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Live Your Healthiest and Fittest Life with Yuri Elkaim

Today, we’re talking about how to live your healthiest and fittest life with Yuri Elkaim. He’s the creator of several programs including Eating for Energy, Total Wellness Cleanse, and Super Nutrition Academy and the author of The All-Day Energy Diet.

Yuri is the inspirational and no BS nutrition and fitness expert. For more than 13 years, his honest and inspiring health messages has helped more than 100,000 people worldwide lose weight, get in great shape, eat healthier, and have a much better understanding of their health. He’s on a mission to transform the lives of more than 10 million people by 2018 and would love for you to be one of them.

Yuri, welcome to the show!

Yuri Elkaim: How’s it going, Evelyne?

Evelyne Lambrecht: Very well. How are you today?

Yuri Elkaim: I’m very good. I’m very good. Thank you!

Evelyne Lambrecht: Awesome. So Yuri, I know you have a story of how you got into all of this. Would you mind sharing that with us?

Yuri Elkaim: Yes. I don’t want to go too long on this, but most of my life, up until I was 24, was catered toward playing soccer – that was kind of my goal, my dream from a young age. I wanted to play pro soccer, so I spent most of my youth playing at a high level, and training, and competing, and I was able to finally play pro for three years in my early 20s.

So I was fit, but I wasn’t actually healthy because I grew up eating a really poor diet: a lot of the standard processed foods, very few vegetables and fruit, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, the standard good stuff.

I suffered from really bad eczema, asthma, low energy, and when I was 17, I started to lose my hair, and I didn’t know why. I went to my doctor. He eventually diagnosed me of an autoimmune condition called alopecia, which at the time, I didn’t really know why that was happening. For about seven or eight years, I just bounced around the medical community without any good answers to why this was happening.

And at the time, I actually went to study kinesiology at University of Toronto, because, thinking I was interested in health, and fitness, and stuff… I’m going to go and get some answers for my condition, and so that was a great four years.

Yuri Elkaim on Elevate Your Energy Radio

“I thought, if I didn’t know this basic fundamental stuff about nutrition, there must be billions of people who don’t either.”

However, I really didn’t come out of that with any better knowledge or understanding of nutrition, and a little while later, I actually went back to school and studied holistic nutrition. And that was a game changer for me because I remember my first day I was asking one of the professors there who was a naturopathic doctor, I said, “Do you think my hair loss can be related to my diet?” And she said, “Most likely, yes, for sure. We see it all the time. And not just with hair loss, but with autoimmune conditions in general, whether that be multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, or anything else.”

And that was a huge lightbulb moment for me because I thought, wow! For years, the medical community is telling me all they can do is inject cortisone into my head, and there’s nothing they can do other than that, and here, we have some natural, holistic practitioners saying that my diet was a huge culprit in this whole thing.

Long story short, I cleaned up my diet. Within about six weeks, I started to regrow my hair. It was tremendous. In terms of not so much the hair, I really don’t actually care about hair that much, but just in terms of the energy I started to feel a kind of subduing of a lot of the other kind of issues that I had. That was probably almost 10 years ago now. That was a huge revelation for me. That really spurred me to want to share that knowledge with other people.

From that time, I was really passionate about sharing the message. I thought if I didn’t know this stuff, and I played pro soccer, and I had gone to this school for health sciences and kinesiology; if I didn’t know this basic fundamental stuff about nutrition, there must be billions of people who don’t either. So that was really my impetus for getting into nutrition in a much bigger way.

But I also, at the same time, was personal training so I had a really big passion for fitness and strength and conditioning. Over the years, I’ve been able to blend both and really bring my perspectives and my philosophies of training and nutrition to a lot of people. So that’s kind of how it all started.

Evelyne Lambrecht: Very, very cool. I know you and I both love to talk about energy and eating for energy, so I’m going to ask you some questions about that first, and then we’ll talk about cleansing. What would you say is the number one nutritional strategy to double your energy that anyone can start right now?

Yuri Elkaim: Yes. The very simple answer is eat more greens, or juice, or smoothie more greens. That’s probably the single biggest thing anybody can do when we’re looking at adding stuff in as opposed to taking stuff out.

