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If you’re a regular here, you know the importance of diet.

Macros for body composition, micros for general health, fiber and protein for satiety, yadda yadda yadda . . .

But many people forget all about their gut and their diet’s role in gut health. Many people quietly (or loudly . . .) suffer from gastric distress without a clear path to fix their digestive issues. 

Many people don’t even draw the connection between their digestive system’s performance and their health. The two are tightly intertwined. 

Scientists have discovered that a healthy bacterial habitat in the gut (microbiome) is a crucial defense against many gastrointestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) and disease (IBD), as well as mood disorder, brain dysfunction, stress, anxiety, depression, and even autism.

So, it’s not a stretch to say that the state of your gut will determine much of the quality of your life.

In this episode, I chat with Stan Efferding all about optimizing gut health through dietary tweaks to alleviate gastric distress and improve health and performance. 

In case you’re not familiar with Stan, he’s held two all-time raw world powerlifting records and is colloquially known as the “world’s strongest bodybuilder.” He’s not all brawn, though. He’s also an entrepreneur who’s built multiple multi-million dollar businesses, including his own Vertical Diet program and meal prep service.

In our conversation, Stan and I discuss . . .

  • The benefits of a low-FODMAP diet 
  • Why fermented foods are easier to digest
  • Collagen protein versus bone broth
  • Meal prep services and the “vertical diet”
  • The relation of bowel movements to digestive health
  • His diet compliance hacks
  • Why red meat rocks and shouldn’t be eliminated
  • The importance of carbs for performance and why you shouldn’t go keto
  • And more . . .

So, if you want to learn how you can tweak your diet to improve your digestive health, give this podcast a listen!


6:13 – Can you go into detail about your meal prep company?

8:54 – What is a low-FODMAP diet?

26:39 – What’s the name of your meal prep company?

28:55 – Why do you use bone broth?

35:05 – What’s the connection between how you poop and how healthy you eat?

38:05 – Why is greek yogurt easily digestible?

55:59 – What are some of your diet compliance strategies or tips and tricks?

1:19:21 – Where can people find you and your work? 

Mentioned on the show: 

Stan Efferding’s Website
Stan Efferding’s Instagram
Stan Efferding’s YouTube
Legion Black Friday Sale

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Mike: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Muscle For Life. I am your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today. Now, if you are a regular around these parts, you know how important diet is? Yes. Calories for let’s say calories and macros for body composition. And Mike Rose for general. Than fiber and protein for satiety and so on and so forth.

But many people forget all about their gut and their diet’s role in gut health. Now, this is getting a lot of attention as of late, and that means there are a lot of people saying a lot of questionable things and trying to sell dubious supplements. However, there are a lot of people who are accurately representing the current weight of the evidence and who are not trying to oversell miracle pills and powders, but instead are teaching people about how their food choices can be causing.

Problems that they might be having. Gastric problems, which can be gassiness, it can be bloating, it can be just general discomfort, it can be fogginess after eating certain kinds of foods where you just feel lethargic and other symptoms that aren’t directly obvious to people. Where people, they don’t make the connection between the foods they’re eating and how their digestive system is performing and how they feel and how their health is.

Impacted, and again, this is an emerging field of research. Scientists have discovered a lot about how the gut works and how important having a healthy bacterial habitat in the gut is. You’ve probably heard of the term microbiome, right? And that refers to this bacterial landscape. And so scientists are learning how important it is to.

Healthy bacterial landscape because it helps defend against many diseases. Gastrointestinal ones, unsurprisingly like IBS and I B D, but others as well. Mood disorder, brain dysfunction, stress, anxiety, depression, even. Autism. And so it’s really not a stretch to say that the state of your gut will determine much of the quality of your life.

And in this episode, I talk with Stan Efforting all about optimizing gut health through easy and science based dietary tweaks that you can make to alleviate gastric distress and to improve your health and improve your performance. And in case you’re not familiar with Stan, he has held two all-time raw power lifting records, world records, and he is colloquially known as the world’s strongest bodybuilder, big, strong, smart guy.

He’s not all brawn. He’s also an entre. Who has built multiple multimillion dollar businesses and he has created his own brand of dieting, which he explains in this episode. I do not consider it a fad diet. It really is just a low FODMAP diet, and you will learn what that is in this episode. And he calls it the vertical diet, and he has a meal prep service that goes along with it and.

Is somebody who stays on top of the scientific research and somebody who really cares to be as accurate and helpful as possible, even if that means selling less stuff. And I appreciate that when I find that in people. And so in this episode, Stan and I talk about the benefits of a low FODMAP diet, and he explains why that diet works particularly well for him.

He talks about fermented foods and why they’re easier to digest. We talk a bit about collagen protein and bone broth to very popular supplements right now. Of course, we talk about his vertical diet and his meal prep business and how that came about, and bowel movements and their relationship, the digestive health and more.

Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, and if you want to help me help more people get into the best shape of their. Please do check out my Sports Nutrition Company Legion, which thanks to the support of people like you, is now the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world.

And we are on top because every ingredient and every dose in every product is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research. Every formulation is transparent. There are no proprietary blends and everything is naturally sweetened and flavored. Now, Legion is also holding its biggest sale of the year right now [email protected], b y, and that means that for today only, this is the last.

Today you can save up to 30% on our best selling products, including our protein powders, pre-workout and post-workout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more. Plus all orders over $150. We’ll get a free $15 Legion gift card, all orders over $200. We’ll get a free $20 gift card and all orders over $250 will get a free $25 gift card.

That’s another 10% off. So that means for the rest of today you can go stock up on your favorite supplements for the winter and save up to 40%. So skid A on over to buy right now. That’s b i and save big. You gotta hurry though because again, today is the last day. So by tomorrow everyone’s gonna be paying full freight again.

So don’t miss this. Chance to save big place your order [email protected]. Claim your discount and bask in the post purchase glow. Hey Stan. How you doing brother? Can’t complain. Can’t complain. 

Stan: Just staying busy, I know it’s been hard to do with Covid and all, but oddly enough there’s been new opportunities that have happened as a result.

So we’re excited about the future. Oh yeah. What, like what? We’re putting together a new seminar tour right now we’re working with the d o d some stuff with the Army for weight maintenance and stuff like that. So it’s exciting. It just, it got me on the phone and it got me calling and trying to create new opportunities.

Our meal prep company has increased. You got a little what you call a comfort food line for some of the elderly folks who had a hard time getting to the stores and all that’s been prospering during this tough time.

Mike: Talk to me about the meal prep company, cuz that’s something that I get asked about fairly often.

I don’t have a meal prep company and I don’t work with anyone currently, but I know it’s popular among. Definitely among a subset of the fitness crowd, especially, people who take their dieting a bit more seriously maybe than the average gen fit person and who understand energy balance and macro neutral balance and so forth.

Stan: Yeah meal prep in general is the number one key to success, of course in the body building figure physique and bikini industry, but also the way control registries studied this for years and when people meal prep, they tend to get better results. And that’s just for the average people too.

Just those little tougher wears that people towed around, end up. Giving you better results, Just better compliance, portioning your meals and having what you need when you need it. That’s huge for me though, the meal prep, cuz I’ve been, packing Tupperwares around since college. I had a, my book bag was full of food.

It wasn’t full of books. . I would sit in class and I would crack open a Tupperware full of hard boiled eggs and chicken breasts that I got about three or four hours earlier at the dormitory. And so you can imagine all the 10 rows in front of me turning around and looking to see what the smell was. And that’s the way I managed, every three hours on a clock for damn near 20 plus years that I competed.

And one of the things that I always had trouble with was digestion problems. I didn’t realize till late in my career that vegetable oils were my trigger. It was giving me severe gastric distress, which I’ve covered in a number of videos that I’ve done. And. I just had a lot of problems with gas and bloating and diarrhea from certain foods that I eat.

And then as I got more and more into training, not just, bodybuilder figure physique, but of course the strong men and the big athletes cuz of as much food as they eat and then the general public trying to mimic those diets. I found that a large majority of my clients presented with some degree of digestive distress, whether it was IBS or I B d or just a lot of gas and bloating or, even more difficult things like CBO and Crohn.

And I wanted to start a meal prep company because I couldn’t eat out at most restaurants without getting, having digestive issues. And so I did. And it’s based on a low FOD map menu unapologetically. I know people think that’s restrictive, but I think it’s selective. And there’s over a hundred items on that list of low FOD maps and it’s got great research to suggest that 60 to 80% of people that utilize a low FODMAP diet have some relief of those digestive symptoms, distress from any of those disorders.

Mike: So do you wanna explain what that is? I actually have written and spoken about a low FODMAP diet, but it’s been some time. So I’m guessing a lot of the listeners, I think I posted that years ago, so they probably haven’t come across it. 

Stan: No. And some people don’t know. I thought it was pretty common. Now, if you go to any registered dietician or nutritionist with.

A digestive disorder or some sort of autoimmune disease, they’ll typically give you what’s, considered to be a, an elimination diet. They’ll start taking away foods until they can experience some relief of symptoms and then reintroduce slowly. That’s, very common, very science-based, and that’s the way people manage digestive distress for the most part.

