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321: Detoxification, Mitochondrial Health, Biophysics, and Figuring Out Your Optimal With Caleb Jennings

321: Detoxification, Mitochondrial Health, Biophysics, and Figuring Out Your Optimal With Caleb Jennings

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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and this bio-hacking episode is filled with practical tips that you can use to improve your mitochondrial health to slow aging and so much more. I’m here with Caleb Jennings who is considered a professional holistic bio-hacker, and he actually coaches people on a lot of the things we’re going to talk about today. He’s a former pro-athlete with over 10 years of training. He goes into his pretty elaborate and incredible story of recovery from an injury he sustained while being an athlete. And he now has all this training in nutrition, peak performance, evolutionary systems of biology, and he helps train athletes, CEOs, and entrepreneurs to reach their health and fitness goals. And he shares a lot about the ways he does that today. So using a combination of ancient practices and futuristic technology he guides people along this. And we go deep on a lot of things, including one of my favorite pet topics, which is mitochondrial health, because basically if your mitochondria are healthy, so much more in your body is healthy and happy as well. So stick with us, it gets pretty science-y but very, very fascinating. And let’s join Caleb.

Caleb, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Caleb: Hello Katie. Thank you so much for having me.

Katie: I am so excited to chat with you today, and there’s so much that I can’t wait to cover with you. But, knowing a little bit I do about your background and what my husband has told me about you, I think the best place to start is with your story, which is pretty incredible from the little bit I know of it. So let’s start off with how did you get into this world?

Caleb: Oh yeah. It was, you know, synchronicity and just beautiful timing I call that. I essentially got a 2 by 4 in the sky. It was a life-changing event, background in professional snowboarding, acrobatics, gymnastics, a lot of very high adrenaline, high intensity, also flow-based sports, very active in that sense athletically. So I didn’t pay attention to diet and health as much because my body was just knowing what to do. But that divine 2 by 4 knocked me out of the sky, drop me about five stories onto my neck, my back, straight onto ice basically. So I over-rotated a couple of times, you know, trying one flip to a few rotations turned into a few flips, and dropped me right on my neck and my back.

So I’ve broken various different aspects of my neck and cervical spine there towards the top and mid. And then actually broke many different bones from, you know, collarbone to ribs to collapsing both my lungs. It was a really intense life-transforming event for me at that time. It completely changed my life in a sense that it…you know, to me from a 180 of looking for the fame and the fortune and all the wonderful things, the MTV “Cribs” lifestyle back then of the snowboarding world essentially. And it really got me into healing modality of just recovery in that sense because I’m in a full-body cast and a neck brace, the whole nine yards, and I was on numerous pain killers and muscle relaxers. So my mind was in a very weird, fuzzy space, but also very open.

And my mom is so incredibly supportive that, you know, she helped support me in the sense of she would love to read, and she you would set stacks of books on my bed. And long story short, through that, I just got into some the gateway gurus, you know, Deepak Chopra and so many other wonderful people that just help me realize that it wasn’t all about me, it wasn’t all about just my experience in this life, that there’s other people out there. And it seems fairly obvious, but sometimes we lose sight of that, and that really turned me around. I realized there’s so much suffering in the world that is unnecessary to a degree. There are ways that we can help each other and help ourselves, and help our loved ones to achieve optimal health, to have the most joy in blissful experience as we possibly can.

And so at that moment in time in my healing journey, I completely shifted my entire experience to focus on service to others. At the time, I didn’t know how that was gonna be, but through that healing journey, realizing how intelligent the body is naturally, I chose not to go with the intense surgery that the doctors, you know, essentially scared me into and attempting just to see, okay you can’t run anymore, you can’t jump anymore, you’re not gonna snowboard anymore, basically your life is over. And you’re gonna have two years of rehabilitation and rods and pins in your back. I just at the deep core gut level, I knew it was wrong and I knew that my body had more intelligence in that sense.

And my mom was very supportive of that. She’s like, “You could do the surgery or you can heal naturally.” And I chose to go the natural route. I’m so glad I did because I came back stronger than ever from that in all forms, from the sports I played it, but also with this new profound fascination and obsession with optimal human health and how nature so intelligently designs from evolutionary process, how we keep iterating generation and generation, and we support that in the various different ways we have access to so much in this world from natural supplements to medical biotechnology and beyond, you know, the entire spectrum. Yeah, just led me down this path of diving in deep into cellular metabolism, mitochondrial function, biophysics, biophotonics, how light affects biology, DNA epigenetics, on and on. There’s just so much to it.

And so it led me to the creation of holistic biohacking, which is a framework that just brought all of these different world experiences and brilliant masters and scientists, and practitioners, and spiritual leaders just kind of bring it all together in a way that we can essentially upgrade and optimize our lives. No matter where we are at in time, no matter what kind of lifestyle we lead, where throughout the world, there’s always something we can do to improve and better ourselves whether it’s psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, or physically in the biological sense through health specifically.

And that journey has just been an incredible one to work with so many people over the years, learned so much in these spaces, and really start piecing things together. It’s a never-ending journey, but I’ve been able to help incredibly so many people through the entire process. It’s so fulfilling to see the results on the other end whether it’s a program that I produce or, you know, private coaching I do with high-level clients and working with Olympians, CEOs, celebrities, athletes, whoever it is, it doesn’t matter. It’s that they realize they can live life at entirely new levels they weren’t able to even imagine before that, and just to see that transformation, and also, you know, see the results from laboratory testing and diagnostics. I’m a data geek for those things too to drive performance. And so it’s just been such a wonderful adventure to help, and teach, and coach, and essentially just help people live their best lives they possibly can, no matter where they’re at in their lives or in the world, there’s always a way.

Katie: Wow. That is a really incredible story. And I’m guessing, you said, you didn’t even really have a background in the nutrition and health side as much, you are just much more of the athletic side. So I’m curious what that looked like when you started really delving into it, and how you were able to determine which things were having an effect and which weren’t. Because my own journey over the last couple of years, I’ve realized more and more just how individualized and personalized so many aspects of health are, and I think we’re each responsible for figuring out those things that work for all of us. And I think there are universal things that are beneficial in some way, but how did you start evaluating that and how did you know when something was having the desired effect?

