Nora Gedgaudas: Food for Consciousness – #136

Nora Gedgaudas is a widely recognized expert on the Paleo diet and bestselling author of the book, Primal Body, Primal Mind. On this episode of Bulletproof Radio, discover Nora’s thoughts on human consciousness and food, sugar, resistant starch, psychedelics, and of course Nora’s top 3 recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof. Enjoy the show, and please share it with your family and friends!

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Click here to download the mp3 of Podcast #136 with Norda Gedgaudas

What You’ll Hear

  •   0:07 – Cool Fact of the Day!
  •   0:43 – Welcome Nora Gedgaudas
  •   2:13 – Nora’s influences as a biohacker
  •   9:55 – The development of consciousness in humans
  • 13:30 – Biohacking w/ drugs and psychedelics
  • 15:29 – How important is food quality for consciousness?
  • 17:35 – Causes of Brain inflammation
  • 25:45 – Sugar
  • 31:40 – Is there such a thing as a “Glucose Deficiency?”
  • 40:48 – Resistant and “safe” starches
  • 46:19 – Brain-enhancing foods
  • 49:37 – Top three recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!


Nora Gedgaudas

Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and A Longer Life

Primal Cuisine: Cooking for the Paleo Diet

Rethinking Fatigue: What Your Adrenals Are Really Telling You and What You Can Do About It


Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw

Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach

Alexander Shulgin

Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story by Alexander Shulgin

The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art by David Lewis Williams

Ayahuasca and Creativity by Benny Shanon

The Antipodes of the Mind: Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience


Stan Grof

Holotropic Breathing

Ozone therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Cyrex Labs Array 3 Gluten Testing

Dr. Rodney Ford

Jeffrey Smith Institute of Responsible Technology



Gluten Sensitivity, Celiacs & Bulletproofing Your Gut, with Dr. Tom O’Bryan – Podcast #61

The Molding of the World Part 1: How We Made Mycotoxins into the Health Disaster They Are Today

Is There Such a Thing as Bulletproof Resistant Starch?

Mark Sisson and His Primal Blueprint – Podcast #101

Resistant Starch Revealed with Richard Nikoley and Tim Steele – Podcast #124

Bulletproof Diet Book

Brain Octane Oil

40 Years of Zen


Click here to download a PDF of this transcript

Dave: Today’s cool fact of the day is that when I was 16 years old I read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I wrote on a notepad and put a piece of paper on my mirror that said “By the time I’m 23, I’m going to make a million dollars.” It didn’t work because I made six million dollars when I was 26, but what I didn’t do is I didn’t write it down and keep it, which is why it only lasted still I was 28. Note to yourself for today’s cool fact of the day, be careful what you wish for and wish for it completely. Today’s guest is Nora Gedgaudas. Nora is a widely recognized expert on the Paleo diet and she is an author of the international bestselling book Primal Body, Primal Mind beyond the Paleo diet for total health and longer life.

She is a really experienced nutritional consultant, a speaker, an educator, common presenter at AHS or Paleo Effects and really is quite an amazing woman but I wanted to have Nora on the show today to talk about Paleo of course but also to talk about psychedelics and some of the more mind expanding things. Things that I’m certainly into. Things that may be go beyond where you are typically going to go by eating Paleo. You will also find that she is a board certified neurofeedback specialist which is a little bit of biohacking that I just love. Nora thank you for coming on this show. It is really cool to talk about Paleo, psychedelics and neurofeedback all in the same interview. I just can’t wait.

Nora: Yeah absolutely. These are pet passions of mine and it is an interesting combination and I think it combines actually rather surprisingly well when we think about it the right way.

Dave: You and I would be in a 100% agreement there and there are not a lot of people who’ve put those things together. How did you do that? Why did you get those things Paleo plus neurofeedback, what are you doing here?

Nora: I think I’ve had experiences in life that certainly launched me in the direction of an interesting consciousness. I also learned at a relatively early age somewhere late high school and early college that I could really change the way I felt by changing what I ate and what types of things I supplement it with. I was also a bit of a I wouldn’t say disciple but I had an interest in the work of what I think as the original biohackers which were Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw back in the late 70s early 80s.

Dave: For people not familiar with Durk and Sandy, these are some of the founders of the antiaging movement as we know it today and people who really advocated vitamins and life extension.

Nora: Right, yeah they totally did and those guys did things to themselves that were very controversial. They experimented with a lot of things. Morgan [Falloer Dean 00:03:06] came out and published all their stuff. I had a lot of interest in these kinds of things. Part of what interested me in all of this was that I suffered from really clinical depression with varying degrees of severity from the time I was just a very small child from my earliest memories on until for over 30 years. It vacillated from chronic dysthymia into really deep full blown suicidal ideation and that was how I defined myself really as part of my life.

