012 – Awesome Snacking Tips from Elle Penner of MyFitnessPal

012 – Awesome Snacking Tips from Elle Penner of MyFitnessPal

LHD Podcast 012: Listen Here;


LHD Podcast 012 – Awesome Snacking Tips from Elle Penner of MyFitnessPal

Snacking Tips: From food swapping, to creative snacking to what to chose when you are faced with the dreaded snack vending machine – we’ve got it all covered with Elle Penner of MyFitnessPal.


  • What food swapping is and how it can make a big difference in your diet.
  • Great, delicious snacks under 200 calories.
  • How to prepare snacks for when you travel so you eat well and save lots of money.
  • When you are faced with a snack vending machine, how do you make the best choices…

Plus more great snacking tips.

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With a little bit of experimentation, you can make snacking healthier and curb your hunger pangs faster. Also, if you prepare some snacks before traveling, you can save money and eat better.


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Show Transcript Below----->

[youtube “http://youtu.be/UIvB8qUk8XQ”] Transcript: 012_Awesome_Snacking_Tips_from_Elle_Penner_of_MyFitnessPal

Paul:        This is the LifehackrDiet Podcast number 012. Let’s get snacking!

Commercial:        Most diets are like going on a trip, the food is different, your activities are different and then it ends. You fall back into your old ways and the diet fails. LifehackrDiet.com is different because you make small changes to your lifestyle that get results. When you hit your goal your life that has been reinvented by you and change is permanent. LifehackrDiet .com, this is your last diet!

Paul: Welcome to the LifehackrDiet Podcast I am Paul Michaels your host. LifehackrDiet Podcast exists to empower you to get 1 step, 1 mile and 1 pound of weight loss closer to your goals of superior health, wellness and well-being.

Welcome you to podcast numbers 012, number 12. We are up over 2000 listens so far on the podcast which are very proud of. But what I need, I need a favor. I want to get to over 3000 or maybe 4000 listens by the end of the year and we don’t have a lot of time so I really need you guys to help. So please let your friends and family know about the LifehackrDiet Podcast, send links out on your Twitter, Facebook and other social networks and it would be great if we could hit 3000 or 4000 listens before the end of the year and I’d really appreciate all the help you can give, thank you.

So in the news today like literally today a couple of minutes ago, I just saw a report about an app called SyncSolver. And what this $.99 app does in the iPhone app store is it fills a gap. At this point in time FitBit is not supporting HealthKit on iOS 8 and it’s a bit of an issue. I have an opinion and my opinion is very straightforward and that is all of the data that I have created over the last 2 years and almost 5000 miles of walking, I think it belongs to me; I mean I created. And I have paid FitBit for their FitBit… I have FitBit 1, I have FitBit Zip, I paid for the devices. I would assume that they would have billed in overhead and all those expenses in the cost of the product. And I like my data, I like to do whatever I want with it. But right now there’s a bit of a corporate battle going on and so FitBit is not supporting data export out of the FitBit app into HealthKit.

But a gentleman by the name of James McAndrew, has created an app called sync solver and I have links to it on my Facebook page which is Facebook.com/lifehackerdiet and I posted it on Twitter as well and my Twitter handle is @lifehackrdiet. You can get a link from either of those sources and for $.99 you can download all of your FitBit data into HealthKit. And I have tried, it works great, I am still fiddling with it to see what else I can do so I will give you a report on the later but be sure to check that out.

And it never ceases to amaze me the creativity and ingenuity of people. We have a problem here, we have to juggernauts head-to-head, nobody is given in and then little James comes by and writes a little code and solves the problem. So thank you James. Maybe we will get you on our podcast sometime later I don’t know but thank you. It’s a lovely almost Thanksgiving gift.

And we have a great podcast today, it’s an interview with Elle Penner and she is a registered dietitian with MyFitnessPal and it’s a great interview, we just discuss snacking and she’s got some great ideas on how you can make changes so that snacking is more fun, you feel more full, it’s more nutritious so I have a really good interview coming up.