Caleb: That was really, you know, I had the background with my mom being a crazy health nut, little more from the woo-woo world and very metaphysical spiritual in that sense. So I grew up in sweat lodges and with, you know, different ceremonies and, you know, Indian tribal leaders and incredible experiences all around. And my mom taking so many pills, she would take so many supplements, sometimes a couple hundred pills a day. She just had every supplement under the sun. And I just thought to myself, I was like, “You know, Mom, I love you so much and you load me up with zinc lozenges and echinacea and goldenseal anytime I have a sniff or potential cough and got, you know, honey and ginger tea for gargling and salt wash for, you know, neti pot. So she really brought me up in that natural health dynamic, which I absolutely love and appreciate. But that combination of so many things at once, I wasn’t too into.

And so moving away from that as I grew older and got into the studies deeper, I realized there’s more of a synergy that we can get into with understanding how these different bioactive molecules work. Whether it’s in the food we eat or even the cleanliness of the water that we drink, detoxification is a huge aspect of that. So figuring that out intuitively was the first step. And then I got deeper into the data side, and that’s where my brain really lit up, you know, studying neuroscience and human behavior and seeing the data points from laboratory tests whether it’s, you know, hormone testing, or blood level testing, or micronutrient testing.

And one of my favorites is we can see what we have too much of and not enough of, but we really noticed how we feel and also how we look. So this common sense of, you know, from the invisible you and the visible you, and then invisible you inside, you know, there’s all these inner workings of how the body connects and operates at such an intelligent level that we don’t think about. But then we do think about how we look and we also think about how we feel. And so if we’re tired and we’re groggy in the morning, and we don’t have enough energy to get through the day or, you know, if you’re a mom with kids and you have this busy lifestyle, and you’re making food and making smoothies and doing all these different things, getting them to school, you’re not seeing enough time for yourself in that.

But if you can tap into your own intuition of feeling, how each little change does make a difference for you, whether it’s your energy, whether it’s your sleep, whether it’s, you know, if you’re running or working out in the gym, CrossFit, wherever it might be, there’s always a way that you can tell for that. And some people have a deep intuitive sense of that naturally, and others have to be trained and conditioned for that in a sense, which everyone has a capacity for. And so my initial, you know, I just looked at it internally of, you know, if I had acne and hormonal issues, and I was tired, and I wasn’t sleeping well, had insomnia, and I had a lot of digestive upset issues as well. I was gaining some weight when I moved away from the sports world into more, you know, business world of sorts of sitting down behind a computer and doing technical things. I wasn’t as active and so that caught up with me really quickly.

And I realized that, you know, the issues I was having when I would eat certain foods, I would stop eating those foods for a couple of weeks, I realized I felt better and I would have less mucus or I wouldn’t be sneezing or my digestion was more calm, or I wouldn’t have as much gas or bloating, and all those are indications. So the body is always speaking to us constantly, every single day, every single moment. And if you learn to listen to the signs, listen to understanding what your body’s trying to tell you, you can reverse engineer and kind of track back a little bit further, okay, maybe I had something on Monday that is not making me feel good on Tuesday and Wednesday.

And if you can see what those things are, you can play around with it. You know, maybe dairy, you’re a little sensitive to dairy, you can’t process that. Then you want to try to take that out a little bit and see how that makes you feel. And so I got into crazy guinea pig-like experiments all the way from, you know, super raw vegan for years as an experiment, all the way to nose-to-tail now farm-to-table carnivore style as well and everything in between. Ketosis being one of the most incredible ones that I noticed overall that I’ve actually done a lot of different courses and trainings on, you know, a biohacked ketosis training for understanding how these things all connect, and also how you can feel and sense it yourself.

And if you pair that with, for example, laboratory diagnostic testing, which isn’t as available to everyone as I’d like it to be, I really am hoping for incredible technologies to allow us to have those answers right in the palm of our hand, right in the phone. You know, we have this incredibly intelligent technology that can read our saliva or urine or whatever might be eventually to blood droplets. And in that sense, you can know if your vitamin D levels are low. And you know that’s connected to so many different aspects of health. Your magnesium is low, that’s a huge one we are chronically deficient in, and working towards getting more sufficient and overall. Those micronutrients are key to that.

So if you notice, okay, I’m low in vitamin D, maybe I can go outside and get some sunlight on my eyes, on my skin, get my feet, you know, clear, grounded to the earth, get that rejuvenated recharging connection that helps your body stimulate the rejuvenating stem cell type elements to rejuvenate the cells at a deeper level to help cleanse and detox these elements out of you, you can see that in the mirror. You can see your eyes brighter, you can see your face slimmer. You can see a little bit more radiant glow, you literally put off more photons of light, you are radiant in that sense. And you’ll hear that feedback from others, you know, around your loved ones, your community. They’ll say, “Wow, look, you know, Katie, you’re glowing today, what have you done, you know?” And you could say, “Oh, I just did this, this, and that, and it actually helped really, really well. I’m sleeping better, and I have more energy as a result.” And then when you have the data back into that too, we do before and after type testing in terms of client work, we see you’re very deficient in these elements and we can supplement those in various ways.

But there’s other aspects you can touch on that will help your body naturally regulate those functions because, again, our DNA is the greatest data storage device in the known universe, so far as we’ve discovered. And it has all of the answers and information from all previous generations, all the way back, spanning all the way through time, that know what will help us survive and reproduce in that sense from an evolutionary perspective. As everybody knows us, we have resistance to various different challenges from bacterial to viral or otherwise. But when you could tie that together with your internal intuitive feeling of “I’ve changed X in my life and I’m getting Y result”, that’s a very good experimental framework for you to start thinking and feeling and operating within because that will lead you to clear answers, each new thing you try and each new experiment you run, and it shifts it to be more fun perspective.

