Show #377 Good Energy—Power Your Cells, Power Your Life with Dr Casey Means


About this show:

This conversation with Dr Casey Means is my perfect podcast cocktail: 

Equal Parts:

  1. Rally cry – Systeming change needed in crisis/consumer culture. 
  2. Clarity on the foundational health problem – metabolic health and cellular energy. 
  3. Empowering solutions that we can focus on from today to move the needle in the right direction. 

Casey Means, MD is a Stanford-trained physician and co-founder of Levels, a health technology company with the mission of reversing the world’s metabolic health crisis. Her book on metabolic health, Good Energy, comes out in May 2024 with Penguin Random House. She received her BA with honours and MD from Stanford, was President of her Stanford class, and has served on Stanford faculty. She trained in Head & Neck Surgery before leaving traditional medicine to devote her life to tackling the root cause of why Americans are sick. She has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Women’s Health, and more.  

Questions I asked Casey:

  1. Out of med school, you specialised in head/neck surgery but abandoned it to pursue root cause medicine: Can I ask if it was the heads and necks you were seeing and the people to whom they belonged, that sent you looking for better answers or something closer to home?
  2. I loved reading your talk recently about the granularity of health optimisation – is it 2 or 2 minutes 30 for the optimal dopamine release post-cold plunge? Is it 30 seconds of rest or a minute between sprints for VO2 max gains? I giggled and wanted to hug and high-five you – Sure, maybe Rafa Nadal and Tom Brady need to play in these margins, but most of us aren’t even walking daily and this “hyper info – hypo action” situation as I call it, is straying us further from health and longevity health. Can you unpack some of the things we should shift way up the priority list and what we can do to calm down about trying to know every tiny detail/in/out of the latest health trend or health tech research?
  3. Two things you want us to understand and get after are metabolic health and mitochondrial function. That could have someone say ‘But isn’t that just another complicated thing we need to try and understand and you say NO: Empower us: 101 style.
  4. Why do you think we are in a crisis of disconnection from self – lack of trust in self?
  5. And why do you feel a lot of hope about our times and the opportunity to reconnect to ourselves?
  6. Good Energy your book, written with your brother – how’s that, writing with a sibling out of curiosity? 😉
  7. You dedicate the book to Gayle, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2021 – I am so sorry <3 – you add in brackets “a preventable metabolic condition” – that must turn a lot of heads in the medical world. Are you being met with curiosity or as a Charleton in the medical community?
  8. You are passionate about people understanding financial incentives – me too! In my second book, I talk about the founding grain lobbies not wanting to get rid of their ‘feed the world’ war contracts and so cereals and crackers popped up all of a sudden everywhere – let’s talk about deepening the understanding of financial incentives in food/pharma without feeling overwhelmed or being sucked into unproductive rabbit holes that leave you hating the world. Is that even possible?
  9. I want to pull out a couple of chapter themes and ask you about them: Good Energy Principles and Building a Good Energy Meal.
  10. Let’s start with GE Principles: What are we up for in our quest to simplify, ditch the fear and carve our health out clearly?
  11. And a good energy meal: what did that look like for you yesterday? What could it look like for a struggling family making ends meet – we all saw that appalling Kellogg’s CEO interview this week on the news (here if you missed it. Warning: You will want to swing a bat at your screen!) – so what is good energy on a budget or for a time poor parent look like?
  12. Meal timings are also talked about in your book and also something people war over on the internet: Your hot take having researched the book and from the work you do through Levels? (and of course, men vs women/age stage particulars too if relevant)
  13. And to finish: You say, and I love this: “Healing the cells and the earth are the same”…

Connect with Dr Casey Means on Instagram  @drcaseyskitchen and website 

Grab her book Good Energy: 

Alexx Stuart

Founder of Low Tox Life and the Low Tox movement

Join me on Insta @lowtoxlife


This month’s sponsor:

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Title show track, by LIOR.

Love the podcast music? You will hear excerpts from Lior’s track “Caught Up”  – go check it out on iTunes or Spotify if you want to hear the whole song or album, Scattered Reflections. Co-written with Cameron Deyell, it’s a great song and I love the reflective energy of it – perfect for the show, right? Enjoy. Lior is always touring, so do check out his website. It is wonderful to hear him sing live, trust me.

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If you would love reading like me or you just simply want to go through the full transcript, you can check below.

[Alexx Stuart] (0:00 – 5:25)
If like me, you love a bit of equal parts action around getting riled up at a broken health system, as well as getting really excited about what we can do to power ourselves, to power our lives, then today’s show with Dr. Casey Means is 100% where you need to be. Hello and welcome to the Low Tox Life Podcast. I’m Alexx Stuart, your host and founder of the Low Tox movement.

I just want to take a little minute to say thank you to those of you who leave reviews. I read them all and it is so beautiful and powerful, A, as a creator to know that this show changes lives, especially when you mention specific shows in your reviews that have really been huge ahas on your journey, but also that it helps independent podcasts like the Low Tox Life reach more people. So if you love today’s show, which I have a sneaking suspicion that you will, I really would love it.

It is like a podcaster’s birthday present, if not that it’s my birthday, if you get out there and leave a review on whatever platform you love to listen to it on. Now, today’s guest, Dr. Casey Means is a powerhouse. She is on an absolute mission and you can feel it in the energy she brings when she talks throughout this entire show.

She as a doctor was very disillusioned by the system that she was Stanford trained in. And while she left head and neck surgery, which was her specialization in traditional medicine to devote her life to tackling root cause medicine and why so many people are sick. She’s doing that through the American healthcare lens, but we know if you’re listening here in the UK, in Australia, in New Zealand or anywhere else in the world, health globally is tracking downward.

And meanwhile, we’ve never had more specialists, more research, more medication than exists in today’s world. So why today we unpack it all. And I want to highlight a book that is coming out very shortly.

If you’re listening to this and it’s past May 15th, then lucky you can go out and get it right now, but otherwise you can pre-order it. Good energy. And it is a truly fantastic blueprint for how to power ourselves, to power our lives.

And it’s equal parts practical, as it is impassioned with everything that’s wrong with where we’re at right now. So I’m really excited to jump into this chat. I want to highlight that our major sponsor Ausclimate is giving Australians who are listening a brilliant 10% off their already discounted prices on dehumidifiers and the Winix air purifier range.

Now I was so thrilled to see Brian Carr actually on Instagram from Mold Finders, one of my favorite mold literacy accounts to follow, mentioned not only finding secret mold in your house, but the contribution that excess humidity makes to mold growth in an environment where you might be in a humid climate or it might be raining a lot and really hard to keep that indoor humidity down. So it was great to see that being talked about because it’s one of my great passions to give more literacy around keeping an eye on your humidity with things like a climate gauge or a hygrometer is the more technical term. And knowing when you need to flick those dehumidifiers on to keep that indoor air humidity under 60%.

So your code is LOWTOXLIFE and you can always give the guys at Ausclimate a call if you want to discuss your floor plan and what unit from their range might best suit your situation. So thank you to Ausclimate for that 10% off all of 2024. Now let’s hook into this incredible chat with Dr. Casey Means. Enjoy. Casey, hello. Alexx, so great to see you.

I am thrilled to have you on the show. I want to start by asking you, you were there as a conventional surgeon out of med school. You’re starting to operate.

Your specialization is heads and necks. That’s quite a specialization. What were you seeing and what were you starting to realize about the people who owned the heads and necks that maybe you wanted to do something different?

Because I feel like that might’ve been where your why happened.

[Casey Means] (5:25 – 7:08)
It definitely did. I remember so vividly one of my wake up call moments, which was in my fifth and final year of head and neck surgery training. And I was doing a sinus surgery rotation.

So busting into the sinuses to suck out this inflammatory pus and help people be able to breathe their nose better. And I was on like the seventh surgery of the week and you know, so many of these patients come back over and over for revision surgeries because things we clear it out and then it gets clogged up again. And then the medications don’t work and they come back and it’s like this revolving door.

And I’m looking down at this patient and her name was Sophia. And I talk about her in the book. And, um, she had, she was in her, she was older and she had like prediabetes and she was overweight and she had arthritis and she had depression and she had high blood pressure and she also had sinusitis.

But as a head and neck surgeon, I was only focused on her nose. And I was sitting there about to do like her third revision sinus surgery. And I thought, you know what?

