George Bryant: Paleo, Eating Disorders, & Intention
By: Dave Asprey
November 11, 2014
George Bryant is the co-author of the New York Times Best-selling cookbook, The Paleo Kitchen, and the man behind one of the most popular Paleo food blogs, Civilized Caveman Cooking. A former marine, George turned to Paleo after battling weight issues for nearly his entire life, and now dedicates his time to crafting tasty Paleo recipes, and helping tens of thousands of people discover the joy that can be found in cooking and sharing food with others.
Why you should listen –
George comes on Bulletproof Radio to discuss the root causes of eating disorders, the power of intention and prioritization, the importance of eating quality food as fuel for your body, and the secret to creating a delicious meal. Enjoy the show!
What You’ll Hear
- 0:10 – Cool Fact of the Day!
- 0:51 – Welcome George Bryant
- 2:07 – George’s past struggles with Bulimia
- 5:28 – Are food cravings biological or psychological?
- 12:40 – How food is a catalyst for amazing results in life
- 14:30 – Paleo and Orthorexia
- 20:30 – Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations
- 24:16 – Gluten
- 28:20 – The importance of quality food as fuel
- 36:45 – Food highs and love in your food
- 43:15 – The power of emotions in preparing your food
- 53:26 – Top three recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!
Dave: Hey everyone its Dave Asprey of Bulletproof Radio. Today’s cool fact of the day is that in one study rats that lack the ability to taste actually began to prefer concentrated flavors in their water over just plain water, but if they can’t taste why would they do that? The scientists actually believed it’s because food causes post-ingestive cues in rat brains, and probably human brains which leads the rats to prefer ingesting nutrients that we need, things like amino acids. That might be why eating flavored replacement foods never quite cuts out your cravings even if it tastes the same your body knows that you’re trying to lie to it.
Today’s guest on the show is a really, really cool guy and he’s New York Times best-selling co-author of The Paleo Kitchen and he’s the creative crazy man behind Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations, none other than George Bryant. He’s also lost 100 lbs. … with your brother, me too. A former marine and his father passed away from brain cancer in 2008. Definitely some health interest there, some cooking interest there, and we’re going to talk about a lot of cool stuff and probably a few things where we don’t agree, but we’ll figure that out. George welcome to the show, man.
George Bryant: Thanks for having me. I love the agreement clause, that’s what makes it interesting.
Dave: If we only agreed on everything it wouldn’t be any good.
George Bryant: It would be a boring world.
Dave: Could you just tell me why Paleo is bad for you?
George Bryant: Totally, because people get narcissistic about it, egotistical and maniacally dogmatic.
Dave: Nice, so much like … Actually it doesn’t have that in common with the vegan diet, the low fat diet, the Atkins diet.
George Bryant: Pretty much everything. We jumped on the coattails and now we’re separating ourselves again.
Dave: That’s too funny. Any nutritional program can get like that and you’re maybe, someone who understands that better than most because you’ve also outed yourself as a bulimic, at least a former bulimic, and by the way, that takes huge amounts of courage to talk about that especially as a man, so good for you.
George Bryant: I realized when I went Paleo and I started feeling better and everything was regulated and I was still having that dirty little secret, I realized that belief that I had about myself was preventing extraordinary results everywhere in my life because I was never really vulnerable or authentic or transparent, and I honestly felt hypocritical posting recipes online and telling people to be healthy, while secretly I have this skeleton in my closet. I feel like I lost an extra 100 lbs. the day I posted that online, it was the best thing ever.
Dave: It’s interesting that bulimia gets into both psychology and biology. Actually what do you think, is it one or is it the other? Or is it both? How do you separate those out in your view of the world and health?
George Bryant: It’s totally … To me it’s, from a psychological standpoint, as well as the biological, I feel like there’s a different ratio for different people depending on, almost like your paradigm and your belief system that was formed as a child or growing up, and you external influences like socio-economics and family and religion and school.
But once one takes over and gets past the tipping point then they both feed into each other, and even if you’re in a great mindset, you’re in a great place of wanting to overcome it you’ve literally created this vacuum of your body for hormone dis-regulation and cravings and all these things that you talk about, bio-hacking wise and with everything from your blood sugar to your brain, to patterns that you’ve created around your life they feed into each other. In order to … For me, personally, because I can only talk about myself, in order for me to overcome it I got to be really grounded in my belief system about myself and having a healthy relationship with myself, and once I was stable and solid there the rest of it biologically, when I could stick to my guns and nourish my body, kind of fell into place and supported my journey.
Dave: Basically from that perspective, and I’m just playing this back, you had some emotional stuff and certainly I’ve dealt with my own bunch of stuff there, and I’m pretty public about that … just some emotional stuff then that led to biological problems which then compounded the emotional problems.
George Bryant: Yes.
Dave: All right.
George Bryant: Yes, that’s the best way to put it.
Dave: After that happened and then you went Paleo, what … losing a 100 lbs. is, it changes your whole outlook on everything.
George Bryant: Totally.
Dave: I don’t think a lot of people who haven’t lost at least 40 lbs. or 50 lbs. understand the impact of having the right pants that are like two-thirds as big as your other ones.
George Bryant: Totally, totally.
Dave: But there’s that emotional satisfaction that comes from knowing you’ve achieved this. Do you feel like now though, that you still get cravings like that, that are biologically based like because you ate something wrong or because you didn’t sleep or because of something like that? Or is most of it like a psychological thing now and you’ve managed to balance that out?
George Bryant: I feel like now at my point it’s a lot … A lot of its illogical. What I realized though is in the beginning of my recovery, my journey, because I haven’t had an episode I’ll never be bulimic again but I haven’t purged in two years. What I found in the beginning is that I was associating the cravings with the biological thing rather than really diving in and taking a look at the beliefs I had around it.
I was playing an awesome game and story with myself, convincing myself that the story was real and I was a victim to my circumstance, now when those things come up I can take a really hard look at how I’ve been sleeping, how I’ve been eating or not eating or treating my body and realized that I’m literally creating that symptom in my body and I have the tools to overcome it. All of it for me now is psychological and relating to the circumstance and an empowering manner rather than a victim too and I can’t help it I got to give in to it but it’s feedback for me. It’s literally the map for me to have the healthiest body possible.
