Inside The Hart of Health: Our First Podcast | The Hart of Health Podcast
Joané and Jonathan: (00:02)
Hi, I’m Joané Hart, and I am Jonathan Hart. This is The Hart of Health. A show where we focus mainly on health and self-optimization. Here, we like to talk about our experiences and knowledge when it comes to health and biohacking. We hope you enjoy the show.
Hey everyone, on today’s episode, we are going to be discussing what we hope to achieve with this podcast and also take a look at what we want to do this year as far as health and lifestyle is concerned.
What I’m aiming to get out of The Hart of Health is to basically have a platform to express everything I’m excited about when it comes to health. Both Jonathan and I love talking about health and love telling people what we know and giving people tips and advice. There is always something to talk about, and the thing is that not everyone always wants to listen to that, and I basically wanted a place where the people who are listening want to hear what we are saying and want to learn more about health. We want to reach people who want to be better and healthier versions of themselves. And have fun with it. We should really have fun with it.
Yeah. I’m hoping to sort of help share experiences we have, and you know, reach out to people, and maybe we say something that resonates or get through to someone, and they think, “Hey, wait, that actually sounds doable”. Or like “I can fix my health” or I” can be healthier”. Because, maybe we could make something sound simpler or make it sound doable. I like taking complex subjects and making them a little bit more simple and yeah, it’d be nice if we can get more people on a healthy path.
Yeah. I decided years ago that part of my mission in life is to make the world a healthier place. And what’s great about today is through podcasting, through YouTube, through all these channels, we can reach people, we can get information out there and hopefully make a difference.
Yeah. Especially when it comes to nutrition, cause obviously we’re going to cover anything related to health and self-optimization, but when it comes to things like nutrition, there’s quite a lot of debate in the community of people who are interested in nutrition. You know, you get a whole bunch of different camps that believe a whole bunch of different things. There’s a lot of people out there that don’t know what to believe and they almost feel like the experts are always changing their minds on what’s healthy and what’s not. I felt like it was just time to, you know, become part of the conversation. If everyone sort of started joining the conversation and actually expanding their minds and sharing their experiences, we might actually be able to figure this thing out a little bit sooner than if we just sort of let the scientists go off and do their experiments, and eventually, maybe they might come up with an answer.
Yeah, that’s true. What’s that whole N = one concept in a study where you are the only subject in the study?
Yeah. N normally represents the number of people in a study.
Yes, that’s true. Like every person’s body is different, every person’s body reacts differently to different health guidelines, and there’s like a thousand guidelines out there that you can try. But it takes some self-experimentation. It takes getting to know your body, it takes time and dedication. To figure out what works for your body and what will make your body function optimally. At the end of the day, you want your brain and your body to perform optimally now, so that you can perform well at work and you can perform well physically but also so that you can live longer and one day when you are older and you are in your seventies, you can still do the things that you want to do and that you enjoy. The things that we are doing now, the experiments, the way we eat, it’s not just based on our current goals but also based on what we want in the future when it comes to our health.
Yeah. I mean it’s still unclear as to like how much lifespan you can increase. I think it will be quite a lot and I think we’ll be finding out over the next couple of years just how much diet has an influence on your longevity. But I think more importantly, like you already said, is the quality of life is probably the most important thing to increase. There’s no point in living to a hundred if from past the age of 65 you’re barely able to do anything and your quality of life sucks. I’d rather live to 90 and have a lot more quality of life and only in the last five years, you sort of deteriorate. You maintain your quality of life for as long as possible rather than just living to a really old age.
Yes. So, that’s basically what we are gonna try to do with The Hart of Health. Then this year, because 2020 is actually quite a big year. It’s the start of a new decade, which is pretty cool. I started to think, where could I be in a decade from now? Where could The Hart of Health be a decade from now? Both of us want to set a challenge for ourselves each month this year and then see how we turn out, you know, in the end, see how we turn out the 31st of December.
Yeah, I mean in the past, I’ve had quite a few new year’s resolutions, which was kind of one basic resolution for the entire year. Now, I feel like I’ve experimented enough on my own and I feel like it’s time to share with people things I’ve learned. This year I think we can both handle a challenge a month.
