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In today's podcast Mason chats to Steph Gaudreau. Steph is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant, author, strength coach, blogger and podcast show host. Steph believes women have the right to be strong and take up space because the world needs their voices now more than ever, and we would have to agree!
Steph and Mason discuss:
- Embracing your bio individuality.
- Nutrition and food preparation.
- Aligning your activity with your life.
- Self worth, value and non attachment.
- The importance of moving with intention.
- Dogma in the areas of health and fitness.
- Steph's Core 4 principals for health and happiness.
Who is Steph Gaudreau?
Steph Gaudreau’s is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant, author, strength coach, podcaster, and the creator of the former Stupid Easy Paleo. Steph's mission is to help women create bigger, bolder and fiercer lives by building health from the inside out. Steph has written three books. Her newest book The Core 4, is a #1 Amazon best-seller. Steph is the host of her own chart topping podcast; Harder to Kill Radio, here she talks all things fitness, nutrition and mindset about how to build unbreakable humans.
Check Out The Transcript Below:
Mason Taylor: Good day everybody. I've got Steph Gaudreau here with me. All right, Steph, I'm just go in and do my little brief introduction of you. Steph you [authored] a newly published book, The Core 4, which I got the opportunity to have a quick squeeze at when we were at Revitalizing in Arizona a couple of months ago. Steph believes women have the right to feel strong and take up space. Steph's a nutritional therapist consult, USA weight lifting strength coach, podcaster, which I really like your podcast, Harder to Kill, and blogger. Your blog's epic. We'll put the links to blogs in the show notes, basically leading a large community of women that are embracing their bodies and owning their innate power. You're a best selling author already, which is going to be awesome to talk about. You're an international speaker. You've been featured in SEKF, Outside, Elle and Greatest. Now, your favorite things, cold brewed [cats] and Liz Lemon. Tell me, what is it about Liz Lemon from 30 Rock that you love the most?
Steph Gaudreau: I just love how irreverent she is and she's just perfectly awkward which is me. I relate to Liz Lemon so much.
Mason Taylor: You know what one of my favorite memories of a show ever is watching Liz Lemon in that Muppet episode where she walks around like a Muppet. It's one of my favorite things ever.
Steph Gaudreau: Oh my gosh, yeah. I just love her. I just love her so much.
Mason Taylor: Hey, so tell me, where are you in the world? What's going on?
Steph Gaudreau: I am in lovely San Diego, California. Not much is happening. It's been kind of quiet this week. It's only Monday but it's been pretty low key. I've been in post-book launch recovery mode, I would say, hermiting up a little bit more so than usually. Yeah, just getting out there and doing work as I always do and talking to people.
Mason Taylor: You were saying it was about 2015 when you really started working on this book.
Steph Gaudreau: Yeah. The book is based on a program that I created in early 2015. At the time it was called, Healthy, Happy, Harder to Kill. Over the years, it's morphed into the Core 4 program. It's crazy, over 1,000 people have done the program and just had really amazing transformations in their lives and then a year and a half or so ago started working on the book. It took about 17 or 18 months to bring it to the final result that you see today.
Mason Taylor: Tell me about it. Core 4 is in the evolution of it. You've had Harder to Kill as the name of your podcast and of the program. Is there a reason that it's evolved beyond that name? Has there been an inner morphology for yourself in that time?
Steph Gaudreau: For sure. I've been blogging on what I would call the iteration of my website that exists today, and even that's changed over the nine years, eight years but I've been blogging for about 10 years. As often does, when you're out there in the world synthesizing your thoughts and sharing things with people and learning, you change and things change. It's interesting to me because we always expect other people to change so quickly, relationships in the world. We're like, "Why aren't people changing?" Then when we think of ourselves, we're like, "Oh my God, but I'm changing." It's almost like a bad thing.
Steph Gaudreau: It's definitely changed over time. The name of the program initially came from a nutrition seminar that I was doing in San Diego at a gym. I was talking to everyday people. I think in that gym setting, there was a tendency for people to think that they have to act like the elite level athletes that they see on TV and be really hard on themselves and push themselves really, really hard. I said something to them like, "You know, I think you guys here just want to be healthy and happy and harder to kill." Everybody reacted and laughed and elbowed each other. It was a funny moment.
Steph Gaudreau: Initially, that phrase was in my brain from Mark Rippetoe who's a strength coach here in the States who has a quote that's something like, "Strong people are more useful in general and harder to kill," or something like that, just stuck as a way to talk about being resilient and strong. That became the name of the podcast.
Steph Gaudreau: Over time, things have really changed. I really wanted a name for the book and the program eventually that summed up the holistic nature of that and the fact that it's not the only thing. These aren't the only four things that matter when we're trying to work on health and wellness and resilience and our mental health and our physical health. They're just four really important things but not the only four things. That's why I called them the Core 4. I anticipate that soon the podcasting will be changing as well. I just don't know what to. I think it's time to shed that skin yet again and continue to evolve and change.
Mason Taylor: I only got to hang out with you for those couple of days. We got to spend a good amount of time together. I had a good chat with you on your podcast, but I'm interested in this morphology especially when you've got a large following. With that Harder to Kill, I love the name by the way, but I really can appreciate where you explored a particular area of your work, and especially with Harder to Kill, did that bring your focus really heavily onto the movement, the strength, diet ... I don't know if I'm missing anything else in terms of maybe mindset.
Steph Gaudreau: Yeah. I think when you look out in the world, when you see the things that people are really passionate talking about and they're really sharing, it oftentimes mirrors their own experience, what they're going through, what's really prevalent for them in their life, what their values are. I think if you look back at 2013, '14, '15 Steph, I was strength training way more than I am now. I was really competing, training, really, really hard, building physical strength, certainly important. It still is important to me but maybe not so much in that type of intensity.
Steph Gaudreau: Over time, I have drifted toward ... and it's become this really interesting evolution for me of really leaning into my own ... I don't know what you would call it. Some people might call it witchy. Some people might call it green. Some people might call it just very nature-loving. I've really come back around to a lot of the things that were really important to me as a kid and I was really interested in.
Steph Gaudreau: My grandfather was really a hugely influential figure for me. I'm sure in a lot of ways I idolized him and put him on a pedestal. He was really like my father figure, but he died when I was eight. I feel like I lost a parent when I was so young. He really instilled in me this interest in nature and living things. It was something I was so interested in. When I went to high school and then eventually college, you do what most people do, when you're interested in that stuff, you study science. I have this really interesting duality to myself as a person where I feel so connected to nature as spirit and nature as wise and love, gardening ... I was gardening with my grandfather and my grandparents when I was really little, just experiencing that magic and then coming very steeped in science and scientific method and the coldness of science and the dogma of science.
Steph Gaudreau: Only very recently have I started to explore those other parts of me again. I think you're seeing that reflected a lot in my work just with the idea that strength can be very hard but it can also be very soft. Strength can be holding on very tightly and persevering and never giving up. Strength can also be letting go and understanding that there is that duality to it. That's, I think, I'm really exploring that in my own work too and really coming home to this idea of myself as a very strong individual. While I am one of the most sensitive and pathic, highly sensitive person stimulized, everything is very amplified for me, my intuition and that really figuring out what is my role with all of that, what can I help people facilitate, what can I help women facilitate in their own ... this transformation, this journey that they're on. I think a lot of times when you see people who are talking about certain things, it is what's at top of mind for them. That's really why it's changed over the years, I think.
Mason Taylor: I'm really interested, going forth, basically what interested me the most is a lot of women listening who follow along on this SuperFeast podcast, we talk a lot about the space between the stars. Before we get into the Core 4, I'm interested in what are space between the stars of the Core 4. Thanks for sharing all that because it clears it up a lot for me. I feel like it's one of these things that's difficult to communicate on paper. It's a living and breathing internal journey and it's something that needs to be felt and perceived almost by the body and the spirit rather than the mind just chewing it up.
