Blog - Naturally Strong

What Does David Sinclair Eat and Supplement? (2019)

You might have heard about Dr. David Sinclair on the Joe Rogan Experience and you are now curious about what does he eat and what supplements he does take.

Together with Dr. Rhonda Patrick, he is one of the main proponents of wholesome food eating to delay aging.

In this post, you will get all Dr. David Sinclair' anti-aging tips so that you can slow down your own aging.

Dr. David Sinclair

Dr David Sinclair Infographic

David Andrew Sinclair (born 1969 in Australia) is a biologist and professor of genetics. In the longevity circles, he is known for supporting resveratrol (one of the compounds found in red wine) as a supplement to slow the aging process.

What Companies Does David Sinclair Own?

Dr. David Sinclair is co-founder of several biotechnology companies (Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Genocea Biosciences, OvaScience, CohBar, MetroBiotech, ArcBio, Liberty Biosecurity) and is on the boards of several others (most notably Shaklee).

Is David Sinclair Legit?

Yes, David Sinclair is legit. He holds a PhD from the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia) and is a Full Professor at Harvard where is working since 1999. He is author of hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Is David Sinclair Vegetarian?

David Sinclair is not vegetarian. Nevertheless, he limits his red meat consumption because it contains Trimethylamine N-oxide which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.


What Does Dr. David Sinclair Eat?

As you are interested in extending your life span, you might be interested in knowing what David Sinclair eats so that you can also gain some benefits.

David Sinclair's diet consists of:

  • Intermittent fasting: he usually skips breakfast and lunch on most days. Calorie restriction is one of the most effective anti-aging strategies
  • 1 cup of coffee in the morning
  • Avoiding sugars and refined carbs
  • Limiting protein intake: especially red meat. He eats some fish and occasionally chicken (he doesn't specify the protein amount...my guess is around 100 g/day)
  • Eating as many vegetables as possible: natural sources of micronutrients (including polyphenols) that help cells fight off stressors, delaying the aging process

What Supplements Does David Sinclair Take?

The anti-aging doctor keeps it simple when it comes to longevity supplements.

Here the list and dosage of anti-aging supplements that David Sinclair takes (from the Joe Rogan podcast):

  • In the morning: 1 gram of NMN and 0.5 grams of resveratrol (mixed with yogurt): they extend lifespan by protecting from deterioration and disease
  • At night: 1 gram of metformin: to prevent heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and aging
  • Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2 (dosage not mentioned)

He has been taking resveratrol for 12 years while NMN and metformin for about 3.

To properly absorb resveratrol make sure to have some fat when you take it. For example you can have some whole milk, full fat yogurt, or some nuts.

Due to a family history of high cholesterol, he also takes a statin but it doesn't mean that you need as an anti-aging supplement.

Watch out: NMN can be pretty expensive!

Where Can You Buy Metformin?

To get metformin, you would need a prescription from your doctor. This is not always easy to come by as it depends from doctor to doctor to make the final call.

As alternative, you can substitute it with berberine which you can easily find on Amazon.

Why NMN For Longevity?

Calorie restriction is the best "therapy" against aging. 

You can imagine, though, that it's not sustainable as a long term solution not only because you'd be constantly hungry but also because you'd be malnourished.

When we get older, our levels of NAD+ decline. Calorie restriction, can reverse the decline of NAD+.

The problem of NAD+ is that if you were to take it (either as a pill or inject it), it is poorly absorbed by the cells. This means that it cannot work.

Interestingly, when older mice were fed NMN, they had the same NAD+ levels of younger mice. Cool, isn't it?

Supplements He Does NOT Recommend

There are some supplements that Dave Sinclair does not recommend either for safety reasons or because they can accelerate aging:

  • Branched Chain Aminoacids (BCAAs): they activate mTOR which increases muscle building but reduces lifespan
  • Rapamycin: inhibits mTOR hence slows down aging but David Sinclair thinks it is too risky as there are not enough evidences of its safety
  • NAD: being a large molecule, it is absorbed rather poorly. NMN is a much more effective alternative.

David Sinclair Workouts

David Sinclair runs one to two times per week at fairly high intensity on the Assault Fitness AirRunner.

Two to three times per week he does resistance training and boxes. No specific details are available at the moment. He frequently uses a sauna in conjunction with a cold bath.


David Sinclair Longevity Tips

  • Don't overeat
  • Do intermittent fasting
  • Limit protein intake especially from read meat
  • Eat a wide variety of vegetables
  • Reduce stress in your life: meditation helps
  • Get enough sleep
  • Reduce exposure to X-rays
  • Lose weight if overweight or obese

David Sinclair Book

If you have found Dr. David Sinclair' tips valuable, you will just devour his book: "Lifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don't Have To".

In the book he goes in great detail on how we can slow down, or even reverse, aging. Check it out on Amazon.


David Sinclair on Joe Rogan's Podcast


David Sinclair on Rich Roll's Podcast


David Sinclair on Peter Attia's Podcast

What Food Does Rhonda Patrick Eat and Supplement? (2019)

Dr. Rhonda Patrick has been recently on several podcasts such as Tim Ferriss', Joe Rogan's, and Peter Attia's with very long episodes in which she discussed in painstakingly detail various topics including what food she eats in a typical day, which supplements she takes, and what kind of training regimen she adopts. Together with Dr. David Sinclair, she is a big proponent of eating wholesome food to delay aging.

In this post, you will learn: what food Rhonda Patrick eat, what supplements Rhonda Patrick takes, what kind of exercises does Rhonda Patrick do.