Dave: In the … some of the social media stuff I’ve done, recently I posted something along the lines of, “If you have a food craving it’s your fault.”
George Bryant: That’s the truth.
Dave: How do you deconstruct that? As a guy who’s clearly healthy, clearly understands nutrition, and understands some … even psychology at a level more than most people, because you had an eating disorder but you’ve hacked it, so how do you respond to that? Does that piss you off or you agreed with it, help people listening understand.
George Bryant: I want to say thank you. I want to say thank you for saying what people don’t say, there’s a lot of levels that I could go on that and we could dive in a personal development all day, but really one of my favorite things to say is that, “If it’s up to me it’s up to me.” You don’t get to look at your life when everything works and be like, “Oh, I did that,” and then when everything doesn’t work you’re like, “Oh, no, no, no, that wasn’t me,” and it’s the same with food.
When you’re feeling great, and you’re performing well you’re like, “Oh yeah, I’m eating good, I’m on this diet, I’m working out,” and then all of a sudden when circumstances come up whether it’s work or lack of sleep you feel like you’re no longer powerful and you give in. Your life and your body and your health is not conditional. You don’t get to kind of waver, when you make a commitment that commitment is unwavering. I find that the best way for me to explain what you said is like, number one, thank you, for people that don’t want to have the hard conversations. Everything that shows up in your space and in your life is because you put it there. One way or another it’s there because it’s intended to be there and it continues to show up until you break that pattern.
I’m actually going to steal or go find that post of yours and re-post it, because really everything comes down to the relationship between our gut and our brain. Everything is triggered and it’s triggered on anchors that we have had created, and every single one of them is hackable. If you have a pattern of emotional eating your emotions aren’t going to go away but you can change what you do when those emotions come up. That craving, whatever it is, whether you’re craving chocolate or wine or … I eat coconut milk ice cream and chocolate chips like it’s nobody’s business and the difference is I don’t look at it as I’m cheating, like I’m not in a relationship with food. I’m choosing.
One of my favorite things … I’m going to be a smart ass for a second. This is my favorite thing ever. Focus, I have a pencil and a pen and I always ask people, “Am I a pencil or pen?” They’re like, “Pencil,” I’m like, “Why?” They give a story, and then I’m like, “Okay, pencil or pen?” They’re like, “Pen,” and I’m like, “Why?” They give me another story and I’m like, “Great, wrong,” and I’m like, “Pencil,” and I’m like, “Why?” I’m like, “Because I choose pencil, that’s why.” There’s no story, there’s no reason it’s a choice. I know that’s a really cheesy example but when it comes down to it, when you have that craving you can choose to give in to it, or you can choose to take a different path. Every time you make that choice to do something different you’re creating a positive affirmation and a positive anchor in your brain, and your gut-brain relationship to trigger something different in the future, like you can get to yourself craving coconut oil if you really wanted it to. You could crave your Bulletproof Coffee, which I drink every day. You could crave chocolate. You could crave butter, because we all know like people like you and I and Jimmy Moore eat it by the stick or you could do whatever you want.
Dave: It’s weird. I actually did go through, about two years of butter cravings. When I first moved to Canada it was hard, I haven’t figured out how to get grass fed butter here. I was literally … I felt like my performance was going away and not just that, I think there was a biological basis for that. I really was like, “Okay, I’m unhappy, if I’m eating this industrial … best organic industrial butter I can get from here.” It wasn’t doing for my body what I was used to getting from quality butter and it … I was starting to lag from it. I really was like, I’ll like lick my plate to get the butter off of it, if it’s real butter like anything to get it into my body. I didn’t feel any guilt about that, I’m just like, “Okay, I’m listening to the signals from my body that are like what should I be eating, what should I not be eating.” Over the course of several years I actually cut my butter consumption a little bit. It’s not that I did that for any health reasons or anything like that, I think it’s because I ended up replacing a lot of my cell membranes. My body was like, “I don’t need this many raw materials for building. I just need fuel.” I went from … Sometimes I do like six or eight tablespoons of butter in my Bulletproof Coffee and it’s like drinking a milkshake that’s warm, down to my normal about two, I’m a pretty big guy, two tablespoons, plus a couple tablespoons of brain octane. Over time my cravings diminished, I think, as my biological capacity got greater, and that’s where in The Bulletproof Diet Book I’ve written a lot about willpower, that if you eat in such a way that you don’t get cravings you’ll trigger less of your emotional stuff if you still have the emotional stuff, but you’ll also trigger less of the biological stuff.
For me, I found that the vast majority, at least in the last 10 years or so of food cravings, what a lot of people just identify as hunger are actually profound cravings like “I hate MSG,” and like, “I had a super strong sugar craving.” I’m like, “Yeah, because MSG does that to you,” but it was like you had a drug and a response to the drug. When you have bulimia running as part of your, in background process, if you ate MSG and you experience a sugar craving, along with the sugar craving what else would come with that?
George Bryant: That would come with the binge eating and then the binge eating would feed into the vicious cycle of being overstuffed, guilty about what I ate, not accepting of my body image, which would then turn to the purging. That was my cycle.
Dave: That’s how you mixed biology and emotional all together at one, and if you think that’s all you and you’re unaware that you ate that salad dressing with MSG in it, that was the initial trigger that brought this whole spiral, it’s still your fault you ate the salad dressing.
George Bryant: What I love to is, and I can’t wait to see it, the mindset stuff that you talked about and willpower. One of my favorite things to tell people, and this bridges the biological-psychological gap as well, is food can literally be a catalyst for amazing results everywhere in your life. Because what I realized is that a lot of my life, 30 years of it, I went through life thinking I had compartments, like I was only bulimic in the food place, but I wasn’t insecure in my relationships or at work which was complete B-S.
