Get ready for a powerful, informative, and passionate show with my good friend, Dr. Casey Means!

It’s been four years since our first show, and Dr. Casey is back to talk about the culmination of her life’s work—her book Good Energy: The Surprising Connection Between Metabolism and Limitless Health, which she wrote with her brother, Calley Means. In this show, Dr. Casey goes after the broken medical industrial complex, a subject that is of deep significance for her since (as she talked about in our first show) she used to be a dutiful doctor with the highest training possible who was just trying to do her best—until she realized how dysfunctional the whole system was. This was what sparked her decision to pursue a career in the alternative health world instead, and as you will hear, this issue has only become more important and personal to her since she experienced such deep frustration and pain while watching her mother die of a preventable disease. Listen to this episode if you want to learn about all the nuances of our profit-driven medical system, the science and details of how mitochondrial function essentially represents the essence of our health, why mitochondrial dysfunction represents the whole cause of all disease, the scary statistic about Americans and metabolic syndrome risk factors that shocked me, and more!

Casey Means, MD is a Stanford-trained physician, Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder of metabolic health company Levels, and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention. Her mission is to maximize human potential and reverse the epidemic of preventable chronic disease by empowering individuals with tech-enabled tools that can inform smart, personalized, and sustainable dietary and lifestyle choices. Click here to follow her on Instagram!


Brad introduces Dr. Casey Means, a physician who discusses some of the problems in the medical system. [01:00]

There is a sense of discomfort with the trajectory that we’re going on as Americans. Much of it has to do with our food culture.  [03:18]

Casey uses the example of her 72-year-old mother who died even though she was considered a normal “healthy” person. [08:05]

We are pointing the arrow at symptom management for what we think are all these different diseases and not looking inside the cell and treating there. [10:38]

Every institution be it medical schools, pharmaceutical companies to hospitals to insurance companies makes more money when you are sick than if you are well. [15:13]

“Everything in moderation” is such a common phrase.  Do you want artificial pesticides in your food in moderation? Toxic substances in moderation? [25:00]

We have been systemically disempowered as individuals to feel competent in understanding our own health. [31:34]

Will it always pay off to eliminate processed foods or can people get away with continuing to eat the regular American diet? [35:12]

What happens to the mitochondria when you consume nutrient-deficient ultra-processed food? [42:04]

Most packaged frozen processed fast food contains all three kinds of processed foods, grains, sugar, seed oils. [49:06]

Try to keep your blood sugar very stable in the morning to set yourself up for a successful day. [50:53]

There are five food components Casey recommends that you want to make sure you include. [56:31]

If you straighten up your food choices, within a couple of months you should have a decrease in metabolic disease like diabetes or pre-diabetes. [01:04:00]

Why isn’t the medical community up-to-date on this whole dietary adjustment premise? [01:10:15]

How do genetics come into play? [01:16:33]



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B.Rad Podcast:

Brad (00:00:00):
Welcome to the B.rad podcast, where we explore ways to pursue peak performance with passion throughout life without taking ourselves too seriously. I’m Brad Kearns, New York Times bestselling author, former number three world-ranked professional triathlete and Guinness World Record Masters athlete. I connect with experts in diet, fitness, and personal growth, and deliver short breather shows where you get simple, actionable tips to improve your life right away. Let’s explore beyond the hype, hacks, shortcuts, and sciencey talk to laugh, have fun and appreciate the journey. It’s time to B.rad.

Casey (00:00:38):
There is such thing as bad food. There is food that is toxic to our mitochondria, and therefore,

Brad (00:00:46):
Dr. Casey Means we catch up again. It’s been four years, almost

Casey (00:00:52):
Four years. The last time I saw you, we were sitting at a park in Portland, and now we’re both in LA and it is so good to see you again.

Brad (00:01:00):
So listeners, please go back and listen to my first show with Dr. Casey. We got into some really fascinating topics, especially the niche diet that you had been following at that time which was distinct from the the stuff I was doing. But you made this beautiful point that I, that listeners will be familiar with when I talk about redundant pathways, which is, you know, you’re, you’re stimulating health processes in a similar manner, doing cold plunging or doing fasting and so forth. But the main reason that we’re back here, uh, in the spotlight, and if you’re watching on video, you can see her wonderful background, but you have a new book that is imminently launching called Good Energy. So I want to hear about this whole book writing process, and we’re gonna get into all the important messaging. I’m really super impressed that you, um, took the gloves off and are speaking freely as a physician about how screwed up the medical system is and trying to get to the root of, uh, health issues that we’re facing today in epidemics. So teeing it up, Dr. Casey means. Hmm.

Casey (00:02:08):
Well, I’m so grateful to be on this mission to create a healthier world with people like you and so many of the, the friends in our network. So, and grateful for all the listeners for wanting to be on this journey as well. It’s such a beautiful path, and I think there’s a lot of light in the health space emerging.

Brad (00:02:24):
I hope so. I’m also concerned, and I don’t know if how you feel about this, but I feel like we’re talking to a pie slice of 10 or 15% if that of the population. And even when I sit down with my, um, lifelong friends or, you know, extended family members, and there’s, you know, a complete, uh, lack of interest or awareness in doing such things as reading labels, which of course I’ve been doing for 40 years diligently. And learning that stuff you can’t pronounce on your food label is a bad deal, not a good deal, but it seems like we have a long way to go to tap into the mainstream. But for sure, on the cutting edge, there’s a lot of cool things happening. We’re gonna talk about levels health, which you’ve been prominently involved in as we, as we carry on here.

Casey (00:03:18):
Yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, I do agree that sometimes it feels like there, it’s such a uphill battle and there are certainly, you know, on the coasts and potentially, you know, more in the, in the cities. Like we hear a lot about wellness culture. But I think what, what I feel, and what I think is why we’re gonna see this crack open is that I think amongst the country people, people know that something is not quite right when it comes to the health of ourselves, our children, our parents. There is a sense of, I think, an underlying sort of discomfort with the trajectory that we’re going on as Americans. And I think some people can’t tie it back to food directly or our toxic industrial, you know, food culture and, you know, the really sort of odd ways that we’re living these days in the modern industrial world.

Casey (00:04:16):
But I think that’s really, that’s where the opportunity is to help people make the link between the discontent that I think we’re feeling in the country rapidly rising, increased rates of obesity, chronic disease, mental illness, mental illness, infertility, all of these things going up at the same time we’re spending more to treat them. It’s a, it’s a totally unsustainable path that we’re on as a country. Mm-Hmm. Uh, and I think that, um, I agree there is, there’s a gap for some people between the direct link of food to all of those issues. But, you know, I think when people, um, you know, start to hear more about it, which we are obviously like, you look at Amazon, you look at the books that are some of the bestselling books in the country, it’s like Peter Attia’s Outlive, and, um, you know, a lot of books that start to draw this connection of how the healthcare nexus, the food nexus, and this real just sort of, um, you know, poor path that we’re on as a country are coming together.

Casey (00:05:17):
And so, um, so I’m grateful for podcasts like yours for helping to bring some of that to, to light, um, and help people, you know, really understand that most of the, the suffering that’s being caused, uh, in American bodies today, the symptoms and diseases that are facing us are fundamentally all rooted in the same thing, which is metabolic dysfunction. Hmm. It’s a problem with how our bodies make energy, and that’s really fixable quite simply, very straightforward with food as a major tool. And so that’s really the key, the key message I think for people is that, um, you know, drawing these links,

Brad (00:05:51):
You said the, the rising incidents of disease and the rising healthcare costs are unsustainable. And I’m thinking of my friend Dr. Doug McGuff, author of Body by Science and Primal Prescription, and he cites research that if the rates of type two diabetes continue at the current rate, it’ll bankrupt United States Treasury by 2060, which is such a mind blowing. It’s a real stat. It’s not just made up. Um, but the, the cost of caring for people and our, our skill at caring for sick people, continues to increase, uh, such that we can keep ’em alive for, uh, a long time with these chronic diseases that are driven by lifestyle. So you’re, you’re, you’re accurate when you say unsustainable, and it’s pretty crazy, especially, you know, my kids are in their twenties now, and there’s a lot of talk about the, the, the changing world that we face ahead and the temperature extremes and everything else. But, um, since we’re focused here on health, oh my gosh, you know, it’s time to it’s time to wake up and take some action. So it sounds like you dropped everything in your busy career and got started with your brother to write this book, Good Energy, the surprising connection between metabolism and limitless health. So how did that, how did that go down

Casey (00:07:11):
<laugh>? You know? Yeah. So it went down. I mean, it’s, it’s sort of a lifetime in the making, right? It’s like, I went to medical school, I did the, the classic path of the American physician, you know, went into healthcare, wanting to save people and, you know, be a hero. And, you know, my key goal was to sort of rise the ranks of that esteemed system. And then of course, was deep in that system, nine years of, you know, training at Stanford and becoming a head and neck surgeon and, you know, just absolutely had a rip roaring wake-up call where I realized that, you know, that the things I was spending my time doing as a physician and the things I was thinking about were absolutely not focused on improving human health or really curing or saving anything.

