich. I had breakfast this morning. I’m going to eat dinner. They’re telling us, we can run off a bad diet? We can’t even get rid of a bag of M&Ms with exercise. This is all sugar. On top of that is sugar. Your body will never get to fat if it’s burning sugar.” That was the beginning of my thought pattern on that whole thing. That was probably 1984. I was already down my weight loss journey, because I was already trying to figure out how to lose weight. That’s why everything I looked at became something to me. I didn’t understand ketone bodies back then. It wasn’t until later on and as a matter of fact, if you read my book, Fitness Confidential, I was loath to use the word ketogenic in it.
Now, let’s go back 10 years, Cynthia. 10 years ago, keto as a term did not exist. It didn’t. The ketogenic diet existed, and you will consider it a kook if you put someone on it, even though it was recommended for people with epilepsy back in the 1920s. That was the cure. I was loath to use that word in my book. When I was writing, before I mentioned Dean Lorey, I said to him, “We shall never put the word ketogenic in this book.” He said, “Why?” I said, “Because I will be considered a kook. People are going to go to think it’s ketoacidosis.” You’re in the hospital situation. You know exactly what I’m talking about. “They’re going to say as ketoacidosis, and I’m trying to kill people. So, we’re not going to put the word.” That’s why I started calling it “No Sugar No Grains” NSNG. I had to come up with a different term for dietary ketosis or low carb. I couldn’t say ketogenic. Now, had I known the word ketogenic would have become what it is now, I would have tried to get a registered trademark on that. But I’m glad it’s out there, but now it’s bastardized in a different way. Because we’re telling people you can buy keto foods that are not keto.
I know this is not exactly the question you asked, but it’s the answer I’m giving. Eating allulose around the clock is not keto. Eating erythritol is not keto. Telling someone that you can subtract the fiber from the rest of sugar to get it down to a low carb food is not keto. Keto is eating fish, is eating red meat, is eating eggs, is eating cheese. It’s eating butter. It’s olive oil. These are keto foods. It’s coconut oil. It’s keeping your carbs under 20 carbs per day total. That’s keto. Not everyone has to be on keto. If you’re not metabolically broken, you could just be low carb. NSNG, it’s just low carb. It’s not exactly keto. You could do it with in ketosis or you could do it outside of ketosis. It doesn’t have to be both. I know that was a big roundabout, but I wanted to get that answer.
Cynthia: No, no. The irony is you answered some of the questions. When I was on Twitter yesterday, and I mentioned that we were going to be connecting, you’ve actually tangentially answered some of the people that were interacting with the tweet, some of their own questions. Do you think that it’s the focus on so many processed foods that really drives these keto bars, and paleo bars, and low carb bars? Because I was going through– for full disclosure, we do have bars in my house. I have a very athletic spouse. I’ve got athletic teenage boys, and so we always have something that they can grab and go. Obviously, we’re not doing a lot of grabbing and going, we’re doing a lot of eating at home.
But what was interesting to me much to your point about the net carbs, I hear a lot of people, a lot of fit pros on social media, especially Instagram, and they’ll start going through how to calculate your net carbs, and it brings up such a good point, because sometimes people say, “Okay, it’s 30 grams of carbs, but you take the fiber out, you take this out, and really you’re only consuming 7 grams.” Do you think it’s the focus on processed foods that’s driving some of the marketing schemes so that people perceive they’re not really consuming as many carbs as they are?
Vinnie: If driving, not some of, it’s driving most of. Robin Switzer is a close friend. I feel like she’s a bit of a sister. She’s not the original brain, but she’s the reason that low carb Austin. What do they call a Keto Con? Keto Con happens because of that woman. I was at Keto Con, I showed a piece of the movie there, and I was one of the keynote speakers not this year, but last year, because it didn’t happen this year. I also had a booth because I own a vitamin company, purevitaminclub.com, shameless plug. I had a booth there, and of course, my booth was popular because everyone wanted to get their book signed or take the photo, and all this kind of stuff. But when I wasn’t doing that, I walked around the convention. They had every bar. You name it, it was there. Everybody wants to be at Keto Con, it’s like the Woodstock of the whole keto movement. I’m walking around, and of course, everybody wants me to taste their product, because they’re hoping I’m going to mention it on a podcast that gets a million downloads. I can’t go around tasting erythritol all day or allulose, because you know how that ends up.