Below FODMAP menu is a group fermentable all ago dive monosaccharides and polyols. They actually endeavored to make a list of the kinds of foods that were more likely or less likely to cause digestive distress, gas and bloating. And that list is publicly available and it’s been tested. 

Mike: And this is a certain type of carbohydrate, right?

Just so people Correct. Yeah. And what’s tricky about it is that some of the foods on the list, if you wanna give some examples, where people, foods that are traditionally considered healthy, and it’s not that they’re unhealthy or bad, but that they can cause problems. Like you have nutritious, plenty of nutritious foods on this list that people are told to eat all.

Stan: And I’m careful about that. Some couple years ago I posted on my Instagram Foods not to eat, and I was roundly lambasted by the medical community and rightfully I mislabeled it. It should have been FODMAPs and, go on to explain that some of these foods while. Healthy for individuals who can digest them, can cause a lot of problems for people who can’t.

And that it’s not a good food, bad food conversation. And I should pre-qualify this list by saying it’s individualistic. Not everybody suffers from these digestive distress. It’s dose dependent. The amount of these foods can matter in different people. How it’s prepared matters. You can ferment certain foods and make them easier to digest and it’s cumulative.

Sometimes you can handle a small amount, but by the time you add up throughout the day, more of that example would be sugar alcohols. You could probably handle a cup, but the time you down a pint of halo top ice cream and you’re run to the bathroom diarrhea, suddenly you realize that there’s the erythritol effect.

Yes, indeed. And I see that at all the expos I go to where people go around, they get a peanut butter ball here and a protein bar there and then there’s a line to the bathroom, a hundred percent. And they’re very upset and uncomfortable. I can’t even chew gum, to be honest with you. I’m really sensitive to sugar alcohols I don’t want, my n of one to be applied to everyone.

But the fact of the matter is for those people who are having these problems, we endeavor to provide some relief and the FODMAP menu’s the most studied. And so the foods are grains. Grains can be hard to digest for some people. Again, not necessarily a good food, bad food conversation, but you can ferment those.

Sourdough bread seems to be easier for people to digest. Oats are included in there. And once again, if you can ferment those, you can soak ’em overnight in apple cider vinegar or yogurt. And they’re much EAs and cook ’em in the morning and they’re much easier to digest. 

Mike: And why is that? Just for anyone wondering, why does fermenting make them easier to.

Stan: And it breaks down those spot maps predigests them much in the way that I guess you would say a ruminant animal does, breaks them down so that your stomach doesn’t accumulate the bacteria to such a significant degree required to break them down. 

Mike: Which it’s the accumulation of these bacteria and the methane and the large intestine in particular that creates some of this gas and bloating maybe analogous to some of the enzymes that help you digest protein better.

Stan: Yes. Yeah. And it’s also important to say like in like with lactose intolerance you may not just have enough lactase enzyme to handle the load. Cause I mentioned it’s dose dependent. And if you take in 12 ounces of milk and don’t have enough lactase to break it down, that could be very distressful for your gut.

But if you take in four ounces, it might not be, And if you use a Greek yogurt, that’s much better tolerated, particularly in small doses throughout the day. And then cheddar cheese is another one that’s almost lactose free. And I’m. Generally chasing dairy because of calcium, but it can cause distress for some people.

Oats is an example. Especially for big athletes, it’s a, if they take in too much and they try and take in 3, 4, 5 cups of oats throughout the day then that would be an example of something that could have a cumulative effect process. Vegetable oils can be tough for some people and for me, with gastric distress.

Sugar. Alcohol is, of course, as we discussed, and legumes, which can be quite healthy. Beans, magical fruit. 

Mike: The more you eat, the more you toot , and for some people that is very literally true.

Stan: It is, yeah. There’s a reason for the rhyme. You get a burrito at lunchtime and can’t figure out why you’re gas in the place up.

That can be the case. And how they’re prepared also matters. Things like garlic and onions also can be difficult for some people to digest. And then what they call high rouss vegetables. Things like broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus, while again, can be very healthy. It might depend on how much and the way they’re prepared.

A lot of people eat a lot of raw broccoli and those foods and that could be hard for some people to digest. And there’s also a, an interference effect, or it may impede iodine absorption. Again, depending on the quantity and how much I, how well cooked it. And the list goes on to even include potentially coffee.

For some people it speeds up peristalsis, which may cause diarrhea or mineral malabsorption. So you gotta be cautious and test the waters and see how you respond. But if people wanna know more about it, they can just Google fodmap. We include one in, in the Vertical Diet book, but it’s online.

And I just found that I’ve had really good success, based on the fact that they’ve done lots of studies on this list and refin it over time with relieving symptoms. People just feel better, They don’t have as much bloating. Their stomach feels flatter and they have a little more energy and maybe less brain fog as a result of better digestion.

So that’s a foundation of my diet overall, to be honest with you. And we introduc. As needed moving forward. But I started my meal prep company based on that. So I use only low FOD map easy to digest foods and we also use bone broth in most of our preparations. We cook our vegetables in them, we cook our rice in the in bone broth, and there’s some pretty good research that collagen could be helpful for the lining of the gut for digestion.

There’s a lot of people that make some pretty extraordinary claims about collagen and bone bra, especially I’ve written about it.

Mike: So my current position is it’s just trashed tier protein. If we want essential amino acids, collagen protein is just not the way to go.

Stan: I agree with you a hundred percent. Collagen is not a good protein for muscle protein synthesis. It’s inadequate. And leucine doesn’t have a good balance of amino acids. Eric Drexler did an interesting deep dive, but the fact of the matter is there’s not much research out there, but he was a little more positive about its potential effect for joints.

And I know everybody’s reaching for something there and yeah, it certainly doesn’t move the needle very significantly, but, and that’s not how it’s sold either.

Mike: It’s often sold as, not only is it a great protein, from what I’ve seen in the marketing, it’s often promoted to women and oh, it’s gonna make you prettier, basically.

Oh, better skin, better hair, better nails. 

Stan: I don’t see that. Eric’s conclusion was that the research suggests there might be some benefit, might be some benefit when taken in a 10 or 20 gram dose with 50 milligrams of vitamin C.

Mike: It means you just put it in a little four ounce cup of orange juice consumed within an hour of training.

Stan: He really actually went down to the point of timing because none of the studies suggested otherwise that it might have a little bit of benefit for the joints. I don’t think it’s nearly as significant as what sodium and potassium and vitamin D three would be in terms of joint integrity. Or just the 10 minute walks in terms of, I, I just believe that things that are done to you or for you are never as effective as things you do for yourself.

And a lot of the passive therapies and pills and potions and powders that people take are done I think, laly the absence of doing their own activity. And I’m just a huge believer and I’ve utilized the 10 minute walk, or the 10 minute bike three times a day for over a decade now, and had extraordinary results for relief of doms and joint pain and pain in general, back, knees, hips.

And so I’m just not a fan of people, they’ll come to me and say, Stand, what can I do for my knees? And I’ll give them, a list. You can sleep better. You can start getting adequate sodium and potassium. You can take 10 minute walks three times a day, or a recumbent bike, a little hit session with a modest amount of tension to pump a ton of blood in there.

Mike: Eat fewer inflammatory foods. Eat better.

Stan: Yeah, eat better. Not eat like an asshole. You’re a hundred percent right. And again, the big one is eliminate the source. My knees hurt, but I’m in doing front squats, . And that’s not to say you can’t squat at all, but maybe you have to use a little lighter weight through a shorter range of motion.

At least be cognizant of what’s going on with your body. But to sum all that up, I’ll tell you that for the most, When I provide some sort of protocol to people and it requires them to do some, a whole host of things that are their responsibility. 

Mike: Getting to bed on time And require, Yeah. Require some effort.

Maybe some sacrifice. That means less tv, right? If you’re gonna go to bed early. Oh yeah. 

Stan: I was just gonna say the blue lights and all that stuff on your phone until midnight and trying to wonder why you’re not getting the results you want. And then immediately following that conversation, they’ll ask me something like, what about coln powder?

What about glucosamine and chondroitin? And my initial response is Ask whole. That’s what I’m thinking in my head, , I just gave you the answer, but you weren’t looking for that. You were looking for the, the pill. Most people just wanna shortcut it. My success throughout my career is, Been a matter of being very disciplined with the stuff that most people, wearing a c pap, if you’ve got apnea, taking 10 minute walks, not eating like an asshole, all the things we just discussed and probably because I’m ocd, but I’m extremely diligent about that and I track it.

I haven’t competed in seven years. I still have a spreadsheet where I track my hours of sleep, my morning weight, my 10 minute walks. Everything that I do every day is on a little spreadsheet with an X on, in the box. I can take a look at that anytime my performance is sub-standard and easily, in two seconds, be able to look myself in the mirror and say, Hey, this isn’t someone else’s problem.

This is me not fulfilling my obligation if I want to maintain this level of fitness.