Like, I, I feel there’s something not right about this because we’re going to do this surgery and you know, she’s going to feel like we did something. I’m going to feel like we did something, but like, am I really doing anything here to truly heal this patient in front of me? Like, am I doing anything to do, to, to do what I actually got into medicine for, which was to just really improve the thriving of humanity.

And the blatant and blaring answer for me was no. Like we’re definitely going to do some plumbing work to her face.

[Alexx Stuart] (7:08 – 7:15)
And I know, right. As you were talking, I was like, this is like a sinus surgery subscription model. It’s crazy.

[Casey Means] (7:16 – 11:21)
It’s anatomic rearrangement, you know? And I think that what really started to come to me and that, that opened a door of curiosity for me of like, Hey, what are the chances that all these other conditions this patient has aren’t in some way related to the head and neck and why in our system, am I actually like discouraged to think about those other parts of her body? I just ship them off to the other specialists.

I refer to other specialists, but never really thinking about like, what’s the connection. And then it also got me going down that path of like, what is really causing this sinus inflammation? Because two things occurred to me.

One is that, you know, as an ear, nose and throat doctor or a head and neck surgeon, those are one in the same. You are fundamentally treating almost all diseases of inflammation. You’re treating all the itis’s in medicine and itis is that suffix that means inflammation.

So it’s sinusitis, laryngitis, thyroiditis, otitis, perititis, cellulitis, you know, uveitis. It’s all. And I, I really, I literally had this like awakening that was like, I’m an inflammation doctor and I never knew it.

And I never really realized I never learned. We never had a class on what causes inflammation. We only learned how to medicate it and then operate on the downstream manifestations.

And then the second realization that really woke me up was, Oh my God. Inflammation is fundamentally a cellular issue. It’s the immune cells being over activated, trying to fight something over long periods of time.

And all this collateral damage that happens from their work is these symptoms like the swollen nasal tissues. And when I’m cutting into someone’s face, it’s not actually doing anything to change the cellular physiology that’s leading to the inflammation. It’s certainly temporarily relieving the obstruction caused by it, but you can’t operate on the immune system.

So those things sort of put me down the last seven year journey of really asking why, why are these patients sick? Why are these people getting all this inflammation, which is fundamentally a state of biochemical fear in the body. It’s the body revving up.

It’s mounting a response to some threat and fear. Why are all these bodies afraid? What are they afraid of?

And how do we keep people out of the operating room? So long story short that that pushed me away from the conventional healthcare system. I actually put down my scalpel and left being a surgeon and have gone down the route of root cause medicine to understand the real reasons why people are sick.

And that led me to being a metabolic health evangelist, because if you trace these issues, these chronic diseases and symptoms that are just torturing the lives of people in the Western modern industrial world that are going up all at once, you realize that at the root cause of them, even the root cause, the deeper cause of the inflammation that’s associated with so many of these conditions is actually a fundamental problem with how the cells operate, which is called metabolic dysfunction. And metabolic dysfunction is a result of our bodies, not being able to handle the rapid changes in our environment over the past hundred years or so. And their way of saying, we can’t deal with how quick these changes are happening.

The industrialization of our food supply, the lack of sleep, the chronic low-grade stress from our devices, the 80,000 synthetic toxins in our food, water, and air that have cropped up overnight, uh, the, the total sedentary behavior, the being indoors all the time, all these changes that are totally new and rapid. The cells are like, we don’t know what to do with all this. They’re basically saying, no, that’s metabolic dysfunction.

And that’s the root cause of our chronic disease epidemic. And that’s what I’ve devoted my life to really spreading the message of, and hopefully reforming the healthcare system, but also empowering individuals to take their metabolic health into their own hands. Cause the system is just not oriented to look at this.

Um, and isn’t there to really help us dig our way out of it.

[Alexx Stuart] (11:21 – 12:54)
A hundred percent. I have to share this story. Uh, and some of the listeners are already going to know it, but eight years ago, my tear duct started just crying, crying all the time.

And I was like, this is bizarre. You know, I was like, I had founded the low-tox movement. I was helping people bust their everyday environmental toxins in everything, you know, cleaning products, makeup, all the stuff.

And I couldn’t figure this out. My naturopath couldn’t figure it out. My doctor couldn’t figure it out.

He sent me to an ophthalmologist. She couldn’t figure it out, but she did see that the saline solution that they inject your tear duct with, which I never want another human to have that happen. It’s really awkward.

Um, wasn’t going down. It was just coming straight back up. And so it was blocked.

Now tear ducts are teeny tiny. I had not picked up on the hidden mold piece. I knew about like, if you see black mold all over a wall, but I didn’t know it could be living in a wall and you could be living there and you could not know it was there.

Um, but yet it could still affect your health and drive metabolic dysfunction, immune dysfunction, and massive inflammation. And I look at pictures of myself back then. I was like a little marshmallow man, like so puffy in my face.

And I went through oculoplastic surgery into my sinuses because I was like, I’m a public speaker. I’m literally going like this throughout all my talks because they were just leaking.

[Casey Means] (12:54 – 12:55)
Oh my gosh.

[Alexx Stuart] (12:55 – 14:23)
The post-op chat was, we didn’t find any obstruction and there are no tumors. That’s the great news. And I was like, great.

So what was it? And he’s like, just to block tear ducted, it just kind of closed up. And so we’ve just put a stent in and that’ll wash it out in six weeks and then you should be fine.

And then I had a huge inflammatory cascade with all the other mold stuff on all the other systems of the body, which then led me to finally figure it out. And I thought, ah, retrospect, I remember going overseas during this leaky tear duct situation and they stopped leaking while I was over there. Right.

I stopped, uh, because of course I’m in the sea every day. There’s sunshine I’m connecting with family. And even though I was still inflamed from mold, the inflammation generally was coming down because of several other lifestyle ticks on a holiday.

And as soon as I came home, I was like, oh, thank God that’s over. Cause that was just so weird. Three days later, they were back.

And you know, it’s just one of the biggest lessons for me that timelining can be such an important exercise to do with your practitioner or even for yourself, have a cup of tea. When did this start moved here? Or, oh, I took on that really intense job or that was right after my breakup or like these sorts of things also drive the inflammation.

Right. And it ain’t just the food.

[Casey Means] (14:24 – 17:29)
Absolutely. I think it’s, it’s every single element of our environment. And so really, I think, like you said, with timelining or, or really just taking inventory of how you’re spending your time every day and thinking about what things that I’m doing every day, i.e. my choices in my environment could potentially be perceived by my cells as threatening. And when I think about that question, I think about, well, what did ourselves both just historically evolved to do? And what, what is most likely the way, I mean, we don’t know for certain of course, how people lived 30,000 years ago, but like you, you can kind of have a hunch of what that was like, you know, no ultra processed foods, way more time in the sunshine, not having a device streaming sensationalist media, you know, 15 hours a day, obviously probably moving more, you know, so thinking about that and then thinking about, okay, well, if, if this totally modern life is very, very different from what my cells essentially need and expect in order to function, then, you know, maybe I need to adjust a little bit. So there’s in my book, good energy.

I actually give several quizzes for people to, to purely spark ideas about how helpful when it comes to food, sleep, movement, stress, environmental toxins, light, and temperature, how, how are you engaging with your environment in either way that supports cellular health or detracts from cellular health and be really honest with yourself, you know, about those things and just start to clue into like, okay, this could be a threat signal for my body or it could be hurting my mitochondrial health.

And, and then, you know, work, work backwards from there. But step one is knowing which factors actually do affect our metabolic health. And that’s those, those seven sort of pillars are seven of the main ones I focus on.

And then two is taking stock. And then three is like finding ways to take small steps to improve because fundamentally, when you, you know, we have 37 plus trillion cells in our body and they’re all just little cities that are expecting certain inputs and don’t want to be overburdened when things that are going to cause them strain or hurt them. And when they get what they need and, and you match the needs of the cell with the inputs that they get, then you have health.

It actually is that simple by and large. And so it’s, it’s really kind of understanding what elements we can play with to meet the needs of the cells, which of course, one of them is food, but also other things like the light we expose our bodies to. And of course the products we choose to use and, and then work towards meeting the needs of the cell.

And so that, that takes a basic education, of course, in like what those things are. And that’s what podcasts like yours and books can help with. And then, and then working backwards from there, but ultimately health is a matching problem.

[Alexx Stuart] (17:30 – 18:37)
So I love that. It’s such a beautiful way to put it. And I heard you talking recently.