Casey (00:08:05):
I was essentially a, you know, cog in the wheel of the medical industrial complex. And my main dictum was to, to see as many patients as humanly possible in the shortest amount possible. And, you know, get people in and out of the office extremely quickly to generate as many RVs(?) for the hospital as we possibly could. And that was incredibly disillusioning. And at the same time, you know, there were two other things that were really happening for me. One is that my mother, who was my brother and my best friend, and, you know, just the center of our world, she died very suddenly of ultimately what is a preventable metabolic condition, which is cancer. And she died of pancreatic cancer, which is one of the many cancers that is directly tied to metabolic issues. And she had a story that was, I think, so similar to so many other Americans.

Casey (00:09:03):
And, and what I think almost all of us have someone that we know that’s sort of in the situation, which is where, you know, she was generally seeming a fairly healthy, vibrant person. She was 72 years old when she passed away. And, and we had sort of bought into the fact that, oh, she’s fine, she’s healthy. But in reality, you know, she was seeing five different specialists for five different conditions that we consider to be so normal in our culture that we almost don’t bat an eye. She had, you know, it all started really in her thirties and forties when she had my brother and I, and we were both born like 11 and a half, 12 pound babies. So we were really big babies. No one really mentioned anything about that. Hmm. Um, she had trouble losing the baby weight. She had the belly fat that developed in her forties, had a really tough menopause, lots of symptoms.

Casey (00:09:52):
Then she, of course, you know, the high blood pressure started postmenopausally, then the high cholesterol, then the blood sugar started rising, and she got into that pre-diabetes threshold. You know, it was totally diligent with what all the doctors told her to do. She was seeing doctors at Mayo, she was seeing doctors at Stanford, quote unquote best hospitals in the world, best doctors in the world. They prescribed the pills. She took the pills and, you know, little turning little knobs on her biomarkers. And then, you know, she’s 72, she’s taking a hike with my dad. She has stomach pain. She goes to her primary care doctor, they order a CT scan. She has stage four metastatic cancer. She’s dead. 13 days later, everyone at Stanford says she’s unlucky and is so sorry. But you know, the real wake up call for me, and this is what looped my brother into the whole process, is that it absolutely was not unlucky.

Casey (00:10:38):
It was completely predictable. It’s com these every single thing I just mentioned. Hmm. Having a high birth weight baby, which is called fetal macro somia, having the belly fat that’s tough to lose, having the high blood pressure, the high cholesterol, the rising blood sugar, and ultimately the cancer. Those are all just trunks of the exact same tree, which is mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic dysfunction. And in our just abjectly broken healthcare system. Mm-Hmm. The reason that we are spending more money every year on healthcare and outcomes are literally getting worse in parallel with spending <laugh> is because we are totally pointing the arrow at the wrong problem. We are pointing the arrow at symptom management for what we think are all these different diseases and not looking inside the cell and treating there. And if we did that, we would realize that all of these conditions are fundamentally just absolutely related to broken mitochondria, mitochondrial dysfunction, and the physiology that leads to that.

Casey (00:11:45):
And if we could just turn the arrow of that $4 trillion of spending towards the right problem, the core physiology, the root cause physiology that links all these conditions, we would be able to completely reverse the terrible health decline of Americans very, very quickly. But the, and this is the key point of the book, this is, this is about we need to focus American healthcare and our wellness behaviors on producing good energy in the body, i.e. Mitochondrial function, producing good cellular energy in our bodies. Because when we do that and we have well powered cells throughout the body, the cells function properly, and then we just can really wash away a lot of the symptoms and diseases that we’re facing. And a question that a lot of people have is, well, why do we have all these different looking diseases if they’re all rooted in the same thing?

Casey (00:12:39):
How is Alzheimer’s, cancer, knee arthritis and infertility the same disease? And the really, really, really important thing for people to realize is that we have 200 cell types in the human body. And each of those cell types, you know, an astrocyte glial cell, an ovarian theca cell, an endothelial cell, uh, a hepatocyte, all these different cells, they all need energy to function. They all need mitochondria working well to power them. And when a different cell type is underpowered, it will look like a different symptom than another cell type. Mm-Hmm. A brain cell underpowered is different than an ovarian cell underpowered, but the under powering physiology is the same. And so, um, unfortunately because of our just misalignment with a metabolic framework for American healthcare, what has happened is that we’ve tried to address this problem with more spending and critically more specialization.

Casey (00:13:40):
We now have over 42 medical subspecialties. And another key thing to internalize the more medical specialties we have, the sicker we are getting as Americans. More spending more sickness, more specialties, more sickness, more studies, more sickness. Mm-Hmm. It is because we are focusing on the wrong problem. We could have a hundred specialties and we could spend $10 trillion on healthcare. If we don’t shift the focus, it’s not gonna get better. So that’s what this book is about. Those are the dynamics that ultimately pushed us to write this book. My brother saw the healthcare system up close and personal with my mother’s passing, and he just literally dropped everything and has devoted his life to this mission as well, because it is so broken. And yeah, so my personal journey with healthcare, my mom, and then really diving deep into the belly of the cell to understand what’s actually going wrong in American bodies is what prompted us to, to write this book.

Brad (00:14:39):
We hear so often that it’s the profit-driven corporate structure that is interfering with, um, the, the, um, you know, the optimization of medicine. And do you contend that’s the main thing in the way? Like there’s not enough money to be made in, um, uh, you know, getting good at, uh, burning energy internally. And instead, um, there’s way more money to be made in caring for disease. And then, uh, I should also, uh, put in the, the plug for, um, the processed food that is, uh, driving the conditions.

Casey (00:15:13):
Yeah. You know, I think that there’s a couple trends going on, really, all of which we need to wake up to. The first is the healthcare incentives that you mentioned, um, which are super tied in with the big food, industrial agriculture incentives. And a really key thing for every patient to internalize before they walk into the, the doctor’s office or the hospital, is that every institution dealing with health, from medical schools to pharmaceutical com companies, to hospitals, to even insurance companies, make more money when you are sick and they make less money when you are well. And healthcare is not only the largest industry in the United States, it’s also the fastest growing industry. And therefore, for that to continue in our system, it’s not a philanthropic industry. It’s not a nonprofit industry, it’s a business. And that business is designed to grow.

Casey (00:16:14):
And there are trillions and trillions of dollars of interest across several industries dependent on that, including politicians who in, in most American states, their constituency is dependent on healthcare jobs. ’cause it is the largest industry in the country. So none of that is to say that there is any doctor out there that is, you know, wishing for you to be sick. Or even, I would say I, I’ve never actually met a person in the healthcare industry who I think is like doing things nefariously. Right. I think that what we have to realize is that there is an invisible hand of financial interests that has built a system that’s focusing on the wrong problems. And I think where you most tragically see it happening is in relation to the health of our children. Because we are just abjectly failing in terms of protecting our children from chronic lifestyle diseases.

