Calculate Your Bucket Age

Calculate Your Bucket Age

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Podcast

Welcome to The Bucket Podcast — a series of interviews that features an eclectic mix of people who all share one thing in common — they’re all going to die. But does being aware of that change the way they live? That’s the question host and The Bucket founder, David Abend, asks them in a fascinating collection of stories that explore the concept — and value — of mortality-based living.

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11. Chris Crowley: Endurance Predator

January 30, 2020

Guess what? YOU are an endurance predator. Keep moving, and your body keeps thriving. Stop moving, and your body starts decaying. That’s the reality for anyone over 30 according to Chris Crowley, co-author of the New York Times best-selling book, Younger Next Year. In this podcast, you’ll hear Chris talk about the science behind this claim, and what it means for your body as you get older. From getting regular, rigorous exercise (“6 times a week”)  to simple dietary guidelines (“Stop eating crap”), Chris explains what we can do to control how (fast) our bodies age. If it seems too good to be true, we suggest you give it a few minutes and we’re pretty sure you’ll be younger next year too.

Links

Learn more about Chris Crowley here.

Buy Younger Next Year here.

Transcript

David Abend: Hello Chris. Welcome to The Bucket Podcast.

Chris Crowley: Good to be here.

David Abend: Thank you. Are you home or on the slopes, or gym? Where are you?

Chris Crowley: I’m down in New York city. We have an apartment in New York where we live some of the time and a place up in Lakeville, Connecticut in the Southern Berkshires the rest of the time.

David Abend: That’s great.

Chris Crowley: But I’m an old Boston guy. I grew up in Marblehead a long time ago. Still a red Sox fan, still a Patriots fans, still sick about Tom Brady last week.

David Abend: So am I! Well, I first learned about your book from people who heard I was doing The Bucket and they said, “You gotta read this book, you gotta read this book.” And, it’s probably not a great way to start the podcast by saying that I was skeptical. People told me what it was about, and I was saying it sounds like a book about aging and a kind of a pep talk about getting old. But, enough people kept saying, “You got to read this book,” that I finally read it. One of the things that really grabbed me was that line, “You won’t get old and die. You’ll get old and live.” My eyes were opened that this wasn’t about aging, it was preventing aging. And, that’s a pretty bold claim.

Chris Crowley: That’s a different story. It is true and it works.

David Abend: Yeah. Talk about the theory behind it.

Chris Crowley: Let’s just take a quick minute to sort of lay down the basic premise to get your folks oriented. Younger Next Year was written with my beloved friend who died young despite doing all the stuff we talk about, Harry Lodge. The basic premise is that behavioral change, especially exercise but a couple of other things we’ll talk about — behavioral change as opposed to conventional medicine can have a profound impact on your health and wellbeing. It can eliminate forever your susceptibility to 50% of the worst diseases and accidents – we’re talking about heart attacks and strokes and adult onset diabetes and most cancers and most recently including Alzheimer’s. You can reduce your susceptibility to Alzheimer’s by more than half by doing this.

I should mention there’s a new addition of Younger Next Year that just came out a few days ago. It’s the first revised edition. It is 15th anniversary edition and it’s got a wonderful new section by a guy named Allan Hamilton. Allan is a professor of neuroscience and a brain surgeon in Arizona. And, he is a smarty pants right up there with Harry Lodge. The new chapter talks mostly about the mental and emotional side of our regime. He says there’s clear evidence now, and everybody agrees that doing this stuff can have a major impact on your intelligence effectiveness, your cognitive ability, you can be 10% smarter. Holy Toledo! I wish I’d had it when I was in law school. Anyhow, in addition to reducing your risk of those major diseases by half, and by the way, there’s nothing vaguely like that in medicine. That’s an extraordinary claim and no one disagrees with it. The other big claim is that you can avoid 70% of normal American aging until you’re close to the end of your life. How close? I don’t know. I’ll let you know, but so far so good. That’s extraordinary! You know, American aging is a slow, steady curve from 50 until death. Every year a little fatter, more pain, slower, a little less sexual, all kinds of awful stuff. Then you go over the waterfall. I’ve got pals in their eighties these days, and most of them are not having fun. Most of them are what they call the frail elderly, and you don’t want to go there, and the big news is you don’t have to.

David Abend: Yeah, so very quickly for people, the whole idea of the endurance predator, where the body is responding to what you tell it in terms of what you’re doing and the idea of growth and decay.

