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Episode 202 – An Interview With Simon Hill

In This Episode of the ATP Project the team chat with Simon Hill owner of plant proof, a company based around education on eating a vegan based diet, why he feared limited options for the lifestyle choice initially and how his research has led him to found ‘Plant Proof’ and a very successful podcast with other leaders in the industry.


Podcast Topic Index:

  • Project start
  • Stigma of being a vegan
  • Simon’s career progression and importance of nutrition
  • Vegan is an ethic
  • What motivated Simon to become vegan?
  • Science based studies showing benefits of plant-based diets
  • Genetics v lifestyle
  • Blue Zone population
  • Comparing micronutrients – vegans v carnivores
  • Simons health since going vegan and how he transitioned
  • Protein intake
  • Calorie yield and density
  • Uric acid
  • Quality and source of your foods
  • Sustainability
  • Glyphosate and cancer valley
  • Matt’s purple rain campaign
  • Chris Hemsworth – Centr
  • Vegans and protein
  • Varied diet and amino acids
  • Herbivore mammals and insects and hydroxyproline
  • Insects and vegans
  • Holistic approach – no diet is bullet proof
  • Supplements for vegans – B12 and vitamin D
  • B12
  • Iron intake for vegans
  • Choline and Carnitine- in vegans and carnivores
  • Daily fibre targets
  • Food diversity and gut health
  • Gut bugs
  • The benefits of plant diversity and whole foods
  • Beetroot powder
  • Microbiome and plant-based diets
  • Insulin resistance
  • Rotterdam Study
  • Simon’s upcoming book
  • Final words from Simon


Male:                    Welcome to the ATP Project. Today, we are going to be talking about vegans and veganism, and we’re going to be speaking to a gentleman called Simon who became a vegan. We’re going to talk about what motivate him to become a vegan. We’re going to talk to him about the obvious things, nutrients. We’re going to be talking about possible protein intake. We’re going to be talking about calorie yield and also, gut bugs. Sit back, enjoy, and listen carefully. As always, this information is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any condition and is for information purposes only. Please discuss any information on this podcast with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle. Stay tuned. The ATP Project is about to start.

Recording:          Welcome to the ATP Project. Delivering the irreverent truth about health, aging, performance, and looking good. If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, ready to perform at your best, or somewhere in between; then, sit back, relax, and open your mind as Jeff and Matt battle the status quo and discuss everything health related that can make you better.

Male:                    Welcome to the ATP Project with your host Matt and Jeff, and today we have Simon Hill from Plant Proof with us [inaudible 00:01:20]. Simon, thanks for coming, mate. Good to have you on-board. You are an expert in all things to do with the vegan industry. You’ve got a background in plant-based nutrition as well, too, which you’re doing your master’s in at the moment.

Simon:                  Yup, that’s right.

Male:                    We want to have you on the show because [inaudible] were big fan of yours as we as well, too because you’re starting to really bring a lot of attention and awareness around the vegan market, vegan nutrition, helping to dispel a lot of the myths. It’s awesome finally meeting you for the first time as well, too. You’re a big guy. Obviously, you train. Because the perception I was [inaudible] too is that typically, that if you’re going to fit and healthy, that vegan’s a great way for health but in terms of building a good physique and all the rest of it, there’s a lot of people that think that you can’t do it. Anyway, rather than these sort of opinions, I’d love to hear what you’re doing in industry and what’s impacting for you?

Simon:                  Yeah, sure. Firstly, thank you for having me and that’s a great introduction. I’m not sure about expert, but certainly doing my best to sort of cut through the science and explain what I found in my experience around nutrition. Yeah, I’m really humbled to actually be here. I’m a big fan of your podcast. I’ve been a longtime listener and it’s cool just to get up here and see the ATP operation in the flesh. Before we jump in, thank you for having me.

Male:                    You’re welcome. It’s great. It’s great to have you up here. But, you are an expert. I mean, you’re being pretty humble because as I said, you’re going through your, completing your master’s in Nutrition at the moment and with the focus obviously on plant-based nutrition as well, too. There wouldn’t be too many people that are sort of up there in Australia with you on that.

Simon:                  Yeah, I think in Australia, I probably am one of the few that is sort of in this space, but coming from an evidence-based point of view and to your point earlier, there are certain stigmas associated with being vegan and a lot of people think it could be a dietary framework for people who are weak or thin, perhaps through the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s a lot of vegans may not have been a picture of health and I think, part of what I do is kind of breakdown the science to show people how, if you want to do it, my aim’s not to tell people to do it. It’s to show the science and if they choose they want to do it or they want to go part of the way to become more plant-based, that’s great. I just show people the ways to do it in a manner which is actually helpful, and nutrients to focus on and give people the power to take control of their nutrition.

Simon:                  For me, I am doing a master’s in Nutrition now. As you said, I’m actually a physiotherapist. About 10 years ago, I finished one degree as a physio and was working with the AFL players in Melbourne. I was really, at that point in my career, I was very focused on physiology, anatomy, recovery, injury prevention, things like that. But, I noticed that a big gap of knowledge which I think is shared actually by a lot of doctors as well, was around nutrition. As a physio, it wasn’t necessarily my role to provide nutritional advice, but I sort of felt within the clubs, there wasn’t a whole lot of direction and there was a lot of cookie-cutter type programing for the players and yeah, I think that’s sort of the time of my life that inspired me to sort of dig deeper into this space and learn a bit more about what we should be eating.

Male:                    I’ve been a bit … Funny, because I love all the science and I love all that sort of stuff. But, I’ve always … I’m so glad you’re here because we can have a proper discussion and ask the questions without feeling as though we’re questioning a religion or being a blasphamer or something like that, because sometimes, I try to have these discussions and I feel like I’m offending people, but I just want to get into the nitty-gritty. So, how did you overcome that? I mean, because if you are questioning everything and doing the science, and that was there, did you have issues with overcoming some of the social aspects of the vegan [inaudible] or the religious aspects or [crosstalk 00:05:27]?

Simon:                  I think what happens is, and probably one of the biggest things, I should say from the outset and [inaudible] covers that the word “vegan” is not synonymous with health. Vegan is an ethic.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  It just happens to be that people who decide not to eat animal products fall under the same umbrella, right?

Male:                    Yup.

Simon:                  But, that doesn’t mean that all vegans think the same or are that they come from different pillars of veganism are more important to different people, and whatever angle they’re coming from, I appreciate and respect that completely. My aim was not to come at the science with an agenda. It was to say, “Okay. Let’s see if we just put the ethics and sustainability, and whatnot aside, what should we be eating?” I wanted to know for myself. I wanted to know the true answer. I thought I had a very, very healthy diet. I still think I did have quite a healthy diet and I made some changes to my diet, and that sort of led me into this space.

Male:                    What was the initial changes and what motivated to make those changes?

Simon:                  I think, coming through, I guess, my sort of early to mid-20s and I sort of started, I went from playing a lot of basketball, a lot of sport to get into that sort of university stage where I stopped doing all that sport from a time [inaudible] point of view but I started working out, and that’s when I think a lot of the [inaudible] signs on top of nutritional education, sort of crept into my lifestyle. I followed a diet, which I think is considerably better than a standard American or a standard Western diet, which is made up of things like chicken breast, broccoli, sweet potatoes, [inaudible] fish and stuff. But, I had very little diversity in my diet. I eating the same things every single day. I didn’t things like we were talking before the show on microbiome. I had no appreciation for the complexity of our body and I think, I had a very simplistic diet. I was also at that stage where I was trying in my own mind with what I knew to be the very best.

Male:                    Your decision to follow the vegan lifestyle is not so much to do with the human aspects, if you like. It was more to do with what the nutrients and the food that you thought were best of your body. Is that correct. I don’t want to assume anything. You tell me.

Simon:                  Yeah, great question. I often think about this, because four or five years down the track, I understand the ethical things a lot more. I understand the sustainability side of things a lot more. I just think in general, I’m more conscious of where my food comes from. I say that to people who are not vegan. I said, “[inaudible 00:08:12] a conscious way your food is coming from. That’s the greatest step that you can make, just sort of being in control and just to understand your impact.”

Male:                    That connection is so important.

Simon:                  Yeah, that connection, right?

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  Back then though, my initial change was from health reasons. I started to uncover different science. I was looking at everything from observational epidemiologies of randomized controlled trials. I was looking at different micronutrient breakdowns, what sort of micronutrients are focused potentially lead to poor health outcomes, where are they mainly, you know, Western diet, could I get them elsewhere? If I did in that process, was there going to be other nutrients that potentially I need to focus on, that maybe a little harder to get? It was certainly a health decision and I think, I was probably the type of guy at university that probably was, I legitimately think there would’ve been a stage where vegan activists probably try to hand me a flier, I’ll put my head down. There was no ethical angle for me at the start. I’m happy to be transparent.

Male:                    Yeah. So, was it something in the animal meat that you’re trying to avoid, like were you trying to get away from the arachidonic acids or the other bits and fats, or anything in there that was particularly bad for people to be aware of in the animal …

Simon:                  I think, as a society we love to focus on a nutrient, one nutrient and I do talk about nutrients. But, I think we often sort of zoom right in, so we can go through certain individual nutrients but a lot of the data I was looking at was general patterns of how people were eating. If you were removing something, what were you substituting it for? Because it’s very hard sometimes to workout, is it something bad for you or is it when [inaudible] was it the addition of something else? I was going around, and around, and around for years looking at all this science and working out the patterns. I think, certainly I was consuming far too much saturated fat way above the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 5% to 6% of energy per day.

Simon:                  The Australian Dietary Guidelines a bit higher, about 10% of energy per day. I was consuming well in excess of that. I didn’t just take their advice and believed it. I started looking at the science and looking at different systematic reviews and better analysis, and understanding why this one study shows that saturated fat doesn’t affect cholesterol and then, the next does and you kept looking at confounding variables and pulling the science together that way. Then, it became clear to me that you didn’t necessarily need to have a plant-based diet to have the best outcome, but people that generally had patterns of eating more plants and less animal products were doing better from a disease-risk point of view, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, various cancers but also, studies like the-

Male:                    Blue Zone.

Simon:                  Yeah, the Blue Zone stuff but also if you … I mean, probably the best population to look out within the Blue Zone is Loma Linda.

Male:                    All right.

Simon:                  We’re talking through this at a fast pace. If you want to stop this a second where we can zoom in on something.

Male:                    Yeah. No, we can circle back.

Simon:                  Yeah, we’ll circle back. One of the things that I was also really, really adamant on was like, how can we separate the genetics from [inaudible 00:11:41]. People with different genetics, maybe they have different microbiome, they [inaudible] different things and I looked at the science around genetic lifestyle and there’s various studies like the Danish twins top studies that come to conclusion that probably our health fate is probably 20% by our genes and 80% by lifestyle. Different people have different views of that and then, maybe there’s a bit of movement in that. But, I think the very best population that we can look at which takes all of these out of the equation is the Blue Zone population in Loma Linda.

Male:                    Tell us a bit more about that, because I’m fully [crosstalk 00:12:22].

Simon:                  Yes. The Blue Zone population in Loma Linda, these are mainly white non-Hispanic Americans.

Male:                    Blue Zones, just for people who don’t know what they are, just do you want to give a quick summary on that?

Simon:                  Blue Zones originally was described by a guy called Dan Buettner who identified five populations around the world who were showing great longevity. Perhaps, some of the longest living people in the world, but not just longest living. Importantly, healthspans. The difference between longevity and healthspan, healthspan is the number of healthy years you live, right?

