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Just As Nature Intended: High-Fat Diet with Vinnie Tortorich
I am honored to have on Vinnie Tortorich on my show. Vinnie’s interviewed me for his and we had such a great time and we’re so in alignment. I couldn’t wait to get him onto my show. Vinnie is the celebrity trainer. He wrote a book called Fitness Confidential a few years ago. It’s done well on Amazon, so many phenomenal reviews and Vinnie is well-known as the angriest trainer. He exposes the nasty underbelly of the fitness industry while getting you in the best shape of your life. He’s been at this for over twenty years. His podcast is not to be missed. He’s got over 1,000 episodes that are on there and he’s interviewed the best of the best. Make sure you check out a copy of his book, Fitness Confidential and Vinnie will tell us more about where to find him, what he’s doing and all about his podcast. Vinnie, welcome to the show.
Jack, thanks for having me. This is great. I’m glad you’re doing a podcast now because you are one of those guests when I had you on my show where you were saying, “This guy needs to do more of this.” At the time, I didn’t even think to say to you maybe you should start your own podcast because we need this information out there. Thank you for doing this.
It’s a pleasure. I think the healthcare revolution is on. It’s just so many people are getting into health and wellness and they’re getting away from their medical doctors. That’s something you’re so passionate about. It’s like, “Let’s prevent things before we need to reach out to the medical doctor, before we get cancer, before we get heart disease.” Tell us a little bit about your backstory and how you got to where you are now.
I walked into a gym when I was eight years old. I spent a lifetime of me starting off, working out and that whole thing. When I went to college, I went to Tulane University on a football scholarship. I had to study for something and Tulane was well-known for being a medical university and most of the classes are geared to either medicine or law. I look around and the world does not need another lawyer. I went to get an education degree and ended up getting one in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Then what do you do with that? It’s like you leave college and you’re nothing but a glorified PE teacher. I was like, “Where do I take this? I can go teach a health class,” and that’s exactly what I did at first. A very prestigious school in New Orleans, the Newman School hired me not as a PE teacher but as a strength and conditioning coach. I got to work with a couple of guys that ended up becoming Super Bowl MVPs, the Manning kids were there when I was there.
At some point, I’ve been in this business for twenty years. I started thinking about it. It’s getting closer to 40 years, it’s 37 years I’ve been doing this. Along the way, early on I started figuring out that everything I was taught in college was just wrong. Everything you learned in nutrition, by the way all the clues were there the whole time. I tell this story all the time. A professor had said to us, “Your body’s preferred method for burning fuel is the macronutrient fat,” so I wrote that down and I wrote down everything that professor said. Then a couple of weeks later, the same professor was talking about aerobic activity and how your body needs sugar to burn, fat burning sugar if you’re doing anything like riding a bike or just mowing the lawn or any of this stuff. I raised my hand and said, “I have it here on August 28th that you said that the body’s preferred fuel was fat.” He goes, “Forget that.” I was like, “You said, which will be on the test? Which one should I put down on the test that won’t be wrong?” He goes, “Your body uses fat. It’s a slow burning fuel, but if you need readily available energy, you get that from sugar.”
That was my first clue, “He did say fat and now he’s saying sugar. I’m not sure where the truth lies.” Then just working with people in the lab and all that kinds of stuff reflects such physiology. You notice that when you get someone into the aerobic mode, you have four aerobic modes up to 69%, 70% to 79% and 80% to 89% and so on and so forth that you can see how fast they’re burning fuel through their glycogen. We would take them all the way into a bulk. The question became how do we not have them bulk? How can some people seem to run forever? What are those people doing that are different? What are the Maasai tribes doing? What are the Inuits doing? How are they doing this stuff if you need all this sugar? There were clues all along the way but I wasn’t willing to switch until I moved to Los Angeles started of working with celebrities.It's the quality stuff that makes the difference, not just any variety. Click To Tweet
That’s when they’ll say, “You need to take this woman from size four to a size two or this woman just had a baby and she has to walk the red carpet. You need to get weight off of her.” I would pull people off of carbohydrates. It works like a charm, but then they get really bitchy and aggravated because we’ve taken all of their sugar away and I would say, “Have a little protein.” I was in that school and then I started figuring out if you gave them a little butter that seems to save them to because I use the same method for myself. One night I was hungry and because I used to model back then too, and I have to be thin for a shoot, I’d take a little butter in my mouth, that can’t hurt. All of a sudden I felt better. If I had to go for a run, I’d put a little butter in my mouth and go for a run. It was accidental figuring this stuff out. Back then it was hard to find anything. Stephen Phinney was about the only guy writing anything. Jeff Volek was writing stuff back then.
