Keris and Matt interview Dr. Tommy Woods and discuss how he’s evolved his approach to nutrition, training, supplements and functional testing.
Listen below or head to iTunes for the full episode.
- Evolving and establishing the right diet for you
- Adapting training for longevity and health
- Benefits of taking a multivitamin and other supplements
- Whether high doses of B Vitamin supplements pose a risk to health
- The benefits of Ribena and Haribo
- Simple interventions to address environmental toxins
- The role of Functional Testing to establish nutrient deficiencies
- Importance of addressing social isolation and environment
Read the full transcript below:
Matt: How are we doing, everybody? It’s Fitter Food Radio Episode 101, obviously with me, Keris, nce again, for about the 50th time, we have Dr. Tommy Woods on the show. How are we doing, Tommy?
New Speaker: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me back yet again.
Matt: Yeah. I mean it’s got to be-
Keris: That is an exaggeration.
Matt: Yeah, of course.
Keris: That would mean that Tommy’s been on half of our podcasts.
Dr. Woods: Yeah, that’s probably not true. It might be close to 10%, though.
Keris: Yeah, because we storm through them so much.
Matt: I’m trying to think, though. It’s got to be at least five, I think.
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Matt: Five times? That’s not bad.
Keris: We get great feedback. They’re everyone’s favourite.
Matt: Well in fact, actually, when … Because you did a podcast recently with Dr. Chatterjee, didn’t you? Yeah, and everyone was like, “My two favourite doctors all in one place.”
Dr. Woods: Yeah, Rangan’s also, I’m a fan of his, yeah. It was a good interview.
Keris: Matt keeps laughing at his name. It’s a bit of Rangan.
Matt: Bit of a Rangan.
Dr. Woods: I’ve got to be honest, I don’t hear that.
Matt: I just thought that would be the first thing that popped into everyone’s mind, but clearly not.
Keris: Every time I say … We did the Facebook Live with him, and I was like, “Oh, Rangan’s on the phone,” or something, he would just absolutely wet himself. I was like, “What are you laughing at? I don’t understand.” Such a Rangan.
Matt: So immature, so immature. Right, so obviously we’ve got the awesome Tommy on. He’s always a wealth of knowledge, and Keris has been having a good chat with him before we pressed record. And I’m assuming you’ve decided what we’re going to be talking about today.
Keris: To be fair, we should probably have pressed record when we were having our chat, Tommy, because you were giving some real nuggets. I was questioning you, well, quizzing you about cancer, wasn’t I? Tell everyone what you told me about apricot kernels, just in case they are taking 20 a day for B19 to not get cancer.
Dr. Woods: Oh, that’s cyanide poisoning, pretty much. Yeah, there’s a lot of … Cancer is difficult, and I don’t pretend to be a cancer expert. But when it comes to some of the things that people recommended, apricot kernels is pretty close to the top of my list of really don’t do that. Multiple reports in scientific literature and in the general news media which show or say that people who take apricot kernels for cancer can die of cyanide poisoning.
Dr. Woods: And you know that nice, almondy taste that you get from apricot kernel? That’s cyanide.
Keris: Oh, really?
Dr. Woods: Don’t eat it. There are lots of other things that you can and should do, but apricot kernels is not one of them.
Keris: Matt would disagree on the nice, almondy taste. You hate them, don’t you?
Matt: Yeah, I couldn’t stand them.
Keris: He said it’s like gone off marzipan.
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Keris: Really rancid.
Matt: Well what a way to open the show.
Keris: I know! Top tip.
Matt: Straight in there.
Keris: Is it apple pips as well, isn’t it?
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Keris: Should we not really eat seeds generally? This is just off track. This wasn’t what we’re going to podcast about, but just thinking about it. Because they must be full of nutrients to not be eaten, ideally.
Dr. Woods: Yeah, antinutrients.
Dr. Woods: Yeah, I mean that’s kind of the false part of the basis of certain aspects of Paleo, particularly what’s in the Immune Paleo Diet. And now some of the more anti-plant based diets, carnivore type diets, is that the antinutrients in plants, for various reasons, are trying to stop you eating them, particularly the seed, because that’s a potential new plant that you’ve eaten. And the plant isn’t very happy about that, because you basically stopped it reproducing.
Dr. Woods: So certain seeds, absolutely. However, there are plenty of seeds which have been shown to have health benefits, and certainly don’t seem to be causing any issues. And some of those antinutrients can actually have beneficial effects, they can a hormetic effect. So even though it’s a slight stress to the body, you end up producing better antioxidant defences, and maybe [inaudible 00:04:03] and things like that. So some of them can certainly have benefits. But some, cyanide is not a hormetic stressor you want to fight with, let’s just put it that way.
Matt: But wouldn’t you have to consume a pretty vast amount?
Keris: Well you’re told to have 20 a day as a kind of cancer prevention.
Matt: 20 what?
Keris: Apricot kernels.
Matt: No, but I mean, I’m talking about, like you said, about apples.
Keris: Oh, well see, yeah, you wouldn’t eat apple seeds. You don’t eat apple seeds. People do have 20-
Dr. Woods: Yeah, yeah, it’s true. And so I mean-
Matt: No, but I eat apple seeds.
Matt: As in I eat a whole apple. I don’t go to the shop and say, “Have you got any apple seeds?”
Keris: Yeah, but that’s because you’re greedy. You just eat everything.
Matt: Well to be fair, though, I even eat the stalk of an apple.
Dr. Woods: I do that sometimes, too. I’m not worried about somebody like Matt having a few apple seeds, but kids, definitely animals like pets, shouldn’t get apple seeds. So it depends on various things, but still, it’s not something I’d actively consume, let’s put it that way, for any kind of health benefit.
Keris: And is it … I can’t remember if I read this somewhere, that the antinutrients increased more towards the kind of stalk of something like broccoli? Because where it would be grown in the ground, it wants to protect that a little bit more from being eaten by an animal so it could grow again?
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Keris: So you shouldn’t eat certain aspects. Matt likes the whole bit of broccoli, the stalk bit, don’t you?
Matt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Keris: Even though it gives him really bad wind.
Matt: I just don’t like wasting any food at all.
Dr. Woods: So yes and no. So for broccoli, that’s certainly the case. But say, particularly for broccoli and other members of that family, when you break down those cells, you activate an enzyme called Myrosinase, and then the precursor to Sulforaphane or similar compounds, so Glucoraphanin converts to Sulforaphane. And people are taking Sulforaphane right now because it activates Nrf2 and all those other things that I mentioned.
Dr. Woods: So yes and no. So that’s the perfect example of a plant defence compound that we’re pretty sure is having beneficial effects in humans. So if you look at cruciferous vegetables, again, it’s not a randomised control trial, they haven’t done any extensive studies, although they’re starting to do them with Sulforaphane in cancers and some other things, and looking at the downstream health benefits. But that’s one of the reasons why cruciferous vegetables seem to be associated with health benefits. Again, it’s [inaudible 00:06:31], so there’s a huge number of issues there. But that’s because of the plant defence compounds that are causing a response in the body that helps you help regulate some other things you might want more of.
Keris: Well you know, we did all this stuff, Tommy, do you then change what you’re eating? I mean, that’s the purpose of the podcast today. We’re going to ask you about your own kind of, how you’ve evolved your approach to both nutrition, and functional testing, and training. Because you’re reading all this stuff.
Keris: Because when I read stuff, Matt, you can … Our basically veg order every week changes, and Matt’s like, “What is this? And why have we got seven boxes of it?” And it’s like, “We’ve got to have seven servings of this, because it’s anti-cancer, it’s anti-inflammatory, blah blah blah blah.” Do you do the same?
Dr. Woods: No, not really. Occasionally. Usually if I order something new, it’s because it’s popped up somewhere, and it’s interesting, and the research behind it, even if it’s not perfect, I’m interested in it. But then equally, we have a lot of clients who are asking about it and a lot of clients who are going to try it. So I just need to know more about it. So it’s part, so both things tend to be part of my own research, rather than because I’m convinced it’s going to make me healthier, if that makes sense.