I think a very powerful thing to realize is that how you show up in one aspect of your life is how you show up everywhere, it’s like a blank canvass. You can’t be like, “Oh, I’m fully committed to work but I’m only toe-in my relationship,” or, “I’m fully committed to food but only half into work.” That willpower that you talked about, I think it’s perfect for people because I love what you do, biohacking wise. You get into mindset and healthy living and all these different things, but when you can use that willpower to create positive results with food they show up everywhere. Like you’re going to be like, “Oh, I lost 5 lbs.,” or you might simultaneously get a raise and a better relationship with your wife, or a healthier, more present connected relationship with your kids or your friends, or anything there because the way you show up one place supports everything, and you’re going to continue to build this momentum with your willpower and anchor. I appreciate that, that’s my long-winded thank you, talking about that too.
Dave: I hope you don’t mind, I’m just sort of throwing a lot of questions about psychology because there are a lot of … We can talk about psychologists all day long but there’s a value that comes from working on people, but when you have hacked at yourself you’ve, maybe learned some lessons that are less obvious to people.
There’s one more, kind of hard question though, George, and lots of people will say, “Paleo is just a form of orthorexia, and a lot of bulimics go … can switch over, or anorexics to being orthorexics.” If you’re not familiar with the term and you’re listening to this, orthorexia is this eating disorder where you have to eat just the right foods and you can’t eat ever eat anything else or you’re a total failure. Number one, did you become an inadvertent orthorexic along your path? What’s up with Paleo and orthorexia?
George Bryant: Totally, I feel like that’s a very natural evolution of overcoming an eating disorder. It doesn’t have to be, but in the process of secretly fighting it a lot of people go that way because you’re jumping on the other side of the ship and you’re running from a place of insecurity rather than acceptance.
Mindset wise, psychologically what I experienced is a lot of people … because I get emails all the time about eating disorders and my own journey was I’m like, “Great, I’m not going to be bulimic anymore.” I focused so much on what I wasn’t going to be that I created circumstances that were very orthorexic and on the other end of the spectrum. What I learned that works for me, and I’ll get to the Paleo orthorexy in a minute, is focusing on what I am or what I’m up to becoming. Language is huge, and a lot of people don’t realize the power of language but when you make declarations you literally set yourself conscious intention to create those results in your life. My favorite examples, I love this one, when girl friends are together and they’re like, “Okay, we’re married, we’re not trying, I’m not going to be pregnant,” and then sure enough four weeks later, five weeks later the universe doesn’t hear “not” and they’ve literally created a subconscious belief in themselves that they wanted to be pregnant and it happens all the time, in food and whatever it is.
I guess my hack for it was coming from a place of acceptance and creation rather than victim insecurity this is happening to me, I’m in control. I was no longer, “I’m not a bulimic,” I was, “I’m healthy. I’m complete. I’m whole. I’m perfect. I feel great. I have energy.” If there were days that it was sluggish I got to look at, not what I was doing wrong but what was missing that I could bring forward to add value to my life. That was my hack for that. With Paleo and orthorexia it is so prevalent and it’s the reason there’s so many dogmatic beliefs around Paleo and it shows up everywhere. I get it all the time, like you go read blogs, my website particularly or Facebook or whatever, and it’s like, I post white rice and you would have sworn that I was practicing witchcraft and people were coming at me with steaks or then like I use –
Dave: Were they grass fed steaks? I’m just curious.
George Bryant: They were grass fed and grass finished but they came from a farm too far from my house, so someone found a reason to correct me.
Dave: They weren’t harvested by one-armed monks, I’ve had that problem too.
George Bryant: I know, I mean and I didn’t do it myself and all these other things but what I like to ask people is, I get those questions all the time and I actually respond. I take the time to write emails back and I don’t talk about their question. I ask them what I heard them say that they didn’t say, like what belief do you have about yourself that you projecting your insecurities out of my blog or my website is going to help you overcome the challenges you’re having? What I find is that a lot of people that find Paleo it’s because it’s the next bandwagon, it’s the next big movement and it’s really catchy right now, so they dive in all the way still insecure, just like they were insecure when they were vegan or when they were vegetarian or when they were carb cycling, never getting to the root system or belief as to why they want to look or be different. I know for a fact because it ran my life on how unhealthy it is, and no matter what you eat or which way you go you’re going to end up with the same results and we could get into … You’ve talked about this before sympathetic, parasympathetic, when you’re operating out of a flight or fight mode, which is anything that is stressing your life you could eat Oreos, it doesn’t matter. Your body is not going to get any nutritional value from it, it’s going to process most of it out and you’re going to continue to be unhealthy.
You know you really have to prepare your mind and your body and that connection to receive what you’re going to eat and operating out of a place of orthorexia or insecurity is not going to create the amazing results that you want. That’s why in Paleo, there’s this huge scale, there’s this people that are successful, they’re healthy, they’re happy, they have energy and then there’s the exact same people that eat the same way that are unhealthy, still not losing weight, not sleeping, hormonally dis-regulated and it’s all about their mindset around the food and how they’re relating to it. That’s my short answer.
Dave: It’s a great answer and you said something that’s really important there, and something it took me a long time to understand. If you’re setting an intention or setting a goal, whatever it is, just the word “not” it’s invisible to your body, it’s invisible to your subconscious, it’s invisible to the world around you. If you say, “I want to not be bad,” you’re like, “I want to be bad,” is what your stupid body will hear. It’s amazing, every little nuance of your language matters when you’re really trying to tell your body what you want it to do and so never focus on not being fat. I did a double negative.
George Bryant: You just said, but I negated yourself, you lost them.
Dave: The idea of saying, “I’m going to focus on being healthy or being at an ideal healthy weight,” it changes the whole way you see the problem instead of running away from something bad or instead of subtracting something bad towards adding something good. It doesn’t make a lot of sense logically, right? It doesn’t make any sense logically. Unfortunately your body is completely not rational, or at least mine is. How did you come up with the name of Civilized Caveman?
George Bryant: That’s actually … I love that question because I haven’t talked about this one in a while. My Paleo journey started in Afghanistan when I was deployed in 2010. I’ve been doing the weight roller coaster and struggling like crazy, and here I am, I’m literally 7,000 miles from where I am right now, in the middle of nowhere, no power, no electricity, no communication, an Arizona on the outpost and I had to be up for 48 hours keeping watch over a gun and I was dying.