Rhonda Patrick (born 1978) is an American scientist studying the role of nutrition and genetics on aging and health. She is a proponent of whole food consumption while avoiding processed and artificial foods. Her work became popular thanks to her appearance on shows such as The Joe Rogan Experience and thanks to her YouTube channel.

She lives with her husband Daniel and child in the Greater San Diego area.

Is Rhonda Patrick Legit?

Yes, she holds a Ph.D. in biomedical science from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis TN and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis TN. Furthermore, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute under the direction of famous scientist Dr. Bruce Ames. Rhonda Patrick is the author of many peer-reviewed scientific papers which strengthen her position as a legitimate science communicator.

Personally, I think she relies a bit too much on animal research to draw most of her conclusions. Nevertheless, results on humans are often slow to obtain and using animal as proxy seems to be a good approximation, especially when we are considering adding things such as parsley or kale to your diet.

Is Rhonda Patrick Vegan?

No, Rhonda Patrick is not vegan. She promotes eating a wide variety of foods including meats such as fish (preferably fatty ones), beef, chicken, game, and organ meats.


Rhonda Patrick' Supplements Summary

Rhonda Patrick Daily Supplements

Rhonda Patrick Additional Supplements Stack

Rhonda Patrick Nootropics


Rhonda Patrick's General Eating Guidelines​

  • no refined carbs, sugar nor processed foods
  • focus on nutrient density
  • occasional use of smoothies as meal replacement to add servings of fruits and vegetables to her daily intake

Rhonda Patrick seems to be following a Paleo diet. This is one of the best diets to maximize the amount of nutrients and to live a healthy and productive lifestyle. If you are interested in a big selection of healthy, mouthwatering, very easy Paleo recipes, I recommend you check out the Paleo Hacks Cookbook.

Rhonda Patrick's Breakfast

Rhonda Patrick always eats breakfast and early in the day as the practices time-restricting eating as she discussed here.

Her typical breakfasts rotate between the two following meals.

Breakfast 1​

The first breakfast is scrambled eggs with tomatillo salsa, sauteed kale and garlic in avocado oil topped with olive oil, salt, mustard powder, grapefruit on the side.

She breaks down the reason for each component in her breakfast. Let's have a look.

Eggs​

Eggs are a source of choline which is used to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine but it is also a source of methylation which affects epigenetics.

Tomatillo Salsa​

Tomatoes contain tomatidine which has been found to boost muscle mass in mice by reducing activity of ATF4 which inhibits muscle protein synthesis.

Avocado Oil​

Avocado oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and contains not many polyunsaturated fatty acids which can be easily oxidized hence harmful to consume. Furthermore, avocado oil has a high smoking point, making it resistant to high heat​.

Mustard Powder​

Mustard is a source of myrosinase which speeds up the conversion of precursos in kale into isothiocyanates​.

​Kale

Kale

Among all the copious amounts of minerals and vitamins, kale is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin​.

​These molecules protect the eyes and brain from radical oxygen species. Furthermore, high plasma levels of these molecules are associated with neuroefficiency (memory recall requires less brain power), improved neuroprocessing speed, higher volume of gray matter, improved crystallized intelligence (ability to use skills and knowledge that one has accumulated over a life time).

Futhermore, the eggs in this meal increase absorption of lutein and zeaxanthine up to 4-fold.

Grapefruit​

Grapefruit contains ferulic acid which seems to be anti-carcinogenic and to inhibit proinflammatory molecules such as TNF-alpha and prostaglandin H2. Furthermore it provides naringin​ which as a wide array of health benefits.

Breakfast 2​

The second breakfast recipe that Rhonda Patrick eats consists of a nut and berry cereal with hydrolized collagen powder and coconut milk​. Let's see what it's made of!

Cereal​

The cereal contains a wide array of chopped nuts including walnuts, pecan, macadamia nuts.

This provides:

  • magnesium
  • calcium
  • zinc
  • protein
  • omega3 ALA (not substitute for DHA and EPA​)

Blueberries

blueberries

Blueberries are rich in Pterostilbene which is similar to Resveratrol but is 4-times more bioavailable. In mice it has been shown to improve brain function, prevent heart disease, and to ward off some types of cancer.

Blueberries are also rich in Anthocyanin, a molecule that has been shown to lower DNA damage which would cause cancer.

Pomegranate

One of the compounds in pomegranates is transformed by the gut microbiome in Urolithin A. This molecule causes mitophagy, a process in which defective mitochondria are removed. It has also been shown to improve muscle function and endurance in mice by up to 42% and to increase life span by 45% in worms.

Flaxseed​

For extra ALA and fiber.

Coconut Milk

For MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) . She doesn't consume dairy milk because it contains salivary protein which binds to Anthocyanin and polyphenols, limiting their bioavailability.

Raw Cacao Nibs​

They have plethora of polyphenols, including EGCG which activates many anti-oxidant genes and kills cancer cells​. Check it on Amazon >>

Hydrolized Collagen Powder

For proline which accelerates wound healing and for glycine which is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter. Check it on Amazon >>

Almond Butter

Occasionally, for extra protein and to make it delicious.

Yogurt or VSL #3

Occasionally. Here the VSL #3 on Amazon.


Rhonda Patrick on Coffee and Intermittent Fasting

Does coffee break fast? The answer is not clear as there is no direct research on the topic. Nevertheless, studies in which people where drinking tea or coffee during time-restricted eating where still seeing benefits. Rhonda Patrick questions whether the effects would be higher if there was no coffee/tea during the fasting periods. If you put cream or butter in your coffee (such as in bulletproof coffee) then you are breaking your fast.

