Vitamin Capsule Additives, Blood Type and Protein, The Road Not Traveled | THRR151

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News Topic:

Eat like a Pig to Combat Obesity

Show Notes:




Blood Type Diet

Matt says:

I have a friend who’s done his blood work and claims his health advisor (not sure of their role) suggested they steer away from ruminants because of their blood type. Allegedly, “beef and venison causes inflammation, my recommended proteins were chicken Turkey rabbit squirrel and fish.” Do you have any literature on the blood type diet, and is there anything to it? I’m almost exclusively beef + fruit, but I’m curious for my friend.  -Matt

Vitamin Capsules and additives

Question from Ralph:

hi robb and nikki – love your show

What do you think about veggie capsules and additives added to them like sunflower lecithin (from seed oil) and microcrystaline cellulose etc.?

I have read that hypromellose veggie capsules are like plastic or glue and can lead to headache, poor nutrient absorption, dehydration, constipation and fatigue. Small amount per capsule, but can the accumulated effects be negative if taking a number of capsules over a long time? thanks. Ralph

The Road Not Traveled

Mark says:

Hi both,

Love the show. You’ve helped me in many ways. Thank you.

Listening to a few older episodes, as a passing comment, Robb has mentioned a few times that he once considered joining the military / having a crack at becoming a SEAL.

(Though I appreciate this was never _deeply_ explored, it seems to have been a back-of-mind consideration.)

Robb having turned 50 last year, how does he look back on this life decision / counterfactual?

Any regrets not exploring it?

I’m asking as someone who’s recently turned 30, and is considering (with what feels like a closing window of opportunity) joining the military as a reservist.

Many thanks for any thoughts shared on this,




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Nicki: It’s time to make your health an act of rebellion. We’re tackling personalized nutrition, metabolic flexibility, resilient aging, and answering your diet and lifestyle questions. This is the only show with the bold aim to help one million people liberate themselves from the sick-care system. You’re listening to The Healthy Rebellion Radio.

The contents of this show are for entertainment and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast should be considered medical advice. Please consult your licensed and credentialed functional medicine practitioner before embarking on any health, dietary, or fitness change.

Warning, when Robb gets passionate, he’s been known to use the occasional expletive. If foul language is not your thing, if it gets your britches in a bunch, well, there’s always Disney+.

Robb: Welcome back friends, neighbors, loved ones.

Nicki: Hello, hello. Welcome to another episode of The Healthy Rebellion Radio. This is episode 151. We’ve got sun in Montana.

Robb: Can you tell it in our voices?

Nicki: Yes. I think a lot of people that we know got sunburned over the weekend, because it’s been the first two days of beautiful sun, nearly 80-degree weather. The girls went horseback riding with some friends and their cheeks got a little pink.

But yeah, good times. We, unfortunately, despite the beautiful weather, were inside all weekend. We had our-

Robb: Well, fortunately and unfortunately,

Nicki: Fortunately and unfortunately, yes. Unfortunately, because we missed out on all of the sun opportunity. But fortunately, because our former jiu-jitsu coach from Reno, Ray Price, was up here in Kalispell visiting and hosted a seminar here. And so we learned a lot of good stuff.

Robb: All things cross side top for the most part. Which means, as a partner you get to be on cross side bottom. And our sternums may never be the same again.

Nicki: Which means it’s three hours, Saturday and Sunday, we were subjected to lots of pressure and our bodies are feeling it today.

Robb: Indeed.

Nicki: Mm-hmm. Let’s see. What else is coming up? It’s May. Well, we’re recording this on May 1st, so it is May.

Robb: Mayday. Mayday.

Nicki: It is May. Our oldest daughter is turning 11 this week, so that’s crazy. I can’t believe it.

Robb: If you don’t die, then you keep getting older.

Nicki: Yeah, yeah. Yup. All right. Let’s see. I don’t think I have anything else to lead with upfront.

Robb: Housekeeping?

Nicki: No housekeeping. What do you have for us for a news topic today?