Dr. Woods: And equally, in all these things that we’re being rec … supplements and things people are saying to take, if it’s going to have an effect, it’s going to be over months or years. So changing it every week probably isn’t going to make any difference.
Dr. Woods: But … What was the question you asked? Oh yeah, in terms of researching things, yeah, I occasionally will add stuff, but I do have quite a high threshold. Elizabeth might argue that point because I end up with a lot of random stuff in cupboards, stuff that I buy and stuff that people send to me. But in general, for something to make a permanent spot on my list, it would take quite a lot.
Dr. Woods: So part of this that we talked about, do you remember, I talked about Hormetea.
Keris: Oh, yeah, yeah.
Dr. Woods: So actually, part of the idea behind that was that whole Sulforaphane, plant-based compounds that can activate certain pathways that we think are beneficial in terms of both metabolic health and some other things. So that’s kind of part of it. So if you can bring some of that stuff in and use it occasionally, again, I don’t think those are things you should be doing every day. But occasionally, potentially a good thing.
Dr. Woods: But I do probably have quite a high threshold for something that becomes a lasting part of my routine, maybe because I’m lazy, so I just forget to do it. And then it just stops happening.
Matt: So tell me, mate, we often, well not often, but occasionally, I would say, we might receive a message from someone saying, “I noticed in your first book you said X Y and Z, whereas now I’m kind of getting the impression that you don’t really feel that way anymore. Why is that?” etc etc. And some people are actually quite, “I’ll see about it!” almost like where we’re not allowed to change our mind on things. And I always go back and say, “Well to be honest with you, we have changed our stance on things over the years. But as long as you’re not changing your mind every five minutes and just going with any new trend that’s coming out or in the media, I think it’s a sign of a good coach, a good practitioner, a good teacher to kind of show that you’re always evolving.” And we put our hands up, don’t we, and we say …
Keris: I feel guilty about what I wrote about peanuts in our first book.
Matt: Yeah, well to be fair, it’s a blinking good job, because if anyone saw how much peanut butter you consume now, you’d be done for fraudulent …
Keris: I feel like I told them peanuts would kill them.
Matt: Well to be fair, those are some really great examples, because even in the first book, we were a bit more, I suppose-
Keris: Oh, we were strict Paleo, weren’t we?
Matt: Well strict-ish, yeah, you were. You were more so than me. And it was like, “Gluten will make your eyes bleed.”
Keris: I didn’t say that, but, no, but in my defence, we’d had things like coffee, and wine, and chocolate, and said [inaudible 00:10:28]. But our second book was much more, I’d say, realistic. You know, Tommy, because you helped kind of proof it. But more realistic, more kind of … You actually helped us modify the science side, and said, “You know, with regards to legumes, I don’t really think they’re going to be a massive problem.” But what was your question, Matt? Sorry.
Matt: Well, no, so my question was going to be, we’ve kind of changed our stance on a few things, and if anything, just become a little bit more laid back, and looked at the bigger picture of what health is as opposed to, “You can never eat gluten ever again!” Or “Don’t touch white potato! It’s always got to be a sweet potato!” and really crazy things like that, which, I’ve got my hands up, we got a bit carried away with it at some point, didn’t we?
Matt: And I think … But as I say, I genuinely believe it’s a sign of a good teacher. Is there anything that, over the years, however many years, that you’ve changed your stance on a little bit? Anything that you’ve completely changed your stance on based on new evidence coming out, or your anecdotal stuff that’s worked for you or clients? Have I made sense?
Keris: Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Dr. Woods: Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense.
Dr. Woods: No, it’s just, I was thinking the Paleo diet, just like what you described, I think I went through something very similar over the last 10 years. So when I first started, it started off as a compelling story. And then when you dig down into the evidence, and the more you read the papers that are being used to support that stance, some of the references in Loren Cordain’s original book and on his website are just … They make me LOL pretty hard, just because it doesn’t support the point that’s being made. And I think that I maybe even spoke about that when we did that, when I came and spoke at one of your events a couple years ago.
Dr. Woods: So that’s probably one thing. I’ve certainly relaxed some of that stuff, in terms of sourcing of food or types of food. Dairy probably isn’t going to kill you. Gluten isn’t necessary going to kill you. Legumes aren’t going to kill you, peas and beans. And I don’t think I ever put it in that strong language, but I certainly recommended some people don’t eat them when that was probably the wrong advice to give. So that’s certainly the case.
Dr. Woods: And now, I’m at a point where 10 different people will come to me, and I’ll recommend 10 different diets, and vastly different diets at literally every end of the spectrum, based on what I think is going to be best for them. And often, it’s an empirical choice. Do I know that this is going to be the best thing for them? No I don’t, but if it doesn’t work, then we’ll change. And when we work with people, we’re very up front about that. We’re like, “We’re going to try this. We think this is why it’s going to work for you. If it doesn’t work for you, we’ll need to try something else.” And I think you can only be honest about that.
Dr. Woods: There’s so much stuff now about nutrigenomics and all that kind of stuff. Most of it, 99%, is complete nonsense. That evidence does not exist yet. It may well exist someday, that you can take your diet based on your genetics. That doesn’t exist currently, certainly not to the extent that those companies will tell you that it does. So a lot of the time it’s just trial and error, and you have to figure out what works best for people over time, and do that in a methodical manner, if you can. So that’s where probably the major change-
Keris: Can you give us an idea of how they might differ? Are you different in terms of kind of a macro perspective, or is it kind of meal frequency, meal timing? How would you, when you say they’re different, what kind of key things vary?
Dr. Woods: Yeah, so all of the above. In athletes, it may be increasing meal frequency, increasing total calories, playing with macronutrients, both from very low carb to very low fat, from very rich in animal products to very few animal products for periods of time for various reasons, usually because of fat content and those sort of things. So I literally, I mean, in general, I think protein is a variable that I don’t play with that much. I’d rather play with meal frequency and the fasting window. I think that’s going to give you most of those benefits.
Dr. Woods: But certainly there have been times when maybe people have recommended less protein, but that happens less often, just mainly because of the population, the athletes that we work with. Usually they need more of everything.
Dr. Woods: So literally, all aspects of that could change sometimes. Sometimes I’ll do Paleo, sometimes it’s a low fat, whole foods, plant based vegan style approach, which are almost completely opposite in many different ways. But if you use the right diet at the right time, you get better results.
Keris: And in terms of what would inform that, is it certain conditions as in health conditions? Or are you deciding to go one route or the other based on individuals’ preference, or any blood markers, or …
Dr. Woods: Yeah, both, all of the above. The preference obviously comes into play sometimes. So I was working with a client the other week who, for various reasons, I think wanted to go down an all simian Paleo type route. But they were less interested, or they just weren’t going to eat animal protein. Dairy and eggs were okay, even though they wouldn’t fit on an all simian Paleo diet-
Keris: I was going to say, why would you want to do that?
Dr. Woods: Weren’t going to eat meat. So we kind of worked around some of that stuff. We did egg yolks and some other things, and then focused on fish rather than on some of the other animal products or meat that I would like to recommend. But you just kind of have to tailor it based on the person’s preferences, too. So that’s one option.
Dr. Woods: And then the main reason is if you tell them to eat something that they’re just not going to eat, that regimen is immediately broken down. You’re not going to achieve anything. So there’s no point in pushing something that somebody doesn’t want to eat.
Dr. Woods: And then other things, so we occasionally get people where I think endotoxemia’s an issue. So endotoxins are being produced in the gut. Saturated fat particularly seems to be the best at shuttling those across the gut wall. There is some evidence to suggest that if you drastically reduce fat intake, then you can [inaudible 00:16:43] some of those issues. And that tends to be based on symptoms around eating, symptoms with certain foods. Some people, if they put a whole load of butter in their coffee, actually rather than turning into Superman like they’re told, actually just feel a little bit kind of foggy and weird. And that’s a good symptom for me to follow in terms of basic fat intake.