Benefits of Coffee

Drinking coffee seems to lead to a longer life.

According to several studies, drinking coffee is correlated to longer telomers and lower risk of mortality, compared to not drinking coffee. And the effects are proportional to how much coffee you consume. Though, I suspect that there are diminishing returns at some point (source, source, source). It seems to even help with erectile dysfunction (source)!


A recent randomized controlled trial found consumption of dark roast coffee brew (500 ml/day) for 1 month caused a 23% reduction in DNA damage in white blood cells compared to baseline levels. DNA damage can accelerate the aging process and lead to cancer.


Rhonda Patrick's Lunch

Smoothie

Often she has one of her favorite smoothies for lunch.

Rhonda Patrick with Smoothie

The smoothies have all in common the same base:

Below, the exact smoothie recipes she uses.

Rhonda Patrick's Ultimate Micronutrient Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients
  • caret-right
    8 large kale leaves​​​​
  • caret-right
    4-6 rainbow chard leaves with stems
  • caret-right
    3 cups (~710 ml) of baby spinach
  • caret-right
    2 medium to large carrots
  • caret-right
    1 tomato
  • caret-right
    1 large avocado
  • caret-right
    1 banana
  • caret-right
    1 apple
  • caret-right
    1 cup (~710ml) of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • caret-right
    1 tall shot glass of flaxseed (optional)
  • caret-right
    3 cups (~710 ml) of unsweetened flax milk

The total volume size is ~64 fluid ounces (1.9 liters) and the all ingredients are organic.

Micronutrients Breakdown

Here is the vitamin and mineral content breakdown as reported from her video. The asterisk indicates whether the 64 fluid ounces meets or beats the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). 

Note: in practice, she drinks about half of this in a given serving.

magnesium 588 mg*
calcium mg 2,116 mg*
potassium 5,883 mg*
vitamin K 5,239 μg*
vitamin C 630 mg*
vitamin E 9 IU
vitamin A 4,530 μg*
vitamin D2 600 IU
beta carotene 53.5 mg
vitamin B6 3 mg*
pantothenic acid 4.4 mg*
vitamin B12 1.8 μg
thiamin 0.6 mg
riboflavin 0.9 mg
niacin 10 mg
folate 480 μg*
manganese 9.6 mg*
phosphorous 700 mg*
zinc 4.5 mg
copper 1.9 mg*
selenium 10 μg
iron 10.8 mg*
sodium 985 mg
lutein + zeaxanthin 390 mg
ALA 4,684 mg*
fiber 49 g*

Video

Rhonda Patrick's Smoothie #2 Recipe

Ingredients
  • caret-right
    Kale (8 leaves)
  • caret-right
    Chard (two rainbow chard leaves and stems)
  • caret-right
    Spinach (2 cups)
  • caret-right
    Celery (2)
  • caret-right
    Parsley (8 pieces)
  • caret-right
    Carrot (1 large)
  • caret-right
    Tomato (1)
  • caret-right
    Apple (1)
  • caret-right
    Lemon (1)
  • caret-right
    Frozen organic blueberries (1-2 cups)
  • caret-right
    Avocado (1)
  • caret-right
    Hydrolized Collagen Powder (1/4 cup)
  • caret-right
    Water (2 cups of water)
Video

Why Does Rhonda Patrick Put Parsley In Her Smoothie?

Parsley contains high amounts of apigenin. This compound, also found in celery, celeriac, and chamomile tea is a blessing for your neurons.

Animal studies showed that apigenin causes neural stem cells to differentiate into neurons and also strengthens the connections between neurons. This is important for learning and memory.

Studies in humans have shown that a diet supplemented with parsley increases apigenin levels in plasma and red blood cells with a concomitant increase in activity in two powerful antioxidant enzymes including glutathione reductase and superoxide dismutase. (Source, source)

Lunch Variation

​Occasionally she has avocado with lemon juice and wild Alaskan salmon roe with a side of sauerkraut. She breaks down the reasons for each components as we shall see below.

Avocado​

Avocados are rich in potassium and both forms of vitamin E (from supplements you usually only get one single form while from food is balanced)​. Furthermore, avocados are a source of monounsaturated fatty acids.

Salmon Roe Caviar​

Salmon roe caviar is a good source of omega3s which are found here in high amount. Furthermore, the omega3s in caviar are in the phospholipid form which is better for their bioavailability. Phospholipids omega3s are more easily transported into the brain and a correlation has been found between omega3s levels and brain volume.

Salmon roe caviar is also a good source of Astaxanthin which protects from oxidation both the omega3s and the neurons​.

Sauerkraut​

Sauerkraut is a good source of fermentable fiber aka prebiotics. These stimulate proliferation of good bacteria and strengthen immune system. Sauerkraut is also good source of probiotics, mostly lactobacilli which might be helpful in cancer prevention​.


Rhonda Patrick's Dinner​

For dinner, Dr. Rhonda Patrick has vegetables and protein.

Vegetables​

As vegetables she has them either ​cooked or in a big salad of greens.

Spinach​

As for the cooked vegetables, she often has sauteed spinach.​

Spinach are rich in folate which precursor of thiamine (DNA base). Folate has been shown to increase growth of stem cells which normally deplete with age being the main source of aging and organ dysfunction. Furthermore, folate protect telomers​.

Collard Greens​

Instead of spinach she usually sautees:

Broccoli

These contain isothiocyanate. Research has shown that the top 20% consumers of cruciferous vegetables have 22% reduction in all cause mortality​.