Casey (00:17:14):
We now have, uh, 30% of young adults with pre-diabetes, a condition that probably pediatricians and endocrinologists never saw a single case of in children, like acquired pre-diabetes, not type one diabetes. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But the precursor to type two, we’ve got 20% of children with fatty liver disease. We have 77% of young adults unfit to serve in the military because of health issues like this. So it’s, it’s a disaster. But when you think about it through that really disturbing lens of incentives, you realize that a chronically ill child is the most profitable thing to the American healthcare system because these chronic illnesses need to be quote unquote managed for life. And that’s a long-term customer. So, so that’s really a big, a big problem is the financial incentives. But I think that there’s also just this sentiment that it’s just so big, it will be too hard to change.

Casey (00:18:13):
There’s sort of plausibility plausible deniability across everyone. You know, the med school deans think they’re doing a good job. The hospital administrators think they’re doing a good job, the doctors are working their asses off, everyone’s tired, everyone’s running around in a flurry working hard, you know, costs are high. And <laugh>, it’s so interesting, I saw this recently. My dad unfortunately, was in the hospital for some complications from an atrial fibrillation procedure. And, you know, we were there for days and days and days, and it was, it was from a infection that had happened during his ablation. Um, and the infection itself was, uh, something that just didn’t need to happen. It was actually for a procedure that was pretty unnecessary during the procedure. And so you got, you know, an infectious disease team coming every day. You’ve got nurses, you’ve got PAs, you’ve got radiologists, you’ve got phlebotomists, you’ve got the PICC line tech, you’ve got the nurse, the nurses on the ward, everyone’s working.

Casey (00:19:16):
Everyone is stressed, you know, everyone is checking the little boxes, but no one whose responsibility is it in that whole group of people to just pop up and say, this never needed to happen. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> this, not only was this infection preventable, but let’s take a step back. The AFib is mostly preventable. So because you’ve got everyone trying hard, working hard in debt from their education, you know, each day trying to do their best, it really blinds people to stopping and just saying, whoa, whoa, everyone stop. We could change everything and save so much time, money, and effort if we just talked about more prevention, root cause physiology. And I really just think it’s honestly, in many ways it’s, it’s a, it’s this, it’s this busyness. It’s also like the busyness industrial complex. We’re all just so busy running around trying and, and no one’s really just piping up and saying it.

Casey (00:20:29):
But I also think, and I don’t mean this in a judgmental way, but I think it’s honestly part of just this fear culture that we’re living in. There’s also an epidemic, I think, of like people being scared to speak up and people being scared to rock boats, because now there’s just feels like there’s such a high price to pay for going out on a limb, whether it’s being canceled or, you know, you know, there’s already, like costs are going up with everything. You can’t lose your job, you know, so everyone’s afraid to speak out. And I think that we need to find a way in our culture to also just re engender like moral leadership amongst all of us as individuals, uh, authenticity, um, fearlessness. And I think that that is where we really get into more of this spiritual like side of the crisis that we’re dealing with.

Casey (00:21:26):
I think there’s just an absolute spiritual crisis going on hand in hand with the healthcare crisis, because we are a lot of humans essentially living in these, like just digital cages. We’re indoors all the time. We’re sitting all the time, we’re on the computer all the time. We’re seeing all this fearful sensationalist media. We are a very des spiritualized culture in the western world. We’re separated from nature, we’re separated from any sort of like true examination of our true nature as more spiritual limitless beings. We’re all petrified of death, you know? And so there’s just this like general overarching sense of like, just like kind of cage scared animals, and no one is like, bold enough to speak up. And I think that’s a whole deeper part of this whole issue that, um, we really need to self-examine because sure, we can all play it safe and stick in our little jobs that don’t quite feel right.

Casey (00:22:21):
And we’re not really feeling like we’re making an impact or authentically helping people, but it’s paying the bills. And I think that, you know, we need people to really go down the road of true empowerment, which comes from, I think, a deep existential inquiry and break open that cage of fear and start living bigger. Um, and so that’s another big message of this book is like, how do you cultivate that sense of fearlessness and limitlessness, um, and wake up from this forgetting we have, I think, as modern humans of, um, how awe inspiring and incredible the world is and how, you know, um, we have so much more potential than I think we think we do.

Brad (00:23:12):
Well said. Oh my gosh. If you’re just joining us listeners, you better rewind about seven minutes for an, an amazing journey through, um, the, the current disastrous state we’re in. And I appreciate so many of those points you made about, especially, um, with everyone’s head down and being so incredibly busy. And in the, in the context of the medical world, if you’re busy getting into an extreme specialty, um, the world needs you to focus on that stuff. And so you might not be the best person to step up on the soapbox and, and challenge the entire medical system. And, and, um, it’s, it’s too much to ask to, to pick your head up if you’re especially the highest trained, uh, among us in society. Um, they’re, you know, if, if I have a, um, a heart valve problem, I want some guy who lives and breathes that stuff and is, I’m not gonna take dietary advice from him.

Brad (00:24:04):
But this brings me to my next, uh, kind of insight is, um, I, I, I believe it should start with taking personal responsibility for your health Mark Sisson wrote that as one of the bullet points for the Primal Blueprint back in 2008. And, um, woo, we’re up against, um, a lot of, uh, resistance there because there’s so much indulgence and comfort, convenience, luxury, marketing brainwashing, all these things that are driving us into the traps that the, uh, the profit seeking interest want us to, to head in that direction. And I mean, gosh, you know, we’re recording this right after the Super Bowl, and oh, isn’t it fun to watch the Super Bowl commercials? They’re so clever with the celebrities and they’re just throwing quarter after quarter, they’re stuffing shit food down our face as the, you know, this is the most driving, um, and very expensive commercial.

Brad (00:25:00):
So the most profitable companies are, are having you eat this and that. And the celebrities are, you know, brazenly pitching this stuff when they don’t need the money to be pitching donuts or soft drinks. But that’s, that part’s kind of heartbreaking. And you mentioned, you know, the impressionable youth are particularly vulnerable to these forces and then also the norms of society. And, I got into a fun argument with a friend recently when there was a bunch of us and someone was asking me about the, the nuances of the animal-based diet, compare and contrast to the keto diet and this and that, blah, blah, blah. So Brad is talking a lot, and then one of my friends interrupts and says, Hey, look, um, let’s be reasonable here. What it’s really all about is everything in moderation. And everyone nods their head like, wow, what a wise and sage way to, to close the conversation. And I said, you know what? That is the biggest load of BS I’ve ever seen come outta your mouth because you’re a hard driving successful person who’s, who’s competed and excelled in everything you’ve tried. And there’s no moderation involved in any way. And right now with the sad state of society and, and the pathetic, uh, average person, we can’t, we, we can’t even consider moderation. We have to be extreme in virtually everything we do relating to our health practices.

Casey (00:26:18):
Oh my goodness, <laugh>. Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s interesting because I think, yeah, I’m with you on the, on the sort of like pushing back against all good things in moderation. I think that that is such a ploy <laugh> from so many different industries to get us to just, you know, nod. Like, oh, that sounds great, that sounds right, and it sounds good. But when you really think about it, it’s like, I don’t want any pesticides on my food in moderation. Mm-Hmm. I don’t want artificial colorings. I don’t want artificial preservatives. I don’t want any of that in my body because, you know, ultimately these, these toxic substances are adding a burden to my poor body that I’m going to have to process and detoxify and it’s gonna hurt my microbiome. And that’s just not on my, that’s on, that’s not how I wanna divert, you know, my, my energy of my body towards, towards protection rather than thriving.

Casey (00:27:24):
You know, it’s, it’s, it’s a zero sum game in terms of what our body of, you know, 40 sweet trillion cells can focus on. And a huge amount of what I focus on is just how to, you know, give these precious cells exactly what they need to do their best work and take away as much as humanly possible from their purview that are hurting them. And I love thinking about, yeah, these beautiful, precious cells, like these children that I’ve been tasked to care for. I have 40 trillion children and a hundred trillion bacterial children in my gut. And me as this sort of like, illusion of one unit. Uh, it somehow has what seems like consciousness or free will. And I get to use that to make choices in my environment to basically like expose those cells to certain things and protect them from certain things.