So instead of thinking, “Oh, no, I have to do this diet, and it’s not gonna be that fun and not that tasty,” you can really have fun with, “Wow, that really transformed my energy. I really liked that I’m gonna stick with that.” Or, “You know, that actually didn’t help me. Maybe it helped my friend, but it’s not for me, so I’m just going to, you know, retire that aspect and move on to something new,” because there’s always something more. When you pair that data-backing element to it if you can to laboratory testing with the practitioner you’re working with, you can see the changes in your hormones, your blood levels, your micronutrients, and even your mitochondrial function.

And understanding that at a core level helps you understand that you literally have the answers within you, and now it’s just up to us to work within this modern society to detoxify and get nutrient efficiency levels in there to a degree that you see those performance changes. And you’ll see it in the mirror, you’ll see it in reflecting from others around you and you’ll feel it internally. And you can also have the data to back it.

Katie: I love it. I am a big data nerd as well, and I run labs often and track them in spreadsheets just to see trends over time. So I’m curious, what are some of the labs that you personally like to track and what do you look for?

Caleb: So detoxification is the number one place I start with everyone that I work with across the board. You know, we live in a very toxic modern society where, you know, you have rubber burning off from tires, and exhaust fumes from cars, and dense urban environments. So there’s heavy metals like lead and cadmium and mercury. You have mold toxicity, which is just one of the biggest challenges so many people face, especially in Pacific Northwest and other areas. You don’t even know you have water damage sometimes that mold can stick around and really harm you in those ways. There’s VOCs and different, you know, fluorocarbons. There’s different things floating in the air that you can’t see with the naked eye, but you’re breathing in or they’re getting on your skin, or the cleaning supplies you might use to clean your kitchen. That’s why, you know, green eco-friendly cleaning supplies are fantastic. To the bedding that you’re sleeping on, you know, the type of materials that could off-gas.

So there’s all these different elements that are sort of attacking us almost every day. And our bodies have internal detoxification systems naturally, but we need more support than ever in that sense. And so going through there, I usually start with mold lab panels, I start with hormone panels. I go through, depending on people have heavy metal toxicity. Oftentimes, an inverse relationship between heavy metal and mold toxicity, so if you have one, and you see a test result showing that you most likely often have the other. And it’s good if you can test everything, but if you just get a few key ones, figuring out the toxins that are getting your body’s way of naturally knowing what to do, and your DNA is really trying to work every single moment to optimize your health on a constant basis. And these toxins just get in the way.

You know, they just do so many terrible things within ourselves that we don’t really know what’s going on until it almost gets too late until you start really feeling bad. And we just want to feel better in that sense. So if we get that stuff out of the way, we detoxify, you know, whether it’s infrared sauna, you know, the niacin sauna protocols when I highly recommend to do, you know, ideally with a practitioner, understand the protocol very specifically.

But if you see that before and after of you have high mercury, high lead, high cadmium, any of those, and you do that before test, you go through, let’s say a gentle, you know, heavy metal chelation process, you know, recommend you, for example, Dr. Chris Shade in Quicksilver Scientific, they’re phenomenal on that front with both Lyme mold detox, people with Lyme tend to get more mold and heavy metal susceptibility. And so all of those things connected together when you start removing those from the system, safely, naturally, gently you go through that process, you’ll notice so many other aspects of your health, your energy, your sleep improve across the board.

And mitochondria are the key to that. We really need to help fuel the mitochondria and help them repair and rejuvenate in the best way we possibly can. And there’s very simple ways you can do that, but having these tests and understanding where your hormones are at. You know, for example, as women, you go through this beautiful hormonal cycle is fluctuation throughout each moon cycle in that sense, each menstrual cycle, and it’s so beautiful. And us men, we tend to be…we have our fluctuations, but we tend to just, you know, kind of go along at our own pace, and we might have peaks and drops at various stages or ages.

But with a beautiful feminine cycle, you have to really look at, for example, there’s one called diagnostics panel. And now it actually tracks salivary hormone analysis from all the way through your entire period, not just a snapshot. That’s one thing I see a lot of clients gonna be like, “Oh, my estrogen is fine, my testosterone is fine, estradiol is fine, it all looks good,” and yet they’re experiencing all these hormonal disruptive changes. So I usually have them go through and do this test. And they see the fluctuation throughout the entire moon cycle, and they understand, oh, so it looks fine at the snapshot, but a couple of weeks later, a different part of the cycle, it’s different, and there’s a kink in the hose of the hormone channels.

And if you’re not producing hormones properly, you’re not utilizing them properly, you’re also not metabolizing or excreting them properly, those are three different key areas to look for those kinks in the hose and unravel that. So everything flows very beautifully to give it the fuel to produce the hormones, to have the ability to utilize that in proper ways, and have the ability to excrete it properly in that sense. And, you know, my wife is a fascinating example, both in the hormones and also heavy metal toxicity. You know, she’d actually gone blind for a couple of years from deep mercury and lead toxicity. And she healed herself naturally through that entire process with an array of wonderful things from colonics to coffee enemas to glutathione and beyond. It really transformed her entire life and regained her sight, and regained her health in that sense. And the hormonal connection was a key to that.

And she didn’t know about this test before we had met so I’d had her run that test, and we helped her with that. And we checked out mold and we checked out heavy metal panels. We’ve been monitoring that ever since. And also the base nutrients, you know, the micronutrient sufficiency panel is one of my absolute favorites, I recommend SpectraCell as a lab from that. And they go through and they look at so many different elements, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to omega fatty acids. You can really see what you have too much of, what you don’t have enough of, and what you’re just right in. And that’s really the spectrum you want to look at.

And then support through the most natural ways possible, through diet, through lifestyle, exercise, supplementation if it makes sense for you, and it will help support that aspect and, you know, deeply, deeply healing on the mitochondrial level. Because the mitochondrial level really spirals all the way back up through every emerging system of organ health in the body as a collective unit, that integrated holistic approach. So detox panels, hormone panels, micronutrient sufficiency panels are some of my absolute favorites. And there’s some like the organic acids test, for example, or the DUTCH test, those give you really incredible aspects of details for adrenal fatigue to, you know, different aspects of hormonal burnout.