She sprinkles these with with mustard seeds powder on top for an additional source of myrosinase which is normally inactivated when broccoli (or other vegetables) are cooked. This increases the amount of sulforaphane which has been shown to reduce inflammation and DNA damage (source).

Protein​

Salmon

Salmon​

Rich in omega3s and low mercury content.

Chicken Legs​

In addition to protein, they provides cartilage which is rich in prolyne and glycine.

Furthermore, chicken is high in selenium (cofactor for all glutathion related enzymes) and contains modest amount of zinc, copper, iron​.​

Sometimes she makes a broth with bones to get same benefits of hydrolized collagen.

Grass-Fed Fillet

A few times per month she consumes grass-fed fillet which is a good source of vitamin B12, iron, and zinc​.

Rhonda Patrick' Snack

She doesn't define in the podcast when she consumes this but I assumed she eats it sort of as a snack. I'm ready to correct this as soon as I know her timing better.​

Three times per week she consumes a smoothie with broccoli sprouts (100g if fresh weight, less if frozen since freezing increases sulforaphane content).

Rhonda Patrick' Supplements​

Here is the supplementation regimen of Dr. Rhonda Patrick.

Multivitamin​

She takes the Multivitamin by Pure Encapsulations because it covers the basis for many micronutrients and has some trace elements including boron. Boron has been shown to reduce double strands breaks in the DNA, to accelerate wound healing, to increase plasma free testosterone, and to increase the half-life of vitamin D.

Vitamin D​

She takes 2000 IUs of vitamin D daily. If she doesn't get enough sun, she supplements with extra 2000 IUs.

Magnesium Citrate Malate

She takes 135mg magnesium citrate malate from Thorne Research daily. Check it on Amazon >>

She tries to get enough magnesium from foods which indirectly is the measure of how much greens she's getting​.

Vitamin K2

​Normally found in fermented foods (e.g. natto) and in organ meats.

With vitamin D, vitamin K-2 is involved in calcium homeostasis.

She takes 100ug daily in metaquinone form (aka MK4).

​Fish Oil

She takes 2 capsules of Omega-3 Phospholipids by Nordic Naturals. This form is is isolated from herring roe. The phoshoplipid DHA is in the form uptaken by the brain best and it's the same form that you get if you take krill oil. Check it on Amazon >>

She also takes extra 4 capsules of ProOmega 2000 by Nordic Naturals​. This omega3s product is isolated in oxygen removed conditions which prevents oxidation of the fish oil. Check it on Amazon >>

Probiotics​

Either once a week or once every 2 weeks​ she takes a sachet of VSL #3 probiotics.

Nicotinamide Riboside​

She takes the one from Thorne Research. This is a form of vitamin B3 that gets converted in NAD and in mice has been shown to improve metabolic function​.

Curcumin

She takes the formulation Meriva of curcumin.


Rhonda Patrick's Exercise Regimen​

She exercises daily, even if for only 15 minutes.

She combines a mix of aerobic, high intensity training, strength training, yoga, and ballet​.

Endurance Exercise

She runs 3 miles 3x/week. Especially when she has a big decision to make or something is causing her anxiety since running offers her a cognitive boost.

High Intensity Training

She performs squat jumps. A couple of times per week, Rhonda does some high-intensity interval cycling. Some studies have shown that high-intensity exercises can delay biological aging by up to 9 years as measured by telomere length (source).

Strength Training

She focuses on lower body muscles with weighted squats and lunges 2-3 times per week in order to maintain muscle mass​

Yoga and Ballet Exercises

3-4 times per week to increase flexibility and tone specific muscle groups.​

Sauna

20-30 min sauna session 3 times per week​. Here she explains why.


Conclusions

Rhonda Patrick eats for health and longevity and she does it very mindfully and using science to do so.

Personally I would have more protein throughout the day but we have different goals.

Also be aware that she relies a lot on animal research (being the field very cutting edge) and the findings in animals not always translate to humans.

But she always states when findings are results of animal research and never tries to deceive you.

Finally, it's clear that her eating habits are not for every one, budget wise. Many items indeed are very expensive such as the salmon rod and all that amount of veggies.

Regardless, if budget is not a concern for you, go ahead and be inspired by her healthy way of eating!

If you liked this post, share it on Facebook!


HEALTHY EATING IS BORING...

paleo meals

You will never say it in public but we both know it's true.

Every day almost the same bland food.

It makes you healthy and strong, sure...but how long are you going to last on this lifestyle?...really...​

It doesn't have to be this way.

Making a meal healthy *and* delicious at the same time *is* possible.

The Paleo Hacks Cookbook will give you the freedom of not having to think "how can I make these boring eggs interesting again?".

Rhonda Patrick follows a Paleo diet and this book will give you the possibility of eating as healthy as her all year around with lots of easy yet mouthwatering recipes.​

Forget another day starting with  hard-boiled eggs!​

I'm curious...

Before you go, could you give me 30 seconds of your time and let me know why are you interested in Rhonda Patrick's way of eating? Just answer in the form below. Thank you in advance!​​

Is Carnivory Going to Kill Bitcoin Users?

This year will be remembered for the raising in popularity of two bizarre phenomena who are linked together.

I'm talking about Bitcoin and Carnivory (aka Zero Carb diet).

Now, how is that even possible that something related to money, financial institutions, and banks has any relation with a meat only diet?

Carnivory or Zero Carb (which sometimes is abbreviated ZC) is a diet which has been going around for a few years now and counts numerous supporters and believers that can swear by its "miraculous" benefits.

In a zero carb or carnivore diet, you only eat meat. That's it.

Some people have eggs and dairy too but the main dish here is meat.

