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hang in there how to stick to your healthy diet

Our Health Stories And Current Approaches To Health And Research | The Hart of Health Podcast S1 E14

Joané & Jonathan: (00:03)
Hi, I’m Jonaé Hart and I’m 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.

Joané: (00:34)
Hi everyone. On today’s episode, we are going to talk about our health stories, how we became really interested in health and wellness, and how we decided to start The Heart of Health.

Jonathan: (00:51)
Yeah, it’s been quite a few years in the making, but we’ll just stick to the highlights.

Joané: (00:57)
Yeah. This story can become very long if we become quite detailed, but we’ll try to keep it short. Well, since you’ve lived for a longer period of time and you are older than I am, let’s start with you. Where did your interest in health start?

Jonathan: (01:23)
I’ve always had this sort of interest in being healthy. I’m sort of always doing fitness things and you know, I’ve always been good at sports and being able to run a lot and fast. And I sort of built up this idea that health is all about exercise in the first part of my life. And that if I just exercise a lot, I would be healthy. But then as you get out of high school and you start getting older, it gets much harder to maintain, even though you put in the same amount of effort. So, I didn’t really give diet much of any attention until I met you. And then you started letting me know of your knowledge of what foods do to your health. So, yeah, I had very good foundational information when it comes to the anatomy and the biology and the exercise science.

Jonathan: (02:32)
Because I studied that at the University of Victoria, doing basically a degree going towards biokinetics. So I did all the anatomy, so I have a very good foundational knowledge of human anatomy and biology. And I did do a nutritional course in that, but it’s not really up to date information that I learned in that nutritional course. So, I mean, technically I’ve already passed the degree that qualifies me to be knowledgeable in health before I met you. And then I realized how out of date the nutritional information was. The anatomy was pretty up to date. I don’t think that changes very quickly. Yeah, they do learn new things all the time, but the nutrition side of things that I learned, really needed an update because I was following those guidelines and they weren’t really working. The stupid food pyramid.

Joané: (03:33)
Yeah. We should turn that thing upside down pretty much. What sports did you do in school? You did gymnastics. You did hockey. You still play hockey. Gymnastics was in primary school.

Jonathan: (03:50)
Yeah. I came first in the province (state if you’re in America) and I went to the national tournament and the best I placed with sixth, but then I got tall. So then I quit gymnastics and then hockey and athletics were my main sports, but I’d play every sport. I was very active, but it didn’t really help in the long run.

Joané: (04:22)
And now, that you’re grown up, you’re almost 30, you’re turning 30 at the end of the year. Anyways. Now that you’re grown, you play some Ultimate Frisbee, right?

Jonathan: (04:34)
Yeah. I started that last year, once or twice. And now the beginning of this year, we played a few times

Joané: (04:41)
And you still play field hockey?

Jonathan: (04:44)
Well, until Corona came and cancelled it.

Joané: (04:49)
Oh yeah, I know. And you’re also into mountain biking. That’s an interesting one. You like mountain biking and you also have a really cool job. You are an obstacle course designer and you do a bunch of other stuff, but obstacle course designing is the cool part of your job.

Jonathan: (05:06)
Yes. Basically, an events coordinator would be the thing to tell most people that they’d understand.

Joané: (05:14)
But you do design obstacles for an obstacle course race, which is the relevant part to this discussion because you have to know a lot about the human body and movement. It’s just really cool that you come up with obstacles that make people suffer.

Jonathan: (05:30)
Well, some of them will suffer but the hardest ones to come up with, are actually the fun ones. It’s easy to come up with ideas to make people suffer. It’s very difficult to come up with the ideas that are fun and safe at the same time for people to do. That’s probably the biggest challenge in the job.

Joané: (05:47)
So, this is for the Warrior Race. I have done it 10 times, the 5k, the easier course, It’s so much fun. My health journey was different. So I became very interested in health and wellness around 10 years old because I was a chubby kid and I got teased in school. And then I just started reading every health article and diet article I could find in magazines. I would go to the library, go through all of the books that they had about health. If there was like an encyclopedia, I would page to anything related to health and fitness and just read that. So I read a lot of magazines. You should’ve seen my room, like my bottom of my bed. It was just full of magazines, my cupboard, everything. I was just reading everything I could get my hands on. And like my parents, we didn’t have a lot of money.