And when you start just tweaking those things just a little bit, even just, you know, one or two tests will give you a really good insight into how you can start optimizing your health naturally in this fashion. And you can do another test, you know, whether it’s two or three months later and compare and, you know, are you doing better, are you not? Have you stepped forward with growth or is your body stepping back into safety? And really understanding how you can get out of that fight-or-flight response in the nervous system and calming the brain in that sense.

You get those adrenals recharged and rejuvenated, you get that jing flowing, you know, from traditional Chinese medicine, you know, philosophy. You see that across the board, and you’ll really notice that the smallest adjustments to your diet and lifestyle and your environment will totally transform your health in that sense because the environment shapes us. If the environment’s toxic, we need to support and bolster ourselves in that and help support our body’s natural detoxification systems. And that’ll help all the way up the spiral of every emerging system and your mitochondria are gonna be very happy and your body overall is gonna be stellarly fantastic and loving life to the fullest.

Katie: I love that. And I know my audience is typically much more educated than average, and they probably understand these concepts already. But for anyone who it’s a new concept to, I wanna just go a little bit deeper on the idea of mitochondrial health. So can you explain at a broad level for anyone who’s not quite familiar like what the mitochondria do, what they are, what they do, and then any other ways that we might be able to support them? And, especially, I’m thinking for the parents listening for our kids who are typically hopefully not recovering from a health crisis, but how can we support their mitochondria from an early age?

Caleb: Oh, it’s a beautiful question, Katie. And it’s, you know, so fascinating. You know, it’s a fun thing, I call it mother is mitochondria and the liquids of life. It really ties into this connected chain of mitochondrial function. And so I’ll get a little bit more geeky complex aspects of mitochondria, but first and foremost, we inherit our mitochondrial DNA from our mothers. So if you’re a mother listening, you have your mitochondrial DNA you inherited from your mother and so on so forth, but you also pass that along to your children.

And it’s very fascinating how evolution chose like, you know, let’s stick with mom, let’s pass that down through there, and dad contributes great, you know, genetic material. And it takes two to tango in that sense to produce this magic of life that we have as human beings on this planet. And it’s so incredible to see that following through the chain all the way back to the beginning of time. Again, that information, those answers are there. And that is really training and programming the next generation for having more resilience and more success in reproduction and survival. In that sense, you can live life to the fullest, and go on and continue that cycle. It’s just a never ending hero’s journey cycle of humanity and all of biological life really.

Then mitochondrial cells at the core, they are, you might remember is the powerhouse of the cell. You know, they produce ATP, adenosine triphosphate, which is, you know, essentially the natural cellular energy of our bodies of our biology. It’s not like caffeine or coffee where you get that central nervous system stimulation, which you get a bit of a peak and you get that buzz and it’s great and fantastic, tastes wonderful. But you might, over time, experience adrenal fatigue or you might experience sleep disruptions because overstimulating the central nervous system really can just confer some challenging issues in that sense.

So if we can go through and focus on the core cellular energy of the body, which is what the mitochondria produce, you know, they’re shuttlers of electrons, right? Everything we eat, we take in, enzymes break it down, there all these beautiful complex processes. But the goal of it, really the end takeaway for understanding how mitochondria work is that all these little pieces break down into little energy units of electrons. And these electrons are passed through a few different phases in, you know, the mitochondrial complex. And there’s, you know, one through four, one through five, depending which research you look at, but at the end of that whole process, you’ve taken the electrons you extract from food and then you process it through, which then produces, you know, easy water, what’s called exclusion zone water. You know, Dr. Gerald Pollack’s research in “Fourth Phase Water,” and it’s different than the water we drink, which I can touch on a bit too.

But then you spit out ATP, the adenosine triphosphate, which is that energy that fuels every other aspect of our being and really animates us to be alive in that sense. And it also spins off oxidative elements too that can be damaging, you know, it’s kinda like a car burning gas, you know, there is exhaust that comes out of that. Mitochondrial functions in the same way. And when you have really awesome mitochondrial function going on, that is literally giving energy to every different cell and every different part of our bodies. And when you optimize mitochondrial function because we discovered…you know, Dr. Douglas Wallace, for example, has incredible research on this and he’s really tied together just about every known chronic disease disorder or challenge that we humans face in health and life and he’s really tied it back to the foundation of mitochondrial function, there always a connection of the mitochondrial function level in there.

So when you focus on that, it’s what I call like a high-leverage strategy because you’ve been focused on supporting your mitochondrial function, and that shuttles electrons more efficiently, which means, also too, when you’re processing electrons through mitochondrial function more efficiently, you’re not storing that excess energy in the form of, guess what, fat. And if you’re having excess weight challenges, there’s water weight and there’s fat weight, but that is all backed-up stored energy is a survival mechanism.

And if your body is in a stress state, your mitochondria are just, you know, dysregulated, not too happy, and they’ve been bombarded by toxins and a lot of different aspects that will break them down, that means you’re producing less energy in the form of ATP, you’re storing more of that energy in fat cells and, you know, all around your body, and you’re also producing more oxidants in that sense, we know about antioxidants, how awesome they are for health in various ways. But if you’re producing more oxidants and less energy, that’s not really a good combo, you know, that’s a car that’s having trouble. You need to take it in and get it checked and tuned up and see what’s going on.

And when you optimize the mitochondrial efficiency, you can get much, much more energy out of much less input. So you might actually eat less food and feel more satiated and you’ll be losing weight and burning fat as fuel for your brain and the rest of your organs in that sense. And that’s where, you know, ketosis can come into play as well if you practice that. But overall, regardless of how you eat or how you live, mitochondria are at the core of what is driving every aspect of a biological function from an energetic perspective, like a physical biophysics energetic perspective. And the cool thing behind that as well is that light, light itself is actually what makes all the switches flip on or off from a genetic level, from an epigenetic level, and for the genome of mitochondria as well.

