(Breather) Dr. Art DeVany, ancestral health forefather and author of The New Evolution Diet, delivers some of the most profound life advice I’ve ever heard during a 2017 podcast interview on the Align podcast with Aaron Alexander.
At 81, DeVany is retired from his professor career and is pretty minimal on the interview/podcast/lecture scene, so please listen to the whole podcast and reflect carefully on the following commentary that came at the end of the show.
Of course, you have to work at whatever you’re doing, you have to have high standards for your work. But you also have to realize that there’s a lot of stuff that you make too big of a fuss over. And when you stop that – it doesn’t mean you don’t care – but when you stop beating yourself or beating someone else up over it when you stop ruminating about it, you’re free.
And you gotta set yourself free – set yourself free from your old mistakes and things that happened to you. And even set yourself free from people, thoughts, foods, and habits that bring you down. That’s when you’re free! Then you can start anew. You can renew every day. Granted, you can’t forget the past. Then you wouldn’t have any memories. Appreciating your history as strength and wisdom gained and getting a move on is necessary for good health.
Realize that beyond his health interests, DeVany was an economics professor specializing in the complex aspects of how to predict how Hollywood movies make money. In that context, he often emphasizes the importance of random, explosive, life-changing events that apply not just to the economic realm, but in all areas of life. This will help you process a vital comment about “…it’s not the drip, drip, drip.” Can you reference explosive random events that altered your life path more so than plugging away day after day on a linear way? Pay attention to opportunities of all kinds and don’t be afraid to go for it!
Here is one of his choice quotes, from his professional realm as an economics professor:
“In any organization, half the work is done by the square root of the total number of workers. E.g., 100 workers, half the work is done by 10 workers.”
Here are DeVany’s recommendations to deal with depression: “Starve and exercise. The starvation part of it is to eat up some of these dysfunctional synapses. My saying is, for every damaged molecule, there’s a damaged thought. Those are injured neurons inside the brain, and you just need to get rid of the dysfunctional molecules that are causing those neurons to malfunction. Then, heal the brain with neurotrophic factors. Be outside. New thoughts, new patterns of behavior. When my first wife was declining from a host of other things, I’d take her walking as much as I could. I would tell her bad jokes. Change her surroundings. The typical things people have to do. Being outside is enormously effective. There are stimuli you can’t even relate to, but you perceive them. Your unconscious brain is what’s going to heal you first.”
I’m taking the starve and exercise thing to heart with an intuitive approach to keto. Some days I will wait till I’m hungry to finally eat at between 12 and 2 pm. I’ll do 10-15 min workouts, walking by deadlift bar. He has said ‘don’t jog it’s too dangerous’ and that one I have really begun reflecting upon. In November through January, I was playing too much speedgolf. I had classic burnout symptoms and can’t keep below 130! Now I play cart speedgolf for wind sprints. At over 50, it’s easy to become unhealthy with endurance training. Be sure that you are performing aerobically and that your metabolism has minimal stress. Pursue a shorter, more intense competition to avoid chronic overstimulation of stress hormones.
Brad: 00:08 Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author and athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit, and happy in hectic, high stress modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balanced that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.
Brad: 01:24 With the show. Of course you have to work at whatever you’re doing. You have to have high standards for your work, but you also have to realize that there was a lot of stuff that you can make too big of a fuss over and when you stopped that, it doesn’t mean you don’t care, but when you stop beating yourself or beating someone else over it, when you stop ruminating about it, you’re free and you’ve got to set yourself free. There’s stimuli that you can’t even relate to that you perceive them and lots of studies showed it being around large bodies of water have a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Brad: 02:08 If you have a workplace with a hundred worker, half of the work is done by 10 workers. This is mind blowing. I’m not a participant in the bureaucratic work place, so I have no a good reference point here. I floated this to a few people that I know that work in large organizations and they were like, oh yeah, absolutely. I barely got the sentence out of my mouth and they’re like, for sure. For sure. That’s true. Oh, that’s brutal, man. Get off. You’re dead ass if you’re not. One of those 10 people and join the join the fun. These people are probably living in the most healthy, vibrant life of uh, all the people in the, in the a hundred person workplace.