Mason Taylor: You already brought up the dogma of science, and then almost you can feel, and I can relate to this, especially you can feel when we start out our work especially with blogging or communicating with the world, we almost need a bit of a scientific method. It's got to be the coldness which in [Dower's] Theory is real foundation, physical yin. Yin is cold. It's cold energy. Although it does have a fluidity and leads onto that yang of expression and then in the middle of those two things, we get that middle part I think which we are talking about which doesn't have dogma. Dogma leads to us linking that primal essence of our yin and yang jing.
Mason Taylor: The first time you showed me the book, one thing you really did bring up was wanting to bring forth a dynamic and non-dogmatic approach for women to embrace. I'm interested to hear exactly what you've been talking about with diet. I've enjoyed going through your blog. I think especially the cover of your book is you looking very strong, about to swing a kettlebell. It's something which I feel like for women to be able to go into something like strength training with a dogmatic approach or an identity approach or a justification or anything like that, that's the kind of space in between the stars I just want to talk a little bit about before we go into these Core 4, why you felt it was important to lead with that. I do that a lot as well when I talk about my approach to health and diet. As well, that breeds into things like the guilt and shame around food and body image and self-worth which become quite a huge thing.
Mason Taylor: You seem to be hitting on a very unique point that I can tell your sensitivity is coming out, especially with women and strengthening themselves, not getting caught up in that strength means bulking. You had a recent post there, Instagram, where you really went on, really bled from your heart around that. Can you just tell me about that emotional fabric of the book that's weaving this all together, non-dogmatically?
Steph Gaudreau: Oh my gosh, yeah. It's really hard to summarize and put all into one thing. I think it comes down to a few main points. The first is that we, and I say we as collective, we collectively, humans, in this modern space, are so distanced and divorced and separate from our bodies. What I mean by that is, for whatever reason, it's learned, it's power socialized, it is what we've been taught, it is what we've lost connection to with ourselves where we just don't even know how we feel. I'm not even necessarily talking about emotionally. I really mean in the body. What is our connection to our body? How does our body feel? What does our body need? What is our body telling us? What are our body's sensations.
Steph Gaudreau: I'll give you a perfect example. I can tell you the very second I feel like I'm getting a cold. I don't get sick all that often, but I'm so tuned in to how my body feels that the second I feel that weird tickle, I'm like, uh-oh. You can feel it coming on. While I don't think everybody has that level of sensitivity, I also think that we, again collectively, make it seem like people are too stupid to pay attention to their own bodies. I think we're really busy as well, so I think some of that comes with slowing down, quieting down, turning inward. It's both an external and an internal. It's like a push-pull.
Steph Gaudreau: I really think that we need to get back into connection with our bodies in that way. The perfect example, everybody knows when they have to use the bathroom. You're like, "All right, I've got to go." Yet if we think of something very simple like hunger, and I say simple in air quotes here, but this sensation of hunger of feeling full, that becomes extremely complicated for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. We can sense that we have to use the bathroom but why is it so hard to sense hunger and fullness sometimes? A lot of that goes back to how we're told what to eat, when to eat, how much we should be eating. We're outsourcing that to somebody else. Maybe we learned it starting in childhood. We were told we had to clean our plate or we couldn't leave the table. We're overriding our own sensations of that, whatever the reason might be.
Steph Gaudreau: The same thing goes for physical fitness or physical movement. A lot of people, myself included, in the past have really just pushed through really obvious signs and signals from the body that it's time to back off or it's time to rest.
Steph Gaudreau: To bring it all back together, I think where we get mixed up is the dogma, there's only one right way to do things. There is only one way this can be accomplished. Here I'm going to bestow this knowledge upon you. Now you're beholden to me as the giver of that information. Your body's experience, your own personal experience is now taken away from you. You're just told listen to what I'm telling you.
Steph Gaudreau: I could be the world's best nutritionist. I could be the world's best strength coach. I could put together a program that's going to make you ... say do these things exactly as I tell you, and you'll probably get stronger. However, you could be somebody for whom that's too much intensity, that's going too quickly, that food doesn't work for you. If you are convinced that I'm the expert and that you don't know anything about your own body, you may not catch those things and vice versa.
Steph Gaudreau: I think that's where when people are coming to these things like I want to work on nourishing my body more, I want to perhaps improve my nutrition, I want to move more in my life, I want to introduce strength training, there is going to be a limit to which somebody can tell you what to do, and it's going to have a great outcome.
Steph Gaudreau: I think that's really what I think about when I think about dogma and one right way to do things. Yes, people do get really hitched to that as part of their identity. When something happens in life where they can't keep doing that thing or they're presented with new information ... and the perfect example would be where somebody is really for either ethical reasons or health reasons or whatever the reasons would be, decides to not eat any animal products. Oftentimes, what happens is if there's a nutrient deficit or something happens and they then go back to eating animal products, there's a really huge dissidence between what is the identity versus what is making the body feel the best right now.
Steph Gaudreau: I think taking a very bio individual approach is really important. In order to accomplish that, we have to be willing to develop, it's called inter-receptive awareness. You have to be willing to be back in touch with our body's signs and signals. How can we know what works for us if we're not paying attention? It becomes really tricky.
Steph Gaudreau: I think ultimately, I would love for that space in between for people to be a very intuitive way of eating and a very intuitive way of moving and a fluid way of going about our lives where we're not beholden to the rules and the structure to the point that it degrades our life in some way. It causes us to have worse health outcomes or our enjoyment of life suffers. Oftentimes people will say, "I'm doing this thing because it's supposed to improve longevity," but they're not actually enjoying life because they're so worried about food or they're so worried about what they're eating when they go out, or they can't be in social situation and handle food. At that point, the benefit is now not outweighing the cost. The cost is outweighing the benefit.
Steph Gaudreau: I really love the cost benefit analysis for people if they're not super in touch with their bodies yet is to think about what am I getting from this and what is it costing me. Everything has a cost. Ultimately, that's my goal is provide a framework, provide some structure for you to explore and experiment, but ultimately, you're the expert on that stuff.
Mason Taylor: Yeah, it's interesting. I think it's the source of a lot of confusion yet it's also ultimately the source of a lot of clarity for people in learning that there is a bit of that yin-yang balance and a bit of dichotomy in the beginning between having a goal and having a framework. I was one of those people that was very obsessed with my diet back in the day when I was a raw foodist and very focused on longevity and on the particular supplementation and particular herbal protocols in order to give me an outcome, which in excess, I could see it was somewhat of a mental or egoic agenda. For me, I felt the time to tap out was I got bored with myself, and then I had to kick back in to try and develop a real intuitiveness, maybe an integration with my past and impulses that I did have that I'd label as bad that I wanted to integrate with. The pendulum swing was so large that in developing my perception of my inner world, I, at some point, lost and became resentful towards having goals or having a framework in any way.
Mason Taylor: I really sympathize when women going through this process and men as well, going between those pendulums. I can imagine, maybe we can talk about this a little bit, what your experience was when you were getting your intra-perception really going. I think [Tonni] talks a lot about this on the podcast, my fiance. We do it together. She has a lot of yin yoga teacher training. The whole idea with that is to develop that intricate awareness of yourself and that intuitive awareness of yourself. How do you manage opening up that door to that tunnel of learning of how to go by your instincts and your unique body and then educating, you will come to the end of that tunnel where you would have gone through that first stage of learning what's you, what you need without dogma. Then you're going to have to close that door of ambiguity and move towards something where you've got a bit more of an integration between your impulses and your inter-perception and the framework that's going to work with you, and you're going to be able to use that cost benefit analysis.
Steph Gaudreau: I think it's really tough. I think that the one biggest area of frustration that I observe with the people that I work with and with my community at large, with the people who do my program, is that they just want answers. They just want to know what to do. I totally understand that and yet the analogy that comes to me is that ... and I was talking about this earlier, so this is probably is why it's coming up, it's just on top at mind. People are always trying to find their voice. What's my voice? What do I stand for?
Mason Taylor: What's my purpose?
Steph Gaudreau: What am I here to do? The way that you find that out is not by just thinking about it. Thinking helps. I don't think being just impulsive into action all the time is a great thing. There's definitely a time to pause. I think if you were just to sit there and try to think this into existence, it's not as powerful as continuing to teach or whatever it is you do, create if you're a creator. Do the thing that you want to do and keep refining over and over and over again. There is part of it that is experiential. I think that's the tough part. I think where it becomes most elevated is where people don't feel good.