Chris Crowley: Let’s start with this. The brain is an amazing gadget, the most amazing on earth. 100 billion devices to send signals out, and your body is getting billions of signals all day long. Do this, do that. Every single cell is getting constant signals. When you’re young, the default signal is to grow and no matter what, you get bigger, stronger, and so on and so forth. Then at some point when you’re in your early thirties, 31-32, the default needle flips over to decay and then the decay process sets in. The basic premise of the book is that you can overcome that default signal to decay by sending some growth messages over the same signaling system. The best and really the only serious growth signal is serious exercise, both aerobic exercise (for reasons I’ll talk about) and strength training (for reasons I’ll talk about) send those signals. Instead of going to that slow, steady decline with just such a horror, you can be the same guy, same woman, more or less all the way out. That’s the premise and nobody disagrees.

David Abend: That idea you talk about, the messages you send your body, and it’s like for me, my experience when I have not been working out and I gain a few extra pounds is I’ve always noticed that when I start working out again, it takes a while for my body to start losing the weight. Then I read what you had said about the body is waiting to be convinced that you’re serious about this. It kind of waits.

Chris Crowley: It doesn’t take that long, especially on the aerobic side. If you’ve been a stranger to exercise, either all your life or for recent years, and if you start with the aerobic side you can get into it pretty fast. You want to do it pretty hard, hard for you, but it’s going to start to be fun again in a few weeks and it’ll be a little bit addictive starting in six.

David Abend: Yeah. So, the idea that you have to work out now, a lot of self-help books are good at convincing people who already are inclined to follow the advice given. So, you’re saying it’s six days a week of exercise?

Chris Crowley: Sounds horrible, but yes, it’s true.

David Abend: So, is that something that people can do? Are people going to say, “I can’t possibly do that” and not even start?

Chris Crowley: Everybody says, “I can’t possibly do it.” And of course, you can. But it sounds daunting when I give public talks and you can sort of see people shifting their butts in their chairs saying, “What? Six days a week, this guy is crazy. I’m going to get out of here.” But by the end of the talk, they’re persuaded and by the end of the book, you’re persuaded. The impact of any regular exercise, serious exercise, is so tremendous, and it’d be an incredibly terrible idea not to do it. We’re all dying of heart attacks, half us die of heart attacks, it’s horrendous, to reduce that by half, to reduce the risk of dementia by half. There’s no other way to do it. It’s a miracle is what it is. No, of course, I beat the drum. I’m a popularizer but you know, I’m such a believer. And I’m not an athlete and I never was, but I sure do this stuff.

And by the way, an awful lot of people, thousands of them, have jumped in on this, some of them athletes, most of them not. It changed their lives. We get mail all the time saying “Thanks for writing that book, you changed my life.” “You saved my life.”

David Abend: When you’re writing a book and people read it, you don’t see people reading it, but, when people come up to you, it must be an amazing feeling to know that you helped somebody.

Chris Crowley: It’s an astonishing thing. This first book came out 15 years ago and still everywhere I go… last night we were at some event and some guy said, “Oh, you wrote that book, blah, blah, blah, you know you changed my life.” I get it everywhere I go because it’s had an amazing impact. For some reason, it’s sticky. It’s hard to learn stuff from a book in a way, this kind of stuff anyway, but this has been sticky. The voice is not scary. I’m not scary, and neither is Harry. It’s very compelling, the quality of lifestyle. The idea that we are in control of our aging from 30 on is a big deal, man. It appeals more to sort of the executive and professional types but we appeal to an awful lot of people. I gave a talk at the Bath Iron Works up in Maine to a bunch of foremen, they ate it up with a spoon. It’s good for everybody, I tell ya.

David Abend: Yeah. You talk about the tone. I listened to the book on audible and the way you wrote it has a no bullshit tone to it, but the guy reading it takes it to another level in terms of, “listen, buddy, stop with the excuses, you know, let’s do this.” So, did you play a role in the casting for that?

Chris Crowley: I tried out for it; they wouldn’t automatically have me do it. They said, “Nope you talk to fast. We’re not going to have you do it.” I’m a pretty good speaker. I have somebody who says, I’m one of the three best speakers in the country. I said, “Hey, I’m a good speaker.” They said, “No, not for books. You’re out.” I was hurt man. I was hurt.

David Abend: I’m going to put you on stage for a second.  Let’s play a little game where I’m going to give you an excuse of why I can’t do this, and you tell me why my excuse is bullshit. So, my first excuse is I don’t have enough time to do this.