Mike: If only more people would do that, not just in their fitness, but in other areas of their life as well, not getting the kind of results that they want. Maybe start with am I really putting in the work? I’m really, am I really doing the things that produce the results I want or am I not?

Stan: Yeah, and I’ve said this before with respect to supplements. I’ve been the one that’s been out there and said, Shakes are for fakes, eat steaks. But when you get, dig a deeper dive into what I’m saying is that’s not where you start. You start with food and supplements should be an add-on it.

Mike: It’s the icing. They are supplementary by definition, right? We could start there . 

Stan: Certainly some things that you can’t get from food that you should include. But I guess my example is if you are religiously taking your thi sized five gram scooper of creatin on a daily basis, But sleeping five hours a night, you’re a fucking idiot.

And that’s my point with all of this is Hey, why don’t you shore up the big rocks first and then you know, look at what supplements can do for you as icing on the cake as the 1%, not the 99%. So I always offend people because some folks, even when I send out a questionnaire to clients, I ask them What supplements have worked for you and why?

And what supplements have not worked for you? And the main reason that I do that is because if somebody tells me a certain supplement works for them, unless I think it’s complete shit, And affects them has an adverse effect on them. I don’t make a recommendation to eliminate it by any stretch of the imagination, cuz the placebo effect, at the very least, is real.

It’s very effective. And so if they are taking something every day that makes them feel better and gives them more confidence in the gym, I’m all for it. But there are a few things that can move the needle and I guess it depends on whether or not it’s gut health or performance and what kind of performance.

There just isn’t a lot to be honest. If they start with food, I think that they’ll make a lot of progress that they didn’t realize that they, left a lot on the table trying to focus on. Supplementing first and then just making nutrition an afterthought. And sleep too. Of course. 

Mike: I completely agree, and as someone, I don’t know if you know this, but I have, I own a supplement company.

I have a line of supplements that you would actually appreciate what we’re doing, the, you’d appreciate the formulations and how much work goes into producing good products and how much we spend on these products. That’s what it takes. You have to spend a lot more than most companies are willing to spend to make anything worth taking.

But I also put personally a lot of work, and I have from the beginning into educating people via articles, and I’ve sold a lot of books and do podcasts and so forth. And you are preaching to the choir here because, if you go to the supplement company is Legion. If you go to the website, you can’t go very far without finding this message of supplements or supplementary by definition, you actually don’t need any of this stuff to get to where you want to be.

And I’m speaking again to the average. Person who wants to, they wanna get into good shape and they’re not gonna live in the gym. It’s not, their life isn’t gonna revolve around it, but they wanna get into really good shape and be healthy. And you don’t need supplements to do that at all. But like you said, there are some things that might help you get there a little bit faster.

And if we look now at health and parameters, outside of just pure performance, there are some pretty cool substances, some things that like spiral. Lina, are you going to eat Spiralina every day? Nah. Nah. But would you supplement with it? Sure. So you can get things that you just wouldn’t get in your diet that, that can help your body out in various ways.

Stan: I am familiar with your line and the quality of it and the expense associated with manufacturing it. And you have been honest about. For instance, BCAAs and if you’re getting adequate protein, how unnecessary they are. You’re one of the few people that’s not out there trying to pin products that just don’t work.

Mike: I get asked multiple times a week to make a bcaa and I’ll even get with customers where I’ll tell them we have a copy and or apply to explain why we don’t sell BCAAs. Oftentimes customers will even say, Oh, okay, that’s good to know. I just like tasty water. So if you make a BCA a I’ll buy. Just for the tasty water effect.

And, but unfortunately that’s not a very strong pitch. That would be the pitch. It would be, Hey, you actually don’t really need this for anything if you’re eating enough protein, but if you like tasty water, if you have trouble drinking enough water, this is for you.

Stan: Yeah. And I gotta be honest with you, I, I’m an entrepreneur and I have been, since I was a young man, I’ve run multiple businesses for other people very successfully.

And I’ve built five multimillion dollar companies in the last 17 years. So I’ve looked into the supplement business many times. I’ve been close to it. I was one of the original distributors back in I can’t say original because Jim, he’s Beverly International product, was started in 1967, but in, in 1989, I was distributing for them.

And he actually offered for me to buy the company from him back in 1990, who’s in fact purchased by the Reddings. And they do a fantastic job. But just beyond that history, I’ve looked more recently at a supplement company and have been for many years. I didn’t see the upside in it, running it responsibly.

I thought that the margins became very skinny when you only provided products that worked and when you got the quality and the quantity, because a lot of people pixie dust and use proprietary formulas. And I wasn’t interested in that. I’m, I try and conduct myself very responsibly in this industry and have always had a pretty good reputation.

And I just didn’t see the margins for me in it. I couldn’t sell high margin products that I didn’t believe in, and that’s why I went the food way, which is also very low margin. And it’s not magic either. And I’ve said that many times about my meal prep company. It’s convenient and it tastes good, but it’s not something you can’t go to the grocery store and purchase and make for yourself.

But there’s a lot of things people do. Spend money on for convenience washing your tomorrow or having a guy come do your lawn. That’s more expensive than what you could do it for yourself, but you pay for convenience and just the time. 

Mike: Grocery shopping services, I love that. 

Stan: It saves, I love those.

Yeah. I can go get groceries cheaper than I can get ’em from one of these delivery services, but Instacarts for instance.

Mike: Yeah. Did you know Amazon that you can get from, It’s built into your Prime membership? Yeah. Yeah. Some people don’t know that you can do that also via Amazon if there’s a Whole Foods or if you want to go Whole Foods, and I’m at Costco three days a week.

Stan: Everybody in there knows me by name. I’m just constantly in there buying fresh steak. I love their quality of their choice. Cut meats. I can cook ’em, put ’em in a Ziploc baggy in the fridge and eat ’em for the next three days. And they still taste good if I try and do that with a grocery store meat to taste like dog food the next day.

So everybody knows I’m the biggest fan of Costco and I don’t make any money saying that. It’s just that their products are such great quality. I’m in there. Constantly because I eat a lot of food and I have a big family and so food is food man. I just love it and I can’t say enough about it. 

Mike: But what’s the name of your meal prep company?

Stan: Just Oh, the vertical Diet. It’s at the vertical One of the things we did is I’m, I made one particular meal that’s almost a lost leader for us. It’s called the World’s Strongest Monster Mash with scramble and it’s almost 700 calories, which you know is very rare in the meal prep business cuz they’re usually the little bird feet portion size servings.

It’s almost 700 calories for less than $7 delivered for free. So it’s the lowest cost per calorie of any meal on the markets. Half the price of our major competi. In terms of cost per calorie, it’s ground beef. It’s 48 grams of protein in there and it’s white rice, it’s scrambled eggs, and we put some bone broth in there.

We mix in some spinach and peppers for those people who want the deluxe version with a little bit of vegetable in it. But it’s delicious and it’s really affordable and I, a ton of clients on it. Lane Johnson from the Philadelphia Eagles loved it so much. He’s been telling everybody. And now we’ve got a ton of football players throughout the NFL using it.

About eight guys from the Patriots to order our meals. Just use that as the foundation of their diet. They don’t use them exclusively. I never even suggest such. I think you should have a daily carrots and some oranges and little bit of yogurt and some cranberry juice for I was gonna ask you about that.

Mike: What, because, to make sure that you’re covering all your microt nutritional needs, but you can supplement in other foods a hundred percent.

Stan: Yeah. I bring in, I have other foods in the diet and, I build a, and I don’t mean to veer off into the vertical diet that it’s foundation, but I just, it’s really important.

I’m not claiming that any one food is magic. I think some are better than others in terms of bioavailability and nutrient density, micronutrient density in particular. But I don’t prescribe, even in my ebook, I have menu plans that go from I think 1,250 calories a day, up to 5,000 calories a day.

And I have two menu plans. One you prep and one we prep if you want to use our meals. And even in our we prep menu plan, I include things like oranges that we don’t sell, carrots, that we don’t sell, yogurt, that we don’t sell. Things that I think you should have in your diet every day to augment the base, the meals that we provide.


Mike: So why the bone broth? But you might have mentioned this, I know you mentioned previously that you use it, but it seems to really help with digestion, the collagen, the lining of the stomach.

Stan: Ah, you did mentioned seems to help people with digestion for the most part. I know there’s some folks out there.

That makes some pretty extraordinary claims and people. I like Dr. Kate Channahan, for one who worked with the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe, and the rest of them includes bone broth and all their diets, and some people make extraordinary claims. I’m reticent to do that, but I’ve just noticed, and I’ll tell you a little story about why bone broth and how I came across it, because historically I was never a big user of bone broth.

It’s been over 10 years ago, maybe longer. I had a gum surgery, I had some recession in my gums and they had to sew in some skin that they took off the roof of my mouth, if that’s not too gross to discuss. Anyhow, very painful. You can’t chew and the roof of your mouth really painful for many days, if not a week or two.

And so I was thinking how am I gonna get my calories in? Because that’s of. All that we big meat heads think about is how to get enough calories in so we don’t lose a gram of muscle . Initially I got one of those little Gatorade squirt bottles that you use on the sidelines at the football game and I filled it full of whole milk of course, because Goma is king, right?