Robb: I’m actually stealing this one from the handsome and smart Ryan Baxter of The Healthy Rebellion, he had posted this in there. It’s a study, it’s called “Eat Like a Pig to Combat Obesity.” And it sounds like kind of a ridiculous paper, but what’s interesting about it is that pigs have a pretty natural, innate ability to sense when they are overeating and becoming insulin resistant.

And the main place where this goes awry, is when pigs are fed a diet that is overtly nutrient deficient. So they will tend not to overeat if receiving adequate nutrition, being basically built around vitamins, minerals, and essential fats. But if they’re deficient in any of those things, then there is a tendency to overeat.

And this is kind of taken a page out of the protein leverage hypothesis, that if one eats to a protein minimum, then in general what they’ll find is that you’re pretty well nutritionally covered. So it’s just interesting, and it’s kind of nice every once in a while-

Nicki: Well, it kind of ties into the, what is the saying?

Robb: Overfed, undernourished.

Nicki: Overfed, undernourished. A lot of people in Western societies are eating a lot of calories via junk food, which aren’t providing adequate nutrition. And so then the tendency to overeat, and it ties in with the hyper-palatability of stuff too. But if you’re not getting the nutrients, then you’re kind of always hungry.

Robb: Yeah, and to me there’s this battle between the… Clearly calorie restriction works, counting works. Like Nicki and I have been weighing and measuring our food more of late.

You’ve been wanting to lean out a little bit. And because I do all the cooking, or 85%, 95% of it, and because I have all kinds of gut issues, things are very oriented towards caloric density in my meal prep. There’s not a ton of veggies. I can’t really eat them all that much.

Nicki: He doesn’t tolerate them.

Robb: I don’t really tolerate them, and our kids don’t really like them.

Nicki: And you have a hard time getting enough calories, so there tend to be more fat in our meals. Which works for you, but I was like, gosh-

Robb: Doesn’t work for everybody else.

Nicki: … my activity level’s been much, much higher since, you guys know, we’ve been doing Zone 2 cardio in the morning, and we lift a couple days a week. And we do jiu-jitsu, which is very, especially the open mat, is very demanding physically. So I’m like, I should be leaning out.

Robb: Leaner than… Yeah.

Nicki: But then when I actually started putting my stuff in Cronometer, low and behold, I am getting a lot more calories via fat than I thought just because of the nature of the foods that [inaudible 00:05:34].

Robb: I’m generally fixing. And so again, I don’t want to overly dismiss the power of just doing some basic weighing and measuring of food. And knowing how much you’re eating can be beneficial on both sides of the equation, folks undereating and overeating. But there is this notion out there in the It Fits Your Macros world, that it doesn’t really matter what quality the food is, you just need to stay within certain caloric boundaries.

And yes, but when we look at some big-picture data, like this study looking at pigs, and also just thinking about a host of other things like the longevity studies looking at primates fed lower versus higher-quality diets. And the higher-quality diets always end up playing out and benefiting the organism more and better.

I just can’t help but wonder what the longer term consequences are of, okay, yeah, you can live by this food scale kind of process, within the weighing and measuring of… What was it? Like the CrossFit Journal, when they were really off the rails with this? It was…

Nicki: Was it something like Pringles or Doritos or something?

Robb: It was like pretzels.

Nicki: Pretzels, yeah.

Robb: Jerky and…

Nicki: Wine.

Robb: Something like that. It was just ridiculous. And it’s like, yeah, okay, for a meal, calorie control on that is going to make sense. But as a lifestyle strategy, this really isn’t going to work.

Nicki: Well, and it’s not just… Body composition too. It’s like, what does your skin look like? Your hair, your sleep. How well are you aging? All of that kind of is tied into the food quality piece.

Robb: For sure. For sure. Yeah. So anyway, interesting find. Hat-tip again to Ryan Baxter for tracking that down and sharing it in The Rebellion.