Vinnie: Well, one day, I walked into a bathroom, and all the urinals were being used. All, both of them. I walked into one of the stalls, and I walked in, and it looked like a Jackson Pollock.
Cynthia: [crosstalk] [laughs]
Vinnie: It was crap all over the toilets. I’m like, “Oh, geez.” I walked into the next one, that one was splattered with diarrhea.
Vinnie: I walked into the third one. All three are splattered with diarrhea, and I’m like, “That’s a lot of sick–” Oh, wait a minute. I’m looking at allulose, I’m looking at a erythritol, I’m looking at all of these fake sugars, I’m looking at monk fruit. Too much of all of it. When your body doesn’t want something, it gets rid of it, and it gets rid of it quick. I made it a point the next day, because I know they swabbed those toilets out every night. Went back in there, kicked all those stalls open, and again, Jackson Pollock made his appearance again. They’re all splattered. This is what happens when you eat fake food. It doesn’t work at all. I started looking around, and I wanted to make something for people on the go personally. I own a vitamin company. I own a coffee company. I understand how to sell products that work. I sat around and went, “How do you get something sweet that doesn’t have anything in it? How do you do it, how do you do it, how do you do it?” Then, I went, “Wait a minute. You don’t do it. You make it savory.” I took almonds. I took almond butter. I took coconut oil. I put some fresh vanilla in it, because vanilla just makes everything taste better.
Cynthia: It does.
Vinnie: Then, I took one of my products from our vitamin company. I took my Ultra-Salt and sprinkled one of them in there, and I mixed it up. I had Ultra-Fat. Now, you have a high fat product and it tastes savory and oh, what’s in it? It’s Ultra-Salt, which is the world’s best electrolyte. It’s a pH balanced electrolyte that I made myself. Next thing, I’m investing in my own company making Ultra-Fat. Was the world ready for it? Yes. Because within the first– The company came out in mid-July. We’re almost at half a year. We didn’t catch up on sales for the first four months. We thought we were ready for an onslaught. We had tens of thousands of these things ready to go. What we didn’t realize was more than that we’re ready for a real product to come out, an on-the-go product. We spent all of our first three months just constantly writing letters to people. We know you paid for this three weeks ago, and legally we can’t keep your money. I will be more than happy. Everyone stayed and waited until we caught up. Now, that product is blown up. It’s completely blown up, because we were able to make a product, a keto-friendly product, a vegan product that’s real, that doesn’t have to taste like anything except itself. It works. So, I need to get your husband and your kids some of this product. It’s amazing. Check it out, folks. It’s called Ultra-Fat. Ultra-Fat is at nsngfoods.com. It can be done. But sitting around counting your net carbs, taking away fiber and everything else, good luck with that. As I said at the beginning of this podcast, you can’t eat around a bad diet. Yeah, you have to go right in.
Cynthia: I think it’s so important and I love that you touch on the savory, because the one thing that I’ve come to find out the last probably two years is I’ve started becoming really enamored with salt. We were told for years, and years, and years, that iodized salt is bad for you, and it causes hypertension, all these other issues. I’m talking about sea salt or kosher salt, makes everything taste better. I’ve been dairy free for a while. I’ve been grain free. I’ve been gluten free for a long time. I’ve just discovered the beauty of salting my food properly. I was actually telling my husband, I grew up with a mom that didn’t salt anything. Even though she was Italian, even though, she was a really good cook, she salted nothing. It’s almost like your tastebuds just completely explode when you have something that’s properly salted. So, I love that you were able to put together a clean option for people, because I think realistically, I’m all about being a realist, people do want things that are portable, but they want them to be healthy, and I think there’s this misconception that if it has a particular label, whether it’s vegan, keto, paleo, Primal, etc., that in and of itself makes the product healthier, and more often than not it does not.