Joané: (06:53)
Like we had enough, but we did not have internet at home. And that was like before we had phones that could get access to the internet. So when we would go to my grandfather’s house or the library and any chance I got to go onto the internet, I was just doing research. Like I would walk two kilometres to an internet cafe and spend my parking money just for a few hours of internet time to research health. I was just obsessed. And then life got better and I went to university and I had internet all the time. And that was so much fun doing health research. So yeah, I’ve basically been obsessed with researching health and wellness since 10 years old. Maybe it’s like, I’m always that chubby kid inside who’s looking for the answers about how to become a healthier me.

Joané: (07:51)
And I fell in love with it so much, but I was way more focused on the nutrition side of things. And it was actually so funny, I always try to, because I became so excited about everything that I was learning. Then I would want to tell everybody about it. Like whenever somebody would chop a tomato, I would tell them, “Oh, did you know that tomatoes have lycopene in them, which is a very potent antioxidant?”, and nobody ever cared. So, I’m glad we started The Heart of Health. So we get to talk about health information and stuff like that. And whoever listens wants to listen, which is nice. So I’ve been obsessed with health ever since. On the fitness side of things, I have always danced since I was like four years old, I started with ballet.

Joané: (08:48)
But ballet was a little boring. So eventually my mom said I could do hip-hop. And then I did hip hop for like 13 years, which was fun. And then I’ve done resistance training. I’ve loved doing that. Ever since I was 10 years old, I would do workouts in my room. I’ve always been more of a home workout type of person. And Oh, there was this year where I did long-distance running at school. I remember because I was a chubby kid when I asked the teacher who was running it, if I could join, she laughed at me cause she couldn’t imagine me running, but I still joined. I still did it. So, yeah, I’ve always been active I must say. So I’ve actually been active since I was like 10 years old and now I’m quite into still resistance training. I love exercising with weights and then I really enjoy yoga and dancing. Hiking is really nice. We don’t do that often, but I really like it. And I’ve always been a clumsy person and my coordination sucks and I’ve never been good at any sports like racket sports, balls sports, and if you want to see something funny, ask me to throw a Frisbee. Like that is just bad. Even a tennis ball, something like that. I just struggled. I was born prematurely and then I was born with low muscle tone, which you were born with the same thing.

Jonathan: (10:25)
I wasn’t born prematurely, but I did have low muscle tone.

Joané: (10:28)
Yeah. That’s what I meant, low muscle tone. So I was born prematurely and the doctors actually told my mom that I wasn’t going to be able to walk properly ever because my development was so slow and everything. I had developed very slowly. But I learned to walk properly, but I fell a lot, I stumbled a lot trying to just learn how to walk properly. Even as like a four-year-old kid, I fell a lot. Then I was in like a car accident when I was four as well. Well, I was standing outside of the car, but the car hit me and then there is an impact and that also affected my development. And that is why I actually had to start ballet, that combined with my low muscle tone So actually the accident plus that, made my mom sign me up for ballet. The low muscle thing. It’s really cool. Well, not cool that we both had it. It’s cool that our parents cared enough to sign us up for like these programs and stuff. I actually had to get a lot of therapy as a little kid. I know, like there were a lot of pilates balls involved and things like that. My mom was such a trooper.

Jonathan: (11:56)
Yeah. It’s very interesting to see different backgrounds and that they do have some common trends in them. You were saying that you just always were researching and looking at and going on the internet. And now I remember that I’d always have this “but why” sort of attitude. But why, but why? And when I eventually got internet where you could just go onto Google and go and find out anything, I had a tendency to research any subject that I was curious in. And if there was any a debate or an argument, Google it, you know?

Joané: (12:40)
Google is my friend. I Google everything.

Jonathan: (12:43)
Yeah. So, that’s the thing, at first, when you start doing that, you sort of trust the information you first come across and then as time goes on after getting proven wrong a few times you, you realize, okay, wait, there’s a lot of bullshit out there and you have to get good at filtering it out.

Joané: (13:02)
Yes. You learned to weed out the bad information.

Jonathan: (13:06)
You’d learn like the classic signs of, okay, now this seems fishy. Like some people would say like, Oh, you gotta see these, uh…what was that scam like the glyconutrients? Just, the way they were describing it was just turning my bullshit meter on full blast.

Joané: (13:31)
Somebody was playing us a DVD because they know we are interested in health and then said, Oh, you have to learn about this discovery glyconutrients. And within the first five minutes, we just told them, just switch it off. This is crap. And then we searched it, researched it and there’s this whole scam behind glyconutrients and it’s such bullshit. But yeah, your bullshit detector does get good over time, especially when you learn how to do research properly.