And it’s calories. It’s calories, yeah. I’ve been there. So I started squirting whole milk into the back of my throat so I wouldn’t have to chew or the food when nothing would hit the roof of my mouth. And, after a day or two of that, you realize that’s not gonna cut it. And so this might sound kind of gross, but how Derek Poundstone used to blend up chicken shakes, remember?

I dunno if you remember that. He used to put a, like a pound or more of boneless, skinless, boiled chicken breast. 

Mike: I haven’t heard of this . 

Stan: It’s crazy. Yeah. Who else does that is Blaine Sumner, who’s just a savage power lifter. Anyhow, he would just blend a whole pound or more of boneless, skinless, boiled chicken breast in water and just put it in a blender and.

I tried that and just about vomited. It was disgusting. So I got a little bit of bison burger. And I cooked it and I mixed a little bit of white rice with it and some bone broth, and I mashed it all up until I could, until it was like a little soup, like a chicken noodle soup. And I put it in that little dispenser and I squirt it in the back of my throat and swallowed it.

And I was able to consume those calories, which was what was most important to me at the time. And I was still getting red meat, which I’m a huge proponent of. And enough carbs with the rice which is easier to digest than massive amounts of whole milk, of course. And the first thing I noticed is how good.

My stool was, and my regularity was awesome. The digestion of it was great. My stomach felt great and flat. So as soon as my mouth healed, I just started making monster mash all the time. Every damn day I started eating a little mixture of bison, burger and rice, and a little bit of bone broth. Clearly I didn’t blend it anymore, or, just made it to whatever moisture preference that, that I enjoyed, whether it was a little superior or a little less, and now I, I’ve been eating that regularly for a decade.

And I recommend it to people and they get the same response when they use a little bit of bone broth with chicken broth. And the distinction is that it should be boiled bones. It should be high in collagen. There’s a lot of people that make broths or stocks that are just have a little bit of chicken meat in them for protein and even some with bull cubes and, just little vegetables.

And some bross have vegetable oil in them and some of them. Garlic and things that actually can, impair digestion for people with FODMAP issues. So that’s one of the foundations of my diet I use, particularly with people who are trying to build muscle. I use a different strategy with people who need more satiation because.

White rice and bone broth and ground bison doesn’t satiate you for too terribly long. You digest it pretty fast and that’s a strategy I use for weight gain. But that’s the foundation of the Monster Mash. And then I trademarked the name World’s Strongest Monster Mash, and now I have that, particular product as part of my menu and it’s hugely popular.

It represents over 50% of our total sales on our meal prep company. And of course we have, lico or wild salmon and grass finish steak and all that stuff. But those meals are always 12, 13 bucks a pop just cuz the cost of the food. That’s the foundation of the diet. It’s easy to digest.

We’ve got some good, affordable meals and it’s really convenient. And so that’s what I’m most proud of with respect to why we’re different than other meal prep buildings.  

Mike: I like that. That’s fun.

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Talk to me about the connection between how you poop and how healthy your digestive system is. 

Stan: Clearly if you’ve got constipation, diarrhea, that’s 

Mike: a problem. You say that although many people out there have that and maybe they know it’s not. Yes, they wish that were not the case, but they don’t quite understand that if you have those issues for too long, they can turn into worse problems that are even harder to correct.

Stan: Yeah, particularly with the micronutrient and mal absorption problems. We said this with, in some cases vegans and I have a whole chapter in the diet and vegetarians and vegans and I train vegans up to and including competition. So it is certainly not an indictment on them. If they have an ethical concern with respect to the food they eat, then I’m trying to accommodate them and try and make sure the diet is as healthy as possible with whatever supplementation’s necessary.

Be it iron or B12 or even digestive enzyme or I wouldn’t say enzymes, I’ll say hydrochloric acid cuz they have a hard time breaking down proteins and in that case I may even have them supplement to get adequate leucine. They might have to use a soy protein or a pea protein powder, but that’s neither here nor there, just in the most.

I have to be concerned about people’s digestion. I’ve experienced this personally with clients. I’ve been training since the late eighties. I’ve worked with female bodybuilders, and this is one of the things that’s tragic in the competitive, that bodybuilder figure, physique, bikini industry. Is that they use these overs restricted diets.

Things like exclusively egg whites with no egg yolk, and then never gotta buy it in deficiency because Abbott and binds to buy it. And then now all their hair starts drying out and their skin starts drying out. And excluding red meat is, I think, a terrible idea for these women in particular because they become anemic.

It’s part of the female triad to be low iron, especially when dieting on a restricted diet and red meat has the highest amount of e myron, especially in comparison to things like chicken and Turkey and pork. So I think it’s a staple, especially in these diets for women. I think that it’s the first thing you should lead with.

I’m not saying exclusively, but it certainly should be included, plus the B12 and the. Now you’re talking about hair again, you’re talking about energy. One of the main reasons that people fall off of diets is cuz they get tired. Things like iron and B12 are critical for that. And if it’s steak then it’s very satiating.

Any high protein diet would be, but it takes longer to choose. So mechanically speaking you’re getting the satiation signal cuz you’re gonna take longer to eat it. And it’s gonna take longer to digest because it’s not very well broken down even when you’re done chewing it. So these are strategies I use, these are concerns I have with low micronutrient diets.

A lot of gurus in these bikini diets will tell you to not to eat dairy. 

Mike: Because it’ll bloat you, right? That’s the claim. Yeah. 

Stan: They’ll make some quote about 65% of the population’s got lactose intolerance without qualifying that by saying that is dose dependent and that many more people will do just fine if you don’t consume too much or if you use the Greek yogurt, more than 90% of the population can handle that.

Mike: And why is that? You’ve mentioned that previously you might as well quickly explain why that is people wondering. 

Stan: Again, it’s predigested is, it’s got all of the probiotics and so it’s a little easier to, a lot easier to digest. Plus it’s lower in lactose overall because the Greek yogurt is higher in protein, lower in sugar.

Mike: It’s the way it’s processed. So I’m sure you’ve tried ski. Yeah. I love ski. That’s good. I love ski. Oh, it’s so good. That killed Greek yogurt for me. I was like, Okay. Greek yogurt is now a thing of the past. Skier is the way of the future.

Stan: I love yogurt in general. I like what it does. Same for the body.

If you look at the, certainly the epidemiology suggest that the populations that consume the most yogurt are the leanest and have the best cardiovascular. Disease outcomes. Some of the highest consumers of yogurt, Switzerland, France, I should just say dairy in general, but cheese is a key component of their consumption, have the lowest cardiovascular disease.

And the tallest people in the world who a hundred years ago weren’t, are the Dutch in Holland and they have a huge consumption of dairy. So I’m a big fan of it. Delicious dairy too. And then the calcium’s a key component. So when a guru tells somebody not to consume dairy, particularly someone dieting for a show who’s in a calorie restriction and high protein and should be, then you’re concerned that, another part of the female triad, particularly for runners, I’ve worked with distance runners since way back in the early nineties at the University of Oregon.

They’ll start getting osteoporosis, they’ll start getting shin splints to a much greater degree. And that can be tragic. But beyond bone health is the fact that calcium’s important for nerve signaling and most importantly to me, Muscle contraction. And those who study exercise physiology knows that calcium actually triggers the excitation relaxation cycle of muscle contraction.

So it’s definitely better for anaerobic performance and for cramping for the relaxation portion of the movement. I’m a huge proponent of dairy for all those reasons in terms of performance. And I think that additional problems with those bikini diets is they do load them up with a ton of raw, cruciferous vegetables.


Mike: And I think it’s particularly really, I didn’t know that’s a thing in that I don’t run in those circles. I’m more involved just with, I would again say more probably gen fit or maybe lifestyle bodybuilders, but not the real hardcore crowd. I didn’t know. 

Stan: They use it just, I think for satiation, I think they use it as a, to load them with fiber because it’ll satisfy them so they won’t be hungry all the time.

So they’re not hiding in the pantry, sucking down an entire bottle of jar of peanut butter, which commonly happens in that industry. Those people get it, just ravishly hungry as a result of these diets. One of the things that you have to try and be careful of in any diet is that, hunger and energy.

Those are two reasons people fail, but the concern there is that they also tell ’em not to consume, put salt on their meals. And if they do, then it can only be a little bit of pink salt. There’s no iodine in pink salt and there’s not much iodine in the guru diet. So next thing you know that dry brittle.

From the biotech deficiency starts falling out as a result of hypothyroidism. A lot of these people end up, a lot of it’s from overtraining and under sleeping, but a lot of it also is from lack of iodine in the diet. These women get hypothyroidism and they end up at the doctor’s office getting prescriptions for thyroid medication, which is really common in this industry.

And so those things are all of concern for me with these guru diets. I don’t recommend them to anybody. My bigger concern, and like you just mentioned, you work in the, With the general public. The general public. And I do too, the soccer moms, and we’ve got over a hundred thousand people that have accessed the vertical diet worldwide.