We’re talking about the early ’90s and I will look around. There was no computer, no Google, no nothing. You have to go find stuff and go figure stuff out. There were just clues everywhere. I would read about Ketogenic diets and you’d have to go find microfiche in libraries. When you’re me and you’re a nerd and you don’t have any friends, you just go do that because you don’t have a date on Saturday night. I was always trying to figure out some magic potion because I was riding bikes and I was doing these long distances. I was going 300, 400, 500 miles on a bike. I was looking for that magic bullet, “How do I sustain energy?” It wasn’t an overnight thing. I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent on your first question, but I did.
Clearly, you found that as you were supplementing these models and stuff like that and you were putting them on a high-fat diet. When you say high fat, what kinds of stuff did you recommend then? As a change to what you recommend now if you were speaking to one of these supermodels trying to get from a four into a two, how would you do it?
It’s not that much different. Back then, butter was the main thing. I read that when we put back in the ’30s and ’40s, I read somewhere when babies have seizures, they were putting them on Ketogenic Diet. I would go, “How would they do that? Would they give them fat from a cow or what do they do?” They were giving them heavy whipping cream. I would go out and try to find heavy whipping cream in LA, which is almost impossible because everybody was on skim milk. I would find most cheese and that kind of stuff. I went to the dairy side of things. By the way, I was scared of cholesterol back then because there was no one talking about the cholesterol part of it. I was skeptical about sending clients in that direction. The one thing I kept noticing back in those days was I can wake up in the morning and have a breakfast cereal and feel crappy within an hour. If I ate bacon, I felt like I could run a marathon. People will say to me, “Yes, because there were nitrites and nitrates in there” and then I’m like, “I don’t know. There’s something else going on here. I feel like I’m shot out of a cannon when I eat this.”
It’s so funny that you mentioned that. One of the healthy things about bacon is the fact that it’s high in nitrates and nitrites. These are then converted into nitric oxide which is a vasodilator and fantastic for blood pressure circulation and for exercise, stamina, and recovery, erectile issues. Who would’ve thought bacon was so good? You’re saying fry up the bacon. If you need a little extra, fry it up in the butter.
It’s funny how that works because when you think about the whole history of any of it, Dr. Kellogg, who was a Seventh Day Adventist didn’t believe in sex other than for procreation. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that. Masturbation was a definite, “No way, no how.” They figured out the way to make people not want to have erections was to eat cornflakes. That’s what animals was supposed to eat so that’s what they were trying to do. By the way, I was funded to do a movie and the movie is going to be out early in 2019. It’s called Fat: A Documentary. I have people talking about that in the movie. I’m talking about it, that’s part of my thing. I’m talking about Dr. Kellogg and what was going on in the 1860s that is still carrying on now that’s making us more heart unhealthy by the day.
There’s a lot of literature as much as me, I wouldn’t say I pigeonhole myself as the Paleo cardiologist. It’s all about living the lifestyle as much as we can of our ancestors and the Paleo person wasn’t going after dairy and wasn’t eating another animal’s milk. Yet at the same time, the literature is the literature. The literature says that those dairy eaters tend to do very well, butter increases HDL number and HDL function, which may be the Holy Grail. I like to hear this butter story and personally, I always go for a raw dairy whenever possible. The fact that they’ve gotten that out of our lives is an absolute travesty but you can get it, raw dairy, raw butter, raw cream, just like nature would have intended.The more people move towards health and wellness, the farther they are from medical doctors. Click To Tweet
We were traveling and we traveled a lot to go do shows and everything else. We were up in Seattle and we found some heavy cream not far away from our hotel room. We got it back and I put some in my coffee the next morning. I tasted it and then I realized it had either Carrageenan or one of the other thickeners they would put in there now and because it’s not what we drink at home. We always have the heavy cream and I’d get it, the good heavy cream without any thickeners is hard to find. You pay a lot for them and not everyone can afford it. I always tell people, “Do the best you can when it comes to raw butter or raw milk, raw everything.”