I’d already snorted some coffee beans, I’d poured hot sauce on my tongue every couple of minutes, I’ve tried it all and sure enough I went inside of my tent real quick and there was someone in there and of all people, Robb Wolf’s book was sitting in the middle of this tent in the middle of Afghanistan, and I’m like, “What is this thing?” He is like, “Oh, Paleo is this caveman thing and you can eat as much as you want, you can have bacon and steak,” and I’m like, “Sold, great, let me read the book.” I read the book that night and it really resonated with me and it resonated for me because I was still bulimic. I was like, “This is another control measure for me. This is another easy one, like I don’t have to weight anything, I don’t have to measure anything, I can just eat what I want, this is a binge eaters dream.”
I implemented it out there, kept cross fitting, came home, dove into Paleo, 30 days all meats and vegetables, taught myself how to cook and I felt amazing. I looked amazing. My allergies were gone. All my symptoms from my traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder were gone and I was like high on life. I’d never cooked before in my life, before I went Paleo, which is funny now I’m a New York Times cookbook author, but that’s okay, that’s a whole different story. I started cooking and I was making other people’s recipes and I posted them on Facebook and then someone said, “You should start a blog.” I’m like, “Okay I don’t even know what that is,” and I Googled it and I was sitting there one day and I was actually trying to be creative. I thought about how much benefit I got eliminating grains from my diet, because that’s how I started, with just eliminating grains.
I was like the best way to represent what I want to do is I want to blow up grains, like I want them off the planet. One of my friends was an artist and he drew me a bundle of grains wrapped in C4, and it clicked. When I saw that and I was like, “C4,” I wrote out C, C, C, and C and I was like, “I’ve got to fill this in.” I was on Go Daddy looking for website names and everything and then I eventually came up with Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations, also known as C4, in my really cheesy, “I want a logo” days and it stuck, and then now you know my business as Civilized Caveman Inc. and my website is Civilized Caveman Cooking. But I loved the way that it started because it started out of such a pure place of me wanting to destroy the thing that held me hostage for so long and that was just trying to ride and be cute with the acronym I got. That’s where Civilized Caveman Cooking came from. The best part was, is before I met most people, because I met you PaleoFX two year … three years ago.
Dave: I think three years ago we first like –
George Bryant: Three years ago because I got coffee from you then and I remember it because I didn’t post pictures of myself online at all and I had this old caveman looking guy and I showed up the Paleo facts to speak and people were like, “Who are you?” Then I’m like, “George, the civilized caveman.” They thought I was supposed to be like 55 or 60 and I was some creepy guy that stayed at home –
Dave: That grew a beard.
George Bryant: With a full beard and … It was fun and I don’t think I’ll ever change it because I just love the story of how it started but that’s where it started from I was trying to blow-up wheat and represent it with my logo.
Dave: It’s amazing how grains can just mess with your head. What do you think of this latest round of people saying, “Oh, it turns out everyone should eat gluten as long as you don’t have celiac disease,” what’s your take on that?”
George Bryant: My take on that is luckily someone else runs my Facebook page or I’d get banned for my vulgar language but that’s bleeping stupid. I personally … I just gave a talk, my friend, Susan, runs an organization for kids with leukemia. Her child is three and gets diagnosed with leukemia 11 months ago and she’s a naturopath and just treated him all with bone broth, liver, and from the day that he was diagnosed to her protocol he has not had one cancer cell in his body. I gave a talk to 22 families the other day on cooking healthy on a budget and incorporating Paleo and the benefits of it. A lot of these kids don’t have celiac disease, and a lot of these kids don’t have any issues with gluten intolerance, but every single one of these kids that eats gluten versus every single one of the kids that doesn’t, one’s in remission, and one still has cancer.
To stand in a room full of 45 people who have 22 children under the age of 6, all with cancer, and singlehandedly see the difference that removing gluten from their diet does to their health and lets them live, because I personally have a belief that kids don’t get to have cancer. That doesn’t exist in my world and I won’t ever stand for it. I’ve experienced it with my dad, like you mentioned at the beginning, it was 2008 and I lost my dad to metastatic brain and lung cancer. I literally singlehandedly for eight months watched the food that he ate deteriorate his body at such a rate I couldn’t even keep up with it. I would be in his hospital room and I remember specifically I was in his hospital room on a Thursday night and I had spent 18 hours at the hospital, I’m like, “Dad, I got to go home and shower, I’ll be back in the morning.” I came back at 6 AM and my dad went from fully functional to paralyzed from the neck down. All because of the swelling and the inflammation on his brain from the food that he was eating because he had one of his friends sneak him in a steak and cheese calzone.
That calzone brought my father from walking to paralyzed. You can’t tell me any differently because I watched what happened when the food wasn’t around and I was in-charge of feeding him. I wasn’t even Paleo at the time, I was just trying to be healthy, like he would eat salads with meat. I didn’t even know I was doing it. I went through the radiation. I went through the chemo. He lost his left leg from lack of blood flow and circulation because of his body and his arteries and the way he was eating, and I literally just watched it deteriorate my best friend and my father. That’s kind of when I woke up, like that’s when … When your best friend deteriorates in front of you and you see cause and effect because … You mentioned this earlier, that every single thing we do in this world has a reaction. There is no just blank events, like you don’t get to do something and it just goes away if it’s not good. It may take years, months, or days to see the reaction but it always exists.
To answer your question, I don’t think anybody should eat gluten. I think it’s stupid. I don’t think you need it, because I’ve baked everything without it. I’ve managed to get things to stay shelf stable without it. Bread still rises, so I can’t think of a good need for it whatsoever, except to poison control people and that’s a whole different conspiracy theory thing. But it’s just like, I don’t know, like it literally, it keeps pharmaceutical companies in business. It keeps diet products in business and God forbid that people in this world actually cut it out and were healthy and we didn’t need all that crap and the good that we could do and the food that we could have, and the sustainable food systems that we could create, and our kids could go to school and eat lunch without coming home bouncing off the wall or unhealthy or scared of what can pop-up if you do have an allergy. It’s insane, that’s my spiel on that one. Outlaw it all.