Somehow, what one eats, in this day and age, becomes parts of his/her personality.

It's not called a diet anymore but "lifestyle".

As in the past years veganism has become very mainstream and all the rage, it created a vacuum in the opposite polarity that soon has been filled by a meat-only diet.

As marketer and copywriter myself, I got intrigued by this trend I have been spotting throughout the year which seemed to be often associated with the Bitcoin crowd.

Ron Swanson and Meat's Feelings

What's up with Bitcoin and Carnivory?

Most of the people involved in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies seem to be on the carnivore diet. They completely shunned anything green off their plates.

Why is that?

On the surface, it can be easy to say "well, they are radical people anyway so a radical diet that breaks all the norms is what suits them naturally."

This isn't far from the truth I give you that but I think there's another reason why all these Bitcoin folks are into carnivory.

First of all, a meat-only diet is simple.

Like really simple.

To quote Borge Fagerli from its latest book "The Zero Carb Diet: The ancestral way to lose weight, increase libido, improve physical and mental performance, and forget cravings":

Borge Fagerli Zero Carb

 Borge A. Fagerli 

 Norwegian Bodybuilding Coach 

quote-left

So what’s for breakfast?
Steak
Ok, and what’s for lunch?
Steak
How about dinner?
Steak

And if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

The people involved in Bitcoin are usually guys passionate about computer and technology.

They don't have the time to cook nor they do enjoy it.

Think about it, these are the same people that a few years ago were into Soylent like crazy.

(Soylent is a powder that supposedly contains all the nutrients one needs so you just dissolve it in water, drink it, and that's it, you don't need to eat for the rest of the day).

These people love practicality.

What is more practical than a diet where:

  • check
    you don't need to think what to eat every day
  • check
    you know exactly what to buy when you get in the supermarket
  • check
    there is no complicated cooking technique involved
  • check
    the most difficult choice you have to make is "1 or 2 pinches of salt?"?

Reducing decision overload in an already very busy world is the key here.

Ron Swanson: steak, the only food

Are Bitcoin Fans Going to Die because of Carnivory?

I get you, I was skeptical about this myself.

Is a zero carb diet healthy?

Is a zero carb diet dangerous?

How early are these people going to die since they have a diet without "healthy" veggies?

Don't even start these people on veggies!

Ron Swanson not eating vegetables

It turns out that they might not be that helpful for you after all...

These are some of their points about not needing veggies to survive:

  • check
    Meat contains all the vitamins you need (especially organ meats)
  • check
    Fibers do not have a protective effect as have been led to believe
  • check
    Plants have developed a complex defense system based on chemicals to defend themselves. When you eat a plant a chemical warfare goes on in your body and some people have weird reactions to fruits and vegetables (inflammation, bloating, gassiness, etc.)
  • check
    There are tribes that thrive without ever eating a plant but only eating meat (e.g. Eskimos)
  • check
    The paleolithic man would eat a meat only diet and surely not waste time on looking for broccoli (which would also not taste that appealing in the first place)

You can do a lot of research about it yourself and try to come up with your own conclusions.

I was skeptical.

Especially when it comes to a topic so polarizing as a diet, you can read a lot of bullshit about it.

The Most Serious Resource on How to Zero Carb

What got me convinced about this diet as a valuable lifestyle was seeing one of the people I respect most in the evidence-based fitness world jump on it: Borge Fagerli.

Borge is a Norwegian bodybuilding/powerlifting coach well established and respected in the field. 

He has coached thousands of athletes (even celebrities!) and he is famous for having invented some of the most revolutionary concepts in the field (Myo-reps, biorhythm diet, etc.).

Borge tried the Zero Carb diet on himself and on his clients and the results were astonishing:

  • check
    Fat almost melting day by day
  • check
    No hunger nor cravings
  • check
    No constipation
  • check
    No bloating
  • check
    No gassiness
  • check
    Increased libido

Well now, when I read things like these online I always scoff and think..."pff, another con man trying to sell me his magic pill."

But I know and respect Borge. He is one of the most honest and modest people out there, especially in a field so crowded and full of crap like the fitness industry.

So I didn't hesitate to check Borge's latest book on the Zero Carb/Carnivore diet.

If you want to know more about this diet and see all the rationale behind it, how to use a carnivore diet for bodybuilding/powerlifting, how many grams of fats and protein to support fat loss and to build huge muscle, I recommend you to check it out.

Zero Carb Diet for Bodybuilding

The book is called "The Zero Carb Diet: The ancestral way to lose weight, increase libido, improve physical and mental performance, and forget cravings" and it is the most complete resource on the zero carb diet for bodybuilding.

You will find the only rational and well-thought take on the Zero Carb diet — together with Borge's telling you his and his clients' experience with the diet.

The Zero Carb book is bundled with the famous book on Myo-reps a method developed by Borge to get big muscles in 70% less time. I use the method myself and I can vouch for it!

You can get both of them together with a simple Zero Carb cookbook by clicking here.

Robb Wolf’s Food Matrix Paleo Meal Generator

Based on Robb Wolf's Wired to Eat, I decided to create an automated version of the Food Matrix he proposes in the book.

​I added more Paleo friendly foods to his original list to make it more complete.

With one simple click, you can generate hundreds of thousands possible Paleo meal combinations. Talk about getting bored with the same food every day, eh!

I also added an option in case you are trying to lose weight or if you want a meal particularly rich in carbs (such as a pre- or post-workout Paleo meal).​

Click ahead and enjoy countless Paleo meal ideas!​

If you are looking for a decent Paleo Cookbook, this one is pretty comprehensive: Paleo Hacks Cookbook

YOUR PALEO MEAL IDEA



I am trying to lose weight
I want more carbs

I would highly appreciate feedback on how to improve this. Feel free to send me a message clicking here.

