FreedomCast Episode 18: Shawn Baker (MD), MeatRx
Shawn Baker (MD), CEO of MeatRx.com and advocate for the carnivore diet stops by the podcast today to discuss all things meat-related, including health risks, studies, and health-based outcomes both from anecdotal testimonials as well as scientific research. It's a thought-provoking podcast, and one that's well worth the listen. Maybe it'll change your mind about red meat consumption!
Check out MeatRx at https://meatrx.com/
The FreedomCast Podcast was started by a guy buying and selling fitness equipment in his backyard. In less than a year, I quit my full-time job, and started a fitness empire. I now interview unique and interesting entrepreneurs in the health and fitness industry who have built businesses around helping others become more active. It's fun, it's entertaining, it's informative, it's what fitness should be.
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Ashton: Welcome to Freedom Cast, a podcast dedicated to interviewing star icons and entrepreneurs who have encouraged others to become healthier and more active. My name is Ashton and it's my pleasure to host you as we take another trip through the fitness industry. It's entertaining and informative and I hope it makes fitness more exciting and special to you in your fitness journey. Freedom Cast is supported by freedom fitness equipment in Charlotte, North Carolina, freedom fitness equipment serves the health and fitness community nationwide, from free weights and strength equipment for home gyms and studios, to cardio and conditioning equipment for commercial spaces, check them out at freedom fitness, equipment.com, let's get rolling with today's show. Can you tell us just a little bit, or as much as you want about how Meat RX the company itself came to be? And why or how did you even come up with the concept of the carnivore diet as it seems to me to be more of a lifestyle, but tell me if I'm wrong?
Shawn: Well, concerning the founding of Meat Rx, it was kind of interesting. I had at some point already started to work head in this direction based on my lifestyle choices, as far as trying to develop a community around this that would provide support and get things done on a sort of a social level is where I decided to start to shift the narrative a bit. I wanted to jump right in but I just didn't have the technical expertise when it came to the computer side of things. Fortunately, there was someone that contacted me. This person is now my co-founder. She is a data scientist that was in Silicon Valley and was affected positively by following a carnivore diet. She reached out to me and said, "Hey, I want to work with you." As this was something that I wanted to do, I gave it some thought, and we decided to launch out. We started about a year and a half ago, and we've had nothing but success from the get-go. It's been working and we've been growing pretty rapidly, we've got 1000s and 1000s of members now, and we're seeing just tremendous wins as far as getting people healthier. Also doing some of these other things with regard to getting research done we're funding it pretty aggressively to get the study done, and we're making headway on that.
Ashton: I saw that yeah.
Shawn: Yeah. So, we're doing well. But as far as lifestyle is concerned I think dieting is part of a healthy lifestyle, and you can choose either to live a healthy lifestyle generally, and some people do it while some people just could care less. I think a proper diet is a very important part of your health. So whether you do a carnivore-based diet or something else, you should at least be thinking about it. I think if you care about the quality of life, even though for some people it's not the first thing on their mind. Or depending on what your situation is, you may not have to think about it, if you're young and healthy, and you've been relatively comfortable you may not care about any of that stuff. For most people, however, after a certain age stuff catches up to you for some people, it starts early. And unfortunately, it's the majority of those people that will end up needing to correct their lifestyle due to what they're doing currently?
Ashton: Sure. Did you start with your diet being mostly meat-based? Also how many years ago did you start, and what event led you into starting? Did you hear something from some other researcher or did you start doing this on your own?
Shawn: Yeah, I certainly wasn't the first guy to do this, by no means and I've given credit to the folks that have helped me through the process. It goes way back, there are physicians back in the 1700s that were doing this stuff, it's probably gone on before that and this is what we have records of. I think I was around 42 or 43, and I was an athlete, still an athlete, and I was competing at very high levels, and just got done winning a world championship I remember it was the Highland Games where you put on a kilt and you throw big, heavy whatever poles or shot put things and I was very accomplished athlete training very hard. I noticed that my health was taking a turn for the worse though. I was developing, I'm sure, a metabolic syndrome. I was probably pre-diabetic I was not sleeping at sleep apnea, all these types of things kind of clustered together. And then I realized that that's not how I wanted to feel and be for any longer, and so even though I was doing the training part of it I started playing with my diet. Again, this is over 10 years ago now, and I kind of went initially low fat, lots of vegetables, lots of fiber, some lean meat, and was able to lose weight doing that. But I was just miserable and decided I can't live this way. There's no way I can sustain this, it's just not what I want to do for the rest of my life. And I was hungry all the time. I was grouchy. I remember the nurses at the hospital saying they liked the fat Dr. Baker better. There's some truth to that, I wasn't that fat.