Now, I would love for you to talk a little bit about I know that you’ve got your new movie is going to be released in a week and a half. Can you tell us what to expect with FAT 2? For anyone that hasn’t watched your first documentary, it’s one of my favorites. It’s one that I recommend to my patients with some frequency. It has some of like the biggest names in the low carb, ketogenic, journalistic, focused community. Tell us a little bit about this next variation of the documentary.
Vinnie: Yeah, when it all started, every time a vegan propaganda movie would come out like Forks Over Knives or-
Cynthia: Game Changers?
Vinnie: Game Changers, What the Health, all of them, they’re lying. They’re just bald-faced lies. To say that eating one egg a week will cause type two diabetes. nothing can be further from the truth. Everything in Game Changes was a complete lie.
Vinnie: The man they will call him the strongest man in the world has never come close to winning that competition. Didn’t stop them from saying he was the strongest man in the world. Is he a very strong man? Yes, he is. Stronger than me and I’ve got a feeling he’s stronger than you.
Cynthia: [laughs] For sure.
Vinnie: But is he the strongest man in the world? No, not by a longshot, even close. Everyone else, talking about these professional athletes, if they told the real story, most of them ended their careers by becoming vegan. They just don’t tell you the truth. What The Health, I love at the beginning of that movie, how Kip, our fearless leader in that movie. Kip goes, “Yeah, bro.” He’s one of those bro dudes. “Yeah, bro. I was just, I was asked myself a question, ‘I wonder what’s the healthiest diet out there?’ Then, I heard this word, vegan. I was like, ‘what’s this vegan thing?’ Hey, Kip, you did a movie called Cowspiracy. You’ve talked about vegan in that movie, and all of a sudden, you’re sitting around scratching your ass wondering what vegan is?
Vinnie: That’s a lie. Then, we go from that lie to every other lie in the movie. They literally had a guy in the movie saying that eating dairy products is tantamount to being institutionalized racism. How they got to that, I will never know. Institutional racism, by eating dairy. Thank you, movie.
Vinnie: Thank you. I’m all ears. Tell me how that happens.
Cynthia: Tell me the connection.
Vinnie: I went out with my black friend, and we both had milkshakes. We were enjoying dairy together. Okay, racism? I don’t know. Anyway, I went off on a tangent. When everyone says to me, do the movie, and you tell the lies in the opposite direction, and I said, “No, that won’t do. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to do something that’s just going to become–” not just lies, but it’s like when you’re on Twitter and someone runs out of stuff, they just start name calling. I’m not going to do that. If I’m going to do a movie, I’m just going to tell the truth. My father was a history professor, and I said, “History always tells the truth.’
As you said earlier in this podcast, everyone goes back to Ancel Keys. We pretend that history started in 1957 with Ancel Keys. But I went all the way back to the 1860s and Ellen G. White in the beginning of veganism, because if you ask most people today, they’ll say, “Veganism has been around for thousands of years, the Indian people,” but no, the Indian people are not vegans at all. They’re vegetarians for the most part. They don’t eat cow, and they do eat eggs, they do eat cheese, they do eat goat, they eat pig, they eat all of it, they eat fish. They just don’t eat cow. That does not make you a vegan. They eat a lot of vegetables. The reason they don’t eat more meat, because most of the country’s impoverished. They eat what they can. I was in India. I was there, I saw, I was on the ground for three weeks. I saw what they do. I talked at hospitals. I went around this country. I went to universities. I talked to these people. There’s a reason why they eat the way they do. Now, the cow is sacred to them but other than that. So, why not start the movie showing where actual veganism started with a crazy woman named Ellen G. White?