DO YOU WANT EASY PALEO RECIPES?

Feeling overwhelmed trying the Paleo diet?

Bored to have eggs every single day for breakfast?

It doesn't have to be this way...

The Paleo Hacks Cookbook will show you plenty of easy, quick...and DELICIOUS Paleo recipes that will make you fall in love with this way of eating once more.

Never eat a boring mealover and over again!

Ready?​


How to Eat More for Hardgainers (using “The Hungry Brain”)

Disclaimer: The following post does not express the opinions of Dr. Stephan J. Guyenet. What follows are my opinions which I extrapolated and inferred by reading the book "The Hungry Brain". Be careful messing with this stuff as you might develop an eating disorder or worse, you are warned. I am not a medical doctor nor a registered dietitian hence this content is intended only as entertainment. I do not hold any responsibility for the use you are going to make out of it. As usual, be critical, use your brain, and don't screw things up.

If you want to increase your strength and pack some muscle you need to eat enough to allow your body to recover from a hard weight-lifting session by repairing your muscles and connective tissue.

Especially if you are skinny, getting enough food  is pivotal for being able to add weight to the bar and get bigger and stronger over time.

Clearly, eating isn't the only part of the equation since stress and sleep also play a very important role in the process. In this post, we will focus on strategies to increase your appetite and allow you to be able not only to handle more food but also to want to eat more in general.

How Is That Even Possible?

I always had troubles figuring out why people cannot eat too much.
If there is one thing that should be difficult in this in this day and age is to avoid to overeat.
We are constantly bombarded by advertisements promoting delicious and high-reward foods, high-calorie and highly-palatable food is at hands reach, recipes websites are exploding on the web with mouth-watering recipes to die for.

Yet, some people just can get themselves to eat and remain forever skinny.

First of all, let me congratulate you. You have no idea how many people would kill to have your genetics. Those of us who struggle with the opposite problem look at you in awe and tremendous jealousy.

The Hungry Brain

Interestingly, the tactics used to prevent "normal" gainers from overeating and become obese can be effectively used for hard-gainers like you to make you want to eat more without feeling "fatigued" and even revving up your appetite.

I recently finished reading an eye-opening book called "The Hungry Brain" by Stephan J. Guyenet, a neuroscientist specialized in obesity research. In this book, the author describes why people tend to overeat and become overweight/obese in today's environment.

It all has to do with the brain.

Your Monkey Brain Wants You To Get Big

Hunters-Gathers

You see, wanting to eat and accumulating fat was pivotal to our survival during the stone age. Food was scarcely available and its provision required hard work (burning calories). We hence evolved to prefer high-calorie and higly-palatable food which requires the least amount of work possible to procure and which provides us with a lot of energy that we can store for times of famine.

You can imagine how this clashes completely in today's environment where highly-palatable and high-calorie food is at hands reach everywhere at any time.

While this is a problem for "regular" people, for you, this is an advantage.

Let's have a look at what strategies you can use to eat more, extrapolated by the research on obesity which is masterfully reviewed in the book "The Hungry Brain".


3 Strategies to Increase your Appetite and Make You Want to Eat More

#1 Eat Caloric "Bombs"

If you have a small appetite and feel full already after a few bites there's a strategy to make each bite count.

Have calorie-dense meals. This means that you should create meals that give you the highest amount of calorie per volume of food. Here a visual representation of what I mean.

Gordon Ramsay's High-Protein Pork Chops

Practically this means that you should avoid (or drastically limit):

  • Low-fat products
  • Lean cuts of meats/poultry/fish (e.g. chicken breast, tilapia, etc.)
  • High-fiber foods (beans, legumes, whole grains, veggies, fruits)

Your meals should include:

  • A fatty protein source such as chicken drumsticks/legs, fatty fishes (mackerel/salmon/herring/sardines/tuna), whole eggs, full fat dairy (cream, yogurt, cheese), pork/beef/game
  • A dense carbohydrate source such as white rice, bread, pasta, noodles
  • A fat source such as avocado, peanut butter, olive oil, butter, chocolate, nuts, shredded coconut

The "Problem" with Veggies and Fruits

Fruits and veggies are the most important foods one needs, PERIOD.

The problem, if you are trying to bulk and gain mass, is that they have a high-fiber content and low-calorie density which will make you feel full faster and more easily. This is why a diet rich in fruits and veggies is naturally leaning.

While there are some fruits which are naturally rich in calories (dates, avocados, grapes, coconuts, mangos, bananas) most fruits and veggies are low in calories and high in fibers making them a "disaster" when you are trying to bulk.

How do we combine our need to increase calorie intake without feeling overstuffed?

I have two suggestions:

Exploit Sensory-Specific Satiety

Satiety is sensory specific. This means that when you have a savory dish and you feel stuffed, "magically" there is still room for dessert. This is because your sweet taste "hunger" has not been satisfied. This is great news for hard-gainers who want to put on muscle mass!

SOLUTION

At the end of every meal, have a generous bowl of fresh fruit by itself or, for extra calories, topped with dressing or sweetener of your choice (more on this later).

This will accomplish two goals: make sure you have enough fruit in your day, getting in extra calories when you thought it wasn't possible.

The Smoothie Solution

Rhonda Patrick's trick to get all her vitamins in a single serving is by blending tons of veggies with fruit and chugging that all down in a smoothie of more 1000kcal!