And I have more clients that are dad bods and soccer moms, and I do athletes by a long shot. These folks see these women, these bikini competitors on stage in the best shape of their life. And I’m making air quotes right now that you can’t see cuz we’re not on video. And then they follow their diets and you’ve got these soccer moms getting up at 4:00 AM to do fasted cardio after five hours of sleep.

And eating egg whites and broccoli, until they’re sick. And then they end up at the, with hypothyroidism, they end up with anemia, they end up with ahea, the cessation of menstrual period, the female triad. And then they started getting depressed and they end up at the doctor’s office getting a shock for iron, b12, D three glutathione and antidepressants.

And it’s sad, it’s tragic and that’s why I take whatever opportunity I have to tell people, it’s completely unnecessary. My diet doesn’t recommend any of those things. I’ve got whole eggs in my diet. I’ve got red meats in my diet. I certainly have fish for EPA and dha. I recommend dairy, so I think that’s also hugely important.

And in the foundation, I’m recommending at least 4,000 milligrams of potassium from food daily. So I’ve got potatoes, I’ve got fruit. How many of the guru bikini dieters tell their girls not to eat fruit? Totally ridiculous. Doesn’t make any sense to me. And fruit and potatoes are the most satiating foods on the index if you look at the tidy index, and they’re loaded with potassium.

So you get, great benefits from having both as part of the foundation of diet. 

Mike: Yeah, I love using fruit for that purpose. Oh, fantastic. I love banana. I love strawberries, blueberries, raspberries.

Stan:. A pound of strawberries is 130 calories. It’s amazing. . Yeah. And the And it’s delicious. It is.

There should be fruit in all of these. I don’t know. At what point, I can’t put my finger on it. 

Mike: I, That was gonna be my question for you. Like how did it get here? Because what you’re saying is not only logical it’s also evidence based. It’s one of those things, it’s like trying to argue with somebody about energy balance or it’s like, No, I don’t care what you say, you’re wrong.


Stan: It is what it is. . There’s no way around it. I don’t know when it happened. And look, I’m quick to say that I’m no guru and I didn’t invent any of the stuff that I’m proposing. It’s just that it’s so tragic what’s going on that it almost seems a shame that, that what I’ve suggested is novel. Vince Garand was talking about the importance of red meat and iron and whole eggs and even seek help.

Back in the sixties when he was training and doing diets for pro body builders, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, he was talking about these things. And so where it went by the wayside, I have no idea. I think part of it, and this is the dirty underworld of the business that I’m so intimately involved in for so long, is that a lot of these dieters, these female bikini and figured physique competitors will use things like Avar to retain lean body mass to steroid the general public does not use, and so they’re losing a ton of muscle.

Whereas these girls might be able to retain more. They’ll go in and get thyroid medication and not even as a prophylactic, not even because they had low thyroid, but they’ll use it in order to try and increase their fat burning, which. Can put them in a position to permanently feed back loop might permanently shut down with thyroid and have to be on the medication the rest of their lives.

And the general public does not do that. And then they’ll start using these central nervous system stimulators. Erol is one that’s common in the industry. Your soccer mom doesn’t have all of these tools and are arsenal, nor should she. And so she experiences all the side effects without any of the lean mass retention from the anar, the increased, the thyroid maintenance level from that and or the increased metabolism, or these thermogenesis from the erol.

And so she gets all muscle loss and barely any fat loss and just feels miserable and tired all the time. And I think that’s what’s most tragic about what’s going on in this industry. 

Mike: Yeah. The drugs allow you to make all kinds of mistakes and still step on stage and look a certain way. A hundred.

Stan: Yeah. It’s not even not even close. And by the same token, All of the, if F B professional athletes and most of your world class power lifters and strong men are using performance enhancing drugs. That having been said, that’s a level playing field now. Individuals who then optimize their sleep, their hydration, their nutrition, and certainly a good training protocol and periodization, et cetera.

There’s a whole list of things there. Of course, now that we’ve benefited from all the research that’s been done there, of course with Brad Schoenfeld and the rest of those folks and all the information Greg Knuckles has put out and know Brad Contreras and Mike Isal and, all of those guys have given us so much incredible information that we Eric Homs.

Yes. Yep. With respect to Diet Allen Argon, there’s a whole host of people out there that have done, we’re blessed. I’ve said many times. We didn’t have this information when I was studying exercise science. It was the 1980s and the guy behind the counter at Gold’s Gym was your best resource, and he was eating tuna out of a can and rice kicks.

And , you can imagine how long it took to learn lessons back then, but, we’re blessed to have a lot of information. But, or maybe tilapia. 

Mike: Yes. Cause there’s, there was always something special about tilapia. It had to be tilapia. 

Stan: That’s in the guru diet too. I put it on as I, a screen that I do in my seminars and I have the guru diet on the left and I have the vertical diet on the right and it’s just tragic egg whites, tilapia, and broccoli and

It’s tragic. 

Mike: No, I agree though. We’re in a entering, if not already, in a golden age of evidence-based fitness. I would say particularly for everyday people who just want to get into great shape and they want to be healthy and they wanna stay that way. Having to follow the guru diet or without having to sit in the gym for two hours a day doing workouts they hate and make it a real lifestyle.

I would say that based on my understanding of the literature and where we’re at with things that like, we don’t need to know much more for those people. Now, there’s always gonna be the vanguard of, it’d be more like people like you who have really pushed yourself to the limit. But that’s not the average person.

The average person. The average guy, he just wants to gain 30 pounds of muscle and he wants to maybe be like, he wants to have some abs and he wants to feel good and the average woman, maybe 15 pounds of muscle in the right places. Maybe 20 something is 20 ish percent. Feel good. That’s it. Like we now know exactly what you need to do that, and we can do it in a very efficient way. 

Stan: I agree. And you’re right it’s multifactorial. A lot of people think that they can just make a tweak here or there in their diet, and that’s certainly important, but everything adds into that. The training stimulus, obviously the sleep, hydration, all of that. So when I send somebody a program like the Vertical Diet is the vertical diet and peak performance.

That’s the name of it. It’s not just a diet plant. It includes sleep, hydration, nutrition, digestion, blood testing, blood pressure and blood sugar control, cardiovascular health hypertrophy, strength training, supplements. It goes on and on. The things that are in there. And then also, Some great ideas for diet adherence.

I’ve said that, compliance is the science. That’s a term that I’ve used. 

Mike: It’s literally true. Yes, you as well. That is the number one factor is, obviously there is the non-negotiable of energy balance, but beyond that you have a lot of flexibility and compliance is the science. I like that it.


Stan: Yeah. And when it is absolutely energy balanced, people just don’t understand all the factors involved in energy balance. They try and oversimplify it and they, What do you mean by that? They’ll just compare a hundred calories of sugar to a hundred calories Of Oh sure Of broccoli and they won’t look at, the thermic effect of food, the satiety benefits, the bmr, the tef, the eat, the neat, non-exercise activity. Ther, it’s your thyroid function just to oone estrogen, your current body composition and how that, changes your leptin, Andre, and release.

And they just don’t account for all of the things that are involved in total daily energy intake and total daily energy expenditure. They just, calories encounters out. Doesn’t work. You know what’s funny is it even happens, this is what’s been frustrating to me more recently is a lot of the academics in the industry will say things that are truthful but not useful.

They’ll say things like, move more, eat less, doesn’t work. Move more, Eat less does work , but it’s truthful, not useful. I was at the NSCA conference and there was a MD up there who, his career is weight loss. He’s an obesity specialist and he was doing a presentation and I went and sat in on it and the very first thing he said was, Move more, eat less, doesn’t work.

And that peaked my interest. I sat up on the edge of my seat. I’m like, Oh man, I’m in the right seminar. I gotta hear this. You’re about to learn something. Yeah. I thought this is fantastic. All these years I had it wrong. And then the very next slide he put up was calculating your BMR and then creating a deficit for the individual.

I’m like that’s eat less the way I see it, right? Yeah. , now you’re waiting for the move more. All right. Where’s the move more? And the very next slide was implementing some sort. Exercise, . And I actually took a picture of the slides and sent them to my co-author who’s a PhD in exercise phys and a registered dietitian, Dr.

Damon McCune, who was head of the dietetic department at U N L V. I recruited him a couple years ago, and we went through my entire program to make sure it wasn’t bro science, which I often get accused of because I’m the big fucking meathead. But in fact, we have over 200 references to peer review, publish research, videos, articles, and I don’t take credit for all of this.

I’ve got a whole list of people that I reference, including the folks from Barbell Medicine, Jordan Fenal and Austin Baracki. I went and attended their seminar. I went to Mark Ripe seminar. I’m a Mass Research Review member with Greg Knuckles and read everything they’ve put out over the last two years.

I’m a member of Alan Aragon’s newsletter. Of course, read all of Brad sch Felds books, and I bought the RP Diet. Mike Israel tells stuff and watched. A hundred hours of his videos. And I’m a huge fan of Brett Contreras stuff. Been to his seminars and follow his Instagram site, which is a, basically a master’s degree education in itself.