Anything that had the potential to impact the way I felt and the way I functioned was of intense interest to me. Of course this not only sparked an interest in the mind which I had from early on and psychology. All the things that go with that but also obviously nutrition became an interest very, very early on and has had its own process of, no pun intended, but its own process of evolution in my own sphere of awareness and study. All of that and then also just some really deeply personal experiences that I had that involved I guess you might say other kinds of reality out of body type stuff and early near death experience that sort of a thing when I was a toddler and all of that that I think helped also shape my interest in consciousness and trying to understand better what was actually going and how and that tied into there is a greater reality that we called consensual reality and how it ties in with I guess spiritual pursuits. All of that.

There is probably a chunk of that that is not something I typically talk about and I’m sure you realize.

Dave: To this thing you are willing to talk about it you are welcome to talk about it on the show today. I have a similar thing.  I talk about health and human performance but if you try and do the human performance thing and you ignore consciousness it is kind of hard to do high performance if you are not aware of the state of the your consciousness. I don’t know how to do the two separately. Whether you want to try and measure spirituality or not, the fact is ask any of the world’s top performers about their spiritual practice or beliefs or whatever and many, in fact the vast majority of them have something they do there that they think influences them and we can’t prove it does or doesn’t.

Nora: We can’t even define consciousness so …

Dave: Exactly, not yet anyway. Maybe with enough computers we can.

Nora:             Yeah, there is some really interesting research going on with respect to what are starting to be thought of and that’s based on Alexander Shulgin’s work. It is interesting. The timing of this show because he just passed away about three weeks ago.

Dave: I didn’t hear that.

Nora: Yeah liver cancer, June 2nd.

Dave: For people listening who don’t know of Alexander Shulgin’s work, he is an author of some of the really most detailed amazing books on psychedelics and states of consciousness.

Nora: He was also one of the most important psychopharmacologists that ever lived and influenced a lot of people. He brought it all within the realm of science. He may have owned a lava lamp but it was really interesting because the guy had a license to synthesize and possess Schedule I materials, Schedule I substances of all different kinds and he had a little laboratory behind his home where he performed all kinds of experiments and he did all sorts of really interesting things. Once he started publishing for the I guess the popular consumption books like PIHKAL and TIHKAL and whatever else, the DEA was less tolerant of him.

He was the one of the [inaudible 00:07:08] chemical, I mean the guy was actually member of the bohemian society and just an interesting all around character but an important one. He hypothesized the idea that and to helped create I think a massive database of information about various receptors in the brain and how they interact with the various chemicals we apply to them. Some are starting to take and kind of formulate what could be sort of an apparatus of consciousness if you will organs of mind. The way different receptors functioned together collectively.

Not with the type of topology that we would normally expect to find with other organs like kidneys and liver etc., but collections of receptors that bind to similar types of chemicals and elicit similar types of effects that seem to form in a manner speaking kind of the architecture apparatus of consciousness. There is really, really interesting research with that.

Dave: I would call his work some of the preeminent biohacking work as well on par with what Durk and Sandy Pearson did. Just because this idea of biohacking where you changed the environment around you or the environment inside of you to get control of your biology. These books with PIHKAL stands for phenethylamines I have known and loved. Actually he synthesized everything you could think of that would cause a hallucinating experience, took it, documented the perception of it and then documented the neurochemistry of it and tried to map the two, which is fascinating work. If you want to tease of what’s happening inside your brain, whether it’s what happens when you eat grain or what happens when you eat moldy grain which is LSD, they do all have a cognitive effect.

It is profoundly interesting that someone just one man did this and I regret that I never had a chance to meet him or to have him on the show because he is one of those guys who comes along once in a generation if you are lucky and just has a huge influence. We will be using his work I think for the next 50 years to understand more about neurotransmitters and how diet and lifestyle and sleep and light exposure, affects things that cored around consciousness.

Nora:             Right but also how some of these mental organs may have influenced our own emergences as human beings and what distinguishes us I think from other animals. I think once upon a time everything that lived on this planet was pretty much everything in the wild. Largely preoccupied with the basic survival with eating food, with reproducing, with outrunning dangers in the environment, etc. etc., and it sort of like about a 100,000 years ago there was a shift at least in the archaeological record where they started to find things that represented an appreciation of the symbolic.

Small little beads with tiny drilled holes that were obviously things that we adorn ourselves in a symbolic way. Different types of rock-art that began emerging in 77,000 years ago and what-have-you and then all of a sudden it is like 40,000 years ago this switch flips on all over the world. Now cave art is starting to emerge that clearly depicts a preoccupation with what we like turn the spirit world. Other types of sort of nonordinary reality if you will. Of course there are, I’m trying to remember the guy’s name now, I think it is David Lewis Williams hypothesized the idea that these earliest artists were actually shamans. That were definition intestinally accessing nonordinary reality as a way of who knows.

Today shamans intentionally use techniques to access non-ordinary reality as a way of either finding means of healing or finding answers to questions or some form of divination, but shamanism is primarily oriented towards healing practices but to me there is something that is profoundly, it is like at the point at which we as a species found meaning in our own existence. Entheogens are a likely source of this for us. It certainly makes sense that and especially if you look at the work of Benny Shannon from Hebrew University who did work researching the experiences of people all over the world who had taken these different entheogens who didn’t know each other, who weren’t sharing information, and found commonality of experience, commonality of certain types of entities that reach over, certain sorts visual patterns that would emerge.