And so we get proper light that is supporting all the way through. So it’s driven by light, mitochondrial optimization will produce more energy from less input. So you can basically have a way better return on your investment from a biological perspective. And then every other cell can get what it needs. And that cellular hydration, cellular water, we call it exclusion zone water, which very simply means that it keeps the bad stuff out and lets the good stuff in. And when that is really optimal, then you are truly hydrated on the inside of your body, every cell. And metabolic processes can continue and hormones can be produced and utilized, which are all powering your experience.

You know, we are chemists, we have a pharmacy in our brain and in our body and we produce neurochemistry that makes us happy or sad. And different experiences on the spectrum of life, they’re all, you know, adjusted here and there by different aspects. And so the more energy you have, the more repair your body can do, and the more repair your body can do, the more it can upgrade and optimize, and you can build strength, and you can build optimal health in various ways based on your desired outcomes and your goals. And mitochondria are the key to that.

Katie: I love it. So I’m curious with all of your experimentation and research in this area, what diet you’ve personally settled on at this point and what you follow, or maybe it varies, but what do you typically do?

Caleb: So that’s fine, you know, I’ve been through again that the spectrum from super hardcore raw vegan with all the superfoods under the sun and giant Vitamix blender-fulls of, you know, kale, green smoothies, and everything else. And all the way to, you know, the carnivore nose-to-tail type approach. And it’s very fascinating, you know, the original raw approach for me was really fantastic the first year-and-a-half I was doing it, and I lost over 60 pounds, and I just cleared up brain fog, and my skin cleared up. I had great energy, it was fantastic. You know, isn’t sort of the heyday of when raw was starting to take off.

I felt amazing with that, but over time, like the last year-and-a-half of that experiment, I ran for about three years, you know, I actually had quite the crash in health. And I, you know, kinda noticed it when I was in the parking lot of a grocery store in California, and I was munching on some cactus jerky. And one of my back molars just cracked and crumbled in my mouth. And I’m in the backseat of the car, and my friends driving, all of a sudden, my blood’s just pouring out of my mouth, like what just happened here? So I raced to, you know, get to an emergency surgery to take care of that. And that really was an indication that this diet was no longer serving me.

And long story short, I did a lot of research figured it out, and realized that, you know, the high oxalic content of the greens I was having and the lectins and different anti-nutrients to a degree that disrupt some processes within health from a dietary perspective. You know, my methylation pathways, my genetics, they just were not suited to that. And so I had a decrease in bone density, and my testosterone plummeted, you know, I did not feel like a man at all at that time. It was a challenge. I was very happy and very spiritual in that sense, but my body was not happy because it wasn’t able to get the nutrition from what I thought were the most nutrient-dense foods possible into my system, into my cells, and to support my mitochondrial function as best as it could.

And so that led me to diving into biophysics much, much deeper and realizing that the micronutrient sufficiency aspect is a real critical key. And there’s also biological competition, you know, vitamins and minerals sometimes compete within the body. And iron is a good example of that. So if you’re having iron in a multivitamin, it doesn’t really make the most sense, because it actually can compete with at least 18 other vitamins and minerals and nutrients. And that happening in the body is not so fun, you’re essentially, you know, just not utilizing what you think you’re putting in to help in your health in that sense.

And so from there, I switched gears. You know, I’ve had a lot of head injuries over the years, I’ve had over 28 concussions ranging from mild to severe, and done a lot of work on my brain in various ways, brain scanning and all these other really cool aspects to see what’s going on and how I can optimize that function. And I realized that the ketogenic aspect of dietary lifestyle was really powerful in a number of ways. And so I dove into, you know, from the raw days, I jumped into ketosis, and I got into fasting, intermittent fasting. And I started realizing that it was actually quite simple to shift a few things. You know, if I stopped eating food a few hours before I went to bed that my energy levels were much better and my digestive function was much more enjoyable. I didn’t have gas, I didn’t have bloating, I didn’t have these issues.

My brain was much clearer and my sleep quality was just off the charts, and something I tracked on a daily basis and have for many years, I could see that that translation there. And my brain was just on fire in the best of ways. It was clear, it’s focused, you know, struggled with ADD most of my life, but thankfully don’t need medications for it because I’m utilizing dietary aspects and supplements accordingly from nootropics and beyond to essentially optimize each different aspect of that in my brain function. And so from the ketogenic lifestyle, you know, that really turned things around for me and getting into fat as fuel, and just really understanding how the body can utilize these different nutrient elements, and put them to work in the cells and keep the mitochondria happy.

And I went through and after I did that for some years and I put together a large course on that topic, helped a lot of people in that sense of, you know, doing ketosis properly, there’s sort of a good way to do it and there’s some ways that are less than optimal that you’ll see differences in over time and you’ll know how you feel because you might feel great in the beginning but make sure that that’s sustainable for you.

And then I shifted into seasonal cycling of foods. And the concept of it was a really great book, I believe it’s called “The Jungle Diet.” And basically a very simple concept, the author was a genius scientist where she basically just took people she was working with and ran their genetics and found out where they were from, and just switched them to a natural diet that matched where their DNA had the most time spent. You know, if you were from Spanish countries, it would be more to that degree. If you’re Mediterranean, it would be more Mediterranean style. And there’s nothing really fancy about this. It was really just getting on the original foods that the DNA had the most experience with over time, encoding that knowledge of how to use those nutrients in those foods for health. And that radically transformed people’s health across the board.

And so when I looked at where I lived and, you know, the type of light I received, and the type of seasonal cycles, I would switch my food to keep with the seasons. I go to the farmers’ market and get everything fresh and put it together. I love to cook, I’m a crazy foodie geek chef, so I love cooking with new fresh ingredients all the time. And I realized the more in tune with nature I got, the more energy I was able to produce, and the better I was able to sleep, and the more focus that I had.

And from there, I switched over to doing another experiment in the carnivore space. And the carnivore diets are really fascinating when you do it very, very particularly and ideally, a nutrient-dense carnivore aspect. You know, Dr. Paul Saladino is a great speaker on this topic. And I believe he has a book coming out very soon if it’s not out already that’s all about this and the various ways to do it. And the nose-to-tail approach of having the bone marrow and the bone broth and the collagen, and having the organ meats and, you know, heart, kidney, liver, spleen, thyroid, and you can get so many different ones that are from grass-fed animals that are very sustainably produced that are very clean and don’t have any other contaminants in them.