I just loved this because I’ve been kind of obsessed with how wrong it is to be super obsessed with the granular in health. Like, do I have to cold plunge for like three hours, three minutes and 15 seconds, or am I going to increase my VO2 max if I do like two sprints and 30 second rest, or is it a one minute rest that I, and like, I’m like, sure Rafa Nadal and Tom Brady might need to play in these margins, but like Casey and Alex really just need a lot of sunshine, some good movement, good food and, and nice connections with the people we love.

And we, I think it’s almost safer to think that there’s some really complicated granular answer for this huge problem we have, i.e. feeling like crap, because it’s actually harder to try and line ourselves up with nature in this modern life. What do you, I mean, that’s a big thing to say, but what do you think?

[Casey Means] (18:37 – 22:40)
Yeah, I love, I love what you just said. Like that it actually, by obsessing about the minutia, it’s almost like a safety mechanism to keep ourselves in sort of this like victimized state of like, oh my God, it’s so confusing that I’m, you know, just going to kind of spin my wheels. It’s so hard.

That’s it’s kind of fascinating. And I think a real point that I feel that is so important to share, at least from what I know, you know, being a physician and my own health journey and experiences is that it is so much less complicated than we’re led to believe. And the hyper complication of the health conversation really doesn’t benefit us.

It benefits industry. It benefits the $4 trillion healthcare industry. I’m speaking of the U S of course, but fortunately in dollar healthcare system, five plus trillion industrial process food system.

If we’re, if we’re constantly confused about what’s right and what the right strategy is, you know, it makes us doubt our choices. We end up consuming lots of different strategies and trying different things. And ultimately we feel confused and it profits, you know, it benefits industry and not us.

And I, I like to joke. It’s like, we’re the only species in the world with experts and evidence-based medicine. And we’re also the only species in the world with a widespread chronic disease and obesity epidemic.

Like there is something here about the, the, the really compromised orbit of food and healthcare and biomedical research, uh, that has asked us to essentially divorce ourselves from our common sense, from our body awareness, from our intuition, from our deep intrinsic knowing about what’s right for us. And then you couple that with sort of the distraction industrial complex, which of course is benefiting off of our attention. So like social media and news and just our hyper productivity, consumeristic capitalistic culture.

So you get people super busy and super dismissive of their own body intuition and body awareness and common sense. They’re so busy. They can’t even really like connect with their bodies.

We’re kind of disembodied. We’re eating as we’re walking and driving. We are constantly moving.

We feel guilty when we rest. And so we can’t even hear the signals from the body about what’s happening. And so you’re, you know, you basically have a bunch of chickens with their head cut off, you know, who are basically told that if you trust yourself, it’s dangerous.

You need to trust the science. You need to trust the experts. You need to trust the evidence-based medicine.

Don’t trust the pseudoscience nutrition doesn’t matter. And, and what you end up getting is a population of people who are dependent on a system that is not helping them. And so that’s what we think we need really need to blow up and realize that at the same time, we’ve been asked to like, quote, quote unquote, trust the science chronic diseases are going up at astonishing rates.

Depression is at an all-time high infertility is going up. So you got to step back and say like, what, what’s going on here. But I mean, just look at the trends.

It’s like the more we spend on healthcare, the worst, the outcomes are getting the more nutrition and fitness research we’re doing. The worst, the outcomes are getting the more subspecialties we invent in Western medicine, the worst, the outcomes are getting. So we have to step back and say, what’s missing here.

And I think what’s really missing is a sense of our own knowing and power. So a big message I want to get across to people is like, Absolutely. There are miracles in the healthcare system.

We should trust the healthcare system on acute issues. Like if you break a bone or have a big crisis care is actually where we shine. Right.

But when it comes to chronic conditions, which are the ones that are torturing and shortening lives and causing a lot of the crises.

[Alexx Stuart] (22:40 – 22:40)

[Casey Means] (22:40 – 24:38)
Yes. We really just start trusting ourselves. And there are really, really straightforward tools.

Now people of course will then ask, well, I don’t have a medical education. How do I trust myself? I mean that that’s, that sounds really scary.

And I think the two, the two avenues that I think you can learn to trust yourself and understanding your own body and your choices with are learning to interpret your symptoms and really develop your body awareness. That’s as simple as like, go through a symptom questionnaire, really take stock of where you’re at and what your body is telling you through those symptoms because symptoms are necessarily results of underlying dysfunction. So understand your symptoms and make the space to tune in with your body.

And then on the more high tech side, learn to interpret some of the key metabolic and cellular biomarkers in our lab work. And through wearable data, a lot of the lab work is free through our annual physicals, learn to interpret it and, and learn what it’s telling you about your functioning and then engage in new lifestyle and dietary strategies, commit to them and retest in a few months. And you can iteratively see whether the choices you’re making are moving you in the right direction or not.

So through those two things, I think in this modern world, we have this luxury and privilege of actually being able to truly understand our own health. And we absolutely should, because the system is not doing a great job. In fact, they are failing at keeping us safe from these chronic lifestyle diseases.

So we live in a very exciting time and I’m very hopeful, but I think people really need to understand they do have the power and capability to understand their own bodies. They do have the power to trust themselves and the system benefits of off of infantilizing us to believe that we don’t have the knowledge or know how or under or power to understand our own bodies, which could not be farther from the truth. If a giraffe can stay healthy and not get a chronic disease and obesity, you know, obviously a human can do that as well.

[Alexx Stuart] (24:38 – 25:05)
A hundred percent. Sing it sister. You want us to focus on metabolic health and mitochondrial function.

And that could be scary in itself for some people thinking, okay, but doesn’t that sound like I do need to get really technical and specialized on granular about these two things. I want you to help us feel like 101 style. We understand exactly what that means.

[Casey Means] (25:06 – 31:38)
Wonderful question. Metabolic health is my favorite topic. And here is the, the, I think the basic overarching framework that people need to understand metabolic health metabolism is how we convert food energy to human energy.

We take in 70 metric tons of food into our body in our lifetime. I can’t even imagine that’s probably like a football field of food and our body’s job through this metabolism is to take that potential energy and turn it into a currency of energy that can power every single chemical reaction in our body. So basically what is life?

What is the body? The body is a set of around 37 trillion cells that each cell is doing trillions of chemical reactions per second. Each of those requires energy to take place.

And the bubbling up of all of those chemical reactions is our lives. That’s life. And so it could not be more important to get that conversion process, right?

Food energy, potential energy, essentially cosmic energy, you know, right. It’s so, it’s so inspiring really, because when you think about what food is, it’s like, it’s actually the sun’s energy being stored in the carbon carbon bonds of plants. And then we unlock the sun’s energy literally in our mitochondria, as we convert it to a currency of energy that we can use to power our lives, our chemical reactions, our consciousness, our highest purpose.

So this is why metabolism is incredible. And it’s foundational for every aspect of health. Because if you don’t have energy, if you’re not convert, if metabolism is broken or metabolism stops, we just die.

That that’s, you know, you can live for out for, you can live for potentially a year without food. You can live for a few days without water. You can live for, you know, seconds really without air.

But if you poison your mitochondria, you die essentially instantly because we need to constantly be reducing that energy. So, so that’s really like big picture what metabolism is. And then why does it lead to all these different diseases?

So the, the thesis of my book, good energy is that metabolic dysfunction is the core root cause problem. That’s leading to almost every disease in our Western world from some of the, you know, somewhat more minor things that aren’t going to immediately kill us. Infertility, the leading cause of infertility is polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a metabolic disease, erectile dysfunction, gout, arthritis, depression, anxiety, migraines, chronic pain, fibromyalgia to things that are actually life, you know, immediately life-threatening or can really kill us like type two diabetes, Alzheimer’s dementia, cancer, stroke, heart attacks, chronic disease, every single one of these. And so many more, if we really look deep into the research, it’s rooted in this problem with how our cells make energy metabolic dysfunction. And how could it be that there’s all these different faces of this core fundamental problem?

Well, we have the body is so amazing because we have over 200 cell types. So like we have retinal cells and astrocytes in the brain and hepatic liver cells and ovarian cells and endothelial cells that line our blood vessel. And they’re all just like different flavors of, of cells, differentiated cells.

We have over 200 types and all of them need energy to work properly. And if they don’t work properly, we get disease and symptoms. So if that fundamental process that happens in every cell of making energy is broken because of our environment and our modern lifestyle, then it will look like different things based on where that underpowering is occurring because underpowering of a brain cell is going to have a different symptom or disease manifestation than underpowering in ovarian cell or a blood vessel cell.