Oh, definitely. We’ve come, we’ve come a long way. We can handle this.
So, what’s your first challenge?
My first challenge is to fast for 16 hours or longer every day this month.
Yeah. What I actually did is, on the 30th of December, so about a day and a half before the start of the new year, I started a three-day fast. So a 72-hour fast to kind of prepare for the new year and the health and fitness challenges that I’m going to take on. And it was actually quite a cool experience. I must say that I really loved the fasting thing. And that has made fasting for 16 hours a day so much easier over the last few days. If I do wake up hungry in the morning cause I’m only trying to eat from about 11 o’clock, you know (well it’s usually between 11 and one, depending on what time I ate the night before). Like it’s never hard. If I’m hungry and there are two hours to go, I’m like, nah, I lasted for 72 hours. This is easy. So, there really is something to setting challenges for yourself and then doing them and you really get confidence from that. And then when you take on another challenge, it feels possible, you know?
Yeah. And it’s not like we’re going to stack the challenges on top of each other. Like some of them will integrate well into each other, but some challenges are literally going to just be for the month as an experiment. For my first month, I’m going to go the primal way. I’m going to be mostly focusing on making sure I get almost zero processed foods in, so very whole-foods based, where my rule of thumb is: if I can’t take raw ingredients that you can find in nature and make it at home, I don’t want it in the diet for this month. I think it’s a good first step for anyone. I think either of our challenges would be a good first step for someone to try.
Yeah. Like here is why the intermittent fasting thing is amazing for me and why I chose that as my first challenge. Well, for one, it’s kind of easier not to eat than it is to eat a little bit and then try to not eat any more after that. Well, at least for me, because I tend to overeat. I tend to binge eat and I’ve actually spoken to other people who do the same. And what intermittent fasting does is shorten your eating window in a day. So, if you have fewer meals in a day, then you can eat more at a meal. So, instead of eating five small meals a day, you can have two big meals a day or even one really big meal a day if that’s what you want to do. You know, with intermittent fasting, there are different lengths that you can go. For now, I’m doing 16 hours a day, which I find is pretty okay. Any longer than that I find is unnecessary and it puts extra stress on my body. And I’m trying not to do that. And then what’s also great about intermittent fasting is: say you eat something that is processed or high in sugar or carbohydrates and you fast for a bit longer afterwards, your body has some time to get rid of the excess glucose to get rid of any ingredients that your body can’t actually use. It just gives your body time to recover. And that’s what I really like. So if there are people who to change what they’re eating, maybe start with when you are eating.
Yeah. So then obviously, if you do struggle with what you eat, then it’s obviously a lot better to focus on your eating window because then at least you are also minimising the time in which you can do damage. Where like with my approach, I’d still recommend at least a 12-hour fasting window as a minimum for anyone. I think that should actually be a basic eating guideline for the world. At least make sure that you’re not eating in more than a 12-hour window. Have that as your minimum. But then, if you want to try, you know, changing what you eat, going to whole foods is probably the most recommended step by experts. And yeah, I find it’s also very hard to overdo foods that haven’t been processed because in their natural form, they contain fibre and all these things that are very like satiating. So it’s harder for you to overdo it on those kinds of foods. And, like you were saying, restrict yourself to fewer meals, so you can have more satisfying meals. You can get the same satisfaction by just, well not the same, but you can also get satisfaction by eating whole foods because they’re naturally more satisfying than if it’s been processed. I mean, you can eat a ton of pasta and you can’t do the same with a salad or any kind of normal veg.
Yeah. How much steak can you eat at once, you know?
Yeah, steak is super satisfying and it’s a very good example of a whole food. I mean, you are literally getting it from the cow. Whereas if you look at sugar where they take the plant, grind it up, and extract the sugar out of the plant fibres and then create this white powder or brown powder that’s clearly been processed. It’s not like you can take sugarcane and make enough sugar at home to even put it in your coffee. It’s a process that is part of the reason why sugar is kind of bad for your health. Kinda sorta really bad for your health.