Shawn: But I was a big dude. So then I started shifting and I went on a more Paleolithic diet and played with that for a couple of years and did pretty well. Then I wound up doing a lot of research and reading, then I started shifting again this time towards low carbohydrate diets and ketogenic diets. During the ketogenic diet, I was always eating a lot of meat. I was like this is part of it, I'm going to do it. And I enjoyed it, it just made sense to me. But I'm still pounding all the big salads and doing some of the keto treats and fat bombs. I was better, particularly when it comes to satiety and appetite control, I felt there was more I could do. And then I started running these crazy weird things with just nutty people just eating meat. I thought this was very bizarre, but I ended up kind on social media, and I was following these people and watching them and listening to them and what they said made sense. So I started looking at some of their source literature and read it and then I said, What the heck, I'm just going to try it. So, I tried it. Initially, I would just do one day, I was going to do one day of eating steak and eggs. I felt pretty good those days, so I would string it into longer stretches. Eventually, I got to where it was for one month. So I'm doing it for 30 days, and I was on social media and had a little bit of a following at that point. Not like what I have now, which is several thousand people. We jokingly said what am I going to die off, surely these 30 days would just kill me. Probably from something like scurvy, or heart attack, or your colon is going to fall out because there's no fiber and all that stuff. At the end of those 30 days, none of that happened, and I felt great. I was like, wow, this is interesting to me. At the end of those 30 days I said well, I'm just going to go back to eating my usual healthy omnivorous diet. I did it and literally within a day, I didn't feel as good. The aches came back, my digestion was terrible and my energy level was worse. I realized I screwed up and I preferred how I had felt prior and so I went back to meat and I was there till now. It's closing in five years now, and I continue to not die.
Ashton: That's phenomenal. Just so people can understand, are you talking about a complete meat-based diet as in zero vegetables, zero fiber animal byproducts only? Or do you have any other stuff outside of that?
Shawn: Yeah, that's pretty much it. If you look at what I had today, I had five pounds of steak for breakfast and it's not even over yet.
Ashton: Holy cow!
Shawn: That's a typical day for me, I don't eat much else. Over the five years, I would say probably 95% of my diet has been straight-up red meat.
Shawn: That's what it's been. Within that 5% sometimes I'll go for a period of time where I'll eat some eggs. Or sometimes I'll eat some seafood, or sometimes I'll eat some pork or bacon. Or I'll have some dairy products and cheese or things like yogurts or stuff like that. Every once in a while, I put some spices on my meat occasionally, but 99% of the time, it's just salt. Every once in a great while, like on my kid's birthday, might have been a slice of cake. I do that not because I'm craving and need to have it's more of a social concession. I'll have a glass of wine from time to time, but generally, I would say 99% of my diet is 100% animal based and I honestly never felt better. I've performed as well as I've ever performed in my life. It just works well.
Ashton: I used to do CrossFit, and well there's a couple of reasons I quit, one because I am naturally thin and it made me thinner. What is your opinion on the differences between these two, because that's pretty heavy on the meat side already? It does have vegetables and that kind of thing, but why did you not stick with that? Because there are ways, I feel like you could stick to meat-heavy and still have some vegetables or did you just feel like it wasn't satiating enough or something?
Shawn: Yeah. Certainly, I don't disagree that there are many people that do fine. [09:23] with a complete whole food diet. There's nothing wrong with that, except for the people that it doesn't work for and there are many cases where it doesn't. Personally, it's like I said, it's not like I didn't try having vegetables and salads and meat because I did. Honestly, on a completely objective note, I do better on just meat than when I eat those foods. So while we hear those fruits and vegetables are great, and we should eat more of them, you think about what drives that sort of ideology. Think about it when you're eating fruits and vegetables, and that's taking up a portion of your diet. What are you not eating? Typically you're not eating Twinkies and Doritos and ice cream and this is where you're making those substitutions. I would argue that that's a healthier substitution. I think what incorrectly gets applied is that they think that meat is somehow bad for us. When you think about it, meat is something human beings have eaten as long as there have been human beings on the planet. This is something we have evolved to eat. And one of the reasons perhaps why we even evolved in the first place is because of meat consumption, there's if you believe in an evolutionary approach, which I do, and there is ample evidence to show that we were high-level meat-eaters. We were very carnivorous. You look at radioisotopes data, you can look at isotopic data, you can look at pictures and cave paintings, you could look at all kinds of modern hunter-gatherers and look at the value they put on meats. You can look at all the fossil records, and so forth. You can even look at the bioenergetic requirements for human beings' digestive system; it all points to heavy meat-eating.
The real important answer is what happens in 2021, what happens when you eat a bunch of meat that's bad for you? People might say I should not be eating all that meat. If you look at it, the average American eats around 2.4 ounces of red meat a day.
Shawn: That's it, and people will say look at the meat you're eating. If we look at beef in this country according to our statistics, the average American eats around 56 to 58 pounds of beef a year, that's 365 days to 56 pounds of beef. So, it's not that much, it's well below a quarter of a pound a day. To say that, that quarter pound of beef is somehow driving all the diseases. When we look at what else we're eating, 50 to 60% of our diet is coming from ultra-processed refined foods, refined grains, sugars, seed oils, high fructose corn syrup, canola oil, soybean oil, chemical ingredients, garbage, that's the problem there. The fact that I eat five pounds of meat a day, four pounds of meat a day, is 25 times the average American's diet of red meat. If red meat were truly bad for you, I would be one of the sickest people on the planet. Instead, I'm breaking World records as an athlete, I'm walking around with a six-pack of 54 years of age, I'm doing sports, I'm competing against guys 30 years younger than me. I've had a cardiac scan, coronary artery calcium scan, 0 plaque, not an ounce of plaque in my inflammatory markers are zero, my insulin is as low as it can go. So, triglycerides are next to nothing. My blood pressure is completely normal. It's all these things that I wake up every day with a lot of energy. I'm working out twice a day, I'm a healthy guy so it's not the problem it never has been. If you look at many meat-eating societies they were strong, robust, healthy people. The thing is when we talk about the Ancient Paleolithic man only lived to 30, that's wrong. Actually what this is, is the overall life expectancy because of super high infant mortality rates. When one out of two children dies, that automatically cuts your life expectancy in half. So for every child that dies at birth, the max you can live to be is 40. If you think about it in today's society, if one out of every two children born died at birth or life expectancy would be 60 with a 40% infant mortality rate. You couple that with accidental deaths, infections, traumas you get the idea. So, in fact the natural lifespan of these people was 70 or 80 and it still is for these indigenous tribes. Even back then they found fossil remains of people that they suspect were in their 70s and 80s, 1000s and 1000s of years ago. So, this belief that they didn't live long is just ridiculous. We have historical accounts of people like Da Vinci living into his 80s, back when the life expectancy was 30. So, we know that you can live long and it's not because you ate one way or the other. It's just because you were fortunate not to be eaten by a lion or had some accident when there was next to no medical care. So that argument about how they only live a short period of time is garbage.