Steph Gaudreau: If we don't feel good in our bodies, what do we do? I think that's where coming in with some basics, looking at those key things that you can incorporate that will bring you back some energy, that will make your digestive system feel better, that will perhaps help you sleep better. Those can go such a very long way, but at some point there's going to be some tinkering but tinkering forever. Not everybody's a bio hacker and not everybody has the money nor the time or the brain space to devote to that literal just constant self-experimentation, so finding the place for you that's that maintenance mode and being okay being there and dipping in and out of that mode from time to time.
Steph Gaudreau: I think my friend Pat Flynn talks about it very well in terms of being a generalist. Sometimes you'll have an area you really want to learn about and totally nerding out on that and getting heavy into that and then doing those things that feel right. I would also say from a place of self-compassion and self-respect and self-care instead of a place of I hate myself and I just need to fix myself so I'll be happy. I think that [crosstalk 00:21:20].
Mason Taylor: Yeah, super important, get that clear from the beginning. Rolling on from that, with one of the Core 4, I'm assuming is nutrition. Let's go into that. I really appreciate you having that conversation with me. I feel like sometimes I get the comment a lot that people really appreciate it and sometimes I like to reframe why I focus on these things before jumping into a topic where we need some structure is because I like to know that fabric of reality that these recommendations are coming from so that it can have more of that long burn, slow burn rollout of what's going to be right for our unique body. You put that as one of the things that's like eating the foods for your unique body, moving with intention. It's like, "Oh great. Okay, what are the steps that I take to do that," which there are steps, but we need to know the fabric of intention, I feel, behind it.
Mason Taylor: With the food, let's look a couple of things. Let's look at the practical. What are the changes that you are generally going to be recommending if we're going to be a generalist? I do agree that that's nice, areas for people to explore to see if it works for their body in terms of core recommendations for women, if you could cast a wide blanket, what you're talking about, and then balance that out with eating. One of the things that comes up a lot is everyone's got their three square meals a day. I don't know if you talk about that or in terms of portions, what you eat when and allowing yourself to crack out of any kind of dogma that possibly we got from growing up, possibly from previous dieting, from magazines. I feel like that's a good balancing and practical and then bringing your intuition into that. Could you cover those both?
Steph Gaudreau: Yeah, for sure. I think you're absolutely right. There's definitely going to be a time and a place for giving people some ... the way I describe it is if I just sat you at the edge of a forest without a map and there were no paths at all, you would just be wandering around and getting lost. I love the idea of a rough path to follow where you can always come back to that path. You can dip in and out but you still have that path to keep you from getting lost in all the information.
Steph Gaudreau: You're right, there's a lot of misinformation that we're up against when it comes to nutrition. Unfortunately, when I talk about weight loss and dieting, and I'm talking about ... I don't know if this is a thing in Australia, but the Slim Fast, Jenny Craig dieting systems of the '80s and '90s that everybody thinks is hogwash. They're like, "Oh, that stuff's so silly." Yet, there are echoes of that that still-
Mason Taylor: Absolutely. There's modern rendition.
Steph Gaudreau: There are modern renditions of that. I think we need to be really clear, at least I need to be really clear that when I'm talking about nutrition, this is talking about nourishing your body and giving it everything it needs to thrive and not doing the thing where we're withholding food and punishing ourselves by withholding food and playing the game with how little can we eat.
Steph Gaudreau: I say all this because this is all stuff that I've done. Certainly, I always like to mention that if people are having problems with disorder eating and eating disorders that professional help is really important with that stuff. We can't always just self-treat, especially if that stuff's really serious. I just always like to make that recommendation and tell people that there's no shame in getting help.
Steph Gaudreau: With all that being said, I think that we're still facing a situation of chronic undernourishment with people, whether it's just food that's not super high-quality making up a lot of the diet or quantity of food. This is where it gets complicated too because not everybody has the same access to food and high-quality food. That's just a whole other just part of the discussion.
Steph Gaudreau: Just in practical terms, I think people are always like, "Well, just tell me how much to eat." I get to that point where I'm like, "Yeah, but I don't know how much food you need. I don't know how hungry you are."
Mason Taylor: Have you changed that progression from recommending portion sizes to now recommending something a little bit different?
Steph Gaudreau: If I look back at the earlier work that I've done, sometimes I would provide some ballpark range for people or what does a standard serving look like. Yet, that has shifted over time as well. I really like a visual plate if people are really just like, "I don't even know where to start." Okay, let's just start with one meal a day. Can we start with one meal a day instead of saying I need to eat perfect for seven ... seven times three is 21. You need to eat 21 perfect plates this week. Let's just start with one meal. I would love to see that half that plate or a little bit more is plants, is vegetables, is something that you want to try, a new thing.
Steph Gaudreau: I always am a really big advocate for adding things when we're talking about nourishment. Again, when we get into this mentality of this being diet and a diet, not diet in terms of what we eat but a diet which is not what this is but one of the things that comes up is removal, restriction, taking everything away. How would you feel, Mason, if I was like, "You can't have this, this, this, this, this, this and this." You'd be like, "This is my favorite stuff."
Mason Taylor: For my particular archetype it works when I think egoically Little Mason, when I think that I'm somehow superior because I've found the thing that's better than what the rest of the people are doing. This is a little vain little thing that I've identified in myself. It is easy for me to follow it but then once ... that doesn't last so long. My rat bag kicks in after a while and then I rebel against that thing that I've given myself.
Steph Gaudreau: Yes, which is what happens with most people. It's either it's too restrictive. It bring up in some people out of control or loss of control eating or rebellion. There's some part that's like, "I'm not doing this anymore." I really like to think about adding things to the plate whenever possible. Can you try a new vegetable this week? Make it fun and colorful. Okay, let's start with red. Everybody loves colors. I think it sounds so elementary and so little kid, but I promise you, okay, this week I'm going to try something new from the grocery store from the produce area that's red or orange. Just go through the colors. I'd like to challenge people to do half the plate or a little bit more of vegetables.
Steph Gaudreau: I think no matter what you believe in terms of nutrition, whether you're like we include animal protein, we don't include animal protein, we're high carb, low carb, blah-blah-blah, whatever it is, everybody can agree except the carnivores, that vegetables are awesome.
Mason Taylor: It's except for the carnivores and the people diving into the lectin theory.
Steph Gaudreau: Yeah, that one's a little bit tough. I think for the most part most people agree getting some more vegetables really [crosstalk 00:27:58].
Mason Taylor: I like to bring it up because I that you study it so extensively, and I do myself, but that exasperation that can come about when you do look at all of a sudden carnivore is huge and the lectin theory that plants are trying to basically kill us but they're just defending themselves and have anti nutrients, and that's quite often why cooking of it, which was hard for me to come to terms with as a raw foodist in terms of why cooking and preparation was important.
Mason Taylor: I feel like where you're going with this especially is out of that diet mentality and into having, what I call anyway, a living kitchen where it's more about what's going to fit into your lifestyle and your flow. Inside of that, what are some of the preparation methods? What are some of the core ... principles are really a cold way to put it in that scientific model but to put it in your living and breathing culture of your diet, what are the aspects of food preparation and consistency in your choices that are really shining bright and you see working in your clients at this-
Steph Gaudreau: That's a really good question. I think definitely properly preparing, like you said, especially grains and legumes, really, really important and even for something people nuts and seeds. They don't do so well with un-sprouted or un-soaked nuts, seeds, legumes, things like that. Actually my nutritional therapy training is very similar to a [inaudible] approach in terms of food preparation. We talk about properly prepared. If we're going to do beans or lentils or whatever, we're going to soak those. We're going to make sure that they're ready to cook, grains oftentimes sprouted.
Steph Gaudreau: I've made the switch to I'll buy quinoa, but I'm buying sprouted or I'm buying something that's just had a little bit more preparation. You can do these things at home too. You don't always have to buy them. Nuts and seeds, too, a lot of people do really well with soaking those first.