Those products are so calorie dense that a little bit of that stuff goes a long way. If you put just maybe a tablespoon into your coffee, that could satiate you for several hours.
People always ask me, “How much do you put in your coffee?” It makes me sound racist but I will say, “Make it look like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. If it starts to look like Edgar Winter, then you probably went too far.”
Tell me some strategies. You travel a lot, you speak a lot and you’re all over. How do you stay healthy? How do you eat healthy while you’re traveling?
People were asking me that in Seattle. I hear people all the time say, “I travel a lot so how could I stay healthy?” Even if you’re in a third-world country, you can always find things to eat and we’re never in third-world countries. I’m either in Europe or somewhere in the United States or sometimes in Central America and sometimes it’s Canada. It doesn’t seem that difficult to stand up straight now and they’ll say, “What do you have when you’re on the plane?” If I’m going to Europe from LA and I know I’m going to be on a plane for ten or eleven hours, I’m going to bring things like macadamia nuts because they travel well. I may also bring a couple of hard-boiled eggs in a Ziploc. If you’re in a small plane going across the country and you pull an egg out of a Ziploc, it’s going to smell pretty bad.
I always just walk to the back of those white bodies and pull it out. Usually, the people that work on the plane sitting back there don’t mind talking to you for a minute while you eat an egg. I even do a thing where I peel it before I leave home and I throw salt in the Ziploc bag so I don’t have to do any of that, just pull it out, eat it and it’s gone in a second. There are a lot of easy things you can do when you travel, not to mention those long international flights. Usually, you can ask them for cheese. I don’t like to fly first class because it’s awful expensive but the first class has all the good stuff. If you’re nice to the person that’s waiting for you, what I find is if you say to them, you make up something, “I’m gluten intolerant. Do you have any cheese up on first class?” “We’ll get you some right away.” They will go run up there and grab whatever they have. They don’t care, they don’t mind. It’s easy to get around when you travel.
I always say I’m the guy who opens up a can of sardines on the plane and nobody likes that guy. I’ve got patients who are pilots and I’ve asked them over the years, would there ever be a situation where somebody like me could get in trouble or be kicked off a plane for opening up sardines? They reassure me that we’re all safe when we’re doing that. It’s doable, it takes a little effort, it takes some planning as you said. That being said, how easy is it to do some hard-boiled eggs, avocados travel well? It’s about planning because if you’re not planning, then you’re going to get airline food, you’re going to go through airport security, you’re going to be hungry and all there is some fast food and you’re certainly in trouble.
I live in dietary ketosis so if I have to, I can go twelve or fifteen hours, I can go the whole day and not even feel hungry. I’ve done things like Trader Joe’s put coconut oil in these little packets. It looks like those little squeeze-out packets. I have four, five or six of those in every bag. The other thing is I carry this little one-ounce glass vials of olive oil and I throw them into everything. We have them in my wife’s purse, we have them in the car, we have them everywhere. When we go to restaurants, you have good olive oil and when you go on an airplane, if you’re that hungry, just soak down. When I go kayaking out in the Pacific Ocean, I just down olive oil, it’s easy.
It’s often when you’re dining out at restaurants and even in some of the better places, how they tend to cut the olive oil with canola or some other cheaper oil under the premise that it helps to make it a little more palatable taste-wise, but it cuts down the expense when you’re using some cheap oil. I love that strategy about bringing your own oil to restaurants. If you’re in need of a calorie jump, what better way to do with them with olive oil or with coconut oil. I love those ideas.