Nicki: Mm-hmm. All right. The Healthy Rebellion Radio is sponsored by our salty AF electrolyte company, LMNT. And it turns out that electrolytes don’t need to be brightly colored and full of sugar. In fact, the brightly colored and highly sugared concoctions on store shelves often contain very few electrolytes, the sodium, magnesium, and potassium that your body needs to perform at its best.

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Robb: It’s a good thing this is an audio-only podcast. You guys would not believe the hand English going on over here.

Nicki: Okay, we have three questions today. First one from Matt on protein types for your blood type. Matt says, “I have a friend who’s done his blood work and claims his health advisor, not sure of their role, suggested they steer away from ruminants because of their blood type. Allegedly beef and venison causes inflammation, and his recommended proteins were chicken, turkey, rabbit, squirrel, and fish.”

Matt wants to know, “Do you have any literature on the blood type diet, and is there anything to it? I’m almost exclusively beef plus fruit, but I’m curious for my friend.”

Robb: Man, I’m just-

Nicki: I wonder where this guy’s sourcing his squirrel from.

Robb: Right out in the back forty.

Nicki: I mean, last time I checked, they don’t have squirrel at Costco or Safeway or Super 1.

Robb: No, they have it right your… The tree rats are outside virtually every door. I’m assuming that this is the D’Adamo Blood Type Diet. God, this thing popped up…

Nicki: Which is from the ’90s. It’s an old, old book.

Robb: Yeah, it’s from the ’90s. It was pre-Zone, or right around The Zone. It was The Blood Type Diet and The Zone Diet. There’s a tiny bit of reality to some of the blood type stuff. Early on with COVID, it looked like people with A blood type fared less well than folks with O blood type, and other blood types.

So these antigenic markers, you can’t say there’s absolutely nothing to it. There are some immunogenic consequences to it. But when you really dug into the book… So I’m an A blood type, A-negative, and I should be vegetarian to the nth degree, and should avoid animal proteins at all costs.

And clearly that’s not the way that things empirically worked out for me at all. Then when you dig into the book, it’s fascinating. I forget which specific blood type this was, but it was like, “For this blood type, you don’t eat peanuts, but you can have peanut oil.” And there were all of these weird-

Nicki: Contradictions. Yup.

Robb: … contradictions. And then what was interesting is, within the Blood Type Diet, O blood type, which is supposed to be this ancient blood type, and you are the hunter-gatherer still. So the Paleo-type diet was appropriate for that person.

Then the A’s were more of a vegetarian going towards vegan. And I forget what AB was and all that. But what was fascinating is, when you would poke around on the blood type forums, which I did, the O blood types outnumbered people like eight to one.

Nicki: And those people were having success,

Robb: Those people were having success. And really, markedly, jaw-dropping success. “Oh, my cardiovascular disease parameters improved, my autoimmunity improved,” on and on and on. And then rest of it was kind of like, “Well, yeah, I’m eating better.” But it was not that kind of, what the fudge thing around… Just kind of like an autoimmune Paleo protocol, or something like that.

Or somebody like me, who has never really done that well with carbs, but were told to eat a lot of carbs. And then the first time you do like an Atkins, you’re like, “Oh my God, this is what feeling normal actually feels like.” So that was something that I thought was kind of interesting.

And in my one-year stint at Bastyr, the naturopathic school, I think it’s Peter D’Adamo, he’s a naturopath by training, I got to talk with him a little bit. And this was really early in my, just as I had been kind of red-pilled with the Paleo diet thing.

He was an interesting guy to talk to. He was congenial, and all that stuff. But really felt strongly that the lane lines for these different processes were the way that people should be. I have no doubt that there is some individual variability from the way that people react to different foods.

Nicki: Well we know people who don’t tolerate chicken at all.

Robb: We know people who don’t tolerate chicken. I was just going to say that. And my health stuff, I used to do okay with eggs. I don’t really handle eggs anymore. I used to okay with bovine dairy, and I don’t really do that well with it anymore.