Yeah. Sugar isn’t a great one. Okay. So let’s talk about your typical diet. So, Jonathan eats like 80% animal-based.
Yeah. Last year we did a carnivore experiment.
No, it wasn’t last year was the year before.
Oh yeah. So, the year before last, we did the carnivore diet experiment. Yeah, I think that was the first time that my digestive system ran smoothly without problems. It made me realize that in my regular diet, I was consuming way too much fibre and it was causing problems for me. So now I know to regulate my fibre in order not to get problems. And when I do have more fibre in a day, I noticed the effect straight away.
Yeah. That was also one that I learned. I was eating too much fibre. I actually had stomach pain for two months and didn’t know what that was from. And I realised it was just the amount of fibre that I was eating. So, as soon as I cut my dietary fibre intake in half, the pain went away immediately, which was really great. Yeah, we started the carnivore diet the day after we got married. So, that was the 2nd of September that we started the carnivore diet, cause we got married on the first.
Yeah. And I mean it was quite a fun experiment. Like I think I’ve learnt a lot more now and I wouldn’t mind doing that as another challenge at some point to do, uh, to do a month of the carnivore diet maybe later this year. The one thing about the carnivore diet is it’s very hard for people to understand and like family gatherings can be like quite awkward. And it’s difficult.
Luckily though, we live in South Africa. So in South Africa, we like to braai, which is our word for a barbecue. When we did the carnivore diet, whenever we had social gatherings with people, we recommended a braai. Then you know, the meat would just be cooked on an open flame. So we did quite a lot of that and that actually made it easier, so we could still socialise with people and then go to a braai and we would just eat meat.
Yeah, it did work out. But you know, like you go to someone’s house and they’ve made a lasagne or something and you just can’t eat it on the carnivore diet. But yeah, it was only a month. And I feel like a lot of people say like, “Oh I can’t do that.” Or some people say like, “Oh no, I’m going to get a deficiency” or “I’m going to get scurvy or something”. For a month, you’ll be fine. I mean, it’s really not going to be detrimental to your health. There’s been thousands and thousands of people that have done the carnivore diet for a month with no drastic side effects.
Yeah. Like what we did after the carnivore diet is: every second day, we introduced a new food and new ingredient into our diet to see if our bodies reacted to them badly. And we learned a lot about what we respond well to. I learned kale is not my friend. That was quite a fun experiment. I gained weight though because I was eating quite a lot of meat. I was enjoying the carnivore diet a bit too much. The weight did come off quite quickly afterwards. This actually reminds me of that whole all-in principle, where you eat to satiety, so you eat as much as you want until you are satisfied. And even if you gain weight, you just carry on doing that every day. And eventually, apparently, your body will plateau and the extra weight will start to come off. But that is a strategy that a lot of people that do have a bit of metabolic damage and whose metabolisms have slowed down, people who are always hungry, people who have like hectic cravings. That’s something that fascinates me quite a bit. I don’t know if I would do it, but me gaining weight on the carnivore diet kind of reminds me of that because I was eating to satiety and I gained weight, but I don’t know, it kind of felt necessary at the time.
Yeah, it probably helped you repair your metabolism a little bit. The thing is: if you’re going to be overeating calories, having your carbohydrates as low as possible is probably the best thing to do. The carbohydrates could make you balloon a lot faster, retain a lot more water and yeah, you obviously get a lot more hungry on the carbohydrate-based diet.
How long have we been low-carb for? Probably like two years at least. Well, we’ve been low sugar for at least three years cause we’ve been together for five. It wasn’t the first few years.
Yeah. Basically, it was the second year that my new year’s resolution was to go low sugar and it’s been since then pretty much.
Yeah. And we cut out gluten, we cut out soy, we cut our trans fats like 90% of the time, cause sometimes they sneak into food. You cannot always help it. You can’t be too worried and too controlling.