Good olive oil, I’m Italian and like the Greeks, we try to find the good stuff. There was a book called Extra Virginity that your audience might want to go look at. That guy talks about what goes on in the olive oil industry and is nothing shy of what goes on in the cocaine industry as far as the way they cut it and they try to push it off as something that’s not, so on and so forth. It’s pretty amazing.
You have recommended olive oil on your website, correct?
Yes, Villa Cappelli has been a sponsor of my show from almost the beginning. They became a sponsor because I used to talk about their olive oil as if they were a sponsor because it was so good. There was a big advertising guy here in the United States. He cased it all in, he moved to Italy and started an olive oil farm. It’s all the good stuff. Their cut is 100% and you taste it. You know it when you taste it, “This is the good stuff.”
The literature is so amazing and the benefits of olive oil are so clear, all the research, whether its blood pressure, lipids and inflammation, cancer. The literature also tells us that it’s the quality stuff that makes the difference so it’s not just any variety. Yet these low-fat gurus that tell us to avoid olive oil and therefore olives. Where do they get this from? Where do they come up with this BS?
I’ve been in this business for almost 40 years and I wish I knew where it comes from. All the way through college, I’m playing football. Even when I weighed 225 pounds, I was pretty ripped up and cut up and my waist was never more than 32 inches back then. It’s 30 or 31 now and I’m 55 years old. I ate olives like there’s no tomorrow. I ate avocados like there’s no tomorrow. I would drink olive oil. I would pour it on everything, I would drink it down. I never gained an ounce. It’s people who want to think that “calorie in, calorie out” is possible. To believe that “calorie in, calorie out” or CICO as some people would call it, could work, you’re now saying that you can run your car out of gas and then just keep going down the road without filling it up again. If you want to use the whole idea of the Law of Thermodynamics, then I’ll take your argument, run your car out of gas and get it to go down the road because that’s what you’re asking me to do.
The literature tells us that the Mediterranean diet is the most studied and the most proven. Those Mediterranean diet people are sucking down olive oil like the average person would suck down a McDonald’s milkshake. They’re eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve told this to patients over the years, “Before you go to bed one night, drink a glass of olive oil, you will wake up the next day, you will weigh less.” Instead, have a bowl or two of cereal and the next day, you can just slap that right on your rear end. You’re right, it’s so not “calories in, calories out.” It’s so much more complex than that. Those people that are using fat for fuel get lean quick. If you want to see what Vinnie looks like, look at the front cover of his book and see the eight pack that that guy is forming.
I was reading work of Dr. Michael Greger, a big vegan guy. Was it Dr. Greger or was it Garth Davis, they tweet at me all the time. That’s how I know I’m starting to hurt them because they’re tweeting at me now, they used to tweet behind my back. They’re worried about me, finally. He was saying, “Science shows that carbohydrates cannot convert to a long-chain triglyceride and turn it into fat. It’s only used as an energy and it’s like, “That’s a bold-faced lie.” They’re doing bold-faced lies. You’re absolutely right, Jack. If you eat a bowl of cereal, ice cream, cake or anything, it’s all the same thing to your liver. Your liver is going to use a very tiny bit of it to make sure you’re topped off with glycogen and the rest of it is going to change to a long-chain triglyceride which is a fat. As my good friend, Gary Taubes, eloquently put in his second book, Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It, once you have a long-chain triglyceride slipping into your fat cell, your body does not want to break that down. It’s almost like bringing a bed into the bedroom and then setting it up. There’s no way you could get that bed out of the bedroom without tearing it down again. That’s the long-chain triglyceride. Once it’s in the cell, it wants to stay put. Your brain will think you’re starving. You can weigh 400 pounds and your brain will keep telling your body you’re starving because it does not want to use those calories.
Insulin is that one-way key. We think of it as only just a glucose, a storage hormone. Insulin is a one-way key or where it shoves all those triglycerides inside of those fat cells and when insulin levels are high, those triglycerides cannot come out of the fat cells to get into the circulation to be utilized as energy. Some of the quotes from Michael Greger and some of the other vegan propaganda makes no scientific sense, and it is so harmful, so dangerous. It’s totally not congruent with Mother Nature and how humans have existed and all animals have existed for millions of years.