And I’ve got to say, as time has gone on, we’ll have chicken occasionally. Actually fairly frequently. I feel kind of hollow afterwards. It just doesn’t top me off the way that… Even seafood. If I ate a lot of seafood, I just feel better. It’s kind of a weird thing with that.

So I can’t remotely doubt that there’s not some individual variation with that, in that. I think that there might be some more broad, say, genetic components that predispose to, can you do better with nightshades, and do less well with wheat or whatever.

I remember Dallas Hartwig, he did fine with wheat but he was one of the first people that I met… Even though I talked about nightshades being a problem, I had never really met anybody, nor at that time did I really experience problems from nightshades. But Dallas was like, “Dude, they crushed me. Gut issues, kind of psoriasis,” all this stuff. I thought, “Oh, okay. There’s our N-of-1 on that.”

So I wouldn’t doubt that there’s variation within this stuff. But when we look deep into ancestral history, red meat is kind of… There weren’t very many peoples that within hunter-gatherer parameters survived just on squirrel. Or whatever. Turkey rabbit squirrel and fish. I mean, maybe in the context of a transitional like hunter-gatherer to-

Nicki: Is there… I’m sorry. I’m totally interrupting you here, but it’s sticking out to me. How does this health advisor… Is he doing C-reactive protein to measure the inflammation from this?

Robb: I’m really glad you mentioned that, because this was it in the back of my head. This was something that I wanted to bring up. Which was just, it’d be easy to test this stuff, and look at things like C-reactive protein.

And even within that story though, any time we eat, it’s an inflammatory process. Like blueberries, salmon, the most anti-inflammatory foods you could think of. The process of eating is an inflammatory-inducing experience.

And this is where Barry Sears really got a lot of The Zone wrong, where he was of the opinion that if you ate 16 blocks a day, you should have 16 one-block meals. So you were just titrated through the day.

Nicki: Constantly inflaming yourself with every bite.

Robb: And the linchpin that I have for that, or the backing I have for that, was a study that looked at caloric restriction, which should reduce inflammation across the board. But it was calorie restriction with intermittent eating. I mean it was breakfast, lunch, dinner, or something like that. Versus almost constant eating. It was a once-an-hour type feeding.

And the constant-feeding group, and I do think this was an animal model, but I think that this would be supported within humans. If you’re not a grazing animal, you’re not meant to graze.

So all of the benefits of calorie restriction, which I’ve talked about a lot. I think that that’s just masking the problems of a shitty diet, and it’s not really the best way to go. But the constantly-eating, calorie-restricted group kind of felt like shit, performed like shit, and then still had the same inflammatory markers of an overfed diet. Because they were eating all the time.

So that’s a whole other interesting thing. It would be like, “Okay, this is inflammatory.” What exact inflammatory markers are we talking about? And then run that. And I’m cool also with just more of a subjective thing of, do you have brain fog? Do you have gut issues? Do you have kind of non-localized joint pain?

That’s all fine. That’s totally fine. This is another part of the evolution of medicine. Maybe Peter Attia would call it Medicine 3.0, where there’s a lot of the mast cell over-reactivity. You can find it on blood work, but it kind of lodges halfway between a histamine response, like an allergy, and an autoimmune response.

There’s clearly some heightened immune activity, but it doesn’t nicely fit with any of those categories, because it’s a separate issue. It’s mast cell activation. If you don’t have a name for it in medicine, it doesn’t exist.

So again, I acknowledge that there may be some details and some nuance within all this stuff. But also, damn, there’s a lot of pseudoscience. Like, go see Madame Ruby and get your palm read or something like that. And similar impact as a lot of this stuff.

Nicki: I wonder what blood type, like if there was to be a reprint, what blood type would get the exclusively crickets protein source.

Robb: Right, right. Whatever Greta Thunberg is, I guess.

Nicki: Okay.

Robb: Moving on.

Nicki: Moving on. Okay, we’ve got a question from Ralph on vitamin capsules and additives. “Hi Robb and Nicki, love your show. What do you think about veggie capsules and additives added to them, like sunflower lecithin from seed oil and microcrystalline cellulose, et cetera?