Steph Gaudreau: I would say that's a good practice to get into if you have that bandwidth. Yeah, cooking vegetables and cooking foods does make them easier to digest for a lot of people. I personally recommend a mixture of raw and cooked if you can handle the raw stuff.
Mason Taylor: What do you mean by handling it? With your clients, what do you see as handling a raw food?
Steph Gaudreau: I think some people don't do really well with FODMAPS which are some different types of essentially carbohydrates that are in certain foods, certain plant foods. Two that always come to top of mind because I don't do super well with are things like garlic and onions. For me, if I were to eat raw onions and raw garlic, my digestive system is not going to be happy. Cooking those things or slow roasting them oftentimes I do a little bit better. Some people just don't tolerate that stuff very well at all. This is where the bio individual stuff really comes in.
Steph Gaudreau: For a lot of people that eat a lot of raw food, it's a lot of fiber. They're not used to it. It's too much too quickly. They'll oftentimes have bloating or it's possible for people who aren't used to eating a higher fiber diet, they eat a lot of fiber and then they get constipated, so just not used to that bulk of fiber, and so making sure we're really well-hydrated. Pooping every day is really important. I talk about poop quite a bit because it's so important to help move stuff out of the body in a timely manner. Certainly, we don't want to be pooping too much in a day, but going three, four, or five plus days is actually common for a lot of women. That can lead to things like recycling estrogens in the body and all sorts of stuff. We want to make sure we're moving stuff out.
Steph Gaudreau: Again, if you notice that your gut is so sore or you're burping a lot or you're really bloated after you eat or you have excessive amount of gas, those are signs that your body's telling you that that might not be working. Maybe back off on the raw stuff and integrate more cooked foods for a while. It really depends on the person. I would say-
Mason Taylor: That's so common as well. I've got to bring that up, the bloating and the connection. I feel like it's going to get to the point where we get to maybe stop talking about it soon and it really permeates through the community. It is actually amazing how many people write to me in that ... You know it. When you're dogmatic in the beginning and that diet really works with you in levels of energy and maybe your skin health or something like that. It happens a lot with veganism and raw food. It definitely was for me.
Mason Taylor: Then there's these other symptoms like bloating that are occurring and the fear. It's well and good for us to say don't go with dogma, but I really understand that fear cycle. If I let go of this system that's healed me and this dietary protocol that's healed me even though I'm getting those signs my poo's runny and I'm bloating, even though that's occurring, if I move on to something like well-cooked foods for a while and nourishing spleen and gut diet, and this is just one pattern, it's not for everybody, but what if everything else goes away. What if my skin problems come back? What if my energy levels go down again? It's a difficult one sometimes or just something that we need to put out there as a possibility and there is a next step.
Steph Gaudreau: I think that's a really important point that you bring up because it's not always just about removing more foods. We have to always have that opposing or a complimentary idea that their function's really important. Might the food affect the function? Sure, but it's possible to have ... and this where I see people get into trouble because they think, "Well, I've removed some foods from my diet. I'm doing an elimination protocol. I'm still not feeling better, so I need to remove more and more and more and more and more things."
Steph Gaudreau: Then we get into a cycle where we have a lot of stress, we have a lot of fear and anxiety. That in and of itself psychologically feeds back into our digestive system and our digestive ability, so we're more sympathetic, we're sympathetic dominant. That's inhibiting things like our stomach acid production, digestive juices, that digestive fire, we don't quite have it. It becomes this really interesting feedback loop.
Steph Gaudreau: For example, if somebody has an H-pylori infection, they need to get that taken care of. There's an overgrowth of bacteria that's an infection that they need to get cleared, or if they have overgrowth of bacteria in their small intestine, we really shouldn't have a preponderance of bacteria in our small intestine. It should be in our large intestine. That small intestinal bacteria overgrowth, you need to get that taken ...
Steph Gaudreau: It's not just about removing more foods to try to improve that function. You get to a point where you're like, "I need to attack this directly," or they could have a parasitic infection. There's all sorts of stuff that could be going on in the gut. That then influences so many other things. We know there's a gut-brain connection. We know there's a gut-mood connection. We know there's a gut-skin connection. It's so incredibly important.
Steph Gaudreau: I think it's important to mention that yes, what we eat and how we eat it matter but then come to a point where if you're still experiencing discomfort and dysfunction, just continuing to remove more and more and more foods might not be the answer for you.
Mason Taylor: Yeah, it's interesting. I think it's something I've definitely bumped up against, what can I add in, what can I take out. That's a necessary surface conversation because it's easy to do and wrap your head around. Just for example, and whether you're eating animal products or not, just when you start going into depth rather than staying in that surface level, something like food preparation could be ... You just need to go deeper. You've gotten all these great take-outs, and you've added all these great things in and it's not working for you, maybe you just need to go a little bit deeper into your food preparation or a little bit deeper into your intuitive nature in and around when you ate, experimenting with what you're eating for breakfast and what you're not eating for breakfast.
Mason Taylor: Before we move on to movement, have you got any good, real surface ... just throw out some lines for people in terms of basic what you think might be beneficial for people in terms of what they'll have for breakfast, what particular macro nutrients would be beneficial for people at different times?
Steph Gaudreau: Again, I think there's going to come a point where you have to honor what tastes good to you, what feels good in your body, et cetera. Caveat, I see a lot of people who are struggling with blood sugar regulation. Myself, I dealt with this for many, many years where I essentially had reactive hypoglycemia which would be my blood sugar would crash out and I would feel ... Again, how are you feeling in your body? My palms would get sweaty. My heart would get racing. I would feel super lightheaded. Sometimes I would come close to passing out. My vision would narrow. I would eat something with sugar in it, and I'd feel better, which is what happens with that stuff.
Steph Gaudreau: I think for a lot of people that are having this blood sugar dysregulation going on, and I'm not even talking about anything with diabetes, but we're just not in a great blood sugar place. We're getting headaches, nausea, claminess. Our body feels really wacky. We're getting just hungry, angry. All those things are happening. I really like to recommend for people that they just try to keep the sweets out of breakfast. I don't mean fruit or sweet potato. In America, we eat dessert for breakfast as a culture. It's muffins and pastries. Again, I don't want to make those foods bad.
Mason Taylor: I feel like most people listening to this podcast are probably not doing the pastries and those kinds of things. What about even, I'm sure for some people it might be good, in your experience though, having the full fruit breakfast and having the full smoothie bowl for breakfast? Is that something you see work generally or do you prefer something a little bit lower on the glycemic index?
Steph Gaudreau: I like to recommend that if people are really specifically coming to you for recommendations for breakfast, I talk about including enough protein in breakfast. That's one of the places where, again, eating fruits and vegetables, wonderful. Not super dense in protein. Protein is the most satiating macro nutrient. Whether you're going to eat a denser plant-based protein or it's going to be eggs or it's going to be whatever you decide, is getting a decent whack of protein first thing in the morning because as the day goes on, it's harder and harder to make up a protein deficiency. There's just that. If you don't eat protein all day and then you get to dinner, you're not going to be able to make up generally a days' worth of protein for you in one meal. It's so satiating, you're going to get to a point where you tap out, especially if that protein is very lean.
Steph Gaudreau: There that. I think getting enough nourishing fats in your breakfast is super important as well, so protein there obviously for the satiety but getting enough nourishing fats. Again, fat is really awesome because it helps us to absorb fat soluble vitamins. If you're eating that smoothie bowl, then you want to make sure that all those vitamins are in those fruits and vegetables. You want to be able to absorb those and the fat soluble vitamins that are in there. Very important.
Mason Taylor: You just reminded me, when I was in my real sugar head perspective, I never went down the route of acai bowls. Although I respect them, I always just have a little bit of a joke about acai bowls. When I was doing my sugary and colder bowls in the morning, what I eventually started doing is pouring olive oil all over it. I know that might seem disgusting for some people, but when you mix it in, it can mix quite well and doesn't congeal quite as much or, of course, just the coconut fat even though that's cooling in its own right. I just thought I'd bring that up, just a little bit of a fat.