Jonathan: (14:09)
And when you get a good foundation of knowledge.

Joané: (14:12)
Yes. Meaning, the more you learn, the more you learn what to look at and stuff. Although if you keep looking in the wrong places and focus on the wrong things, you’ll learn the wrong things.

Jonathan: (14:25)
Yeah, you have to be open-minded.

Joané: (14:26)
Well, for me, career-wise, my love of health has also influenced my chosen career path. Like I have been wanted to work as like a health writer and journalist ever since I was 16 years old. I’ve basically been working towards that and I do write a lot about health and wellness. So it’s really cool that that’s part of my job now. But I went to university for it and I worked as a features writer for the newspaper there. That was my first job as a writer. And there, I also really learned a lot about journalism and doing research. And it’s so valuable and learned what journals to look at, how to read journals, things like that. Which has made the way I do research so much better, but what was actually cool is, when we met and it was so fun because I loved telling people about diet and health and you loved listening and having discussions about diet and health.

Joané: (15:44)
So we really bonded over that. And sometimes you really get what you ask for in life. Because I remember always saying, Oh, I really want to marry someone who’s health-conscious because that will make life a lot easier for me. And then I met you and you’re just as obsessed as I am, which is fine. So I just thought I’d get someone he eats fairly healthily, but still has junk food every now and then, and just works out. And I never thought that I would marry someone who actually loves research as much as I do because the moment you started becoming interested in diet as well, you started doing your own research. My mom calls you Frankenstein’s monster. She says, I created you. I started teaching you about diet and then you just started doing a lot of research on your own and which was awesome because it saves me time because you’ll learn stuff and you’ll tell me about it and I’ll learn stuff and tell you about it.

Jonathan: (16:53)
Yeah. I mean, if you just look at my podcast app and the number of hours I’ve listened to podcasts, because in the events industry, there’s a lot of travelling. I travel a lot around the whole country. So I’ve got a lot of time that instead of just listening to the same music playlist on repeat over and over again, I listen to podcasts and audiobooks and I use that time to learn new information. And yeah, obviously not every podcast is about health, but you know, I’m always trying to learn new things and I’m always open to new ideas. But one thing I’d say that’s also in our advantage for gaining a very good foundational information, is we’ve tested a lot of things in real-world situations. We’ve done a lot of experiments.

Joané: (17:57)
Oh yeah, me too. I’ve been experimenting since I was 10. Like we don’t just do research. We try everything because we just love it. So many times people ask, “why are you doing this diet?” Or whatever. It’s just because we love experimenting and we want to be able to talk from experience as well. But you know, I remember as a kid doing so much research and like, I always talk about rolling up my sleeves in winter because I read that cold exposure can help your body make more brown fat cells and I wanted more brown fat cells. And what kid thinks about that back in those days. So I started experimenting back then, mostly with diet as well. But even now, we do a lot of health experience.

Jonathan: (18:57)
Yeah. There’s no substitute for real-life experience. And I think that’s where I draw on the most, is what I’ve done. And yes, you can apply what knowledge you learned that is relevant to what you’ve learned in real life. But when you’re talking from real firsthand experience, it’s hard to beat that.

Joané: (19:26)
Yes. And it’s also like when we talk about something, people should know that it’s not only informed by research, but it’s informed by our experience. We rarely talk about anything that we haven’t experienced ourselves. And it’s actually funny because I was thinking about it. A lot of the things that I talk about, the topics in terms of health I’ve narrowed down, because I think I’ve eliminated a lot of things that I don’t believe in or that, you know, have been found to be untrue and that didn’t work for me. So it’s because of experience that I’ve kind of pushed so much of the health information that’s out there into the background because I’ve just learned that they don’t work so they’re irrelevant.

Jonathan: (20:24)
Yeah. I was recently learned that there are religious influences in the health advice. I’m not talking about it all, it’s the religion behind veganism, which is a Seventh Day Adventists. They don’t have any sort of research to really back their claims. But you gotta realize that there is an ideology at play that’s sort of influencing the health information we’re getting out there. Cause I mean, that’s where your food pyramid came from.

Joané: (21:06)
From a Seventh Day Adventist. You have the reference to back this up?