Dr. Woods: So I might do that for a period of time while we’re doing this, because it’s going to be [inaudible 00:17:09] with the gut. So while we’re doing gut treatment protocol. And then we start to add some of these other foods back in, so it’s definitely a short-term thing rather than a long-term thing.
Dr. Woods: Then down the other side, anybody with evidence of metabolic disease is the resistance. We certainly have a few people who are at risk of cardiovascular disease, where we’ve seen some reversal of their disease on coronary artery calcium score by going on a low-carb ketogenic approach. So all of those things come into play depending on … So that’s blood markers, symptoms, personal preference. I think you can take all of it into account.
Keris: Great question on that. So the saturated fat metabolic endotoxemia stuff … Because I switched to using a little bit more olive oil for cooking, and the studies on olive oil in cooking are saying, because of its polyphenols, it’s fine to heat. You still get that argument back. When I’m kind of at events and stuff, people are still arguing it should only be a saturated fat that you cook with, not a monounsaturated fat. What is your opinion on that? People are still fighting that argument. I think, in the grand scheme of things, there’s bigger things to argue about. But … because of the saturated fat stuff, I switched. Gut clients often go back to olive oil and they’ll come back and say, “But we’re supposed to have saturated fats.” So …
Dr. Woods: So again, just like everything has to be taken in the correct context. And I think we talked about this on a previous podcast, maybe just briefly. But-
Matt: There’ve been so many, it’s hard to keep track.
Dr. Woods: Yeah, no, no, that’s all right. I’m happy to revisit it. But with certain oils, particularly oils that have a lot of polyphenols or [inaudible 00:18:45], vitamin E, they are much more resistant to oxidation when you heat them. So olive oil has been shown, again, in multiple studies, that even through repeated cycles of heating and cooling, it seems to be protected.
Dr. Woods: If you compare that to the highly refined vegetable oils, olive oil is certainly much, much better. I think, though I’m not a huge fan, something like a cold-pressed fancy grapeseed oil would be similar to an olive oil. You can see that it contains all those antioxidant compounds, just because of the colour. So those kinds of oils are going to be more protected, so I wouldn’t really worry about it.
Dr. Woods: You do get some weird, it’s the same with coconut oil, you do get some weird products produced. You can smell, it smells kind of soapy, some of those products kind of vaporise. I don’t think it’s dangerous. No fat is perfect, so you just … And again, depending on your personal context, whatever health things are going on, pick the best ones. Again, be confident that the thing you’re doing is the right thing to do. Because if you’re constantly questioning and uncertain in all the things that you do, I think that’s more detrimental than using the olive oil, if that makes sense.
Matt: Do you know, this reminds me, years ago we had a stand at … What was it called? Foodies Fest Battersea?
Matt: Is that what’s it called?
Keris: It’s an irrelevant detail.
Matt: No, no, it’s not irrelevant. I told you, I like to paint a picture. And someone was asking … We had samples, of course I made my scotch eggs, and they went down a storm. Keris made a load of cakes from the Fitter Food books and whatever, and we had some samples. And some woman got kind of chatting to us, and she was like, “So what’s in these then?” And I was like, oh, you know, just went through a few of the ingredients, gluten free, blah blah blah.
Matt: And then she was like, “Yeah, but there’s vanilla essence in this.” And I was like, “Yeah.” She was like, “Well then it’s not all natural, then, is it?” And I was like, “Well what do you mean? It’s just a little bit of vanilla essence.” She was like, “Yeah, but the alcohols.” And I was like, “Yeah, but we use like half a teaspoon.”
Dr. Woods: I’m sure you mean extract rather than essence.
Matt: What did I say? Oh, did I say essence? Yeah, sorry, extracts, my bad. And I was like, “Yeah, but it’s like the tiniest minuscule amount.” Because with extracts, you don’t get much, do you?
Keris: Yeah, it’s tiny.
Matt: It’s quite potent stuff.
Keris: Well it’s not anymore. You have to use loads.
Dr. Woods: And you’ll have cooked it, so any of the alcohol there is an issue. But the alcohol [inaudible 00:21:19].
Matt: She started going absolutely bananas. And I just lightly put my hand on her shoulder, and I was like, “Do you know what? Good luck.” You know? If this is going to be your approach to nutrition, then you’ve got a bumpy road ahead of you, because … And I just couldn’t believe it. And I just think, despite us changing our stance on things, we’ve never been that-
Matt: -anal about stuff. You know what I mean?
Keris: Obsessive. Don’t use that.
Matt: Well I’ve used it now. It’s too late.
Keris: So what have you changed, then, Tommy, in terms of the last few years? Are you being influenced by the plant-based movements? I’d love it if you just knocked up one day vegan.
Dr. Woods: No, so, I mean, there’s going to have to be a lot more evidence before that happens. Although, so I do think they have valid points, and I don’t … I definitely disagree with the people, even people who I’m more likely to agree with on most things, who say that this is definitely not how people should be eating, there’s no benefits to it whatsoever. I’m sure that the doctors and the researchers who are doing it are seeing benefits in their patients. And yes, you can argue that some of the studies change a lot of stuff, so they improve sleep routines, and they did mediation and yoga. And, you know, great. That’s perfect. If it’s the whole package, I’m a big fan of the whole package. If some of it’s placebo, you know, great. What’s the risk? The risk is very low.
Dr. Woods: When you’re doing stuff like that, yeah, I think you should check some basic blood markers. And you can figure out if you need to supplement, or maybe there are other foods that you should be eating that are going to be beneficial because of their nutrient content. And you can absolutely personalise that, too. So I’m not … I try and bring in all the information that I possibly can. Whereas, again, previously I might’ve been super anti-vegan. And a vegan diet that’s chocolate and …
Dr. Woods: And buy tofu bacon, and … [inaudible 00:23:22]. Right? I mean, come on, who are you … You’re telling me that that’s healthier because you’re not eating animal products? That is nonsense. But if you’re actually eating real, whole food, great. That can be great for some people. And I do … So I can’t give too many details, but I can think of one sport where I do some consulting. And two pretty much of the best athletes in the world at that sport at a similar time decided to go on a vegan diet. One did great, the other one just completely fell apart. So these are part of the things that you have to take into account.
Dr. Woods: Other things that I’d change, definitely …
Dr. Woods: Take into account. Other things that I’ve changed, definitely focused on training less personally, I definitely did a lot better once I reduced my training volume.
Keris: What’s that now, [crosstalk 00:24:10] weekly basis, are you like [crosstalk 00:24:12]-
Dr. Woods: Yeah, so I’ll probably still train like four or five days a week at least.
Keris: What [crosstalk 00:24:19]-
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Keris: What were you doing, that’s still quite a lot!
Dr. Woods: So it’s the intensity and stuff too. I’ll go the gym, I have a gym in my back garden now, it’s been like my dream to build that and it’s awesome.
Dr. Woods: So I mainly just lift weights, I’ve been focusing on strength. I don’t do anything particularly high volume, high intensity. I don’t do a lot of circuit training, I don’t do a lot of, you know, occasionally I do some sprints on the [inaudible 00:24:47] or the rower or something. But I just don’t spend a lot of time really crushing myself at that kind of level of intensity. I think that’s one of the most important things that we talk about with a lot of our athletes too, is that that mode of training where you’re really on some kind of limit for a long period of time, so an endurance athlete’s [inaudible 00:25:10] lactate threshold, you’ll be there for 20 minutes multiple times in sets, or you’ll sit there for like an hour or something. You would go for a ride, just like run as far as you can for an hour, that’s the kind of training that actually probably has some of the least amounts of benefits. Although it’s good for mental toughness, but it’s not necessarily good for your physiology.
Dr. Woods: It’s the hardest to recover from, it’s the hardest on the gut, all these kinds of things. So we try and polarise things more. Lots of long, slow aerobics style training, and then short, sharp bursts of intensity. That seems to give the best benefit. Again, we have some people who go onto that, they polarise the training [inaudible 00:25:51] they do really really well, and some people for some reason they just perform better if they’re just like out and they just crush themselves continuously again. So it has to be a personalised thing, but in general both for me and the vast majority of the people we work with, lots of long, slow stuff, walking, hiking, gardening, followed by some lifting of weights and sprints and stuff. That seems to be the best. That’s another thing that I’ve changed a lot for myself.