Male:                    Right, the quality of life.

Simon:                  Because there’s no point living a lot of years not healthy, you know?

Male:                    Yup.

Simon:                  If we’re going to look to people to be, I guess, the pinnacle of healthy and longevity, we need to look at people who are actually avoiding disease, they’re living a high quality of life, enjoying time with family and friends, have a purpose, things like that.

Male:                    Functional.

Simon:                  Yeah, functional. He pulled together these groups and there’s one in Greece, there’s Sardinia, there’s one in Costa Rica, there’s the Okinawan population in Japan, which is interesting because their diet started to change and their disease profile is changing …

Male:                    Is that right?

Simon:                  … significantly. The final group were the Loma Linda population in California. Loma Linda population is in California and a little bit of Canada, right?

Male:                    Okay.

Simon:                  The interesting thing about these people are they are faith-based, so their religion is the Seventh Adventist. Have you heard of that?

Male:                    Yeah.

Male:                    Yeah. Sanitarium, I think.

Simon:                  Yeah.

Male:                    Isn’t it some of the … They have a sanitarium?

Male:                    I don’t know.

Male:                    Anyway, yeah.

Simon:                  Part of this faith and their religion is that, for most of them, they don’t eat meat, all right?

Male:                    Yup.

Simon:                  But also, less than 1% smoke or drink alcohol. So, you remove these variable which really affect a lot of other epidemiology. The next thing I’ve note is that when we look at the science, one of the most frustrating things is that a lot of the science out there looking at vegan population, they’re not healthy vegans. They think it’s from an ethical point of view.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  So, even though they’re performing better, it’s like, hang on. These people or a lot of these people are consuming processed foods, unrefined sugars, and these foods can be acidic things like that. The interesting thing about the Loma Linda though is that, they do have a majority of whole food diet. Then, within this group of people, there are vegans, there are vegetarians who has different types like lacto-ovo, depending if they eat cheese or eggs. And then, there’s pescatarians and there is omnivores, right?

Male:                    Yeah, okay.

Simon:                  You’ve got this almost perfect randomized controlled trial of people that are existing, who have … You’re taking out the smoking and the alcohol, these people are all healthy. They all have a purpose. The omnivores, the interesting thing is that the omnivores probably, right, from the data, suggest they only get about 5% or 6% of their total energy from animal products.

Male:                    Oh, okay.

Simon:                  You’ve kind of got this population where you can look at the difference between a little bit of consumption of animal products versus vegetarian versus vegan population, and they’re all sizable amounts. It’s not like some of the studies where they have 10,000 omnivores and they have 60 vegans. It’s hard sometimes when you’re looking at such a small population to get a true average of what’s going on.

Male:                    Yeah, exactly.

Simon:                  They’ve look at these. They started studying these, I believe in 1990. They’ve been following this group since and that new studies are being published all the time.

Male:                    Yup.

Simon:                  They look at everything from BMI, obesity, type 2 diabetes, risk, cardiovascular disease, total mortality. What I will say first and foremost is that compared to the standard American diet, every single one of these groups are doing substantially better.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  So, let’s just make that clear from the onset.

Male:                    Yeah.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  They’re doing substantially better, and it makes sense, right?

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  They’re healthy. They have a purpose. They also great ways to leave that stress in their life.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  There’s a lot of pillars.

Male:                    And much less variables.

Simon:                  Yeah. There’s much less variable, right? But the interesting thing is the only group that is within the healthy BMI range … Now, BMI can be an inaccurate predictor of body weight, but it tends to be more inaccurate, the more that you workout and lift weights, and things like that. These guys, importantly, do not exercise in the gym and workout like that. They do low level exercise all day. All day, right?

Male:                    Okay.

Simon:                  They’re always moving but low level.

Male:                    So, there’s another one less variable again.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  Anyway, the data has been released over the years and it shows that the vegans are the only ones within the healthy BMI category, which I think 18.5 to 24. Then, it’s a stepwise increase, so then it goes vegetarians, and it goes pescatarians, then it goes omnivores, right?

Male:                    Yeah, right.

Simon:                  If you control for body weight, so control for it because that can be a variable, right?

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  If we’re looking at disease like type 2 diabetes.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  Vegans have a 50% chance lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and that’s against a very healthy cohort.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  That’s pretty significant …

Male:                    That is.

Simon:                  … data.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  The overall total mortality is significantly different.

Male:                    Yeah, right.

Simon:                  Lowest again, stepwise.

Male:                    Yup, yup.

Simon:                  [crosstalk] down with removing meat from your diet. Now, another thing I’ll say here is that that data is great. We still need more data to come out or I’d like to say, data looking at micronutrient status of parts of the populations which hasn’t come out, but high level when we look at it and we see that people, they’re living great, long lives and they have low disease risk. It’s studies like these which initially got me thinking, “Hang on. My perception of vegan was not that.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  Don’t get me wrong. The omnivores, like I said in that state, they’re doing exceptionally well. So, we can learn something from all of them.

Male:                    Sure.

Male:                    Yeah.

Male:                    But, obviously they’re certainly not doing as well as the vegans. Do you think that … I mean, in terms of the conclusion of why the vegans are outperforming in that cohort, why they’re outperforming the meat eaters or even the pescatarians who are just eating fish, for those that don’t know; then, do you think it’s because the vegans are consuming more nutrients and [inaudible 00:18:56], and polyphenols and everything else from the-

Simon:                  Product chemicals.

Male:                    Yes. Do you think that there’s other nutrients inside the meat that’s actually causing a negative impact?

Simon:                  That’s why I really want to look at micronutrients data and compare the groups, right?

Male:                    Right.

Simon:                  Because if we see that the vegan population is lower in some micronutrients, which we can talk about, nutrients in focus, which are important if you’re going to remove animal product and certain studies have definitely identified this. Vegans need to look at certain nutrients, right? I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think it gets a bit of a bad name. It’s a way for people to slander a vegan diet. But, I think irrespective, whatever diet it is, you need to be looking at something.

Male:                    Sure.

Simon:                  The vegan diet, yes, the [inaudible 00:19:33]. You need to be more focused on certain nutrients. The standard American diet, you need to be more focused on removing some things.

Male:                    Yeah, exactly.

Simon:                  There’s different ways of looking at it, but I would say that we need a bit more information to answer your question first.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  But, if I was hypothesizing, I would say there are mechanisms to do with things that are in meat, depending, I’d like to say the breakdown of that meat. Is that energy that they’re getting from meat like red meat, not processed meat. Personally, [inaudible] some things like that in it.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  Other mechanisms are things like TMAO and those sorts of-

Male:                    What’s TMAO?

Male:                    Trimethylamine-N-oxide. It’s when they feed on carnitine and choline and turn it into atherosclerotic blocks or atherogenic blocks.

Male:                    Oh, okay.

Male:                    Sorry. Simon, also the way that the animal is also treated for, too. I mean, in terms of … There’s a great film called Food Inc. I don’t know if you’ve seen it. It talks about animal husbandry in terms of the fear when the animal is slaughtered in the slaughter houses, the chemicals that are released inside the animal versus ones that are done in a more humane way [inaudible 00:20:42]. All these things can [crosstalk 00:20:45].

Simon:                  Yeah, I think definitely the more science that can come out of this population, the better to drill down on what are the sources of their food, like to your point and the more we can go back and look at the actual food supply chain, the more we can make-

Male:                    And the constants, too. Like, what if they’re really eating the same amount of fruit and vegetables? Because, you know, like a meat eater and a vegan might eat the same amount of fruit and vegetables but then, whether the omnivore might actually be eating the animal protein and the vegan feeling necessary to increase more legumes or something like that. It’d be really nice [crosstalk 00:21:16].

Simon:                  But, they might not.

Male:                    Yeah. [crosstalk]

Male:                    If they’re consuming less calories, is that [inaudible] I forget who it was that lived quite long. He believed in having a much smaller calories and he believed that that actually improves longevity is actually eating less calories [crosstalk 00:21:33].

Simon:                  Which aligns up with a low BMI, obviously, which again, is likely because of the calorie density in food. You’re filling out a fibrous food which has a lower calorie density, you know, day-on-day, week-on-week, you’re likely to be consuming less calories.

Male:                    Yes.

Male:                    Yes.

Simon:                  Unless you’re trying. Like I know now, if I want to put on some [inaudible 00:21:51], it’s a conscious effort. And because I’m eating food that are less calorie, it means I’m … I had think about an animal that only eats plants, that’s grazing all day. So, like you’ve got to … If you want to shorten than into your standard three meals a day, you’re going to be [crosstalk 00:22:07].

Male:                    That’s a lot to chew in. There’s a lot of calorie then, on the actual digestion and the consumption of a lot [crosstalk 00:22:12].

Male:                    Yeah, it’s a good point.

Male:                    Then, they’re less refined [crosstalk 00:22:16].

Simon:                  [crosstalk]

Male:                    Yeah, the less refined it is, but actually, you haven’t processed it through your own jaw. That makes a big difference.

Male:                    Sitting back from the science [crosstalk] especially for our listeners who are saying, have you found the diet since you started? I mean, in terms of what are the things that you’ve noticed most about your health, in terms of how you perform. As I said before, you’re a pretty, big guy. I can tell that you [inaudible] at the gym. This is an opportunity to maybe to dispel some of those [inaudible] or talk about your general health, how it’s improved or … Obviously, if it hadn’t, you wouldn’t still be [crosstalk 00:22:44].

Simon:                  Yeah, exactly. Health was my priority and still always is, and I’m forever trying to hone in more on the science and waiting for new papers to come out because I think, research does change. It can give us more insight to science and nutrition and how we should be eating. But in terms of my personal experience, I had all of the initial fears that I think any young guy that was experimenting with removing meat who had been training for a few years at the gym would have.

Male:                    How old were you when you decided to [crosstalk 00:23:13].

Simon:                  About four, five years ago now.

Male:                    How old are you now, Simon?

Simon:                  32.

Male:                    32. So, sort of late 20s.

Simon:                  Yeah, mid to late 20s. I didn’t mention, but I had removed all dairy from my diet when I was 18.

Male:                    Right.

Simon:                  That was not a research-based decision. That was based on, I was feeling lethargic and I decided, okay, I’ll cut it out for a week. I felt way better and I left it at that. I just removed it and I kept going about everything else of what I was doing. So, [inaudible] back to, I guess, this time when I was changing my diet to a plant-based diet, I had those initial fears; where am I going to get my protein from, am I going to lose size, am I going to get the right nutrients to recover? I had all of these questions. I knew that, okay, this is probably a great thing to do for my longterm health, but I don’t want to be skinny weak and live a long life. I want to be able to continue my performance, you know, gym, be functional, be able to run, eventually have kids and be able to play with them.

Simon:                  There’s no point having a decline in your performance. I guess, we’re speaking with that ethics. There’s certainly people that would say, “Well, from an ethical point of view, you could just remove everything and not worry about your own performance.” But what I’m getting at is my initial decision. I was very much adamant. I needed to hit this from a performance angle and make sure that my diet was not letting me down.

Male:                    Yeah, and you’re [inaudible]

Male:                    [crosstalk 00:24:46]. I mean, like Queen, you want it all, right? You want health, you want performance, you want longevity. Why not?

Male:                    The thing is, is that in terms of as I said setting aside any religious or emotional views, in terms of animals and all that sort of stuff, this is a great advocacy if you like for this lifestyle regardless of that. Effectively, you’re drilling down to ultimate truth, if that makes sense as far as you see it.