Mason Taylor: I'm someone that's just always ... Sorry, I'll let you go. I'm sorry to hijack here. I'm generally just doing a tonic with my mushrooms and some fats in the morning. A couple of times a year, especially as I've become more and more comfortable with eating meat, I was vegetarian, pretty much vegan for so many years, it's been hard for me to wrap my head around getting back into it, whereas, I'm at the point now where I'm really diving in. This is what I want you hear, your people, a layperson would see as extreme of what you're doing. I'm at that point where I'm order a whole deer that is going to be hunted out in the Byron Bay hinterland for myself. Eventually I'll get there out and do it myself so I can prove that I'm not soft.
Mason Taylor: Every now and then I do experiment with a big hunk of meat in the morning for breakfast, just every now and then. I remember when I started doing that, that cracked me out of my dogma. I can't do it a lot. Is that something you gravitate towards yourself? Do you do much meat? I don't know if I just assumed with that?
Steph Gaudreau: Yeah. I feel pretty good when I am including some kind of meat-based protein in the morning for me personally. I think the one thing I would say there is there's an interesting connection between certain types of protein. Certainly there are plant-based proteins that are higher in tryptophan as well. I think walnuts is one of them for a plant-based source of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is important in the production of serotonin.
Mason Taylor: I think a cow as well. I always use it as a justification for my hot chocolate.
Steph Gaudreau: Exactly. Tryptophan important in producing serotonin. Most of the serotonin in our body is made in our gut, which by the way is really important to mention because if you don't have great gut health, then we may not be making ... There's that gut-mood connection yet again.
Steph Gaudreau: There serotonin that we make also then goes on later to some of it to be made into melatonin which helps us sleep. I like to just mention that to people. Get enough tryptophan-based protein or protein with tryptophan in the morning especially so you can go on through the day and make that serotonin which then in the evening makes melatonin that helps you to sleep.
Steph Gaudreau: Quickly going back to fats, and I had one more thing that I wanted to add. Fats also help the stomach contents to empty slower. Oftentimes when people are eating a more fruit-based breakfast or a smoothie or an acai bowl or something like that, it's already partially digested because it's liquified. Without the fats in there, it just goes out of your stomach so quickly. I just like people to check in. Are you hungry within an hour or two of eating? It could be the volume of food that you're eating but maybe chewing your food. Maybe chop up all that fruit and put it in a bowl and chomp on it will slow things down a little bit as well as adding the fat.
Steph Gaudreau: For people that do have a more liquidy breakfast, if they are feeling super hungry within an hour or two, take something solid and sprinkle it over the top. It could be coconut flakes. It could be chopped up nuts. It could be cacao nibs. It could be whatever.
Mason Taylor: Bee pollen.
Steph Gaudreau: You have to chew it a little bit. That chewing, there's that connection between your mouth and your brain that's saying, "Okay, I'm chewing. I'm more satisfied," and also helps your body to up-regulate your digestive juices.
Steph Gaudreau: I just mention those things because I think those are easy things that people can tweak if they're like, "Oh, I just ate an hour ago or I just had a smoothie an hour ago, and I'm ..." Check the protein content. Make sure you have enough fats in there and then add something you have to chew. Even on the top, slow yourself down a little bit and get that signaling going.
Mason Taylor: Yeah. That's the bread and butter. That the chopped wood, carry water that you're never going to be able to come back, go away from.
Mason Taylor: In terms of your diet, what are you working on at the moment. Maybe to a layperson with the same quite fringe, on your extremities, what are you working on?
Steph Gaudreau: It's going to sound really silly probably. I've been going through the process of becoming a certified intuitive eating counselor. I'm almost done with that. I'm really interested in how these two things inform each other. How does intuitive eating as that framework and a process inform nutrition? There is nutrition. Nutrition is a principle of intuitive eating. When somebody has a really dysfunctional relationship with food, it's typically not the first thing you would do is give people nutrition guidelines because then they'll turn them into strict rules that cause problems.
Steph Gaudreau: One of the things I've been working on for myself and just paying attention, not so much of an actual food although this does play into that, one of the things I've been doing is paying a little bit more attention to when I'm actually done eating. I did come from a family where it was like eat everything on your plate. I'm pretty good at gauging how hungry I am, but I've been trying to pay attention to that.
Steph Gaudreau: Also, about six or eight months ago, I just had a download from the universe that I was supposed to figure out how to make sourdough bread. I cannot explain it. Bread is not something that has been really in my diet since 2010. Occasionally here and there I would eat it. I don't have celiac disease. I thought at one point I might have some intolerance to gluten. Over the years if I went out to eat and there was a good-looking bread ... that's a good-looking bread in that bread basket. Not Wonder bread but something that looked homemade or that looked really rustic, I'd think, "Okay, I'm going to have some of that." Over time, I realized that though I don't crave bread as part of my every single day foods, I really wanted to play around with making it.
Mason Taylor: You want to be hard enough to kill that a piece of bread won't kill you.
Steph Gaudreau: Yeah. I think a challenge is the dogma. I came from a very standard American diet way of eating and then a very diet, diet way of eating, very low calorie and low fat. Eventually it went more to paleo and then, of course, wasn't eating any gluten really or any grains. That was very challenging to remember that is this dogma or is this just what feels better in my body?
Steph Gaudreau: I'm sure there were some people that lost their minds when they saw an Instagram that I had made sourdough bread. I got sourdough starter from my friend. In the winter, it was nice to heat up the house and stuff. I was just making bread in the kitchen. Gosh, that was so cool. I've been bringing back more of that.
Steph Gaudreau: Again, sometimes we'll go for weeks and I'm like, "It doesn't sound good to me." Then I'll be at the store and I'll see they have a sourdough bread from a company that's local. I'm like, "Yeah, that sounds good to me. I want to have that right now." It's been part of that challenging that am I following some rule from 10 years ago or whatever or am I listening to my body and thinking what sounds good to me right now?
Steph Gaudreau: I think paleo was a necessary step for me to get away from low-fat, low-calorie, starve yourself dietland and really helped me so much. At the beginning, it was quite dogmatic how I approached it and then over the years became less and less so. Now I'm looking at bringing things back in. Here's the thing. Nutrition is important but it's only a small part of our health and how we feel.
Mason Taylor: Yeah. We better step into our movement, but I'm allowing this conversation. That was the space between the stars here, being able to know that on your path, you might have frameworks that can very easily become dogma, but don't be scared of going through ... As you said, you had your low-fat more plant-based was it towards the beginning? No?
Steph Gaudreau: No. It was just typical diet food.
Mason Taylor: Oh, just typical diet. [crosstalk] You went straight into the paleo or a real common is just into the vegan and then of course we've got, it think it was about six months ago when it was really huge that vegan YouTubers were pouring their guts out about how they've actually been cheating and they've had to listen to their bodies and move on and then moving into something that's a little bit more paleo or primal. That's when everyone goes, right, okay, maybe this is the place. As you're saying, it's like, no, it's never the place. Stay there as long as you need but then move on and then you're going to have to burst that bubble again. Then you'll arrive at this point with enough experience. It's good to go and get that experience for yourself. It's not something you shouldn't do. Then you get to that point and you go, right.
Mason Taylor: This is where I start looking at it. I'm like, where are all these cushy, a lot of us Westerners, not living off the land, living in a time when we're lucky enough to have some scientific and nutritional and ancient medicine inquiry that's going on for thousands of years. We've been able to amalgamate them to try and find what's optimal for our body. We are living in a time when we're quite cushioned. It's like, what's traditional but is traditional the best? Is all this new data showing us that something is more optimal. We're all just experimenting right now. It can be seemingly like there's infinite amount of choices. You want to try and find what's right, but you might need a little bit of experience in the arena.
Mason Taylor: My advice there, and I don't know if you want to just give two cents before we move on, is to never ever proclaim that you've found it, especially if you're in the limelight and you're a professional and getting the vegan tattoo or getting the caveman tattoo or something like that. You will over-identify with that external persona that you've created and that dogma. When the bubble bursts, you're either going to have to hold on with rigidity and not evolve or it hits your psyche at that point.