These things are just simply generated by our individual brains. Why is there so much similarity between these experiences? Difference is certainly in the different types of entheogens and the way they manifest these unique qualities. It is all very, very interesting stuff.

Dave: It also reminds me of the work of Stan Grof who treated 10,000 people with LSD as a licensed therapist in Czechoslovakia. I’ve actually done holotropic breathing with Stan Grof twice in person. He is no longer using LSD because it became a Schedule I substance. He uses a yogic breathing technique that causes similar hallucinations.

Nora: I think it causes some depravation in the brain. I’m not a huge fan of holotropic breathwork, just simply by virtue of the fact that I think it’s actually damaging to the brain.

Dave: To do it regularly is not a great idea. I also do hyperbaric and some other ozone things because …

Nora: It is hallucinatory, not that I can compensate for a destroyed neuron but …

Dave: If you are taking Piracetam which is one of those smart drugs I recommend, it is protective in the low oxygen environment so I figure if you are on racetams and you are doing holotropic breathing I’ve had great personal progress from that sort of thing but I’ve also done Ayahuasca in South America with shamans. It is one of those things like you are saying where if something happens to our consciousness as we evolved, when I look at something here at the Ancestral Health Symposium talking about the evolution of nutrition, my experience with the world is that my consciousness is directly influenced by what I eat. That there are nuances what I eat, like coffee isn’t just coffee. There’s different qualities and types.

If you are smoking pot, which species of pot are you smoking? Did you get a different buzz from it? People who know that was it a grass fed steak stick or was it commodity steak from the local grocer thing, you feel it different when you eat them if you are paying attention how you feel. I’m excited to find that there are few experts who are looking at the cognitive aspects, things like grain brain. Who are looking at what’s happening up here from what you put into the body versus “Did I get ribbed abs?” It is a different mindset. What’s your take on it? How important is food quality for consciousness?

Nora: It is everything. Really the food supply we have today the one that is mainstream available in the regular grocery stores or whatever. It is a good recipe for dumping down. We live I think in a many respects a much more hostile environment than our primate or our hominid antecedents did. It’s sort of deceptively safe and friendly but really we are sitting in our climate controlled environment watching celebrity bloopers and eating nutrient devoid garbage as a means of entertainment not giving any thought at all to the fact that these are the things that form the very recompense that run our biochemistry and our neurochemistry.

Our brain is basically the health or lack thereof of our brains define how it is that we experience the world. Whether or not we have any whatever meaning we have in our life is going to be directly mitigated by the health and functioning of our brains and biochemistry. If we were in a state of chronic neuroinflammation which a great many people are and blood brain barrier compromise and all the good stuff that comes with it, it doesn’t speak very brightly for the consciousness of our culture surprise or the future of our culture. We really do, to paraphrase Albert Einstein, we do really do require very different way of thinking for the future if we are going to survive the time period we are in.

Dave: Would you talk for a minute or two about the causes of neuroinflammation and this blood brain barrier breakdown, I know I had both of those problems in my mid-twenties and I don’t believe I have them anymore. Just help me understand the process.

Nora: Neuroinflammation which of course is brain inflammation can be induced through exposure to antigenic substances, whether these be dietary antigens or environmental compounds of different types. Haptens which are environmental chemicals introduced into the environment, heavy metals, things of that nature.

Dave: What about mold toxins? This is an area where I have spent a lot of time as antigens. Do you have any experience with those? Whether inhaled mold or mycotoxins whether inhaled or eaten?

Nora: Mycotoxins would be in that category. There is some people that are highly sensitive to them. Whether or not, see none of these compounds or substances that we talk about that are environmental haptens that are substances that can elicit an immune response in us. They are not really good for anybody.

Dave: Exactly.

Nora: They are not good for anyone. Whether or not they are likely to devastate your health however depends on whether or not you happen to have an immunologic reactivity to those substances. We are all exposed to mycotoxins every day. We are all exposed to folates and VPA. We are all exposed to dioxin and all kinds of things, heavy metals for instance. Everybody has got heavy metals, I’m sorry. You can do [Para analysis 00:18:03], I don’t mean to diminish some good work that maybe done with that but I think it is over emphasized that a person has heavy metals. Again the question needs to be are you experiencing an immunological reactivity to those?

You find that out through accurate testing. Cyrex is the only lab doing that accurate testing. You figure that out and then you go from there to address the impact that those things are having in eliminating those particular substances from your life.

Dave: It is interesting. My wife Lena and I used to run a medical lab testing company where we were using radioactive cell counting techniques to measure white blood cell proliferation and response to heavy metals or a bunch of other things. We found there is an non-antibody mediated inflammation that happens in some people and there is positive titanium or gold or nickel or any of the other metals, cadmium, mercury, methyl mercury etc. It is really interesting that the control switch for that maybe actually the amount of chronic stress you are under.

If you are exposed to an antigen when you are highly stressed, there could be one immunological response and if you are not stressed and you are exposed to the same thing your body is like “Whatever water under the bridge.”