Casey (00:28:12):
And so that’s what I’m focused on. And just like with a baby who’s not getting what they need, uh, they will scream and cry and just like cells, if they don’t get what they need to function properly, they will emit dysfunctional signals and, uh, recruit immune cells to help them and create chronic inflammation. And their, uh, their way of screaming is symptoms. And so, um, yeah, it’s, it’s like I’m not trying to moderately poison my body. I’m not trying to add a moderate amount of damaging chemicals to this structure. Um, and then I also just wanna touch on another point you said, which was, you know, about really taking ownership for your own health. I think this could possibly be one of the most important points that we can, you know, work to get across. It’s so interesting because the concept of taking ownership over your own health has become almost politicized when you talk to people about that.

Casey (00:29:14):
They’ll say things like, oh, it’s elitist or out of touch or ableist to tell people that their health is their own responsibility because some people don’t have access to healthcare. Some people don’t have access to healthy food. And I think that, you know, it’s such a damaging message to essentially use those strategies, um, of essentially like, um, in a sense like, like social justice messaging to basically shut down the conversation about personal empowerment with health because it’s a distraction. What we need to be focusing on is how to, um, how to create an educated population that understands the real, not the, not the hand wavy version of how food is directly leading to the diminishment of human thriving. And create a large base of consumers who are much more focused and clearly laser-focused on finding better products. And let that create an ecosystem in which companies respond and create products that are more accessible and healthy across the spectrum of food products.

Casey (00:30:30):
You know, I think like pretending like this reality is not real, that the food in our country is abjectly diminishing human thriving human potential prosperity, that is just like somehow saying like, you know, all foods are okay in moderation. There’s, there’s literally campaigns happening where they’re saying that you can’t say that a food is a bad food because it’s somehow like some sort of judgment on food. There’s no such thing as bad food. There is such thing as bad food. There is food that is toxic to our mitochondria and therefore diminishes our life force. And that’s a bad food. And we should speak plainly as adults and not be serving this to children in the school lunches. We should not be serving this to hospitalized patients. We should not be serving this to anyone. And so I think it’s a little bit of, again, it’s like that fear culture that we have of everyone’s afraid to say what’s really true and what’s true is that the food in America is killing us and it’s disproportionately hurting children, minorities, and the poor.

Casey (00:31:34):
And so we need to just speak clearly about that. I think that a really key message that, that is scary ’cause it means we have to own our power, but it’s really important is that you should not trust doctors. You should not trust, quote unquote, the science. You should not trust nutrition influencers. You should definitely not trust me. You should trust yourself because you have a body that is speaking to you all the time through symptoms and also through biomarkers and lab tests. Mm. And you can understand you, every single person listening is totally smart enough to understand their whole health picture and where they stand. And we have been systemically disempowered as individuals to feel competent in understanding our own health. And we’ve been sucked into the, you know, modern capitalistic, just busyness industrial complex of like constantly have to be doing. And, you know, not sleeping and producing and you know, this and that, that we can’t even hear our own bodies.

Casey (00:32:50):
We can’t even understand what our bodies are saying to us because we’re, we’re eating as we’re walking up a staircase. You know, we’re like constantly, we’re eating in the car. We’re not sitting and just having time to feel our bodies. So I think the future of health is patient empowered. It’s individual empowered. It’s about owning our own power as incredible, miraculous human beings with incredible, miraculous bodies of infinite potential and understanding two things: one, body awareness, how to trust the signals coming from our body every single day in the form of symptoms in the form of intuition. And two, understand how to interpret our own lab tests and personal biomarkers. We’re living at a time in human history that is more exciting, I would say, than any other time in human history. Because for the first time, we have access to tools and technology to understand our bodies better, our own bodies, more data streams, more information than people have ever had.

Casey (00:33:54):
We’ve got continuous glucose monitors, we’ve got direct to consumer lab testing. We’ve got at home finger stick lab testing. We have incredible resources online to understand it. We also have access to global knowledge about indigenous wisdom, traditional wisdom, ancient healing practices. We also have access to PubMed and the best of modern biosciences that we can, of course take from the, take the good from that and ignore the industry sponsored nutrition research. Mm-Hmm mm-Hmm. That doesn’t make any sense. And we have the understanding that if we can slow down, if we can set appropriate boundaries in our life and just slow down a little bit and truly tune into our bodies and what it’s trying to say those things together, if we really respect each of those pillars, we can actually live the healthiest, longest, happiest lives in human history. But the answer is not gonna be found in the doctor’s office. It’s gonna be found from deeply getting in touch with yourself, loving yourself, and believing that you have the power to really self direct your health and understand your own body.

Brad (00:35:12):
Now, is it as simple as monitoring how you feel with a dietary revision? Will, will it always pay off to eliminate processed foods and trend toward more nutritious foods with a sensation of more energy, more alertness and so forth? Or can people get away with and get used to stuffing their face with processed foods and carry on through life thinking that they are quote unquote fine? ’cause they’re eating the same way everyone else in the dorm eats or everyone else at the cafeteria, and then just be, you know, completely unaware of the potential that’s beyond, Hmm.

Casey (00:35:55):
Well, again, I’ll go back to, to, to what I said, which is, you know, don’t, don’t listen to me. Like listen to your own body. And if someone comes to me and they’re on an ultra-processed food diet, um, and they have zero symptoms, zero mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, they wake up every morning with joy, <laugh>, creativity, a sense of limitless potential. And their biomarkers are all not only in the normal range, but the optimal range for every key metabolic biomarker. Eat whatever you want. Yeah. I’m not gonna tell you you have a problem. Go for it. I will. I would bet a million dollars, that’s not gonna happen that someone is eating an all ultra-processed food diet and those three things are true.

Brad (00:36:43):
Maybe they’re 21 and they’re gonna have a couple more seasons before they notice anything. But, yeah, for the most part, it, it might be one in a million. Usain Bolt famously ate 2000 chicken McNuggets at the Olympic Village in Beijing when he broke world records. But even an athlete wanted to be concerned with longevity, of course, which is not gonna happenl the candy bar way.

Casey (00:37:06):
Yeah. And I just, I mean, I’d love to, I would love to hear some of those stories, but like, did that person truly have no anxiety? Mm-Hmm. No sleep issues? No. You know, like, you know, migraines, et cetera, et cetera. Mm-Hmm. Hard to know. But I think one thing that’s really amazing is that we have so normalized, feeling unwell in this country. Mm-Hmm. Mark Hyman I love, he says, we literally have collective FLC syndrome, which is feel like crap syndrome. We literally think that that is normal. And I think back to when I was a teenager and how delusional I was, because I was a little overweight, I had jawline acne, I had terrible cramps before my period, I had a little bit of anxiety. Hmm. After a lot of sports games, my low back would kill me. I’d have to take a bunch of Advil.

Casey (00:38:01):
And I literally thought I was completely healthy and normal. Like, and I was, I was getting strep throat frequently. And I’m like looking back and I’m like, every single one of those things, the acne, little bit of anxiety, the very bad cramps, the low back pain that was kind of chronic and would always flare up, the being overweight, all of those were signs that there was actually dysfunction in my body. And it’s so normal now that we just don’t even think about it. So I think, you know, there’s, that’s something we also need to realize is that like, I think some of us have not felt great for so long that we actually think that that’s normal. And I think that there is a potential for most people to get to a state of really feeling super electric and super incredible. Hmm. And I think that that fundamentally is rooted in, in how well our mitochondria work.

Casey (00:39:01):
’cause our mitochondria are the organelles of our life force. They literally convert the sun’s energy, the cosmic energy around us in food and literally solar energy stored in plants into our consciousness and our human life force. And in 93% of Americans right now, there is metabolic dysfunction, meaning that process of converting cosmic energy to human energy is blocked. So I, you know, my personal opinion based on seeing a lot of patients biomarkers and having studied this for a long time, is that there is, there is just need and no place for ultra- processed food in the human diet because on so many levels it is hurting our ability to essentially have good metabolic health. On one level, it has ultra-processed foods typically are non-organic. So they have a concentrated amount of, of pesticides in them. Mm-Hmm. Things like glyphosate, which hurt the microbiome.