Dave: Gluten the next tobacco, basically.
George Bryant: Yes, thank you CVS. Now CVS can cut gluten out of their stores too since they cut all tobacco out.
Dave: Right after that we can do hydrogen and vegetable oils.
George Bryant: That’s a good one too.
Dave: We can always dream. Let’s talk about bacon, how much of it can you eat in 60 second, by the way?
George Bryant: 10 pieces. 10 pieces would be my record, it’s on YouTube, and it burnt the roof of my mouth because the amount of salt that was pushed up against the roof of my mouth.
Dave: Obviously you haven’t made a bacon smoothie.
George Bryant: No, no I haven’t make a bacon smoothie, that would have been a really quick hap. That’s why you’re the biohacker because you think about stuff like that.
Dave: I guess I’ve never made one either. I had raw lamb liver’s smoothie once, don’t do that again, that was horrible.
George Bryant: I had a liver smoothie at Primal Pastures the other day. They made a chicken liver’s smoothie with strawberries and they didn’t tell me what it was and I drank it and it was yummy and I’m like, “Good job. You win. Great. I’ll drink my offal’s.” That video was funny. What I should have titled is, “How many pieces of bacon can you fit in your mouth in 60 seconds?” Because there was no way I was chewing it all. Bacon’s a good one for me because I eat a lot of it and I’m known for it, my hashtag is #hugsandbacon and people love it and I’ll say quality matters. Quality matters immensely. I make a lot of my bacon.
Dave: Me too.
George Bryant: I have local farmers that make amazing bacon and I’m friends with them and I support them. I’m not going to Costco and eating 5 lbs. of their bacon in a week, it’s just not better.
Dave: I’m glad you sprout that out, it’s one of those things where … Let’s just face it everyone likes bacon, even vegans like bacon, and deep down inside they’re repulsed and also attracted and it’s okay, it’s natural.
George Bryant: Totally.
Dave: Just like cucumbers are our gateway vegetables, you might have a salad if you start with the cucumber it goes both ways I guess.
George Bryant: Bacon’s the gateway drug to Paleo.
Dave: Exactly, the problem is a lot of bacon isn’t very good. If you eat 5 lbs. of poorly fed pork, what’s going to happen to you?
George Bryant: Really quick too, just to thrust in there, I want to just say most of the bacon you find in the store isn’t technically bacon, because they’re figured out a way and they’ve hacked the process so many times, that just to define bacon it’s cured and then smoked pork belly. When you inject something with a quick cure from the inside out and inject it with liquid smoke that does not equal cured and smoked. That is not traditional bacon. I just want to clear that up.
If you eat 5 lbs. of commercially processed capital bacon you’re probably going to end up on your toilet with the inflammation, disease, sick, allergies, not sleeping, shakes, trembles, lack of energy, and crashes pretty much throughout the day and you’ll never know what it is and you’ll think it’s normal, because that’s the kind of food that you’re used to eating. When you eat 5 lbs. of homemade bacon or pastured bacon you’ll feel energetic, you’ll have all the good fats, you’ll feel less tired, you’ll feel less foggy, all the membrane, same stuff that you’re amazing Bulletproof coffee does but … I had a question and I’m going to relate this to bacon, during that presentation that I gave to those families with cancer, we were talking about how horrible peanuts are for you, and the mold and the toxicity and like … Peanut butter is made from trash, because all the good peanuts are the ones that go into the bin for people to look at.
Dave: Yes, that’s exactly right.
George Bryant: They have some of the highest concentrations of toxicity out of anything.
George Bryant: Aflatoxin, and it’s insane, and a woman said to me, she said, “Okay, so if I’m in a pinch I can use this peanut butter because it’s organic,” and I said, “Okay,” and I looked at her and said, “How much is your child’s life worth?” The whole room went silent, and I said, “Are you telling me right now that in a pinch your only option is to find a peanut butter that’s going to kill your child? There is no better option for you?” She didn’t like my question and at the end of it though it landed because that’s what people don’t understand, you mentioned it earlier but your food … I like to relate my body to my car.
George Bryant: If I put water in my gas tank I’m not going anywhere. If I don’t change the oil I’m not going anywhere. If I don’t wash it, no one’s going to see me. If I don’t take care of it, it’s going to rot away and rust, like your car is the best representation of your body, and if you don’t put high quality gas in it, it’s going shut down every day. It’s not a bad thing because it also tells you every day when it’s running like poop, and all you have to do is change the gas. Putting crappy meat and processed bacon and processed everything else in there and buying almond milk which … I have a fact for you, you’ll like this one, I’m sorry.
A container of almond milk that you pay like $3.99 for has the equivalent of 6 almonds in it. If I was to go buy 6 almonds at the store it would cost me like, I don’t know, 17 cents, their marked up is like 2,000% to give you water with 6 almonds in it, when you can make it at home in 24 hours.
Dave: You’re totally wrong there. As I told you we’d disagree. Because you’re not just getting 6 almonds, you got Carrageenan and High Fructose Corn Syrup, come on those have economic value, man.
George Bryant: I forgot how expensive those were to produce and poison us all. You know what? I actually like admitting being wrong especially on that point. I mean, it’s just … When we look at life … I’m just going to keep running this one Dave, I’m going, but when we look at life, when we look at this, because this bacon question segue maybe into everything I want to talk about priorities, like what is your life worth? I’m going to tell you right now that this thing is poison. Facebook is poison. Instagram is poison. Because when you focus and spend all your time on that and then tell me you don’t have time to make your own almond milk or eat healthy you’re telling me that your iPhone is more important than your life, and I refuse to believe that.
Dave: They have the blend-type blenders that can actually make a smoothie out of an iPhone in a pinch, so you can bring it all together.