So that’s why it has so many faces now in our conventional system, which is very much based on fragmentation and disconnection. We don’t even have the education, the goggles, the connection goggles to say what’s going on on the deepest level. Our system is predicated on specialization and fragmentation and actually defining diseases and symptoms or diseases based on their symptoms.

So how they kind of emerge in the body. So because that’s the way our brains work as doctors, many are not even asking the question, how could these be connected? And the system really benefits on that.

If you think about it, like think about the different profit here. If you have a patient with arthritis, early onset dementia, type two diabetes, obesity, and peripheral neuropathy and depression, which would be many American patients today have all those issues. You know, if, if in the reductionist fragmented, disconnected symptom-based paradigm that we’re all trained in, that person goes to five or six different specialists.

They’re on five or six different medications, chronic medications. There may be getting different surgeries on different body parts. That is like cash cow versus if we put on our connection goggles and really looked at the center of the cell at what’s happening, like mitochondrial dysfunction, metabolic dysfunction, we could potentially impact those processes.

And it would then have this trickle up effect on potentially improving all of it by just focusing on the right problem. And that is the opposite of what we do. We don’t focus on that connected root cause approach.

And so because we’re focusing on the downstream manifestations and playing whack-a-mole reactive medicine, this is why, again, like I said, the more we spend, the worse we’re getting, the more drugs we are prescribing, the worse the rates of the diseases are getting. The more specialists we have, the worse the rates of the diseases are getting. It’s not like the more endocrinologist we put in the country, the lower the type two diabetes is going.

It’s the opposite. Yeah.

[Alexx Stuart] (31:38 – 32:45)
It’s like you need more endocrinologists because there’s more diabetes. And it’s all because we’re not focusing on the core issue. Yeah.

And I find it really interesting when you talk to young med students who are deciding on what they’re going to go into. They’re like, well, plastic surgery is a huge growth industry. So I think I’m going to go there or heart disease is a huge growth market.

So I think I’m going to go there. And you just think, oh, wow, I’ve had two conversations like that in the past year, just with friends, kids, you know, who are starting their university journeys. And it’s, it’s so wrong.

It is all kinds of wrong. And I want to just ask you with the beginner’s mind. So you mentioned there’s the mitochondrial dysfunction and for someone that’s showing up in the brain for another person that’s showing up in the, in the nerves, symptomatically heart, whatever.

Is that where genetics and epigenetics play into the individual and how mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction play out for them? Like where the issues start to pop up in their bodies?

[Casey Means] (32:46 – 35:17)
Yeah, that is like such a great question. And I will tell you, I don’t have a full answer to that question. I really, I mean, I think about, I just kind of wondered where the science was at because it is, it shows up in different places for different people.

I mean, I do think there are some commonalities that we see. So for instance, like 50% of American adults have type two diabetes or prediabetes, like it’s literally half the country. So for a majority of American adults, it’s showing up basically in widespread insulin resistance that leads to type two diabetes.

So that’s kind of affecting pancreas, liver, and then then downstream issues, you know, other diseases like fatty liver disease, it’s affecting 30 to 40% of Americans. So while there are these sort of things that affect just sort of subpopulations, and it’s hard to know exactly why, like why for one man, would it show up as erectile dysfunction and heart disease? And for another man, it would show up as heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

I don’t, I don’t know the answer to that. And I, I assume it would have something to do with, you know, epigenetics and their particular physiology, but we are seeing huge swaths of people getting like the same manifestations. I mean, uh, close to 40% of women in the U S are reporting, uh, like depression and anxiety.

So it’s like, it’s, it’s showing up in some very, like a lot of commonality, but then of course, yeah, there’s, there’s the subset of people who have gout and the subset of people who have polycystic ovarian syndrome. And I don’t think it’s fully understood exactly why these different organ systems, um, are, are getting it. But one thing that is crazy is that I think the average American now is getting like 17 prescriptions per year.

So it’s happening all over the body. It’s not usually, it’s usually doesn’t affect like one system and that’s it. I think when people really slow down and tune into how their body is doing, a lot of people are you know, really realize that they actually have like several symptoms going on, you know, migraines and fatigue and arthritis and a little belly fat.

And it’s like these things add up, you know? And, and I think, like you said, like we got in used to almost this, like, feel like crap, like, like baseline. And that’s totally not normal.

We should feel incredible every day. And so if we’re not feeling incredible, like we need to dig into this.

[Alexx Stuart] (35:17 – 35:53)
Yeah, we do. And I think there’s, there’s a real danger in cultural norms. Uh, and they’re just the acceptance.

Oh yeah. And what did the foot guy say? Oh, right.

Okay. And like, we’re just kind of chatting to each other about all our problems and there’s, it’s hardly a, uh, an inspiring, uh, situation really, especially when we hit the forties, uh, when often, you know, that lifestyle, uh, misalignment really comes back to bite us. Uh, so I want to ask you about why you feel hopeful.

[Casey Means] (35:54 – 38:13)
Great question. I mean, I feel nothing but hopeful and it’s for so many reasons. One is that in the face of these really alarming trends in the like statistics and the rates of diseases at the same time, in the last just two to three years, we have for the first time access to tools and technology that help us understand more about our health than really our primary care doctor could have ever told us.

We have, obviously we have these wearables that tell us about our sleep and our heart rate variability and potentially in the future can tell us about our blood pressure. Yep. Do you have aura on and oxygen saturation?

Incredible. We’ve got biosensors like continuous glucose monitors that can tell us all about how our dietary and lifestyle choices are affecting this key metabolic biomarker we have in the U S now we have direct to consumer lab testing, which is basically like where you literally go online, click a button. And then the next thing, you know, you can walk into a lab and get a hundred biomarkers lab tests checked for less than, you know, $500, which in many cases is less than the co-pay you would pay to get them through your doctor’s office and these rich interpretations that come back with the labs.

And so there’s, there’s, you know, I think it’s going to be interesting to see what AI does to helping people understand their own biomarkers. So those are just some of the basic things we now have, you know, you can, you can order online a heart scan to see if you have heart blockages. So there’s beautiful trends that are happening in empowered health.

I think the other thing is like with the internet, we have access to not only every published paper ever published about science. And of course, some of them are going to have conflicts of interest and issues, but like we have access to an incredible amount of information. We also have access to pretty much information from every global, more traditional healing wisdom, you know, indigenous wisdom, Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, all sorts of different traditions.

So there’s all this access to information. And the other thing that I’m finding very hopeful is that, you know, if you look at the mainstream media, again, speaking to the U S, but it is legal in the U S for pharmaceutical companies to basically pay for advertising.

[Alexx Stuart] (38:13 – 38:30)
Oh, it’s the worst. Anytime I’ve been at a conference in the U S and you lie on the bed at the end of a tough day and you watch, you know, just a little show to unwind. And I’m always just so blown away by what you end up having to sit through.

It’s insane.

[Casey Means] (38:31 – 41:22)
It’s propaganda. You know, it’s 60% of our news outlets, 60% of their advertising budget comes from pharmaceutical industries. And a lot of the rest of it comes from processed foods.

So what you get is this really sort of like dark phenomenon where the people who are paying the bills of the news organizations are actually incentivized to have people be sick, right. To be pharmaceutical customers. And so that of course is going to impact what’s shown on the news.

But if you look at what’s happening in independent media, so who are the absolute top listen to podcasts in the U S I mean, Joe Rogan is like number one in the United States. P some people love him. Some people hate him, but the reality is what he’s talking about.

He’s basically a functional medicine pod. He’s talking about metabolic health. He’s talking about mitochondrial dysfunction.

He’s talking about diet and lifestyle. So you see this across all the independent media in the U S is there’s much more a push towards empowered health. And there are tens of millions of people, way more people listening to these than actually mainstream media.

So all of these trends, like people are actually really gravitating towards this more empowered health information at massive levels through independent media and moving away from the mainstream message, which is essentially becoming almost like a mouthpiece for pharma. And so I think there’s a lot of really, really hopeful things. And I think one other thing is like a post COVID trend that we saw is that like people kind of, I think realized that like when we were asked to social distance and do the lockdowns and all this stuff, like health got astronomically worse and it’s arguable whether it has really a net net positive effect on like human health and wellbeing.

And I think that it really woke people up to like wanting to actually move towards a more natural way of life. People like if you lock people up in their houses, I think what we’re seeing is a lot of people are realizing I need to be outdoors more. I need to be connecting and trusting, loving in-person relationships more.