Casey (00:40:03):
And, um, they often have artificial colorings, preservatives and that that can be directly toxic to ourselves. They are ultra-processed, so they are devoid. They have literally processed out some of the key micronutrients and vitamins that are mitochondrial cofactors that are needed to let our mitochondria do their work. They have an overabundance of concentrated macronutrients like carbohydrates in the form of refined grains and refined sugars which overwhelm our mitochondria, gum up the system, create oxidative stress. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and chronic inflammation, which is the swirl cycle of metabolic dysfunction. They <laugh> they also, um, on top of that, the refined ultra-processed wheat, uh, can affect our gut function through the, the way that it impacts the, the, the gliadin in wheat infect our tight junctions, our cell to cell connections in the gut leading to leaky gut and chronic inflammation. So ultra-processed food on like five to 10 levels does not support our metabolic functioning.

Casey (00:41:18):
Right. And we only get so many calories per day. Right. We can’t just eat, you know, 20 pounds of food a day to get the nutrients we need to support ourselves. We get, we eat about two to three pounds of food per day. And with the fact that our industrial agriculture has ruined the soil in our country, and most of our food, even if it’s not ultra-process, is micronutrient, deplete, we need to make every one of those bites and calories and, you know, grams of food count towards meeting our cells needs. So when we think about food as true molecular information that is essentially a, a substance that can meet ourselves needs that I think is very, very empowering. And I just really think that there’s no good that comes from ultra-processed foods.

Brad (00:42:04):
So to make sure everyone at home is following along, you kind of described what mitochondrial do do in most of the cells in our body. They’re nickname the energy producing power plants, and maybe we learn that in high school chemistry. But just to kind of get this message really focused, um, when we consume processed foods, they’re not benign. It’s not just 180 calories in the donut, and you can count that on your chart and, um, think that you’re, you’re gonna, you’re gonna skate free. They, they cause damage on, you said 10 levels <laugh>. So they, they cause more damage than just adding some extra calories to your diet without nutrition. So, maybe just let’s focus this message on what happens to the mitochondria when you consume nutrient-deficient ultra-processed food?

Casey (00:43:02):
Yeah. So most ultra-processed food has generally one, two, or three of the essentially unholy trinity of metabolically mitochondrial busting foods. And that’s refined grains, refined sugars, and refined ultra-processed industrial seed oils. And what happens when you eat these ultra-processed foods, which are chemically engineered to make you hungrier and to make you want more, is that first you’re overwhelming your body with this energy substrate and you’re basically giving your body this huge load of substrate for the mitochondria to process. And it’s too much. The mitochondria can’t process all that glucose, all that refined grain that’s coming in through the refined grains and sugars. And that is going to create strain on the system that ultimately leads to more dysfunction. It’s not like the more energy substrate you give to the body, the more energy it’s gonna make. The more energy substrate you give to the body, the more it overwhelms the system and creates toxic byproducts from the mitochondria because it’s essentially overworked and it needs to do something with all of that. So it basically converts it to toxic fat inside the cell, which just creates more and more cellular dysfunction. So that’s, that’s one toxic, toxic

Brad (00:44:19):
Fat would be visceral fat it for the most part?

Casey (00:44:22):
So there’s actually intracellular fat that gets basically laid down, which is like ceramides and dylglycerols. And so that’s like, if you just imagine that you have, you know, too much energy substrate inside the cell that can’t be processed by the mitochondria, it’s gonna just package it as these toxic fats inside the cell that literally block cell signaling in the another storage form for excess glucose in the body is being converted to triglycerides, which gets stored in fat cells. And so you get, essentially, the way I think about it is like if you’ve got, you’ve got a certain number of mitochondria and they each have a certain amount of functional capacity, and that functional capacity is being hurt by a lot of things in our world right now. Mm-Hmm. Like micronutrient depleted food, not enough mitochondrial co-factors, et cetera. That glucose, when it cannot be processed by the mitochondria, is gonna be shunted to a storage form, which is intracellular or like intracellular toxic fats or endotriglycerides to be stored as fat in the body.

Casey (00:45:28):
And, and so there’s one of the key issues with ultra processed foods is that by blunt, by not activating our very complex satiety mechanisms in the body, which cause us to self-regulate our food intake, we are just basically, it’s like we have blinders on to eat more food and just essentially overwhelm the body with this substrate. Then on the third piece of this is the industrially refined seed oils, which of course are not a carbohydrate, they’re not like a glucose substrate that is gonna overwhelm the mitochondria. What they do to hurt the system is that they cause both oxidative stress and inflammation. So they’re a very high density omega six source that overwhelm the body with Omega six fats, which are gonna promote pro-inflammatory pathways in the body, and actually decrease the production of Omega-3 fats in the body.

Casey (00:46:28):
Because something really interesting that I think a lot of people don’t quite realize is that the enzymes in the body that have to process Omega six fats are the same that convert plant-based Omega threes to EPA and DHA, which are the anti-inflammatory, biologically active omega threes. So if you overwhelm the body with these seed oils, you’re actually blocking the endogenous production of EPA and DHA from upstream omega threes. Um, and so you get this increase of inflammation from those seed oils. You also, these seed oils are prooxidant. They, they can create essentially damaging free radicals in the body that also hurt our mitochondrial function. So it’s literally a perfect storm with the, with what’s in ultra-processed foods of refined grains, refined added sugar and refined seed oils that are essentially just creating like total overwhelming chaos for our ourselves and blunting our satiety cues driving us to just eat more and more and more of them.

Casey (00:47:27):
The beauty of unprocessed food, of almost any dietary philosophy, like whether it’s plant-based or carnivore or somewhere in between, is that food, natural food grown in good soil? And I say good soil because good soil food grown, grown in good soil is gonna have the most like nutrients per, per mass of food. And so these foods, the body, the cells in our body, many of the cells that produce satiety hormones, like for instance, GLP one, which is like a hot topic now they’re nutrient sensing. So when we give the body like healthful nutrients from nutrient-rich unprocessed foods, we trigger satiety. We don’t overeat. Um, and we, we eliminate this just total overabundance of these three ultra-processed food products that through different angles essentially hurt our mitochondria. So, um, this is why reading labels is so important. ’cause if you, if you basically create a rule, I don’t like to start with restriction, I like to start with like the benefits of what you wanna put in. But if you start with a rule of just saying, I’m not going to buy food that has ultra-processed grains, ultra-processed added sugar or industrially refined ultra-processed seed oils, it essentially eliminates all ultra-processed food. ’cause they have one of those things in them, or often all three. Hmm. Um, and then you free up a lot of space to eat foods that don’t have those things, which is almost invariably gonna be better for our cellular health.

Brad (00:49:06):
Yeah. Most packaged frozen processed fast food contains probably all three. Yeah. Uh, but you’re, you’re taking a huge swath out of what’s available in the, in the marketplace when you, uh, resolve to restrict intake of those foods. So they’re messing with your satiety mechanisms and they have, uh, the chemical agents and the food, um, the food industry, uh, flavoring to, to, to spike appetite. Is it also the case that you’re going to be compelled to overeat processed foods because you are poor at manufacturing energy internally because you have mitochondrial dysfunction. So a vicious circle where you get tired in the afternoon and so you’re gonna have to go reach for, um, a soda because your fat burning is so screwed up by all the processed food that you consume.

Casey (00:49:57):
Absolutely. Yeah. And there’s actually, there’s such an interesting study that was published in Nature, one of the premier medical journals that showed that when we eat things that cause big blood sugar surges in our body, essentially a big glucose spike, and then after that glucose spike, we have a glucose crash. ’cause that’s usually what happens. The bigger the glucose spike, the bigger the crash. The extent of that crash after a high glucose load is actually predictive of how many calories and how many cravings a person is gonna have for high carbohydrate foods in the 24 hour period after that. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So you look at that and you think, okay, well that kind of makes sense. If my blood sugar is crashing my body, that’s a fear signal to the body. Oh my god, my blood sugar’s crashing. I’ve gotta bring it back up to baseline.