Ashton: That would make perfect sense. I'm going to be addressing a topic that's kind of near to my heart because my dad had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He talked about the American diet and how that influences cancer outcomes. We got heavy metals in our food and a bunch of other garbage that you mentioned right off the top there, which I agree with. How do you answer the red meat link, because I'm not very educated on this? How do you answer the questions or concerns about cancer specifically in regard to this?
Shawn: Yeah, that's a great question. That one comes up a lot and typically what we see is in regards to colorectal cancer, which is usually the strongest epidemiologic Association around red meat. The World Health Organization through the IRC, the International Association for Research on Cancer, in 2015 proclaimed that red meat was an unprocessed type two carcinogen, and processed red meat was a type one carcinogen. That was based almost exclusively on epidemiologic studies. You take a big population, and you say how much red meat are you eating? How likely are you to get cancer? That's not very good science, that's very poor science. Often, that very scientific collection process involves something called a food frequency questionnaire where you're handed a 20-page booklet of foods, and you just go through and Mark how much you think you ate in the last six months.
The accuracy is horrible, we know that, in fact, the validation studies when we look at the FFQs, there was one I looked at recently, it was done in 2018, looking at it I think it was a German FFQ and they had people weigh, measure and write down what they ate for four days. They measured everything, with very, very good accuracy. 30 days later, they asked him to recall what they thought they ate during that same period of time? They only got in, they had 25 separate categories for food, and of those 25 categories, only nine of them were able to correctly get at least 50% right. 16 out of 25, they weren't even 50%. Correct. So that's horrible. But the conclusion of this study was, well, it's good enough for nutritional epidemiologists, they know the bar is so low for that. So first of all, that's the type of data we're looking at for probably 90% of this red meat causes cancer. And so, when we look at the relative risk and understand the difference between relative risk and absolute risk, relative risk according to that data on the World Health Organization is 1.17 for red meat and processed red meat. So that's a 17% increase in your likelihood of getting cancer.
Shawn: That sounds big and kind of scary. What if we look at something called Bradford Hill criteria, not until that number exceeds 200% or even 500%, is it even considered relevant to consider thinking of it as possibly causative. If we looked at smoking, the number wasn't 17%, it was something like 2,000% 3,000%, these are the percentages that we're getting before we could infer that smoking causes cancer. So, it's such a small, incredibly small, relative risk. But more importantly, we need to understand absolute risk. Now if I said your relative risk of getting struck by lightning was doubled, you would say that's not very rare. There's not a very high likelihood of that. I'm not going to get struck by lightning anyway right. Just like with your relative risk for winning the Powerball lottery has been doubled by doing this one thing. Is it meaningful?
So, when we look at colorectal cancer, on average it's about 4%, your odds of getting colorectal cancer which is pretty low. So, your odds of actually not getting it is 96%. If you eat meat according to the World Health Organization that 4% risk goes up to about 5%. So now you still have a 95% chance of not getting colorectal cancer. So, we're talking about tiny, tiny differences. Is that worth it to give in? Even if you believe what they say, and I don't, I think there's pretty strong evidence to show that what they say is not incredible anyway. Is it worth giving up some of the most nutritious food on the planet, so you can avoid 1% absolute risk and something like colorectal cancer? Honestly, if we look at the risk factors for colorectal cancer, for instance, we look at obesity. It's a 300% risk factor if we look at insulin resistance like 300%.
If it's chronic inflammation, it's like 300% all of these are 300% versus the 17%. So, the biggest risk factor for colorectal cancer, believe it or not, is having a history of inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn's disease, or also colitis, which increases your risk by like 3,000%. These are real-deal numbers here and so, but what happens to people with also colitis and Crohn's disease, they go on a carnivore diet, guess what happens? Their symptoms go away, their disease goes away so you completely mitigate yourself. So, let's say you start near the classic American big beer belly, pre-diabetic, chronically inflamed, your risk for colorectal cancer is up there. I'm going on a carnivore diet, you lean out, your inflammation goes away, your insulin resistance goes away, you've just decreased your risk dramatically. I don't care how much meat you have. So that tiny little 1% absolute risk is meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
And so that's what you have to think about it, you have to understand all the factors that go into this stuff. It's not this. The only thing that causes colorectal cancer is red meat, which Yeah, it doesn't cause it and there's no evidence that really because there are associations with it with meat-eaters, but again, they don't distinguish a meat-eater from a junk food eater. Now, this is what we have. We have a standard American diet versus someone like myself, who doesn't eat junk food, who exercises, who cares about his health, very, very different risk pool.