Hopefully, people are starting to be a little bit more conscious of this, and I think we’re seeing this a lot more in a lot of big cities where you have juice bars and a lot of vegan, raw-type restaurants that are opening up – not that you have to be raw and vegan, but there’s just more of a conscious movement towards eating more plant foods. That entails a lot more green juices and green smoothies because people are starting to realize that … and I think this has kind of come out of the arena of alternative cancer therapies where people who have been diagnosed and are basically written off by the medical community eventually turned to these holistic practitioners and alternative therapies, which entail, in a lot of cases, cleansing and a lot of greens. That’s not the only thing they do, but that seems to be a big foundation for a lot those types of approaches. I think that’s hit the mainstream now because people are understanding that greens have very, very profound impact health-wise in a positive manner for us.

Without going too scientific, I mean every single study shows, if you simply eat more vegetables and predominantly most of them green, or more of them green, you’ll reduce the risk of all diseases: diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular, cancer. It’s pretty much unanimous. And I don’t think there’s going to be side of it that’s ever going to come out saying that eating kale, or spinach, or lettuce is bad for you. So greens are a foundational component to having more energy, and there are some very specific cellular reasons why that happens. I don’t know if you want to get into that. It’s a little technical.

Evelyne Lambrecht: Sure! Why not?

Yuri Elkaim: Okay. I’ll boil it down to this: Green vegetables and vegetables in general  give off more of an alkaline residue in the body once they’re metabolized. Basically, what that means is that they give off more alkaline minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium as an example. Then they do protein and phosphorus.

So protein and phosphorus are very acidic in nature, and it’s a very simple equation. There’s a potential renal acid load. So when you take something for instance, like a vegetable where we know that there’s very low protein, very low phosphorus, in relation to the high amounts of dissolved minerals, once it’s digested and metabolized, it gives more of an alkaline-ash residue in our bloodstream.

Now, the reason that’s important is because our bloodstream needs to be slightly alkaline, around 7.4. If we think back to the pH scale from high school, 0 being very acidic, 14 being very alkaline, 7 is neutral. So 7.4 is just slightly alkaline, and our blood needs to be in that range because we have all these red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout our body. And when our blood is alkaline, they’re able to flow freely almost like driving on a highway at 3 in the morning: no traffic, unimpeded, it’s all good.

However, when our body becomes too acidic as a result of a standard American diet, stress, coffee, sugar, acidic foods, like a lot of protein or animal meats, cheeses, dairy, and stuff like that. Those are very, very acid forming. If our diet is predominantly based on those foods, then we give off more of an acidic residue in the body, and that shifts the balance of the blood.

When that happens, there’s a charge around the red blood cells that become compromised, and the red blood cells normally are able to flow freely because they actually repel each other. They both have a negative charge on the outside. However, if the blood becomes too acidic, that charge becomes stripped, then some of the red blood cells could start to stick together, and we have this whole traffic jam in the blood.

So that’s really the foundation of energy because if our blood is not able to move, if our blood is thick and moving like sludge, then we’re going to feel the same way. So green vegetables – in juice form, smoothie form, salad form – are the most profound remedy that I have ever come across for dealing with that in a safe and effective manner because it reestablishes your body’s normal balance, that it requires.

See, the thing is that green vegetables don’t inherently give you energy. That’s where caffeine would come in. Caffeine is a very deceiving type of stimulant because you think you’re being energized by caffeine, which you are temporarily, but it’s a stimulant. It’s a drug. It’s not something that’s actually reestablishing that homeostasis in the body that is so important to function normally.

So that’s, in a nutshell, why greens are so important. Hopefully, that makes sense.

Evelyne Lambrecht: That was a great explanation. What are your thoughts on juices versus smoothies?

Yuri Elkaim on Elevate Your Energy RadioYuri Elkaim: Well, I think both of them have their place … so the benefit of juicing is that – it’s a catch-22 really, because there’s no fiber. So when you juice something, there’s no fiber, and I’ll talk about why that’s bad in a second, but it’s good because, for a lot of us, we have digestive issues, right? We’re not absorbing the nutrients from our foods. So by juicing, you kind of allow those nutrients to be absorbed much more readily because there’s no interference from fiber or other things.

