Interview with Matt Blackburn: What is Health & Why Sugar is Good For You

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Describe your health journey + what brought you to low carb / carnivore?

I began my health journey at the end of 2009. I was tired of dealing with chronic acne and brain fog. Green vegetable juicing was my introduction into raw veganism. After experimenting with various iterations of that lifestyle, I broke my nine year meat fast with a homemade bison cheeseburger. My brain instantly lit up and I knew that I was on the right path. 

For the past eleven years i’ve been aggressively experimenting to find the truth about health. What i’ve discovered is that the truth is found in the middle path, the balanced path. There are some days where I don’t eat any meat and only animal foods and slam fifty ounces or more of bone broth. 

Most days I will eat red meat, either elk, bison or local grass-fed grass-finished beef. My favorite is to make a red meat/wild rice bowl with lots of butter and salt. That meal is what helped me recover from veganism and vegetarianism. Overall I would say I am an intuitarian now. I take it day by day and always listen to what my body wants. I don’t restrict any macronutrient.

Can you talk about your definition of health? What about disease? What causes aging and disease? 

Health occurs when we embody resilience and adaptability. When health we can adapt in various situations and environments to maintain balance in our nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Having healthy belief systems that don’t impart guilt for being a living breathing human being play a huge part in that. We have to want to be here and move in the direction of doing more of what we love to do.

Disease is the opposite – a state of decreased resilience and adaptability; instead of harmony, it is chaos. Instead of a beautiful melodical classical melody that flows, in a body of chaos, the musicians and the instruments aren’t functioning properly which effects the entire song.

The primary cause of aging is lipofuscinosis. Also called age pigment, lipofuscin is composed of glycated polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and iron. It also contains estrogen and aluminum. It appears on the skin of people that have either eaten a pescatarian diet and exposed their skin to a lot of sunlight or in people that have eaten a lot of omega 6s. It fills up the lysosome of our cell, one of the major garbage recycling centers, and impairs autophagy from occurring. This means that cellular recycling cannot occur while intermittent fasting.

Please describe your CLF protocol briefly and why it’s important

The CLF Protocol stands for “Calcification, Lipofuscin and Fibrosis”. These are three things that accumulate in our body and inhibit cellular function and energy creation. While each of the three have different causes, they all inhibit oxygen from getting to the tissue. Without oxygen, the cells cannot perform cellular respiration, they suffocate, and ATP production decreases. 

There are a plethora of protocols and detox programs out there, but many of them actually contribute to the formation of these three oxygen-robbing substances, such as guzzling green juice from vegetables grown in tap water with synthetic fertilizer under acid rain. 

By decreasing the accumulation rate and removing what is already there, we can experience miraculous results and the immediate disappearance of symptoms that we may have carried with us for years. Many people lose hope with recovery because they’re trying to recover with the wrong tools.

What are some of the benefits you saw / still see with carnivore?

Eating more red meat, and a steak a day for several months, helped to increase my metabolic rate and make me more resilient to stressors. I feel my best when I consume carbohydrates and animal protein daily. Three major markers of health are: “Happy, Hungry and Horny”. Many people are missing that last “H” because they aren’t eating enough animal protein.

When someone is healing from extreme dieting or a standard american diet, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes and raw vegetables should be avoided or severely limited. All of these foods contain metabolism-suppressing polyunsaturated fatty acids and other anti-nutrients such as goitrogens, lectins and phytates. 

What are the dangers? Why did you end up transitioning out of it? 

I’ve experimented really heavily with various carbohydrate and protein ratios. A person’s ability to store glycogen in their liver hinges upon the health of their adrenal glands. One’s childhood and traumas must be taken into account when designing a healing nutrition program for them. If someone has undergone a lot of stress, especially chronically, then it is safe to say that the liver has lost its ability to store glycogen, stored sugar. A healthy human should be able to store glycogen in the liver for up to 23 hours; in a sick human, the livers battery capacity could be only one or two hours.

An inexpensive way to measure metabolic health is with body temperature and pulse. You can use a simple thermometer and pulse oximeter and take readings upon waking and after eating breakfast. Over the course of a week or two you should be able to see the body temperature and pulse increasing. The more sick a person is, the lower their body temperature and pulse. The average body temperature of Americans have been falling steadily and is no longer 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This proves the point that the metabolic health of the country is in a poor state. Most people are waking up colder than what they should be (97.6F) with no appetite. This is a sure sign of chronic stress and a suppressed metabolism.

When I started eating red meat everyday I increased my carbohydrate intake at the same time. I knew that my liver required both carbohydrates and animal protein to perform its 500+ functions, one of which is to convert inactive T4 thyroid hormone to active T3 form which permeates every part of my physiology. Active thyroid hormone is what our cells use to metabolize the food that we eat. 

How the hell is sugar possibly good for you after being so vilified?

Glucose is the primary fuel of the cell. I learned that in my community college nutrition course that I took in 2007. Somewhere along the line we were reprogrammed to believe that ketones were a superior fuel source to glucose for the cells. But there was never any mention of the adrenal-liver-thyroid connection and the pivotal role that thyroid hormone plays in the metabolic orchestra to generate cellular energy, CO2 and water.