George Bryant: And I have one and we actually tried it like two years ago and it works really well. But it’s just … it’s one of those things, it’s like what did we do 20 years ago before we had the Zack Morris cellphone? We had conversations with people. We cooked home-cooked meals. We actually had time when we got home from work, when we weren’t yelling at traffic or working in our car or tied to our phone to actually go through the process of preparing our bodies for our meal, decompressing, getting into that rest and digest mode, making a meal, making food that’s fresh and not frozen, and not prepared for us. Everybody’s always had the same amount of time and what I love is that time is a measure that we created, and if you feel that you don’t have enough of it, you’re relating it to it in the wrong manner because there’s plenty of it and it’s not really going to matter if you die. What’s important?
Dave: There’s also relative strength of poison I get. I would actually put peanuts as something that really, there’s so many reasons not to eat them, pay attention, but some foods are less toxic but not perfect. What do you think of that idea, relative harm reduction?
George Bryant: I’m totally onboard. I’m not like … I don’t want everybody homesteading, like I get it, like we don’t need to be homesteading and slaughtering chickens in our kitchen while growing our own almonds, husking, shelling, and making almond butter. I believe that we as man, and as a society, and as a culture had created things that most definitely increase our quality of life and I’m all for them, and it’s just about doing it in an educated manner. But peanut butter gets to go, and processed meats gets to go and buying packaged processed food gets to go because there’s plenty of other options and it’s just … Harm reduction’s amazing and it’s also just prioritizing. We have the ability and the time and of course, we have people that work 80 hours a week and have two to three kids and I get it, and there’s still options and there’s still ways, and it’s all of us just finding the way to make it work and win for everybody.
I’m totally on-board for that, like I’m … I do it, like I go buy my coffee sometimes instead of making it and then I’ll even, have people make things for me. I’ll go buy almond milk from a local restaurant that makes it by hand instead of making it myself, like I’m all for it. It’s what fits into your parameters and your life. It all goes back to mindset. It’s how you relate to your life, like what are your priorities and what’s your mindset around it, like you’re not a victim to it and you get to choose. You can choose what you put in and what you put out and I think that’s a great point so thank you for bringing that up.
Dave: You’re welcome and thanks for expressing it so eloquently. There’s something that happens, I went through this path of learning to cook and I’ve been a pretty advanced cook for a while but there was a time when I had very little knowledge and I remember I was like, “Well, I could make a low carb lasagna and I’ll just thinly slice the chicken breast and put in cheese and pepper and on end,” and I still fell crappy when I ate that for obvious reasons now, but that was many years ago.
I’ve evolved all these strategies, been a raw vegan, and been a raw omnivore and looked at different schools and all that, but there’s one thing that is a sure giveaway when you get it right, and you described it from a home-cooked bacon and it’s something I get too, home cured and cooked bacon that’s not overcooked by the way, if you the crap out of it, it doesn’t work, you get a food high, like you’re done eating and it’s not like a buzz like I had out a roll, even I had too much coffee, it’s just like a burst of just like really visceral energy, and you know when you eat a meal like that. But most people don’t eat a meal like that even once a year but when you make that your goal for a meal just like, “Oh my God, I feel amazing at the end of this meal.” You certainly understand that and food quality and food composition are major things but how do you teach that? Like you talked about these parents with kids who have cancer, how do you show them that?
George Bryant: I find … I like to take this as literally one of those like if you’ve ever seen that movie with, What About Bob, like literally baby steps, like one step at a time, and I don’t say that because people can’t handle a lot. I say that because the only moment you have is the present, my job in the present is to create a moment in that present for you that is so positive than in your next moment you choose the same thing.
For me, with cooking because it’s just like similar to you I kind of had to develop everything myself, I didn’t know how to cook, like that was the scariest thing for me and I’m like, “Okay,” and then I don’t even remember who it was, someone’s like, “What’s the worst that could happen?” I’m like, “Well, it won’t taste good,” they’re like, “Great, are you going to live?” I’m like, “Yeah.” They’re like, “Great, don’t mess up again.” When you relate to it like that, like I was able to kind of dive in, so what I found for people, especially for people with children, a couple of points here, my daughter is 9, my girlfriend’s daughter, we call me “Bonus Dad” but she’s my daughter too and you know kids at that age don’t understand, or kids really at any age, don’t understand a lot of the things that we understand on a scientific level or on a biological level or even psychological level when it comes to food and the relationship to it.
We are literally training many human beings to be just like we are. How you relate to things, the energy that you put in to things and how you operate is how they are. You mentioned this earlier that that high from the food what I was going to say is that it’s frustrating to think that we have such a strong marketing background in this country that we have convinced people that Pepto-Bismol and antacids are a normal thing after you go out for Mexican food, instead of saying, “No,” that’s telling you that you shouldn’t eat that because you’re causing leaky gut and microscopic holes in your small intestine and it’s a very big difference. Teaching and inspiring your kids but also being able to draw a hard line, like no one’s going to take a stand for your kids health like you are. I’m sorry if Cheyenne gets mad at me or someone gets mad at me because I told my kid that they can’t have some processed gummy bears and they have to have vegetables or homemade potato chips or homemade, even corn tortilla chips, and I’m going to stand on that all day and you can hate me all day. But no one else is going to do it for you. For that case, there’s two ways it goes and if you go and do it energetically it’s really easy. You just use your brain and how your brain works using NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Dave can do a whole other podcast on that one. Just to trigger and create angers around things and reward them with positivity. Everything that we do in our life is around a pattern. Every single thing it was a learned pattern, like your paradigm was formed between four and eight some time. Your belief system and the filters to which you see the world were formed.
Those filters never go away. Your paradigm’s here but it’s possible to blow that box out and just make it wider and wider and wider and know that your filter’s exists. You’re creating your kids filter. Associate them eating healthy or vegetables and when they come home they’re like, “Hey, I had pizza at lunch because they didn’t want to eat their lunch but now I don’t feel good and I’m tired.” Be honest with them, tell them why they feel that way, educate them. Treat them like many adults and how you want them to operate in the world, and then feed them something else that leaves them feeling energized or happy or excited about and be like, “This is how you feel when you eat this because this is what it does to your body.”