So I must apologize, I’m still trying to get over this cold. I think the coal is gone but it’s left me with a very ticklish throat so I end up coughing very easily and for long periods of time so there are a couple of little coughing sessions during this interview so I apologize in advance. I try to take all my medicines beforehand but it didn’t quite work.

So this interview marks the fruition of a promise I made which is in podcast 009, Tips for Supressing Your Appetite: Hacking Your Hunger. I said that I would try to get some professionals on to talk about snacking and Elle is that. So here we go, enjoy the interview with Elle and I will catch you afterwards.


Paul: I am thrilled to welcome Elle Penner to the Lifehackrdiet Podcast. Elle is a registered dietitian who is heading up the nutrition department at MyFitnessPal and actually she grew up about 30 minutes outside of Boston which is a stone’s throw away from where I am recording this podcast right now. So we are in the old stomping grounds.

She writes a healthy lifestyle blog; _According to Elle, _I will put that URL in the show notes. And _According to Elle _has the acronym ATE, which I’m sure is no coincidence. She is also driven to create ways for people to enhance their lives and that’s why she’s here to give us some great tips on snacking and ways in which we can enhance our lives. So welcome Elle and I am thrilled to have you here.

Elle: Thank you Paul, I am thrilled to be on your show, it’s a great opportunity!

Paul: So tell us a little bit about your role at MyFitnessPal and for those who don’t know what MyFitnessPal is, what is it?

Elle: Yes so I will start off by telling you a little bit about what MyFitnessPal, it is and it is a widely popular food and nutrition tracking app. We have a food database of over 4 million foods which allows our users to pretty much seamlessly track the foods that they eat. And we also allow our users to track their exercises and whether you have a FitBit or you have a wearable or you just manually track your exercise, our platform is a way for users to kind of see their energy balance, the nutrition that they are getting from their foods and just kind of helps them learn how to eat better and exercise more. So that’s MyFitnessPal in a nutshell.

And what I do there is I basically do all things nutrition. So on any given day I work with our engineers and developers and product teams to think about and put together new features for the up to improve its accuracy and just kind of come up with ways for users to… Users can do more with the data that they have. And then I am also part of our marketing team so I am the nutrition spokesperson for the company. I also head up the food and nutrition content on our blog which gets a lot of traffic and it’s a great source of healthy inspiring information. And so that’s pretty much what I do there.

Paul: And just to let people know, I have been using MyFitnessPal for just about 2 years now and it’s been a huge part of my journey. And the beauty of MyFitnessPal is its kind of like the country of Switzerland; it gets along with everybody. So nowadays you are having hold battles with Apple’s new HealthKit. You have some tracker manufacturers not plugging into HealthKit but they plug into MyFitnessPal. And so pretty much any product, tracking product you buy or any app that you use for tracking your food or your exercise or anything like that will have a plug-in feature that will allow the transformation of information from your app to MyFitnessPal. And is it one way? I think it is one way.

Elle: No, we go 2 ways.

Paul: 2 ways, yeah.

Elle: Yeah, so we will share in some apps, it depends on what device you have or what app you are using but our nutrition information I think it’s meal summary data can be synced into the other apps.

Paul: Right, so there is really no risk in downloading MyFitnessPal first of all it’s free and secondly it gets along with everybody.

Elle: Yeah, we actually partner with 80% of all wearables and 4 out of the 5 GPS tracking apps so…

Paul: So go to your app store and download it!

So today I wanted to talk about eating, one of my favorite topics and specifically about snacking. And I wrote a blog post a little while ago podcast 009, which is Hacking Your Hunger: Tips for How to Suppress Your Appetite. And I promised in that podcast that I would get a real professional on the show and have them talk about it so here is the fulfillment of my promise with Elle Penner.

So let’s talk about a bunch of articles that you have written for MyFitnessPal. I think they are excellent articles and what I like about them is they are for real people, they are things that anybody can do. And so that’s I think that’s awesome because we need to affect everybody’s lives in a positive way. So let’s start with food swaps, what is a food swap?

Elle: So a food swap is basically a simple way to upgrade whatever you are eating. It can be one ingredient, it can be a few ingredients if you’re cooking a recipe but they just kind of give you more nutritional bang for your buck. So if you’re trying to cut calories or get more protein in your diet or whatever extra vitamins and minerals, kind of swapping out an unhealthier food for a more nutrient dense food I guess is the definition of a food swap.