SOLUTION

You can do exactly the same!

Take the most nutritious veggies in season where you live and blend them all with fruit, honey, peanut butter, avocado, and a protein source you like (examples are whey, yogurt, eggs or egg whites, cottage cheese, quark, ...).

Getting all your micronutrients and tons of calories can be easily accomplished this way.


#2 Make You Want More

Sometimes you just don't feel hungry at all. Food doesn't look like something you are interested in right now.

Here is where you can unleash the chef in you or if you don't like to cook, use amazing tricks developed by chefs to make you want more and more of a meal!

Ricotta Bulking Dessert

You need to make your food appetizing, highly palatable. There is a ton of research (all mentioned in "The Hungry Brain") showing that our brain would make an appetite even if you are full of food that is calorie dense and that tastes great.

When you eat a high-calorie highly palatable food, your normal hunger signal is sort of hijacked and you will keep eating way past your normal level of satiety.

This doesn't happen with bland food, which is why it's pretty difficult for you to overeat chicken and broccoli.

To get you started making your meals more appetizing, either try any of the Naturally Strong recipes or use the tips below.

How To Make Food Taste Better

  • Cook in fat such as olive oil, butter, lard, coconut oil
  • Use salt or umami flavor enhancers such as soy sauce, fish sauce, nutritional yeast
  • Use sweeteners or honey
  • Combine high-fat ingredients and high-carbs one in the same meal (risotto is a great example of this)
  • Avoid cooking techniques such as steaming/boiling/poaching and replace with sauteing/broiling/roasting/baking
  • Use olive oil and butter as toppings on basically anything

#3 Get Led into Temptation

Pollo alla Romana

Still struggling mounting an appetite?

It's time for you to literally surround yourself with food, especially high-calories one.

You want to place "ready-to-eat" food in every possible location in your room that makes it easy for you to access it and eat.

By "ready-to-eat" I don't mean junk/processed food. I mean that if you place nuts, remove them from their shells; peel fruits; place a teaspoon next to the peanut butter jar, etc.

You want to make it very easy for you to access food so that should you have even the slightest hint of hunger, you could just go grab and eat it.

This approach works well with snacks. Some "healthy" ideas are:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts
  • Almond/Cashew/Peanut butter (to make it even more palatable, sprinkle it with sweetener or mix it with honey)
  • Dried fruits
  • Coconut Chips

To bring it to the extremes, you could attach photos of food and appetizing recipes all around your apartment... (a suggestion would be to start looking at the hashtag #foodporn on Instagram).


Conclusions

As you see, eating above your maintenance in a bulking phase is easy, even if you think you are an hard-gainer.

It all comes down to 1) increase the caloric density of your meals, 2) make your food highly palatable, 3) stimulate your brain with food cues.

In a future post, we will have a look at other strategies (not coming from the book "The Hungry Brain") that can help you eat more when you are trying to put on some muscle mass.

If you are interested in more tips specifically aimed at hard-gainers or if you just want to know more about gaining muscle mass while limiting fat gains, I am starting a bi-weekly newsletter in which I will give you tips, tricks, and recipes to make your muscle gains easier. You can sign up here.

Are Spinach Performance Enhancing Foods? On the Role of Dietary Nitrates as Ergogenic Aids

I'm not a medical doctor. Please consult your physician before attempting any of the things described in this post. Even more so if you have thyroid-related issues.

Do you remember Popeye the Sailor Man and the secret behind his super-human strength?

Before punching the bad guys in the face, he used to gulp down a can full of spinach.

And, yes, I'm aspiring to write quite seriously about a cartoon.

Does it mean that vegans are right and that therefore we should all ditch animal protein and replace it with vegetable sources of incomplete chains of amino acids? Clearly not, and that would be a misinterpretation.

The right answer behind Popeye's physical performance is this: nitrates.

Popeye loves nitrates!

What Are Nitrates?

Nitrates are anions (negative ions) which, once ingested, provide a plethora of significant benefits to the human body.

They're decomposed into nitrites by the action of the bacteria contained in the saliva. These littler molecules then function as "raw material" for producing nitric oxide (NO) upon further redox.[1][2][3]

Circulating nitric oxide is associated with: [4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

  • better energy output
  • better aerobic resistance
  • improved blood flow
  • improved muscle recovery

Also, nitrates tend to optimize the rate at which the body is capable of producing ATP from food.

Needless to say, more ATP, more available energy![12]


Which Foods Contain Nitrates?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to find nitrates in a supplement form because of the regulation against sodium nitrate.

Therefore, the only possible way to introduce more nitrates in your organism -even if it is still possible to enhance circulating NO trough citrulline supplementation [13]- is by eating more nitrate-rich whole food, green vegetables in particular.

The most used veggies which provide an appreciable amount of nitrates are spinach and beetroot (juice, in particular, is the preferred source in the athletic context) [14][15].

However, there are two issues with these sources:

Spinach

Spinach source of nitrates

Spinach is also rich in oxalates: anti-nutrients that bind with minerals like magnesium, calcium, and iron preventing their absorption.

In particular, when oxalates bind with calcium, the resulting calcium oxalate forms insoluble crystals that are the main reasons behind the formation of kidney stones. For preventing

To prevent this risk, when you consume spinach for their nitrate content it is advisable to cook and drain them for removing the oxalate content. Nitrates, fortunately, aren't lost after the cooking process. In this condition, even the vitamins and minerals are more available.

Beetroots

Beetroots source of nitrates

Beetroots have a high net carbohydrate content, making the juice solution unpractical for those fitness enthusiasts who are following a low-carb diet such as the ketogenic diet.