Nora: When it comes to neuroinflammation which was more to the point, lot depends too on what the integrity is of your blood brain barrier. The same things that mitigate blood brain barrier integrity are what mitigate gut barrier integrity. The exposure to things like gluten, whether or not you have an immunologic reactivity to gluten or not is going to stimulate the production of [inaudible 00:19:47] intestinal and also blood brain barrier permeability. In an acute sort of sense, with the consumption of these things you are going to create compromise that lasts for a few hours following that.

Whatever is in that super highway called your blood stream during that time is what every tissue and organ is going to be exposed to including your brain but there is also of course things like of life polysaccharides that are the byproduct is sort of these endotoxins produced by bacteria as a product of dysbiosis or  small intestinal bacteria overgrowth and those also will mitigate blood brain barrier and gut permeability. There are tests that can help us determine whether or not we have that type of compromise and what the nature of that compromise is and again that’s Cyrex labs. I don’t have any financial ties to Cyrex. I’m just very impressed with the accuracy and the comprehensiveness of the testing that they offer and there is nobody else really doing anything like them.

Dave: Tom O’Brien from Gluten free Summit was on the show earlier. He is a good friend.

Nora: He is a good friend of mine too.

Dave: He was mentioning the same thing. I’m a big fan of the Cyrex panels as well. It is interesting to find that you get this food and it may cross react with the lining of your nerves. If you are listening to this, the lining of your nerves is kind of important because when it goes away you have neuro-degenerative disease. You can be in a wheelchair or in a mental hospital from this. If the foods you are eating are making your immune system do this to you, you owe it to yourself to know what foods do that and to not put them in your body until they are non-reactive. Some of the …

Nora: Some of them would be non-reactive.

Dave: That’s still like gluten. I just don’t believe gluten; I do not allow my kids to ever eat gluten. It is not a special treat. No more than heroin is a special treat. You just don’t eat that crap right.

Nora: Right. I totally agree with you. I’m also really good friends with Rodney Ford in New Zealand, Dr. Rodney Ford, who is for forty years now have been crusading as a medical doctor for a zero gluten world.

Dave: Does he still have his medical license?

Nora: Yes he does.

Dave: That’s because he is New Zealand. Lot of the cutting edge guys I work with have had their licenses removed or they have had to move to another state because they are persecuted for these new ideas that I’m absolutely convinced. They are guys today who are discovering the next asbestos and they talk about it and everyone yells at them and says, “It has no effect” but it does. There’s thousands of studies but people haven’t linked the pieces.

Nora: Yeah, what I love about what Rodney is doing in New Zealand is that he has really made the case for gluten being a profound problem in and off itself and there is people like, doing god’s work as they say Jeffrey Smith who is awesome but falling out with a hammer everything looks like a nail. In his market it is all about GMOs and that’s what’s creating the problem. It is not gluten so much, it is GMOs and it is glyphosates. Stephanie Seneff has a great paper out in glyphosate. That’s an adjuvant right. It is going to augment the impact of the substances and their impact on our immunologic system etc., but there is still the foundational issue of these very substances.

New Zealand doesn’t have GMOs right now, I mean give it time but they don’t have the complication of those particular substances and that’s not complicating Rodney’s work. Clearly, gluten is an issue. I know there has been a rash of articles saying, “Oh gluten. That’s just a big … It is a myth. It is scientifically disproven now.”

Dave: No it is not.

Nora: I almost can’t even dignify that with an incensed remark because it is ridiculous.

Dave: Also scientifically disproving something, how do we do that again? It is not proving the lack of existence. We can say there is some evidence; there is still some evidence this way and our evidence is always a constantly sliding thing to understand we are more or more certain or less and less certain but disproving that gluten is unhealthy for most humans would be very hard to do given the science that I’m familiar with.

Nora: Right. What would the financial gain be for that?

Dave: I don’t know.

Nora: I can’t imagine that right?

Dave: Barely any at all.

Nora: Barely any at all.

Dave: What about sugar versus gluten? If we both agree and some people who have heard the show a few times are aware that gluten really isn’t a fuel for high performance humans that there are better foods for you no matter what. Even if you like the taste of gluten whatever. What about sugar? What’s your take on sugar?

Nora: You don’t let me too well do you?

Dave: I do but I want people to hear.

Nora: Yeah, basically the take is that and you were mentioning what are some of the sources of neuroinflammation, well clearly blood sugar surges are among those things that are a major source of neuroinflammatory problems and also potentially also immune dysregulatory problems. It is sugar and it is also the insulin that sugar provokes. It is the glycation and the free radicle damage that glycation provokes and all of that. There is no question that sugar is enormously destabilizing to us cognitively and neurologically. The idea that we need glucose as a primary source of fuel in order to function is, it is a myth.

It is only conditionally true. It is only true if we have cultivated a rather unnatural dependence on glucose as our primary source of fuel. We are actually born in a state of ketosis. That’s the way we come into the world. We don’t start utilizing glucose as a primary brain fuel until carbohydrates are actually introduced. I can think of if you don’t mind my going conspiracy theorist on this, the Alex Jones side of Nora is coming through here, that I can hardly think of a single multinational corporation that wouldn’t be heavily invested in every man, woman, and child on the planet, being dependent on carbohydrates as a primary source of fuel.