I’m friends with Lane Norton and I bought his book and watch all of his stuff, and I credit these people when I say something, I usually reference them just to make sure that people understand that these are science-based, well-accepted. I think consensus views on nutrition and exercise that I’m promoting.

Probably the biggest thing that I do with my diet that might be a little different if you want a differentiator, is that my book isn’t just about dieting. It’s a very specific plan. Initially, when I put out the vertical diet 1.0, I didn’t give meal plans. I just talked about macros and the FODMAP diet, et cetera.

People were really upset. They said that they didn’t know what to eat. My clients want me to give them a very specific diet, not that it’s the only diet. There’s many paths to the same destination and the best diet’s the one you’ll follow. I’ve said that many times, but that’s neat. And all that’s truthful, but not useful to the individual.

They just need a diet and then to follow so they can go to the grocery store. I had one lady contact me from the uk she wanted to refund because I didn’t include a grocery shopping list. And so I included a grocery shopping list, hence the Vertical Diet 2.0 and the Vertical Diet 3.0. It’s a living document that I update based on feedback I get from thousands of people all over the world.

The questions that they ask and make sure I answer them in the document. And I give the updated versions for free to anybody who bought a previous version cuz things change over time or I might learn something or I get great ideas from people or I link a certain product that might help them. Like this Thermo that everybody hears me talk about , I towed it around plastic Tupperwares for over two plus decades.

Running through airports trying to find microwaves to heat up my food or leaving it the trunk of the car and you just have to throw the whole thing away cuz you can never get the stink out of it. And then I came across this thermo, a 24 ounce thermos on Amazon, their $20. I don’t make any money saying it, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner.

My grandfather was using one to go to the work at the rail yards in 1930s. But it keeps food hot for 14 to 16. So I can hop on an airplane and fly across the country and have two of these thermos in my carryon bag under my seat. And when my three or four hours comes up and my stomach says it’s time to eat, cuz I, I still have to eat a decent amount of calories to maintain my lean mass.

I’m not foraging for peanuts or trying to get a, a pizza or a hokey at the airport. I’ve got what I need when I, or maybe Chick-fil-A chicken.

Mike: Maybe you can find that.

Stan: Yeah, so there’s certainly an opportunity for cheats, but for the most part, and this is true of my soccer moms who work as real estate agents out of the trunk of their car all day, and then they gotta pick their kids up to school and take ’em to soccer practice.

Those people are highly susceptible to deviating from their diet, cuz they end up at the same place their kids want to eat. Mom, can we go to McDonald’s? And they’re hungry too. Food reward suggests that they’re gonna eat more calories than they might otherwise. And it’s certainly, I don’t think the optimal, micronutrient balance in those foods.

They’re highly palatable and easy to overeat and usually micronutrient deficient for the most part. So the Thermos was a game changer for me and for my clients. Hawthorn in using them, you see all of my Brian Shaw using the thermo. It just makes things easy. When my kids leave the house in the morning to go to school, they have a thermo full of food for lunch.

And I think that if you don’t know where your next meal’s coming from that you’re not gonna be nearly as successful in maintaining a diet plan. So I manage the logistics. That’s one of the things that’s important to me is compliance. I give them an exact diet program. I have videos on how to prepare their food, how to package it, how to travel with it.

My big thing is just trying to make sure that whatever diet that they implement, they can stick to it. That’s huge. 

Mike: . Totally. What are some of your diet compliance strategies or even tricks if that word applies? 

Stan: I’ve got ’em on both ends of the spectrum and I’ll just talk generally speaking about maybe weight loss and weight gain, cuz I have both clients, right?

So for weight loss I’m gonna increase protein intake. Obviously it’s, maybe to 1.2 grams per pound because it’s highly satiating. It’s got a greater thermic effective food, so they net out fewer calories and can eat more. I’m gonna use steak with these people. It takes longer to cut and chew and just mechanically speaking triggers the satiation signal because it takes longer to eat.

It’s, it digests a little slower. I use high sat foods. I use that index and remember, I, I mentioned the potato in the orange or at the top end of the index in terms of satiation. So I have a potato in an orange in all my diets, and they have the added benefit of being high end potassium, which is great because potassium mitigates cravings.

People don’t realize getting adequate sodium and potassium can dramatically improve the severity of your cravings. It also helps with blood sugar control because potassium binds to glucose to form glycogen in the system. 

Mike: So lot of other benefits to potassium in terms of water balance and a lot of people don’t get enough potassium, no fewer than 2000 milligrams a day on average if you look, at the population, and it should be over 4,000.

Stan: I think 4,700 is a good number. Plus it helps with water balance. You get a lot of women in particular who suffer from edema intermittent water retention, maybe swelling of the ankles. When they increase their potassium intake, that goes away within a couple of days. Same with constipation, you get adequate potassium and that resolves within a day or two.

So potassium’s huge for a lot of things. Heart arrhythmias, blood pressure, it’s huge. So it’s in the potato, it’s in the orange, it’s in the yogurt, and a potato has twice the potassium of a banana plus it. It’s more consistent. Bananas depending on the ripeness, can be high in fiber or very high in sugar.

Not that either is bad, but it’s hard to predict what you know. The ultimate benefit is from, depending on how green they are, how ripe they are. I increase fiber intake for weight loss, of course, but I won’t use the high FODMAP foods. And again, that’s individualistic, but I found good success in using things like carrots, a low gas root tuber, things like leaving the skin on the potato, eating an orange, obviously high end fiber.

And so I increase a little bit of fiber there. I haven’t drank water with meals. I don’t know how effective that is, but it just increases the expansion of the stomach in which that signal for satiety is released based on that, so they feel a little more full. And feeling full can be important on a diet.

There’s also some good research recently about what you eat before dinner. Having a little salad can help with satiety, not just in that meal, but in the next meal after that. And it would be a light salad. It might just be iceberg lettuce with a little bit of dice, tomato, a little bit of shredded carrot.

Maybe you can even throw on a tiny bit of fat free cheese just to make a nice meal out, or a small, which is only. A quarter cup is 25, maybe 40 calories in the cheese. You could use a little less than a quarter cup. That’s a decent amount. And then a little bit of apple cider vinegar might help.

It does show some satiety benefits, maybe a little bit of blood sugar benefits. Although I think the 10 minute walk after the meal far exceeds any benefits that you could ever get from apple cider vinegar, which I’m a huge proponent of. I generally, all my dieters will take the 10 minute walk after meals, but that’s my weight loss in terms of getting people to comply with their diet because it addresses, satiety and hunger is one of the number one reasons that people go off their diet.

And then as far as energy, I mentioned earlier that I keep red median because of the high iron and B12 content, and I just make sure that they get Whole Foods, Whole egg is in there as well. I just wanna make sure they’ve got all the micronutrients that they need to maintain their energy levels. They get tired and they’re gonna sit more.

And as that non-exercise activity thermogenesis, just moving around through the day is far more effective than any exercise you can do in terms of actual fat loss, and that’s been researched extensively too. Most people who go in and try and crush themselves to exercise, they end up coming home and sitting more and eating more.

And you need a lot more calories than you can burn to work out, and your body tends to adapt to those treadmill sessions very quickly, burning fewer calories and making you hungrier and more tired. So I’m a big proponent of all those things. I hope I covered enough there to give people a good idea of, strategy for weight loss that mitigate some of those problems.

Mike: Yeah. Yeah, great advice and for people wondering about the low FODMAP diet, if they should do it or not. You had mentioned this early on, but, And I think you would agree. If not, you can let me know, but it really depends on if they’re having any issues. So for me, for example, I do Okay with higher FODMAP or yeah, I do okay with, let’s see, my daily.

10, eat the same stuff every day. So my dinner is like a, I just call it a vegetable slop, and it is, So there’s broccoli in there, there’s brussel sprouts in there, there’s onion in there, there’s garlic in there. And I’m fine with that. However, if I eat too much of it, I will get some indigestion. I will get gassy.

So you, you were mentioning that there’s a dose element. That needs to be taken into account. So I know that I can only eat so much of this stuff before my wife just bans me, says, Go away, , just please. And this is something that I’ve said many times. If you eat something, it could be an individual food, and then we have a certain amount.

So it could be a little or a lot, or it could be, in this case, a combination of foods. And it doesn’t sit well with you. If your stomach doesn’t feel good, you get indigestion, you get brain fog, then you should not eat that food or not eat as much of that food, or there’s something to address there. Would you agree with that?

But then of course, if you are eating, so if I keep my intake of FODMAPs, if I keep it moderate, I don’t have. Digestive issues, and so that’s been my version of your experience. Your experience has been different than mine, but I have some firsthand experience with how these foods can impact digestion a hundred percent.

Stan: And the FODMAP menu addresses some of that. They talk about the fact that a sweet potato up to about, I think a half a cup is pretty well tolerated. You get beyond that and there’s some. Good research that suggests that people start to have problems with it. The same thing might be true of something like avocado, wonderful food high in potassium also has natural manitol in it.