There’s just, we hit such a low in terms of isolation and, you know, separation that I think the pendulum is swinging towards like people are, you know, I think pursuing more of a spiritual path, a connected path, a more natural way of living. There are so many young people in the U S who are like interested in growing their own food. So I’m very, very hopeful.

And I just hope that the trends continue. And we wake up to really understanding this incredible potential and possibility we have as these miraculous bodies and, um, really start to move towards more of a sense of, um, abundance and empowerment rather than, you know, fear and dependency.

[Alexx Stuart] (41:23 – 44:15)
A hundred percent, you know, the, this ain’t right feeling kind of played out for a lot of us in a lot of different ways. For me, I remember being shadow banned for the first time, just for talking about vitamin D and zinc, and maybe going to your doctor and checking your levels, given we have this new virus on the scene and we don’t know what it’s going to do. And I was just, and so many doctors, every, everybody, anyone who wanted to share things like that.

And I’m all for, you know, I really don’t mind if there’s a vaccine in the mix that may be having a positive effect for some people fine, keep it in the conversation, but to take vitamin D and zinc out of the conversation. I think that really was a penny drop, even for a lot of conventional medical professionals who just went well, hold on. Even I’m recommending that to my patients.

Why can’t we talk about that? That’s bizarre. Um, it really did make a lot of people realize there’s something bigger at play here.

And, um, you know, nothing is black and white, but when you’re a parent who sees your kid having anxiety around going on a school camp, because they were literally living in their bedrooms for three years, uh, then we know we have had a big disaster in a lot of ways. And it wasn’t just about the unfortunate deaths from a new virus. It was about a lot more disasters.

Um, so I really appreciate you bringing that up because it in turn becomes part of the hope conversation where we’ve realized, um, just how inextricably linked advertising revenue and news operations are, um, you know, there’s a lot of people who are then opportunistic about like stealing people who’ve become aware and then getting them into some really dark shit as well, which we don’t need. Um, uh, you know, there’s always that opportunistic single issue, um, person lurking in the wings to try and get you to believe a whole bunch of other stuff too. Um, so I’m always kind of like a little bit, we don’t also want to do that.

So the new story is let’s work on the overlaps. Let’s work on what we know for sure. Let’s come together where we actually agree.

Uh, cause polarity is the enemy of us all. And, um, and I think, uh, that conversation of hope is, is one that I share. So I really, I love that that just came up organically.

So good. Um, so your book is excellent, I might say, and your brother played a part in writing this with you. I’m going to have to ask, cause you know, it’s not every day you have to do something like worky with your sibling who you used to fight over, who gets the bicycle for Christmas this year kind of stuff.

How was that? How was your working relationship?

[Casey Means] (44:15 – 47:14)
Oh my gosh. I love that you’re asking this. You’re the first person on a podcast to ever ask me this question.

And yet it’s so funny because my brother and I joke, we’re like, we should write our next book about writing a book with your sibling. Cause like, it’s such a strange thing to do. Everyone has a dynamic, you know, with their sibling.

And I, I find, I really find siblings to be one of the most interesting phenomenon, like in the world. If you think about siblings on like a sort of deeper level, it’s like you, you basically like, you know, we’re 3d printed, you know, you, you emerged out of like, you know, the material world and self-assembled essentially through, I mean, and I’m talking about sort of conventional, you know, my sibling born from the same mother, whatever, you know, there’s a lot of different ways to be siblings, but I’m for me and my brother, you know, we have the same mother and we came into the world through this same portal, you know, and we shared this home inside a body for nine months that he kind of like warmed up for me two years earlier. And like, there’s a really cosmic, beautiful element to siblings and, you know, then they become this incredible mirror for us throughout life.

And I think if we can really approach the sibling relationship with really a very spiritual lens I think it can be one of the most powerful and impactful and edifying relationships of our lives. If we really don’t fight it. And I love something that like Jay Shetty says, he had a book called eight rules of love.

And he basically talks about how like everyone can be your guru. And I think really thinking about your sibling as a guru, like if, if your siblings triggering you or something like that, like it’s probably the most wise person to identify why you’re being triggered because you grew up in the same home, you came from the same portal. So we’re on your cosmic sort of spiritual journey.

Can you most accelerate your own personal growth by basically really examining the way you react to your siblings. So that’s all a foundation to say it was a fascinating experience and it was very much. So my brother and I, I think we, we both joined this mission as a way to honor our mother.

We lost our mother just over three years ago to essentially what I would consider preventable metabolic disease. And both of us were really awoken to a sense of deep purpose in sharing a message that we really thought could help other people avoid the suffering that she had to endure. And you really help use her story to represent what I think is happening to so many American and international families that we absolutely can change.

And so, I mean, if I I’ll share, if it’s, so if you’re open to it, I’ll share her story briefly because I think it helps.

[Alexx Stuart] (47:15 – 47:30)
And, and, and can I just ask, you know, pancreatic cancer as a metabolic disease before we hear Gail’s story, how has that gone down to even put those two things together medically?

[Casey Means] (47:31 – 51:47)
Yeah. I mean, now what’s so amazing is that there are like really like books being written about this idea of cancer as a metabolic disease. Like how do we think about, we’ve sort of thought about cancer as a genetic disease and sort of mutations driving cancer progression.

But I think that when you actually think about what allows cancer to grow and propagate, it’s very much a metabolic hijacking and metabolic dysfunction is characterized by insulin resistance and high insulin levels. And insulin is really the primary, one of the primary anabolic hormones in our body, meaning that it causes things to grow. And so of course, like if you’re thinking about cancer, it’s like the unrestrained growth of cells and, and, and even on a deeper level, like we’re making cancer cells all the time in our body because we, you know, trillion billions of cells replicate every day.

And there’s going to be mutations that crop up when we’re replicating our 3 billion base pair genetic code in a cell. And the body has all these ways of addressing mutations. One of which is all these DNA repair enzymes that actually like literally like proofread the genome and like fix it, which is so freaking cool.

The second way is that if you do have cancer cells that emerge your immune system, theoretically should just go and like wipe them out before they take root. But if you think about that paradigm of, of every cell in the body needing energy to function, and every one of these processes, even those little DNA repair enzymes, all of them need energy, good energy to function. Then if you’re not producing energy effectively in the body, and if you’re essentially underpowering yourselves with the right nutrients that not only help metabolic processes, but also help these enzymes work properly because enzymes, the body like little protein machines, they need adequate micronutrients to be both built and a function.

So the things that lead to metabolic dysfunction, like all the lifestyle stuff is also going to lead to the function of how these repair mechanisms work and both those immune cells and the repair mechanisms all need energy to work properly. So if you essentially just have this like underpowered machine, one of which the jobs of the machine is to help prevent cancer, then you’re gonna basically, I think have higher rates of cancer. If you’re fundamentally metabolically dysfunctional, that’s on top of the fact that hyperinsulinemia also high insulin levels drive anabolic processes.

Um, so on many levels, uh, we can think of cancer as rooted in metabolic dysfunction. And it of course, lends itself to the reality that’s happening right now, which is the cancer rates are literally skyrocketing in the Western world in the U S now one in two men will get cancer in their lifetime. And one in three women will get cancer in their lifetime.

And this is not just happening in older ages, because we’re living longer. This is happening in young people where the rates of increase are happening very fast for things like colorectal cancer and breast cancer and others. And so, um, certainly our genetics haven’t changed in the past 50 years and yet cancer rates are going up.

Uh, and it’s, it’s very harrowing. Um, so, so that’s, that’s sort of what I mean by, uh, cancer as a metabolic disease, but there’s, it’s very, it’s, it’s, it’s both scary and hopeful because it’s something that we can actually, yeah, it’s science. It’s when I’m eating.

Yeah. It’s a new science for sure. And when I’m eating well, I am absolutely one of the things I’m eating well for is to both power my cellular processes that clean up DNA mutations and do that work.

And I’m also eating for keeping my insulin low so that I’m not creating a pro-anabolic environment. So like those are things that really do motivate me on a daily basis as I think about improving my metabolic health.

[Alexx Stuart] (51:47 – 51:51)
Um, and was your mom’s metabolic health not so great?

[Casey Means] (51:51 – 53:11)
Is that, well, she’s, so she’s sort of like this archetypal example of what I think so many people see, which is essentially missed warning signs and healthcare culture of fragmentation, blinding us from seeing the early signs because of those disconnection goggles we have. So when my mom was about, she had me later in life, she had me when she was 40 and she gained about 75 pounds during pregnancy. And then she had, I was almost a 12 pound baby.