Chris Crowley: Do this stuff and you’ll have more time. You’ll be more effective, more decisive, you’ll have more energy. I just got a letter from a guy who’s the CEO of a huge Fortune 100 company. He’s a true believer, and I’ve gotten to know him a little bit. He just started reading the books. He told me at Christmas time, he’s read this one 16 times. You think he’s busy guy? Yeah. I practiced serious law and lawsuit for a long time. This gives you more time. I know about being pressed for time. It’s a question of priorities. Of course, you’ve got no time. You use up all the time one way or another. This one’s a priority. Your job, your family and exercise. It’s as simple as that. And the older they get, the higher up the priority curve it goes.

David Abend: That’s great. Ok: I have no money, Chris. I can’t join a gym. This is for the elite. I just can’t do this.

Chris Crowley: I get a lot of that one and there’s a whisper of truth in it. I mean, it’s easier to do this up if you can go to a gym or heaven help you hire a trainer, which is big money, but you don’t need all that. You can do the exercise stuff without a gym membership, without any gadgets. You can do it just with your own body and a couple of very simple things. It doesn’t have to be expensive. We talk about stuff in the book that sounds like this is a rich kid’s game. Like I am going skiing for three weeks later this month. You know, that’s an expensive sport, but that doesn’t matter, you can do all the fundamental exercise stuff without any of that. It does make sense to buy a bicycle at some point, but we’re not necessarily talking big dough.

David Abend: All right, well, I can work with a time and I can figure out the money, but you know, Chris, it’s too late for me. I am so overweight and there’s no way I can get into the kind of shape you’re talking about

Chris Crowley: I love that question because it’s just so wrong. We’ve worked with a lot of people who were one of them. Some of them were old and some of them were fat as butter. We used to run retreats that people would come for five days, there was one little guy from someplace in Texas. He was fat as butter, he was out of shape, he was good solid 60 or 70 pounds overweight, and he had a lovely spirit. I liked him and he liked the idea, but he was hard pressed. I said (this is not a general offer by the way), “Listen, if you’ll drop 60 pounds, I’ll come down to Texas and take you to dinner”. Six months or a year later he called us and said, “Hey, listen, I’m ready for dinner.” I hear it all the time. I was at an event, meeting some people from an organization, and this guy I’d never met before was the head of the new organization. He said, “Oh golly, I read that book. I lost 60 pounds.” I hear it a lot. It’s not primarily about weight loss. We’re about fitness, but weight loss happens for a lot of people.

I mean, there’s a lot of people who are fat as butter too. I’m not talking 10 or 20 pounds. I’m talking 60, 80, 100 and it’s worked for up bunch of them. Not all I’m sure, but a bunch.

David Abend: It worked for you too, right? You started a little overweight, right?

Chris Crowley: Yeah, I got cuter,. Not as cute as I ought to be, but pretty cute. (laughs)

David Abend: You talked earlier about the mental aspect and I love the way the book went in terms of, it started on a lot of physical stuff, and then it went to a lot of mental stuff about how to get past this and, kind of pushing yourself. We have a theme coming up about failure and taking chances and how failure can be a fuel. So, it sounds like you think doing that scary stuff is important?

Chris Crowley: Well, I don’t think we stress in terms of the scary stuff, we think that doing this stuff and going for it, doing stuff that you think is way beyond you and you’re not that kind of woman or whatever it is. We think that’s super important. We think that anybody from masters athletes to a man or woman who has never done anything, can benefit enormously from this and getting past the notion you can’t do it. It takes a while. There’s some people I’m sure we’re never going to reach, but we reached a lot of them that thought, “huh, what?”

David Abend: Just the title of your book Younger Next Year is your body, actually, it’s not literally getting younger, but how is it getting younger?

Chris Crowley: Just think about this. We say that you got to do a lot of aerobics, 4 days of aerobics, two days of strength training. Aerobics is for your circulatory system and so on.

We are all like internal combustion engines. We are internal combustion engines, but instead of one big engine in the middle like your car, there are millions of them, the mitochondria out of the muscle cells. In the normal course once the default to decay signal cuts in, you’ll start losing mitochondria, a little engine shutdown and the capillaries get blocked off and die. When you do aerobic exercise, you grow millions of new little engines and miles of new capillaries. You’re not going to be calendar younger, but as a practical matter you’re going to be a lot younger. You’re going to be able to move cause it’s going to be more food and oxygen going to the little engines. We’re designed to move.

We were designed as endurance predators. We used to follow the big herds around. They were faster than we were. They had better endurance. We had wonderful focus, and they’d get tired and we’d go over and hit them on the head and eat him. Funny way to think a little bit, but that’s what we’re built for it.