Simon:                  I started to drill down and workout okay. How much protein do I need? Okay, let’s have a look at the different plant-based sources that are out there?

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  And let’s have a look at bio viability, but let’s have a look at that as well, how am I going to manage it, how am I going to enjoy it, how’s my gut going to feel, and I pretty much put together a bit of a plan for myself where I could transition over certain periods, sort of three or four months and that was mainly built around the fact that based on what I was reading, I wanted my gut to have a chance to actually turn over and have some changes in my bacteria rather than just going from pretty minimal amounts of fiber to a lot.

Male:                    This was about five years ago.

Male:                    What I’m dying to know about is like, beforehand, you would’ve had a certain food pyramid in mind or a macro split in mind, and you would’ve had a understanding of calories in and calories out to a certain degree, when you switch to this style of eating, how did that change because you would’ve all of a sudden realizing to get more protein in, I’m just screwing around a little bit more with the carbs and that fats. Did you go from a 40-30-30 or a 60-40, whatever [crosstalk 00:26:26].

Simon:                  I would probably have now, and this might sound low for some people. I weigh 90 kilos and I probably average 150-155 grams a day.

Male:                    And I’m saying, as I said, and again for people that aren’t watching or they haven’t seen you yet, you look like you train. Immediately, when I saw you, I was like, “Ah, I can tell. Obviously, you train.” You certainly don’t look like you’re deficient in protein.

Simon:                  Yes. I have about 150-155 grams protein per day. I think I was probably having over 200 before I made the change. I think the biggest change though was probably from a carbohydrate point of view, I really steer clear of unrefined grains, oats, brown rices, quinoas. I didn’t eat a whole lot of that. I think subconsciously, I sucked at things like sweet potato and I kind of thought-

Male:                    Typically body-building [crosstalk 00:27:26].

Simon:                  Yeah, I thought that those grains weren’t great for me. That was a big change that I made. Definitely after my overall carbohydrate consumption went up but it’s from unrefined carbohydrates, it’s not from added [crosstalk 00:27:40].

Male:                    Because we’re going for the plant-based proteins, you’re getting a little bit extra carbs and that’s [crosstalk 00:27:44].

Simon:                  Yes, and naturally that happens.

Male:                    The higher energy carbs such as the cereals and grains, you’re feeling better off reducing those increasing nutrient-dense vegetables and that sort of stuff instead, and that [crosstalk 00:27:55].

Simon:                  Sorry. So, what I meant was before I changed, I had very little focus on grains.

Male:                    Oh, okay.

Simon:                  But, when I did change, I started realizing the health benefits of [crosstalk 00:28:04].

Male:                    Oh, yeah. Right.

Simon:                  I think my understanding of what my macronutrient sort of ratio, it needed to change. I realized, okay, I can probably tolerate more carbohydrates providing they’re the right type.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  [inaudible] term. It’s a [inaudible] term.

Male:                    No, it’s kind of good because it’s more realistic than saying that calories, the percentages and numbers aren’t real. Because when we look into this sort of stuff, the calorie yield from your diet would’ve changed so much by switching over because like you said, less nutrient density but more calories burned in the process of digestion. For example, we have 20% less calories yield if it’s a resistant starches or more processed and refined it is, the way you are cooking it, the way you’re processing it, totally changes your calorie yield. Then, as your microbiome would’ve been changing, your whole calorie yield would’ve changed again.

Simon:                  [crosstalk 00:28:59]. Yeah.

Male:                    All of a sudden, we got the calories in, calories out is important and you can judge by your physique and your progress what’s on the right track, but you can’t be too … We all not have the data to know exactly how to crunch the numbers. You would’ve had to be a bit more intuitive and a bit more trial and error.

Simon:                  My goal was, let’s increase unrefined carbohydrates, let’s be comfortable to drop the protein down a bit, and let’s watch what happens. At the same time, let’s go from moderately high saturated fat intake and let’s go and find foods where we get a more poorly unsaturated fat intake, right?

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  That was my goal with that. I didn’t lose size. I think in the initial month, I probably did drop maybe a kilo-and-a-half, two kilos.

Male:                    But was that fat or was that muscle [crosstalk 00:29:48]?

Simon:                  Yeah. I actually think a lot of it was inflammation, retention, and it was like water retention. I was holding like a [crosstalk 00:29:56].

Male:                    [inaudible 00:29:56]. Did you get much bloods done? Did you see uric acid levels plummet?

Simon:                  My cholesterol bloods are pretty amazing.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  But, I feel like it was inflammation and to be honest, that was when those doubts were still with me because I didn’t just put a line in the sand and say, “I’m going plant-based.”

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  This was me saying, “Okay. I’m going to try this. I want to eat more of that, I’m going to have less of that. Let’s see how it goes.” The stories that I’m reading about protein, and maybe I don’t need as much and you know, remembering that I don’t want to be a competitive bodybuilder or anything like that. My goals were realistic, basic sort of performance and functional, and whatnot, be healthy, right?

Male:                    Right.

Simon:                  I lost that little bit of weight at the start, but I changed my volume, I think as well, probably because of the calorie density. I was, and a lot of people do this. If you sort of just go from an animal-based meal to the plant-based meal and you’re not eating more as much [inaudible 00:31:00], your overall calories are down. I was probably just falling into that little, that sort of scenario of not having enough calories. With different foods, I totally understand that people sort of made often to fear carbs and whatnot. I was in the same position. I was like, “Am I right to be adding more of these in here?”

Male:                    Yeah, sure.

Simon:                  Over that sort of three or four-month period, I got to a stage where I was feeling amazing. My recovery was feeling great. My train volume was going up.

Male:                    Great.

Simon:                  For me, that was huge because I was like, “Hang on. Something’s happening here. Something’s happening with my body.” Not necessarily anything was wrong with my body beforehand, but something was happening that was enabling me to train more consistently. I’m not going to sit here and say, “My bench press went up exorbitantly,” and things like that. I wish it did. But, my frequency-

Male:                    Recovery and [crosstalk 00:31:57].

Simon:                  Yeah, that is hugely different.

Male:                    Which coincides [inaudible] before with the reduction of inflammation and other metabolic acidic waste and that sort of stuff, such as uric acids that might’ve been loading up from the meat.

Simon:                  I think that on the uric stuff, because there’s some interesting science out there that various papers will find that vegans are more acidic or more inflammation, then the others find the opposite. I think it ultimately comes down to the source of your food if your eating a really refined [crosstalk 00:32:26].

Male:                    The population involved, like there’s a lot of people out there that might be [inaudible] vegans that might eat gluten to the shape of a chicken drumstick sort of thing, and that would be a vegan’s source of [crosstalk 00:32:38].

Male:                    Meat worshipers.

Male:                    Yeah. I only cited that because I was in America last week at Expo West walking around and there’s massive trend of course with plant products and everything. But there’s a massive trend of things like plant beef jerky, and then, plant-

Simon:                  That’s an interesting one, isn’t it?

Male:                    … plant shaped like animals.

Simon:                  I think probably again the transition that some people trying to progress, I mean, it might be a noble thing that they’re doing, but still kind of haven’t really made that [crosstalk 00:33:05].

Male:                    But they were so highly refined.

Simon:                  It might actually be one of those things that-

Male:                    They’re so far away from healthy and they’re claiming to be healthy-

Simon:                  Yeah, right. Right.

Male:                    … highly refined and processed, they were no longer healthy.

Simon:                  That’s one of my biggest challenges is trying to educate [inaudible] that in the next five years, it’s going to be harder and harder to be a healthy vegan because there’s going to be so much more temptation from product innovation which isn’t necessarily being done from a health point of view.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  Like to your point, I think, a lot of those products make it very easy for transitioning but ultimately, should they make up the majority of your calories, probably not.

Male:                    Or would they make you healthier.

Simon:                  Yeah.

Male:                    Not necessarily [crosstalk 00:33:38].

Simon:                  There’s no research to sort of show people that are consuming those types of foods are healthier than people consuming animal products.

Male:                    But it’s … Yeah, sorry.

Male:                    No, I was going to say but it sounds like, Simon, you your advocating obviously for fresh is best, eat local, remove the glyphosate, get rid of the pesticides as well, too. Whereas as you say, a lot of vegan people are like, it’s all about the meat. Anything else is fine.

Simon:                  You’re exactly right. Once you decide that you’re going to eat plant-based, you’re not finished yet. You just started. You need to now concentrate on again the source of your foods or the quality of foods. You need to know where it comes from. Local much better than something … This ties into things like sustainability, people like to just tear down meat. But if you’re buying avocados that had been shipped around the whole world, that’s not sustainable process.

Male:                    Yup.

Simon:                  That’s where I kind of probably, not disagree. I would rather be inspired. I tend to try and look at things from a more holistic view.

Male:                    Do that sustainability thing sort of grow as you came into sort of changing in eating, and then actually realize, “Okay, this is actually having an impact that is actually also good for the planet as well,” too?

Simon:                  Yeah, certainly. I think if my first motivation was from a health point of view, the more science that I was reading around health, naturally, it was opening my eyes up to sustainability and environmental practice, and agriculture, and things like that. Like I said, I think the plant-based agriculture has just as much improvement to do if not more than the animal agriculture.

Male:                    Yeah. We got to get the ecobiome … We talked a lot about microbiome, we need the ecobiome as well to get the soil and everything under control so that a proper-

Male:                    And the sea. I noticed that you’re passionate about plastic and sea which is [crosstalk 00:35:29].

Male:                    Oh, that’s [crosstalk 00:35:29].

Male:                    When he retires, he says he’s going to get on that [crosstalk 00:35:32].

Male:                    That junket, big big island the size of Texas in the ocean [crosstalk 00:35:36].

Male:                    Yeah. This is obviously something that you’re passionate about as well?

Simon:                  Yeah. I think it’s hard when you sort of come across the statistics and you see what we’re doing to our planet. It’s hard to sort of turn a blind eye and-

Male:                    Oh, [inaudible] you said are natural.

Simon:                  I think it’s easy to assume that governments will enforce policies and companies will make changes, but ultimately, changes need to happen really quickly. If the science is, the way I look at it, is when we’re moving here, I guess to the ocean and then, climate change [crosstalk 00:36:13]. We opened a can worms here, but the way I look at it is if the scientists are right and we do nothing, there’s going to be catastrophic changes to our environment.

Male:                    It’s one of things, Simon, I think in terms of whether you agree with climate change or not, and I think you can disagree with the amount of pollutants, plastics. I mean, I heard the other day, in fact, [Tiny] brought this to me, she said, “Jeff, did you know that they did a study on the beers on America,” and having to look at Miller and all these other beers that they went through. There was glyphosate in all of them, even in the organic ones as well, too. The organic companies were actually saying, “It’s in our water tidal now. Even though we’ve got completely organic [inaudible 00:36:53], we’ve never used any of these sorts of herbicides and pesticides and all the rest of it because they’re in the environment.” This is the problem. Because again, that’s where the [inaudible] is, whether you believe in that or not. We can see the impact. We’re starting to experience it with the health, we’re damaging the waterways. You can see what’s happening obviously with [inaudible] plastic is incredible.

Simon:                  There’s an area in America, Cancer Alley, have you heard of that?

Male:                    No.

Male:                    No.

Simon:                  That’s like a runoff of the Mississippi River.

Male:                    Oh.

Male:                    Oh, yeah.

Simon:                  Where a lot of glyphosate ends up, and it has the highest incidences of cancer in America. There’s a guy Zach Bush, have you heard of him?