And so it can be dose dependent. If you go to the Mexican restaurant and you pound down a whole plate of guacamole and you end up in the bathroom with the diarrhea, now you know why? Primarily because it’s manitol, which is a sugar alcohol and it’s dose dependent. So don’t eat the whole mound of guacamole and the bag of chips that came with it, by the way.

But that’s just, it’s so hard not to though. That’s why you’re there is, and that’s the thing I hate about dieting. Look, I’m. I wish it were true. I wish there was an all you can eat diet, it doesn’t exist. I don’t care if you’re intermittent fasting. I don’t care if you’re doing, Yeah, keto. It doesn’t matter to me.

I’ve signed those diets to clients for one reason or another could benefit them. I’m not a sello with respect to the vertical diet’s so much more than food that it doesn’t matter to me. If somebody wants to use the vertical diet and do keto, I’m fine because they’ll be addressing their sleep and hydration and digestion and all those other things and they’ll, their blood sugars and blood pressure.

All those things are more important to me than whether or not you know where their carbs or fats are at. And we know from a multitude of studies that when you control for calories and protein, where you put your fats and carbs does not matter in terms of weight loss or insulin secretion by the way. I’m not too picky about that.

I have particular recommendations I make because I want, again, to have high nutrient density foods, certainly adequate protein because they’re more satiating. And if somebody’s using and if it fits your macros diet or an 80 20 diet, and they’re using more highly processed foods that are less micronutrient deficient and less satiating, they’re less likely to comply with the diet long term.

They just tend to overeat. And in the vast majority of cases, people who aren’t losing weight on a diet are underestimating the total chloric intake. As we started out some time ago with calories and calories out, and you made an important, You said something just a second ago, you tend to eat the same stuff every day.

Mike: That in fact is a strategy that works for Dieters. That’s the meal planning. That’s the really the crux of effect of meal planning, right? You find stuff that works for you that is also theoretically sound and you just get used to eating that way. 

Stan: Yeah, and even beyond meal planning and meal prepping, which we know is successful when you eat the same foods, successful dieters tend to do that, by the way control registry has, they’ve researched or they have over 10,000 participants who have lost over 66 pounds and kept it off for over five years.

And that’s one of the questions that they ask. And that’s one of the things that they consistently tend to do is they eat the same foods a lot. And I know I get knocked all the time for the low FODMAP diet because it’s restrictive or it’s not, people want more options. But in fact, those people who tend to eat the same things every day have less of what we call food reward, and they don’t overeat.

They tend not to overeat, and so that’s a strategy that we use here and there. Certainly you can absolutely make substitutions. You can have your favorite food or your favorite dessert as long as you maintain the calorie deficit is just that. It’s harder to do. People are less likely to conform long term.

The. Cheap meals or refeed days that people have, the longer it takes or the less likely they are to comply long term. That’s just what the research says. And that’s not to say you can’t do it, but you need to be cautious not to overeat or be more patient, which there’s some good benefit to, I hate to call them refeeds or diet breaks, because people tend to think it’s a free for all, but doing it 

Mike: the right way where okay, you are deliberately bringing your calories back up to something around maintenance for let’s say five days to just give yourself a break.

Stan: Exactly. And I think some of the research suggests more recently that one meal doesn’t do it. You wanna do five days of a deficit than you might wanna do two days of maintenance, or you might wanna. Two or three or four weeks of a deficit, and then two weeks of a maintenance and just stretch out the timeline for your goal to be accomplished.

People tend to want to do things pretty fast, and those are the people who rebound the worst. But those are all strategies. None of them are monumental, but that’s the thing about dieting, is you really want to employ all of your potential opportunities because it’s a hell of a journey. Your metabolism will slow, you’ll be a little hungry.

And hunger is something that I think Frank Zane talked about this. He says, when you’re dieting for a show, it’s good to be hungry. It probably means you’re burning fat . 

Mike: It is just mild starvation. Even if it’s a reasonable deficit, that is what the body doesn’t know what’s going on.

It just knows that it’s not getting enough food. And if this goes on for too long, it dies, . That’s it. That’s all it knows. 

Stan: And I said in my obesity ring almost five years ago now, I said that dieting will hurt, for lack of a better word. It’s just a matter of how severe it is, whether or not it’s painful to the point where you have, they call there’s a difference between hungry and hangry.

And I’m also sensitive to the fact that some people who may have higher insulin levels as a result of metabolic syndrome, obesity, they’ll get a lot hungrier than other people because they’ll end up hypoglycemic. And that is almost unmanageable, just telling someone, Hey, you gotta eat less. If you’ve ever experienced hypoglycemia.

And I have many times throughout my career, cause I was a bodybuilder power lifter, and we do that to ourselves sometimes. It’s not something that you can manage. That’s not the kind of hunger, that’s a willpower thing. It’s overwhelming to the point where you can’t just have one donut, you’re gonna eat 12.

Even when your stomach’s so full and pushing out that you physically can’t eat another bite, you’re still hungry. So there’s a strategy I use and I’ve worked with a lot of clients who had high insulin. I always get that in their blood tests get their fasted insulin. Fasted glucose and h a1c are lagging indicators.

Those can be in the normal range for years, if not a decade or more. While there’s a kind of a high insulin. Behind the scenes raising triglycerides and causing, hunger and those kinds of things. So I usually get the fast insulin, and I know the range just goes up to 19 or 20, or maybe even 24.

I, I forget off the top of my head now, but if you’re over five or six, You may have some blood sugar issues that need to be addressed that can affect your appetite to the point where you’re gonna overeat. Couple of strategies I use for that’s a good time to intervene with a low carb diet. That’s certainly right off the bat, and maybe even some intermittent fasting because it could be shown to help with satiation.

I think some of the studies will suggest that ad lium food consumption goes down, which is a good place to be. 

Mike: Although women tend to have a harder time with it. Yes. Especially if they’re supposed to fast beyond 11 or 12 hours. Yeah, I think that’s been shown in the literature and I’ve definitely, I’ve come across it a lot working with women over the years, or men seem to have an easier time of the longer, like the 16 eight approach, the lean gains approach, yeah. 

Stan: And that’s the hard part about talking about this stuff is because we also know that you’re more insulin sensitive in the morning and that a larger breakfast seems to be better in the morning and so it’s so hard to predict in terms. You know what the best time to eat is. I default back to it’s individualistic and yeah.

Mike: And that’s the good thing though, is that any person, so long as they are aware of the information type of stuff that you are talking about, they can put together their own little experiment or series of experiments where they can go, alright, this approach of when I eat and my meal composition and and we know this too, and the way control registry.

Stan: I mentioned on those dieters, those 10,000 dieters, 78% of them eat breakfast every day.

The thing I hate about the diet industry is when we start convince people that is the only option. I had a woman come to me and she was crying because her doctor told her he wouldn’t accept her as a client unless she’d read to go keto. That is tragic. And so I, What kind of dogmatic bullshit is that?

And they’re out there and I could name their names and you know who they are. Everything’s keto, you know you gotta hangnail keto. 

Mike: Do they sell keto supplements? Yeah. Or keto books or. 

Stan: It’s everything. They’ve got millions of subscribers on YouTube and every single video they do is keto.

And I don’t care. That’s fine. If that’s the diet they want to, that that they want to use, that they’re comfortable using, but don’t know, SIBO your client into thinking that’s the only path because then if it doesn’t work for them, they think they’re broken and that now they have no recourse to anything because the Magic Wonder Diet, the end all be all, didn’t work for them.

Mike: So what now worked for me? 

Stan: So I must be broken, that’s sad. So that’s why I think that having a book about dieting, the fundamentals is so important. But transitioning into an actual diet with the understanding that, let’s try this and see if it works for you, and here’s some things that we can utilize that along the way that are for your personal preference that might help you comply.

So I don’t know. I was headed into that whole keto and intermittent fasting thing in terms of compliance, but, and breakfast and the like. But I guess the second thing I wanted to say about those people who have high insulin and they have just these voracious appetites, is I do limit carbs initially, but.

I’ll try and use, obviously high protein is gonna be huge for satiation. I’ll have ’em carry around a, like a Jolly Rancher in their pocket the same way that a type one diabetic would take dextrose tablets around. And when you start to feel, and anybody who’s ever had hypoglycemic episode knows the feeling, they know what leads into it.

The sweating, the loss of peripheral vision, the, all of those things start to arise. And of course the overwhelming hunger. If as soon as you start to feel a little bit of the what’s going on in your head, you suck on it, one of those Jolly Rancher candies, it can dramatically decrease the severity of that hunger episodes.

Mike: You might be able to make it to your next meal. Yeah, I know ginger cookies are another just body composition, space fitness, little food for that exact reason. Have a little like ginger cookie.

Stan: Yeah. You’ve got a type one diabetic experiencing a hypoglycemic attack. They don’t need a dozen donuts. They need a little dextrous tablet.

And they’ll normalize. And so I use that as a strategy. And again, it’s just an initial strategy right out of the gate to try and manage their hunger until I can get their insulin down and get their, a little bit of, get their body moving, get their muscles working so that they’ve gotta sink for that glucose and get adequate potassium in there.