Brad: 03:47 Welcome to the breather show insights inspired by Doctor Art DeVany, one of the true forefathers of the ancestral health movement. Good friend of Mark Sisson’s going way back and oh my gosh, he started blogging 2005 2006 and was a great inspiration, uh, to Mark and others, uh, at the initiation of the Primal Paleo movement with his insights about patterning our diet and especially our exercise patterns after our ancestors. So the guy is retired now. He’s what, 82 years old and not so much in the public eye, not crank in the podcast circuit or the Paleo lecture circuit, but he has delivered some of the most profound life advice I’ve ever heard.
Brad: 05:01 If you go back and dig into his old podcasts, he has a book called The New Evolution Diet, uh, that came out several years ago and now he’s on Facebook is where he does his public communication, but he used to have a wonderful blog. I think he had to pay to sub subscribe to it and it was well worth it talking about these intuitive, simple ancestral based insights that form the foundation for this fabulous movement. Uh, we did hear him recently on a 2017 podcast interview on the aligned podcast with Aaron Alexander. That was a great show. So go look that one up. I also found one from over 10 years ago, uh, where he was talking about both economic theory as he is a retired professor of economics specializing in Hollywood economics. So he wrote a book a long time ago, uh, about, uh, how to determine if a Hollywood movie will make money or not. And I think some of is a takeaway. Insights were that the marketplace is very chaotic. A lot of it happens by word of mouth and it’s quite unpredictable. So good luck Hollywood. Keep focusing on quality.
Brad: 06:12 Like Jerry Seinfeld says, work on your act and quit trying to turn it into a metrics with, uh, analytics instead of keeping it as an art. All right. So, uh, yeah, go look for him on the aligned podcast. And I’m going to give you some great tidbits and insights. I’ve been doing a lot of research on the subject of longevity, uh, as Mark Sisson and I are working on a grand comprehensive project for a new book and it’s become sort of a hot topic these days. I know there’s some other folks, uh, working on, uh, longevity books and projects. I guess we’ve already been told enough about the mechanics of what to do, what to eat, how to exercise, how to sleep.
Brad: 06:54 And so now we want to turn our attention to uh, optimizing. Uh, what is coined the term coined is health span rather than just lifespan. Right now we’re doing pretty good extending lifespan through pharmaceutical and keeping these poor folks and lives on machines and a drug regimens where they’re barely functional but they can squeeze out a five more, 10 more years than they might have decades ago. And so we can proudly tout these, uh, heightened life expectancies in modern times. Uh, but again, just recently, some very disturbing news in the past few years is that today’s younger generations, like my children have a lower life expectancy than I do for the first time in the history of humanity. Very disturbing. Anyone who’s a parent, you want to reflect on that? Man, that’s a disaster. Especially because we have all this technological advancement and exchange of information over the Internet where we’re dialed in, we know exactly what to do to how to live a long, healthy, happy life.
Brad: 07:58 But we’re just don’t seem to be doing a great job of, for example, disengaging from technology or staying away from crappy food. Because it’s stuck in our face. The temptations are everywhere. The commercials, the billboards, the social acceptance of eating processed food. Yeah, little disturbing. Anyway, so back to Art DeVainy. Um, here’s a nice quote. He’s just talking about going for it in life and he says most things don’t matter that much. But when you see an opportunity for a mentor, a business partner, a life partner, you have to go for it. These are the moments, these are the things that will change your life. It’s not the incremental, not the steady drip, drip, drip. Very interesting. Think back into your own life and consider those times where you had life changing events or circumstances. Many times it did not come in that drip, drip, drip fashion.