Male:                    I heard the name, but no I don’t.

Simon:                  Zach Bush does a lot of talking about glyphosate and regenerative agriculture, and I think, I listened to him not long ago, but he was speculating it could take 50 years to get glyphosate out of the system if everyone stopped today.

Male:                    Oh, yeah.

Male:                    Wow.

Male:                    The other penetration enhancers … That’s the other problem. I did a lot of research on glyphosate by itself and it could create a nice story that it’s not so bad. But, when it’s with penetration enhancers that break down the surface tension and get it inside the cells, and get it into the soil, and into the places that normally it wouldn’t go to, that’s when it’s a thousand times worse. I had this thing. I just stirred it up. Policy makers are … I don’t think it’s actually possible, but it’s kind of, this sort of thing I do where I call it Purple Rain Campaign. If you could make glyphosate purple, I said, “[inaudible 00:38:22] to have it. Just make it purple. Can we trigger an initiative globally and make it purple?”

Male:                    Because like you said, we can’t see it. But if you could see the damage it was doing, and I mentioned this to some politicians, they go, “No way. We’d never do that.” I said, “Why? You tell me that it gets sprayed and then, it’s gone.” They go, “Oh, no. All the waters will be purple. All the rivers will be purple. All our grass will be purple. All our food, when you buy our food, it’d be colored purple.” I said, “Yeah. You told us also, we can wash that off. We’ll just rinse that off. We wash it off.”

Male:                    Yes, at least we can identify it.

Male:                    “If I can that’s there, I can wash it off. I can wash it off, and then, I’ll eat it. Then, what happens? I open it up and I see the purple in the seeds, I see the purple in the fiber.”

Male:                    I like it. I like that.

Male:                    “I see the purple everywhere.” I said, “People would all of a sudden start to understand where this thing, the impact is making.” The policy makers which don’t know the science that it’s probably not possible to do it, but they’re [inaudible 00:39:10], “No way. It will ruin our industry. It will ruin agriculture. It would ruin tourism. It would ruin everything else, that Great Barrier Reef, no one would visit that.” It was amazing because I’m sitting [inaudible 00:39:20], because we can see it?

Male:                    Now that it’s clear …

Male:                    “We can’t see it. You’re all cool with that? You’re lying to us saying that we can wash it off.”

Male:                    Exactly.

Male:                    Then, that’s the problem. People don’t see it. They don’t understand it. They don’t relate it back to them.

Male:                    I’ve got a personal question for you. Apparently, you’re also friendly or been working with Chris Hemsworth as well, too.

Simon:                  Yeah, yeah.

Male:                    Did you talk to him obviously about the vegan lifestyle? Is he vegan? I’m curious to know.

Simon:                  Chris doesn’t have a label on the way that he eats. Now, he’s tremendously conscious of where his food comes from. His brother is actually vegan.

Male:                    Liam?

Simon:                  Yeah.

Male:                    Yup.

Simon:                  He’s vegan and I think having someone in the family who just changed the way that they eat, naturally, you look at things in a different light.

Male:                    [inaudible] a couple of meals you might eat.

Simon:                  Yeah, and more to it. Certainly, he eats plant-based meals. I believe, leading into a couple of his movies, he’s eating more plant-based but high level, he doesn’t like to put a label on it, but that’s okay. A lot of people don’t like to put a label on it particularly if you’re someone in the public eye like that for, you know? Like when I first started transitioning, for example, I didn’t know if it was going to be a lifelong thing. Now, what I often see is like big, giant stars come out and talk about it, that they’re trying a vegan diet or maybe they’re not even trying a vegan diet, they’re just a couple of plant-based meals and then, they seem to not be doing that anymore. It looks bad on the diet. It looks bad on the person for jumping around. I think, when you’re in the public eye like that, sometimes it’s best to keep things private.

Male:                    Yeah, it makes sense.

Male:                    Sure.

Male:                    If they’re doing it for health and not for the social or the religious aspects as well, then you might want that freedom to move, anyway.

Simon:                  Yeah, which I mean, his brother Liam is more from an ethical point of view. He’s happy to talk about it in a deep level.

Male:                    Yeah. Did you work with Liam as well, too or [crosstalk 00:41:19]?

Simon:                  I don’t work Liam. I work with Chris and part of his new fitness program since [crosstalk 00:41:24].

Male:                    Yeah, I think Tiny saw that online. She said that there’s a real push … and his wife as well, too?

Simon:                  Yeah, his wife, Elsa they … Chris wanted to put a program together where people can have access to the experts that were giving him advice. I’ve been working with Chris prior to this giving him advice about nutrition. He’s got a bunch of other people in there from a chef nutrition background. He’s got a bunch of people in there from a mindfulness, people that have worked with him in meditation, [crosstalk] practices and then, a bunch of people in there from workout, everything from gym workouts to outdoor workouts, things like that.

Male:                    It looks like a really nice app, actually.

Simon:                  Yeah, it great. It’s awesome to be a part of the community that are using it or very inspiring. They’re sort of rallying around each other. So, it’s been fun so far.

Male:                    It sounds like it makes it a lot more holistic than just, “Okay, it’s weights. Do it.” It’s actually sort of looking out, obviously-

Simon:                  It’s all-encompassing. It’s got everything from yoga to [inaudible] meditation, to morning walks, like different walking meditations. From a [inaudible] point of view, people can eat whatever they want. It caters for everyone.

Male:                    What’s the name of the app, in case people are interested?

Simon:                  The name of the app is [inaudible] on the end of it.

Male:                    Yup. Okay, cool.

Male:                    Cool.

Male:                    I’m dying to know, this is just me because I’m [inaudible 00:42:45]. I’m dying to know what you discovered when you transitioned over, because like, I see a lot of … I don’t know if it’s true. I work with a lot of vegans and that sort of stuff. I see a pattern where people are convinced that they are low in protein, that some vegans can’t get protein. There’s not enough proteins, so they feel the need to use a lot of protein supplements. Did you feel the need to consume, in the early days were you supplementing your plant-based diet with plant-based protein?

Simon:                  I still have probably one protein, plant-based protein shake a day which I think, I was doing that before with a non plant-based shake or even probably a plant-based shake at some stages when I wasn’t, you know, just purely because I liked the flavor or whatever it was.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  But the plant-based proteins have come a long way in terms of flavor.

Male:                    Oh, yes.

Simon:                  [crosstalk]

Male:                    [crosstalk 00:43:38]. The animal meat, being like, what? Animal proteins being what? 10 to 30% proteins, but the plant stuff is like 10 to 20% protein. It’s not significantly low. There’s a difference in the protein though. The branched tri amino acid levels are much lower. There’s some interesting studies coming out now when I did some really high intensity training using rice proteins compared to whey [crosstalk 00:44:01].

Male:                    [crosstalk]

Male:                    A lot of interesting diet, the whey proteins compared to like a [inaudible] just eating protein. Not a huge amount of difference. I’m not sure how relevant the deficient branched tri amino acids in the plain protein where that’s needed. But is it something that you look for? Do you go and supplement your plant-based diet with extra branched kinds or anything?

Simon:                  I guess, high level, so from a food point of view firstly which my emphasis is on a varied diet. I’m not just mono eating or raw vegan diet which we can jump into, which certain people, that suits and whatnot. But, I think from a gaining size point of view, it can make you harder. In terms of my amino acids, I’m just making sure that I’m getting a very mix of legumes, not seed, grains, not sticking the same ones every day, not sticking to the same ones for breakfast, lunch, and dinner which makes it more enjoyable, anyway. Naturally, when you do that, you get a much better mix of amino acids.

Simon:                  In saying that, there are times where I’ll use, like I’ve used your vegan aminos. I mainly use aminos if I’m trying to lose weight and potentially, my protein intake might come down a bit. I find that really useful to make sure that I’m still getting those major essential amino acids, which I think again, even people who are not vegan are taking those aminos as well. It’s sort of just comes down to what you got always and where your overall diet is. Be it, going back to your question, I get more than enough protein every day and where possible, I try and get it from food.

Male:                    [crosstalk 00:45:50]. Sorry, yeah.

Male:                    Yeah, I was going to say do you actually look at the food sources that you’re getting? I appreciate one of the criticisms or the concerns that people have over a plant-based diet, is trying to get all these eight essential amino acids in one source. Obviously, you can get it with non-vegan sources, but are you conscious of [inaudible] right, “I’m getting this amino acid group from here and this one from here.” Do you try and corporate that or you just allow it to work itself out?

Simon:                  I think the whole complete protein thing was something that was much … It was sort of glorified a bit, a couple of decades ago. Whilst it’s irrelevant, there’s been numerous things that have come out which is showing that you don’t really need to be focusing on each single meal and making sure you’re getting 100% of all of the essential amino acids if you’re eating that very diet across the day. You will naturally get all that you need. If we look at the major sort of American Dietetic and Nutrition Association, they come out and they’ve said that and they talk about vegan diets being helpful in supplying all the major macronutrients that people need.

Male:                    Yeah, right.

Simon:                  At any life stage, that is as well.

Male:                    There’s a lot of upside of the plant industry. There’s a lot of data on collagens and stuff like that showing similar that the protein score that was pretty much set up by the whey industry to promote whey is great and everything else is rubbish is starting to shoot a few holes. The stuff where that whole branched-chain amino acid is not just driving everything. In my experience too, treating a lot on the plant-based diets and funny, I used to do a lot of work with animals. So, I used to do a lot of treatment with horses and dogs and cats, and it’s just something I do because I like animals. But I notice some really interesting trends there with herbivore mammals and that sort of stuff in the need for insects.

Male:                    What I discovered there is there was a lot of issues with arthritis in horses and a lot of that sort of stuff, if they were taken away from the pasture. So, if they would stop eating the pasture and put into a stables, their food is more refined. It was lifted up off the ground. They weren’t getting as many insects. If they got a lot of arthritis and a lot of issues like that, we put them back out into the pasture [inaudible] and specifically go out and seek out insects and everything. Now, with this new work that we’re doing with the collagens and that sort of stuff as well, and you see there’s a lot of movement with collagen being able to heal these things, it’s all based on measuring the hydroxyproline incorporation into the bone or the hydroxyproline incorporation into fascia.

Male:                    With their body being 30% of the protein in their body is collagen, muscle for example 6 to 10% of the muscle mass is collagen, but 30% of its power comes from collagen. I was looking into that plant-based diet though. There’s no hydroxyproline at all found within those plants, so there’s the hydroxylation of the protein, and the proline started by vitamin C to make it. What I noticed though in the animal world, we used to supplement those kind of insect stuff. We used to supplement the Triton from the exoskeleton because that’s what builds the disc spaces and the cartilage, and we used to supplement through the other hydroxyproline parts, out of the collagen aspects of the insects, and that would prevent their arthritis for animals that were living in stables and that sort of.

Male:                    I’ve always wondered, where would in the vegan community, I know on the average person, forget the vegan, the average person [inaudible] vegetables eating about half-a-kilo of insects a year that’s found in their vegetables. But we got a more highly-refined and more process, and eating less stuff the way nitro intended, we’re missing out on all that. Have you heard of anything within the vegan community talking about, where would insects sit? I was just curious. I mean, that’s a long way around to get to the question.

Simon:                  I know. There is. It’s a very interesting area. I’m deeply engrossed by what you’re saying there. I think, hygiene, as we are getting more hygienic. It’s insects, but also lack of soil on plants is important as well and that changes and affects-

Male:                    The microbes.