Steph Gaudreau: Can I give you a funny example that has nothing to do with what you're talking about but everything to do with what you're talking about?
Mason Taylor: Yes.
Steph Gaudreau: The car that I drive today I bought 15 years ago. At the time, I was super, super into racing downhill mountain bikes. That was my life. I loved it. I was going out and putting on the full-face helmet and the pads and going down a steep hill. That was my thing.
Steph Gaudreau: At the time, I got a license plate that made reference to downhill mountain bikes. I feel like that was eight lifetimes ago. I haven't raced bikes for years. Because I still have my car, I still have that license plate. Every time I think, "Wow, okay, that was an interesting choice." It was something I was super into at the time and then life changes. Fifteen years is a long time. I'm reminded of that every time somebody asks what does your license plate mean. I'm like, "I used to be really into downhill mountain bikes when I got this car 15 years ago.
Mason Taylor: At the same time, there's something nice and nostalgic about it. These little memories from our past I think are really sweet and nice that you have for identification, of course, [inaudible 00:49:58]. I feel like we've covered one of the Core 4.
Steph Gaudreau: We don't have to cover them all. It's fine.
Mason Taylor: I'm interested in at least hearing about them or maybe we've touched on some of the others. Moving body with intention, and I feel as well as that will bring in building strength. You do have a lot of practical workouts that are short, fun. You've traditionally had that focus there on strength which I can see is really evolved out.
Mason Taylor: Let's talk about first moving with intention and what that means for you, and then because I feel a lot of the women and men listening to this, we talk a lot about herbalism. There is a lot of that moving with intention that we talk about, developing interperception, but we haven't really touched on so much the importance of strength training and the practicality of that if we are going to build this really powerful foundation for ourself to ideally just be able to live life the way that we intend to with our virtues coming forth. Could you touch on those things?
Steph Gaudreau: Yeah. I think there's many different meanings of move with intention, which is why I really liked that term a lot. I think on a really mental level, you can meditate while you're moving. Having right moving meditation, having a mind-body connection while you're moving and being very intentional in that, I think that's one way to see it.
Steph Gaudreau: I think another way to see it is really, again, looking for that way in which movement fits into your life. I'm always caveating what I say, not from a place of I don't want anybody to get angry, but because I really think that this stuff is so ... when you apply it to your life, it's going to look different from when I apply it to my life.
Steph Gaudreau: I'm really interested in having people, again, walk that path, get that framework but then looking for ways to incorporate movement in their life that's very intentional, that aligns with their life instead of trying to make it the other way around. Instead of trying to cram your life into this little box, how can we have this thing work in with our life right now?
Steph Gaudreau: A perfect example would be let's say you are a mom and you have two kids, and you want to start moving again. You are driving, and this is real examples from my community, maybe you're driving 45 each minutes each way to a gym before work or even after work. You're spending an hour, an hour and a half in the car. It's a long class. You get home, you're really tired. Maybe you don't have a lot of time to be with the kids or you have to get up super early, so you're not getting very much sleep.
Steph Gaudreau: I just would ask that person, is that really an intentional way of moving in your life? Is that really working for you? Is there something else you could do where you're still getting that benefit of movement, of strength training perhaps even, which is why in the book that whole level one program people can do in their house. I do it on my front porch.
Mason Taylor: What does it entail, the level one?
Steph Gaudreau: Getting some dumbbells and moving in a very small area is really what it is; functional movements. You don't need a gym. You can just do it with some very, very minimal equipment and get it done. Would that be more beneficial? Would that be more intentional for that particular woman's life? Would that buy her more time with her kids? Would that buy her more sleep while still getting that benefit?
Steph Gaudreau: You could make the argument, what if community and connection is really important to her? It's a way to get out of the house and connect with other adults, which is why I don't have one single answer that works for everybody. I think that the more we can think about am I using movement as a way to enhance my life, to make my body feel better, to get the mental benefit, to get the mood benefit. I think all that stuff's really important rather than seeing exercise as a transactional relationship with how much energy I ate today, how much of it can I get rid of, which is where a lot of people do come at movement from.
Steph Gaudreau: Because in our culture, and I can't speak for Australia, but I can speak for America and the United States, if you're exercising it's like, "Okay, great, we're going to praise you. This is really awesome," but a lot of people also have a dysfunctional relationship with movement.
Steph Gaudreau: That's part of what I mean by move with intention on all of those different levels. Then also, can you just move more in your day? I hear people a lot, they're like, "Walking doesn't count." What?
Mason Taylor: Of course it does. Yeah.
Steph Gaudreau: Sometimes if that's what you can do because you've just had a baby and you're going to walk five minutes because that's literally all your body can handle, great. If your autoimmunity is clearing up and your RA is going crazy and walking is literally all you can do, that's wonderful. Please, let's not dump on that stuff. I think sometimes we get into that mode where if it's not the most extreme and the most intense and the most I-want-to-hurl-after-I'm-done, then it didn't count. That's not productive either.
Steph Gaudreau: It's intentional to move in such a way that it works with your body. Again, that's a very intuitive process over time. I would hope that people can get to the point where they start to build that awareness of their body so that if they set out to do a workout that day and they do a little bit of a warm-up and everything in their body is like, "Please don't do this to me today. I am not into it. I'm not feeling it," we just respect that. We realize that it's okay to take a day off. It's okay to rest if that's what we're really needing or if we need to make it easier, if we need to take the intensity down because we had a really stressful day. That's all great.
Steph Gaudreau: On the second part of your question about strength training and why it's really important, and this is just from a physiological, scientific level, a lot of us are not physical laboring anymore. We sit and ... I do the same thing, I sit at a computer all day. I'm not building camp. I'm not hauling water. I'm not child-carrying or any of that stuff. A lot of us are quite sedentary. When the human condition is biological being preserve energy as well, but we're not getting any of that other stimulus.
Steph Gaudreau: When we turn around 30, we start to lose muscle mass. We start to lose bone density. All these things are really, really important especially as we get older. If you're past 30 and you're like, "I haven't started," that's okay. It's not too late.
Steph Gaudreau: I love on Facebook, this is one of the great things about Facebook, I always see these senior citizens who are doing stuff. They're out running races or they're lifting something or they're carrying something heavy. I'm just like, "Damn, that's awesome. I want to be able to do that." It proves the point that it's never too late. Muscle is really important. It's like an important reserve for our bodies. If we're sick, if we're injured, we hopefully can draw on that source of amino acids to actually get us through, which is really important, balance, coordination.
Steph Gaudreau: I'll be honest, for a lot of women, there's something very freeing about doing very simple things that they couldn't do before. I'm not somebody who's like, "We should never ask for help. We should be able to do everything ..." Asking for help is totally fine, but there's something really powerful about, hey, I couldn't lift this thing, and I lifted it on my own, or I could put the suitcase in the overhead bin and I did it myself and I couldn't do it before, or I can carry my kids without back pain, stuff like that. It's very functional type movement.
Steph Gaudreau: That's really what I teach in the book. Bicep curls are wonderful if you want to look like you have guns. That's great. That's fine. I don't take that away from anybody. I'm really interested in helping people build better functional ranges of motion so they can just live an easier life with moving things and getting things, carrying things around, carry all the groceries in one trip, whatever it is you want to do, but feeling better in your body, less pain, feeling more capable [crosstalk 00:57:53].
Mason Taylor: There's a couple of things there. I just want to make sure we don't go too far past them. I feel like it's so core to this conversation. The reason we get swept up, what I've observed in ambiguous goals when it comes to strength, movement and of course with diet, weight loss, bulking, whatever it is is because the goals are based externally over them within that system.
Mason Taylor: Now, this is, of course, a very obvious one, but I feel in our Western society and especially with modern women and men and everyone in between and beyond, that if you can have 20% in that external goal and then 80% based in observing these little things like you've just watched: am in pain less, am I able to get down on the ground and off the ground with a little bit more ease and a little less pain, can I pick that thing up myself or without that stress on my shoulder girdle or with less tension through my shoulder.