It is extremely cheap to produce. It is highly profitable. You will never generate a 5000% profit on a steak like you can on a box of cereal. Furthermore, it keeps people constantly hungry. You are eating carbs; you are basically living on the equivalent of what I refer to as metabolic kindling. I use this sort of woodstove analogy which I’m sure you’ve probably heard where if you had just the woodstove to heat your home with, try to think what would the most efficient type of fuel be. I look at carbohydrates as largely being the equivalent of metabolic kindling.

Your brown rice, your beans, your sweet potatoes, things of that nature you are basically looking at what would be the equivalent of twigs on that metabolic fire. Your white rice, your white potato, the so called safe starches. Don’t get me started. Bread, pasta things like that nature are little bit more akin to crumpling up and throwing paper on that metabolic fire. Alcohol, sweet, and beverages that’s like lighter fluid or gasoline on that metabolic fire and if all you had was kindling piled up to heat your home with, you can certainly do it but what would your life look like. You would be parked in front of that woodstove. You’d be spending all day long grabbing handfuls of kindling to throw and to keep that fire going.

You’d have a fairly constant preoccupation with that. If you took your attention off of that even a moment or two or for an hour or two say you might suddenly find, “Gee the house is getting cold” or say you wake up at 3 a.m. in the morning and yes there is an analogy there, and suddenly you look in the woodstove and the fire is going out and holy crap, now I have to cram it full of paper and twigs and lighter fuel, whatever to get it going again. To me it is bit of a form of enslavement to have that cost and preoccupation. Whether you are aware of that preoccupation or not but the alternative of course is taking a nice big fat log and putting that on the fire and burning that in lieu of glucose and suddenly now you are free.

You throw that log on the fire and you can walk off and live your life without having to really think about it and you look in the woodstove and the fire is burning down. It is like “The fire is burning down I will throw another log on there.” Nothing more liberating. Nothing more stabilizing to the brain and nervous system. If I eat something that is like a I don’t know a little piece and little tiny two ounce sausage patty in duck fat or something at 7 o’clock in the morning and by 2 pm in the afternoon if I haven’t eaten something, I might be hungry but I’m not suffering energy issues with that.

Dave: You are not desperate.

Nora: I don’t have brain fog. My mood isn’t something that rhymes with itchy. I’m not cantankerous or jittery. I’m just hungry which is how it’s supposed to be. When I eat again, I’m basically not hungry anymore. It is basically an even burning thing.

Dave: You use words like freedom and liberation and those are words I could not agree with more. Having been a 300 pound guy eating like that. I’m sorry don’t mind me eating because if I don’t eat, I’m going to have to kill one of you right now and eat you. Like I’m done. I’m fully onboard with that. You said something though about safe starches. I want to relate an experience that I had and ask for your explanation of it given your understanding.

Nora: Sure all right.

Dave: I just thought I was going to try and replicate almost like an Eskimo level of diet. I [crammed up my fat output 00:29:50] 70% and I ate about a serving of vegetables a day. I did this for three months. What I experienced was extreme dry eyes, dry sinuses. I woke up 9 times at per night according to my sleep monitoring systems and I didn’t know I was waking up nine times at night. I felt like a zombie when I woke up. I got headaches. I got histamine problems but when once or twice a week I have a little bit of kindling I eat sweet potatoes, white rice kind of stuff for dinner those symptoms all went away. What happened to my metabolism there?

Nora: It wasn’t a glucose deficiency. Glucose may have ameliorated the symptom the way aspirin can ameliorate the symptom of a headache but it doesn’t mean that we should all be taking aspiring every day. There are other things that are potentially involved in mucus production too. Certain amino acids that are critical and egg whites and flour and whatever that are really rich in things like gelatin and whatever have you that we are supposed to be eating [inaudible 00:30:50] we are not supposed to be snakes.

Dave: I do eat [inaudible 00:30:52]

Nora: Right awful and the connective tissue and things like that but assuming everything is working right in our system, we should be able to produce sufficient glucose to meet whatever the requirements are in those situations. If you are not, you need to dig deeper. You need to figure out what is going on. I have a book coming out that basically is going to bring the whole subject of what people think of as adrenal fatigue into the twenty first century and demythologize that a bit but one of the aspects of that has to do with the fact that for instance certain cytokines will have a profoundly dampening effect on hypothalamic output on the PDN cells of the hypothalamus which are responsible for mitigating the amount of cortisol that we are producing at any given time.

Cortisol of course is truly a blood sugar hormone. Insulin isn’t but cortisol is. We need in certain amount substances like cortisol and growth hormone and things of that nature. Norephenephrine, epinephrine, adrenaline etc. do have blood sugar effect if for some reason, we are unable to produce sufficient cortisol then we might experience the effects of low blood sugar because for some reason we are not able to naturally mitigate our own glucose levels relative to meat as easily. You sometime ASIs of people with these issues where the cortisol sort of flat lined on them. They are not just able and this is not adrenal exhaustion.