Ashton: Yeah, this was going to ask. So, if in those studies, they studied someone who was to say, just go on a regular, a not regular, a healthy diet, quote-unquote, and go away from the norm, which is a bunch of junk food, and then compare that to say, somebody who's eating, I don't know, even almost exclusively meat, although I know that study hasn't come out yet, and you're working on finding it. Because that seems like that would increase the factor in and of itself, just eating this garbage compared to somebody who was just eating healthy. Maybe they were on a paleo diet. I have any, have any studies been done on that?
Shawn: Yeah, there are studies that are similar. So, when they look at vegetarians, and vegans, where they claim that they have better health outcomes, and they've done a stakeholder healthy shopper study that was done, I think, in the UK about 10 years ago. And so, they looked at people that were eating a vegetarian diet shopping at a health food store, and they just found other people to shop at the health food store that didn't weren't eating vegetarian. So, these are people that are all health-conscious, with no difference in the outcome. If you remove junk food from your diet, your mortality is better, your cardiovascular outcomes are better, your cancer outcomes are better.
This is not something that should surprise anyone and again, I go back to the point that, we are suffering we're in a pandemic, chronic disease right now, obesity, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease, gut diseases, mental health, illness, all of these things are, for the most part, at least to the degree we see them now are relatively modern diseases. And, I said the former equivalent of the Surgeon General, in the UK, very rightly said, it's preposterous to think that ancient food is causing a modern disease. As I said, we've been eating meat, in some cases, in tremendous quantities for millennia, as human beings, and we never had these issues. If you look at the Canadian First Nations people, when they went away from their meat-based diet, in the 1960s, in some places, their cancer rates went up.
Ashton: Oh wow.
Shawn: When they include the grains, the flowers, the sugars, so on and so forth, packaged foods, their cancer rates went up significantly there, when they were on their standard, eating a bunch of meat, seal meat and seafood and that's caribou. They were very low. So, it’s, we just have ample evidence that this is not, not the issue.
Ashton: Sure. Real quick on your credentials. I know you are a doctor, what kind of medicine do you practice?
Shawn: So, my background was Orthopedic Surgery. So, I went to medical school and practiced general orthopedic medicine. I was doing hip and knee replacements and shoulder replacements and sports medicine and trauma surgeries and all that stuff. That was my, that was my background, I did that for about two decades. At this point, I founded this company, and I focused solely on nutrition and lifestyle, so I don't actively, I have an active medical license if I decided I wanted to go back to that I could, but I'm not really, at this point. I'm so passionate and interested in a lifestyle that's where my focus lies these days. So yeah, but, I'm a classically trained physician, I was a person who graduated with honors from medical school and all that stuff. And I was a trauma surgeon in Afghanistan, I did all kinds of interesting stuff with regard to medicine, but I found out unfortunately the healthcare system is painfully broken.
Shawn: In many ways. It's not that there aren't good people in there and think good things can happen. But we have a systemic problem, it's systemically broken. And I just got frustrated dealing with it and decided to make an impact in another way. And that's what I'm doing today through Meat Rx and some of the other stuff I'm doing.
Ashton: That's what I love the kind of stuff you're doing, I went into, actually had some low back pain from powerlifting recently. And the first thing that they did when I went in, I went to in the urgent care, just to get it checked out, was one of the first things I prescribed were muscle relaxers and aspirin. I didn't ask them for drugs, I had never mentioned drugs. And then, he talked about problems with the medical field. The first thing they throw at you is not to change this life, lifestyle, habit, change that change where you're eating, whatever. Let's get you a quick fix. And hopefully, it will satisfy whatever you're going in for. I find it to be mind-blowing.
Shawn: Well, that's because that's what so many people go in expecting and that's why they go to the doctor, they want the drugs in many cases, that's why most of the people want that. And that's what they tend to give him until they make that assumption. They're not going to talk to you about what's going on in your diet in your sleep and how you exercise and to be fair most physicians are trained in that they just don't have the expertise. It's not you don't go to the physician to learn about how to eat or to exercise or even healthy behaviors, quite honestly, because physicians don't have that and let's say independently have an interest in that but it's not taught to them and during their medical curriculum, you are given tools to fix People with typically drugs or procedures, and what medicine, for the most part, there's every once in a while some people won't let me they'll shake your head, and they'll they might, put out some platitudes about, you need to take care of yourself better, and they don't give a give you a plan or, and stop eating so much junk food or something like that, but it's not anything actionable for most people. They might differ, they might send you to a nutritionist who's going to, often just to tell you to eat a standard food plate Guide, which for many people doesn't work, and it's unsustainable, and it doesn't address satiety and appetite and, eat a balanced diet and eat moderation. That's what everybody's doing, or in many cases, that's what they're trying to do. Also, moderation doesn't work for most people.
Ashton: Speaking of which, you talked about that food plate and the, whatever it is that the FDA. Yeah, the food and the food pyramid that I guess the FDA came up where in the heck did they get? I think grains at the bottom are the biggest category. Are there any logical reasons behind that? I'm sure they have their studies.
Shawn: Those numbers are largely arbitrary. They pick out five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, it's all arbitrary. There's no magic sort of thing that gets it. This is all arbitrary stuff, the 11 grains, and service. You have to remember that the United States is tremendously blessed with farmland, and we produce a lot of grain, producing a tremendous amount of grain for the United States and throughout the world. And that is one of the functions of USDA is to promote agriculture. And so, their food pyramid, their food guide has to support the agricultural system. And so that and, those that those companies feed into that helped fund USDA and so the USDA has compromised in its interests are competing with what is maybe perhaps a healthy diet. I think that a grain-based diet certainly allows for calories. It's a cheap way to get calories out to people.