In the moments that you can do that you’re literally creating anchors around eating healthy and feeling good and then eating like crap and feeling sluggish and exhausted and you’re educating. It’s not like a dictatorship, it’s a team. It’s like a good balance and you’re teaching and training which … it’s a whole teach a man to fish or give him a fish thing, like everything that you can teach empowers people to make those decisions. Your turn, I’m done.
Dave: It’s kind of funny, I’ve taught my kids, and when we cook … One of the reasons that food picked at home tastes better is because there’s love in it so when they cook they put their hands over the food and like, “Look dad, look dad, I am putting love in it.” I’m like, “You keep doing that.” I also have them come up and say something at school or whatever … and they know not to eat gluten and they’re pretty conscious and they’re 5 and 7.
But my daughter said, “Daddy, can I have some charcoal?” Because we know that when you eat stuff that makes your stomach hurt you can take charcoal that will bind that. It’s an old diabetic thing and I make charcoals so it’s not like we don’t have them in the house, and she’ll say, “Can I have one? Because I can tell when my tummy doesn’t feel good,” and she’ll take them and then she feels better. She has also associated that with what she ate. Just for me, I never had any belief, as a young man, that what I put in my body as food had anything to do with my emotional regulation or the amount of willpower or the amount of energy or anything other than it probably made me fat. I ate the fruit because I was weak anyway, obviously it should have been less or I wouldn’t be fat and all that B-S that people … I guess some people still believe but it’s not part of my world anymore.
George Bryant: I actually love what you said too and it’s something I talk about when … Sometimes I don’t talk about mindset, I just talk about food, but one of the things that I tell people and the original question … when you said you teach your kids that the difference in taste is love in the food, I wholeheartedly believe that 100% energetically, because how you show up and how you relate to food dictates how that food tastes. Because if you go into the kitchen, “Oh my God, I got to cook dinner, I don’t have enough time,” your meal is going to taste rushed, no one’s going to enjoy it because what you’re putting into it is what you’re going to get out of it. I love that you teach your kids that because I tell people the secret to a delicious meal is enjoying what you do and sharing your love, like you’re giving the gift of life to someone, because truth be told if we don’t eat we die. You are literally single-handedly giving someone nourishment that keeps them alive, that is a big, big deal, that I think is overlooked a lot, and we kind of lost that touch in society of the whole thought of breaking bacon, because we don’t break bread we break bacon and having that community and that aspect and that bonding and that connection, like that’s where our health comes from, like what really matters besides that?
I tell people to look at food and look at cooking and recipes or whatever you’re doing, whether you’ve cooked for 20 years or you’re learning how look at it at that level and how important it is for you to function every day and other people to function and you’ll be able to take it in a manner that’s empowering, rather than, “Oh, I got to do dishes,” or, “I got to chop this vegetables,” or, “I got to cook this recipe.” It’s like, no, “Oh, I get to give life to someone. Oh, I get to make my kids feel good, happy, and sleep better. Oh, I get to support my own health and I get to prevent cancer and diabetes and every other autoimmune condition or inflammatory disease out there.” I love it. In the short manner, love what you do, like put your love into it and put your heart into it, like that’s your gift to people. It’s the best way to unconditionally give because you can do it three times a day.
Dave: Eating and preparing food is a powerful thing. In fact there’s one Buddhist teaching which is to minimize the number of people who touch your food before you eat it, and of course, those hard to quantify energetic stuff there that lots of people I know and respect, including you, will talk about openly.
I can’t say I remember it why, I just had the steak and the steak was made with anger and therefore I’ve tasted that, maybe I just don’t have that kind of antenna but I certainly find that when food is made by people who are paying attention to the act of preparing the food and with consciousness it seems to taste better, it seems to make you feel better. I’m willing to go with what I experienced and maybe tell my head that, “Hey, there’s lots of good stuff in my head, I’m down with that.”
George Bryant: I tell people to, “Experience your experience,” like it’s not outside of you, you’re experiencing it for a reason. I find far too many people sidestep or push their experiences away especially when they come to pain or anger or anguish but tie back in the beginning and we go to food in a second but that’s just something that I always tell people, “The only way to the other side is through it.”
That’s in a good and a bad way, and it doesn’t have to be good or bad because technically you’re like the whole quantum physics world, every event in this world is neutral, the interpretation you put on it puts a charge on it, whether you might get a positive or it’s on how you relate to it, but you get to experience your experience and that’s how you live life. You know when it comes to food, if you have a bad experience, experience it, it’s not a bad thing, it’s okay, you’ll learn a lot of lessons and if you have a good one, experience it and celebrate it because you’re going to get more of it and that’s the stuff that you attract. We don’t need to talk about molecular and biochemistry and quantum physics and all of that stuff, but I think you can taste and angry steak personally.
Dave: I believe there are people who can and perhaps I’m just not that enlightened. I will say though that I can tell the difference between an unhealthy animal steak and a healthy animal steak and honestly, this will sound a bit hippie, but there’s biochemical reaction all for it. An animal that died in a state of fear and panic is not a flavorful animal, like you don’t feel good when you eat a stressed hormones or an animal that watched 10 other of its type get killed in front of it.
The process of slaughter is actually really important and it’s often not talked about even in Paleo circles. What the cow ate is all good but if you basically bitched up the cow and you shock it with a cattle prod a few times and then beat it to death and eat it, it’s a horribly violent thing and their hormones from that treatment, the cortisol, the adrenaline, it’s in the meat and it’s not coming out. That’s why the whole process of how it’s raised, how it’s treated, how it’s slaughtered, how it’s butchered, how it’s cooled, how it’s prepared, how it’s packaged, how it gets to you, and how you cook it and how you eat it, all of those is going to how you feel when you’re done. It’s a system, it’s a process and it’s … it matters and that’s why I don’t eat industrial meat because they get every step of that wrong.
George Bryant: That’s why it’s so important to know and support your farmer because a lot of people don’t understand every aspect that goes into it. I mean it’s insane, like all I hear about people is the price of it and I’m like, “If you had any inclination on what they put in and how much money they’re not making off you to provide you the highest quality possible, you would support them all day. It’s an amazing thing, I mean, I just …and even … I’ve experienced this, there’s some ranches I know and some way you can’t get around this with the USDA and how location with slaughterhouses are but like putting cows on a trailer and shipping them 600 miles away to be slaughtered. That’s just stress. It’s not like they get there and get out in the grass, you’re literally ripping them away from their home and putting them in a bumpy metal trailer and then bring them to a slaughter facility where soon as they come off they get slaughtered.