Dr. Woods: I used to train multiple hours a day, lots of running, spin classes, circuits with weights, and I was never fully recovered. The fact that I’m now much stronger than I was, even a few years ago when I was training a lot harder, I think that says a lot. I haven’t done a heavy deadlift for years. The other day I went to the gym and I picked up something I haven’t picked up for a set of three maybe ever, and just haven’t been dead lifting. But just because I’ve been reducing my body, I’ve been looking after myself better, you know, you can maintain and gain strength much faster.
Matt: Do you know, I think that’s something we can both relate to as well over the years in terms of reducing our training frequency, intensity, and just being a bit more laid back about it I think. You know, that’s been the biggest thing for me. I used to freak out if I didn’t hit a certain amount of sessions per week, back in my bro days if you will. Whereas now I’m just much more chilled out, much more laid back. I think it works well for me-
Keris: Sometimes too chilled out. I’m like, “Are you going to go to the gym?”
Matt: Come on. You’ve not left the house for three days.
Keris: Sat there with his flat cap on-
Matt: Getting into the country life.
Keris: An old man just walking [crosstalk 00:27:42]-
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 00:27:42] nowadays, he gets injured, so maybe exercise is bad for you.
Matt: It is, that’s what [crosstalk 00:27:47]-
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 00:27:47].
Keris: I do think he’s paying for, because you’ve done it since you were about 10, and it’s been like Rugby, it’s been basketball, we’ve had football, boxing, it’s all been impact sport, and now I think your body’s like-
Matt: Yeah, but I’ve certainly learned my lesson the hard way for sure. But I suppose what I was going to say was, I suppose because now I don’t necessarily have … I’m just happy maintaining what I’ve got right now. You know what I mean, in terms of like I don’t want to get any bigger, I don’t have any solid out and out strength goals at the moment. That might change soon if I decide to give myself a little bit of a challenge, like deadlift three times my body weight or something like that, I don’t know. But for now I just feel really quite content where I’m at in terms of I like how I look, I’ve become attached to my three pack. I always maintain a decent level of fitness and strength, even if I do have a bit of a break from weights. For me that’s quite a good place to be, because I don’t freak out if I miss a session. Some weeks I might lift weights twice, another week it might be four times, another week I might not lift weights at all and just do loads and loads of running.
Matt: For me that’s more like I suppose a mindset shift than it is anything else, because-
Keris: You’re also like, very randomly Matt has real blood sugar issues if he goes, I mean it’s not randomly really, but you think the harder you train, the heavier he lifts, the more benefit it might have. That’s what most people think. Yet if you go and do now a heavy session, he’ll come back and he’ll be like, “My blood sugars have dropped,” shaky, and then you’re basically straight in the sugar of some sort, aren’t you?
Keris: Yeah. So you’ve noticed the scaling back, your nutrition is better, your gut’s better. It’s the same benefits that you have as well, like everything gets better. That is also your driver, is the hardcore challenge stuff. You like pushing boundaries.
Matt: I still enjoy training hard, and what I find is though is that I can still maintain a very good level of volume and intensity in my workouts, even when I’ve maybe had a bit of a break. But I think a lot of that, I think sometimes before you have a week off, all of a sudden you’re like, “Oh god, that first session’s gonna be so hard.”
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Matt: It’s almost like you do it to yourself, whereas now I’m just like, yeah, cool. In my head now I’m a bit like I’ve had a week off, I’ve been eating really well, I’ve been sleeping really well, I’m going to be just fine. Lo and behold, I normally am just fine. Everything’s as it was. If you start going [inaudible 00:30:16] two or three weeks then yeah, you’re going to see a dip. But I just think a lot of that comes down to just getting your head in the right place. Here’s to training less. We’re going to start a movement.
Keris: What about supplements, Tommy, in terms of either from a training perspective or general perspective? Have you changed your approach on that? Because you must get, again, coming across literature and sent free stuff.
Dr. Woods: Yeah. We do use quite a few supplements with our clients, but actually a lot of the same stuff comes up again and again. Both in terms of just general health, or performance if we’re talking athletic type pursuits. I think some of the stuff that we’ve used previously, we’ve sort of rolled back on a little bit. For myself, I’ll still use protein shakes after the gym, I take creatine, I think most people probably should. I take extra glycine or collagen to go with that, there’s some great data on that for recovery, but also for amino acid balance, we probably don’t get enough glycine. [inaudible 00:31:27] came out a few years ago that goes through why that is, you can’t make enough for yourself. So even though it’s not an essential amino acid, it’s conditionally essential and you’re probably not getting as much as you should. [crosstalk 00:31:39]-
Keris: Can I just stop you there, Tommy?
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Keris: That is a really good point. We did the same, we’ve got glycine and we’ve got collagen in the cupboard, but I heard an argument back saying that the body will just do transamination and it doesn’t matter, as long as you get the essentials in you don’t need the collagen and glycine. But you’re saying there’s-
Dr. Woods: Yeah, so that’s technically true, but for glycine specifically it relies heavily on byproducts of methylation pathways. If you’re a crappy methylator, and probably fewer people are crappy methylators than like to think are crappy methylators, but you need that system to be functioning well. You may offload some of that requirement, so say by taking creatine I think you offload some of that. [inaudible 00:32:27] creatine is one of the things you use a lot of methylation for, is also something you use glycine for. But yes, you can technically do it, but what’s enough to keep you alive and what’s sort of the upper limit for benefit, I think there’s adding some is going to be beneficial. Again I’d be happy to send you these two papers, they go through the pathways very nicely, they talk about how much you can produce, versus how much you might optimally need. That need is going to be higher in people who are training regularly, because you’re going to need it for recovery and repair. So yes, technically true, but not the best approach.
Keris: Because it’s quite safe to supplement with, and you think about all the things you use glycine for in the body, I would think it’s quite a good investment. It’s not expensive either.
Dr. Woods: The important thing is, remember A, our ancestors, if they ate animals, they focused on a lot of the stuff that would have contained more glycine. There’s not much glycine in a fillet steak, but if you were actually eating the intestines and the organs and the connective tissue and stuff, which we probably would have done a lot more of, then you probably have that covered. But we just don’t eat that anymore. You could do that too, you don’t have to take it in a powder, I’m very happy for you to go and eat that stuff. Tripe and all those good things, great. It just depends on how you want to do it. Equally if you think about all the things that make up an animal, which is what we are, and those things that we do and don’t eat, the things that we don’t eat are the things that have the glycine in. It’s probably an extension of the previous point. You still have all that stuff in your body, you still need to make it. I think most people could probably do with more glycine and collagen.
Keris: Good stuff.
Matt: So how would you, because correct me if I’m wrong here, but glycine when you mix it with liquid goes … No, that’s gelatine isn’t it?
Keris: [crosstalk 00:34:36] Collagen’s [crosstalk 00:34:36]-
Matt: [crosstalk 00:34:36], right, sorry, my bad.
Keris: [crosstalk 00:34:40]-
Matt: Sorry, I’m all over the shop today, blinking vanilla essence.
Keris: I was waiting for you to justify some kind of Haribo-
Matt: [crosstalk 00:34:45]-
Matt: [crosstalk 00:34:45] glycine.
Keris: Yeah, that’s what I was waiting for. I was hoping you’d say this is why you should eat gelatine sweets.
Dr. Woods: Vitamin C gummies, because they have gelatine and vitamin C. [crosstalk 00:34:56]-
Matt: [crosstalk 00:34:56]-
Dr. Woods: That’s good. They do them, there was a study, I think it was done out of UC Davis, I think it was Keith [inaudible 00:35:02] lab, where they basically gave people Ribena for vitamin C plus glycine. It actually improved tendon and ligament-
Keris: Don’t tell him this.
