When you interview someone named the “Rogue Doctor”, you never know what you’ll get, but you’re pretty sure it will be interesting.
This was true on both counts with my interview with Dr. Jonny Bowden, a doctor of nutrition and a best-selling author of such titles as The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising and Unbiased Trust About What to Eat and Why; Living Low Carb; and the one of particular interest to me here at Elevate Your Energy, The Most Effective Ways on Earth to Boost Your Energy.
Jumping right into the interesting and unexpected, Jonny shared that nutrition is actually a second career for him – after 20 years as a professional pianist in the pop and R&B scene, and heavily living the sex-drugs-and-rock’n’roll lifestyle of coffee and cigarettes and little sleep or exercise ([3:10]). After stints playing on Broadway with shows such as “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, he noticed the actors ate well, exercised and seemed very fit. After discovering their secrets and living them, his transformation was complete – and he was fired up.
Six (yes, six!) personal trainer certifications later, he went back to nutrition school and immersed himself in the world of health and wellness. And so began his regular practice of “poking holes in the conventional diet information: low-fat diets, beliefs about cholesterol, and the like.
What Conditions Are Needed to Allow Energy to Flourish?
As we discussed his book, The Most Effective Ways on Earth to Boost Your Energy ([7:10]), the first takeaway is not which foods to eat for optimal energy, but the conditions we create so that energy can flourish. Jonny says, “We muddy up our natural state of high energy with poor sleep, poor diet and toxins. So it’s more an issue of clearing the conditions that prevent our natural energy from appearing.”
Jonny says, “Most people don’t have energy for a very simple reason: they aren’t sleeping enough.” ([12:02]) Particularly if you want to lose weight: “If your sleep is disordered, everything metabolically is messed up. There’s no way to underestimate the importance of this.”
Once your internal engine is cleaned up, it can really cruise on good, whole foods. Dr. Jonny recommends his four food groups: those that can be found hunting, fishing, gathering or plucking. This translates into a diet rich in fats, proteins, roots, berries, nuts, seeds and vegetables. The biggest energy-sappers are low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets, which we have seen lead to “diabestiy”, this nasty collaboration of diabetes and obesity that runs rampant in our country today.
Food sensitivities are another big culprit in draining energy.
While full-blown food allergies are relatively rare, people who fall somewhere on the spectrum of food sensitivities are just about everywhere. Some of the telltale signs are aches and pains, bloating, constipation and brain fog. They cluster around the “usual suspects”: gluten, wheat, citrus, soy and dairy. There are expensive tests you can take to figure out if you have a food sensitivity, but this low-tech, cheap version works just as well. Take out the usual suspects – all together or one at a time – for a few weeks, and if your symptoms disappear, you know have a sensitivity.
Energy drinks: How bad are they?
([20:13]) Dr. Jonny says, “Somewhere between neutral and horrible. I go against the establishment in that I don’t go against caffeine. Coffee gives you flavenols, but energy drinks include sugar and chemicals. So if you want the caffeine, the best bet is organic coffee.”
Energy Boosting Workouts
When it comes to which exercise is best for boosting energy, ([28:33]) it depends on your fitness level and health goals. Walking is hands-down the best way to build a strong foundation where none exists. Consistently walking and building up endurance prepares you for the best fat-burning and muscle-building approach (according to Dr. Jonny): high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Dr. Jonny’s program, “Unleash Your Thin” ([32:40]) puts these principles into action with a six-week plan that “gives you tools to change your life forever”. He’s also releasing a “New You in 22” program in January, 2014, that shows you how to jump-start weight loss.
The Importance of Strengthening Your Mental Muscle
With a Master’s degree in psychology, Jonny likes to emphasize the importance of strengthening your mental muscle to achieve long-term health and fitness ([33:30]). First are Intention Actions, which are conscious decisions followed by actions that support your goals. Next are verbal commitments to another person, which help you follow through even when you’re not motivated. Motivation is also highly overrated, according to Jonny. “You take a stand to do something even if you don’t feel like it. We need to transcend how we feel to do what we need to do anyway. Forget your motivation; take a stand and live in that commitment.”
Another key element that drains our energy: “psychic clutter”
And in a truly impressively concise wrap-up ([39:05]) from the Rogue Doctor: We eat too many carbs, sugar and starch – just scale it back a bit by one-third or one-half. Don’t be afraid of saturated fat. Get the right amount of sleep, six to nine hours a night. We were meant to be active every day of our life – walk, garden, play. Keep toxic load down: no microwaves, plastic and the like. Do something about stress (which is linked to sleep). Eat a diet of real, whole foods, high in fats, proteins, fiber, vegetables and low in carbs.
Check out the entire show at on Elevate Your Energy Radio!