Dave: It is pituitary dysfunction right?

Nora: Not necessarily. It could be. That’s one aspect of it. It could also be for instance chronic infections and things like that can have a profoundly dampening effect on hypothalamic output which in not just neurotransmitter output but also the production of adequate levels of cortisol. You could also be having adrenal antibody production that you are not aware of. Adrenal autoimmunity is not at all uncommon. It is just that what we call Addison’s Disease is very rarely diagnosed because you have to be at a place of near total tissue destruction. Literally 90% tissue destruction, that’s the medical standard of diagnosis.

Dave: Which is ridiculous.

Nora: Over that diagnosis. The diagnosis of autoimmune disease in general is ridiculous. The way that is defined. If you are only at half that level of adrenal destruction, I promise you will notice this part of the function you are not going to have any answers. You are also probably going to experience chronic feelings of … But it wouldn’t have to be just that. It could be any form of autoimmunity that can lead to blood glucose dysregulation, certainly Hashimoto’s. It is also characteristically people tend to have blood sugar dysregulation. I’ve never met a Hashimoto’s person that didn’t have blood sugar issues.

Dave: I used to have Hashimoto’s. I had the antibodies and the symptoms and I got rid of it. I have no antibodies and no symptoms of it.

Nora: What you are is in a state of remission. There is no cure but you are managing it well and that’s great.

Dave: It is interesting that if there aren’t any antibodies and it is not happening remission versus care, it is largely semantic at that point. It may come back. It may not.

Nora: Once these genes switch on, they don’t tend to switch off again. At least that’s the general consensus in the field of immunology that there really is no such thing as a reversal of these disease processes or an elimination of them. You’ve quieted it down and that’s the best thing we can hope for is help its mitigation. You’ve figured out your probably biggest trigger which was mycotoxins for you. For somebody else it might have been mercury exposure.

Dave: I had some of that too. I probably got that triple crown of exposures earlier in life but this cross reactivity stuff is going to Cyrex labs right. These things commonly cross react. Mold toxins cross react with casein and gluten and they cross react with mycotoxins, so it is big ball. It is like there is a whole set of things that never benefit human performance and could completely decimate yours. The general best practice is don’t spend a lot of time around those things. You are likely to perform much better for longer periods of time and age less and feel better and be less of a jerk.

Nora: Yeah for sure. I also have to wonder about some of the dry eyes stuff and whatever else because Sjogren’s Syndrome is not entirely uncommon either. It is not that commonly diagnosed but producing the kinds of antibodies that might give rise to that may not be entirely uncommon either. Some of what I hear is reports of … I eat what amounts to pretty much an Eskimo diet. I don’t have any issues with lack of mucus or dry eye or any of that stuff. Those symptoms just aren’t really an issue for me but my mother had Hashimoto’s and also had Sjogrens’. She still does, actually has Sjogrens and a plethora  of other issues. Usually about 80% of the time with Hashimoto’s there are other antibodies involved.

Dave: I certainly had issues with mucus because I get tough from the dry sinuses and sadly, I actually developed several new food allergies as a result of this because I didn’t have mucus in the lining of my stomach so I got [crosstalk 00:36:25] eggs are one of the most amazing foods on earth unless you …

Nora: Not for me either.

Dave: I’m bumped because they were a primary part of my recovery and now I have an immune reaction to them because I didn’t have enough mucus in the lining of my gut. Immediately I have a problem with generating enough polysaccharides from protein but who knows. I tend to think being in ketosis, dipping out, dipping back in. In other words, if you have a big fire if every now and then you throw a few pieces of kindling on there, you keep the fire going and I don’t think it is particularly harmful. Maybe for the average non-perfect dieting person that might be an easier path to compliance than never touch a carb again kind of thing.

Nora: I find that it is easier to stick to things if those things aren’t really on your radar screen. I just don’t really eat and think about that stuff. Mind you like this time of year there are lot of berries that are coming out. I’m living in like the berry capital of the world here in Oregon. I enjoy those things. I actually think there is some type of nutrient, polyphenol antioxidant value to these things. A handful or two here and there. That’s sort of my carb fix for the sort of like berry thing. I don’t ever eat gluten ever and I don’t ever eat refined starches and I don’t ever eat white potatoes, white rice, anything like that. I just consider those things so nonessential to us.

To quote Bernstein, you can have an amino acid deficiency. You can have an essential fatty acid deficiency but there is no such thing in any medical text book on earth as a carbohydrate deficiency. There is no such thing as a glucose deficiency per se. You can have issues with being able to generate enough because there are other things going on at which point, that’s not a glucose deficiency. That is a deeper problem that needs to be ferreted out in my view.

Dave: I don’t know how far most people are going to go down ferreting out those deeper issues. I have spent $300,000 ferreting out issues and hacking myself over the past 15 years and there is still some stuff I don’t know. I would love to be able to say that on a high fat, super high quality protein diet without any carbs forever that I perform well but I find that I don’t. I’ve had enough coaching clients where their sleep quality goes away. If there isn’t a little bit of carb every three days especially women fertility problems. You don’t see this with people?