Dr. Woods: Recovery.
Keris: That will appear in the cupboard like tomorrow. There’ll be Ribena in our cupboard.
Matt: Tommy said.
Dr. Woods: A Ribena collagen smoothie.
Matt: I’ll get the Ribena tooth kind.
Keris: Yeah, exactly. Do you take anything for micronutrients or detox or anything else in terms of [crosstalk 00:35:31] on a regular basis?
Dr. Woods: Yeah, I take a good multivitamin, that’s probably my main thing.
Keris: Every day, or every couple of days?
Dr. Woods: It’s usually every day. I haven’t taken it for the last few days because I ran out, but I’m not worried about it, I’ve ordered some more. It will be here soon.
Keris: I thought you were looking a bit peaky.
Dr. Woods: So yeah, most things you don’t get the perfect amount every day, you’re going to be fine as long as you’re good the rest of the time. I also occasionally take some magnesium before bed, probably most people could do with more magnesium, particularly again people are training hard, sweating a lot, same as zinc and some other things. Then that’s pretty much it, all the things that I take regularly. Multivitamin, I have a protein shake after the gym, creatine, collagen.
Keris: Quick question on the multivitamin, one thing I thought was, although the Bs are important, if you are eating a mixed diet you get a lot of B vitamins. If you’re eating all your green leafys and that kind of stuff, and eggs, whatever, liver. So what do you reckon, I kind of went through a phase of just doing a mineral complex because one thing I am kind of concerned about is things like iodine, selenium, especially here in the UK, and even the organic veg shops now have got it from Spain and all over the world and stuff. So it’s quite hard to get local, seasonal food. It shouldn’t be but it is. I kind of think is there any benefit to doing minerals some days, you don’t always need the vitamin A, you don’t always need the vitamin B, that kind of stuff?
Dr. Woods: Yeah, I think that’s true. Particularly there is a lot of truth to the fact that water soluble B vitamins you just pee out. You know you take your multivitamin and your pee goes kind of like a yellow, smelly colour, that’s just the extra B vitamins that’s coming out.
Keris: You’re not concerned about over methylating?
Dr. Woods: Sorry?
Keris: There’s concern about over methylating if you have too many B vitamins, that also has links with cancer. That’s why I’m always kind of like, hm, would be better doing it every other day. It depends I suppose on the amount you use, and the intake.
Dr. Woods: Yeah. If you’re generally healthy otherwise, I don’t really worry about that. It’s certainly possible, but there are certainly plenty of people who describe symptoms from taking a lot of methylated B vitamins. We very rarely advocate high dose methylated B vitamins, unless somebody’s homocysteine is particularly high. In general the multivitamins we use have a mix of different forms, both folate and B12, and the doses aren’t that high. So we’d rather use slightly lower doses chronically and then only in a targeted manner use very high doses, again for short periods of time. Will high doses of methylated B vitamins cause cancer? I definitely don’t think there’s any evidence to suggest that. Just because you do need those vitamins, particularly folate or folinic acid is used for creating DNA. If you’re rapidly replicating cells, you need that, you can exacerbate the growth of some of those things. If you have more of them, you can also inhibit their growth. If you take anti-folates like methotrexate, they do have anti-cancer properties for certain cancers. You could think about it that way, but I think for most people it’s not an issue.
Dr. Woods: If you do have symptoms, if you take too many [inaudible 00:39:14] B vitamins, the simplest thing to do is take some niacin, because the niacin actually uses up those B vitamins when it’s processed. Uses up the methyl groups and you pee them out. So niacin is the antidote to too many methyl groups.
Keris: I’ll put that in the cupboard as well.
Matt: We’ve got everything in the cupboard.
Keris: Niacin. Yeah, but one thing I was going to say actually, oh I’ve lost my train of thought, about the-
Matt: Never mind.
Keris: No, because I’ve done so much on B3 recently I was like, right, I’ll get that separately. Oh I was going to ask, why in America, the dosages are really high in America in terms of in the multis, aren’t they? They’re almost 1000 times the RDA for B12 and folates. In some of them like Thorne and Designs for Health. Do you kind of bring those right down then to a quarter of that dose, or?
Dr. Woods: No. We’ll use the ones. When I’m talking of high doses, I’m talking about, you can get targeted methylated B vitamin products that have multiple grammes-
Keris: Oh wow, okay.
Dr. Woods: Of these things. Or at least-
Matt: But what’s the benefit to that, though?
Dr. Woods: It’s just to reverse a certain deficiency or an issue. You do have stores of these things, so they don’t need to be taken a long time. As your health improves you’ll often find you need less of them too. The issue is when you take them unnecessarily in the long term. If we were going to recommend something like that, we have specific [inaudible 00:40:48] that we’re looking at with some other symptoms and a bigger picture, and then we’ll use it for a period of time, and then we’ll retest and then we’ll adjust. So I’m thinking of somebody I work with who came up with a very high homocysteine, was worried about Alzheimer’s disease. I put them on a high dose of B12 and folate methylated, within a couple of months that had come down dramatically, and it had dramatically reduced the dose. That’s how I’d use them.
Keris: I was going to ask, do you test on yourself on an annual basis, are you checking, or six months, what’s your favourite test to kind of run on you, your clients, for general health?
Dr. Woods: Yeah, we now run a very basic set of blood tests through our blood chemistry calculator. So that’s the tool that we’ve developed with Brian Walsh to basically, it’s in two parts, so the first part is it just provides better reference ranges that are associated with better health outcomes. We’re improving these all the time, because some of the reference ranges we had previously, we definitely found better evidence. We changed them, there are the ones that we know there is better evidence and will change them. So it’s a very dynamic thing that we’re changing all the time as we learn more. We reserve the right to change our mind, and you cannot get mad about it because we’re just getting better, like Matt said. So the first part is the reference ranges, which is very different from the normal range you might get from the lab. Then the second part is using machine learning algorithms to predict other issues. So very basic blood test that pretty much anybody could get from their GP if they asked nicely, we can predict a whole host of nutrient deficiencies, toxic exposures, hormone problems, some infections.
Dr. Woods: Then we have some summary scores, because there can be an overwhelming amount of information. So we focus them down to like a nutrition score, a metabolic health score, an oxygen stress score and some other things just so you can track that stuff over time. So that’s what we’ll start with, with all of our clients. Often issues will pop up, including from their history or the symptoms. Then we’ll run more tests. So I think it’s much better to start with a small panel now, and then do other testing based on the other things that you find. This is again something that we’ve evolved over time. So we used to, people would come in the door and we’d throw all the tests at them, and then we’d sift through the wreckage that came in. I think that approach has the potential to do more harm than good, because often you’ll find stuff, and no test is perfect.
Dr. Woods: Again we were talking about cancer screening blood tests before we started the podcast, and everything has a sensitivity and a specificity. A sensitivity is the likelihood of it being a positive test if you truly have that issue, and then a specificity is the likelihood of it being negative, if you don’t have that issue. But if you flip that on its head, it basically means if it’s positive, how likely is it that it’s truly positive. So a lot of tests end up focusing on the sensitivities, they’ll pick up problems if they’re there, but then they’ll have a low specificity so you’ll get lots of false positives. That’s when you start running into trouble. So every test has sensitivity and specificity. It will find stuff that isn’t there, and it won’t find stuff that is there, so you should be tailoring your testing based on the person that you have in front of you. We used to think that more information was better, and I think that’s definitely something that we’ve rolled back on.
Dr. Woods: So we still do use a whole host of tests, organic acids, [inaudible 00:44:24], stool tests, we run a lot more extra blood tests if needed, be that for [inaudible 00:44:29] metals or hormones or whatever, but we’ll start with the basics. Basic blood test that we understand very well, very well published, we know what they mean in terms of long term health, [inaudible 00:44:40] mortality, that kind of stuff. Then we’ll go from there as and when we need.