“I’ve read that hypromellose veggie capsules are like plastic or glue, and can lead to headache, poor nutrient absorption, dehydration, constipation and fatigue. Small amount per capsule, but can the accumulated effects be negative if you’re taking a number of capsules over a long time?”

Robb: This is a great question. And Ralph, I like stuff like this, because… So I just did a piece for LMNT talking about natural flavors? Yeah, yeah, what’s the deal with natural flavors? Because people get all spun out about natural flavors like, “Oh, there’s something nefarious about this, and why don’t you guys just be transparent about it?” And I actually explain that stuff pretty well.

So as a celiac, I do need to be concerned about natural flavors in some circumstances. Because more savory-type foods, like if I saw a seasoning packet and it said “Natural flavors,” I might be a little bit concerned, because it might be wheat-derived. Because some of the stuff like tamari sauce, and things like that, can have wheat, and can be fermented wheat, because you get some stuff out of it that has an umami savory flavor.

And it’s great if the food labeler mentions that stuff, like this is in fact gluten-free, or this is in fact not gluten-free. But it’s also a little bit on the individual to take some responsibility around that. But there’s this sense that, because something has chemicals in it, it’s dangerous. Well, all of known reality is chemicals. Like there’s matter, and energy if it’s matter, it’s made out of chemicals.

So kind of unpacking some of this stuff. Like sunflower lecithin, Ralph said it’s from seed oil. No, it’s not from seed oil. Lecithin is an emulsifier that is part of things like sunflowers. Lecithin is in eggs, you get a little bit in some other foods. And it’s basically this constituent that happens in natural systems that acts like a soap.

And then when you say, “Oh, it acts like a soap,” people freak out. They’re like, “I’m eating soap.” But no, just chemically, it acts soap in that it’s got a hydrophobic part, that basically doesn’t like water, but it does like oils. And it’s got a hydrophilic part which does water and doesn’t like oils.

This is a beautiful way of allowing something, like egg yolk or something like that, to help to emulsify and blend together fats and non-fat items. And this is one of the primary constituents of baking, and all kinds of kitchen chemistry stuff.

So I personally have no issues with sunflower lecithin. People will freak out about, “Oh my God, it’s from sunflowers and omega-6.” Well, it doesn’t really have omega-6, because it doesn’t have sunflower oil in it. Or if it does, it’s in, my God, small amounts.

This is another one of the things, and I never did an article on this, but I did a lot of social media hammer and tonging. I remember when Whole30 came out with their salad dressings. And people were giving them what for, because they used high oleic sunflower oil. The high oleic sunflower oil has 3% omega-6 in it. Most olive oils range from 6-20% omega-6.

And so I would just ask people, “So are you okay with extra virgin olive oil?” “Absolutely.” Well, you’re a fucking moron.

Nicki: No, just unaware. Just unaware.

Robb: You are unaware. And this is where you create these Procrustean beds, where you’ve got to better educate yourself on this. Which I guess is part of the role of this show. So calling people morons is probably counterproductive in that regard.

Nicki: Yeah, five demerits for you.

Robb: Yeah. But there’s some frustration there, where people become religious zealots about this stuff. And that’s a problem. You’ve got to back up a little bit and have a little bit of context.

And again, if you individually don’t want to do sunflower lecithin, great. Don’t use lecithin at all, use a different form of lecithin. For me, I don’t care. If I saw a piece of dark chocolate, and it had some sunflower lecithin in it, I have absolutely no issues about that.

Somebody might pop up and say, “Well, the remaining health issues you have are caused by that.” And it’s like, “Well, I’ve tried going with it. I’ve tried going without it. And then just chemically, it doesn’t make any sense that this thing’s a problem.” So I’m not concerned about the sunflower lecithin at all.