Now, Cynthia, if you woke up tomorrow morning and you said to your husband and kids, “I saw God last night in my sleep.” They would wrap you up in a warm blanket, and take you to a rubber room, and you would be in 51-50. They would have to figure out what happened. But not Ellen G. White. She said, she saw God, and instead of studying this woman and trying to get her help, they said, “What did God have to say?” She said, “God said you can’t eat anything with a face.” There started modern day veganism. The kid typing up these reports was a 14-year-old John Kellogg, who became Dr. Kellogg, who started a flake company to get people to stop eating meat, because if you didn’t eat meat, you weren’t going to masturbate. That’s how veganism started. You want the truth? There it is. I didn’t have to go make up that truth. That’s the facts. The whole 90 minutes of the first movie shows you the history from then through Ancel Keys, through the McGovern through the pyramid all the way up to modern day. We went through all the presidents from– We went from Kennedy all the way through Trump showing all of these presidents saying they’re going to do something about the obesity epidemic and did nothing. Because you can’t. You can’t do anything when the food industry, the lobbyist of the food industry is giving you so much money. That’s how the first movie ends.
The second movie was shot simultaneously with the first movie. Yet, there were only two people in the room that knew that we were shooting two movies. Me and Peter Pardini. When Nina Teicholz we’re sitting down, we’re asking her these questions, and then all of a sudden, we start shifting and asking those questions, they all looked at me crazy and said, “Well, Vinnie, you just doesn’t know how to interview people.” What I was doing was interviewing for my second movie. Because I felt that if the first movie was a hit, I can do the second movie. I even shot my part for the second movie. If you remember, I did a fireside chat in the first movie. In the second movie, I’m sitting at a different screen in a different shirt. I just took off one costume and put on another one.
Vinnie: That’s what I did because I knew I couldn’t get a film crew to show– I wouldn’t have the money to do it. Since I had the money given to me by these good people, we got a quarter of a million dollars through crowdfunding, I said, “They think I’m giving them one movie? I’m giving them two.” The first movie became this mega hit. It’s all over the world. It is making money. The money’s coming back in. I’m made whole again, because I put a lot of my own money into it, and then the pandemic hit. Everyone’s sitting around and I’m sitting around, and I said, “Hey, we’ll give Peter Pardini a call and see if we could do the second movie. Peter said, “I would love to, but I’m working on other projects. I can’t.” He was under deadlines. I said, “Peter, would you mind if I did it without you?” He said, “Go right ahead.” I did the second movie without Peter. He was a great lending ear. Whenever I needed an ear, I can call him up and say, “Peter, I’m stuck here. I’m doing this. I’m doing that.” The guy was a champion. He gets no credit on this movie, but I’ve got to give him credit here. He was a champion at helping me whenever he could.
I did not have confidence and faith in myself. I was going to put this movie out by myself. Just throw it up on YouTube, charge a couple of bucks, try to get my money back. I had to pay an editor, I have to pay this, I have to pay that, but I went to Gravitas, I went to the Gallagher Brothers, and I said, “Listen, I’m doing this movie. I don’t want you guys to think I’m undercutting you, but I’m putting out the sequel to FAT documentary.” Brendan Gallagher said, “That’s great. Love it, but Can I see it? Maybe I can give you some advice.” I’m like, “Absolutely. The president of Gravitas? Absolutely.” I sent him the movie at 3 o’clock one afternoon. He’s on the East Coast, also. At 6 o’clock, my phone is ringing off the hook. I’m doing a podcast, and my phone keeps buzzing. When the podcast is over, with I grab the phone and it’s Brendan Gallagher. He says, we have to have this movie. I said, “Oh come on, Brendan.” He goes, “No, no, no. This is better than the– Do you realize your movie was the bestselling movie of all time at Gravitas?” Yeah, you guys keep telling me that. He goes, “This movie will beat it. This is a better movie.” I said, “All right, come on, B. You’re blowing smoke.” He said, “No, no. A better movie. We have to have it.” I said, “I’m not interested.” He literally cut a better deal with me which I don’t think you know this, but distribution in Hollywood, guys, don’t do that. I kept telling him no, and they had to have it, they cut a better deal with me, more favorable terms of my end. They’re doing the same rollout they did with the first movie. They can’t wait for people to see this movie. It is up for pre-sales right now and is killing it in pre-sales. I know I’m bragging about something that I did, but I couldn’t believe that they wanted to do this movie, because I didn’t have confidence in myself. Because I didn’t have a rock star like a Peter Pardini breathing on this thing. But I learned a lot from Peter, and I was able to direct it and figure it out, and we go deep down the vegan rabbit hole on this movie.