Shawn: However, it is, unfortunately, relatively poor-quality food. It is allowing civilizations to sort of develop in people to stay in one place. Because, before when you were hunter-gatherers, it's hard to establish cities. When your food supply keeps moving around, you can't do so once you kind of consolidate the food supply. Now you can develop cities, and then the structure that goes with it, and then the political structure and the civilization and so that has been either pending, which belief either a good thing or a bad thing, but certainly has allowed for civilization and collective intelligence and innovation and specialization and this type of stuff. What is done to our human health is a different story.
It's been a detriment to human health. So, this is something you go back into the fossil records, and anytime you see progress, agricultural fossils are always of much better quality, stronger bones, better teeth, larger structures. Once you see these postiche agricultural societies, the brain size that most people don't notice, the human brain size is shrunk about 200 cc's cubic centimeters since about 100,000 years ago, as we went away from this, your food support food supply, which was largely these big, large, megaherbivores with lots of fat and meat and lots of calories and very nutrient-dense to having to rely on grains and smaller animals and leaner meats and, processing plants. But that is the reality of our human existence.
Ashton: Sure. You mentioned leaner meats and cuts of meat. Do you differentiate between the fattier cuts and the lean cuts? Do you have preferences for one over the other particularly with regards to carnivore diets?
Shawn: Well, I think obviously if you're issuing carbohydrates you got to get energy from somewhere and protein is not necessarily the best source of energy you can convert protein into glucose to the gluconeogenesis but it's not the easiest process, so you have to get a requisite amount of fat and, I think ancestrally is pretty clear. We were hunting large megaherbivores which tend to have a decent amount of fat and so, and most people prefer a better-marbled steak it just has more flavoring I think there's a reason there's a visceral reason but I think it's it matches physiology so I tend to get at least a certain amount of fat in my diet I'm not I couldn't survive on skinny, that skin was a boneless chicken restaurant, I would die. You have a certain, you would probably get sick and die. But you have to have a certain amount of fat. That fat is going to vary from individual to individual, someone who's highly active. Like me, probably I can get away with a little more fat than somebody who might be a little more obese in some cases, but it depends on it also helps with satiety in many cases. I know for instance, for some reason I'm still trying to figure it out. I can easily put down four or five to six pounds of steaks and T bones as well as New York strips and whatnots skirt steaks Put, like more than two pounds of brisket in front of me, I can't do it, man, I just I don't know why it's whatever, whatever their, whatever is in brisket is, is it just fills me up and I'm like stuff I don't want to tap out, I'm just, I'm going to hit three pounds of it the other day and that I was almost ready to die on that. But I don't know, but I got it might be the additional fat content that does that.
And so, I think there is a point where Sydney has an impact on society. And certain people like, I know, for instance, diabetics, sometimes will have better good, like glycemic control with a higher fat ratio than protein for many reasons I can go to the physiology behind that, but that's the short answer is it varies from person to person, but, you have to have at least some amount of fat in the diet, and I think I would be surprised if you can, three, you can't do it, when it comes to caloric standpoint, getting much more than about 50% of your calories from protein is hard to do and sustain. , that's kind of like the limit for me for a long time. Most of the time, I'm probably getting my calories in the form of about 30 to 40% protein, and the rest coming from fat.
Ashton: Wow. Okay, so most of your so most it shows that 70% fat 3030 to 40% lean protein or protein. Okay, wow.
Shawn: Yeah. And that's if you think about ribeye steak. That's what a ribeye steak is. 60 to 65% fat. You've got to remember that fat is nine calories per gram and protein is only four calories per gram in general.
Ashton: Got you.
Shawn: Even though it looks like a smaller amount.
Shawn: You relatively get a higher count of producing calories, so yeah. And also, our meat is made out of water a lot. Much of lean meat is water.
Shawn: So, 70% of ground beef is in water. So, when you cook, it always shrinks up because you're boiling off all the water. And that's where that's what happens.
Ashton: It also doesn't taste as good. To be perfectly frank. Oh, shoot. Oh, yeah. I was going to ask you about vitamin C deficiencies. You mentioned scurvy early on, and other sorts of vitamin deficiencies. How do you address those with? Are there? Am I not understanding something about what's in me, and that it's fully sufficient?
Shawn: Yeah, there's a legal argument to something. I can't remember the Latin on this or not, but it speaks for itself. No one's getting scurvy, no legitimate case of scurvy has occurred in this diet in many years now. What we do know and I'm sure we don't know it all, is from as far back as 150 years ago people were exploring the circumpolar regions, they found that fresh meat was a cure for scurvy. If you had access to fresh meat1, it doesn't have to be fresh off the animal. It can be just not previously canned or previously dried meat. You have what it takes to prevent scurvy. There is even though the USDA list knows vitamin C and meat independent labs have many different causes, one in Germany and another independent lab showing that even meat from steak has about 10 milligrams of vitamin C per pound, which is about enough to stave off what we think is scurvy.
But we also have to realize that our requirements for vitamins and minerals, whether it's magnesium or zinc or vitamin C, or many other ones are very different depending upon what our baseline diet is. That is to say that when you're on a high carbohydrate diet, your magnesium requirements go up. We also know that glucose, for instance, competes with vitamin C across many different transporters where there's a mitochondrial membrane or the membrane across the gut transporters, they're in direct competition. So, the more glucose you have in your gut, the less vitamin C is going to get through, so you're going to be absorbing relatively more. We also know that the red cell or the red cell can recycle vitamin C in our body. So, there are lots of mechanisms. We also know that for instance, uric acid which we always associate with Gaubert Uric acid is also a very powerful antioxidant. Most people don't know that but Uric acid functions in the body to be an antioxidant.