Simon:                  … the microbiome.

Male:                    Yeah.

Male:                    You find that big in the States. A lot of people are interested in dirt.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah. Actually, because a lot of people thought when I’m saying modbiotic for a GutRight, they thought I was saying mud biotic. There’s a lot of movement in America to augment the ecobiome and rebuilding the dirt, so we can make nutrients in plants properly, but that’s [inaudible 00:50:21]. The microbiome makes a lot of our nutrients, you know?

Simon:                  Yeah, but going back [inaudible] a bit, where do insects sit? I guess, I’ll speak to some various opinions of different people that I know who might be coming from a different angle with veganism. The general gist is that with veganism from an ethical point of view is to do as least amount of harm as possible. The fact that insects are killed during crop farming in agriculture is seen as less damaging than supporting factory farming. That would be the general opinion, yeah.

Male:                    And because I know-

Simon:                  Keeping in mind that during factory farming, a lot of insects are also killed.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  Because there’s-

Male:                    [inaudible]

Simon:                  Yeah, and habitats for [crosstalk 00:51:19].

Male:                    Getting broccoli, we don’t bother because we just eat them. But if you sort through them and find all the little cobwebs and cocoons, and all that sort of stuff that’s in your organic broccoli that’s not found in the other stuff that’s all sprayed. But, that’s a big part of the diet because if you’re not getting adequate hydroxyproline and the triton substances, you’ve got to make that out. You’re going to deplete your vitamin C, you’re deplete your proline to make that elsewhere. It’s really interesting because it’s just while we’re doing a lot of work with the manufacturers of collagen, I noticed that a lot of their data relating to their measurements, it’s ability to heal the gut wall or the ability to bind, it’s all about hydroxyproline incorporation into the bone. That’s why we made our hydroxyproline out of vegan stuff because I wasn’t going to make it-

Simon:                  So, how did you make it?

Male:                    We hydroxilate the proline and vitamin C basically. We run through the same process that’s not depleting the vitamin C and the proline from that status, I can go in and then, we have a glucosamine right out of corn sugars and through a similar fermentation process, not similar, a different fermentation process to make glucosamine out of glucose. But those things there is the only way I could really think of correcting those sort of like conditional deficiencies because we’re not eating in nature anymore like to try and compensate for the over-processing of our foods.

Male:                    I think it’s really important because if we don’t have adequate levels of tritons and hydroxyproline, these connective tissue support, then you actually could be depleting other sections of your body and I used to noticed there were a lot of trends in with the bad teeth and the bad gums, biome deficiencies and again, linking back to the fear of losing muscle mass and that sort of stuff, supporting connective tissue and fascia, and the ligaments and tendons I thought would be important. But you’re a physio and you’re a vegan, so I figured, you’d be the man to ask like is there any-

Simon:                  I probably need to look a little bit more into hydroxyproline, but you can certainly get proline in your diet.

Male:                    Yeah, exactly. Yeah, and you get the vitamin C.

Simon:                  You get the vitamin C.

Male:                    That’s where, at the moment, without the hydroxyproline directly, that’s where the other mammals that people might be eating are getting their proline from, hydroxyproline from. So, I just figured. There was just one thing there when I was looking at all the data and all these health benefits, people are talking the biome [inaudible] and all that sort of stuff. I was just wondering, what is in there that’s not in anything else?

Simon:                  Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see because I can’t speak to any data that suggest that vegans have-

Male:                    Hydroxyproline deficiencies.

Simon:                  Or worse joints.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  If we look high level, I can’t … I haven’t been able to identify that that’s something in a population that exist, which I mean, there’s a multitude. In fact, if they have a low BMI, it may be helping them as well.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Male:                    Unless there’s inflammation, unless there’s [crosstalk 00:54:12].

Simon:                  I think there’s a-

Male:                    It’s interesting. I was just curious to see if there’s anything … because of your history with the physio and then, the movement over to the plant, I was just curious if there was anything there regarding to collagen or connective tissue [crosstalk 00:54:23].

Simon:                  Something that I [crosstalk] that, but you know, I try and take a holistic approach to everything. Like I said, there’s new science coming out all the time and no doubt, it’s bulletproof.

Male:                    No.

Simon:                  It’s always going to be whatever diet you’re doing, what you need to look at, nutrients to focus, and as new science comes out, what can you do, what’s the best option for you within your dietary framework? Perhaps, that may be one of them, I guess we’ll see in the next few decades I think we’ll get so much better data as we get data from people who are actually plant-based and not just vegans. So, it’ll be interesting to see.

Male:                    What are the [inaudible] things that you’d moved towards as far as looking after collagen or all that sort of stuff? Is there anything particular that [inaudible] or maybe women come and talk to you as well too? Or is that another question that you would normally get?

Simon:                  I mean, it’s an interesting one. I guess, collagen when you ingest it-

Male:                    Oh, no. I’m not even talking about [inaudible] production of collagen. If there sort of foods [crosstalk 00:55:21]?

Simon:                  I mean, these things are obviously making sure you’re getting enough vitamin C and you’re getting enough of those amino acids and proteins in your diet. There can be, along with the other nutrients in focus which I think people need to look at in their vegan diet which are pretty well-document. B12 is something that everyone that is not having animal products needs to supplement. There are fortified foods, but the science hasn’t shown reliability in terms of the fortified foods preventing a deficiency or reversing it. You’d be playing with fire there until the science comes out.

Simon:                  Then, vitamin D which is interesting because non-vegans are also having an issue with vitamin D around the world. But, vitamin D is very important from a bone and mineral density point of view. A lot of people think calcium in the vegan diet is going to be hard without dairy, but we don’t absorb a lot of calcium out of dairy, anyway. I sort of tell people to really focus on calcium-rich foods but make sure your vitamin D is not deficient. It’s going to be pretty important and ideally, getting extra sun if you can.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Male:                    Yeah, with moderation. We talk about that a lot and there’s this hysteria over exposure to the sun has gone too far. Definitely we know that over exposure can lead to skin damage and cancer. I get more [inaudible] the average sunscreen that people put on which is full of hydroxy.

Male:                    Yeah, exactly.

Male:                    [crosstalk] hydroxy carbons which is stored in the breast tissue of women and men. But, at the same time, you’re not getting the vitamin D that you need. A small amount of exposure in the early morning and late afternoon is actually a really good thing for you.

Male:                    Vitamin D deficiency is something that everyone talks about, but [inaudible] a way to do that. B12 is the other one everyone talks about.

Simon:                  Yeah, the B12. If we look at various studies, if we look at vegetarians and vegans, and look at their nutrient levels for starters, those two, calcium is more from a point of view, I think that people look at the diet and say, there’s not going to be enough in there.

Male:                    Yeah, but this play this calcium. Isn’t it calcium [crosstalk 00:57:29]?

Simon:                  You focus on your [crosstalk 00:57:29].

Male:                    Yeah. [crosstalk 00:57:30]. It would be great.

Simon:                  Selenium have Brazil nuts. You can have one or two Brazil nuts every day. The thing is, a lot of this is very easy if you understand those nutrients to focus on. The reason why it can potentially be an issue is that absorption rates can be lower when you’re eating nutrients sitting alongside [inaudible] which bind and prevent absorption. If we go through choline, iodine which, you know, seaweeds. So [inaudible] enough dulse fish or nori fish, or other salt things like that. B12, calcium, vitamin D …

Male:                    There’s no B12 in plants, so we have to make it out of plant matter into our microbiome. Again, a lot of that goes back to microbiome.

Male:                    [crosstalk]

Simon:                  That’s an interesting one.

Male:                    Yeah, good. Yeah.

Simon:                  Right?

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  B12 in ruminants is made in the small intestine.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  But in humans, it’s made in our large intestines.

Male:                    Yup, and we absorb it in the small intestine.

Simon:                  We might absorb a tiny bit, but it’s too distill. Most of it is not absorbed at all, which is why vegans, like if you’re actually consuming food that has B12 in it, and reaching your small intestine, that they get low levels, right?

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  You can eat as much plant food as you want as a vegan, and yes your microbiome in your colon can produce B12, but it’s being produced too distally in the colon. They’re not getting absorption. Maybe a tiny bit, there are certainly some people out there that will say they haven’t had B12 for 20 years and they’re okay. But, the majority of study show that B12 is a nutrient that vegans need to focus on for a supplement.

Male:                    That’s interesting because I was hoping you weren’t going to go towards the copper fugie and odor fugie which I talked about, which is a good way of recycling your B12. There’s also [crosstalk 00:59:31]. I want to mix things up a little bit.

Male:                    The enterohepatic circulation does a little bit of re-delivering it back through towards those absorption pathways as a really good source [inaudible] as we showed our gut wall. We actually get a lot of nutrients out of that as well, if you’re deficient. But the B12 thing for me, I really screwed my brain a little bit because of how it was so backwards, and I wasn’t sure exactly the process of how it was happening. But a lot of those recycling through that enterohepatic circulation and then, actually breaking down your own tissue to recycle it, it’s only really small levels that we actually hold in our body, very small amounts we’re constantly recycling. It’s an interesting one to see that it’s commonly deficient, but I don’t know how much we actually need. I don’t know.

Simon:                  I think it’s also, like the case studies on people that had severe deficiencies, it can have a fairly significant negative effects on your health from a nervous system point of view. So, perhaps there’s a bit more hysteria around B12 than it needs to be.

Male:                    Yeah and the injections-

Simon:                  My general advice is, from a physician is to supplement with it and the other one that we missed there was iron. It’s the largest nutrient deficiency across anyone. Again, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend if you are eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, to have 1.8 times the standard recommended daily intake of iron because the absorption rate is lower.

Male:                    Away from meals?

Male:                    [crosstalk 01:01:02]. Oh, sorry.

Male:                    Go ahead.

Male:                    Because of the [inaudible 01:01:04]. Again, we’re looking at say for example, green tea even can inhibit the absorption of iron right up to about 20%. Any of these high [inaudible] combine and reduce the absorption. A lot of the problems there is when your iron is incorporated into a meal full of phytates and that sort of stuff, you’re going to get less absorption and [inaudible] in that really deficient state and then, the active transport pumps and that sort of stuff pick up. The enzymes, we talk a lot about these phytates and oxalates binding things, but I mean, there are enzymes such as phytase, is that a popular thing within the … Do you recommend people to use enzymes to help break down phytates and liberate the nutrients?

Simon:                  Depending on if someone’s having problems with their digestion. I don’t personally take any digestive enzymes. I think some of the protein powders that I’ve had, I’ve had those incorporated in them before. But for me, just having that varied diet and going back just quickly to the iron one, I think it’s 8 milligrams for a male, around 8 milligrams of [inaudible] or whatever. And you sort of were asking where I get that from, legumes, some dark, leafy greens. I get a lot of questions from people saying if there’s calcium and there’s iron in the same food, is that inhibiting? Because the calcium can inhibit iron absorption as well.

Male:                    Even zinc, yeah.

Simon:                  To simplify this for people, I say, if you’re having an issue with iron, that’s where you need to zoom in and go, “Okay, let’s go enhance my iron absorption and what’s going to inhibit it, and I should try and separate things.” But, if you’re having an issue with your iron, you don’t need to over complicate things. Eat that varied diet. Yes, there’s going to be some phytates in your food, but I’m consuming well over 8 milligrams a day of iron and it makes up for that.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  You get lower absorption rates, so naturally if you’re eating enough calories and it’s a well-diversified plant-based diet for the most, most of those nutrients you’ll get B12 aside and then, certain people might have slightly lower absorptions whatnot due to their microbiome, and that’s where you need to put more focus and dig a bit deeper into how you can increase your absorption or do you need to supplement.