Having said that, it’s important to juice vegetables predominantly because if you juice fruits, then you are essentially dumping a boatload of sugar in the form of fructose and glucose into your bloodstream because it’s not able to be slowed down in the digestive tract by fiber. So I think a lot of people make mistakes juicing by saying, “Yeah, I’m going to have carrot and apple juice every single morning,” and they juice four carrots and four apples. That’s a huge glycemic load right there.

The problem with fructose, just so you know, is that fructose is actually a bigger problem for things like fatty liver disease or cardiovascular disease than fat itself because the liver is required to process fructose and convert it into glucose. And it can only do that at a certain rate before it starts to spew off triglycerides. So that’s a very, very big problem. So whether we’re drinking fruit juice or we’re drinking Coke, there’s very little difference from a sugar perspective. Now, obviously, there’s nutritional benefit from juice and from fruit.

But I really, really, really encourage people to focus on vegetables because you really want to limit the amount of unbuffered sugar coming into your body.

So juicing is amazing if you focus on vegetables, green vegetables obviously would be great. And you can add in an apple or a pear for a bit of sweetness, but don’t go crazy with that stuff. So again, the benefit there is that you’re getting maximum absorption because there’s no fiber, and that’s awesome if you’re juicing the right things.

Now, the flip side, smoothies are incredible because they’re actually the whole food, so they contain everything that you’d normally eat but just in a blended form. So it’s easier to digest. It still contains the fiber, which means that you’re not going to get hungry as quickly as you would with a juice. You’re not going to get the level of absorption perhaps as you would with a juice, but it’s a really simple way to get in a lot of servings of fruits and vegetables in a very convenient format.

I’m naturally very lazy in terms of preparing food, so a lot of my diet now is liquid, like in terms of juices and smoothies, because I can just make … if I want something… I’ll start off my morning with a green juice, and I’ll make a more substantial smoothie. I’ll make a liter of it, and I’ll just drink that throughout the day. So I’m getting, just between those two, six to ten servings of fruits and vegetables. And then usually, later in the day, I feel like something a little bit more substantial, so I’ll have a more formal dinner.

That’s what works for me, but I think there’s definitely a place for both smoothies and juices. Especially with the juices, it’s very important to understand that you really want to focus on the vegetables and not so much the fruit.

Evelyne Lambrecht: Yuri, what’s your favorite smoothie recipe? I know you have a guide. I forget what it’s called. I got it from you when I last saw you.

Yuri Elkaim: Yeah, the All-Day Energy: Smoothies and Juices.

Evelyne Lambrecht: Yes.

"So green vegetables – in juice form, smoothie form, salad form – are the most profound remedy that I have ever come across for dealing with that in a safe and effective manner because it reestablishes your body’s normal balance, that it requires."

“So green vegetables – in juice form, smoothie form, salad form – are the most profound remedy that I have ever come across for dealing with that in a safe and effective manner because it reestablishes your body’s normal balance, that it requires.”

Yuri Elkaim: My favorite smoothie … I’ll give you my go-to one. It’s probably the easiest one for anyone to use. I have packets of frozen berries in my freezer, so I’ll just take a packet of frozen berries, which will be blueberries, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, dump a bunch … I don’t measure anything, so I just dump a bunch into a blender. I will add in some almond butter or organic peanut butter, whichever I think to have at the time. I’ll put in some hemp seeds, throw in some flax oil or hemp seed oil, throw in a couple ground flaxseeds, and what else? I think that’s kind of the base. That’s really as simple as it is. You don’t have to be very complicated. And then I’ll use almond milk as the liquid base.

Sometimes I use protein powder, you can throw that in. You can also add other stuff in. But I think for anyone to just make a quick really easy smoothie, you can do that now. If you want to throw in some spinach or some other greens, that’s a great way to do that too because the flavors of the berries, you can actually add a little bit of stevia if you wanted to add a sweetness to this, especially if you want to add in some green vegetables and you want to mask their flavor.

The smoothie doesn’t really come out green because the berries are overpowering their color. So it’s a nice way to kind of disguise greens, especially if you have kids. That’s a really simple one to use, and it’ll take like a minute to make.

Listen to the full interview on Elevate Your Energy Radio or by subscribing to the podcast on iTunes. You can also read the full transcript in one of the upcoming Elevate Your Energy Expert Guides by opting in below!

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