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044: Silicon Valley, Cancer, Paleo, Sleep with Kevin Cottrell

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Sleep focused, Paleo fed co-hosting:

The key to fitness, health and wellness are sleep. With poor sleep comes poor foundations. With poor foundations, we cannot build. Everything will come crashing down. People through time have worn a lack of sleep, due to hustle and getting stuff done, as a badge of honor. It’s time to put to bed that misconception with Episode 44 and our co-host Kevin Cottrell of fitfluentialradio.com and the HealthCast Now Podcast. Kevin found out the hard way. Through poor lifestyle and environmental choices, Kevin developed a Melanoma Cancer. Although he was a fit guy, his fitness was built upon a foundation of poor sleep. Kevin made critical lifestyle choices and is now healthier than ever. This episode is about the importance of sleep and lifestyle choices.

On This Episode You Will Hear:

  • [01:22] Kevin left College in the 80’s, he went back to where he grew up in the Palo Alto area. Kevin got involved in a number of startups in the 90’s, he was the typical Biz Dev Executive working 80-90 hours, traveling excessively, not getting enough sleep but he worked out every day. He thought he was on track. Then came the late 90’s into 2001 and the Dot Com crash. He had stock options on a startup that went public. The shares went from $100 a share to $1 a share in 60 days. An inner layer of stress started to form. Kevin was a guy, during that period of his life that thought sleep was overrated. As long as he kept working out things would be OK. Moving forward to the summer of 2006, Kevin had a mole removed, just a straight forward procedure. He gets a calling saying he needs an emergency procedure to remove some skin from his neck as he has a pretty serious Melanoma (Type of Skin Cancer).
  • [03:55] One of the things Kevin got really good at as an Executive was when lots of drama and chaos comes up, Leadership and Executives fall into one of two camps, they are either a problem solver or you are part of the problem and chaos. Kevin had developed quite a good reputation as a problem solver so he began systematically asking questions at the Doctors office about the problem. He kept a level head despite the stress surging through his body.
  • [06:02] At the point in time Kevin had the Cancer, he had the belief the Cancer was to do with family history but he came to find out since then it was much more to do with his lifestyle that put him at risk than it was any family history.
  • [07:33] In 2009 Kevin was known as ‘Fat Kevin’. Now he wasn’t obese, but he looked obese. He was heavier and started to trend towards type 2 diabetes. This was from following the conventional advice from the Doctors. He was back to working out at four in the morning five times a week. He wasn’t getting enough sleep and was starting to move towards a different direction from a lifestyle stand point. He knew something was not right still. After listing to a Podcast about the Paleo Diet, Kevin knew he had to start looking into it. It wasn’t about the diet he was interested in, it was the lifestyle concept. A Doctor Friend, Dr. Jack Kruse, challenged him to go look at the incidents of melanoma and look at the further you are from the equator are the incidents. Kevin started to change his lifestyle. He began to focus on sleep and getting a healthy dose of sunlight. What happened was he got really healthy. His blood marker ratings went from a 6 to less than 1. He dramatically reduced the inflammation in his body. All by changing his environment and his lifestyle.
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“Here’s a great before/after picture. First (left) was 2009. Right 2016. FYI, the weight difference is less than 10 lbs showing massive inflammation.” Do you sleep enough?!

  • [] Key Bio Markers, BUN to Creatinine Ratio, Blood Marker for Inflammation. Vitamin D levels. If you are in an environment where you have way too much blue light, you are indoors way too much, you can take Vitamin D Supplements or even Sun outside and remarkably our bodies do not react.
  • [16:28] Kevin takes fewer supplements now. He concentrates on core lifestyle changes. Getting out and getting sunlight. Anchoring his Circadian rhythm.
  • [19:52] Sleep is something we do have control over. The fastest way to wreck yourself is not to get enough sleep but also hormonally wack yourself by not sleeping correctly based on the light cycle.
  • [22:00] Melatonin Production. Coincidences of low Melatonin and chronic diseases. Stop playing Russian Roulette with sleep. You can whack your Melatonin in a number of different ways. The first is not sleeping enough and not sleeping at the right times.
  • [24:50] Your body needs to recover. Building a building or building a house. If your light/dark cycle and Circadian rhythm is out, you should be working our less, it is the quickest way to burnout. True health and wellness is built on the foundation of good sleep and good nutrition.
  • [33:12] Focus on your foundation. Be clean. Eat real food that is nutrient dense. But if you are having problems focusing on the circadian alignment. Do some of the non-intuitive things, take a look at some of your lifestyle choices, are you poisoning yourself with blue light at night or are you falling asleep with the TV on in the bedroom or are your blood markers showing you have massive inflammation, focus on that then come back and look at your workouts. Workout less more is not better.
  • [35:41 ]Quality over quantity and less is more. Audit your light/dark cycle and sleep.
  • [37:39] Inflammation is a fire going on in your body. FitFluential is re-framing the dialog so they can help people be their own health advocates.
  • [41:44] Optimization and longevity
  • [42:41] Don’t depend on healthcare, rebuild your foundations. Start surrounding yourself with knowledge.
  • [47:09] Final Words @fitfluential on LIVETHEFUEL

Terms and Meanings

  • Circadian:
    • A circadian rhythm /sɜːrˈkeɪdiən/ is any biological process that displays an endogenous, entrainable oscillation of about 24 hours. These 24-hour rhythms are driven by a circadian clock, and they have been widely observed in plants, animals, fungi, and cyanobacteria.
  • Epigenetics:
    • The study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.
  • Melanoma:
    • A type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body
  • Blood Marker for Inflammation:
    • If you have inflammation in a part of your body then extra protein is often released from the site of inflammation and circulates in the bloodstream. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and plasma viscosity (PV)blood tests are commonly used to detect this increase in protein
  • BUN Creatinine Ratio:
    • BUN/creatinine is the ratio between blood urea nitrogen (BUN), a waste product in the blood from protein metabolism, and creatinine. This ratio is used to help determine if kidney function is impaired due to a damaged or diseased kidneys or another factor outside of the kidneys.
  • Key Biomarkers:
    • Biomarkers are key molecular or cellular events that link a specific environmental exposure to a health outcome

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Links and Resources

People Mentioned

Final Words

Effects on our lifestyle and our environment on the epigenetics side are the switches that you turn on or off. This is not only for health and wellness but also the dark side meaning, chronic diseases, and potentially early death. You should be focusing on optimizing our lifestyle and environment. In other words, we are not going to be optimized if we are inadvertently destroying our foundation.

Don’t fall prey to the argument of, I am going to just eat more healthy or exercise more because if the foundations are destroyed it is not going to work. Focus on sleep, focus on a circadian optimization plan, which is the light/dark cycle and eliminating the things that get you off track.

Action Steps

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About the author, Scott

Host of the LIVETHEFUEL Podcast | Public Speaker | Sales & Marketing Professional | Coach | Traveler | Consultant | Health Educator | Former Firefighter

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