Walter Willett, you’re not safe. Harvard, you’re not safe, McDougall, not safe. We’re coming after all of you. You’ve got a big smile on your face. You’re going to smile even more when you learn– I’ve kept this pocketknife in my hand, the whole show since I grabbed it. It reminds me of my childhood. I am actually– I’ve written the script for the third movie in the series. If you think we went deep on number two. On number three, next year, it’ll be out. If I have anything to say, if this movie makes enough money for me to keep doing movies– You see, I’m not getting rich on these movies, Cynthia. I’m hoping to keep making enough money to make another movie. That’s all I’m doing here. I’m planning on at least starting to shoot this movie sometime this year, and put it out by the end of the year. I know I can do it. Everyone goes out and buys this movie, and I can continue doing what I’m doing because these movies will make a difference. It is the only fight we have against this whole vegan propaganda thing.
Cynthia: I think it’s incredibly exciting, and I really believe that when we’re in true alignment with where we’re supposed to be in time and place, those kinds of opportunities will avail themselves. Having the opportunity to allow for this company to come in and provide so much support for your second film or a second documentary, and honestly, after watching the first one, I kept thinking what’s next. Because there’s so much more to the story than just that one documentary.
Now, I want to pivot just one more time. One of the questions that came up when I mentioned that we were going to connect today was, what are your feelings about censorship? Actually, when I had Abel James on a few months ago, he and I had a whole conversation between social media and feeling a lot of not only healthcare providers, but people in the health and wellness space feeling that their opinions are largely being regulated by Big Pharma, by Big Business. What are your thoughts, and have you felt censored either in your podcasting or on social media, you’re not able to express your opinions without feelings of retribution or blowback, or even– I know, Robb Wolf and I were talking about this as well, a lot of people are leaving certain social media platforms, because all of their posts, and their shares are really being suppressed and are not as visible to their followers.
Vinnie: I think Abel and I started at around the same time. We supported each other. 10 years ago in this podcast space, we met several times. We’d meet at conventions or whatever. We were both up for Podcast of the Year in Vegas. That was the first time we met. He was still dating his lovely wife at that time, and we were both up and comers back then. It was like nine years ago when we went to that. I did Abel show a bunch back. Then, he would come on my show. We were both doing gangbusters. I put a book out that raised my awareness. Abel put a book out that raised his awareness. And then, Abel did the fatal thing of becoming too popular, ended up on a television show. Not only that, but his position on that show did really well. He showed that a low carb diet works really well. That was Abel’s biggest mistake, is getting too popular. Then, the next thing you know his numbers are decreasing on Twitter, and he was calling me going, “Is this is happening to you?” I’m like, “No. No, it seems to be growing for me.” He’s like, “Man, they’re coming after me left and right.”
I started thinking, is Abel just see one of these conspiracy theory guys or we– But it was real, because I wise to my Twitter go up. I’ve never bought a Twitter follower whatever, and went from 1000, 2000, 10,000, 15,000, 20,000, 30,000, and when it got to about 30,000, it leveled off and stopped. Maybe my popularity stopped. Well, my book still sells like hot cakes, it’s nine years old. People still buying it. We get a million downloads a month. People are still listening. I put out the most popular movie of last year on Gravitas. I beat Free Solo on iTunes for a month. That one won an Oscar. I stayed ahead of him for a month. Everything else is getting bigger, but my Twitter stops? It just levels off at like 35,000 or 40,000, I don’t even know where it is. My Instagram only started out about a year ago. That was like a meteoric rise. Then, all of a sudden, it went one day 1000, next day 5000, 10,000, 20,000 levels off. We look at the back end of that, and it’s like, they’re pulling people away from me. People are coming in hundreds a day, but they’re pulling hundreds away. For every one I put in, they’re taking people away. Is that a coincidence? I don’t know. Tell me if this is a coincidence. Most mornings, I used to wake up, it will take me about an hour and a half to answer all my tweets overnight. Some mornings, I get up, and I work for an hour and a half. Some mornings, I wake up and there’s two tweets. Is that a coincidence? When you go from 150 tweets to 2, or did something happen? I can see it going from 150 to 95. Is that a coincidence? It is a coincidence when one day, someone calls you and says, “Hey, your Wikipedia page was pulled down.” Pulled down. When we’ve contacted the person who pulled it down, he said, “My attorney contacted the guy.” He said, “We can’t substantiate anything on this profile.” Really?