Because you got to make sure it’s sustainable and you can actually adhere to your proposed lifestyle change. The whole carnivore diet thing was cool because it was like a learning experience where we eliminated all these foods and then we could slowly figure out what we individually reacted to well or not. And for me, nuts tend to not be a very good thing. And I mean this is actually kind of logical. I mean a lot of people want to think that everyone can follow the same diet, but everyone also knows that one guy can eat peanuts and be fine and one guy can eat peanuts and die. So I mean you can’t really recommend one size to fit all. It’s probably best to try and figure things out for yourself. But this is part of why we’re doing the shows because if more people can share what they experience, it might help other people try and figure out the puzzle. Someone might listen to this and think, Hey, I haven’t tried that. Let me give it a go. And it could be the first step in a journey to better health.
Yeah. Like you never know when you’re going to say something that resonates with someone or that will help someone who is going through something. I was talking to someone who started eating flaxseeds to try and help a certain health problem. But did not know that you had to grind them up for your body to be able to absorb them well. Just by talking to someone about health, like I knew something that could help them and whenever that has, how that has happened, whenever I’ve been able to share a bit of information that has helped someone, I don’t know, it just adds so much meaning to life. And I don’t really think, well since I was 10 years old, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to do anything else with my life.
Yeah, that’s good to have, I mean you, you definitely want to try and help people, like a lot of people have a desire to help the community and the people around them. And I’ve noticed that since I’ve been experimenting with my own health, I’ve had a lot more people approaching me asking me for advice. And it is difficult to give people advice, but if you’ve got a lot of knowledge and you’ve done a lot of experiments and you’ve had a lot of experiences, you can actually try and recommend things that you think might help someone get to their goals. All the people that I’ve given advice to have definitely noticed benefits. If they did go with what I said. Obviously, you can’t expect everyone to just follow exactly what you say. You’ve got sort of like people who are very good at sticking to things. You got some people that aren’t so good at sticking to things and you got to try and like notice those things and then try and adjust your advice based on the person. The thing is with any change you want to make, you’ve got to make sure it’s sustainable because temporary diets don’t work. If you go on like whatever diet for a month and then go back to the way you are eating, you’re going to go back to where you were before you started the diet. You have to try and make sure that you can make changes that you can implement over a much longer period of time.
Unless you’re doing a diet for a month to experiment, like with the carnivore diet. It doesn’t mean if you’re going to do a diet for a month, it has to be something you can sustain. If it’s something you only want to do as an experiment, just treat it as an experiment, but if there is something that you want to change for the rest of your life, like you want to cut out sugar forever. Then you have to approach it in a way that will be sustainable for you.
Yeah. I think it’s definitely best to have an open-minded approach and not get stuck in one way. A lot of people will try a diet, it works, and then they think that is the only thing that works. Many things can work for you. A lot of people think that initial success in a diet means that it’s the best and it’s the only one that’s going to work. And I definitely think you’ll have a massive advantage of being open-minded to trying different diets. That’s definitely what I believe in and I practice myself.
Yeah. Like you never know what is going to make you feel amazing. You could try something that you think is silly, like adding turmeric to your coffee, and then you try it and you feel amazing and you’re like, “ah, I shouldn’t have said that it was silly before. Because this is actually amazing for me.” How many times have people asked you, why are you doing this challenge? Like yes, you were talking about why you were doing a challenge. Like you know, you want to do the vegan diet in February just to test it out, so that you can talk from experience. If you are talking to someone who is on a plant-based diet. Sometimes, and I’d say like half the time that we do health experiments, it’s because we’re very curious and we want to try it. And we want to be able to talk from experience. But that is a question we get a lot. Why are you doing this?
Yes, I think that is definitely the most common question. “Why are you doing this?” And that’s the thing not a lot of people understand, “Oh, you want to experiment on yourself”. They almost don’t see that as a rational thing to do, but I feel like it’s the only real way you’re going to be able to figure this thing out. You know, N equals one. I’m the study, studying myself. I am trying to figure out what’s going on in this whole experiment.