Nora: No.

Dave: Interesting.

Nora: Not really, no. I certainly don’t experience those things. I’ve seen some of the reports that you’ve talked about online but again it is not a carb deficiency and that’s the thing. There is just too much I think credence that’s being given to the whole safe starch idea which I don’t necessarily consider safe at all. Certainly nightshades are not necessarily what I think of as safe.

Dave: I don’t do nightshades.

Nora: Even white rice can be cross reactive with wheat for a lot of people. These are anything but Paleo foods. These are very very new foods to us. I get clients that had been lifelong migraine sufferers. For them, they find only certain medications work for them. Yeah, did they have that an aspirin deficiency or whatever else benefitted their migraine, is it enough to say well that works for me and therefore I’m not going to dig any deeper. I guess it depends on what you value foundationally and where your priorities are. I’m always wanting to dig deeper. I’m very foundational and very functional in my thinking.

If it doesn’t make logical sense to me, then based on what I know about physiology and our evolutionary history then to me it is a sign that I need to dig deeper to figure out what is the foundational problem. It could be different things for different people.

Dave: What about resistant starch? I asked Mark Sisson this on the show and I have had Richard Nikoley on and I’ve experimented a lot with it. I’ve had more gas and more allergies lately as a result of it, but also there are some benefits that some people seem to get. What’s your take on it?

Nora: I don’t think any of the benefits you get from so called resistant starch are not things that can’t be gotten from eating fibrous vegetables or whatever else. If you happen to be somebody with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, I promise you it will make things worse for you.

Dave: It will for sure.

Nora: Resistant starch isn’t even food. It is not even starch.

Dave: It is food for the bacteria that have sort of hacked your system. In the Bulletproof Diet book that comes out available at, if you haven’t already signed up so I can email you, please do, the research for that book fermenting collagen in the gut can make as much [inaudible  00:41:30] as fermenting resistant starch. I’m actually open to the idea of resistant starch for some types of people carefully timed. It has to do with some of the ratios of things in the gut, but for the most part I will use resistant starch in the evening sometimes with probiotics and it seems to have benefit, but if I do it during the day and I do it all the time, I tend to gain weight and I get environmental allergies that I don’t normally have.

Nora: Yeah again it is not even really food for us. To me, it is kind of a silly thing. I just don’t really see the point. If you have 80-85% healthy gut bacteria then you might actually be feeding them but it is not like you can’t get that fiber to feed the bacteria eating up things that are actually food for us in some way, shape, or form. I don’t really have the time for dealing with a whole resistant starch debate. To me, I’ve got better things to spend my time on because it doesn’t really represent something that is really food in any way. People benefit from it, fine. It sounds delicious but …

Dave: I don’t actually think resistant corn starch is very delicious to taste [crosstalk 00:42:48] it is the only one that works for me.

Nora: Raw potatoes and have it if you want but I had a bit of real food myself.

Dave: I have been an early supporter of uBiome one of the two big things along With American Gut Project that’s sequencing the human gut. One of the reasons that bulletproof coffee does what it does is because it has a specific modulatory effect on gut bacteria, which is interesting that polyphenols are the other probiotic that isn’t resistant starch. Polyphenols of course are hand coffee and brightly colored vegetables and things like that. There is a lot we don’t know about the gut biome and I’m fascinated to … honestly if I can get a toilet that measured my gut biome every time I went I would totally buy that toilet and I would get a quick mortgage.

Nora: Invent it, why not? Put it on your page right next to the squatty potties.

Dave: I’ve reserved a slot in the Bulletproof diet. Some people really do benefit but you probably going to not like the effect of learning to eat resistant starch because one of my employees, a middle aged woman, I sent her a sample of resistant starch and said, “I’m writing about this little bit in the Bulletproof Diet book and certainly I’ve talked about it on the blog. Try it” and she wrote back. It was one sentence. “I hate resistant starch. I feel like I’m pregnant.” The resistant starch crowd would say, “Well that’s because she’s never had bacteria in her gut.”

I’ve been taking bags of probiotics for more than a decade like the very expensive highest ones and I know what the different species do and I can’t tolerate some but if I take glucomannan it is over. I’m interested to hear you like it is not worth the time and I’m almost there but for some people it is transformative and I want to include those people.

Nora: Yeah well okay.

Dave: Cool. We are running low on time and we didn’t even get much of a chance to talk about neurofeedback. In one minute or less what are the foods that make people perform better in neurofeedback, if you have ever noticed the difference?

Nora: Yeah because I do work with that. Anything that’s going to enhance the functioning of the brain. In other words, there is nothing more nourishing to the brain than dietary fat. Ketone production right baby, ketones, and there is nothing more destabilizing to the brain and nervous system than sugar and starch and also dietary antigens. You are actually experiencing an immune reactivity  to all the kinds of things that are just simply going to have a neuroinflammatory effect. Depending on where people are at when they come in, we may or may not start addressing those things but I definitely see an enormous synergy between nutritional approaches to the brain and something like neurofeedback. It is a great combination. I consider it almost foolproof combination actually.