Keris: The benefit of that one though, I’ve used your software a couple of times, it’s cheap as well. As in the basic blood test, like you’ve just said, it’s either free from a GP if you’ve got a good GP, or it’s about £99 to get all those markers here in the UK. My mom and dad have done them both, and they’re competing on the-
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 00:45:06]-
Keris: [crosstalk 00:45:07] age and, yeah, the age one they’re like, “Which one’s got the worst age?” It’s useful, and I do extra blood tests on them.
Matt: Who did have the worst age?
Keris: My mom of course.
Matt: Oh wow, I was going to say, if it was the other way around I’d be very surprised. I’d feel for your dad if it was the other way-
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 00:45:22], I’ve got your dad’s in front of me. Predictive age of 44. He wouldn’t mind if I say that [crosstalk 00:45:28]-
Keris: No, not at all.
Dr. Woods: So he’ll be happy about that.
Keris: Yeah, his was relatively good. But yeah it was useful, because as we were discussing before the podcast, the main thing that came up for them was kind of environmental toxins, which is quite difficult for their generation to get their head around. Their friends think I’m just bonkers talking about this. Because it’s not something that their parents didn’t really have to kind of deal with. It’s affecting every generation more and more. Whereas my dad is now, having had cancer and mom’s had cancer, they’re much more, okay, we’ll look at this. But seeing their test results, they were like, “Okay, we’ll definitely look at this.”
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Keris: [crosstalk 00:46:03], which was like yay, because I can then go and use it every week, basically.
Matt: [crosstalk 00:46:08]-
Dr. Woods: I mean the important stuff is that a lot of the stuff that [inaudible 00:46:12], we predicted a huge amount of stuff. Not all of it’s going to be 100% correct 100% of the time, because sensitivity and specificity [inaudible 00:46:19] has those just like any others. In each prediction you can see we give you the sensitivity and specificity. The data’s based on, I think it’s now 76000 people’s worth of data.
Dr. Woods: We can predict this whole host of other stuff. So Chris built the algorithms, and when you build the predictions you can save 25% of the data, and so you build the model with 75%, and then you test the next 25%. So you know what the answer is, but you hold that back. Then you can see whether the algorithm predicted it right or wrong. So every test that we have has been internally tested, and you can see the sensitivity and specificity for each prediction. Even though you might think, “Oh crap, I’ve been predicted this whole host of toxins,” the interventions don’t need to be that scary. Sauna, make sure you filter your water, don’t drink crappy bottled water, don’t microwave your food in plastic containers. Buy certain organic foods. That’s it, right? That’s going to dramatically reduce your burden. It doesn’t need to drive you crazy, it’s some simple interventions that you can do. That’s the case for pretty much everything that we predict. If we were predicting nutrient deficiencies, just eat more of the foods that have those things in. It doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a whole host of supplements.
Dr. Woods: What I really like about it is that if you approach it in the right way, most of the interventions are diet and lifestyle based. Most of them are low risk with a high potential benefit. So that’s the kind of way that we like to use it.
Keris: What’s nice about it as well is if you run it alongside a consultation process, you come up with a bit of a hypothesis about what might be going on, and what system is kind of faltering, and then you run it through the software-
Keris: -about what might be going on and what system is faltering, and then you run it through the software and it’s backed up and you’re like, “Yes, bingo.”
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Keris: You just have that kind of moment where you’re really confident in what I’m going to recommend. I don’t know. Some clients I’ll definitely show it to. Some I’ll use it on the client, but I won’t show it to them. I know what some of them are like, and they’re too obsessed with some of this stuff already.
Keris: Yeah. That’s interesting. So, I was just going to ask if you still do … Because I found I stool test less now because using things like symptoms and consultation processes and just seeing well, okay, I don’t know. It always seems to come up with … I don’t know. I’ve lost faith in some of the stool testing side of things a little bit recently, because it just comes up with the same thing all the time. I was like, “Well it’s always the same outcome, it’s almost always yeast.” Why not just go in with an antimicrobial, antifungal four week programme and just see if people improve? Do you find you’re doing the same now? Just kind of-
Dr. Woods: Yes, sometimes. We definitely got into the spiral of testing and treating and testing and treating and testing and treating. Actually, if you go … You know, a good history, really know your clients, I don’t think you need to do that nearly as much. If somebody does have symptoms that we think, even if they’re not direct gut symptoms but they’re symptoms that we think could be associated with the gut, either because of some other things or how they respond to meals and things like that, we will test just to get a baseline. Maybe it will give a specific issue that we should be targeting, but sometimes we end up just … You do an empirical treatment protocol.
Dr. Woods: So, yeast often tends to be like there’s yeast, but there’s something else more sinister kind of hiding beneath that. Or at least that’s been our experience. So, treating the yeast then kind of uncovers something else, which has sort of been smouldering underneath. So then maybe that requires two different rounds of things. But you can do that with, you know … We definitely found that separately we’ve developed our own way of working through it, but Michael Rucho’s book on treating gut symptoms and the methodical approach to first diet and lifestyle and then treatment protocols, it’s pretty good.
Dr. Woods: So if people are interested in how to approach that, and doing it in a methodical manner such that you actually figure out what’s going on and how to treat it, it’s a pretty good book that people can start with. So, as long as you do things properly and you do them methodically, you don’t just like shotgun stuff at random, I think you can dramatically reduce the amount of testing that you need to do and just go guided on symptoms and stuff like that.
Keris: You guys need to do a practitioner training course, definitely.
Dr. Woods: Yeah, I just need another 24 hours in a day.
Keris: I know.
Matt: I was gonna say. Poor bloke. It never stops, Tommy. Does it, mate? Never stops.
Dr. Woods: No. I know. I know. I guess it’s a good thing. If this demands more of our time, then I guess that we’re doing something useful. Yeah, so that will end up being part of the calculator I think at least. The other membership for practitioners, which includes a monthly webinar, and as that becomes bigger hopefully, then that can pay for more of our time. We can invest more time into training, and then people who are members, there’ll be resources to help them. Both in terms of the calculator, but then also do some of the changes, you know, protocols that they might want to use on their clients and stuff like that.
Dr. Woods: So that’s absolutely part of the future. We’ll figure out the best way to get there.
Matt: It’s like you’re just-
Keris: We’re gonna do Matt’s next.
Matt: It just takes, yeah.
Keris: Let’s do Matt’s.
Keris: Can we do Matt’s live on a podcast, that would be brilliant.
Matt: No, no, no.
Matt: Can you imagine?
Dr. Woods: I did that once.
Matt: Do you know, actually, I’ll be up for that, why not?
Keris: And we’re going to do organic acids on you as well, that would be interesting.
Matt: One at a time. One at a time.
Dr. Woods: I did them at the same time.
Dr. Woods: Do them at the same time, you’re meant to do them in the same morning, pee in a cup and then go and get your blood taken.
Matt: Oh, well fair enough.
Keris: That’s useful [inaudible 00:51:56].
Matt: You’ve convinced me.
Keris: This will be amazing.
Matt: Not to segway too much.
Keris: I’m conscious of Tommy’s time as well.
Matt: I love that expression. I rarely get to use it, that’s the second time in my life I’ve been able to use it now, I’m quite proud of that.
Dr. Woods: Segway.
Matt: Obviously we’re talking about, a lot of the stuff we’ve spoken about is our nutrition, supplements, etc etc. but a big thing that, I wouldn’t say I’ve changed my stance on per se, because I suppose I went from not really giving it much thought or valuing it very much to valuing it a hell of a lot, and that’s just looking at stress.
Keris: He’s going to talk about his rash now.
Matt: I am. Well done. You know me so well, [Keris 00:52:45]. We’ve spoken for years, the benefits from doing more recovery, more restorative work. I suppose it’s been in the last year that it’s become a little bit more popular if you will. Because of the likes of Doctor Chatterjee and whatnot, putting that message out there, and it’s definitely gaining a bit more traction, we’ve always believed in it, haven’t we? In just kind of investing in yourself, and taking a chill pill from time to time. Not literally, by the way. What are these pills you’re talking about?
Keris: St John’s Wort.