Do you also do what I do where, depending on who I’m talking to, I’ll give them that reason? Let’s focus on the sugar thing. There are a hundred reasons why you should quit sugar. So if I’m talking to someone who is like a woman who is around 40, and she’s asking me, why aren’t you eating sugar? I can say: because sugar increases the speed of ageing and I don’t want wrinkles to form a lot faster. I always pick the benefit that maybe will resonate with them. Or if I’m talking to a man and he’s asking me, “why aren’t you eating sugar?” I can say, “well, sugar messes with your hormones and did you know that if you’re a man and you get a lot of sugar, then it can significantly lower your testosterone levels.” You know, like you choose the one that will hit home, you know?
Yeah. I mean, I definitely noticed an increase in testosterone when I learned my sugar intake. That study where the guys basically eat the equivalent of 75 grams of sugar had a 25% reduction in testosterone levels.
Yes, we should definitely put the link in the description.
Yeah. it just shows you, you know, sugar has an impact and yes, if you have something very sugary or you have a dessert every now and then, it’s not going to be the end of the world, but it only becomes a problem when you have it regularly. Just like anything, moderation is key. And trying to figure out that moderation is like individual really.
Well, yeah. I really like the 80/20 rule for most people. I know we can be a bit extreme, like nobody has to be like us, like it is more like 90%/10%, sometimes 95%/5% but the 80%/20% principle basically says eat healthily 80% of the time and then 20% of the time, you can relax a little bit and you’ll still get 80% of the benefits. Like with fasting, they’ve done studies where people cheated. Well, they didn’t fast for two days a week, so they fasted for five days a week and they still pretty much got most of the benefits. So even if you are intermittent fasting, you don’t have to do it every day. Like everything is optional.
Yeah. And just having that 80/20 rule can make it a lot more sustainable because you don’t feel like you’ve cut something out of your life forever. We’re passionate about experimenting with ourselves, so we’re giving things up to follow another passion that we put higher than that thing. And I think it’s good if you want to learn from us, so it’s not like you have to do what we are doing, but you can learn from our experiments on ourselves and maybe it might help you figure things out for your own self-study.
Yeah. Like I’m just fascinated by the idea of becoming the healthiest version of myself and seeing what that’s like. The other day, I realised that I’m used to my body the way it is now. I don’t even know what I am capable of. I don’t even know what my body is capable of doing and with all of the experiments and hopefully, I will throw in a few fitness challenges in there. I can meet like a version of myself in the future that I would never even have dreamt of.
Yeah. And as a very good example, bringing in the fitness challenges. The most talked-about thing is nutrition and most of our challenges are going to be eating-related but we are definitely going to be doing sort of other challenges like cold shock therapy and sleep and red light therapy. There are so many other things to health. Obviously, the most popular subject is nutrition because it’s a very important one. But obviously, I think most experts agree that sleep supersedes what you eat. So you know, it’s just a bit harder to talk about sleep because everyone kind of agrees on what you need to do for sleep. And it’s not like we can do sleeping challenges, we can do experiments on sleep and we can, you know, recommend; yeah, you’ve got to have blackout curtains and you can try blue-blocking apps on your phone, and this and that, all to improve your sleep. But there’s not a lot of confusion when it comes to sleeping properly. So yeah, we will cover it but it won’t be as prominent as nutrition because there’s a lot of confusion in nutrition and we are hoping to help.
Clear some of that. If we ever did do a sleep challenge, you would need a sleep tracker because I can track my sleep with my fitness tracker. But if you did do a sleep tracker, the sleep trackers give you a sleep score, so you could use that as a metric. You might be thinking that you’re sleeping for seven hours, but it only registers like six hours of quality sleep. You can see your sleep patterns. You could do a challenge like that, but you would need a sleep tracker for it. It should be awesome.
Yeah. And it’s just like for some of the challenges, I want to do a blood test. I want to try to get some data to put behind it and you know, the anecdote will help a lot. So just saying what you experienced personally will help, but bringing in some data will also hopefully bring a bit more substance to the argument.
Yes. That wasn’t bad for our first chat.
Yeah. I hope that everyone will get some value from this. Yeah, and listen to the next one where we talk about something else that is related to health and biohacking your self-optimization.
Yes. Okay. We hope you have a great day, a great week, a great month, a great year, a great decade.
And remember, the path to greater health is taking it one step at a time.