Dave: I found out that when I bring clients to the 40 Years of Zen program, which is like a 7 day residential brain training thing, that if they are taking the brain [opt-in 00:45:50] oil which converts to ketones very, very quickly that they can go twice as long before they run out of energy to do more neurofeedback. Just the duration of the session is like “Wow that’s awesome.” When I do it, of course I have the same thing. I wouldn’t dream of going in there without lot of ketones in my body because my brain wants that to really do those things.

Nora: Your brain has to have some raw materials to work with in order to function right. If I’m dealing with somebody who is a chronic hypoglycemic or whatever else. They come in and all they had to eat all day is a cup of coffee and a croissant at 3 pm in the afternoon and I know people like that, the brain is going to have nothing to work with. It’s what’s the point of even being here. You are just basically torturing raw nerves. You’ve got to put yourself in a position of giving your brain something that it can actually do something with.

The more I can convince people to cultivate a more predominantly ketogenic metabolism, far and away the better off they are and the better they function and the more quickly they respond and the more sustained and more optimized their response to brain training becomes over time. Neurofeedback is profoundly powerful stuff but again I can be doing the best brain training protocol in the world and will never put a nutrient there that is not there. It is not going to take away some interfering substance that doesn’t belong.

Dave: You do the hardware first and then reprogram this offer but if you are trying this offer with flaky hardware that has a bad power supply, you are just not going to get what you want.

Nora: Yeah good luck with that.

Dave: That’s the hacker in me speaking right there.

Nora: Me too.

Dave: We are down to our final question. This is one that every guest except that one time and I forgot probably because I didn’t have enough ketones to ask this one question. Ready?

Nora: I will try. Yeah.

Dave: Given all the things you’ve learnt both in your research and just in your life, the three most important pieces of advice that you would share with people who want to perform better. If you want to kick more ass, do these three things.

Nora: I’d say that we all need to rather than relying on those that are either self-proclaimed or so called recognized experts on your body and mind, taking interest in your own the machine in which you inhabit, because no one will ever care more about your health and wellbeing than you. Understanding something, you don’t have to understand it a PhD level but understanding enough about how your brain and function to be able to … You occupy this thing, so you may as well understand something about it. The more you understand the better you are likely to function and the better you are likely to feel in life and the better your quality of life is likely to be.

Really prioritizing the things in life that you do have control over in the face of all the things that we don’t. Sometimes I keep sort of calling the phrase, become a primal ninja warrior, right. It is that whole idea of we are faced with all of these things that we seemingly have no control over in our environment. All of the pollutants; all of the compromise to our food supply, air and water, etc. All the things we are being exposed to that we can’t even see that aren’t even tangible to us that are clearly influencing our health. Everything from EMS to radiation to who knows what. It is incumbent upon us in the face of all this to really take control of the things that we can and make those things a priority.

What we chose to put in our mouth is definitely one of those things. Developing that first hand knowing of where your food comes from, being a very important part of that and understanding the difference between the more naturally produced versions of those foods, that would have been a lot more like what our developmental or our hominid antecedents would have had available to them as opposed to this stuff that has been grown into pleated soils and dumped and loaded with pesticides or fed and tortured in feed lots. That stuff isn’t food. If it wouldn’t look like food to somebody wandering around 40,000 or 50,000 years ago with a loincloth and a spear or a pair of clubs if it were, probably not food for us now either.

Dave: Pretty amazing advice. I’m reminded of a story a friend of mine related when her grandfather came over from somewhere in Eastern Europe where he had his own chickens and never really ate anyone else’s eggs. He got a dozen of these omega 3 industrial egg things. He cracked one open and he looked at it and he said, “Was the chicken sick?” That’s the response from people 500 or whatever 5000 years ago. “This is meat? Errr not food.” I appreciate you taking the time to be on the show today Nora. Can you tell me your URL where people can sign up to learn about your new book and all the other stuff because you are one of the few holistic biohackers out there. Keep doing it. Tell us where to find you.

Nora: The new book I have which is basically called rethinking fatigue, what your adrenals are really telling you and what you can do about it, a very practical guide that is literally going to be out as an eBook in a matter of a few days. It is going to be out on Amazon Kindle and all the eBook formats. You can go to my website, which is and sign up for the free newsletter. I will never abuse your email. I will never spam you or sell your email to anybody but it will put you in the loop when something new comes along. There is a lot of very big stuff coming along in the extremely near future so definitely sign up and I will do my best to get you the best information I can.

Dave:            Nora thanks again for being on Bulletproof Radio. Have an awesome afternoon.

Nora: Thanks Dave you too.

Dave: One of my favorite sources of protein is upgraded collagen protein. This is a predigested form of collagen that comes from grass fed cows. Collagen is a connective protein. In fact it is one of the more common proteins in your body. It forms the matrix that your bones grow on, it forms the connective tissue for your skin and your hair and your nails. It is one of those things you don’t really get to eat if you eat a modern diet.

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