And you mix that in with a carnivore diet, it was really fascinating because I was teaching people ketosis all these years, and some did incredibly well and some had challenges. And after my experiment, you know, it just transformed my health, I got lean and ripped and shredded and it was fantastic, energy was off the charts. I just felt incredible from that. And my lab testing that I do on a regular basis was showing that, you know, lower CRP, lower inflammation markers, higher energy, more nutrient density, you know, a more even harmony across the board of ratios of fatty acids, for example, like omega 3, 6, and 9.

And all these other aspects of, “Okay, there’s something to this here,” and getting to the aspect of biophysics, not to get too deep and geeky with this, but there’s deuterium and deuterium is heavy hydrogen and tying back to mitochondria. When you have, you know, something that’s twice as big and twice as heavy and you try to fit it through one hole that’s not that big and need something of different weight, then it breaks things. And it breaks the nanomotors in mitochondrial function, at the end, it spits out, like, we talked about that ATP and that cellular water and the oxidants that come out as an exhaust aspect of that.

So you’re literally breaking these nanomotors and the mitochondria cells are dying. And deuterium concentrates highly in plant foods and in carbohydrates, for example. And that was what I found fascinating of switching it up a little bit with clients I was working with and training. I was like, “Hey, you know, let’s go and do a carnivore type approach for a short duration of time, sort of like as a prep,” and it was fascinating because carnivore and ketosis are very similar in various ways, but the key to them is that they actually help you deplete the deuterium in your tissues. You need a little deuterium, it’s not the most bad stuff ever. You need it to drive growth in a lot of different ways to maintain health, but we have way too much of it these days.

And when you deplete that out naturally, that’s actually the fundamental underpinning of the biophysics of why and how ketosis works and carnivore as well. So when you get these rich, nutrient dense, you know, high-fat, great quality grass-fed meats across the board and nutrient-dense organ meats, your body really knows what to do with those because that’s what we have always historically, you know, for the most part and anthropology noted that we’ve eaten, and helped us form the brains we have, and the bodies we have. When you give your body those nutrients, they’re the more bioavailable and more bioidentical. And since your body knows what to do with them, your DNA is a code, a program that says, “I see the nutrients in liver and I can use those nutrients for what I need to do and build inside of biology.”

And that was really fascinating because there’s a much easier approach to help people get into a ketogenic lifestyle, and then more of a cyclical fashion, you know, especially women, you need to cycle things more. Men can get away with just being kind of hardcore carnivore and hardcore keto for a while, but women have, again, that beautiful hormonal cycle you must support. And carbs are necessary for some people in various forms, especially if you’re an athlete in training, you do need to cycle those out too. And so that carnivore connection there was really fascinating and very counterintuitive, you know, coming from this extreme raw vegan type approaches and experiment all the way to, you know, the most opposite you could possibly get of the carnivore approach. But the results were fantastically clear across the board from laboratory testing from how I felt.

And also everyone I worked with, I was just seeing them transform in ways that I didn’t even know we could achieve in that period of time. And it’s just a consistency through and through that the body again knows what to do. And when we get those nutrients in, it connect those up, it’s really fascinating what can happen. And so now, I really cycle these things out. So I’m primarily ketogenic, I do a lot of carnivore, and I still occasionally love to have my cake and eat it too. You know, I’m gluten-sensitive, dairy-sensitive in various ways, but I’ve optimized my digestion to a degree that I can enjoy certain things.

You know, fun little treat, for example, I love Mexican food and tacos, and they have these churros, which are sort of a deep-fried, glutinous, sugar-covered thing with a dulce de leche caramel sauce, and they’re fantastically delicious. I’m not able to have them all the time because they would kind of KO me for a few days, very sensitive to those things. But really, again, just how we go back to realizing what’s working, what’s not in anything we do, and anything we change in our lifestyle and health, we realized that, “Okay, if we improve digestion, we can actually handle a little bit more of the things that we may be sensitive to outside of that.” And so that was kind of a test for me after the carnivore experiment was how good is my gut health, you know, strength and resilience in my gut, how’s that doing and how am I digesting things?

And so I had those churros at the taco place, and it was so delicious. It was wonderful. But the craziest thing it is that it did not affect me negatively at all. You know, the first time, I was like, “Wow, actually, I can have this and enjoy it every now and then,” but it’s not a consistent thing. And so when I stick to the real foods and certain ones cooked, certain ones not cooked, you want to have a mix of those things. The enzymes are a really critical, important part of that too. But again, that nutrient density giving the body the healthy fats to burn as fuel, that upregulates mitochondrial function. You have more energy, you have better digestion, you can absorb more nutrients in the gut and beyond. You can produce all those chemicals that all lead to joy and bliss in daily life.

Katie: I love that. And a couple of key takeaways that really resonated with me is, like, you’re explaining this in a framework of people being able to figure out an experiment and figure out the things that work for them. Because I’m sure, like you’re in the health world as well, I often get the question, you know, what do you do in this instance, or what specifically do you take, or what does your typical day look like, or what do you eat? And I always say, that’s the wrong question because I’ve only figured that out for me. And each of us has to begin that process and figure out, and it’s always changing.

That’s the beauty of it is even if you figure it out, it changes seasonally, it changes, like you said, hormonally for women. So we’re in a constant journey and evolution of this. I’m also a big fan of cycling things and not doing anything all the time. I’m personally a big believer that the body can adapt very quickly to things, and I don’t want mine to get used to getting any supplement every single day, or getting any food every single day, or even getting food, in general, every single day. So I mix up a lot with diet and supplements and fasting and that’s something that you do as well.

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And you also mentioned, I wanna go back to the idea of fight-or-flight and sympathetic versus parasympathetic because I think that’s an important key that a lot of us miss. You could have everything else dialed in, and this was me for years, you can have your diet dialed in and perfect. You can be exercising, you can have sleep dialed in. If you don’t address whatever the stress whether it’s cellular, whether it’s emotional, whatever it is, if you are in fight-or-flight, you’re not gonna see the biggest benefit from any of those things. So I’m curious if you have anything that you have found or any series of things that have been helpful with that or any tips for people adopting the mental framework for being able to make these changes and to remain in parasympathetic?