Paul: Great! So why do we go through a couple of them that you mentioned?

Elle: Sure, so some of my favorites are simple ones like I use this all the time; if you’re going to be having a taco with sour cream, throw on a little bit of Greek yogurt instead. It’s tart, it’s packed with protein, it’s low in fat so it’s actually more satiating than a dollop of sour cream.

Another one is instead of a hamburger bun that contains a lot of carbs, refined grains, yeah I use 100% whole grain deli flat so they are kind of like that feeling you are eating a bun without all the extra fluff.

Paul: I have a little version of that. I have 2 of my kids that are vegetarian. I make veggie wraps for them so I take a veggie burger partially cook it and then take a multigrained wrap and kind of fold it over the burger and then put it in my George Foreman grill and it kind of is on and it’s only 70 cal and it’s much healthier than a bun.

Elle: That’s great, that’s an awesome food swap!

Paul: Okay.

Elle: So another one is instead of traditional breadcrumbs, use Panko because Panko is a little bit fluffier and so it actually absorbs less or if you’re cooking something in oil. And one of my all-time favorites is using avocado in baked goods. So it’s actually… It’s a fat and it’s a pretty bland fat. So you can actually swap out about half of the butter in any baked good for some mashed avocado and it kind of gives you that same fact but it’s a healthier unsaturated fat Mono and polyunsaturated fat, mono and polyunsaturated omegas.

Paul: So I have a little avocado story too. I have a smoothie maker and I was fooling around with some recipes and one of the recipes was a chocolate smoothie and it used avocado and I had never done that before and it’s like, “Oh, this is not going to work.” And so I went through the recipe which is very simple, it was avocado and cocoa powder and a couple of soymilk or whatever milk you want to use. And blended it up and I was blown away with how good it tasted.

Elle: Yeah, you see that creaminess and healthy source of facts but yeah.

Paul: Yeah and then I tested it on the kids and it’s like, “Yeah, thumbs up!” So avocado is pretty amazing!

Elle: Did you tell them it was in there?

Paul: I had them tried first and then I told them. There is no way I would have got it down if I had told them first so they are kind of used to that.

Elle: Yeah.

Paul: And then I had sushi last night and I think one of your swaps is white rice for brown rice right?

Elle: Yeah. So milling and polishing of brown rice to make it white that’s all that happens during the processing experience. So it removes most of the B vitamins; magnesium, phosphorus iron, all those good kind of nutrients and also all of the fiber. So if you kind of skip the processing stuff and go straight for the brown rice you actually get a more nutrient dense food than starch.

Paul: I had no idea that was the difference.

Elle: Yeah.

Paul: It’s amazing.

Elle: Yeah, all rice is brown.

Paul: So can you confirm for me? I just feel like an absolute idiot but my daughter told me this and I just want to confirm that it’s true. White eggs are actually bleached white and they are actually originally brown?

Elle: No, I think that’s false.

Paul: Okay.

Elle: From what I read it kind of depends on the color of the shell depends on the chicken’s diet.

Paul: Okay.

Elle: I am not a farming expert but that’s what I have heard. And there is actually no nutritional difference between a white eggs and a brown egg, it’s just mostly like whatever kind of rocks and that kind of thing the chicken is around or picks up.

Paul: Okay, so that’s why I had you confirm it, excellent. So go ahead, move on.

Elle: Okay so do you want some more food swaps?

Paul: You missed my favorite.

Elle: Oh, what did I miss?

Paul: You missed my favorite. I think I will be embalmed by it when I die. And that is dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.

Elle: Oh!

Paul: You can’t forget that one.

Elle: Yeah, so dark chocolate it actually I’m sure you have read the articles but it actually does contain more health boosting antioxidants than the milk chocolate just because mostly it’s less processed and less refined so it actually retains a lot of those healthy compounds.

Paul: Right and then another good one I think is instead of granola and milk, what is your suggestion?