And we’re still built for that. As long as we exercise our bodies, they function wonderfully well. When we don’t, they get all buggered up. You reverse that trend.

David Abend: I can only work out five days a week, not six. Does that mean all bets are off that I’m not doing anything to help me?

Chris Crowley: Anything is better than nothing. I keep hearing people say, “I garden a lot.” Heaven sakes. Good for you. Or I play golf, which is a wonderful social event, but it’s not exercise. I say, “Look, fine. Anything is better than nothing. But if you’re wanting to optimize your chances of having a good life six days a week is about right.”

We spent some time, Harry and I, thinking about this (mostly Harry I say) and that’s good advice. Bear in mind mine, strength training is reversing a lot of natural tendencies that decline, all a lot of them. The idea that you can put off muscle loss, coordination loss, bone loss, which goes normally goes along at the rate of 10% a decade.

The idea that you can halt that with just a couple of days of strengthening, Holy Toledo, that’s the miracle.

David Abend: I’m going to shift gears a bit here and ask you some questions we ask all our podcast guests, first one’s easy. We have at The Bucket a thing called The Bucket Age, which is your statistical life expectancy minus your current age. My statistical life expectancy is about 85. I’m 61, so my bucket age is 24. So, what’s your bucket age?

Chris Crowley: Gee wiz, I don’t know. I’m 85, that’s pretty exciting. I’m going to die tomorrow. Who knows?. I’m awfully healthy. You know? Usually if you haven’t had heart disease or cancer by this stage, the likelihood is you’re going to live to be…I don’t know, a decade say, but I haven’t looked into it, so I can’t give you that

David Abend: The idea is a little like you’re not going to get old and die, you’re going to get old and live. It’s like this idea of how much time you have left and the purpose is to get people to pick their heads up and say, “Wow, this is how many years I have left on this planet. What am I going to do with them?” We think a lot of people just kind of keep their heads down and they will wake up one day and they say, “Hey, this isn’t fair. I’m dying and I didn’t do all this stuff.” So, if you were on your death bed tomorrow would you have any regrets, things that you wish you had done?

Chris Crowley: No, I thought about this and I don’t have a bucket list. I’ve led a lovely life. I’ve done all kinds of stuff. Some of it deeply responsible, and a ton of fun. I’m good at pleasure. I’ve lived. I was a Wall Street lawyer for 25 years doing big trials. That’s a lot of fun for a certain kind of guy, and at the very high end too. I loved it. I argued at the American Supreme court, serious civil rights cases, that’s a great thing to do. Then I quit young, which I recommend to anybody who has any appetite for it, because I wanted to live a second life. We went out and were ski bums, my new wife and I, we’ve been married for 27 years now. We were ski bums for a few years, and then I started working on the book idea and then reading this book that came out when I was 70. I’ve led two pretty good lives. If I got nailed tomorrow I’d be sick about it, but I wouldn’t have a bucket list

David Abend: And nothing that you wish you had done, but you’d never got around to it?

Chris Crowley: I wished that I’d had the experience of being in the military for some reason. I think that’s just because I grew up during World War II and I think it has a different thing. I was married as a freshman at Harvard, so I never did that. I was going to be in the ROTC for three years, but so that’s the only big chunk of life I didn’t do. I also wish I had a public life. I think that being involved in politics is almost a national duty, as dreadful as it is these days. I can see that too, that one I’m going to miss.

David Abend: It must be great with the book, I mean it’s been 15 years now, but just the ability to reach people that you don’t know. You used to be in the courtroom, right? The group around you, it was all local, and now you’re reaching people all over the world.

Chris Crowley: You know, to me, a true believer, I made a little dough doing this, but that didn’t begin to be the point. I’m a true believer. I think it’s nuts that we don’t all do this. The idea that we’re changing a lot of people’s lives. Oh boy. Oh boy. Every time something like that I have to say, “Hey, I’ve made good use of my time.” And my gifts. We all have our special gifts, well I can write and talk and to spread this message, this is about as good a message as there is.

David Abend: Do you think that there’s a domino effect for people in a good way in the sense that they start doing this and other parts, other things in their life start to change. Do you see that?

Chris Crowley: You bet. You bet. Once you start doing the exercise stuff, bear in mind the stuff that’s emphasized in the new edition, you’ll get more energy. More energy is, I think, almost the single trait of successful people or people who achieve stuff, high energy is such a blessing. You get a ton more energy. You get more optimism, more decisiveness, more interest. You’re more interested in what’s going on just because you’re growing, your mind is getting stronger and you’re getting smarter. So yeah, all kinds of stuff happens. You’re just a more alert, more engaged person. You bet.