Brad: 08:58 And this is an insight that’s a borrowing from his, uh, economics background where we had these chaotic explosive events both in the marketplace where you have a, a brand that took off Lulu Lemon. You have to get their clothes. They’re awesome. They’re incredible. Uh, where they here five, seven, 10 years ago. No. But Reebok was and a whole bunch of other people that have just dripped along, but haven’t seen that explosive growth to go from zero to 60 in two seconds. Yeah. Not The steady drip, drip, drip, maybe the drip, drip, drip is overrated because we always talk about keep plugging away and insights like that. Uh, I just listened to a fantastic book that’s actually a little bit old, a Seth Godin’s book called The Dip and he’s talking about the importance of quitting shit that doesn’t feel aligned with the highest expression of your talents or is just not the right direction for you.
Brad: 09:54 So get good at quitting early and quitting often. And in return you get to focus on becoming what Goden says. Try to focus on being the best in the world at something. And in this context, world means your own personal world. So trying to be the top student in your class, uh, the best plumber in town on Yelp, whatever the context is, the greatest rewards come from people who make it through intense competitive circumstances. That’s what he calls The Dip and then emerge because they’re called by the highest expression of their talents and their passions to pursue this goal no matter what. And where do we see the most dramatic example of the payoff? Is in, uh, let’s say the entertainment arts, uh, athletics, uh, entertainers where they’re making millions and zillions of dollars because they’re the very best and if made it through this dip and they were just compelled to continue going, going, going, and then have these explosive events such as getting drafted by, uh, the professional leagues or getting a hit song after you’ve been plugging away for five, 10 years, whatever. Okay? So that’s a great lesson for all of us. Go for it. When those moments come up in life, when you have that intuitive sense that it’s time to take action.
Brad: 11:17 Dang. I gotta admit, recently I went for it proposing to Mia Moore one of our favorite podcasts. Yes. And, uh, I was inspired by my interview with John Gray. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, America’s all time bestselling relationship author. We had a wonderful show, a great interview. Uh, looking on the video at Skype and, uh, the guy was going off with this rapid fire insights and, uh, then he paused and broke down a bit because he was reflecting on the tragic loss of his wife a year ago. He was married for many, many years. His wife was a featured element of his books and his educational material, constant reference, wonderful partnership, and as pretty heavy man.
Brad: 12:00 And then he’s going on in his show describing all the attributes of an optimal relationship partner and a winning partnership. And I keep thinking he’s describing Mia Moore in every way. So what am I waiting for, man? Why the drip drip drip? Why are you going to extend it out? And so on the spur of a moment, hey man, time to propose. It’s as good a day as any other one. So there we were at baggage claim at Burbank airport going forward it in life, getting the big payoff. Okay. Back to Art DeVany. Oh, I actually, uh, uh, a butched his quoter, cut in on his quote. So he talks about, uh, those are the things that change your life, not the incremental drip, drip, drip, continuing the quote. Of course you have to work at whatever you’re doing. You have to have high standards for your work, but you also have to realize that there’s a lot of stuff that you can make too big of a fuss over.
Brad: 12:53 And when you stop that, it doesn’t mean you don’t care. But when you stop beating yourself or beating someone else up over it, when you stop ruminating about it, you’re free. And you’ve got to set yourself free. Set yourself free from your old mistakes and things that happened to you. Even set yourself free from people, thoughts, foods, and habits that bring you down. That’s when you’re free. That’s when you can start a new, you can renew every day. Granted, you can’t forget the past, then you wouldn’t have any memories, but you have this potential to renew every day end quote, oh, okay. Uh, I told you he was an economics professor specializing in the complex aspects of how you can make money with Hollywood movies and emphasizing the random explosive life changing events that apply in all areas of life. So what about setting yourself free right now? With whatever stuff is bringing you down, if it’s a crappy job or a toxic relationship or maybe some dietary habits that you’ve been talking about changing for the last six months, 12 months, 18 months, go for it. Take explosive action. Try something new. Try something different. Say, WTF and move along.