Caleb: Absolutely. Yeah. And part of that is exactly what you just said, tying in the nervous system, is taking those breaks and cycling things on a regular basis. I do the same, you know, I take a break from all supplements. I can take a break from all food, you know, the fasting periods, and you cycle that through. And that is something that is really key and critical for giving your nervous system when it needs to relax. And there are so many simple things you can go from very simple to, you know, just laying down and getting horizontal. You know, with my wife that was actually one challenge that she had of these chronic sneezing fits because her body was sort of locked into this stressed state in the nervous system. It was always thinking it was under attack and under, you know, some sort of threat at all times.

And I just noticed that she had the sneezing attacks, and I said, you know, “Honey, if you just lay down, just lay down.” She’s like, “What do you mean?” She’s sneezing, you know, intensely, and it’s really challenging. She can barely talk, her eyes are watering. And I just told her lay down, and she laid down. And when you lay down, your vagus nerve sends a signal that’s essentially like, okay, we’re laying down, that means it’s safer than standing up, very simply. And that laying down her sneezing texture disappeared, they just stopped entirely. And I had her stand back up and they came back.

And so, again, that clued me into realizing, okay, there’s a pattern here. And that pattern is that your nervous system thinks and believes it’s in fight-or-flight right now. That’s a very stressful state to be in, very high cortisol state, which is very oxidative and very stressful on the cells and the rest of your body, and your mitochondria working overtime to try to support that. And you can all the way go to, for example, the biomedical technology world. There’s one incredible one which is called microcurrent therapy, and it uses electricity, again, one of the natural forces, electricity, magnetism, gravity, pressure, all these natural forces of physics of what govern our environment that shapes us and how our bodies operate, and also how the nervous system ties in.

And with that, they actually go through and they can help your nervous system essentially calm down and relax and using electrical stimulation to tell the vagus nerve in other parts of your body, whether it’s your gut, or whether it’s your brain. Various different people have different challenges there, they’ll put you into the same state. And a technology like that, which is a bit more advanced, but they can go through and do a few sessions on you and your body actually is like okay, yes, I can relax and I can, you know, let go of that stress. And a lot of it’s very mental and psychological too.

So, you know, if you don’t feel appreciated, if you don’t feel loved, if you don’t feel supported in various ways, whether it’s your partner, whether it’s your family dynamic, whether it’s your friends or community, the work you do, there’s many different angles of life that affect us in these ways. And any of these aspects that stress us out, it changes everything from our breathing to our heart rate variability to our nervous system response to what it’s thinking, threats or not. And so really creating however you can in your environment safety in a safe place. And a great place to start is the bedroom. You know, make it pitch black dark as you can, lock the door, if you have to. You know, if you have wonderful, furry pets to sleep with, that’ll actually help you sleep better as well because they act as a guard, they’re able to hear things and sense things before you can. So you can actually sleep deeper and they’ve done some fascinating studies on this.

And you can see how these different connections all together create a comfortable environment for you to sleep and relax and recover. And that’s one of the highest leverage areas you can focus on is optimizing your sleep cycle and your sleep protocol in that sense. And getting that nervous system out of fight-or-flight is really key. But, again, going out and getting light in your eyes, light on your skin, your feet grounded to the earth, breathing so many deep breaths, you know, you can breathe in for four seconds and breathe out for six seconds. That’s a very simple one that anyone can do to calm your heart rate down and increase your coherence.

And the coherence level of your heart rate variability is what is gonna allow your body to realize that it is safe to operate, it is safe to rejuvenate repair. And you don’t have to be in this chronic stressed state of fight-or-flight or what’s going on here. There are so many angles to it. If you need to go walk in nature, go walk in nature. You know, if you wanna relax and watch a movie, you can watch a movie. Really, it depends on where you are, where you live, you know, how you live your lifestyle. But there’s always a way to figure out even if it’s as simple as laying down flat for 15, 20 minutes, you know.

And another great one is to lay down flat on your back and put your knees up onto a chair. And you’re kind of sitting in a chair but laying backwards. And when you’re doing that, you’re allowing the blood flow to circulate in a way that lets your body calm down and relax and get that response back into that rejuvenating stimulatory in a positive way. And not overstimulated in a stressful response of the nervous system being like, “Oh, no, what’s happening?” We wanna get out of that and we want to get into the rest and relax, and the rest and digest, you know, some people refer to it as, and that that calm, stable, resilient sense of you can handle anything at any time, no matter what life throws you.

Katie: Such good advice. And I’m curious if there’s any tips you would give for those listening who are hopefully not dealing with a major health crisis but want to, for instance, put off aging as long as possible. Are there any practical takeaways or tips that you would give for that?

Caleb: Oh, for sure. So, you know, really, again, you know, going from the bottom of the hierarchy up on the spectrum of, you know, really getting your diet adjusted to your lifestyle, what you need. Having that real, whole food, having, you know, whether it’s carnivore ketogenic, how you choose to play around, just really nutrient-dense foods, organic when possible, having the grass-fed, grass-finished meats. You know, going through, get that nutrient density from the bone marrow, the organ meats, you know, all that stuff supports methylation as well and detoxification pathways in addition to that.

And you’ve got supplementation, you know, there’s supplements out there. For example, like marine phytoplankton is almost like pure ATP, it’s like sunshine in a bottle. You can actually take a supplement like this, which is what helps whales grow to the size and strength that they are in the oceans, and you can really see how your body can utilize that as pure energy put in, doesn’t cost much ATP in your body to use the ATP that is produced in a supplement like that. It’s from a whole food source. And there’s many other versions of that and good high-quality oils and good high-quality fats across the board dietarily, and shaping your environment, and really just getting that safety, like we talked about, however you can. Start in the bedroom if you can and move out from there.