I had one doctor on my show a few months ago. She goes, “Can I ask you something? How do you know what Michael Greger and Garth Davis and Klaper and all those guys are thinking?” I said, “I’m just guessing at it, why?” She goes, “Because they’re trying to figure out how you know all of this.” I said, “You’ve got to take me back a second. How do I know all what?” She goes, “On your podcast, you always say that they know they’re lying but they’re doing it because they believed that means justify the ends.”
Even though they’re lying, they’ll say eating an egg is like smoking five cigarettes. They know that’s a lot. They dropped that lie, “Here’s a bomb, we’ll drop this lie,” and then they’ll walk away and walk out of the room. They can’t figure out how I know about them. I said, “Because no one in their right mind could believe that.” I know that they won’t believe it. They’re basically shows for the vegans. The vegans are shows for PETA, the ethical treatment of animals. A group that thinks it’s a good idea that we don’t even house pet. My blind and deaf Jack Russell that I’m keeping alive for three years. They think that I’m enslaving that dog, I should open my door and let Topsy run out on the street right now and Topsy would be okay. That’s what PETA thinks.
They have these guys who are showing for them. Not to mention Walter Willett up at Harvard University who’s lying left and right, but he’s taking money from Unilever, you name it. He’s just taking millions and then they put all these crappy epidemiological studies which mean nothing. They get it peer-reviewed by their friends who are also on the take and it’s like a mafioso. I’m Italian and I can’t even get by the amount of mafioso that they deal with over at Harvard in Minnesota University, which is where Ancel Keys is from. This is what I deal with all day long and it drives me nuts and they can’t figure out how this idiot Cajun from Bayouland moved to Hollywood and figured all this stuff out. I’m the guy who did figure it all out so they’re all in trouble, because now I have a movie coming out that’s going to show these guys for what they are.
Now I know why you’re America’s Angriest Trainer and it’s very easy to get angered by this as well. I certainly feel your pain when it comes to dealing with these people. I’m assuming we’re talking about eating meat, we’re talking about free range grass-fed, ethically raised animals, mild seafood, we love all that. Why can’t a vegan eat an oyster? Does an oyster have any more or less feelings than a head of a cabbage? Why can’t we eat an oyster or a clam or a scallop? Why exclude those things and oysters are the healthiest foods going?
They would say, “How do you know?” How do you know that a mussel is not feeling any pain?
How do I know the cabbage doesn’t feel pain? I don’t know. Maybe they should eat nothing. Maybe they should just suck on air and see how far they get with that.
There are airtarians out there. I’m not making that up. That’s a deal.
Maybe Michael Greger would become one of them and Neal Barnard and all these people. I know you’re an animal lover. We’re animal lovers. We donate to charities and stuff like that. We’re talking about the optimal way to health. There is a way that we’ve done it for millions of years. Tell me about the documentary and where people are going to be able to find it and when’s it coming out?
We do not have distribution on it yet. A lot of people are talking to us. We’re going to take the best distribution deal we can get. I’ve said at the end of the day, I will forego money to get it seen by more people. Whether that’s Hulu or Netflix or Amazon Prime or any of these networks. Where it’s going to be on the network that’s going to bring us to the biggest group of people. I will forgo making money to make that happen. The movie is called Fat: A Documentary. We’ve posted $200,000 on it now and we’re still collecting money at Indiegogo because it’s taking every dime we’re spending. We’re spending every dime on this movie. It is not going to look like these crappy movies you see like Cowspiracy and Forks Over Knives. Even some of the films you see on our side of the street. This is a film, this is a movie. It’s shot in high quality. We have a real director and award-winning in the documentary. Peter Pardini is doing this with me. We’re spending all of our time right now.People that are using fat for fuel get lean quick. Click To Tweet
We’ve interviewed everyone we’re going to interview. We’re now in the stage of putting this movie together. We’re in the edit booth every day. When I’m done here, we’re back in the edit booth and that happens every day until we’re done, and we have so much incredible footage. I’m going to name off some of the people, but we have so much incredible footage that we’re thinking about making a second movie out of this air footage. That can be a movie as good as the movie we’re doing. I’m going to name a few people that are in it. Eric Westman, Gary Taubes, Nina Teicholz, Bret Scher, Dave Feldman, Ivor Cummins, Dr. Georgia Ede, my good friend, Dr. Drew Pinsky, is in it. Even the guy that started the Charlie Foundation is in it, Jim Abrahams. There are more, those are the ones that are top of my head. These people brought their goods like you would not believe.