Jonathan: (21:11)
Yes. It’s a podcast with Paul Saladino where he talked to Gary Fettke, the Australian Tim Noakes, and he went into great detail about where all the nutrition guidelines came from. So if you want to check out Paul Saladino’s podcast, he’s the Carnivore MD and his podcast is called Fundamental Health. It’s the episode with Gary Fettke. I’m not sure how you pronounce that surname, but you can check it out. It’s quite enlightening. Then it sort of makes you realize why there’s some misinformation because there was sort of like ideological motivations behind the information. So it didn’t matter if they were wrong or right. They had an ideology and they were sticking to it. So that was quite interesting for me to learn this year, because I always thought like, who came up with a stupid food pyramid and then finally information came to light and I was quite surprised.

Joané: (22:21)
Yeah. It’s very interesting. We know too much, like if we had to talk about everything we’ve learned, we’d post a podcast every day for like a year, at least. But, we don’t have time for that.

Jonathan: (22:40)
Well, it’s a huge commitment.

Joané: (22:41)
Yeah, no, we’re not doing that.

Jonathan: (22:47)
But yeah, it’s always going to be a nuanced subject. And I think that might lead to us having less popularity because in certain things we will say, “I don’t know”. We’re not the people to say, Oh, we’ve got the silver bullet, you know exactly what’s going to help. We know that we’ve got the diet, the, whatever, the technique or whatever to become healthy. It’s not as simple as that. And that’s not really a popular message. Cause everyone wants to listen to the person who says, I’ve got the silver bullet, I’ve got the diet for you. I’ve got the one thing that everyone should do to get healthy. And everyone’s ears perk up when you hear the one thing. But the reality of the situation is there is no one thing and that is definitely part of our message is that it is a nuanced subject and you know, each person needs to figure out their own thing.

Joané: (23:52)
Yes. Well, we’re more going to say, we’re the people who say, you have to figure out what is best for you. It might take some time and experimentation. Here’s information that we have learned that can help you along this journey. Good luck. And can we be friends?

Jonathan: (24:12)
Yeah. It’s like we don’t mind giving advice and saying, try this or try that. Like, based on all the information we have, and even though you can use anecdotes and say like, Oh, this person did this and that helped them. An anecdote is worth an experiment, in my opinion. If some human on this planet had a benefit from doing something a certain way, I’d say it’s worth experimenting on. Yeah.

Joané: (24:42)
Worth looking at worth studying. Like sometimes you can just watch other people before you try it. Like for example, since we’re talking about carnivore people, The Strong Sisters, they’re really cool. I like them. They’re funny, but they’re currently eating in a way to fix ammenorhea, and I’m finding it very fascinating how they’ve changed their diets. And I might want to do what they’re doing now, in the future with adding more carbs into my diet. It’s not like I’m carnivore now, but I am low carb, but I’m going to observe what they’re doing over the next few months and see if I would like to try that experiment myself. But I will only decide based on two girls, it’s not this massive study. It’s only based on what they are trying for themselves, but if it works for them, then it can work for me. So it’s worth a try.

Jonathan: (25:52)
So yeah, a lot of people end up saying: Oh. I’m gonna try the vegan diet. Then what ends up happening is, they get fully committed, they changed their profile names and it becomes part of their identity. And that kind of closes the door on further development, in my opinion.

Joané: (26:16)
You should have a researchers mindset like a scientist mindset. Like, I experiment, maybe collect some data. If he can, you know? Use a fitness tracking app, track your food, track how you feel, blood test, track in some way, like see yourself as a scientist. but you are the only person in the study. N=1

Jonathan: (26:46)
And I think this happens with any sort of subject, like you get people who get drawn into these ideologies, whether it’s a cult or it’s a way of eating or it’s a religion or whatever it is. I don’t think we are very easily drawn into anything and make anything really part of our, our image or our personal identity. So that leaves us in a comfortable position where we are not worried about any community kicking us out. We’re not worried about people rejecting us for changing the way we ate or things we believe.

Joané: (27:30)
If you look at our Instagram posts, it looks like both of us are carnivore, but we’re not. Like today, I had an apple. I just want to disclaim that. Like even just because you say that we’re not open to things, I just don’t want people to look at it and see, Oh, you say you’re open, but all you eat is meat. It’s like, no, that’s just the pictures you see. You don’t see all of it. Well, you’re currently just carnivore.

Jonathan: (28:02)
Yeah. But it’s because I decided on an experimental route to take.

Joané: (28:08)
Yeah. So you decided on that experimental route. And just because I posted a lot of keto things doesn’t mean I’m always low carb.