Elle: Yeah so I mean I used to basically sit down with a big bowl of granola cereal and milk every morning and not even realizing that there’s probably 500 cal in that cup and a half, 2 cups of cereal. So these days I swap it out and I use a Greek yogurt or any kind of yogurt as the base and then I may be sprinkle a quarter of a cup of granola on top. Granola is great and is a source of whole grains and if you add some nuts it can also add protein but it is calorie dense. Most of them contain sugar so kind of going heavier on the protein and the yogurt and sprinkling a little of granola on top is a great way to swap out those extra calories.

Paul: Great, well those are great swaps. And for our listeners if you guys have swaps that you use, please let everybody know in the show notes. I think it would be great to have all of your input. So let’s move on to 10 simple snacks under 200 cal and I must say when I was writing the Hacking Your Hunger post, I was kind of surprised at how little or how few calories I need to actually satisfy my hunger pangs. And then you look at like what a bag of chips is or what other people eat for a snack, it’s amazing how little you need to actually satisfy your hunger…

Elle: Yeah.

Paul: … I think you illustrate that as well.

Elle: Yeah, I am by nature not a huge snacker. I prefer to kind of load up at mealtime I guess. Snacking is such a huge part of our culture and everybody is kind of eating on the go. And it actually is a huge area where people kind of consume a lot of calories that they don’t really think about because they are not necessarily sitting down and enjoying a meal and taking it in. And I love your article about kind of how you hacked your snacks and how you kind of used, paid attention to your hunger cues and really eat based on your hunger and not just kind of mindless eating.

Paul: Yeah, that’s the big challenge, is trying to separate the 2. There is so much emotional and kind of base core reaction that we used towards eating that you have to kind of separate yourself from that and realize when you actually are hungry and then what you can need to satisfy it.

Elle: Yeah. I mean even just where we schedule our days every minute of every day is scheduled and a lot of times eating is just based on schedule and I think that’s even snacks, snacking in the afternoon can be a habit for someone. It may not necessarily mean that they are hungry at all so yeah, being mindful around your snacks and actually making sure you are hungry before you decide to have a snack…

Paul: Right.

Elle: … It’s a huge way to kind of offset consuming excess calories is that you don’t really need.

Paul: And I think advertising pushes that as well. I think… Is there a chocolate bar that is kind of like take a break, was it? In the afternoon, take a break, have a chocolate bar or something?

Elle: Yeah, definitely.

Paul: … It’s a big part of it. So if you can just go through maybe a couple of your favorite snacks under 200 cal that you think people would enjoy that would be great.

Elle: Yeah. So when I snack I kind of try and keep it mostly whole food based. I try and avoid a lot of the package stuff. So having kind of a stash of fruits and nuts and that kind of stuff on hand helps. So some of my favorites are hard-boiled eggs with 2 tablespoons of hummus and a slice of whole-grain toast; that comes in almost a 200 cal. But it actually has protein in the hummus in the egg and then whole-grain toast offers fiber so it is actually really satisfying.

Paul: I would think so yeah.

Elle: Yeah! Also just something like a small banana and a serving of almonds which is 16 almonds is around 200 cal as well. A quarter of a cup of mashed avocado and whole-grain toast and a pinch of sea salt, this is actually quite a popular snack among these healthy living folks, it is called avocado toast so it’s a great source of healthy fat. You can kind of jazz it up if you want to sprinkle some nuts on or I like to add a piece of crispy prosciutto every now and then. That’s another great snack.

There is always the classic Apple and peanut butter…

Paul: Mhm, yes.

Elle: … You can throw on some chopped walnuts or something for some extra omegas and healthy fats, that’s great too.

Paul: One of my sons favorites, he sees celery and the first thing he says is, “Peanut butter.” And so we could be eating a savory meal and I put raw celery out to eat and I am crunching on it and he goes to the fridge and gets peanut butter and it’s like, “Gross, that doesn’t work.” But anyways so yeah you can use it many ways.

Elle: Yeah, for sure, celery is a great one. I love having my Greek yogurt in the morning around a couple or three quarters of a cup with just some fresh BlackBerries on top, it’s another great snack. Homemade trail mix is another great option it just takes a few minutes to throw together if you have all the ingredients. So pairing that with some air popped popcorn is a great snack as well.

