From happiness to exercise, deep sleep and great food, Brad King loves the life he leads.
An author and speaker in the field of nutritional supplements, King is a member of the Canadian Sports Nutrition Hall of Fame.
“In order to make exercise a habit and keep doing it, you need to attach enjoyment to it,” he says. “When I travel across the country and don’t get much sleep, I still get up early so I can exercise.”
He focuses on one of the most basic subjects: happiness. “People in western culture have forgotten how to be happy,” he says. “One morning I offered to give a cabbie $1 for every person he saw that was really smiling. He didn’t make one dollar from me.” No wonder: The number one selling drug in North America is an anti-depressant.
We are here to be happy, he says. Then we do everything better and our immune systems perform at peak capacity.
The background issue is stress—the modern disease: 80% of the people who go to the doctor report high levels of stress. “They perceive their environment the wrong way,” he says. They overreact to traffic jams and other inconveniences.
“Stress is just a fancy word for danger,” he says. “We create a stress response which hurts our bodies. It served our ancestors well to be vigilant. We were in more danger then but we choose to be like that now. That is the environment we have chosen.”
He notes that the new science of epigenetics shows that your mind is the most important factor in controlling your genes.
Then King segues into nutrition, noting that the brain uses 20% of the oxygen and 50% of the glucose we consume.
Government food guides recommend grains as our main form of nutrition, in spite of all the people who have problems with gluten and sugars and can’t process the grains properly, he says. “Like our ancestors, we are supposed to get our nutrition from the land. We need to eat like our ancestors, without relying on a lot of grains. We are putting the wrong fuels in our bodies.”
How old are you on the cellular level? he asks. Aging is biological, not just chronological. The average life expectance is 76.7 years, with the last years not being healthy ones. “Our goal should be healthy longevity.”
People blame their health problems on their genes but the fact is that many adults and children are “over fat” and live a sedentary lifestyle, he says. “They are hypokinetic, which is a fancy word for lazy.”
Many people need multiple cups of coffee to get through the day, he says. They complain to their doctors that they are depressed and have no energy. “They are looking for a magic pill from Dr. Oz to help them lose weight. They are aging prematurely from stress.”
Other people don’t seem to age, he says. “The difference is that their bodies are regenerating at the cellular level. Like a five year old, they look to be happy in the moment. Their cells are regenerating faster than they break down.” This process of regeneration can happen even in your 70s, 80s and 90s.
Loss of muscle mass is the number one parameter of aging, he says.
Sleep is key to health. It helps to have a deep sleep in a cool room. Then your body produces melatonin, prolactin and human growth hormone. According to Dr. James Moss of Cornell University in his book Power Sleep, 60% of the adult population suffers from sleep deprivation, often brought on by high levels of stress.
Many people have a tryptophan deficiency. We need this for a good sleep and so that the brain produces enough serotonin. “Stress enzymes eat tryptophan. When we are not happy we crave carbs and sweets.”
Diets are often counterproductive. A diet causes you to burn fat and muscle. When you lose one pound of fat you also lose one pound of muscle.
Many people do not eat enough high quality protein. We are made of protein so we need the amino acids that make up protein. It is a myth that we need more calcium to prevent bone loss. Instead, we need trace minerals to activate other nutrients. In this case, we need Vitamin K-2 so that we will absorb calcium properly.
Maca: Peruvian superfood
King introduces George Hildebrandt, also known as “Maca George.” He is from Peru where maca, a member of the cruciferous family, grows in harsh conditions on mountain tops. “In ancient Peru, the royal family and their warriors consumed Maca,” he said.
The Maca root is dried in the sun. It then needs to be gelatinized to be digested properly.
Maca is an adaptogen, a plant extract that is held to increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning. It contains amino acids, minerals, sterols, fiber, fatty acids and vitamins as well as tannins, carbohydrates and protein.
It can assist in increasing energy, stamina, libido and brain health, he says. It helps with menopause and can improve sleep, reducing stress while improving concentration. It can protect cells from free radicals and helps to build muscle mass.
In Peru it is used in soups, stews, boiled and roasted. It is found in flour mixtures and is consumed with milk and water. Its leaves are brewed for a cup of tea. In Canada it is consumed as a liquid, powder or capsule.