Mason Taylor: These things, it's because they're not as, in an identity based way, they're not quite as gratifying as being able to hit 20 curls versus 10, yet exponentially the benefits multiply in 10 years, 20 years, 30, 40, 50 years. That level of basically how do I do all these things without the dogma? How do I get out of this mindset of I've been focused on my body image or shaming myself or whatever these kinds of things. We all have it.
Mason Taylor: That, what you were just saying, I feel like it's so simple and it's always in front of our face and seemingly too easy. The potency in just focusing on those little things that matter, it's a skill to develop the noticing of that. It's something we need to continue to develop and observe in ourselves, but it is a gateway towards creating that liberation from our mental constructs on body imaging and being dominated by our seemingly vain goals or having some of them there is fun. [crosstalk]
Steph Gaudreau: Yeah, for sure. I think for a lot of women, again, exercise is seen as very either transitional; I need to burn X many calories because I ate this thing or a very aesthetic based pursuit, which again, if you're somebody who love bodybuilding and that's your thing, that's cool. I think the majority of people that are listening to this and that I'm talking to are not in that camp. This was my thing too was I had to make my body look a very specific way by just trying to shape everything or try to lose a specific amount of weight.
Steph Gaudreau: One of the things that really was my stepping stone into this other way of seeing movement was focusing on what my body could do, not on what it looked like. That also, for me, kept me very invested in the process. Caveat, over time, I had to learn how to not attach my worth to what my body could do.
Mason Taylor: That's really hard sometimes.
Steph Gaudreau: It is difficult. I think about people who are, for example, adaptive athletes. Maybe they've had an injury. Maybe they have an invisible injury. Maybe they've lost part of a limb. That's real deal now life has changed. Now you cannot do perhaps what you used to do in the same way you used to do it.
Steph Gaudreau: That being said, I think that there is an aspect of I have worth and value. Can I squat? My best back squat is probably 290 pounds, so 130 some-odd kilos. Can I do that right now? No because I'm not training in that way. If my worth was really wrapped up in my ability to do that specific thing, that would be a problem. Again, priorities change. We go through these seasons. Our bodies change. Our goals change. Our focus changes for whatever reason.
Steph Gaudreau: Getting the heaviest back squat I ever got, that was a thrill. That was amazing. There were so many awesome things that I experienced in strength. Yeah, that was all fine and good and wonderful and I stayed invested in that process. I've come to understand that pinning the self-worth in those things is very dicey. They're taken away in a snap of a finger either, for whatever reason, injury, life circumstance, et cetera.
Steph Gaudreau: I just caution people on that trajectory that focusing on what you can do is a much more sustainable place to be rather than try to micromanage exactly what the scale is doing or what you look like, all of that stuff, even your own rate of progress with your movement goals or the outcome. I want to be able to do X number of pull-ups or I want to be able to squat this amount of weight. Stay invested in the process because you enjoy it. Would you keep doing it even if you weren't going to get the handsome payoff at the end? I don't know. Something to consider, right?
Mason Taylor: It's a big in-your-face question for [inaudible 01:02:46]. That one, just the framework in which we got into movement in the first place and that movement has given us so many benefits yet we start hitting that glass ceiling and it gets confusing.
Steph Gaudreau: Yeah. I think I would just say that the focus on what your body can do is a way healthier place for the majority of people to be, but also recognizing that you're not a good or a worthy person because now you can do five pull-ups and before you could only do one or none is that you have worth and value no matter what you are able to do, contribute no matter what you look like. You have worth and value because you are here, because you exist. That's really meta for a lot of people and really, I'm just trying to not focus on the scale. I'm like, okay, let's focus on the skill.
Steph Gaudreau: Pick a skill. Pick something you want to improve. Maybe you do want to be able to improve your squat depth. You're just going to do a body weight squat. You're going to start working on it because right now you're at parallel and you want to get a little bit lower. Maybe you want to be able to carry those 20 pound dumbbells across the gym or whatever it is you want to do. Pick something that you can focus on in terms of skill acquisition and work on that.
Steph Gaudreau: Like you said, pay attention to those changes and improvements. I think that's one of the great parts about keeping a journal if that's your thing, of your progress. Not progress in terms of I lost this number of pounds this week, but keeping track of milestones. It's easy in our human brain to go, "I haven't made any progress." You're like, "Well, I don't know. Actually, before you couldn't even hang from the pull-up bar at all. Now you can do a negative." There is progress being made there or you're feeling better or you're able to improve something. I just think that's a progression.
Mason Taylor: Beautiful. There's a couple of things you said there. All of it was really important, really hitting home. Great reminder for myself. With the perception of value, I think that's where you really nailed it there. In the Dawes Theory, we're looking at our ability to perceive value in our souls and the world around us as that lung/organ system.
Mason Taylor: The way I've always seen it, which you just really encapsulated is that if in the context of physical movement and now #gains, if we actually start losing the perception of our intrinsic value and put it externally over it and towards an achievement, it probably says that it's time within the entirety of our practice to pause on the physicality and come back to turning that lung system and breath so that we have enough space there within that organ system and within those virtues to perceive the value again within ourself. In that, are you covering breath and meditation within the Core 4 as well?
Steph Gaudreau: I do talk about it a little bit in the recharger energy pillar as a way to pause. I think in terms of meditation, everybody has to find what really works for them. That's again, one of those you have to find your right fit.
Mason Taylor: Absolutely. At the moment in the US, it's all crazy on mindfulness meditation. It's all that transcendental meditation or vedic or a lot of psychologists and neuroscientists doing a lot of mindful, mindful, mindful meditation, which is great. You're honing that mental energy. I feel in terms of, you touched on it, moving your body with intention, that meditation right there because it can become ... in the extremes it does become dangerous. There are people that have lost their shit with excessive mindfulness meditation, not balancing it out with that physical meditation.
Mason Taylor: What you just said there and finding what's right with you and finding that dynamic balance because meditation has definitely become one of those things. It's like, right, and meditate. What type of bloody ... it's going, and exercise. "Should I worry about what type of exercise?" "No, no, no, just exercise. That's it." It's not that broad. It's just meditating. It's just exercising. I just appreciate you bringing that up.
Steph Gaudreau: It's a really good point. For somebody like me, I find moving meditation to be quite easy. Also, I know who I am as a person. I am also a very kinesthetic learner. I used to be a teacher. I know that kinesthetic learning is very ... that that's how I interact with the world is through movement quite a bit. It's one of the reasons I struggle at Jiu-Jitsu a lot unless I can actually get in there and have the experience of the instructor will often come around and say, "This is what I mean." They'll demonstrate it with me. I'm like, "Oh, that's really good," because I can feel it. I don't always respond to verbal queuing and stuff like that.
Steph Gaudreau: I know for me, that movement is very ... when I'm really in a task and I'm not thinking about all of the things in my life, the bill that needs to be paid and the this that's going on with my friend or whatever, I could just be in my body and be in that flow. I think not everybody needs to do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. t'ai chi is a great option for a lot of people or walking.
Steph Gaudreau: I was reading Tim Desmond's book. He's talking about just mindfully walking with intention and observing and being very in-the-moment and being very present. Chopping vegetables I find to be very meditative.
Mason Taylor: I'm with you on that.
Steph Gaudreau: The other thing that I found for me lately is sound meditation, a sound bath, sound meditation, sound recordings. There's no mindful meditation piece. There's nobody speaking. There's no one telling me to come back to my breath. I can just get lost in listening to the tones. I love it. I think it's wonderful. I just really would encourage people to find the methodology that really speaks to them and feels good. That could change over time. It doesn't have to be the one thing you stick to for your whole life.
Mason Taylor: Absolutely. Does that entail taking that course?
Steph Gaudreau: Yes and no. I think that in a very simple way, for me, one of the things that I talk about is when we get very in our heads, and I call it the brain drain; it's just the anxiety and the spinning around. Can you just stop and just remember where you are? I'm in my living room right now talking to Mason on the computer. I'm here. I'm grounded. I know a lot of people will really ground into the floor. A lot of people will tap their fingers together to remind themselves that they're here, observing where you're feeling certain things. Your body is another great way to do that.