Jonathan: (28:17)
Yeah. And I didn’t say, Oh, I’m carnivore forever and I’m now Carnivore Jon-O. AI’m not like, Oh, you’re such an idiot if you eat vegetables, you know? I don’t judge people for eating a few veggies.

Joané: (28:32)
If being low carb was such a big part of my identity, then eating that apple today would have made me like really hate myself or whatever, you know? And like, it’s just not good. Can we talk about, I don’t know if it is our slogan, I don’t know if we have a slogan, but making the world a healthier place. That has always been my mission. I said that sentence to myself in high school. I want to make the world a healthier place and it’s always stuck with me. And it’s always felt like that is part of my mission here on earth. And it’s a very vague thing, make the world a healthier place. How? Well, currently it’s by trying to share knowledge with as my many people as I can about health and wellness and to help as many people find what’s best for them. But then I was also thinking, make the world a healthier place. World can also apply to the environment. Because you, especially, I just listen, but you’ve done a lot of research and you know a lot about the environment. So look at the way we eat and approach our diets. We are also taking the environment into consideration and that informs a lot of what we do. I don’t know. I just felt like that was important to me.

Jonathan: (30:07)
Yeah. Because my long-term goal is to become self-sufficient and like off the grid as quickly as possible, you know? A lot of the systems to get you off the grid are very expensive and take time too. But It’s a personal goal of mine to be able to do that. And that’s the thing is, a lot of people sort of speak from their own personal experience when it comes to the environment and their own personal experience is often sort of warped by what the media shows you and what sort of a lot of activists and whatever tell you. And I think I had very similar views and then I started travelling the country and I worked on, well…I didn’t work on the farm as in like working farming, but a lot of the events would be on farms. And so I’d get to interact with the staff and get to see how they do these things. I mean, I worked on cow farms, sugar cane farms, vineyards, like you name it. Chicken farms or farms that bred chickens, farms that bred pigs, like you name it. I’ve worked on that farm, not farming, but interacting with the people there and seeing how they do things. And in my opinion, from all the farms, I’ve seen the one that is the most detrimental to the environment, are the sugar cane farms.

Joané: (31:53)
They sure are.

Jonathan: (31:56)
They burn so many fields of sugarcane to get them ready to harvest that it is ridiculous. Like, you can literally see if you sit up in the afternoons cause they normally do in the afternoons when the wind dies down a bit so that the fire doesn’t go out of control. And then you just see, you can look across the horizon, you can easily spot 7 or 10 fields. That are being set alight just from what you can see. And if you drive along the highway, you’ll probably see 20 or more on your journey in like half an hour.

Jonathan: (32:31)
You just see them pumping all that smoke into the air and all this for sugar. That’s sort of just a side not, but yeah. So the environment we are very conscious about and I do have firsthand experience when it comes to environmental impact and my parents are involved in solar systems. And so I also get the knowledge from the actual industry of how they make these things and what is actually the cost of making a battery versus coal powered electricity. I think if each person can try and be just a little bit more conscious about these things, you can make a huge impact. And like you said, make the world healthier. Same with diet. If everyone can just make a small change in their diet, you could actually make a massive change in the world.

Joané: (33:32)
So that is like my mission. That is like part of our mission in life, to make the world a healthier place and to help humans and the earth.

Jonathan: (33:44)
Yeah and obviously lead by example. So it doesn’t help if you just say, hey, everyone should be healthy. And then you’re like some really unhealthy guy who gets a heart attack and doesn’t give a shit about the environment, you know? You got to practice what you preach.

Joané: (34:02)
Yeah. We live very intentionally. That’s the focus of being as healthy as possible.

Jonathan: (34:10)
Yeah. And like you said, you enjoy The Strong Sisters and they’re a work in progress. We’re a work in progress, everyone is. No one can be at the end, I don’t think there is an end. It’s always going to be a process. And we just share that with you guys.

Joané: (34:27)
Yeah. Like this podcast, it’s still very new. We’ve only done a few episodes. It’s only been a few months, but we’re having a lot of fun with it. We’re going to improve as we go on, obviously. Our health is hopefully going to improve as well. Hopefully, we’ll look even better in a few years, we’ll try our best. Hopefully, people who listen to this can grow with us and learn with us.

Jonathan: (35:00)
Yeah. That would be the best.

Joané & Jonathan: (35:04)
Yeah, long-term. Cool. Until next time, bye!

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