It makes a huge difference. It really pays to be educated and from the bottom of the process down, you don’t have to do it yourself but understanding is really powerful. I really appreciate you bringing up those points because people … especially in Paleo, like I think everybody … My experience of Paleo is everybody wants to talk about rainbows and unicorns and not the messy stuff. I’ll tell you that the value in life is in the messy stuff, because that’s how you get through it, you learn lessons, you can provide values when you’re willing to get messy and get down in the level that you need to, to create different results.
Dave: We agree there. It’s possible to be so picky you’re paralyzed and we’re not talking about that. I don’t shake the hand of everyone who ever fed the cows that I eat, but I do generally know the name of the guys who grew the cows that I eat at home. When I God out to eat I tend to fish because they’re dumb, they’re like swimming vegetables pretty much and that’s okay.
George Bryant: That’s, wow, I like that.
Dave: I just said that to be inflammatory. I apologize if you’re a fish, whatever, but in all seriousness, fish seemed to have less of a problem than cows do. I’m really picky about my four-legged animals that I eat, we’ll put it that way.
George Bryant: There’s never going to be a perfect it’s a pick your, pick your stance but just the more educated you are the better you are and then it doesn’t just benefit you, it benefits everybody because you’re supporting a cause that you can stand behind and then you can give quality recommendations and get the movement going and like I said earlier, if it’s up to me it’s up to me, like every single one of us is single-handedly responsible for reforming the food and the diet and the lifestyle and the healthy and the pharmaceutical and everything else in this country that we need to get reformed to be healthy, it’s all up to us. I appreciate that.
Dave: I know that you must have some stuff on your site, will you recommend particular ranchers? I know bulletproofexec.com/beef, I’ve listed some of my favorite ones because it’s hard to know, you just go online and I don’t know, order some rice fed meat and until you’ve had those relationships … I’ve interviewed some of the farmers on the show and it’s fascinating what they know because these are beef hackers and they’ve spent their whole life paying attention to what makes the optimal cow. Honestly, I don’t know where that … but I know the people who know and they can optimize my cows, upgrade my beef, and it’s all good.
George Bryant: That’s the powerful thing, it’s knowing the person who does know, because I’ve heard some farmers and one of my best friends is a pig farmer. I get all my pork there and she started a pig farm because her kid had food allergies and she was sick of questioning the meat so she started raising pigs three years ago and now they have over 500 pigs on 20 acres and they supply every restaurant in San Diego and L.A. with the best pork ever. It’s like listening to them talk my jaw likes hit the floor, like breeding times, the amount of feed that they get when you fed them acorns versus macadamia nuts versus avocados, the flavor profile and the balance of each and I’m like, “What?” I’m like, “You’re the boss, I support you.”
Dave: Let’s think about this, wine, pork? If you’re going to dedicate yourself to making something perfect … there’s something sexy about being the one who makes the perfect pork, there’s lots of good wine out there.
George Bryant: Totally.
Dave: Exactly, I don’t know, like the best pork belly ever is a religious experience.
George Bryant: It’s like vintage bacon or a late harvest bacon, I mean, different flavors, it’s amazing. I literally like I experienced it from my pig farmer, her name is Cristina, it’s Cook Pigs in Julian, but during the winter there at 4,000 ft. so when the acorn start falling off the trees she’ll supplement with macadamia on top of the acorn to change the flavor of the meet and the fat. I can take a pork chop from June and a pork chop from December and taste test them and you can distinctly taste the difference between the avocados and barley rash and the acorns and macadamia nuts and it’s literally like pork hacking. It’s insane.
Dave: We could probably do a whole show on how to hack your pork, but we’re coming up on the end of this one and that means that there’s one question that you probably heard listening to the podcast before. Your top three recommendations for people who want to kick more ass, people who just want to perform better, not in sports but just in life.
George Bryant: I love that, number one, celebrate your self is the best way to say that. Celebrate every victory and celebrate every non-victory, because there really are no failures or losses in life it’s how you relate to them and you can learn from everything. Celebrate everything. Number two, start now, like right now. Now. I don’t care what it is, if you want to drink more water every day have a sip right now. If you want to walk more everyday walk around your desk right now, analysis, paralysis, will hold you hostage and you get different results by taking action. Right now take an action on whatever your goal is.
Number three, and I love this because we talked about language, make a commitment statement for yourself every day, and it doesn’t have to be written down, but when you wake up in the morning say, “Today I’m committed to eating three healthy meals. Today I’m committed to drinking 8 cups of water, or 3 cups of Bulletproof coffee,” or whatever makes you happy make the commitment and then celebrate your win, because every time that you acknowledge yourself for keeping your word and keeping your commitment and integrity you create confidence and you create a further depth of commitment what shows up everywhere in your life. If something doesn’t work, great, look at what was missing, add it, and recommit, like I recommit 25 times a day to whatever it is and my list never gets finished but I managed to put the energy and the power and the passion behind it full force all the time and celebrate the wins which keeps this happy, which keep your gut and your body happy and all that stuff. Those are my three.
Dave: That’s an awesome list. Where can people learn more about you? You already mentioned your … I’ll mention it again, mention the name of your book and any other places you want people to find you.
George Bryant: Totally, the easiest way to find me, my name is George Bryant, my website is civilizedcavemancooking.com, and from there I link out everywhere and my book which we hit 20 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and number 4 which I’m excited about it’s called The Paleo Kitchen. You can find that on my website or thepaleokitchen.com and then … I don’t know, Google me, look forward to a new podcast it’s coming out in the next couple of weeks it’s called, “Unperfectly Paleo.” I can’t wait to dive in and get messy on that one so I’m excited.
Dave: George thanks for coming on the show.
George Bryant: Thanks Dave, I appreciate it. Have a good day.
Dave: You too.
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