The microcrystalline cellulose is somewhat plastic-like. But plastic is describing a chemical feature. So polyvinyl chloride is not benign stuff for biology, and it’s hard to break down. There are some microorganisms that can break it down. But this is just describing a chemical structure.

And there are also plastics, like there are corn-derived plastics. Oh my god, corn. “Corn oil, ah.” No, they’re not there. I guess the sun is out. I actually feel halfway decent today.

Nicki: You’re kind of peppy today.

Robb: Somewhat peppy today. There are plastics that are much more amenable to being broken down, either dissolving in water, dissolving an acidic medium, enzymatic activity. So again, it’s more a structural concern.

And then how does the body deal with that? Microcrystalline cellulose is fairly soluble in water. It dissolves in water, which is kind of what you want a veggie cap to do. So what… “The hypromellose veggie capsules…” Yeah, it is plastic-like. It is glue-like. But it doesn’t mean that it-

Nicki: But it’s not like you’re eating plastic or drinking glue.

Robb: No, no. Elmer’s glue, at least it used to be glues that, were made out of, it had a collagen backbone. It’s like, “Well, you’re taking the old nag horse to the glue factory,” because the bones and tendons and everything would be rendered down and turned into glue. And glues like that are more amenable to biological breakdown.

So for me, you would definitely need to look at this stuff. Some people, again, don’t respond well to these things. Some people, their digestion is so compromised that, he mentions poor nutrient absorption and stuff like that. I don’t see how it remotely causes dehydration or constipation, fatigue. Maybe, I guess in some roundabout ways.

But again, these things are kind of designed with the intent to deliver these items. And for some individuals, maybe they’re not the best option. Maybe you just need to do a powdered version.

I use some tribulus terrestris every once in a while, because it kind of elevates dopamine. I don’t do it all the time, but I’ll do a month on, a month off, and kind of cycle through it. And the stuff tastes like Satan’s taint. It is so bad, there’s no way you could do a powdered form of it. So if you’re going to do it has to be in a capsule form. There’s no two ways around it.

And you do, I guess, just need to pay attention. How do you feel it performed with all that stuff? But just from a chemical perspective, I can’t see how this stuff is anything other than 98% benign. Which I guess, is Ralph saying, is there some accumulation or something? I don’t really see how. It’s not like they’re sneaking in Glad sandwich bags into this stuff on the down-low to augment the effects.

Nicki: Okay, good question.

Robb: It is. It is. And if I came across as a dick, my apologies. I should have a better attitude about it, because some of that basic science education is really one of the important things [inaudible 00:27:18].

Nicki: Got to be more like Mark Rober.

Robb: Yeah. Well, if I’d been an engineer instead of a chemist, then I would feel better about myself.

Nicki: You could be the chemist version. For all of you with kids, if you don’t know who Mark Rober is, or even those of you without kids. Our girls are absolutely enamored with his YouTube channel.

He is a former NASA engineer who worked on the Curiosity Mars Rover. And he does a whole host of crazy experiments and things, and it’s really fun to watch. And he explains the physics and the engineering behind it all.

Robb: And he gets into a lot of statistics, which is cool. He does breakdowns of video games and arcade games, like going to a carnival.

Nicki: What’s your likelihood of winning the balloon dart versus the basketball shot. And then if you really want a good one, look up the three-part series of the squirrels.

Robb: Yes. But the point there for me is, one of the greatest services that I think Mark does is this basic statistical analysis around the likelihood of winning various games. And I think that then if people think about it a little bit, it starts extending into basic risk analysis.

Nobody is scared about going and sitting in their car and driving, even though that’s the most likely thing to kill you, on kind of a day-to-day basis. But people will get nervous about getting on an airplane and doing a host of other things.

And similarly, this basic science literacy around, what is a chemical and what does that mean? And just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s good. Just because something’s artificial doesn’t mean it’s bad, within the flavor world. And there’s a lot of nuance and a lot of detail.

We have the population level bell curve thing, that I think is important to consider. And then you auger down to the individual level, and there are going to be some people that don’t do well with any given item. That’s where we need both the macro and the micro picture on this.