Casey (00:50:53):
And so it’s gonna drive you to want more higher carbohydrate foods. But really what has happened is that you’ve spiked your glucose with ultra-processed foods, most likely that has caused a huge insulin release from the body to take that glucose outta the bloodstream. That overcompensation of insulin release essentially caused you to plummet that glucose. And now you’re on this vicious rollercoaster of eat more carbohydrate foods, spike my glucose again, come crashing down again. Mm-Hmm. And now we’re on the glucose rollercoaster that the vast majority of Americans are on all day long. And the life hack here is just figure out how to not spike your glucose levels to begin with. Especially not in the morning with breakfast. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. ’cause that will get you off the rollercoaster. So this is why having a more savory breakfast, very high protein, good healthy fat, totally glucose stabilizing and that cues your satiety mechanisms is such a positive way to actually diminish your cravings for the entire day.

Casey (00:51:58):
And, and it’s, it’s as simple as either swapping out your sweeter breakfast for a more savory one, or trying some, if that sounds too hard, then just try some adjuncts to your breakfast. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, to stabilize glucose like immediately taking a walk after breakfast or taking some apple cider vinegar before breakfast, just to blunt the glucose spike or taking the sweeter food you love for breakfast and adding in protein or fat or fiber. But you gotta keep your blood sugar very stable in the morning to set yourself up for a successful day. And the, the thing that’s so empowering, I think, is that a lot of people are like, I am addicted to this food. I love this food. I crave this food. It’s just too hard. But actually just, you know, modulating that glucose response a little bit, flattening the curve a little bit will actually alleviate mm-hmm.

Casey (00:52:54):
The cravings with basically no deprivation. You just need to know this bio, this biochemistry to really be able to get off that. And, and like so many spiritual traditions have noted throughout history, cravings attachment to wanting something is in many ways the root of suffering. Mm-Hmm. And I think so many people feel that in our country right now. They are so craving this food that it feels impossible to lose the weight to, you know, to get towards their health outcomes. ’cause they, like, you literally just can’t stop. And I’ve been there, you know, I have been in that situation of food addiction where I always have a little Hershey kiss in my purse. ’cause what if I’m stuck without sugar or chocolate? And I think when you learn how to balance your blood sugar and you learn how to incorporate more real food into your body that tells the body it has what it needs and doesn’t overwhelm the body, a lot of these things just kind of melt away.

Casey (00:53:51):
And that’s why I think so many people kind of in the health space can sound kind of annoying. Like, oh, I love this healthy food. I crave this healthy food now I just, I don’t even wanna eat that other stuff <affirmative>. But that’s what happens when the body gets what it needs. And it just, a lot of these things naturally melts melt away. So yeah. So that’s just another piece of it too, Brad, is that if you stabilize the blood sugar, it reduces the cravings for sugar later in the day. And a really key additional point is to get rid of the high fructose corn syrup, specifically in the sweet foods that you’re eating. So when I talked about refined added sugar, a huge percentage of the, the sugar that people are consuming in processed foods is in the form of high fructose corn syrup.

Casey (00:54:38):
A very recent modern phenomenon was mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you know, created in the 1970s and now we’re eating by some estimates 3000% more fructose than we were 50 years ago. Fructose is uniquely problematic for these cravings because fructose actually creates a chemical byproduct in the body called uric acid, which is created when fructose is broken down in the body, generates uric acid as a byproduct and uric acid. And the way it impacts our cellular biology and our mitochondrial function actually drives hunger. And the reason for this is so interesting is because if you think about like hibernating animals, they basically, before they hibernate, they eat berries and other fruits to basically gain a bunch of fat for winter. And so they’ll eat a little bit of berries in the, in the late summer, early fall. And that fructose is a feed forward hunger mechanism to basically make that bear like blind with hunger to eat as many berries as humanly possible in a short period of time to lay down fat for winter.

Casey (00:55:47):
So fructose in very small quantities in fiber-rich food, it’s fine. It’s not gonna like make us blinded with hunger rage like it would a bear. But once you start messing with refined fructose in liquid form, that is what’s happening. It’s literally driving people to prepare for winter Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and try and put on as much fat as humanly possible. And so that, that substance fructose has been weaponized by the food industry, especially against children to essentially get them to be food seeking robots by hijacking this primitive, uh, evolutionary pathway that’s most seen in hibernating animals that are seeking fructose -ich fruit.

Brad (00:56:31):
Mm-Hmm. So you discussed the foods to eliminate the big three to focus on. And then also in the book you have, you call it the three out, which we discuss and then the five foods that you want to make sure you include. Do you wanna discuss those categories?

Casey (00:56:47):
Sure, absolutely. Yeah. So there’s, there’s five main foods that I think are like very important, I’m sorry, not five main foods. Five main food components that I think are very important to include in ideally as many meals as possible to support our mitochondrial function. And these are fiber, healthy protein, a probiotic source, Omega-3 fatty acids, and something that’s rich in micronutrients or antioxidants. And in the book I talk about how each of these foods essentially feeds straight into mitochondrial health. But I think what’s really useful to do, and this is laid out in the book, is to understand what are some really good sources of each of these foods and then keep them at the ready in the kitchen so that you’re always able to like double little scoop of each one on all of your meals. So for instance, in the fiber category, some of the highest fiber foods that we can eat are chia seeds, basil seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, a lot of other nuts and seeds.

Casey (00:57:53):
Like tahini is actually a really good source of fiber in the fruit category. Raspberries are by high by far the highest fiber fruit. Avocados are very high fiber. And then of course, beans and legumes are high in fiber. And so for me, in my kitchen I have, you know, glass jars of chia seeds, black seeds, basil seeds, I’ve got cans of pressure- cooked beans. So they’re, you know, gonna be easier in digestion. And I will often rinse a few cans of beans at the beginning of the week and put them in Tupperware and dump a quarter cup on a salad here and there. I will have always have avocados and berries available so that whenever I’m making a meal, I can just grab a fiber source and make it really easy to get what I would consider to be the right amount, which is about 50 grams of fiber per day.

Casey (00:58:41):
On the Omega-3 side, some of the, the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are sardines, salmon, mackerel, pasture-raised eggs, uh, game meats like venison, elk, bison have a decent amount of Omega-3 fats, caviar. And then from the plant-based side chia, basil seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds. So I have those always at the ready. I’ve got wild-caught Alaskan salmon cans from Wild Planet if I wanna dump some salmon on top of a salad or make a quick tuna salad with avocado oil, mayo from, from Primal Kitchens. I love that. I’ve always got sardines to basically mix into, um, mix them into dressings. I will cut my salmon half and half with sardines to get more omega threes. Again, I’ve got my hemp seeds, chia seeds, they’re always available in case I wanna sprinkle them on things. So just making sure you’ve got these sources handy, so that you can just constantly be incorporating them into your meals.

Casey (00:59:42):
Same with probiotics. Always have a few sauerkrauts in your fridge. Always have some kavas, which is a low sugar kombucha alternative. Always have a little bit of miso, some Greek pasture-raised full fat yogurt with 20 grams of protein per cup. You know, these things just get, get familiar with the foods that are highest in these categories. Keep them handy. And eating becomes very modularized in that way because you can just intuitively be like, you know, this meal isn’t meeting the protein, this meal isn’t meeting the fiber. And I don’t focus on calories. I don’t focus on macros. I focus on really the molecules. Um, and, and when I really dug into the research, it’s, it’s those five things that our cells really, really need for good cellular health. And it helps us by thinking of food as molecular information. It helps us actually, I think, overcome the dietary dogma because you can actually get those five things from almost any dietary pattern. Mm-Hmm. You can’t really do it if you’re eating an ultra processed version of any of these dietary patterns. But, you know, I’ve seen some very, very healthy whole foods plant-based vegans. I’ve seen very, very healthy carnivores. And I think the commonality is that their cells are getting what the cells need and are expecting through very thoughtful approach to whole foods-processed eating from good soil and good sources.