Even if you didn’t say you had Gary Taubes, you got me to watch it for sure because Taubes is a brilliant medical researcher and writer. His books have been so revolutionary and Eric Westman, of course. It sounds fantastic. I’m sure Dr. Drew is going to be on there and talking about the importance of fat in brain health.
We talked about from an addiction side, how people get into the religion of diet. I brought Drew and it was almost like stunt casting because he’s a buddy of mine. I do his show all the time and I host for him when he’s away and I said, “I’ve got to ask you to be in it.” Drew brought the goods. You were right with what you said about Gary Taubes. I could have made a movie and I could have called it Gary and Vinnie nothing else and that would be the best movie ever.
Some of the few people who are bringing the truth amongst all this other stuff. People ask me all the time, “Did you see Forks Over Knives? Did you see Cowspiracy?” I’m like, “I don’t have time for that.” They’re propaganda films. They’re aggravating, they are untrue. They’re unnatural. I can’t watch it and most of them are poorly made on top of it. I’m excited to see your documentary. That’s going to be very exciting.
We’re planning on getting this one out and we’re planning on doing more. I’m hoping and I’m going to ask you, would you be willing to be in one of my documentaries if we do continue this?
You and I are brothers in arms on this one, and we need to stay together on it because this is how the truth is going to get out there. It’s a beautiful thing that Al Gore invented what we called the internet and through the internet, we’re going to take it directly to the people. There are so much against us. When we’re trying to get this message out there, the big food industry, big agriculture, big pharma, they’re all in cahoots against people like you and I. For us to band together, it’s important to get that truth out there so thanks again for making the movie.
Thank you for doing what you’re doing over there.
A special thanks to my guest, Vinnie Tortorich. Go check out his website. Check out his book and his documentary as well. Until next time, see you.
- Vinnie Tortorich
- Fitness Confidential
- Jack Wolfson on Vinnie Tortorich’s show
- Fat: A Documentary
- Extra Virginity
- Villa Cappelli
- Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It
About Vinnie Tortorich
My name is Vinnie Tortorich, Celebrity Fitness Trainer, speaker, podcaster and best-selling author of Fitness Confidential: Adventures in the Weight-Loss Game.
Some call me “America’s ANGRIEST Trainer”. Why am I so angry? Because your good intentions have been stolen! You have been duped! Yes, despite all your good honest efforts you just keep gaining weight and feeling worse.
Does this sound familiar? ‘No matter how much I exercise and how ‘healthily” I eat, I can’t seem to keep the weight off or my cholesterol’s too high or my arthritis/allergies are giving me trouble or my knees/back hurts or I have sleep apnea….” I hear this over and over again and I KNOW it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a solution, they just don’t want you to know it. That, ladies & gentlemen, is why I’m angry.
I’ve been a personal trainer to people from all walks of life for thirty years. I’ve trained Hollywood celebrities, captains of industry, stay at home moms, working moms, pregnant moms, ultra athletes, Ironman triathletes, injured and post surgical clients and even children with the beginnings of a weight problem.
I love my work and I live to see my clients enjoying the benefits of my training and the feelings of well being that fitness gives them, they are all thriving. But hey, not everyone is lucky enough to have me breathing down their neck, yelling “Step away from the pizza!”. As I look around me and see the American people getting fatter and sicker instead of fitter and healthier, I wonder what messages they are getting about fitness and nutrition and where those messages are coming from.