Humans lost the capacity for an enzyme called a euro case your case breaks down uric acid, so weak accumulate uric acid, and we also lost the ability to synthesize vitamin B and vitamin C. So, some people think that's a tradeoff that the antioxidant function of vitamin C has been supplanted by uric acid. So uric acid level being a little bit higher, kind of takes over some of those antioxidant roles for vitamin C. We know that carnitine, for instance, vitamin C is crucial in carnitine. Function carnitine shuttles fat into the mitochondria. And when you don't have as much vitamin C, you can get carnitine from eating meat. So, you're again another one of the functions of vitamin C being made obsolete by the fact that you're eating all carnitine and, and so you're on and on and on each other a lot, a lot of different nutrients with it like zinc.
For instance, if you eat a lot of phytic acids, which are found in beans, lagoons, and grains, it blocks the absorption of zinc, and therefore you have to eat even more zinc. And so, when you're not eating those things, you need less zinc. Meat is a very good source of zinc and seafood can be too and so shellfish particularly. So, you've got this sort of better efficiency of absorption, fewer anti-nutrients, things that have blocked the absorption of that, and then potentially fewer requirements for these particular vitamins. And so, I think we end up seeing people just not having problems because these recommended daily allowances, or DRI's, dietary reference indices were determined on grain-based eating, population eating, 60% of calories from carbohydrates. And so that may not apply to everybody, I think it doesn't, I think we're finding that out more and more.
Ashton: I guarantee you 90% of the people listening, this probably had no idea about any of what you just said, and I would have assumed that eating all the other well-balanced foods would have increased the amount of absorption.
Shawn: Let me just pose something for you. Let us say we've got this eat the rainbow eat all these different colors.
Shawn: Vegetables and all this thing. Many of them don't grow in the same area, many of them don't even grow on the same continent. How would you propose that even 500 years ago, you wouldn't be able to eat this diet? It doesn't make sense, right? Well, what would the average person 500 years ago probably eat a very limited diet of animals around them, they can hunt and whatever small amount of edible root vegetables, and maybe some seasonal fruit they could get would be a very, very limited diet. , and if you can tell me what fruit or vegetable grows in every single climate, in every geographic region, and every time of the year, then I believe it's essential, but I can tell you what lives in every single climate every geographic region every single time there are animals, you can always find an animal to eat.
And humans did that. That is why we humans are the most geographically diverse species on the planet. We have settled more areas than any other type of animal. The only other animal that comes close to us is a wolf. Wolves are the second most geographically diverse pop animal on the planet. And guess what? Woolsey? They eat a carnivorous diet, right? Because they can find little rabbits and critters to catch and eat deer or something like that. So, just from common sense, you think about that, how do you say I have to eat this? I'm like, how would someone 500 years ago eat this before we had modern refrigeration and transportation?
Shawn: It's impossible. So, it is balanced 35 calories, and a wide bounty of fruits and vegetables is based on trying to sell crap to you.
Ashton: I feel like we're spoiled here in the US with just the availability of food sources, too. It's like that in other countries as well. But I want to talk about your fitness and weightlifting career as well. And you break world records. Can you talk a little bit about that? People might not know.
Shawn: Sure. Yeah, as I said, I've been an athlete my whole life. So, I guess where I, in medical school, I wasn't sure I dropped out of medical school for wanting to play professional rugby. I left to go to New Zealand.
Shawn: Back, after my first year of medical school, I just kind of said, hey, guys, I'm going to quit and play rugby for a while. I know, they, people at medical school, thought I was nuts. , and maybe I was but I had a great time. And I played at this high level of rugby, and I played the military Armed Forces combined services team and a lot of us and, and then I went back to medical school. I got back in. I just said I had just taken like a seven-year break. And then I got into powerlifting at some point before that, and after that, I set several state American records in the deadlift. Specifically, I have super long arms.
Ashton: Yeah, same here.
Shawn: I could deadlift pretty decent, I ended up pulling 772 pounds without drugs, a complete lifetime drug-free athlete, which I've always been, yeah, and then I got into strongman competitions for a while. So, lifting the big Atlas stones.
Ashton: I love it.
Shawn: And all that stuff. And I ended up at the first-ever national championships we had in the US for that, I think, ended up taking, like, fifth place, which was not bad. But I realized if I wasn't willing to take drugs, I wasn't going to likely be able to be successful. I didn't want to do that. And there's just something I was in my surgical residency at the time. It was tough. timewise it was just, it's just really challenging to do that. This was right after I was doing well in powerlifting. So that I ended up eventually getting into something called the Highland Games, where you're throwing all these things. I won a world championship and a national championship at a world record level and then for a brief period I did some tracking fields. I threw the discus and some shot-put.
Ashton: Oh yeah.
Shawn: I got put in a couple of nights. I ended up being all American masters all American in that and then I think when I was about 43 or 44, I decided 300 pounds was just not what I wanted to be anymore. And so, I ended up getting into rowing as a concept to any CrossFit I'm sure you from concept to rowing machine. So, I ended up competing in that and I set several world records on the concept. The 500-meter row I pulled 114 at 50 years of age that broke the world record by something like four seconds, basically shattered a world record. And this was all on a carnivore diet, by the way, this did not want to turn 50 on a carnivore diet.
Ashton: That's incredible.