Brad: 14:17 Here’s another choice, quote, quote, and it’s kind of relating to this explosive event concept. He says, and they think this is an insight that’s a, a, a law or a principal probably has a name I forgot, but he, uh, DeVany relates that in any organization, any big bureaucratic organization, half the work is done by the square root of the total number of workers. So if you have a workplace with a hundred workers, half of the work is done by 10 workers. This is mind blowing. I’m not a participant in the bureaucratic workplace, so I have no a good reference point here. I floated this to a few people that I know that work in large organizations and they’re like, oh yeah, absolutely. I barely got the sentence out of my mouth. And they’re like, for sure. For sure. That’s true. Oh, that’s brutal, man. Get off. You’re dead ass if you’re not one of those 10 people and join the join the fun. These people were probably living in the most healthy, vibrant lives of, uh, all the people in the, in the a hundred person workplace. I don’t know, maybe some of them like, uh, what was the great movie Office Space where those guys were angling it very well. So they were, uh, you know, partying and relaxing at work and doing other fun stuff with their lives, but just making it through, surviving, making themselves look good. I don’t know, man. I’d rather be one of those hard workers getting stuff done, having the day go by quickly.
Brad: 15:37 Okay. Uh, I mentioned this on another show worth repeating our [inaudible] recommendation to deal with depression. A question was posed to him accordingly and he said, boom, starve and exercise. Continuing quote, the starvation part of it is to eat up some of those dysfunctional synapses, right? Because we know the insights about autophagy, how autophagy is optimized. That’s the natural cellular detoxification process that occurs when you starve yourselves of their usual steady stream of energy. So the starvation part of it is to eat up some of those dysfunctional synapsis, cleaning up damaged cellular material through fasting, and then back to DeVany’s quote. My saying is for every damaged molecule there’s a damaged thought. Those are the injured neurons inside the brain and you just need to get rid of the dysfunctional molecules that are causing those neurons to malfunction. Then heal the brain with neuro trophic factors.
Brad: 16:47 That’s like environmental stimulus, things like exercise. He says, quote, be outside. Think new thoughts, empowering new thoughts, engage in new patterns of behavior. When my first wife was declining from a host of other things, I’d take her walking as much as I could. I would tell her bad jokes, change her surroundings. The typical things people have to do. Being outside is enormously effective. Remember, this is one of the leading ancestral health experts ever on the planet. There are stimuli that you can’t even relate to, but you perceive them. And lots of studies show that being around large bodies of water have a calming effect on the central nervous system. This is me talking now jumping into his quote, there’s also a concept in Japan called forest bathing where they actually give medical examinations inside a park with lush foliage and they see people with lower stress hormone values in lower blood pressure because there amidst nature, we don’t even know the exact mechanisms on which these, uh, insights occur or these phenomenons occur.
Brad: 17:59 But when we’re around large bodies of water, it has a calming effect on the central nervous system. One, uh, speculation is that there’s a lack of intense stimulus, right? You’re gazing out into the ocean so your brain relaxes as opposed to when you’re on seventh avenue and 54th street and you’re trying to find time square in New York City and there’s noise pollution, light pollution, especially at night, man Times Squares. Cool, but give me like five minutes there and then, uh, take me away quickly so that don’t get blasted with all that light and the dark. Very disruptive and disturbing. No offense, Times Square back to the debate. Any quote. Uh, so he, he’s talking about his first wife who was declining, taking her outside, telling her jokes, given her different stimulation. Uh, being outside is enormously effective. They’re stimuli you can’t even relate to, but you perceive them.
Brad: 18:52 Your unconscious brain is what’s going to heal you first. You can also find our veiny talking to Tim Ferriss, Tim Ferriss show. Uh, personally, when you think about starve and exercise, I’m taking that to heart with my intuitive approach to Keto. So some days I am engaged in a starvation mode. I’ll wait until I experienced true sensations of hunger until my stomach starts growling, which is the activation of the prominent hunger hormone, Ghrelin. And they’ll go until 12. One, two, sometimes three 45. Before I have any food. Maybe I’ve done some moderate exercise, uh, not necessarily like intense sprinting and then fasting that long. But maybe I’ve done no exercise and I’m just having a day of starvation. And then other days, man banging some pretty good workouts, maybe not a pairing that with starvation, but getting both of those in, in an intuitive manner. Uh, another thing that DeVany does that’s really cool as these brief bursts of high intensity exercise, so he’ll do a 15 minutes a day of lifting heavy weights and sending that renewal signal. That’s his term renewal signal to his genes and cells throughout his body. Uh, saying that, hey man, I know I’m 82 but I still want to stay strong, so I’m going to go buy a some weights. I have a nice a hex bar in my backyard and I’d go and do a set here and set there throughout the day, honoring this insight of just sending those renewal signals to the cells throughout the body.