And try and start managing their hunger with, good lifestyle habits. And once I get past that, that initial point, then we can get onto a diet that’s more sustainable long term, which tends to be, by the way, even people who do these keto diet studies, everybody tends to, they trend back to about a 30, 30, 30.

They tend back to about an even. 

Mike: Just your kind of standard flexible dieting approach as far as the macros go and eating a bunch of nutritious foods. And if you want to have a little bit of treat every day, you can do that. Or you can save it for a couple days a week if you wanna do it that way.


Stan: And for performance in particular, I’m pushing carbs. I know what it’s like to be on low carb as a bodybuilder in particular because when a lot of people used to diet and some still do and they most a big fan of that still, and, but the keto diet for bodybuilders, that’s a tough road if you wanna have some of the worst workouts of your life.

Mike: That’s the way to do it. 

Stan: The only reason any of us can maintain muscle on a keto diet is because performance enhancing drugs. That’s the only reason. In the absence of that, we would lose a ton more muscle, like most people do, who are trying to diet keto. The biggest thing for me is that they tend to get to hydrate it.

Obviously, when they lose glucose, they lose glycogen, they lose four parts of water, which is 70% sodium, and then they get tired and they get brain fog and they have that keto flu and I’m not anti keto. If it works for you, great, but I don’t see too many people long term. One of the benefits of being, having competed since 1986 and tried all this stuff and watched this industry of all over the last 35 years, even more recently in the last three or four years, I’ve seen a lot of the ketos Elles, and this includes some really smart people.

Dr. Peter Atilla, who for three years pissed on keto sticks and showed us the results on Instagram. I just waited. I was patient. I knew it was a matter of time. He’s an athlete. He finally acknowledged that he didn’t like keto . It’s not like he was doing it wrong, guys. There’s not too many people on the planet smarter than that guy.

And he was tracking it to a t and he stopped doing keto. He’s eating carbs again. Even Mike Mutzel, who I love, and I was on his podcast, who’s a keto guy, he eats carbs around workouts because he wants better workouts. You look at carnivore nd Paul Saladino, I was on his show over a year ago, and I talked about the importance of carbs, particularly for performance.

I specifically mentioned Brad Schofield’s work in his book talking about glycogen in the psycho sarcoplasmic reticulum and how if you have more of it, it’s gonna release more calcium, which is gonna help with better muscle contraction. And that’s the first place that is depleted from blah blah. Because he’s a mechanisms of action guy Saladino is, and we had a little debate there and what’s Paul doing now?

He’s eating carbohydrates before and after workouts, because it makes the workouts better, and my good buddy, Mark Bell, who I love, had the book, The War on Carbs. Mark Eats carbs now. He knows how it helps his performance. His issue was he had a blood test about four months ago and he had high I thinking, oh, fasted glucose in the morning because he was breaking down muscle glycogen and it was elevating his blood sugars.

He was having high cortisol to do it, and he was having poor sleep. So we introduced a little bit of carbs back into his diet and his sleep improved as fast as the glucose went down. Those are just all things that I commonly see and I know I just sound like I went on a five minute tirade shitting on keto, but I just think there’s a time and a place for it.

Mike: I’ve made my position clear on ketos, but people, , they know what I think about it. It’s just a stupid diet. At the. And put, I’ve written extensively about it. I’ve spoken about it. I understand it has some applications here and there, but as a starting place for Sally Six Pack, who wants to, just get into better shape?

It’s just a stupid 

Stan: Yeah. Boy, she’ll be tired and hungry. And for me, it’s not even keto. I’ll just reduce carbs sometimes because I’m not as hungry. 

Mike: Sure. And it’s an easy way to cut calories. I do the same thing. I lost eight or nine pounds over the lockdown and retained. I didn’t seem to have lost any muscle.

And it was a simple matter of, I added, because I was no longer driving to the office and to the gym for a bit, I was like, Yeah, I’ll hop on my bike and I’m reading in the morning anyway, early in the morning, I’ll just get on the bike and burn some extra calories and I’ll cut my carbs down a little bit just to cut my calories down.

And it’s all take out, It’s actually really just, I eat less of the foods I eat every day. Yeah. I’ll take a little bit out from there, a little bit out from there. And there you go. That was a cut. You know what I mean? So it’s just an easy way, your protein’s gonna be. More or less the same, Probably just a high protein diet.

Fat. Yeah. You can play with it a little bit, but carbs are just very easy to manipulate for the purpose of raising and lowing calories. 

Stan: Yeah. And we should make that distinction. When I say keto, I don’t mean Atkins keto, high protein keto. Yeah. I’m not a, Yeah, like not the true medicinal keto.

No, I’m not a fan of cubes of mud. 

Mike: That’s even worse. Okay, if you have seizures, but if you’re an average person, you’re like, Okay, good. I’m gonna go 10% protein, I’m gonna go 10% carb and 80% fat. Good luck. Yeah. 

Stan: I just don’t think it’s sensible to. 

Mike: Oh, and by the way, I’m gonna be eating a hundred plus grams of saturated fat per day as well.

Stan: I don’t think it’s a good idea. I don’t think that in an out burger is, it’s a 75 25 burger. It’s 90% fat. It’s almost equivalent to that of a hot dog. I use top sirloin steak for dieters. It’s 30 to 40% fat, very lean. Plus it’s over 50% mono unsaturated fat. So I’m a big fan of that.

That’s not to say that we don’t have a lot of other protein sources in there, like I mentioned with the whole eggs and the salmon and the yogurt. There’s a whole host of other things that you can do to get protein, but just don’t completely eliminate the red meat essential. I think particularly for women who.

Mike: This was a great interview, man. I really appreciate you taking the time. Lots of great information. There was so much we could have gotten into. Oh, I know. I’ve gone around an hour. I know is where people, I try to keep them around an hour because if it were just up to me, we might be here four hours, but that’s what follow up episodes are for.

Yeah. So we could always line up another one, and I’m thinking with Red Meat could be an interesting discussion. That is something I have written and spoken about, but not in some time when the Corver Diet first was taking off. I put together some information on that. But that could be an interesting discussion for a follow up if you wanna do it.

Stan: Yeah. Thank you very much man. I appreciate it. That was awesome. Yeah. 

Mike: Let’s wrap up with where people can find you and your work. Obviously you’ve mentioned vertical, right? 

Stan: Yeah, it’s everything’s stand efforting. My websites stand That’s where I have the Vertical Diet ebook and a link to my meal prep company.

My Instagram is at Stand efforting and my YouTube. Is stand efforting and there’s a lot of good videos. I spent a lot of time putting those together, talking about all the things that we discussed in greater detail. There’s a whole bunch of free content out there. I’ve got a video on if you just Google stand Efforting Iceland, I did over a two and a half hour step by step.

Overhead projection video of the diet. I’m always reluctant to try and sell people things. The eBooks available on my website if you want it. I have hundreds of hours of free content out there. People just liked that. It was so easy to use to have a little quick start guide in a grocery shopping list and sample meal plans and all.

That’s neat. But I know some folks can’t afford it, but I really think it can be helpful. There’s certainly lots of good stuff out there. If you just Google my name, I’ve talked about this diet nonstop for a few years now. . 

Mike: Yeah, When I first came across you maybe a year or two ago, that was the first thing I saw And checked it out.

Stan: That’s great. Yeah. Look, I’m not right about everything, but I’ve learned a lot. I’ve worked with a lot of great people. We mentioned a lot of great people in this show that I think are great resources. I spend my life full time now making sure that I continue to educate myself and so I can do, good things for my clients.

My heart’s in the right place and I’m certainly don’t promote anything that I think would would be just opportunistic or for profit. I have been in this industry for decades, and I tend to be in it for decades more.

Mike: If that were the case, you’d probably be selling cheap, shitty supplements, , and you’re not.

So that’d be the easiest way for you to make easy money is create a supplement that costs $4 a bottle and sell it four $45 a bottle. There you go.

Stan: And I saw some out there. I just couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I did it. . 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I talk about the costs of Legion. I’ll tell people real numbers, like just our protein powder, it costs me.

When it’s all said and done my way, I isolate, which comes from Ireland. Like we pay a premium and that’s not just a marketing clinic. This is very good. You immediately can tell the difference with this protein powder, it costs me 18 to maybe $19 a bottle all said and done to produce a bottle and get it out to a customer.

That’s what it costs me. 

Stan: Yeah, it isexpensive. I don’t think people realize that protein’s a commodity. They don’t realize that people bid on this product for years in advance. It’s not endlessly available. There’s acid way byproduct that has to be mitigated and there’s no endless storage for that

Mike: So it can be hard to produce and to get, especially if you want to get good stuff. Cuz I get contacted by Chinese suppliers all the time that if I didn’t care exactly what I’m even putting into the bottle, I could cut that cog in half. But of course that’s not the game. But anyways, thanks again Stan.

Really appreciate it. I look forward to the next one. All right brother. Thanks for having me. All right. That’s it for today’s episode. I hope you found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, could you please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from?

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