Brad (01:01:08):
Yeah. That puts a lot of the controversy to rest there. That, that last comment you made. Because if you make any departure away from a diet that’s centered in processed foods, you’re gonna have a magnificent health awakening. And then perhaps the nuances can be debated forever by that 10% slice of the pie that care so much about this stuff. But the things that you mentioned about, you know, stocking your kitchen most of those things are not cost prohibitive. Um, the venison and bison might be more expensive, but, you know, we’re, we’re getting more affordable than ever to have a really nutrient dense diet. And especially when you crowd out the significant cost of stuff in your face with the stuff that was advertised on the Super Bowl every day. You open up more budget impact to go buy a jar of sauerkraut, <laugh> and have that around. And, the same with the cans of sardines and the other things that are extremely affordable.

Casey (01:02:06):
That’s exactly right. Like I think that in this journey, simplicity is great. I think about, you know, if, if, if everyone in America literally just bought ground beef, ideally grass-fed ground beef and organic broccoli and cauliflower and just for like a couple months, eight, and it takes, this takes, I do this many nights per week, but like, take a pound, it’s $6 maybe for a pound of ground beef, it’s maybe two or $3 for a huge amount of, you know, organic broccoli. Chop up the broccoli, put the beef in a pan, cook the beef for a few minutes with salt and pepper, maybe another spice or two if you’ve got it. Throw the broccoli in there too, drizzle it with some tahini and throw a little sauerkraut on top. That’s a dinner with all of those things. And, you know, the fiber, the protein, the probiotics, the Omega-3 fatty acids, the micronutrients and if, if people that, that, that literally takes me 10 minutes to make and some variation of that.

Casey (01:03:16):
And of course, swap in any vegetable, whatever. And it’s about $12 and it will feed me and my partner for two meals. So it’s keep it simple. We have a lot of simple recipes in the book. Mm-Hmm. Um, and if people ate like that for a couple, if every American ate like that for a couple months, our chronic disease epidemic would, would literally be cut in half, I believe in a few months. Or, we would drastically reduce our healthcare costs in this country. It’s, it’s literally in many ways that simple. And so that’s a message that I just, you know, we’ll never stop talking about. Yeah. Like, it doesn’t have to be hard or expensive and it’s incredibly effective when you’re eating real non-toxic food.

Brad (01:04:00):
I mean it’s hard to believe, but if you straighten up for a couple months, you can correct many of the metabolic syndrome markers, which is basically what put you in the metabolic disease category or out of that category, I think I just saw 88 million Americans are pre-diabetic or diabetic. Does that sound? Yes. So, you know, we’re talking to

Casey (01:04:21):
No, no, 140 million, 140 million Americans. There are 88 million Americans with pre-diabetes, uhhuh <affirmative>, and many more with type two. It is unbelievable. It is half 50% of Americans have pre-diabetes are tied to diabetes now. So 50%,

Brad (01:04:36):
If, if you do dietary intervention for as little as a month or two, you can come back to the doctor who told you you’re pre-diabetic and have those values in a good, a good zone now. It’s that simple.

Casey (01:04:50):
Yeah. I mean, I’ve seen people drop their triglycerides by a hundred points in two months just by moving to a more real food diet. And people drop their fasting glucose, their fasting insulin down into, you know, from pre-diabetic down to normal in the course of a month or two. It’s very achievable. And this is why I think direct to consumer lab testing is so health helpful because, you know, a lot of doctors aren’t gonna order these tests for you on such a, such a tight window ’cause it’s, they rarely ever see patients change their biomarkers that profoundly. So why would they order them every three months? Mm-Hmm. But what I recommend to people is, you know, there are so many services out there. Levels has lab testing. Inside Tracker has lab testing function, health has lab testing, Genova diagnostic has direct to consumer lab testing. You can get labs for less than a few hundred dollars. And I would say something that can be really motivating is to get a baseline and make sure you get some of the basic metabolic biomarkers like triglycerides, HDL, fasting, glucose. Those are three of the most important that can tell you about metabolic syndrome.

Brad (01:06:00):
You can retest those for $38 when you get your full panel, you’re gonna get that at your doctor for most people. Or you’re gonna pay, like you said, a couple hundred bucks. But then if you identify some problems with those basic metabolic markers, well you can, you can test ’em in real time on your CGM, which we’ll talk about next. But, um, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s now within our power to track everything and then validate whatever changes we made.

Casey (01:06:24):
Yeah. Schedule it for day one and then schedule it for two months later. Mm-Hmm. Literally don’t wait six months. Don’t. Because if you one, it makes it cognitively, I think easier. ’cause you’re like, okay, I’m only gonna have to do this for six weeks, eight weeks <laugh>, like, and just commit to, to real food for that period of time. And I think what people will find is that they see big shifts in their biomarkers. And that is incredibly motivated, and motivating because it’s this sense of, I know my, my mom experienced this. I see that all this all the time on social media. People will comment, I’m so confused. I have been reading this person, I’ve been reading this person, I’ve been reading this person, and I just don’t know what the heck to eat. And this is why I think we need to really get back to first principles about, it’s not about what you should eat as like categories or strategy.

Casey (01:07:22):
It’s like we have, we know enough about cellular biology to know what our cells need to function properly. And you can really get that through, I believe pretty much any dietary pattern that is based in real unprocessed foods that come from good soil. And commit to a simple strategy for six to eight weeks, retest your biomarkers and you will know yes or no, is it working? Mm-Hmm. No confusion. You’ll literally know is it working or is it not working? And that’s power, you know, because then you just kind of don’t have to be sitting in that stew of doubting your choices, which I think then makes us flip flop between different strategies. And then we’re always kind of trying something new. Mm. I mean my call for people, no matter whether they wanna be more plant-based or more meat-based, is like, try a real food diet of some type for six to eight weeks.

Casey (01:08:19):
Retest your biomarkers and then, you know, really begin to have more faith in your, in your strategy. Um, so yeah, that’s, I think that’s a, that’s a message I’m really trying to get across people. And, and we talk about the five biomarkers that are really important to understand whether you’re metabolically healthy, which are so basic, like you said, like literally very cheap to, to test, which is fasting glucose, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and waist circumference. And for those biomarkers, you wanna have the fasting glucose less than a hundred. You want the HDL above 40 for men above 50 for women. You want triglycerides less than one 50, blood pressure less than one 30 over 85 and waist circumference less than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men if you meet those criteria. Not on medication. Mm-Hmm.

Casey (01:09:13):
You are part of just 6.8% of Americans who we would consider metabolically healthy. i.e., Their mitochondria are functioning properly.

Brad (01:09:22):
Oh man.

Casey (01:09:23):
I would argue that many of those are actually too lenient. And actually when I’m looking at biomarkers, I want triglycerides be less than a hundred. I want fasting glucose to be actually less than 85 HGL 60 to 90. So I think in terms of my optimal ranges, I would say probably less than 2% of the United States is optimally metabolically healthy. But aside that being an aside, every person in America should know where they fall on those five biomarkers. And all of those biomarkers can change rapidly with dietary changes. So that’s just key information for people to know. And I think we can easily make that 6.8% much, much larger, if we really focus on a meta focus, the arrow of our choices on, on metabolic and mitochondrial health.

Brad (01:10:15):
So just back to the, the early part of the discussion, why this is it so simple and extremely well validated by research and by practical example of the people who are living a long time and avoiding disease, why isn’t the medical system, you know, overhauled the whole scene to focus on that prevention, uh, aspect of the, the whole big picture and, and you know, compel people who are insured to get in there and, and test and retest and, I don’t know, put up incentives or penalties if, if things aren’t corrected, is that too much to ask?

Casey (01:10:55):
It is too much to ask if the incentives of healthcare stay the same because healthcare is a business and it is a business designed to grow. And right now with the way healthcare is financed and incentivized, the only way for that to happen is by doing more things to more people over long periods of time. I absolutely think there’s a way in which there’s great business that can be made or great business with lots of people employed if we actually had it a different way where we were actually incentivized for better health outcomes. And there was a slight movement towards this, I think very surface level with the Affordable Care Act. There was this concept of value-based care, which basically said that doctors would be reimbursed more for their patient care if they reported on certain quality metrics in their patient practice. So that, that sounds really good.