Matt: But I had a bit of a breakthrough recently, right. I used to, bear with me here because it does involve a rash, but I’ll provide a little bit more context in a moment. If ever I had a bit of a binge, if you will, not a binge as such but let’s say I’ve had a bit of a treat. I eat like a tub of ice cream-
Keris: A bit of a treat.
Matt: That’s a bit of a treat for me.
Dr. Woods: A 16 inch pizza. Like a whole-
Matt: It was a meal deal, so yeah-
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 00:53:46].
Matt: I could have got a 16 inch for the same price as a 12, so it’s a no-brainer. Lo and behold, I never have guilt associated to food, I’m not one of those people who’s like, “Oh, I feel fat and horrible, I need to get back on it.” It’s normally just I do it, I enjoy it, that’s that, I move on. But nine times out of 10, about a day or two later, I’d normally break out in a rash, wouldn’t I? It’d be on my leg, on my ankle, and it would almost like clockwork be after a little bit of an excessive sugar or dairy binge.
Keris: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:54:26] fungal skin, wasn’t it?
Matt: Yeah, it’s like a fungal rash, nice right? But what I found recently was, I just had a little bit of a breakthrough on a personal level, on a professional level, and I realised just how stressed I think I’d been for the last couple of years with the general running of the business, lots of stuff going on. The usual stuff that most people have to deal with. It affects everyone in different ways. Sleep was being affected, blah blah blah. The usual suspects. Anyway, I decided that I had this breakthrough, I felt really good, I felt very grateful, I felt very lucky to have all the things that I have in my life. I just decided almost I just wanted to be more chilled out, I wanted to do all the things that running an online business should allow me to do, and that’s spend more quality time with Keris, see the world, get outside more, etc etc.
Matt: Anyway, we went away last weekend, and safe to say I had a fair few treats. Tonnes of bread, alcohol, ice cream, sugar, the usual kind of stuff. In my head I’d already been like god, my body’s going to go mental in a couple of days after this. Anyway, it didn’t happen. Like there was no rash, there was no breakout. Aside from just being a bit more chilled out about things, nothing else had changed. Like nothing, aside from feeling a bit more chilled out, sleeping a little bit more, etc.
Keris: So you know Matt did the marathon?
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Keris: Off the back of the marathon, the night before basically he was having a few jelly babies, that was the done thing, everyone was like, “Have some jelly babies.” When he finished someone came over with a cold can of Coke and there was no stopping him, he was like, “I’m having this.”
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 00:56:17] carb loading.
Matt: It was heaven.
Keris: No, this was after he finished. [crosstalk 00:56:21]
Dr. Woods: Oh yeah.
Keris: The cold can of Coke.
Matt: Imagine getting an ice cold can of Coke after running a marathon in 24 degrees.
Dr. Woods: Yeah, I’d totally drink that. [crosstalk 00:56:33]
Matt: It was the most amazing can of Coke I’ve ever had in my life.
Keris: Then we expected to [crosstalk 00:56:35]-
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 00:56:35] it’s better in a glass bottle, but if that wasn’t, you know, a can is-
Keris: Then I said, god, after running that you’re going to crash and you’re going to have all sorts of gut issues and everything. Nothing. Because he was on such a high for about five, six days after the marathon, weren’t you? You were saying, this is the power of being happy, that sense of achievement, everything, you just had nothing, did you? I was like waiting for the rash to appear and it didn’t. So I have no argument now against soft drinks.
Matt: This weekend just gone, it was a bit of a bread binge, because we went to this restaurant [crosstalk 00:57:09]-
Keris: You’re really painting the most amazing picture of [crosstalk 00:57:10].
Matt: Yeah. Hey, it’s all about balance. I keep telling people. It was Keris’ dad’s birthday meal, and we went to this place where all the bread’s like freshly baked. Comes out, it’s warm, it’s so nice, isn’t it?
Keris: Would you eat that, Tommy, if this was you?
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Keris: Do you?
Keris: Just checking.
Dr. Woods: Yeah.
Matt: Tommy’s got my back. I went to town yet again, like on the bread and everything else, and again I’ve had no problems at all. Not even the slightest sign of any rash or anything like that.
Keris: It’s the power of the mind [crosstalk 00:57:47].
Matt: I do genuinely believe that stress is something that people cannot ignore. You can eat well, you can exercise and all of that, but if you’ve got this stress in your life, be it work related stress, relationship related stress, even it’s food related stresses that some people have in the form of orthorexia and things like that, people get so wound up about these things. I genuinely think it’s, and I’m really pleased it’s being focused on a lot more. I suppose my question is, rather than going off-
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 00:58:20] question.
Matt: Yeah. I just wanted to talk about myself.
Keris: It was very relevant.
Matt: No, but I suppose my question is, have you experienced a similar change in your approach? I used to very much be-
Keris: Tell us about your rash, Tommy.
Matt: Any rashes? [crosstalk 00:58:37] Mine used to be train as hard as I can, eat whatever I want, then it evolved a little bit to I should probably eat a little bit better, but I’m still going to train as much and hard as I can, and rest and recovery was for wusses. Whereas now I’m more the other way around, I’m like I value the more rest, recovery, and more restorative stuff than I do everything else, the training I mean.
Dr. Woods: I’m still not sure there was a question in there, but I think I know what the question was. First of all, I completely agree with Matt’s approach, and mine is very similar, where I eat really well most of the time, but then if somebody has gone to the trouble of making this amazing food, then I’m absolutely going to enjoy it. It’s very important for me to not feel guilty about it. I’m going to enjoy it, it’s going to be great, and it doesn’t mean the wheels have fallen off the waggon or like the whole day is ruined, everything else needs to be banned. No, people beat themselves up about that stuff all the time. If you’re going to have a treat, just enjoy it-
Matt: Enjoy it.
Dr. Woods: And then if you feel guilty about it you’ve undone all that hard work. I’m completely the same. But the bigger picture, I completely agree, and this is something that we focus on a lot more. Equally when I interviewed [inaudible 01:00:02], he said something very similar, which is that he used to think that diet was the biggest issue, but now stress is actually he finds the biggest issue with his clients. With the various reasons, both [inaudible 01:00:15] and working with Brian [inaudible 01:00:16] we focused a lot on social isolation, how people feel and interact with others, and the opportunities they take to interact with others, and how they do that. Other ways of mitigating stress, so be it mindfulness, meditation, yoga, whatever it is. If you’re taking periods of time to go out and walk, it shouldn’t be music, it shouldn’t be podcasts, that can be a restful and restorative time, but if you’re continuously trying to cram more information in or do more with that time you’re not going to get those benefits.
Keris: Unless [crosstalk 01:00:46]-
Dr. Woods: Also-
Keris: Bit of food radio.
Dr. Woods: Yeah, food radio, yes.
Keris: That’s different.
Dr. Woods: But then after you’ve listened to that, enjoy some time without [crosstalk 01:00:54].
Keris: Music, yeah.
Dr. Woods: If that’s even possible. Then obviously there’s the whole sleep piece, which we focus on a lot. We find that the people who come to us, and the majority, not all of them, but probably the majority, close to the majority are athletes or people who have had some kind of athletic goal, and they will have lived exactly the way that Matt has lived, the way I have lived, which is that you have to crush yourself, you have to work really hard, you have to continuously be pushing. Then you start to unpack, why is that? What is it that drives you to do that? I know that when I was doing increasingly stupid endurance events, I’m pretty sure it’s because I didn’t really like myself. I thought that other people might like me more if I did these amazing things. Then you realise that nobody fucking cares. They just think you’re an idiot. You realise you’re doing it because you don’t like yourself, rather than because other people don’t like you.
Dr. Woods: Then you start to unpack all of that, and I think that’s really important. It’s difficult to do. We have help, Simon Marshall’s a fabulous sport psychologist, and he’s our behaviour change expert as well. He now works with a lot of our clients. Because that’s where we need to focus. A lot of the things that you end up doing in your life, be they because you think that they’re positive or be they things that you’re negatively doing to yourself and you don’t know how to get out of it, a lot of that is psychological. No supplement or change in diet is going to fix that. A lot of the stress and the way it manifests itself in the gut, you can’t fix that with herbs or antibiotics. You have to break it down and build up from scratch.