Vinnie: You can’t subst– You can’t go and see that I have a book? You can’t go and see that I have a movie? You can’t go and see that I have a podcast? None of that could be substantiated. As a matter of fact, my wife who’s a celebrity. She’s an actor. They even remove me from hers saying that, we’re not even a couple. They couldn’t substantiate that. Would you like to walk in my bedroom? Can we substantiate it that way?
Cynthia: Oh, geez.
Vinnie: What would you like us to do to prove– Not only that, on the same day that mine was pulled down, Malcolm Kendrick, the Great Malcolm Kendrick, I was interviewing him that day. His was pulled down, too. We both ended up on the same day on something called RationalWiki where they’re calling us whack jobs. Now, am I conspiracy theorist? No. Am I a guy who’s thinking, “Oh, Vinnie, come on, that’s just you–” These are real things happening. We’ve been trying to get me verified on Twitter for five years. If I got my assistant here, she would put a gun to her head and blow her head off with the answers we get back from Twitter as to why I can’t be verified. You’ve done a couple of TED Talks. I was supposed to do a TED Talk. They canceled me at the last minute.
Cynthia: No way.
Vinnie: Yes, ma’am. I was scheduled to go on Dr. Oz Show. The tickets were bought by Oz, the date was set to go on Oz, to talk about the movie is after movie became a big hit. It was all set. Ready to go. I was leaving on a Sunday to be on the show on Monday. His producer called me on the Saturday I was at the gym. He goes, “Hey, we had to bump you.” As soon as I heard that, I went, “Oh, you’re bumping me?” Yeah, yeah, we have to pull something else in there. I said, “Okay, well, what’s the new date?” He goes, “Oh, we’re going to have to get back to you.” “Oh, you don’t have a date? You’re bumping me, shouldn’t we have a date?” “No, we’ll get back to you.” I still haven’t heard from him. I was a year ago. So, are we being discriminated against? You tell me.
Cynthia: It’s really hard to believe that we’re not– We’re in a position in society now, where there’s so much suppression of information, and it disallows people from being able to come to their own conclusions for not getting objective information or even both sides of the situation as it pertains to macros, nutrition, dogma. I’m a big proponent of dispelling outdated dogma. I recognize how critical it can be, but we’re not talking about something like a vaccine, which I know can be incredibly controversial. You’re talking about dogma, and you’re talking about nutrition, and you’re talking about objective information that can be validated. I find that incredibly disturbing from just a civil liberties perspective. Hopefully, things will come full circle, and there won’t be influences that are creating this lack of opportunities to spread the information. I have to be grateful in this instance, that you are able to get the documentary film up on iTunes so that it can be shared with people. You don’t have to go through the more traditional routes to sharing movies. So, what’s next for you? What are you working on right now?
Vinnie: Before I say that, there’s one thing I want to add to what we were just talking about. I’ve had a Facebook group. it’s a private group, you have to be invited in. You asked to be, and then we invite you in. It’s supposed to be a private Facebook group. Facebook has been censoring that group and threatening to pull it now for the past two weeks, this is brand new, citing that we use words like fat. Well, everyone on there talks about fat. Bacon fat got dinged the other day. Bacon fat. They’re trying to get rid of it. We’re trying to find a new place to go. Now, if that group goes away, do I get upset? Well, only because there’s close to 30,000 people in the group. I cry when I read some of these stories. I literally weep. The reason I weep is, this has changed my life. I’ve lost 250 pounds. They showed Befores and Afters. It brings tears to my eyes to see these stories. Yet, Facebook wants this to go away. Thanks, Facebook.