David Abend: Is it contagious?

Chris Crowley: I don’t know that. I think so a little bit. I mean, we’ve given these retreats, which were great fun. But you know, look at the communities where people do stuff. You go to Colorado and everybody’s on the move. You go to the West Coast, they’re more likely to be on the move. In New York City here, we’re surprisingly healthy cause everybody walks every place now. Anyhow, I think there’s something going on in the country. Everybody is exercising more, people are eating a little bit less garbage, which is just wonderful.

David Abend: Yeah, it’s definitely part of that diet I was talking about.

Chris Crowley: I bet that Boston’s a pretty healthy town too. I don’t know, but I bet it is.

David Abend: You know, I don’t know. I work in Boston, but I go in and I stay in the office and I get out, and then I usually go to the gym.

Chris Crowley: If I lived in Boston I’d bike, ski and boat a lot myself.

David Abend: What do you think people would regret the most? Like what do you see in people that they wish they were doing?

Chris Crowley: Well, this is unrelated to the book, but I think that one of the great tragedies in life is the failure to align what you do for a living with your gifts. I think if you can as a kid, align and figure out when you’re good at and then use that to your best ability, I think that is happiness and grace, and it is a matter of using your best gifts at the highest level. I was a banker for three years. I was a dreadful banker. I didn’t like it. They didn’t like me nor was I good at it. I’ve never been more wretched. Then I went to law school, which is not exactly an inspirational experience for a lot of people. I felt as if I was coming up from underwater because it was exactly what I was designed to do for however long it was. Doing what you’re good at and using your gifts, I think there’s nothing worse than not using your gifts.

David Abend: So, what do you define as living fully?

Chris Crowley: Well the one I just said there’s one answer, but social involvement with others, being committed, being interested, getting outside of yourself, what we stress in the book is that we’re all mammals. We have this limbic or emotional brain, which the reptiles don’t have and it enables us to live and work in families and herds and law firms. We achieve stuff because of that because we’re designed for that. A famous story: a guy has a heart attack, goes home to an empty house. He’s four times as likely to have a second heart attack and die as a fellow who goes home to a family. A guy who owns a dog is twice as well off. We are limbic creatures. We need to snuggle up and be involved with others. That’s important, especially the men who are more prone to loneliness in this country, especially in retirement. You’ve got to find a way to stay involved with other people, and I think all the way through life.

David Abend: Do you have any final words of advice for our listeners?

Chris Crowley: Oh gosh. Bear are in mind ,read the darn book, it’s wonderful. It’s fun to read. It’s easy. And it may just grab you and change your life. The notion that you control your own life, I find that wonderfully encouraging. And we’re all going die, and I hate that especially for me, as I say, it’s going be an hour and a half, something like that.

But, the idea that we could control the quality of our life to the extent that we do. The idea that we can resist aging, which is pretty grim if you don’t do something. If you can avoid all that muscle loss and memory loss and mind loss, and isolation, it’s a wonderful thing. Is six days a week, a big workout? You bet. But it’s a trifle of the return.

David Abend: You said your book just came out two days ago. How can people get it?

Chris Crowley: You go into any place. I was in, Barnes and Noble, it’s out on the public shelves. I mean, it’s prominent and you’d get on an Amazon, you can get every place. If you don’t laugh, send me a note, and I’ll send you your money back.

David Abend: Do you have any questions for me?

Chris Crowley: What do you do to work out? What do you do to stay in shape?

David Abend: I do a lot of Stair Master.

Chris Crowley: I seldom get that answer.

David Abend: I do. Well, the reason I do stair master is because when I get on the elliptical, I can slow down if I want to and the Stair Master is at a pace. Obviously, I can control the pace, but when I put on a program or something I have to keep up with it. I’m trying to get ready for a winter hike of 4,000 footers in March. It’s just the Appalachian Mountain Club Saturday trip and a Sunday trip, and no camping. I’ve always wanted to winter hike and, and winter camp.

Chris Crowley: No snow caves?

David Abend: No. So, trying to get ready for that. I just had surgery on my elbow I had a torn tendon. The surgery was in November, so I can’t do any kind of circuit classes or anything like that yet.