Paul: Right. And that kind of segues into five make-ahead travel snacks. I was traveling yesterday by plane and I thought of you not only because we had this podcast today but also because of the way you came to kind of figuring this out so why don’t you tell us the story behind it.

Elle: Yeah, so that all happened when I was a traveling, I don’t remember where I was flying but hunger hits, you’re not expecting it and I ended up buying a $4 Greek yogurt after weighing the pros and cons of going to the food court and getting something that costs just as much but an entire meal at a fast food joints. But actually did go back and I paid the $4 for the Greek yogurt and it was painful, a little hard to swallow. But it was an opportunity that made me realize that just packing a simple snack from home I could have avoided that inner conflict completely, I wouldn’t even have thought about buying a snack because the food in general at the airport is so expensive.

Paul: Right.

Elle: And generally unhealthy.

Paul: And I have experienced recently where we arrived… my family was on vacation, we arrived back in the states and our flight was delayed like 4, 5 hours so it wasn’t going to leave till 2 in the morning.

Elle: Yeah.

Paul: So I think we were on… I think we were on JetBlue and they have fairly decent snacks so they were looking over all these grumpy people and they said, “Okay we’re going to cart in what we serve on the plane.” So they brought this cart filled with all the snacks that they have on the plane and that’s what we got to eat because all the restaurants and everything is was closed in the airport…

Elle: oh!

Paul: … And it was like, “Okay, so what are we going to do here?” So you never know when it’s going to happen but you have some excellent suggestions for preparing for it so why don’t you tell us those?

Elle: Yeah. So before I leave for a trip I kind of find a little bit of joy in trying to clean out my fridge and use of things that I have like fresh fruit, throw it in the bag if you have it, fresh fruits and veggies. If you have some carrots or bell pepper, chop it up and don’t to go to waste, you actually can bring it with you, throw it in a little baggie and to be there with you when you need it.

Another one is high-fiber cereal. So if you have like shredded wheat or another one of your favorites, just throwing a little bit in a Ziploc bag is great. Cheese so string cheese or if you just have a block of cheese in your fridge, again don’t let it go to waste. You can chop it up into kind of one of our servings and snack as you feel hungry. Fresh fruit, granola bars are another one. I always have a dash of granola bars, they are great for grabbing when you are on the way out the door for a hike or you are headed to the airport; those early morning flights can be kind of brutal.

And often times like I don’t really feel hungry the minute I wake up at 3 in the morning for my flight so I will grab a granola bar or like even an instant oatmeal packet, just if you have those at home, choose ones that are lower in added sugar and then when you are basically on the airplane all you have to do is ask for a cup of hot water and you can add your instant oatmeal to it.

Paul:        That’s a good one, that’s a good one. Now you mention something, couple times in your articles which I am intrigued by and I want to try this and that is you are using chickpeas and you are baking them or something like that to make them crunchy?

Elle: Yeah.

Paul: Tell me about that one because it sounds good.

Elle: This is another one of those fad health foods, health snacks that’s happening. There is so many recipes out there and there are many good ones. So the ones with chickpeas actually gets quite crispy so they give you that kind of crunch you are looking for in a snack, sort of a bag of chips or something. But chickpeas are great, they are high in fiber and they can actually contain a lot of protein and they are pretty bland so you can season them with savory or sweet or little bit of both and if you cook those ahead of time again they are a great snack to take with you.

Paul: So how do you cook them do you get them in a can or fresh? I don’t know.

Elle: Yeah…

Paul: Lay it out for me.

Elle: Yeah, so I have done this a few times. You can basically buy a can of chickpeas, train them, pat them dry so that it’s important to make sure that they are dry otherwise they would kind of steam and be on the softer side. So you want to dry them off and they literally just need like the tiniest bit of olive oil or whatever other kind of neutral cooking oil and then you roast them in the oven for probably anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes or depending on how high your oven is, 100° tends to work. But again kind of play around with seasonings or look up some spice combinations on the Internet, there is tons of good recipes out there.

Paul: That sounds great!

Elle: Yeah.

Paul: I’m going to have to try that!

Elle: Yeah. Have your kids try them too.