And when, after I was born, um, she had a lot of trouble losing the baby weight. So she remained somewhat overweight, you know, in her forties and then menopause came along really tough menopause, you know, the night sweats and the mood symptoms and sleep disturbances. And of course the doctors were like, Oh, this is very common.

You know, we have very, very bad, you know, very bad treatments for this, but you know, it’ll, it’ll go away. So she gets into her sixties, um, or she’s in her fifties and she starts developing these classic American metabolic, you know, rights of passages. She gets the high cholesterol and they give her the stat, you know, a medication that’s prescribed over 200 million times per year in the U S nevermind women naturally raise their cholesterol levels during menopause.


[Alexx Stuart] (53:12 – 53:12)

[Casey Means] (53:12 – 54:45)
And so she’s, she’s going up on the LDL and her triglycerides are going up and our HDL is going down and they’re like, Oh, this is super common late fifties. You know, this, we see this all the time. And then her blood pressure goes up and they give her the ACE inhibitor.

And then her blood sugar starts going up and they say, Oh, you have pre diabetes, but it’s a pre disease. And you know, here’s metformin it’s prescribed 90 million times per year in the U S you’re, you know, it’s a, it’s we’ll, we’ll make sure to track this closely. And then, you know, she’s in her, so this is sort of happening in her forties, her fifties, her sixties, very much like a standard American story.

Um, and then, and, and my mom was super faithful about seeing each specialist. She always followed up. She was taking her pills.

She was, you know, really doing what they said, a good patient, you know, very, and seeing doctors at the best hospitals, quote unquote in the world, like Stanford and Mayo clinic. And so then she’s 72 and she’s hiking with my dad near their house in California. And she’s, she gets this really bad pain in her, in her belly and it doesn’t go away for a few days.

And so she calls her doctor and the doctor’s like, well, this isn’t normal for you. So let’s get a CT scan. So she goes in and gets a CT scan after a few days of pain.

And later that day, she gets a text message to her phone that says her results, which is stage four, widely metastatic pancreatic cancer with softball size tumors, like all throughout her abdomen. And, um, hold on, hold on.

[Alexx Stuart] (54:45 – 54:57)
So like, I thought it was bad for like 15 year olds to break up with each other over text. You’re saying your mother received a stage four cancer diagnosis by text.

[Casey Means] (54:57 – 58:52)
It’s now the law that you have to release the healthcare records to people immediately when you get these types of studies. So she got a text message. Um, and, and 13 days later she was dead.

Yeah. And you know, at the time of her death, like I said, she was seeing some of the best doc, you know, quote unquote, best doctors in the world, best medical care you money could buy. And literally her oncologist, you know, looked me in the eye, looked our family in the eye and said, Oh my God, this is so unlucky.

And you know, I, I had sort of at the beginning of my kind of metabolic awakening, but you know, they, they, and I think genuinely that doctor did believe it was unlucky and did believe it was random because every aspect of the right thing he was doing all the right things had done all the right tests and studies and, and was practicing what she would consider ultra respectable medicine. But because of our fragmented way that we look at the body and our total indoctrination of specialization and not looking at root causes or the connecting points, the physiologic connecting points, of course, all, all of these, my mom from the literally from the high birth weight baby, which is, has a name. If you’re above about eight and a half pounds, it’s considered fetal macrosomia, a big body baby, which is a clear signal that both the mother and the child will likely develop metabolic issues.

You know, not losing the baby weight. That was really a sign of insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that prevents us from losing weight and, you know, burning fat.

Then the really bad menopausal symptoms deeply associated with metabolic dysfunction, insulin resistance, people with diabetes or obesity have worse symptoms for menopause. So these were starting to rack up these clues. Then of course, she basically had all the criteria of metabolic syndrome.

She had elevated weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose, and then she gets the cancer. So if so, so really my brother and I, the mission that we have and what made this process so beautiful to work together and really transcended, I think any issues that could crop up of working so closely with a collaborator is that we are so laser focused on trying to bring a more connected root cause framework to both individuals in the healthcare system and bring this good energy framework of, of seeing the interconnections between diseases.

And the fancy word for this is like systems and network biology. It’s a field of medicine that really takes into account the biochemistry of what’s leading to disease disease. But while this field of systems and network biology sort of exists in the research and it exists sort of in the functional medicine world, it has not even remotely touched the mainstream medical world, which is why we could spend $20 trillion on healthcare costs in the U S and we’re not going to get better because we’re literally just not focusing on the real cause of the issue.

And so my mom is really kind of one of those stories that I think illustrates missing the warning signs, because we don’t have the correct framework for what’s going on in the body. And the framework is rooted in connection on every level. And so this is more than just a book about metabolic health.

It’s a book about shifting our understanding of the body to one of connection on, on so many levels connect. Yeah. So that’s really what we’re here to do.

[Alexx Stuart] (58:52 – 1:00:25)
The way you just described that my ADHD brain, who likes to think in puzzles and networks, just had this imagery of little people in white coats going into a forest. So they’re in the forest and there’s tons of trees and they start running. I don’t know how they can get up the trees, but they start running up each individual tree.

They’re like, maybe the problem’s here. And they’re looking around and they’re going down to get him. Oh, maybe the problem’s here.

And they’re going up every single individual tree in the forest. But the actual problem with the forest is an overgrowth of fungi say in the forest floor. And if they actually saw the interconnected reason that all the trees might be having an issue, the forest as a whole, then we could actually work on why this is all not working.

And in this story, the metabolic health is the fungi in the forest floor. That’s that’s where my mind went. Cause it was like, I love that.

I feel like that we need this kind of awakening that makes us all really feel something because until you feel a deep sense of why, it’s very hard to change, especially when the cultural norm is operating differently to you as an individual. Like Brene Brown teaches us that, right? The single hardest thing for a human to do is to buck trend, is to buck norms.

And so you are literally doing a really tough job. So your why needs to be really powerful while the world is still like it is.

[Casey Means] (1:00:25 – 1:02:27)
Yeah. Yeah. And, and the why has actually evolved over time.

I think very much the why is with my mother and with a sense of just such sadness at all the human potential that is just being squandered the, the, the ability for people to live, to reach, you know, their highest calling because our bodies are broken and they’re broken because the system is not focused on the right thing. I mean, that really motivates me, but I think as I’ve got it, I mean, this book is, you know, a three plus year journey. And I think I’ve actually anchored into an even deeper why, which is, which is that.

And I think it’s as I become, I think even more spiritual over time and engaged in sort of a more spiritual journey, which is that, you know, we have these incredible miraculous bodies and like it’s, it’s really, it is genuinely a statistical near impossibility that each of us exists. And right before my mom passed away, just like the day or so before she lost consciousness I was with her and she was, she was a pretty mystical person and she sort of was in and out of consciousness and was sort of just sort of saying things kind of spontaneously. And she, she said to me, she’s like, I think that the reason we’re all here is to protect the energy of the universe.

And I, I was like, I didn’t really know what that meant. And I, I, I have been meditating on it though. I mean, I would say pretty much continuously in the background since she said it because she was, she was sort of in and out of the realms, I think.

And I think when we think about metabolic health, it’s like, it’s fundamentally about how we convert through our form, how we convert cosmic energy, food, sunlight to human energy. And right now metabolic dysfunction, which affects 93% of Americans.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:02:27 – 1:02:30)
We’re not far behind in Australia. Don’t worry.

[Casey Means] (1:02:30 – 1:04:23)
It’s a fundamental block. It’s a block to the flow of energy through us into a form that can help us love and help us think and serve and generate emotion. And, and essentially the energy, if you know, if we, if we think that maybe the energy of the universe fundamentally is like love or light, this insulin resistance, this metabolic dysfunction that’s affecting literally nearly a hundred percent of us, which is only a phenomenon of the past hundred years is a fundamental block to the channeling of energy through us.

And I think that’s very dark. And I think that everything we do to support our mitochondria being unburdened to be those channelers of energy is something that we’re doing to actually, I think, increase essentially like the fundamental positive vibration of, of the universe in a way it’s like, it’s bigger than just ourselves. It’s, it’s a transmutation of energy in a positive and good way.