Chris Crowley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Read this book. There’s a thing about Younger Next Year, the exercise program, and you know, it’s a little tiny book. That is wonderful, especially on strength training. It’s great. You need to do that two days a week. Let me just hit it again. In the normal course, you’re going to lose 10% of your muscle mass every decade. You’re going to lose 10% of your bone mass every decade. You’re going to lose balance, proprioception and coordination. You can offset almost all of that with strength training. You may not like strength training but too bad, do it anyhow.

David Abend: Yeah. I wish I could. I can’t because of my elbow.

Chris Crowley: Use your other hand. The most important thing is to use your legs. People say, “Oh, listen aging is all your mind.” I say, “No, it’s in your quads and your glutes, man. Scraping your legs.”

Two years ago my wife and I were walking across the street. I was wheeling my bicycle but wasn’t riding it, and we look both ways, wide open streets. I’m looking left and she’s looking right an all of a sudden over the hill comes this woman who had to have been on her cell phone and smacks me at 35 miles an hour on the hip, on the side, and if it were dead on I’d have been killed. But I thought I’d been shot. And when they took me and got me to the hospital, they warmed up the helicopter because clearly there’d be organ injuries and god knows what. I was 83 years old or whatever. They took a bunch of x-rays and cat scans and I had to have a blood transfusion because I had this huge bruise. Then they did the cat scan. They end up doing it again because they couldn’t believe it, there were no broken bones. I was back on my bike in two weeks, and the reason was because I have strong glutes. I was back on my bike in two weeks. It matters. It’s a good story. A true one.

David Abend: Yeah. So is there anything else that you’d like to talk about?

Chris Crowley: Let’s talk about food for a second? I tend to urge people not to worry as much about losing pounds. It’s a wonderful idea to lose pounds, but so hard and we get disappointed and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, being healthy overall. I have a daughter who, she’s 60 something. She’s only a little bit overweight, but she’s become a bit of a swimmer. In fact, she’s become a hell of a swimmer. She swims in San Francisco Bay. She got into distance, cold water, swimming and she’s a little overweight, but she has swum the English Channel. She has swum around Manhattan Island in her 50s and 60s I mean. Is she fit? You bet. I would worry less about weight and more about fitness. If you’re fit, you’re going to feel terrific, you’re going to be healthy, you’re going to be able to do stuff. We’re designed to move, and if we don’t move, we’re pushed out of the herd and we’re not ourselves. It’s a very important step, you gotta’ be yourself all the way out.

David Abend: Yeah. I love what you say about eating in the book, it’s not very technical. It’s like, stop eating crap.

Chris Crowley: Stop eating crap. People say, “Well what is crap exactly?” You know what crap is! Actually of course people don’t. But it is very simple, by the way. This not my formulation, but another lawyer did write a book with a wonderful professor from Tufts, Jennifer Sacheck, terrific woman, an all-American rower, all kinds of stuff, anyways smart about nutrition, obviously. The basic notion is, it makes a ton of sense, to eat a little bit less as you get older, cause your metabolism changes. Have a ton of vegetables and fruit, eat fish and meat, especially lean meat, take it easy on the red meat and eat less, but the big one is don’t eat prepared foods. All the stuff in the middle of the grocery has added sugar and fat and is that good for you. Here’s a wonderful number for your folks to focus on, 35% of the American diet is added sugar and fat. It is pumped into prepared foods. All the stuff in the middle of the supermarket, all those frozen dinners and so on (some better than others, obviously). But in general, stay out of the middle, learn, stick to the edges, just get the fruit and berries, get the meat and the fish and get the hell out.

David Abend: I love how practical that is.

Chris Crowley: People say we have to quit eating carbs. Well, you can’t do that, carbs are everywhere, but the bad carbs, the refined carbs, I’m talking white rice, french fries, pasta, which I adore, and bread, white bread. If you can stay away from those puppies, it’s a great idea. If you’re fat, you know it’s dangerous, tummy, tummy that people used to kind of pat and feel affectionate toward. Don’t do that. That sucker is dangerous. We think of fat as being neutral or whatever. It’s not neutral. It’s a huge source of inflammation. Inflammation is what makes you sick. Inflammation also kills you. We’ve got a big bucket of inflammation right down there, a bunch of organs. I used to say in one of the books that a gut is like an open sore in your body and at night the rats come out. It’s true.

David Abend: Well, this has been a great, Chris. I really appreciate your time.

Chris Crowley: I’m glad to talk to you. It’s fun. I hope we’ve changed some lives. We’ll see.

David Abend: I think we will. Thank you very much.

Chris Crowley: You’re most welcome. Bye, bye.

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