Casey (01:11:52):
’cause it’s basically saying, okay, value is outcomes over cost. You want good outcomes over lower cost. Whoa. If we could pay doctors more for having better outcomes for lower cost, we would move the system in the right direction. Sounds great. Didn’t work. This is why. The reason is because the devil is in the details. When you actually go on the Center for Medicaid Services website and you dig in and you look at what the quality metrics were, every specialty had different quality metrics. And these were the metrics that doctors had to report on in order to basically get this increased reimbursement. And my belief is that the process of creating those quality metrics for each specialty got very politicized and basically got co-opted by pharma interests. Because if you look for instance, at like the asthma quality guidelines, one would think that better outcomes means that a doctor has more patients with less asthma.

Casey (01:13:01):
So basically patients have healed from asthma. Patients have gotten off medication and are living free of asthma. That would in my mind be what a good outcome is. Instead, the outcome metrics were things like percentage of the doctor’s patients with a diagnosis of asthma who are on long-term albuterol therapy. So the quality metric was actually how many patients in the doctor’s population were on long-term therapy. And again, it’s just like all good things in moderation. Sounds great. Right? Oh yeah. Well that doctor’s practicing high-quality medicine ’cause his patients are medicated. The patients who have the disease are on the medications. That’s good quality. But this is what we need to just explode in our healthcare conversation. We need to understand that quality is not the amount of patients on quote unquote appropriate medical therapy. Quality is patients whose cells have healed. Cells that are functional. That is healthcare. That is quality.

Casey (01:14:14):
But nowhere in that document, do you see anything that even broaches on that, that framework for health of like truly a patient who has healed. I mean the healthcare system is even loath to even call a patient cured because it kind of goes against their model. There was recent because of amazing movements like what Virta Health is doing and other organizations that are truly trying to like reverse things like type two diabetes, which we used to consider a chronic lifelong condition that couldn’t be reversed. The governing bodies of like American Diabetes Association, other groups like this, they’ve, they’ve had to acknowledge the fact that we need to update our model and realize that these diseases are truly reversible. But instead of calling it like a cure or this person no longer has type two diabetes, they call the person in remission <laugh>.

Casey (01:15:11):
And I think that’s so interesting. ‘Cause the subtext of that is that the person’s sort of out of it for now. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. But like they might, they might pop back in. They’re in remission. It’s like the cancer might come back Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> back. And it’s like if we had better understanding of really thinking about disease on the cellular biology perspective, if someone’s cells are no longer insulin resistant and their insulin levels have gone from 30 to two and their liver functions beautiful and their oxidative stress markers are beautiful and their fasting glucose is in a beautiful range. And all of these things are true, they do not have type two diabetes anymore. They do. They, it can be struck from their, their, but, but mm-Hmm. We have this, this, this interesting, what I think is a very subliminally, disempowering message of like, this is who you are, you’re diabetic. Mm-Hmm. And yeah, you know, you’re, it’s not showing up right now, but it’s still in you. And I just, that to me actually feels very insidiously disempowering because fundamentally when we have cells that are functioning properly because of the, you know, the choices that we’ve made, that’s our state. That is our, that is, that is, that is the reality at that time point. And um, I think people should be able to really take pride in that and own that and work towards that.

Brad (01:16:33):
Yeah. It’s similar to the thinking about genetics where we blame, uh, our familial genetics and expect to get the similar conditions that we’re familiar with from our family members. And it can be, it can be largely irrelevant even if you have strong predispositions for alcoholism or whatever. If I’m a non-drinker, I can, I can bet you that I’m not going to pick up that disease regardless of my genetics, but most people need a long conversation to be talked out of that belief system that’s been pounded into our heads.

Casey (01:17:07):
Oh, absolutely. And it happens on every level. I’ll never forget, a while ago I was with my father at a doctor’s appointment and my dad is 77 and he is so, he has had just such an amazing health journey. He, you know, used to be on cholesterol medication and have high cholesterol and we’re, we’re with the doctor. And the doctor, you know, looks at his chart and sees his triglycerides of 47, which are like so low, so healthy. And she goes, gosh, you must just have the best genetics. And I said to her, I had to stop her. I mean, I can’t help myself.

Brad (01:17:43):
You’re so lucky. And

Casey (01:17:44):
Aren’t you lucky? You’re so lucky. And she kind of winked at him and I said, you know, I just gotta say like if you, if you take a peek in my dad’s chart, you can clearly see that he’s had high cholesterol in the past. And so he, he at, at one point had high cholesterol and he is actually done an incredible amount of work. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> to change his diet. He grows his own food, he buys all his, he all he buys, you know, the rest of his food at the farmer’s market. He’s 77, but he’s biking every day. He’s on the Peloton, he walks, he has an aura ring. He’s committed to, you know, now getting so much more sleep than when he was in executive back in the day pre-retirement. He does stress management. I’m like literally just like, this is what has changed between that high value and 47 and the person and you know, and she did not respond to what I said and just kept moving through the conversation because it is so antithetical to the way we’re trained to the worldview, to the whole system that this $4 trillion of interests are predicated on that you can’t even acknowledge a patient’s win.

Casey (01:18:57):
And where that win came from because I think on some level, on some spiritual deep level, people know that if you start accepting that and celebrating those wins, it starts to make the whole thing crumble. The whole thing that’s paying your mortgage, the whole thing that’s paying for your boat, the whole thing that’s for your kids’ college education. Kind of have to just ignore it and move on. And that’s exactly what happened. And I of course am not speaking for every physician. There are so many physicians who I would celebrate that and, you know, and who are very into lifestyle medicine. But I’m talking about some of the bigger, more pervasive trends that I think are still very, very real in our culture. And I’ve been in the workrooms, in the hospitals where doctors snicker about their earthy granola crunchy patients who are super into, you know, oregano oil for an infection or, you know, the, the food is medicine stuff or functional medicine.

Casey (01:19:53):
And these patients are, are literally like troublesome for the, because the doctor then has to spend time engaging about those things. They don’t have time to. Right. That’s not, that’s not what the hospital administration wants from those doctors. So it ends up transforming into attitudes and behaviors that ultimately are downstream of financial incentives. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And unfortunately what happens, and the tragic part is that you take a huge population of people who went into medicine to help people and for the best of intentions, you put them into a machine that is ultimately a business that’s designed to grow. And you take great minds and you teach them bad reactive medicine. And it’s such a huge part of the economy that we all have to play into this charade that it’s somehow is successful. Meanwhile, Americans every single year are getting sicker, heavier, more depressed and more infertile at alarming rates in every age group as we spend more money. And we all need to stop and ask why is this happening?

Brad (01:21:02):
Wow. What a beautiful summary. Thank you very much for the wake up call. I hope all you watching listening are, definitely more alert now to the, to the situation around us. And Good Energy is gonna be a great place to, uh, catalyze this transformation. So tell us how we can learn more about the book and especially watch your beautiful trailer video, which is so touching ’cause you talk about your mother and we’re here at the three-year anniversary and the release of the book and so, you know, onward and upward we go. I’d love for you to, um, share how we can connect with this book.

Casey (01:21:42):
Absolutely. Well, the book is on sale everywhere books are sold. You can learn more about it at casey means.com/good energy. You can find me on social media at Dr. Casey’s kitchen, Dr. Casey’s kitchen. And my website is sort of the home for all my work, podcasts newsletter, sign up recipes. Um, and that’s casey means.com. So I hope this book radically benefits everyone’s life, who gets it. And, thank you so much, Brad, for having me on.

Brad (01:22:14):
Thank you, Dr. Casey Means that’s a wrap. Da da da. Thank you so much for listening to the B.rad Podcast. We appreciate all feedback and suggestions. Email podcast@bradventures.com and visit brad kearns.com to download five free eBooks and learn some great long cuts to a longer life. How to optimize testosterone naturally, become a dark chocolate connoisseur and transition to a barefoot and minimalist shoe lifestyle.




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