And so we have to connect to that. I think deeper layer of like, not just, I mean, we’re kind of squandering our potential in this miraculous precious life by, by not protecting our mitochondria, but also we are these transformers of energy who are here for a reason. And when we protect our mitochondria through food, sleep, movement, stress management, avoidance of toxins and good light and temperature hygiene and free them up to do their best work, we become part of this miraculous, miraculous unbridled flow of energy through us.

And I think that’s really beautiful. And I just, I, so I think that’s become more of my deeper, deeper why.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:04:24 – 1:05:06)
Oh, that’s so awesome, Casey. And I agree. I think if we could call it quantum biology, I guess that’s really what the name of it is.

It’s, it’s such an exciting thing to think of ourselves as part of a huge cycle of limitless potential that are unfortunately stuck in a cycle of limitless devastation right now. And we have the power to shift that energy either way. And, and that for me is like, like you said, you know, to meditate on your mom’s words when she was moving through those realms like that, you couldn’t be a truer being than a person on the precipice of death.


[Casey Means] (1:05:06 – 1:07:38)
I mean, there is starting to, the duality is starting to unfold, right? Like we have the body and the spirit, if we believe, you know, this is how I, how I believe, but like, and so of course the suffering that we experienced here is because we’ve forgotten our, our spiritual nature. We’re so in the body.

And so in this material world that we forgot that actually were these eternal, infinite spiritual beings that are in a body. And so I think as you are, you know, as she’s dying, she’s, she’s closer to, to that, that, that state of truth that we are essentially, you know, shrouded from, as we come into this world. And that like, I mean, of course, you know, Buddha and all these spiritual traditions, it’s like enlightenment is, is a remembering of our true nature.

And I think to me, part of why we’re so sick is because the Western world has so de-spiritualized our lives that we are in this state where we actually think and believe that we are a body and we live and we die and that’s it. And so that’s like petrifying, right? Because, and I think that the healthcare system propagates this very limited binary, physical de-spiritualized perspective, because what does it do?

It makes people existentially petrified of death. And when you’re petrified of death, which is absolutely what the healthcare system, it, they weaponize the fear of death. You can get people to do anything to ameliorate that fear.

You get them to soothe their fear with social media. You get them to soothe their fear with sugar and with processed food, and they’ll take any pill and they’ll do any surgery because maybe just maybe we’ll avoid death. And so it’s actually in our, in our super petrified system, which the system propagates and not understanding our true nature, we become, we just fold to anything that’ll soothe us.

And I think it’s actually the journey of thinking about our true nature that actually makes us powerful in not being so malleable. And I, this is what you were talking about, like the optimizations and the protocols and the 12 minutes of this and that, that’s where I really feel like the conversation has, has lost its way because it feeds into the fear and scared people can’t serve.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:07:39 – 1:07:41)
That’s the scary part.

[Casey Means] (1:07:41 – 1:11:00)
And the last chapter of my book is called fearlessness, the highest level of good energy, which fundamentally gets into a lot of these points. And there’s a beautiful saying that I love from the Taoist tradition, which is that basically we need to remember that as a living being, we are a process, not an entity. And I think when we do realize that we are not this body, I’m not just a Casey that’s here and I live.

And then I die. I’m actually throughout our entire lives. We’re constantly, we’re a swarming hive of matter and energy physically.

I mean, this is not woo. This is like, literally we, we take in 70 metric tons of food and we’re rebuilding our body. We are, you know, your skin turns over fully in like 40 days, your gut lining turns over fully in like a week.

We are, you know, just constantly 3d printing the next version of ourselves. And the hopeful part of that is that next week you could just with different inputs, you could be a different body. And that’s beautiful because we can always heal.

We can always improve because we’re a process, not an entity. And on top of that, it makes us realize that we are also, we’ve got to eat healthy. We’ve got to have clean water.

We’ve got to protect the soil. We’ve got to have clean air because we are totally one with all of it because we are a process. And so, yes, of course, if we’re a body and an entity and we’re separate, maybe it doesn’t matter what the air is doing, what the water is doing, but when you realize it’s actually like, if we could zoom in and actually see what’s going on with ourselves and our atoms, we’d realize it’s actually just all connected again, connection.

Um, and I, it’s, it’s funny. Like when I was a medical student, we take a class called histology, which is basically like, you look at tissues under the microscope and you really get this idea that like, Holy shit. Like I have cells inside me at every moment that are dying, being reborn that are replicating.

So this whole concept of binary life and death is actually a false construct. And so people might say, well, then why does it all matter? And it matters because actually when you accept the true nature and, and become fearless in acceptance of this eternal process that we’re a part of, we make better daily decisions because we are honoring this miraculous experience that we have to be this form of the body.

And it’s not rooted in fear of death and scarcity and alleviating our suffering. It’s actually about realizing that we’re part of an abundant eternal universe. And in that knowing and security, we have the internal biochemical sense of safety to be our healthiest.

And I think to make decisions that honor our lives. And so I just, I just so wish this was more a part of the Western medical conversation because how do you, how do you build a system? We’ve built a $4 trillion system on the U S that is looking at the body as an entity, not a process.

And so of course, it’s not working because we’re not taking into account our true biological, physical, chemical, and spiritual nature.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:11:00 – 1:11:35)
Amen. Amen. That’s huge.

And now I feel really fricking frivolous asking you the next question as we round to a close. I want to know, because I know people want to know a good energy meal. You obviously break it all down in the book, but I thought we could pull this out of the book.

And I could ask you, what did that look like for you today? Because it’s kind of coming towards the afternoon for you in your part of the world. So what has a good energy meal looked like for you today?

[Casey Means] (1:11:36 – 1:13:56)
Oh my gosh. So the way I think about meals is very like frameworks based and it’s very simple. I think to meet the needs of yourselves, the best thing you can do is make sure that every meal has a fiber source, a probiotic source, a good omega-3 source, an antioxidant source, and a healthy protein.

So it’s like components, very modularized meal. And so those are the five things that I really try and get into every meal. And then the three things to keep out are refined processed sugars, refined processed, ultra processed grains, and refined processed industrial oils.

And if you take those three out and put those five, three things in every meal, you have a very good chance of meeting yourselves needs and not overburdening them with the stuff that’s going to hurt them. And essentially from the dietary perspective, do the things that are going to free your mitochondria to do their best work. I focus on real unprocessed foods over any dietary dogma and a layer that I think is so important and not actually frivolous is actually really trying to source your food from the highest quality sources, like from the farmer’s market, where you can actually talk to the farmer and understand what the soil was like, and that it didn’t have pesticides on it.

And the reason that’s important is because when we think about that 70 metric tons of food that we eat in a lifetime, if the soil is poor, then a lot of those 70 metric tons is not actually serving as much of a valuable purpose in your body of the micronutrients than genetic regular regulators and the stuff you’re building that you’re 3d printing that body of, you know, next week from is, is empty. And so that’s why the soil matters is because it’s basically giving you so much more ammo to build that healthy body.

So with all that said, the meal I had today, um, was exactly this. So I, I, I love in my past life of eating regular conventional foods, I love tuna sandwiches. Um, so it’d be like tuna mayonnaise, pickle relish on, you know, whole wheat bread with maybe a lettuce and tomato.

And the way that I have made that sort of good energy friendly is I actually use flax crackers. So I have flax seed, organic flackers. There’s a great brand in the U S that’s so us.

I love it.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:13:57 – 1:13:57)

[Casey Means] (1:13:57 – 1:14:14)
And then I take a can of wild caught salmon instead of tuna. Cause it has more omega threes, less mercury. And I mix it with a seed oil free mayo.

So it’s an org it’s there’s now these great brand mayo, an egg mayo with that’s made with avocado oil, which is what we do.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:14:14 – 1:14:26)
I woke up on Sunday, my 14 year old boy had taught himself how to make a mayo from someone on the internet. And he had beautiful, fresh egg and avocado.

[Casey Means] (1:14:26 – 1:15:15)
And I was like, so proud. Yes, I really was. Um, and yeah, so a little bit of avocado oil, mayo, and then instead of pickle relish, which has like artificial colorings on a bunch of crap, I just use sauerkraut.

And so the sauerkraut gives the Tang and that sort of briny flavor. And then I serve it with half an avocado. So in that I’m getting tons of fiber from the flax crackers.