What are we going to do? Do I make money on that group? No, I don’t make one dime. It’s a free group. Guess what, Facebook? Me and those 30,000 people, we’re going to go somewhere else. I might have to create my own thing. By the way, I’m already talking to people. I’m not waiting for Facebook to cancel me. I’m already talking. I’ve got this guy signed on, that guy signed on, we’re building a platform, so we could go to Facebook and go, “Hey, guys, scoot over here before Facebook leaves you hanging.” By the way, that’s going to be free too and you can say what the fuck you want.
Vinnie: Sorry for the language.
Cynthia: That’s okay.
Vinnie: But it really angers me. When you say, what am I working on next? I’m working on that. I’m working on a place for people to be. I wrote a PDF several years ago, and it’s been downloaded well over 300,000 times. I’m working on updating that for the new year. It won’t be out on day one. I’ve got a lot going on. I’m finishing up the script for the next movie. I’m writing that, it takes a lot of time. Then, I got to figure out how to shoot it, how to get a crew to safely shoot it, with the mask and all that. I’ll probably have to go back to LA to shoot it, because I can’t get cameraman and crews to come here. It’d be too expensive. It’s easier for me to go there. So, that’s going to be a lot of work. In the podcast, I do five fresh shows every week. That’s a full-time job in itself. That’s what’s next for me, is just keep the balls in the air.
Cynthia: Oh, it’s really exciting, and obviously, we’re going to have to have you back, because there were lots of other avenues we could have dove down, but I was trying to stay really committed to making sure we covered a couple very specific things. Where can listeners connect with you? I know you mentioned you have this private Facebook group. Obviously, you’ve got an incredible website that has lots of resources there. You’re on Twitter, you’re on Instagram. So, where can they connect with you and find you?
Vinnie: I answer every question I see on Instagram every day. Unless its ad hominem about me killing sentient beings, I won’t answer those. I answer questions every day on Twitter every day. My Instagram, I show little, short videos of how-to sort of thing, and the podcast. The Fitness Confidential podcast, as you mentioned is over a million downloads a month. We do five shows, and all of those shows a different. The Monday show might not be everyone’s taste. It’s a bit naughty and dirty, but it was the original show. So, we keep it that way and people really enjoy it. It’s the number one show we do. But it’s think like Howard Stern gone wrong. I’m not funny like Howard Stern. It’s a bit raunchy. The Wednesday show, there’s real information. The Friday show that Cynthia will be on is a luminary show. That show is a number two show that we do. On Saturday, it’s a listener call-in show, and on Sunday, we give Vinnie Sunday School, where it’s all clean, no F words, no nothing, and it’s for kids. It is more kid centric. It’s five shows a week. Go check out the ones you like. If you don’t like the Monday show, don’t give up. Just go to a Friday show, and you’ll go, “Oh, wait, wait, wait. This is what I want.”
Cynthia: I have to laugh, because my husband and I drove to Richmond on Tuesday, and in my typical, I’m preparing for a podcast, I was listening to several of the podcasts, and my husband was definitely intrigued and actually said, “I’ll have to check out more of his podcasts.” I think we were listening to a Monday one. I think because I grew up in New Jersey, and I’m used to Italian guys that just say it like it is, I said, “This is like being at home.” It didn’t bother me at all. There’s great information, and lots of humor, and I think that there’s something to be said in this podcasting world when people feel like they can still speak their mind, because I believe that there’s also this prevailing sense of feeling like you have to be completely politically correct 24/7, and that’s just not real. I would much rather people speak their mind, and do it in a way that facilitates some really interesting discussion, but we’ll definitely have you back on for sure.
Vinnie: Cynthia, thanks for having me on, and thank you for doing this on Christmas Eve. It’s good to know that we’re out there doing this even when we should be with family. So, thank you.
Cynthia: Thank you very much.
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