Brad: 20:26 Oh, finally, one of the great DeVany quotes don’t jog. It’s too dangerous. What the heck is he talking about there, man? And I think he’s alluding to the high risk of health disruption with chronic cardio. So maybe jogging would be better replaced by running and doing, uh, in between workouts. Because if you’re in good shape and you jog, that’s a different stimulus than someone who’s in moderate shape and goes out there and jogs.
Brad: 20:57 And I see these people on the roads all the time and on treadmills with their red faces looking like they’re suffering. And if you compare that to what the Olympic marathon runners are doing, those people are literally working harder. They’re working at a more elevated heart rate than the Olympic marathon runner who is out there floating along looking impressive if they pass by on the trail, but they’re working in a less stressful manner than the average jogger. So when DeVany says, don’t jog, it’s too dangerous. He’s talking to most people who are out there jogging and
Brad: 21:28 Oh, let me tell Ya. And uh, uh, November, December, a little bit of January, 2018, 2019, I got super excited about speed golf and simulating the tournament circumstances by going out there and playing a full round, a good tempo, running speed. And I did it too frequently and I plunged right back into the overtraining burnout symptoms that I’m so familiar with from decades ago when I was pushing my body out there on the professional triathlons circuit. Very disturbing chain of events where I saw my health declined due to my passion for what seems like a, uh, uh, a reasonable thing to do. And, and staying fit and being outdoors and doing all that great stuff, challenging myself with a competitive goal, but so easy to overdo it when you enjoy what you’re doing. Yeah. So had to tone that down in the process. Inventing a new sport called Speed Golf in a cart. Hey, yeah, for only six bucks more. I grab a cart and I’m still playing really fast cause I want to simulate tournament conditions where I’m hitting the ball quickly. So instead of these long, uh, uh, tempo runs between shots, you know, 300 yards here, just kidding. 240 yards here, 260 yards here, another hundred and 80 yards to the green. Uh, now I’m just doing wind sprints. So I’ll drive the cart up, jump out of the cart, maybe run from the path over to the shot, back to the cart, ram it up to the green, run over, putt the putt, run back to the cart. So I get a nice workout of wind sprints, nothing too long, nothing too strenuous. Play the golf course and go home and continue on with my life without suffering from this burnout effects of jogging due to it being so dangerous.
Brad: 23:14 So there’s what amounts to a wonderful plug for an ancestral inspired exercise program where you’re doing plenty of low level movement and making sure it is at the aerobic zone and not above the often referenced 180 minus your age formula. That’s Phil Maffetone formula to quantify your maximum aerobic limit. I’m 54, 180 minus 54 is one 26, right? I think so. And so I do not want to exceed that number if I’m doing a jog or doing a, uh, a fast walk or whatever it takes to get you up to that limit. You want to have your cardiovascular sessions below that so they’re not stressful and they don’t lead to a damage, dysfunction, breakdown, burnout, illness and injury. You want that renewal signal coming when you’re just walking and hiking and taking it easy and not stressing yourself and then package with that, sending that renewal signal to your genes through brief high intensity sessions that DeVany has been talking about now for what’s that? 13 years ago he’s been banging this drum. So dig up this old material on the Aligned podcast or the Tim Ferriss podcast. Get some inspiration and thanks for listening to the breather show.
Brad: 24:32 Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org and we would also love if you could leave a rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. I know it’s a hassle. You have to go to desktop, iTunes, click on the tab that says ratings and reviews and then click to rate the show anywhere from five to five stars and it really helps spread the word so more people can find the show and get over themselves because they need to. Thanks for doing it.
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