I’m getting omega threes from both the flax crackers and the salmon I’m getting healthy protein from the salmon and the flax crackers. That meal alone had about 45 grams of protein. I’m getting a probiotic source from the, uh, sauerkraut and I’m getting antioxidants from several of the things from the, from the as well.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:15:15 – 1:15:16)

[Casey Means] (1:15:16 – 1:16:04)
The sauerkraut, the avocado, um, even the flax seeds actually. And so all five components of a good energy meal in one super simple meal that takes literally three minutes to prepare and no refined grains, no refined seed oils and no refined sugars, which the tuna sandwich, like if you look at the average bread in the U S now it has sugar grains and seed oils in it. And so no natural flavorings, like you’d get again, a lot of breads in the U S have natural, you know, these artificial and natural flavorings, which are all synthetic crap.

You’ve got, um, artificial colorings and all these preservatives and in like these standard pickles and relish in the U S so getting rid of all that stuff you don’t need. And, and essentially when I’m eating that, it feels like a tuna sandwich. Like it’s very much the same.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:16:04 – 1:16:05)
It’s the same.

[Casey Means] (1:16:05 – 1:16:34)
Yeah. So I think swaps save lives and pretty much every traditional comfort meal can be upgraded to something that’s going to really support your cellular health with a very simple framework, like the good energy framework I present in the book for food, which is basically just five in three out, figure out your favorite sources of each of those things. And eating becomes very modularized and second nature.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:16:35 – 1:17:05)
But, but what I love about that is it still, um, respects the idea of favorites. Like we’re not leaving everything we love for this brave new land of complicated recipes and meal planning and all the things it’s like, how could I do bread better? How could I do fish better?

How could I do? And you know, and that is much easier because you’re not letting go. You’re actually just modifying and upgrading and that’s, it just feels less intense.

That kind of language even.

[Casey Means] (1:17:06 – 1:17:32)
Totally. I love, um, I just put out my newsletter today and, um, I actually talked about this exact meal cause I’ve been eating it on repeat recently, but it’s like, it’s, I use the word upgrade. Like you just, it’s just an upgrade.

Like it’s not, it’s not like a totally different thing. It’s just an upgrade. And I love the other word that everyone’s using now, like judging something up.

It’s like, you know, and it’s like, so it’s not, yeah, it’s not so intimidating.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:17:33 – 1:17:35)
Totally. It’s our new cultural norm.

[Casey Means] (1:17:35 – 1:17:36)

[Alexx Stuart] (1:17:36 – 1:17:54)
And can I ask you a little bit of a tell all question? Let’s just say it’s, um, your brother’s birthday, uh, and the caterer came and brought a beautiful cake or there was champagne. Like, do you ever like do any of that kind of stuff?

[Casey Means] (1:17:56 – 1:18:05)
Yeah. I mean, it’s a great question. I would say that, and I’m not doing this to try and like, ah, see, no, no, no, no, no.

I mean, I would say I’ll be totally honest.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:18:06 – 1:18:24)
So many doctors and I love, everyone just says, you know what, every now and then I just have a hankering for a red bull and it’s like literally once a year. And I’m just not going to feel guilty about that because it’s my 18 year old self, just getting a little nod once a year and then it’s done. Um, but like, do you have that one?

[Casey Means] (1:18:25 – 1:18:26)
I’ll tell you the truth.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:18:26 – 1:18:26)

[Casey Means] (1:18:26 – 1:21:31)
I mean, I would say I, I am, it’s, I would say the conventional way to say it is like, I’m very disciplined, like food, but I don’t feel disciplined because like we committed, you’re committed. Well, I think it’s, it’s different. It’s, I believe that this body that I have is a miracle.

And I believe that if I optimize the form of this body, I can get closer to God in this lifetime. Like that’s what I believe. And, and I can, I can transcend the body and connect with the spiritual world because I believe that my form helps me with that journey.

And that is what’s most important to me in life. It is inconceivable to me to abuse my body and a way to, which will block my ability to essentially get closer to that spiritual oneness. And so that’s my, I mean, everyone’s going to have a different why, but like, because that is my top priority in my relationships and my work in how I treat my, because I believe the form helps me be an more open channel to God.

I’m not going to screw around with bullshit food because it’s just so, so it’s easy. It is, I would say it’s effortless and it’s my priority. Um, I choose relationships that help me get closer to God.

I choose work. And so, and I’m not a religious person. I just, that’s, that’s sort of what, what I’m gravitated towards.

So with that said, with the form that I’ve built with food, I can tolerate a little bit here and there, and I don’t think it really throws off my biology. So I was in my godmother’s house this weekend up in the wine country of California. And she’s like a trained French chef.

And when I go to her house, I am going to eat every single thing that she makes. It is all organic. It’s all beautiful.

But like, did I have bread? Absolutely. Did I have, you know, her dessert that she made?

Yes. Because it’s made with love. It’s organic.

It doesn’t necessarily fully follow the good energy three in, you know, three out five in, but, um, but I think that in those, those times when it’s really about, um, celebration and, you know, and you’re, you’re, you’re putting that stuff into a foundation that’s otherwise really healthy, like a strong gut lining and low inflammatory state. It’s fine. And it doesn’t throw me off my game.

If I woke up today, you know, after that weekend and felt crappy, I would rethink it next time. Cause I want to feel great, but yeah, absolutely. I ate bread and some, some dessert this weekend and you know, it was fine.

And I would say the thing where the thing where I will not compromise is I will not eat processed foods, like ultra processed foods. I’m not going to eat an artificial coloring. I’m not going to eat, um, like, uh, stuff that has preservatives that are toxic or banned in Europe and elsewhere.

I just, I’m just not gonna, I’m not going to poison myself, but if it’s, if it’s like, your trade is a nice dessert at a restaurant kind of thing. Yeah.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:21:31 – 1:22:27)
And I think bringing it back to celebration rather than, you know, a lot of people don’t realize like I’m 48. So I remember a time when there was no lolly aisle in the supermarket. That was the early eighties that came in, before that literally didn’t exist to walk down an aisle of junk food.

And, you know, like that’s in my lifetime. So if we, if we stuffed it up that easily and quickly, then we can actually fix it that easily and quickly if we all connect to a deeper why and commit. So I just want to say a huge, thank you for your work, Casey.

I think you package things in a way that makes us feel like, yeah, I got this. And also, yes, I know why I want to do this because that’s, that’s a, that’s the reconnection piece that you prioritize so beautifully in the journey of change. And so it was just brilliant to have you join us on the show today.

[Casey Means] (1:22:28 – 1:22:33)
Thank you so much for the work you do. And I’m so happy to meet you and, and thank you so much for having me on.

[Alexx Stuart] (1:22:33 – 1:25:29)
I hope you loved today’s show as much as I loved bringing it to you. I want to remind you that if you are someone who craves a low-tox community, that is judgment-free, full of empowerment, has health professionals and building health professionals that can support you as well as me in there answering questions multiple times a week, I want to invite you to join the low-tox club for the price of less than a cup of coffee a month. You have an annual membership for $49 Australian.

So it’s about $30 US or Euro that allows you to have a member masterclass every single month with a health professional or global expert from the podcast, where we have them to ourselves for an hour to ask questions and deep dive further. You have the beautiful supportive chat group. You have Q and A’s with me, me answering questions.

We read books and talk about them and a whole bunch more. You can head to, hit the explore tab and join the club is the very first option on that list. Of course, we have over 10 evergreen courses that you can jump into anytime, whether it’s navigating everyday low-tox swaps with our go low-tox signature course, whether you have kids and you’re wanting to know how to best support them with our low-tox kids course, whether you’re planning a family and looking at a healthy low-tox preconception journey, reducing inflammation, especially the chronic kind with our inflammation ninja course, many, many other courses. You can again head to, hit the courses tab and you’ll see all of the options, which includes a business course, my low-tox method program. A lot of people don’t know, but I was doing a lot before starting low-tox life in 2009 and I was a business consultant across hospitality, health, retail and cosmetics.

I have been in business consulting for a very long time. So I absolutely adore helping people move into the low-tox space or develop their low-tox businesses. So that’s a way I can support you.

And then of course, there’s our wonderful social media communities at lowtoxlife on Instagram. And of course the website with over 250 gluten-free recipes, blogs, downloadable PDFs to help you navigate wanting to get rid of synthetic fragrances in your school or office. I could go on.

So head to, see what takes your interest or fancy. And thank you so much for being a part of our podcast community. I love, love, love reading your reviews.

I appreciate every follow and subscribe. And I want to just remind you to finish off that if there’s anything you heard that you found interesting from medical or scientific perspective, it is intended as education only. Please always chat to a health professional who knows you and your situation best.

I’ll see you next week. Bye.



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