Shawn: And I like I said, I broke, broke like six American records and three world records on that thing. And so now I've kind of shifted my focus. Now I'm competing in what I should say, I'm competing, I've just started in jiu-jitsu and so I will, my efforts will be to compete at a high level and hopefully win World Championship at belt levels and age levels during that and then hopefully continue, on for the next I don't know, decade or so, I can't it seems like I switch sports about every decade, I get kind of where I realize I can't get any better and then I'm like, Okay, let's try something else and see what we can see we can do that. So, I'm so that's where I'm at currently. So, and like I said, I want to go on a diet, and I'm training like, I just worked out a little bit for this. I did a lot of deadlifts and push-ups and deadlifts. And I'll go ahead and bang out a jiu-jitsu session tight and we'll all be on, strictly meat No, no carbs needed.
Ashton: That's phenomenal. By the way, what did your home gym look like? Out of curiosity, especially right now.
Shawn: Well, what I have it set up, it's right now it's going to take one car garage, or I think it's around 400 square feet. And I've got it, a power rack platform for weights for Olympic lifting powerlifting stuff. I've got some heavy kettlebells. I like to do heavy kettlebell swings, that might be the biggest one, I have 176 pounds. So, I'll do that for a bunch of swings. And then I've got some plyometric boxes up to about 60 inches. So, I'll either jump on those, or I'll use those for different exercises, although I use it as a loading platform. So, I'll take medicine balls, and I've got up to 200-pound medicine balls. Well, yeah, I'll do that load that thing up and down. what, I've got a, an air - basically an aerodyne type bike like an aerosol type bike, which if those things are painful, constitute a rowing machine.
And then I've got some mats laid out for jiu-jitsu practice, so I can practice some of that stuff. And so that's, I think that's it, I've got some weighted best. I've got like, I think you've got 175 pounds of weighted vests, got three vests to set, 250s and a 75. And so, we've got some gymnastic rings so it's, it's it. It gets me everything I need, quite honestly. I'm pretty, pretty happy with what I have, as far as, it took me a long time to sort of put that stuff together. And I've got to where I can train at a very high level, at home, which is nice. And particularly when they keep shutting gyms down everybody.
Ashton: Oh, my gosh.
Shawn: Reasons, which I think make no sense. But anyway.
Ashton: Doing it over and over again. What are some of the highlights in your head of people who have adopted the carnivore diet, and all of a sudden, just, their health outcomes change incredibly, dramatically? Like a couple that just absolutely stands out to you?
Shawn: Yeah, there's so many guys. I would encourage people out there to listen, go to meatrx.com and click on success stories. We have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of testimonials. It's amazing what we've seen. Some of the ones that, as I said, I do every day, seven days a week I have a meeting at 9 am with the community and I sit there and host a meeting for an hour. And sometimes we have a guest lecture where we talk about whatever topic is yours. But most of the time it's just me chatting with the members of the audience and we know we're kind of supporting each other by getting feedback and I've seen several. We had one gal who was bedridden could barely get out of bed. I use a walker to get around her house. Fast forward six months later she is now out there running around dancing in the street. She was out in the rain Dancing in the Street because she was so happy and overjoyed. I've got people that had a gal who's, she's a lifetime of cerebral palsy, never could exercise. She sits in on the meetings month after month, and finally she adopted the diet and within a month she says I finally feel like exercising for the first time in my life. This woman's probably 60, she's in there every meeting just working out, lifting weights and it just gets this it just really brings a smile to my face. And, we had another physician who had something called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which is a connective tissue disorder. And so, what happens is their collagen is all stretched out and so they often end up dislocating their joints or peak surgeries to see this not infrequently. And her life, what she told me was pretty much every single morning of her life she would dislocate joints in her sleep, she wakes up in the morning and her shoulder is out of the socket. Maybe an ankle would be on a socket, maybe your wrist would be out of the socket, so she has to get up in the morning.
Pop joints back into place, put on her whitecoat, go to the hospital working emergency room physician, and then every other shift one of her shoulders would pop out of place, she got to put it in, in the middle of her shift that had been her life for years for decades. And she was developing arthritis. So, you can imagine when your joints pop in and out, it becomes traumatic, and you get a lot out that she was in a lot of pain. She went on a carnivore diet and within one month, the pain went away. She stops having dislocations just stops this Okay, I was blown away by that because I was like, it doesn't make sense since it was genetics.
Shawn: Tissue sort. She's also now going into the gym, losing weight, and getting stronger. And as it regained her life back. It's, it's just incredible. And so, I've seen people with post-traumatic stress disorder, people that were suicidally depressed, changing their diet and going into a meat-based diet completely eradicating these people get their lives back. And it is on and on and on. I've got it. It's like I've seen this 1000s of times now. And it's just, it always puts a smile on my face. Nothing surprises me anymore. In the beginning, I was like, wow, this is unexpected, because I didn't understand it. But today I'm not shocked by anything. I've seen just about everything get better.
Ashton: Sure. Well, and it's the kind of thing that I feel like, the majority of people already enjoy eating meat anyway, so going full bore on that is not it's not like, I don't know how to describe this. It's not like you're telling people to go 90% into vegetables, which is going to be insanely hard to consume, and a grind. For some people like the fact that to me, I hear you saying you can eat a ribeye every meal, and I'm like, great. It's just super appealing. And I don't know, I love the approach that you're taking with all the diet and the success that I don't know. There are too many success stories coming out of that to ignore. I'm surprised that they haven't. Somebody independently hasn't funded the research to do something like this already.