Male:                    I had a mental blank before when I was in the middle of a sentence about B12 and I had a bit of a [inaudible 01:03:27]. There’s a new data out on B12 where they actually, in the early days, they didn’t have the ability to identify the different forms of carb elements. So, one day I went through and I used to talk about spirulina for example being a fantastic source of B12. A recent research have actually refined the ability to measure carb elements and found there’s some anti-nutrient forms of B12. So, the way we used to in the past tell people to have lots of spirulina and that sort of stuff to increase their B12 has actually been determined that that can lower their B12.

Simon:                  Bec it competes, like it’s looks like the same [crosstalk 01:03:59].

Male:                    It utilizes the absorption pathways, but it’s not actually useful within the body and can actually compete. There’s some people out there, too, we kind of, “I see your B12 level’s low, so we’ll go over the top.” I have a supplement and something like the spirulina, it might actually be doing more harm than good.

Simon:                  Absolutely.

Male:                    Luckily, we always that it takes ages for the truth to come out compared to these bad stories. The wrong information is so easily accessible, and then the truth comes out a little bit later. It’s so hard to go back and convince people-

Simon:                  We might be saying that about vitamin D at the moment, because it’s a real buzz of people supplementing vitamin D.

Male:                    It’s weird, too, vitamin D, too. Because I’m positive, and I don’t think I’m losing my mind because no one agrees with me. But when I studied naturopath in the early days, when I used to do vitamin D testing, I used to have to protect it from the UV light. I used to draw the blood, wrap in a foil, keep those little vials [inaudible 01:04:48]. I couldn’t see anything. Since it got exposure to light, it started degrading and everything. I don’t do any of that now. Every person’s vitamin D deficient. I’m not sure. There’s something weird going on with vitamin D. It’s probably just a [inaudible] statin medication. [crosstalk] being tested and being told my vitamin D levels are low, and plenty of science and all that sort of stuff, and it just didn’t make sense. I think there’s something weird going on there.

Simon:                  Back to [inaudible 01:05:14], the other interesting thing is, because you’ve got that sort of like active/inactive analogs that you’re all talking about is the reliability of the serum B12 test is not that high.

Male:                    Yeah, exactly.

Simon:                  Because it’s hard to separate between those active and inactive analogs in your body. So, like you’re saying, you could be having a lot of spirulina but if you just run a serum B12 test that isn’t differentiating, it might look like your B12 is okay and might look really high. A more accurate predictor is homocysteine or MMA.

Male:                    And triglycerides, too, yeah.

Simon:                  Which should, if they’re elevated, you’ve probably got a deficiency in your B12.

Male:                    Yup, and you can do the MMAs with your organic acid test, too, the methymalonic acid or whatever it is. With those, same thing with the B12 or the iron, people would constantly be telling they’ve got this iron problem because they’re always coming up anemic. But, we got iron, B12, and folate all together to need to make hemoglobin. So, they’re told they got low hemoglobin, they’re just get told to go buy [inaudible 01:06:13]. Another interesting thing could be when we mentioned earlier about the vitamin C and proline, some of the signs to know if someone needs more vitamin C might be things like the inability to absorb iron on lower levels along with fatigue and malaise, and the inability to regenerate the collagen and the connective tissue.

Male:                    For the people out there that were getting recurrent infections, their gums aren’t really awesome, they got a lot of fatigue because you need vitamin C to make your stress chemicals, you [inaudible] chloramines and that sort of stuff. The people are starting to see those signs that might be an indication that they could increase their vitamin C levels and that sort of thing as well, because it’s not always in the … It degrades quite quickly in the processed foods, if it’s in there at all, you know?

Simon:                  Particularly, I guess if your diet’s slanted towards a refined food diet as well, it’s even worse.

Male:                    Yeah. You mentioned before, the TMAO which is the cholines and carnitine-feeding bacteria that turn those really healthy things into atherogenic blocks that weren’t enough, that you would just smell like fish. After you have the choline and carnitine, you get a funny odor through your body, a very fishy odor and that’s actually the chemical that causes the heart disease. If you’re one of those people that takes a B-complex vitamin that’s high in choline, and you end up smelling fishy or you’re taking L-carnitine pre-workout and you smell fishy, there’s a fair chance that you’ve got those bugs that are converting those healthy stuff into atherosclerotic block-forming chemicals. A way to fix that is just with [inaudible] or garlic and that sort of stuff, just changing over your … That’s one of the ways garlic is so good for heart disease and blood. It’s actually controlling your microbiomes’ ability to convert that stuff into bad blocks. So, that’s interesting.

Simon:                  They’ve done some studies on choline and carnitine and looking at omnivores and vegans, and have found that if you are eating a plant-based diet, you don’t actually have those bacteria at all.

Male:                    Oh, wow.

Simon:                  [crosstalk] supplementing carnitine or choline, you will not create any [inaudible 01:08:09].

Male:                    See, that’s the sort of stuff I’d love to hear because that’s [inaudible] make some mechanism of action of how the animal diet can contribute to heart disease, because you can create a data and scenario to say it doesn’t. You can have a look at the epidemiological studies to see that it does. As soon as you see this missing link in regards to the microbiome, I mean, there’s 500 tons [inaudible] material in your gut that can change daily compared to your genetic material within your body, it’s not going to change that fast. I think there’s a big future looking at this gut microbiome [crosstalk 01:08:42].

Simon:                  [crosstalk] in the next 10 years.

Male:                    Listening [inaudible] obviously looking at the different types of plants and the impact that it has on the gut, do you want to talk a little bit about that?

Simon:                  Yeah, I guess top level, I’d like to keep things fairly simple with people and talk about making sure that they’re hitting their daily fiber targets and within fiber, some fiber is prebiotic fiber which you guys have obviously spoken a lot about. There’s different types of prebiotic fibers but then also, outside of prebiotic fiber, there’s other prebiotics, resistant starch, phytochemicals and things like that that that good bacteria feed on. So, prebiotic feeds your bacteria and leads to short-chain fatty acids. I’m telling you guys everything that you know.

Male:                    That’s good enough.

Male:                    No, no.

Simon:                  In terms of what I tell people is again diversity is key.

Male:                    Yes.

Male:                    Yes.

Simon:                  If you’re not having a diverse diet and I was running something recently called the plant-proof 40 challenge where I was just encouraging people to make sure they’re having 40 unique plants every week. It sounds easy but people were coming back and were like, “I thought this was easy and then, by day two, three I was like, wow. I’m only having 10 or 12 different plants a week.”

Male:                    Is this mainly vegan [inaudible] or is this everyone?

Simon:                  Everyone.

Male:                    Okay.

Simon:                  This is everyone, like all inclusive. There’s a number of people that are non-vegan within my community that I speak with and they’re all getting around this challenge and they’re finding it really interesting, like to draw this connection between diversity and gut health.

Male:                    Yup.

Male:                    Yeah.

Male:                    They’ll be forced to eat local and within seasons, too, because to get that diversity-

Simon:                  Well, that’s key.

Male:                    That’s it, because you’re probably not going to find, I mean, again that level of products. The range that we get in the typically supermarkets, because it’s manufactured en masse and it’s packed en masse, and is shipped en masse, is that there’s just not that level of diversity. I was thinking and maybe it’s a wrong conclusion that they omnivores would probably have maybe half a dozen that they eat through the week versus the vegans and vegetarians might be double that. Is that a-

Simon:                  Yeah, it’s probably a different starting point.

Male:                    Sure.

Simon:                  It might be a little more favorable for vegans to hit the 40. It depends on who that omnivore is. I’ve got friends who are omnivores, but they’re 85, 90% plant-based. So, for them, they’re essentially plant-based, right?

Male:                    Sure, yeah.

Simon:                  It depends where you sit on that spectrum. But it also depends on your culture, how you brought it up. Was it the same three veggie all the time and you’ve done that your whole life; potato, carrots, or tomato, lettuce, whatever. It makes a game of it and I found that it starts to get people going to the grocery store and like you said, I said buy things that are seasonal. When you’re buying 40 things, you can go in there with no intention of what you’re going to buy and just go and grab the ones that are on sale that you haven’t had before.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  [crosstalk]

Male:                    We’re all taught through that food pyramid and everything. We’re taught to eat a balanced diet, the fives and twos, and all these different things you hear on TV that you had to balance out fruit and to remind us to eat our fruit and vegetables, and our cereals. But, we get into the habit of finding some of those things that we like, that we can afford, that are available and we’re just getting in this habit where a balanced diet, but not a varied diet. Now, we’re learning all the stuff about this microbiome, and the same with probiotics and prebiotics. Most of the supplement probiotics, supplements are the same. Most of the prebiotic supplements are the same. A lot of people are eating the same food every day.

Male:                    What’s happening is people are building up certain [inaudible 01:12:21], and that’s where we lose the diversity, that’s when we actually strengthen a certain colonies of bugs because they get fed their favorite food every day. Not their poisons, just their favorite foods. Then, the other bugs just didn’t get a chance the thrive and survive without their favorite foods coming in regularly.

Male:                    We evolve with fruit seasons and winter, and all that sort of stuff where things are supposed to change, where at the moment, I got an acreage and we got the mulberry trees, and we got all those different things. But, that will only really fruit for only [inaudible] a couple of weeks and then, it’s gone and you move on to the next tree, and that sort of stuff. You’re never [inaudible] up enough.

Male:                    [crosstalk] cherry season.

Male:                    Actually, interesting, I got a lot of people coming at me about questions with immunoglobulin testing. They’re saying, “Oh, these things are scam because whatever I’m eating seems to show up.” I said, “Yeah, we use immunoglobulin testing to confirm the theory of eating with seasons.” If we eat the same thing every day, you’re going to start becoming reacting to it, your body’s getting too much of it. You need to change. When you change, those immunoglobulins drop and then, that build up to the next thing you’re eating, and then it’s time to change. This cycling thing, how the hell do we get to [inaudible] across to everyone that you’ve got to eat local? You’ve got to support the local farmers.

Simon:                  Yeah, that’s the challenge. It’s sort of going against where our food system is going, which provides things in abundance from around the world and the food that you want is often always there. I can see you don’t have a real need to change.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  But, I think, yeah, it just comes down to education.

Male:                    We buy our groceries. We get some organic groceries delivered once a week from a particular farm and we have no idea what’s coming. So, whatever, we just buy a certain amount, fill a box, whatever is perfect, whatever you have that’s sticking right now is what we’re going to get. That’s kind of the way, I think we need to all start working with our locals.

Male:                    I guess, it depends where you are because some of you are from Bondi, but you also spend a bit of time in [Byron] also. Do you find that Byron’s a good place to shop and get fresh local … ?

Simon:                  Yeah, you can get plenty of local stuff [crosstalk 01:14:21].

Male:                    That’s where the wine comes from.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah. I would imagine that would be a really good community. Some people are health-focused out there.

Simon:                  I mean, [crosstalk] markets, there’s local markets and they usually have their signs up where they’re from and their food does change. You see that it changes. I think that’s a huge tip. If people can and it’s an affordable way to feed their family, to support local produce, and to eat with the seasonality is a great [crosstalk 01:14:45].