Dr. Woods: The psychological aspect, the stress, the social isolation, the rest and relaxation, all of that stuff is super important. That’s definitely become more of a bedrock in what we do. Even though it’s harder to do that stuff.
Dr. Woods: Absolutely it is-
Dr. Woods: Recommend a diet or a supplement, but we’ve increasingly realised how important that is. We want people who work with us to find a purpose in life. It’s not like some big, airy fairy thing. It’s like what do you actually want to do with your life? We have a lot of people who stopped doing the sport they were doing, or quit their job-
Dr. Woods: You know, I think part of this finding health in the long term is figuring this stuff out. Some people love their job, and they love their training and we support them to do that, and they continue to do well at it. That’s great, but equally if part of your health issues stem from the way you think about yourself and the job that you hate, or the relationship you hate, or the sport that you’re doing that you actually hate but you don’t know what else you can do, or maybe you feel like you need to do it to validate yourself, you need to work through that stuff too.
Dr. Woods: My short answer to your question is yes, that’s very important [inaudible 01:03:49] a lot too.
Matt: I just think, I always say to people imagine, when you go on holiday, and you think about how good you feel on holiday despite boozing a little bit more, despite probably eating foods that you wouldn’t normally eat at home a little bit more, yet the amount of people that come back from a holiday and they’re like, “I don’t understand it, when I was away I was smashing pizza, pasta and beer and whatever, and I felt fantastic. I come back, I had a bolognese the other night and my gut went mental.” I’m like, “Yeah, but you’re now back home in [crosstalk 01:04:23] England, probably in a job that you hate, stressed, not sleeping very well compared to topping up your vitamin D, sleeping loads, not setting an alarm, laughing, smiling, getting outside.”
Matt: That’s why we say to people it’s not necessarily a particular food group or whatever that’s causing a problem and that’s the enemy, it’s the environment of which you’ve consumed it that is probably the issue. But like you say, it’s really hard to get people to … Because obviously unless someone just plans on getting a job abroad or whatever, in their head they’re a bit like, “Yeah, but I live in Hastings. It’s sunny and warm-”
Dr. Woods: Wait, Hastings is on the sea, go and walk on the seaside.
Matt: Yeah, but it still only sees sunshine about 1.3% of the year, probably.
Dr. Woods: That’s still enough. Even if it’s raining that’s enough to set a proper circadian rhythm, which people aren’t doing, they’re not going outside because it’s raining. But that’s still much better than the light you get indoors.
Matt: Getting outside full stop is just beneficial, isn’t it? That’s what we always say.
Keris: [crosstalk 01:05:29].
Matt: Whatever the weather.
Keris: We need to have a dog, that’s what you need.
Matt: It’s true.
Keris: The best health coach you’ll ever have. Right, I’m close to the time Tommy, longer than we said. I’ve got one last [crosstalk 01:05:38]-
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 01:05:38] my dogs are just like, they’re not looking like they want to go outside right now. [inaudible 01:05:42] asleep at my feet.
Keris: We’ve got one last question for you, the most important question. You’re getting married at the end of the week. What cake did you choose?
Dr. Woods: Well, it’s 12 days.
Matt: What cake did you choose? That’s the question?
Keris: What cake did you choose, yeah!
Matt: [crosstalk 01:05:51]-
Dr. Woods: What cake did we chose? We’re actually getting cupcakes.
Keris: Oh really?
Dr. Woods: Like mini cupcakes.
Matt: Oh I see.
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 01:06:04] because nobody wants like a big, you know those big cupcakes which are like 50% frosting on the top, I can’t eat them. I’ll have like one bite and then feel kind of unwell. We have those, we have some that are gluten free because we will have some gluten free people at the wedding. Various different flavours.
Matt: I didn’t want to bring it up from the podcast maybe, but we haven’t received our invite yet. Just wondered if there was a-
Dr. Woods: It must have got lost in the post. If you want to come, we’ve got a couple of spaces going. Jump on a flight, there’ll be plenty of meat-
Keris: [crosstalk 01:06:48].
Dr. Woods: At the reception. It’s NASCAR weekend, so you can go and watch some NASCAR as well.
Matt: That sounds like a good weekend away.
Keris: We’re going to look out on Facebook for photos. Is there going to be photos?
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 01:07:02], yeah. We have an awesome photographer, he’ll post lots of photos.
Matt: It’s weird though, it feels like-
Keris: Aww, congratulations.
Matt: You’ve been talking about getting married for like ages now. I just assumed you already were.
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 01:07:11], so.
Matt: Say again?
Dr. Woods: We got engaged 18 months ago, I think I’ve been on the podcast at least twice since we got engaged.
Matt: Oh wow.
Keris: Is it stressful organising it, just out of interest? Not that I hint in any way to Matt here. Did you get stressed? You guys don’t strike me as someone who gets stressed organising that kind of thing.
Dr. Woods: Elizabeth is very well organised, so everything was in place a long time in advance.
Keris: 17 months ago. Yeah.
Dr. Woods: Yeah. The main plans were in place 18 months ago. I’m a much less organised person, so me taking the initiative on things is less likely to happen. There are things that I need to do, and I’ll make sure I do them, but other than that Elizabeth pretty much has done it. Without definitely not a bridezilla or anything like that. Overall it’s been a pretty relaxed process.
Matt: Oh mate, well-
Keris: Good stuff.
Matt: We’re very happy for you.
Keris: Yeah, congrats.
Matt: So what’s her surname right now?
Dr. Woods: Nance.
Matt: So is she going to keep it as like a double barrel, or?
Dr. Woods: She’ll at least keep her name for her professional, she has a lab, like multiple students, a lot of research along with her name, so she’ll definitely keep that.
Matt: Right, okay.
Dr. Woods: She may change it on some personal stuff. I think that’s important. To be honest I don’t really, if I’m perfectly honest I don’t really get the name change thing. In Scandinavia you usually don’t change your name. My mom didn’t take my dad’s name when they got married. Again, they’re also academics. So if you have a professional name, either because you’re doing research or because you’re a doctor or something, it doesn’t make sense to change it. Also it goes back to a time when the reason you took the name was because your husband then took ownership of you from your father.
Matt: Oh really?
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 01:09:05] anything about Elizabeth, she knows that nobody would ever own her. If people want to do it, I think that’s great. It’s a tradition, you want to do it because it’s traditional, then that’s fantastic. But equally I think it also partly belongs in a time that isn’t the way things are now either. I’m super relaxed about that stuff.
Matt: Yeah, I agree with it, it wouldn’t bother me if you were like, “I want to remain a Marsden,” or whatever.
Keris: I’ve already got a double barrel name, I can’t have another one anyway.
Matt: Well, you’ve got like triple barrel name, haven’t you?
Keris: Yeah, a long story.
Matt: It’s a long name. Right Tommy, thank you so much once again mate. It’s always a pleasure having you on. Next time you will be a married man, mate. Amazing. On that note-
Dr. Woods: [crosstalk 01:09:55].
Dr. Woods: We can talk about that, maybe you and I will just do a podcast separately and we can-
Matt: Can you imagine? Right mate, well listen, enjoy the rest of your day. Because you have got the rest of your day ahead, whereas it’s our dinner time now. Yeah, we’ll no doubt have you on again in the future mate.
Dr. Woods: Yeah great, looking forward to it, thanks again.
Keris: Thank you.
Matt: Right guys, hope you enjoyed that episode. Any questions related to what we’ve spoken about, any questions about things you would like us to cover in the future, reach out to us [email protected] If you haven’t done so already, leave a review on the podcast pretty pretty please. Even if it’s a bad one, you know, ideally it won’t be. Any feedback is good feedback, because we learn from it in one way or another. Share this episode with anyone else you think will benefit. Now I’ll say ta-ra, and see you in episode 102. Cheers guys.