Nicki: The N=1. Our girls take piano, and we just learned their piano teacher apparently can’t do any vitamin C of any source.

Robb: Because all of it is-

Nicki: She breaks out in hives and blisters around her nose and her mouth. And then leads to headaches and other things.

Robb: Like she can’t do citrus fruit and everything.

Nicki: No, she can’t even put lime juice in bubbly water.

Robb: Yeah.

Nicki: Yeah. Anyway, N=1. All right, last question today is from Mark, on the road not traveled. “Hi, both. Love the show. You’ve helped me in many ways, so thank you. Listening to a few older episodes. As a passing comment, Robb has mentioned a few times that he once considered joining the military or having a crack at becoming a SEAL.

“Though I appreciate this was never deeply explored, it seems to have been a back-of-mind consideration. Robb having turned 50 last year, how does he look back on this life decision / counterfactual? Any regrets not exploring it? I’m asking as someone who’s recently turned 30 and is considering, with what feels like a closing window of opportunity, joining the military as a reservist.”

Robb: Man, that’s a great question. I read Marcinko’s Rogue Warrior ages ago, and he was one of the guys that founded Dev Group, SEAL Team Six. I was pretty young, God, high school, early high school. May have been grade school when I saw that. And it really was intriguing to me.

Then I was super, super close to entering the military, going into the Marines. There was an option, I was still powerlifting at the time. So they had a competition team that I could be on. And there was the Marine sniper school, and there was all this stuff that was really interesting.

For some reason I didn’t do it. Literally, last minute. I was hand going towards the paper to sign, and there was something in the back of my head that was like, “This is going to be a bad fit for you.”

I actually think for me, the military would’ve cut a decade off of sorting out a lot of junk I had in my head. But clearly it would’ve set up a potentially completely different vector in my life. I do have a feeling I would’ve still ended up in some sort of a medical circle, maybe engineering kind of circle, and stuff like that.

And it was only later, when I was in my mid to late twenties, that I started hanging out with some SEALs, and being around the Naval Special Warfare scene, that the whole SEAL team concept really got back on my radar. I was really intrigued by it.

Some of the oldest people that have ever made it through BUD/S were like 31 or 32. It is not an old man’s thing. And 30-year-olds usually, within the SEALs, are old. Within the rest of the military, depending on whether… Even different special operations communities, you can get in there.

You can get in as a reservist. And particularly if you’re in really good shape, and you have somebody who can write a letter as an exception, you can get in there and do that.

One of the things that I’m glad about not doing that line of work, is it has about a 99.8% divorce rate. Marriages don’t last. It’s very hard on the families that are attached to those folks, and it’s literally a 98% divorce rate.

It’s hard on the folks. We know a lot of people who’ve been SEALs. Done anywhere from five to 20-plus years, and there’s a lot of wear and tear that goes with them. It’s very difficult to get in. It’s very difficult to make all the selection criteria.

And post 9/11, the deployment schedule has been so demanding. The U.S. military has leaned so heavily on the special operations community, that the kind of CTE and then just the concussive syndrome, which happens from parachute deployment, from riding a Zodiac across choppy water, from firing a 50 cal gun.

It’s like everything they do other than sneezing practically causes low-grade traumatic brain injury. Then they stay up all night to do night ops and then sleep during the day. And they go to sleep using Ambien, and they wake up… Which isn’t really sleep, it’s unconsciousness. And then they wake up with as much Monster and energy drink-type items, and other items occasionally.

So it’s like stimulants to get up, sedatives to go down. Really, really hard on their physicality. And when I look at the health issues I have now, I could’ve probably got into a community like that, and then I would’ve been one of the people that the wheels just absolutely blew off the wagon.

Nicki: Blew off the wagon.

Robb: I would’ve exploded in a spectacular fashion.

Nicki: You also are… You have this persistent need to speak up and speak your mind. So I’m wondering how you would’ve done in that kind of authority situation.