Male:                    And holistically, because what we’ve also found is again, I keep talking about this process and refined foods, but inside the heart of these foods is usually where we find the sugars. On the outside, we have nice, little, evil case of poison to keep the bugs and everything out. So, when we eat the whole food, we get a bit of sugar, then we get a bit of poison. For every little bit of feeding and that, we have something else coming in, keeping the population under control. So, that is something that we’ve also lost. Then, if you’re going to add in more prebiotics and then, more probiotics, you just overgrow and overgrow, and overgrow.

Male:                    Now, those bugs, they want to protect their host which is you and they want to keep you the way you are. They don’t want you to lose weight or change too much. So, that will then regulate your metabolism and your cravings, and keep you feeding them exactly what they want. A lot of people got to understand too that some of the cravings they might be getting especially trying to switch from a meat diet to a plant-based diet or when they try to make significant change, sometimes we get cravings or our body is feeling, “Oh, this doesn’t feel quite right for me. I feel lousy,” or whatever, gone through a healing process.

Male:                    People got to understand that initially, it’s a lot of the changing in the bugs. We get to die off, these things could hurt [inaudible] reactions and the bugs, somehow screw with our brain and tell us to eat what they want to eat. I don’t know how. These sneaky little bugs. But, they make you crave what they’re craving and they’ll try to tell you, “No, no. You need to go back and steal that milk from that baby animal.” They tell you to crave your dairy and to go back and eat your meat. Your meal doesn’t feel right without the meat. You’re not getting the [inaudible 01:16:17]. A lot of that’s the bug. Don’t let them win.

Simon:                  Absolutely. I’ve heard numerous doctors talk about the fact, particularly with carnitine, when you’re transitioning away from a lot of animal products, you get a craving from your gut back to your [inaudible] carnitine.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  Yeah.

Male:                    Right. They make you crave those things, but the problem is is that tiny world, that’ll change. They need to take a period of time, but you also, what you have to understand as well that kept bugs have evolved through seasons. They can wait quite a while. If you just changed your diet, they can lay dormant and then, they shit little eggs out and wait. And they can wait and survive to about nine months, because that’s typically waiting for the next fruit season to come back or for their season, whatever their food is whether it’s the hunting season or whatever to come back.

Male:                    If you keep avoiding it for a long enough, they will change and your body will change in relation to it or you can use more of that modbiotics or more of those antimicrobial sort of poisons, which you’re going to get from the [inaudible] leaves of your plants, and the garlics, and the onions to change your microbiome and force it to change, which is another benefit of a holistic [inaudible] plant diet rather than a highly-processed and refined one. Because we’re talking a lot about the actives that kill off these bugs or things like polyphenols and they’re yucky. They’re typically astringent and they don’t taste nice into your mouth.

Male:                    When they’re highly-processed and refined a plant-based protein into a protein bar or something like that, full of polyphenols, it tastes bad. So, they overload it with sugar again. Then, those ratios keep the bugs out of the way. My point is just work local, work within the seasons, and work with holistic stuff, not overly refined because this is where you can go to a vegan style diet to be healthy, but then got worse because you found that, “Ah. I can handle fried tofu, and I can handle a couple of other plant-based. I’m just going to base my whole diet on that.” That’s when all of a sudden your plant-based, vegan diet has made you less healthy.

Simon:                  Absolutely. I mean, I think regardless your dietary framework, you need to have diversity in the plants and eat seasonality.

Male:                    Yeah, exactly.

Male:                    I was going to ask you something. We did [inaudible] like pomegranate. It’s just an amazing fruit. Do you have any staples that you consider a must-have through in terms of your favorite foods? Do you have any thing that you use, if you’re sick or not feeling well, that you sort of reach for and sort of like, medicinal purposes?

Simon:                  My girlfriend, her mom is from homeopathic-style background and they grew up vegetarian. My girlfriend’s now a vegan. She’s very big on these sort of natural remedies. A lot of time, I’ll [inaudible] into her. But, to be honest, let me first say, I don’t think I’ve been sick for over three years, almost. Not one cold, not one runny nose.

Male:                    Yeah, right.

Male:                    That’s awesome.

Simon:                  I can’t really draw on much experience from that angle, but in terms of other super foods, I have various super foods like if I make smoothies and things like [inaudible] powders. They have mocha powders and things like that. I tend not to go over the top. I think early on, I had a … Not an addiction, but I was like, “More is better.”

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  I was probably focusing a lot more on that than on the actual whole foods and seasonality, and diversity. Yeah, I mean, I’m loving [inaudible] powder at the moment which is-

Male:                    Yeah, performance like for the nitrate [crosstalk 01:19:42].

Simon:                  Yeah. I’m finding that I feel better working out. Still trying to work through the research and work out how much of that is in my mind versus true performance.

Male:                    Yeah, I lot of it is mucosa though. Did you see the studies, the beetroot studies where they stop beetroot working with an antimicrobial mouthwash? They gave these people beetroot juice and you had vasodilation effect through the nitric oxide, which was really weird because [inaudible] dependent vasodilation meaning that somehow, a signal from the body suggest that we had not enough oxygen, a message went to the mucosa, the bacteria in the mucosa liberates the nitrates to nitrates to make nitric oxide for vasodilation. It all hinged around bacteria specifically oral bacteria that actually would convert it. Then, they actually did a second arm of the study where they gave people the beetroot juice and then, an antibacterial mouthwash, and it totally stopped it from working. A lot of it, it’s crazy [crosstalk 01:20:42].

Male:                    It reminds me actually a little bit of the [inaudible] and we’re originally going, “Oh, this is fantastic. This is really good for any athletes including vegan.” They’re like, “Wait a minute. We can’t do that because it used to have honey in it.” Oh, I was going to ask you. Do you miss honey? Is that something that you [crosstalk 01:20:57].

Simon:                  I wasn’t a big honey. I was a very big maple syrup fan.

Male:                    But you’re not allowed maple syrup.

Simon:                  No. Still, I do.

Male:                    Oh.

Simon:                  As in, for vegans who love honey or love them, they some probably still have it. Other ones would swap to maple syrup. For me, I was already having maple syrup so it was kind of easy there. But, I had to say around the bacteria in the mouth.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Simon:                  That, I’ve been thinking a lot lately sort of around things like green smoothies versus chewing your food again, and the impact that that bacteria in your mouth has, so that’s another thing I’ve tried, been trying to incorporate is if I’m having dark, leafy, green not always in the smoothie and sometimes, I only pop blend them. It sounds gross. But then, so you still have to chew.

Male:                    Chew them, yeah.

Simon:                  But have a little bit of an aspect of a smoothie.

Male:                    Yeah, that’s really important. It’s really important, too, because of the things like [inaudible] and that sort of stuff, we need to build them up in your mouth. They really regulate your metabolism and that sort of stuff. [inaudible] is a cool bug for the mouth that’s really [inaudible] metabolism. It’s fiber foods carbon. So, having those [inaudible] cardios and that sort of stuff and doing those, getting a heavy panting and that sort of stuff builds that [inaudible] and improve your sporting performance. That will also does a major effect with the liberation of the nitrates and that sort of stuff, the vasodilation.

Male:                    Again, showing how gum for walk, a morning walk on an empty stomach can actually change the microbiome, that can change your whole cardiovascular system and how it responds to foods. It’s very fascinating. All right. So much for these bugs. I think that the … You’ve been [inaudible] me a little bit with one thing you said about that what’s changed for me, eliminate the meats because when that group you’re talking about before where everything was pretty well designed, except one group just took out the meat. It was really interesting. Something’s changed in that. I’d love to see if they’ve done any microbiome studies on that?

Simon:                  [inaudible] did lots of studies showing plant-based populations have different microbiomes.

Male:                    Oh, yeah.

Simon:                  And even comparing kids in Africa to kids in Europe where you have completely different diets with kids in Africa and mainly plant-based, just to their access to food. Completely different biomes.

Male:                    You said before that with other juicing, people that take the fiber out, you should try to work out a way of putting a lot of that back in. But you still need to chew the bloody thing. A lot of them does. Sometimes, in the naturopathic world, we’re always looking at what’s a reasonable diet, so what’s the ideal diets and we got amount and certain size, we got the chewing that takes a certain amount of energy in throats and stomachs. So, it’s a good way when you’re eating things naturally, how much are you capable of eating like really. That’s a good way of regulating your dose and making sure you’re not overdosing. But, you need that total process through there because it signals all the other next stages of your digestive process and all of that involves the microbiome.

Simon:                  Did you guys see? There’s a study in Atlanta Journal, I think it was late last year on dietary fiber. They did a systematic review of meta-analysis and looked at dietary fiber intake with health outcomes both morbidity and mortality. People that were hitting at least 24 to 29 grams of dietary fiber were significantly less chance of developing cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease. They had less overall risk of total mortality. Then, it said in the paper that even beyond the 24 to 29, they expected greater benefits. I think, ranting out this whole conversation around fiber, for most people, because it can be quite complex, right, talking about all these little intricacies is just [inaudible 01:24:42].

Male:                    Yeah, yeah. The other issues that I always noticed too with the juicing is, yeah things like kale juice. We get these glucosinolates and everything. Glucosinolates haven’t got any cancer properties and that estrogen detoxification. But, part of them is these things called isothiocyanates which are toxic compounds to the thyroid. The only way you could possibly get an adequate dose of these toxic isothiocyanates is kale juice. So, raw kale juice, everything else kind of processes it, slows it down to any way you can actually get a massive dose of that to actually slow down your thyroids. That’s why I tell a lot of people to eat these things because the process of chewing the kale and getting those fibers, it controls the dose and you won’t overdose and [inaudible] on your thyroid.

Male:                    I’m talking to [inaudible] but I won’t mention the name because I wouldn’t want to embarrass a household name, who is drinking this kale juice but she was getting all these-

Male:                    Thyroid issues.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  That makes sense. I mean, juicing is becoming a massive thing, but to your point, it’s eliminating all of the benefits of chewing your food and the interaction with the bacteria in your mouth.

Male:                    Yeah, and a lot of that is probably [inaudible 01:25:54]. That’s stuff that’s missing. If you go and eat it, it’s not just [inaudible 01:25:57]. You can taste the astringency. You can taste the [inaudible 01:26:01]. A lot of the polyphenols that are in and amongst that fiber, so you’re losing all of that ability, but what you’re getting extra obviously is sugar. So, you’re getting the sugars out of the plants and you get a certain nutrient in concentration, yes. But, the imbalance between the sugar, the fiber and the modbiotic polyphenol compounds, I think that’s one of the biggest changes that’s happened globally with our food. If we have a look at the changes within our food, there’s ample data to show you that sugar in diets or whatever have gone up.

Simon:                  [crosstalk] free added sugars.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah. But also, fibers dropped down so much. Our foods changed so much. We got all the thin-skins, we got the seedless everything. We’re losing the fiber and within that fiber, we’re losing the polyphenols and the modbiotics [inaudible] usually, in the skins and in the seeds.

Simon:                  They’ve run studies where they look at, this is like looking more on the effect of sugar but looking at the instant response and how insensitive or resistant someone is with fruits, so they’ve got table sugar or 100% glucose, whatever it is and measured the response in the blood, the spike. Then, they get a group where they have blackberries or blueberries and ate the equivalent amount to our sugar.

Simon:                  Whatever they were getting in the table sugar, the same amount of sugar that’s inside those blueberries. Measured the spike and I think, as most people listening would expect, the spike is far different when you eat that sugar when it’s with the phytochemicals, with the dietary fiber, everything else. But the really interesting thing is they ran the study again. They said, “Okay. What about a third group who has the same amount of sugar plus the blueberries,” right? Their response was even lower than just having the blueberries.