Shawn: Well, Harvard University has done a research project on this. And so that study is then coated, the data is done studying, I think it's been written up, it's going to be published probably later this year. Okay, that that has about 2000 people that I helped to sort of getting people volunteers for that study, they've done that I didn't have anything to do with collecting the data or bringing it in, but I have, they've told me what it shows, and it's going to show a very good outcome
Shawn: For people doing this diet. And so, it's probably going to be controversial, it's probably going to piss off. People at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Ashton: Yeah, of course.
Shawn: They're going to probably demand a retraction or something like that.47:42 But, there's been a few other independent studies or the study out of Switzerland looking at it was a case series about six patients, one on a carnivore diet for treating something called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO. And they showed 100% efficacy, there's another study out of use UC Mircette, where they looked at people on a carnivore diet, and it was more of a psychological survey, to see what the motivation was. And again, it was, people were doing it because they wanted to get healthy. And the results show that people were eating healthy. So, some people are taking an interest in this. And I think even more, so there are more and more physicians that are prescribing this to their patients. There they are seeing some of them are willing to say, look, I just want my patients to get healthy, and I'm tired of telling people, you're going to die of a heart attack in 30 years.
So don't do this and that and instead, I have to deal with them being sick every single day for the next 30 years, waiting to avoid their heart attack while they're in misery. And I think that's just, I think it's we missed the boat, the real, the real truth of the matter is, we have no idea what the perfect diet is to prevent you from your brain from dying earlier, living longer not getting cancer that that data is out there, I'm not going to say carnivore diet is because I have no way of knowing that no one does anybody's promoting any particular diet for longevity, doesn't have the data to back it up, because we can't do the proper studies that would take and so what I like to look at is if I've got somebody in front of me, that's sick and suffering, I want to, in that disease, I want to make them healthy today, tomorrow, so that they feel good to participate in life. I think if we just focus on that as physicians, then we would do the right things. And then I think probably, those people that are healthy and feel good are going to have a better quality of life and probably a longer life to be quite honest. So, that's where I come from.
Ashton: Yeah. One last question. I wanted to ask you about soy. I know you've had a couple of posts there recently. And I know that was a big fat at one point, I don't know how much of a big deal it is now. What are some of the dangers of going to soy and having that as part of your diet?
Shawn: Well, It's probably like anything, there's a dosage amount that's a problem and there are some people that are very anti sore and some people are very pro sore. [Inaudible:50:00]. Some studies will show that soy is protective for certain conditions, whereas other ones they'll show it may exacerbate. There's a more recent study that came out looking at soy consumption and irritable bowel syndrome, which we have. Yeah, it's a growing epidemic, people, young people have a poor gut function. And we see that soy has now been incorporated into a lot of food. If you go and look at the American diet, a lot of what we get through particularly processed food is soy-based. And we have soy and a lot of it sneaking in everything. And in fact, the number of calories people eat from soybean oil exceeds what we get from beef in the United States right now, which again, we would be shocked by that, but you eat more soy than the average American eats more soy, soy calorie than they do beef calories.
And so, there are problems, some of them one of the problems with soy. Soybeans contain trypsin inhibitors; trypsin inhibitors are anti proteolytic compounds that prevent the breakdown of protein. And so, it decreases the efficiency by which you can absorb protein. And so, some people talk about it having estrogenic properties and that's, again, that's plant phytoestrogen. Whether or not that's a real effect or not, that's very controversial. Some people seem to think so, some people don't. Some people think you got to be drinking, and man, you're taking massive doses for it to be a problem. I don't consume any soy or at least not knowingly. So, I think it's something that you can get, there are better sources of protein, I will say that in, I would certainly point to any animal protein and be a better source of protein than soy for many reasons.
Ashton: Yeah. Understand, where can people find you? And I've got one site now that just for people,
Shawn: Yeah so, my preference is to have people find me a Meat Rx, and we can sign up for a month for free there. I'm there every day, seven days a week at 9 am. You can talk directly to me like this like we're having a conversation now. That's my preference because I know, I like to be able to interact with people and develop some sort of ability to find out the nuances because of their questions. I'm on Instagram, Shaun Baker, 1967 SHAWN BAKER, 1967. I'm on Twitter at S. Baker, MD. I've got a YouTube channel, Shaun Baker, which I know, puts up a video most days. But yeah that's kind of semi so my social media posts are somewhat inflammatory. That's done intentionally. I want to get people to be passionate about things. I want people to think about things I think most people are when they meet me in person, are they talking with you? Oh, you're very different from your social media. Post it, but it's a different medium. You've got Twitter, you have 280 characters and you're trying to tell a story. And it's tough to impart humor or nuance into somebody's social media posts. And so, some people don't get it. Sometimes I put stuff up there that many people find to be very funny, and there'll always be some people that get very offended. And it just drives me a little bit. Sometimes I just block those people that are useless if you're so easily offended, just I don't have a use for you. to go.
Ashton: Don't be on social media.
Shawn: Welcome to the internet.
Ashton: Right. Exactly. Yeah, you're walking into the offended zone. Well, thank you so much, Shawn. Appreciate your time. And you guys, if you haven't checked out his work and the website, please do. And hop on those calls with them in the mornings as well. But thank you so much for being on, I appreciate you.
Shawn: Okay, well, thank you very much. Let me know when this comes out, and I'll be happy to talk about it. So, thanks so much.
Ashton: Thank you for listening. Please give Freedom Cast a five-star review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. That would mean a lot to our business. Plus, it's fun to read y'all's reviews. See you next time.