You know, technology is another big stressor across the board. So if you can block that blue light and you can calm your brain down, calm down your eyes and your mitochondrial cells so they can focus on that optimization is really critical and key. Again, you know, the breathing habits and dialing all the way through to even advanced technologies you can get into from CVAC pods to the NanoVi device is a fantastic one that, again, is based on biophysics and health and light in that sense.

And all the way through just figuring out how to stop eating as much, intermittent fasting-wise, like we don’t need as much food as we think we do. So fasting is one of those critical keys that we have is a built-in program. And even if you stop eating a few hours before bed at night, you’re gonna notice dramatic changes to your weight, to your energy levels, to how radiant you show up, and how much light you shine. Getting in nature, all the way across there, there’s so many different aspects.

You get into the anti-aging longevity aspect of how psyllium metabolism works. There’s a few that are very popular now, so like NMN and NR, for example, nicotinamide mononucleotide is NMN, and nicotinamide riboside is, you know, subtype of B3 vitamin that supports NAD+, NAD function in your cells. And that’s a really critical one. You can go straight to the NAD+ patches, you know, they have these electrophoresis patches with a battery you slap on, it’ll actually help you absorb it transdermally. You can do IV-based therapy with that too, but it is a very intensive therapy that not everyone has access to just yet.

But really getting those key nutrients, getting connected with nature, getting in tune and in touch with your own intuition and connecting with the natural cycles of light, of time, of geomagnetic location of where you are in the earth, and ideally aligning that to your genetics and also to what’s available in your local foodshed and having that clean water as well. You know, it’s spring water, you know, ideally, just good, clean, fresh water across the board help heal you in that sense all the way through.

And you can go through from, you know, hot and cold therapy, you know, if you get the sauna, you got that great detox and the heat stress and heat-shock proteins and great detox effects from that. And you can go through Wim Hof style, you can get in the cold. You know, if it’s wintertime where you are, you can do a cold plunge. You can go to a spa that might have a cold water pool you can get into, and that training, even a cold shower for five minutes in the morning will have so many great benefits for you and help build willpower and build resilience and build strength. You know, if you can do that and get up in the morning, and breathe and meditate if you like, have some good food, or not at all if you’re intermittent fasting, have a cold shower for even a few minutes at a time, all those little steps add up to much, much bigger compounded wins and synergies all throughout life.

And all of that confers to longevity and the sort of anti-aging type approach because we have the intelligence to do that, we need to get out the toxins, and we need to get in the nutrients, and we need to get in the light, and we need to keep that stimulation of stem cell proliferation and psyllium metabolism optimized. And, again, mitochondrial health is super key to that and light is what’s driving all of that from genetics all the way up the chain.

Katie: I love it. This has been so much information and so practical and actionable. I’ll make sure that I will link to…I know you have information on a lot of these topics, and I also do, those who will be linked in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. So if you guys are listening, make sure to find all of them linked there. Another question I love to ask at the end of episodes, if there’s a book or a number of books that have really dramatically impacted your life, if so, what are they and why?

Caleb: Oh, so, you know, one of them is gonna be the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, funny enough, it’s about 16,000 pages long. So, maybe not everyone’s personal read or very accessible, but one that is, that is a really huge game-changer for understanding how light affects health is a book called “Health and Light” by John Ott, J-O-H-N O-T-T is his last name. And he actually was a time-lapse photographer and cinematographer. And he actually worked on “The Secrets of Life” documentary with Disney and did segments for that back in 1956, the year my mom was born.

And I got into that book and I’m studying mitochondrial function, how light affects health, and he just noticed it from observation. You know, even all those years back he sees that, wow, if I have this type of lighting, this tomato grows bigger or smaller. And he worked with full-spectrum lighting and he’s like, “When I just put it in the sun, it grew larger and stronger. So what about me as a living being, like if I get more light, will that help my health?” And so he really goes through and breaks down very simply how light affects health in those various ways. And we’ve learned so much more scientifically beyond that. So I highly recommend “Health and Light” by Dr…he’s not a doctor, but cinematographer John Ott. It’s a huge, huge one.

And then, you know, another one “Iconoclast” by Gregory Berns is a fantastic one from a neuroscience perspective of just how you can live a great life and really have these iconic thinking moments, no matter where you are. But it’s such a powerful influence to think bigger and go bigger, in a sense, that you can do so much more with your life if you want. And wherever you are, you can be happy and be still and be at peace within yourself. You know, the work of Byron Katie, for example, on the psychological aspect of, you know, the stories our minds create, you know, are they true, are they not? Her work is very profound from a psychological wellness perspective. And again, that nervous system, calming the nervous system down from the mind is a key.

And there’s so many more, I could go on and on, but again, understanding evolutionary psychology and biology is really fun. If you’re a geek and you want to get into it, all these things tie together, and you’ll see the patterns coalesce. And you’ll start seeing, you know, essentially the code of the matrix of really how you can make different choices big or small, along the spectrum and identifying how you can live the best healthiest, happiest, most joyous and blissful life possible, and still be productive, and rock and roll and have so much fun, and also support and take care of those you love and those you serve.

Katie: I love it. Caleb, we’ll have links in the show notes, but where can people find you to keep learning?

Caleb: Yeah. So I have some information at calebjennings.com, I’ll be updating that soon with some more details. As well as, you know, you can go find some more intel, I’m going to be producing a lot more content through Activation Products. You can go to activationproducts.com/wellnessmama for more intel and details on that. And we have some really great content coming out to help educate about these base elements. And, again, all these aspects of biohacking, the holistic integration of how you can optimize health in various different ways, like we’ve been speaking about here, to supplementation, nootropics, all the way to advanced medical technologies and beyond.

But it’s all interconnected, and we’re all connected in that sense. So if you approach life with that, with, you know, just joyous mentality and having fun experimenting, trying new things here and there, getting outside your comfort zone, that’s where growth occurs. And that’s what I encourage you to do on a daily basis and just have so much fun with it.

Katie: I love it. Caleb, thanks so much for the time today.

Caleb: Absolutely, Katie. Thank you, it was a blast.

Katie: And thanks as always to all of you for sharing your time with us today. We’re so grateful that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.


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