Male:                    You’re serious?

Male:                    What? Wow.

Simon:                  There seems to be a real protective [crosstalk 01:28:01].

Male:                    Yeah. I could hypothesize part of it because I’ve noticed a similar thing by spiking … There was a similar study with, I think it was rice syrup. Anyway, it’s something a high fruit testing that triggered a significant insulin trigger from the tongue. The sweetness on the tongue set up the body to prepare for the sugars that are coming. So, if you get the sweetness of the unrefined sugars, you will get that little insulin spike. Then, when the sugars are coming through from the fruits and vegetable, you’ve had an amplified insulin response which caused the reduction in the blood sugar. So that you get the double whammy. Basically, they’re saying that with the sweetness, you can prime the body to prepare for the fruit sugars that are due to come.

Simon:                  Okay.

Male:                    But there’s also a big difference between high-fructose corn syrup in fruit toast. I got a feeling there’s a lot of people out there that have put fruit toast in the basket of bad stuff because of the high-fructose corn syrup.

Simon:                  Sugar, it’s an umbrella term of the way that it refine free added sugars into, you know, affect your body compared to the sugars in fruit is completely different. In fact, if you look at the Rotterdam Study which is a huge study that classifies people based on how much plants they eat from basically an all-meat diet to an all plant-based diet. Again, people that are consuming the most amounts of fruit have the least chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is certainly not from fruits.

Male:                    So, we can say fruits are healthy.

Simon:                  However, I can say that I sort of understand if doctors and I believe all doctors have the best intentions, but if doctors don’t fully understand the mechanisms of say of insulin-resistance with type 2 diabetes, they can tell their patients, “Don’t eat fruits because there’s fructose in it.”

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  But, the fruit’s not the problem. The problem is that they can’t get that glucose into the cell, because they’ve got insulin-resistance and we’re managing the symptom and the current … We’re all been treating the disease.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Male:                    Sugars in the wrong spot. Before we go out for a vegan lunch with you, so, we’ll go somewhere. Maybe the [inaudible] or something down here.

Simon:                  Here we go.

Male:                    [crosstalk 01:30:09]. I can’t eat meat now. I mean, I just feel like an absolute heretic.

Simon:                  No, no, no. That’s certainly not the point.

Male:                    But, I mean, outside of you spending time with Chris and Liam Hemsworth and of doing your podcast which is absolutely killing [inaudible 01:30:25], too and getting hit up by Penguin Books to write books; you’re a busy man. What’s next for you? We mentioned [inaudible] about the Penguin Books. You’ve been approached obviously to write a book for those guys.

Simon:                  Yeah. One of the lovely editors down there at the Sydney Office, Penguin Random House, a pretty big publisher, they contacted me late last year. They felt that I could put something into a book that maybe people would like. So, I went along and had a meeting, and signed a book deal which means the book will be available early 2020.

Male:                    That’s so cool.

Male:                    Great. Can you say much about the topic?

Simon:                  I decided that I will donate 100% of my profits to charities.

Male:                    Wow, that’s great.

Simon:                  Which is based upon … A large part of my message is that dissecting science and putting the science out around veganism that isn’t attached to an ethic or a sustainability point of view and I don’t have an agenda. [inaudible] selling a book for profit. I am genuinely putting information in there which I think will, not that I think, I know will benefit people’s health.

Male:                    Perfect.

Simon:                  The book’s not a militant vegan books. It’s more about adopting a predominantly or a fully plant-based diet, whatever end of the spectrum you want to go. So, that’s probably been my greatest challenge to date, writing that book. I’m trying to get everything out of my mind into a way which is understandable to people who don’t have the time to go through the science because like you know, the science, you can go down all sorts the road of health.

Male:                    You can never write a book saying the science is settled on that stuff, anyway. It’s like, as we know of at this point in time, this is what we understand.

Simon:                  Exactly.

Male:                    Yeah. Because if you write a book 20 years ago and talked about vegan and B12, the data would be so different to what we have [crosstalk] now.

Male:                    500 years ago at Galilee. Then, [inaudible] not the center of the universe. [crosstalk]

Male:                    You mentioned that study before. One of my favorite authors and one of my naturopathic heroes a bloke called Bernard Jensen but he used to do something. He traveled around the world and just look for communities that lived a happy, healthy lifestyle and he just live with them for a period of time and document what they did. The same sort of stuff we’re talking about. So, some things, you don’t try to be too clever and too detailed. The patterns and concepts we can understand and teach …

Simon:                  Our intellect and curiosity gets us to zoom right in and we love our doctrine and science. It is interesting and understanding mechanisms but, there’s a lot to be learned and said just by looking at people who are doing it well.

Male:                    Yeah. That’s really true. Actually, to mention your podcast is a [inaudible] podcast as well. You do a lot of interviews with different people as well, too. So, I’ve got a list of some of the people here. You did mental health with Sam Webb around suicide prevention, clinical use of plant-based diets with Dr. [inaudible] is that how you pronounce it, yup. Jermaine Jones, vegan athlete and professional USA Soccer player. I love any athletes from football because that’s my favorite thing, right? Who does he play for?

Simon:                  Yeah, he’s a cool guy. He was part of the American Olympic Soccer Team. But, he’s retired now. He just retired.

Male:                    Okay, yeah.

Simon:                  Before that he was playing for Germany.

Male:                    Yeah, right. Oh, wow. So, right at the top of his game.

Simon:                  Yeah, yeah. He’s at the top. He actually scored a goal in the US Olympics, so yeah.

Male:                    Wow. Okay.

Simon:                  I don’t quite remember. It might’ve been the World Cup. I probably should remember, one or the other.

Male:                    But no. In terms of … You just reached out to these people and say, “Hi. This is our topic. Would you like to come on the podcast?” How do you determine what topic you’re going to talk about? Is it just pure interest?

Simon:                  I’m part of a great community who put forward people, create introductions. A lot of the guests that are on there, I’ve got to thank my community for that, for setting those up. Other ones are just a bit of snowball, so you sort of, you do an interview with a doctor and then, they have contacts with other doctors, and maybe they know that I’m going to be in LA or in New York, and then we catch up and work out if there’s a topic that we think will add value to the listener. But, I’ve had other athletes on there like Rich Roll who’s a ultra endurance athlete.

Male:                    Yeah, I’ve heard of him.

Male:                    I’ve heard about him.

Male:                    I was only in America last week and people were telling me-

Simon:                  He’s written a book called Finding Ultra. It’s a really cool story so, I had him on the show. Some bodybuilders and yeah.

Male:                    It’s really cool this sort of information you get from people that are trying to do a little bit more than just the average person, because a lot of people will say, “I feel okay. I’m not trying to do anything.” When you see people trying to go a little bit above and beyond, and then using that plant-based diet, so you can get literally the make it or break it. You can really learn a lot from those people that are pushing their bodies to the limits.

Simon:                  He did that EPIC5 which is, again, don’t quote me on this, but I think it’s an Ironman, five days in a row, each Hawaiian island day after day, after day, after day.

Male:                    Wow, that’s crazy.

Simon:                  He’s a proper endurance athlete.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  He talks about what he went through. His transition that he just felt like he could run for days.

Male:                    Wow. Is that right? This is all, like we can search this up on iTunes because you’ve got all your-

Simon:                  The podcast is on iTunes. It’s on Google Podcast, [inaudible] file, that sort of stuff.

Male:                    Your website as well, too?

Simon:                  Yeah, and I usually post the credits for the episodes on Instagram, plant_proof.

Male:                    Excellent. Is there anything else we haven’t covered that you’re doing at the moment that you want to sort of bring attention to?

Simon:                  God, I’m doing a lot of writing right now which is taking up the majority-

Male:                    I’m so jealous.

Simon:                  … of my time. It is a challenge but it’s nice.

Male:                    How do you do that? You get up in the morning and you do your exercise and your meals and then [crosstalk] inspiration.

Simon:                  Got to get in to the right mind frame. If having to work out a sweat, having good food in the system will allow for a flow, to get into that flow state, I guess-

Male:                    You do it at the [inaudible 01:36:42]. Do you go down at the beach and [crosstalk 01:36:44]?

Simon:                  I try to mix it. Particularly if I know that I need to do a five or six hours stint of writing which is a fair bit when you’re zoned in on writing, I try and change that environment.

Male:                    Yeah. And you’re also writing for the reader as well, too, you know? So,, Sydney Morning Herald, Men’s Health Magazine, and Nourish Magazine as well, too. So, like you’re as a regular contributor?

Simon:                  Yes, Nourish, I’ve got a collaboration with them. They’re a great plant-based magazine in Australia. So, I do a lot of writing for them and they usually feature sort of three or four pages of my writing every month in their magazine which is amazing.

Male:                    Yeah.

Male:                    Yeah.

Male:                    That’s great.

Simon:                  I just write on different topics whether it’s helping people transition or dealing with more fiber, a lot of the stuff we’ve spoken about today.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah. The topics, do people come with you with a lot of questions as well, and that might inspire a few other topics.

Simon:                  Yeah, 100%.

Male:                    Big trends.

Simon:                  Everything in there is trying to be really practical. The key is you had to keep stepping back into the issues of someone who is looking at this information for the first time.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Male:                    That’s cool. Excellent.

Male:                    I love it. Sounds really awesome.

Male:                    I’m going to give you the final word. Is there anything else you want to say?

Simon:                  I think anyone listening who may be interested in a plant-based diet and has found today some of what I’ve said inspiring just to not be turned off by any preconceived ideas of veganism and just to see the benefits in science for what they are in terms of making a shift towards any more plants and reducing your animal consumption, and to what extent you do that is completely personal and up to your own unique circumstances. But if you do start to make some changes, you will feel benefits immediately and you’ll also be, you know, according to the science, reducing your chances of developing several diseases and hopefully, living a longer, happy, high quality of life which is really what it’s all about.

Male:                    Exactly. [crosstalk]

Male:                    Yeah, yeah. So, yeah. Jump on to the Plant Proof website and have a look at Plant Proof … What am I saying? The to have a look obviously more information there. Obviously, the thing that struck me is that, that you said with Liam as well too, Hemsworth, I saw him in new movie with the Australian girl, Rebel Wilson? Have you seen that one yet?

Simon:                  I haven’t seen it, no.

Male:                    He looks amazing. He comes out wearing basically a towel. The guy’s absolutely … He’s [inaudible] and buff, and looking really good. He’s obviously been following that lifestyle for fairly long now.

Simon:                  Yeah, he’s been doing it for a while. One thing I can say that those guys, particularly Chris is they know how to train.

Male:                    Yeah.

Simon:                  They’re consistent. A lot of the time, even with myself, people ask about results, I think regardless of your diet, I mean, and diet as well. It’s that consistency. Implement some healthy changes whether it’s for your workout or your food. Be consistent. And those guys are great with that.

Male:                    Yeah, absolutely.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Male:                    Yeah, perfect.

Male:                    All right, cool. That’s it for me.

Simon:                  Thanks, boys.

Male:                    That was fun.

Male:                    Yeah, yeah.

Male:                    Man, I can just talk for hours and I would never stop.

Male:                    Thanks, Simon.

Simon:                  Yeah. Thank you for having me.

Male:                    Yeah. No worries. Thanks for coming up. We appreciate it. Let’s get lunch.

Male:                    I’m looking forward to it.

Recording:          Thanks for listening and remember, question everything. Well, except what we say.