Steph Gaudreau: Then I just like to breathe. Can I remember to breathe through my belly? Can I remember to stop breathing through my chest? Can I just check in with myself? That's a very simple check-in that you can do. I think sometimes just the pause is enough for some people just to remember I'm here right now. I'm safe. The things that I'm really anxious about are not actually happening to me right now. I'm okay. That could be that.
Steph Gaudreau: Some people like to go outside and sit and just look around and observe the world. Some people, three minutes in the morning, five minutes in the morning of just sitting to themselves journaling. There's so many different ways you can take that time to pause for yourself. Again, it doesn't have to look the same way for you as it looks for me.
Mason Taylor: I'm so with you on that. So many different things I want you to talk about like coming up but I want to make sure I respect the fact that you have things to do as well. I know that it's difficult when the book's so broad. You're covering sleep and going very deep into areas of making sure that your workflow is enabling you to have enough energy to move and to maintain your health. I think we're simplifying, but we've somewhat gone through a little bit of a scraping the cream off three of your Core 4 pillars. Which of the pillars haven't we really dived into intentionally yet. We might have touched on it.
Steph Gaudreau: Yes. The last one is empower your mind. It's just really is a mindset, your internal landscape type of reminder. Some basic things in there I've asked people to think about what's important to them. I think one of the reasons why people feel disenchanted with life or frustrated with life is that they're operating off of past values, things that are not important to them anymore. Again, it's just helping people develop an awareness of that stuff.
Steph Gaudreau: There is some part about fear and recognizing fear and what that's all about. Obviously we have a brain connection there too in connection to our bodies and just understanding that. It cycles back into talking about the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. There's just looking at self-limiting beliefs and understanding that one of the very first steps is just to have an awareness of our own thinking.
Steph Gaudreau: I think the first time I had awareness of my own thinking, I don't even remember when it happened, but within the last, I would say five years, I've really been trying to develop this concept of stopping and pausing; I'm such an emotional person, stopping and pausing and observing and asking questions and getting curious. Why am I feeling this way right now? What about what that person said is triggering me? What is it bringing up for me? Just that as being the very surface. There are whole religions and whole spiritual ways of looking at the world that go far, far more into depth there, but just as a very first step is pausing and being aware and can we ask questions and get curious rather than be judgmental.
Steph Gaudreau: I always think this thing, when this thing happens to me, that stuff doesn't help. That's just some of the very surface stuff that I scratch there. I do talk about how we see the world and our habits and motivations and how that does influence all of these other things. I think if I could put them in order of importance, I think that is probably one of the most important things is going there.
Steph Gaudreau: I also know that when I was first starting out and really looking at getting away from all of these crippling negative self-talk and the dieting and the scale and feeling like a rubbish human being every single day, I think if you had told me, "We just need to work on your mindset now," I would have been like what? I feel like crap in my body every day. You want me to start working on my mind? I don't think that's going to happen.
Steph Gaudreau: I think that sometimes there is something really power and potent about picking up one of the small changes that I talk about in the nutrition part or talking about picking up one of the things in the movement chapter or sleep. When you feel better in your body and you have a clearer mind, you do have more of that brain space. At least that's what I experienced was to start asking those questions, to start developing that awareness. When your brain's foggy all the time and you have no energy and somebody's like, "Just work on your mindset," you're like piss off. I can't even function. I feel like I'm going to fall asleep right now.
Steph Gaudreau: I think there is an aspect of approaching that from the physical body and freeing up that energy. I'm preaching to the choir here, but letting that be okay and not necessarily putting a hierarchy on any of these one things and saying, "You have to do this first and then comes this." Different people come into this. There are multiple different avenues that you can start exploring these things. It ended up being the last pillar, which is fine. I wouldn't say it's the last because it's the least important, but for some people it is the last because it's the thing that they don't have the energy and the brain space to go to quite yet.
Mason Taylor: Yeah. I think it gives rise to what we really ... bringing forth at the beginning of the chat in terms of the context and the fabric in which all of this is emerging from, which can become a little bit ambiguous when you're hurting. It's like this with medicine. We'll finish up soon, just the hammering and jack hammering those. I know everyone, this is just your opportunity to stay mindful and stay focused on our voice. Don't let your external world disrupt your harmony, said the retired yoga teacher.
Mason Taylor: Basically it's like in medicine. Sometimes the branch symptoms are so heavy and getting away of our lives; the gut dysbiosis, the pain within our bodies from not moving. Sometimes to get down to the core in terms of what's going on with our spirit, our mind, our breath, our ability to give our souls that brain space so that we are really nourishing our symptom, sometimes we need to go and work on those branch symptoms. I think that's what you're saying. You can go through, right I'll skim that from the nutrition section. I'll skim that from movement. You work on that branch.
Mason Taylor: I feel like what happens a lot of the time, it's that journey from these are the things that have saved me. I'm going to get dogmatic about those so I don't get these branch symptoms anymore. It's like, no my friend. It's time to go down to the root and the trunk of who you are right now. That's when you can go deeper into the nutrition, deeper into the movement and then finally into that scary fourth chapter that you're talking about there and maintain an approach, a unique approach to your body not wrapped up in image and not wrapped in dogma, but just figuring out who you are a little bit more to go forth with your own unique approach to health. I really like it. The Core 4, can people just go and just right now get it on Kindle?
Steph Gaudreau: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yup.
Mason Taylor: That's the best thing. It's so good. I know you can go to Amazon or stephgaudreau.com. Is that your website?
Steph Gaudreau: It is.
Mason Taylor: Gaudreau is G-A-U-D-R-E-A-U. The link's going to be in the bio anyway, but just for anyone that wants to jump over there right now. Your blog's epic; just recipes, commentary on what's going on within the health scene and then just being able to go back and watch your transition as well as the kettlebell workouts, all these kinds of things. You've got a lot on there, right? You've got a lot of resources.
Steph Gaudreau: Yeah, there's a lot of different stuff. I think there's over 900 posts on the website, 400-plus recipes. There's all sorts of things. I really would encourage people, even when they're using the book and when they're thinking about making change, is to just take a few minutes and just think about yourself. Think about what's calling to you right now as the area that you would like to most explore that you perhaps haven't been putting as much attention or effort on.
Steph Gaudreau: Oftentimes, we just like to do what we're good at and we forget the rest. That's just human nature. Just think, if I've been trying to dial my last five grams of carbs for the last three years, is there something else that I could really investigate here to move the needle a little bit that I haven't been aware of or paid attention to, and just start with one thing from that chapter or start with one thing from that area of the website. I really hope that people end up using it as a buffet of sorts, as just thinking about what feels good to you, what sounds good to you, what you want to check out, what you want to explore, that it's not a prescription. It's not a you-must-do-this-and-that and the other and really just looking for those tools to put in your virtual toolbox that you can carry around with you and you can dip in and out of when you need to.
Mason Taylor: So good. I recommend people following you on Instagram as well. Is it just Steph Gaudreau ...
Steph Gaudreau: It's Steph with an underscore and then my last name. There's a gal in Canada that is that account. She got to it first.
Mason Taylor: You bastard.
Steph Gaudreau: I know. I was going [crosstalk 01:17:59].
Mason Taylor: That's the same with me. I'm Mason J. Taylor. I didn't get there in time. I wasn't savvy enough. I do recommend everyone go out and get the Core 4 book. I'm going to order a copy. I meant to do it last week. I'm going to order a copy. We've got a nice extensive library. I want to make sure it's in here. I'll go through it but the staff can always take that as well.
Mason Taylor: I realize I don't have much in terms of ... especially with movement. It's something I think the guys and girls will really appreciate. We're just buffering out our office at the moment. I'm going get some kettle bells and get some rings. Having your book there, just recommending it, especially that chapter might just help everyone just get the context around these things and ways to approach that. I'll be getting on to that. I hope everyone listening does the same. Thanks so much for joining me.
Steph Gaudreau: Thank you for having me. It's been so fun to talk with you.
Mason Taylor: Absolute pleasure. Goodbye everybody. Hope that you're having a fantastic day wherever you are and you get on to getting into the nuance of your bio individual nutrition, mindset, movement and everything in between. See you guys.