We adopted a simplistic view of sugar: “sugar raises insulin, insulin bad, sugar bad”. As it turns out, insulin is only one small piece of the puzzle in how we metabolize sugar. Magnesium, potassium and several trace minerals are involved.

Our ability to properly metabolize sugar depends on two key factors: 1) proper mineral balance, and 2) our saturated fat to unsaturated fat (PUFA) ratio in our tissues. If we are stocked with minerals and our adipose tissue is mostly composed of the more stable saturated fats than unsaturated fats, then we don’t experience insulin resistance and the sugar is able to be properly digested.

Somewhere along the line we were convinced to use false sweeteners in our smoothies and coffee, instead of using maple syrup, raw honey, or maybe even processed cane sugar in context if someone has mineral balance and is limiting PUFA intake in food and supplements.

Why should somebody consider adding fructose to their diet?

Fructose is the sugar found in fruits, ideally tree-ripened. Fructose consumed with some potassium, for example, in a cherimoya fruit, dramatically reduces the need for insulin to metabolize the sugar. Sucrose and fructose don’t create as big of an insulin response as glucose and lactose. If one can source high quality fruit, it is an excellent source of sugar to fuel the cells.

What do you eat on a day to day basis and why?

I eat the same thing everyday: eggs from my chickens, local grass-fed steak, russet white potatoes with butter and salt and sometimes dried fruit because I’m in Idaho where fruit is scarce. I sip on raw goat milk and bone broth throughout the day. 

Why are glycine and calcium so important? 

Glycine is called a non-essential amino acid that is found in the other parts of the animal besides the muscle meat, like the joints and connective tissue. It is anti-inflammatory and when consumed with muscle it mean it helps to balance out the inflammatory amino acids such as methionine and cysteine. Drinking bone broth with your steak will help make the meal more balancing.

Calcium is one of the major electrolytes that run our physiology along with magnesium, potassium, sodium and chloride. Most of us have been getting inorganic calcium (the wrong form) in our drinking and bathing water, vegetables and processed foods our entire life. When we acquire calcium from good sources such as dairy we get an anti-stress effect and proper cellular signaling.

Can you describe why you like dairy products so much? Can you heal lactose intolerance? If so, how? What is your exact protocol for healing gut?

Dairy products are jam packed with nutrition including: retinol (vitamin A), B vitamins, amino acids, vital minerals like copper and selenium, absorbable calcium, and even microdoses of beneficial hormones like progesterone and thyroid. 

Lactose intolerance is best handled by going low and slow with dairy consumption. Try different sources (cow, goat, sheep, camel), different degrees of pasteurization, raw, until you find a source that works for you. It is well worth the experimentation to track down a source that you can digest well. Over time the body will increase its production of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down the primary sugar found in milk, lactose. 

What are some of the benefits of beef liver?

Beef liver and oysters are two of the best sources of copper. While red meat has some, it also has a significant amount of iron. Ruminant liver contains a copper to iron ratio of 30:1. This means that even though you’re getting some iron, you’re getting a lot more copper to help regulate it. Most people could benefit from consuming those superfoods regularly.

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What do you look for in water?

To determine the quality of drinking water, one can use a total dissolved solids (TDS) meter to measure in parts per million (PPM) how hard the water is. If it is under 100, that is generally safe to drink. I prefer to drink water below 40 ppm and know what minerals are in it, ideally bicarbonate salts. 

What are some of the dangers of fasting?

I experimented with one hour eating window a day for six months while heavy lifting and it almost killed me. Intermittent fasting is extremely stressful to the system and dissolves the thymus gland (center of immunity) within 23 hours. In the absence of incoming sugar there is a release of adrenaline and cortisol which mobilizes free fatty acids from the fat tissue and amino acids from the muscle. The free fatty acids from adipose are usually polyunsaturated (PUFA) and suppress the metabolism, as does the inflammatory amino acids while the body is eating its own muscle tissue. 

It is much healthier to not starve the body and to nourish it. 

What supplements do you think are critical for health?

Vitamin E, Vitamin K2-7, shilajit, desiccated oyster, systemic enzymes, niacinamide and a good source of magnesium are all supplements that I recommend regularly. They each help to bring the body back into balance in different ways. 

Magnesium, shilajit and vitamin K2 help regulate calcium and heal from heavy spring or well water consumption. 

Dessicated oyster contains copper which helps to regulate iron overload and decrease oxidative stress in the body.

Vitamin E and niacinamide helps protect against PUFAs, either ingested or released in the body during stress. 

Systemic enzyme therapy is very helpful for conditions where the cause is unknown because often the problem is excessive scarring preventing nutrients and oxygen from getting to the tissue. Proteolytic enzymes will dissolve the scar tissue.

(CA note: Matt sells all of these on his site mitolife.co)

Where can people find you for more info?

I sell the highest quality supplements I can find on mitolife.co. You can find me on instagram at @mattblackburn where I try to answer as many questions as I can daily.  

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