Robb: General military would not have been a good fit for me. And this is where special operations communities, there is a command structure. But because of the team-type nature, you speak your mind, but it’s within the context of the team more. Now there’s politics, and there’s bullshit, and you’ve got to mind your p’s and q’s and everything.

Nicki: Do you think you could have navigated the bullshit?

Robb: I could have navigated that. Because, if you were a good performer and you had good ideas, you put your idea out or you question something, and it proves itself out, then you gain rank and status within that.

It can also, if you’ve got somebody above you who is less competent than you, it can end up being a threatening deal. But from what I’ve heard from our close friends who’ve been within special operations community, that is where the rogue element, questioner, can find a place in the military and probably succeed. You still have to figure out… My younger self was not as diplomatic, not as good at navigating these things.

Nicki: More of a dick.

Robb: So that could have been a problem. More of a dick. And so that could have been a problem. I think general military service could be more challenging in that regard.

But also, this is the interesting thing. Mark, you’re turning 30, you’ve got some life experience. So even if you are a questioner, you’re also not an idiot 20-year-old who is just going to go headfirst into things. You have some emotional dexterity and stuff like that.

So I think that it could have been not great for my health. It would’ve almost certainly set up a very different vector. But one of the things that’s really fascinating to me about communities like that is, when people get out of the military, even if it’s really onerous and there’s a lot of stuff that they didn’t like, the camaraderie is often something that they never, ever experience again.

Other, interestingly, than finding a solid jiu-jitsu community, is about the closest thing that people report finding. Because it’s hard stuff, which makes hard people. And the kind of reliance on one another, it’s kind of one of the only things that I’ve seen people who get out of the military, particularly special operations folks, kind of report something like jiu-jitsu being that thing that really plugs a gap for them.

I’m trying to think of anything else. So Mark, I mean, 30 years old is not too old to do most of the stuff within the military. I’m sure if you’ve investigated this, you understand this, some of the selection processes for certain groups, 30 years old is going to be a challenge.

If you’re a stud athlete, and you’re really in good shape, and you’re really mentally tough, it’s not impossible. But for a lot of the selection processes, 30 years old is knocking on the door.

Nicki: On the cusp.

Robb: But being a reservist, and being able to contribute to your country, and having that sense of accomplishment of serving your country and everything, I think that that’s still definitely within the realm of possibility there. It really depends kind of what you want to do and what the specific goals are.

Nicki: Awesome.

Robb: Cool question.

Nicki: Another good question.

Robb: It’s nice to talk about something other than protein, carbs, fat. Yeah.

Nicki: Yeah. Yup. Awesome. Those are our questions for this week. Any closing thoughts, hubs?

Robb: No, just very glad the sun’s coming out at least a little bit. Trying to think. Anything else? No, I think that’s it.

Nicki: Thank you. I did get a couple of emails from folks who are planning on trying the Bison Chili Colorado that we mentioned in the last episode. Our friends at Go Roam Free Ranch have that in some select Costcos.

I did get a question on what area of Costco that would be in. And it’s actually in the deli. Deli department D19. So I just wanted to share that for any of you who might also be wondering.

Because I didn’t specify that before, and I know it could be confusing. Is it like canned? Is it frozen? But it’s in the deli department, D19. So if you are in one of those regions, I don’t have them off the top of my head, but-

Robb: It was Arizona, Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Nicki: San Diego.

Robb: San Diego, yeah. The previous show we detailed all that.

Nicki: We laid that out at the beginning. But yeah, if you are in one of those areas and you want to check it out, it’s in the deli department. We appreciate you supporting our friends.

And remember to check out our show sponsor LMNT for all of your electrolyte and hydration needs. You can grab your LMNT at, as I mentioned before. It’s May, which means later this month we have Grapefruit Salt coming back.

Robb: Woo-hoo.

Nicki: So something fun to look forward to. Anyway, hope y’all have a fabulous weekend, and week and we will see you next time.

Robb: Bye, everybody.


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