Fortunately, there are other food sources which provide more dietary nitrates, less oxalate, and less net-carbs:

Arugula

Arugula source of nitrates

Arugula: 100 grams of this leafy vegetable have an outstanding content of 332,3 mg of dietary nitrates with a minimal amount of oxalates (7.1 mg). Great source of Vitamin K as well and a net carb content of 2.1 grams.

Turnip Greens

Turnip Greens

Turnip Greens: my favorite source of dietary nitrates, are commonly used in the Italian cuisine. 100 grams contain 284,5 mg of nitrates and just 50 mg of oxalates. Usually, they are served cooked. Therefore it's easy to remove that little trace of oxalates.

On top of the nitrate content, turnip greens are literally a goldmine of vitamin K, A and copper. But the best thing is that 100 grams of cooked and drained turnip greens contain just 1 g of net carbs, making it one of the best choices for a well formulated ketogenic diet.

Let's see how these two vegetables compared to the most common spinach and beetroot:

Vegetable (100g)

Nitrates (mg)

Oxalates (mg)

Arugula

332

7

Turnip Greens

284

50

Beetroot

145

75

Spinach

127

543

I'm not saying that you must completely substitute spinach and beetroot juice (especially if limiting net carb isn't a priority), but the sources above could add some variety to your diet and a significant boost in dietary nitrates!


High-Protein Turnip Greens Recipe Ideas

Let's see how to prepare turnip greens and some idea for coupling them in some easy to make high-protein recipes:

How to Prep and Store Turnip Greens

  1. Cut the lower part of the stem (half to one inch) and keep the top.
  2. Wash well with plenty of  cold water.
  3. Cut the upper part of the stem in pieces of 2 inches length.
  4. In a pot, add water (around 2 inches).
  5. Add the turnip greens cut in pieces and some marine salt.
  6. Cook for 20 minutes, covering the pot with a lid.
  7. After 20 min and turning the heat off, let them set and, when the turnip greens are cool enough, drain the excess water with a colander.
  8. Grease a pan with a fat source of your choice (I like to use a drop of extra virgin olive oil), sautè the turnip greens with salt, garlic and aromatic herbs of your choice.

You can prepare up to a kilo of turnip greens in this way, portion them and store in the fridge or in the freezer.

You'll have only to lightly re-heat them in the microwave or on the stove and couple with a protein source of your choice.

Let's now check some recipes!


​Grilled Salmon With Zucchini, Turnip Greens, Apple Cider Vinegar, Curcumin and Black Pepper

Ingredients

Salmon, pink, raw: 180 grams
Turnip greens cooked: 375 grams
Zucchini cooked: 175 grams

Macros

Protein: 43 grams
Net Carbs: 6.2 grams
Fat: 9 grams
Kcal: 330

Ggrilled Salmon With Zucchini, Turnip Greens, Apple Cider Vinegar, Curcumin and Black Pepper

Boiled Beef With Turnip Greens, Vinegar, Curcumin, Black Pepper and Italian Herbs.

Ingredients

Beef, plate, lean only, cooked: 200 grams
Turnip greens, cooked 270 grams

Macros

Protein: 56 grams
Net Carbs: 2.3 grams
Fat: 21 grams
Kcal: 422

Boiled Beef With Turnip Greens, Vinegar, Curcumin, Black Pepper and Italian Herbs.


Sauteed Lean Beef Slices With Fried Quail Eggs, Turnip Greens, Curcumin, Black Pepper, Italian Herbs and Apple Cider Vinegar.

Ingredients

Beef eye of round lean only raw: 130 grams
Egg, quail, raw: 4 whole eggs
Turnip greens cooked: 380 grams

Macros

Protein: 37 grams
Net Carbs: 3.4 grams
Fat: 8 grams
Kcal: 284

Sauteed Lean Beef Slices With Fried Quail Eggs, Turnip Greens, Curcumin, Black Pepper, Italian Herbs and Apple Cider Vinegar.

Conclusions

Here you can see how turnip greens could be a great versatile addition to your diet.

They provide a softer taste compared to spinach, but a crunchier texture because of the higher fiber content. You could easily alternate them with spinach and other leafy green vegetables with your favorite sources of animal protein!

However, athletes who want to take in a large dose of nitrates for supporting their workout session should consume between 6.5 and 13 mg of dietary nitrate per Kg of body weight two hours before in an easily digestible source [9][2]. This is what makes beetroot juice so practical.

I dare you to eat 500g of cooked spinach or turnip greens one or two hours before a heavy resistance training session.

In the upcoming part of this article, I will explore some practical solutions (aka smoothies) for fueling yourself with dietary nitrates before your workout. Blending your vegetables indeed enhances dietary nitrate availability[2].

In the meantime, please, obey to your mom and eat your green veggies! They're good for your circulatory system!

TL;DR:

  • Dietary nitrates enhance blood flow, muscle recovery, energy output, aerobic resistance and ATP production.
  • There's no available supplementation for dietary nitrates. You have to eat your greens!
  • Cooking your vegetables do not reduce nitrates availability.
  • For enhancing your physical performance, you should take between 6,5 and 13 mg of dietary nitrate per Kg of body weight two hours prior your workout session.
  • Blending your green veggies enhance dietary nitrate availability.
  • You should cook and drain oxalate-rich greens (spinach) for preventing kidney stones formation.
  • The best sources of dietary nitrates are, in order of content: arugula, turnip greens, beetroot, spinach.

Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/jean_pierre_gallot_69009/8138274071

Post edited by Alex Ferrari