Paul: Yeah, I won’t tell them what they are first. “Here, try this.” It’s the only way we can do it.

So worse, worse, worse, worst case scenario; you are standing in front of a vending machine, you are starving to death…

Elle: Yep.

Paul: … What are the best and the worst things to get in that situation?

Elle: Yeah. It’s all about making the best choice in whatever situation you’re in. A vending machine is not ideal but it’s definitely not the end of the word you need to get some things from the vending machine you do it. I would say my 5 worst pikcs are they are typically more at eye level…

Paul: Right.

Elle: … Which makes them a little harder to resist. But packaged pastries, they are filled with corn syrup and preservatives. Chips and crackers, they are high in sodium, some of them still contain hydrogenated oils which aren’t too good for your heart health and cholesterol. Packaged cookies, it’s just like all these refined carbohydrates; candy it gives you a giant spike in blood sugar then your blood sugar crashes and it kind of leaves you in a cycle of creating more sugar again. And the all time least favorite is soda; having a soda is empty calories. It will leave you feeling any more satisfied than when you went to the vending machine in the first place so I would say those 5 are my least favorite.

But you know, there are actually, if you look a little bit harder, a little bit lower in the machine, there are some better options so there is usually an option for a selection of nuts. I don’t know if sometimes they will carry lower sodium options so those would be best but nuts provide protein and fiber and they will kind of keep you feeling full longer. Trail mix is another good one, it’s a good way to get that sweet and savory fix that you are craving. Many of them do contain a lot of candy but you can kind of eat your way around that or through on a few pieces of chocolate for good leisure.

Paul: Dark chocolate of course.

Elle: Yeah. Granola bars are great too usually, they are usually made with some sort of whole-grain like oats or flax which gives you more fiber and protein. Popcorn is another one depending on what it’s covered in. But if there is like an option for low-sodium or just slightly salted popcorn that’s not too overly flavored, that’s a good option as well. And then if you are thirsty I have to go with water. Sometimes it’s painful to pay $2 for a bottle of water but yeah, I definitely think that if you’re going for hydration especially when you are traveling, water is the way to go.

Paul: So I must say traveling yesterday I flew up to Canada and back and so there was a lot of time on the plane and in airports and I have to say that I took your advice and I brought granola bars, I brought my roasted almonds, I brought some fruits. And the irony of all of this is if you have a bottle of water they throw that out but they are fine with all these other things in your bag so let’s use that to our advantage. So I took a bunch of granola bars, different kinds because in a day if you are traveling you kind of get bored with one and you want to try another. I also love roasted almonds it’s one of my favorites so it’s always good to have that sort of stuff available. And then snacks and fruit, put it in your pocket, take that as well and it makes a big difference!

Elle: For sure; on your wallet and…

Paul: Yes.

Elle: … In terms of… Yeah, the foods that you’re putting in your body.

Paul: Yeah.

Elle: Again, one of my favorite hacks for traveling, I travel a lot, is bringing my own water bottle. So if you bring through an empty water bottle whether it’s one that you buy and you drink before and you get through security or one that you drink from home, bring your own water bottle, it’s a great way so then you can fill it up. Once your past security, many airports are actually putting in like these filtered water stations. So yeah, that’s great. I think that’s a great way to kind of stay hydrated and not spend $3 and a bottle of water.

Paul: And a variation of that, I, it’s kind of a funny thing. I like everybody used to drink my coffee and tea out of a regular mug and then I started using these thermal mugs that keep it really hot for the whole day. They also protect you from… Protect your computer, everything from spillage as well. So I have gotten so used to these things that I look at a regular mug as a dangerous thing. Like I can’t drink coffee out of the mug; first of all, is going to get cold really fast, secondly I could spill it!

Elle: Right.

Paul: And it’s so funny. So you could also take your thermal coffee cup drink, make sure it is empty when you go through and then there’s lots of coffee places beyond the security in the airports and you can fill up with coffee. And the nice thing about that is they are usually pretty big and they will last you most of your trip and keep it hot as well so that works well.

And I think the idea of baggies, just using baggies to wrap up all of these goodies that you are bringing is probably a good one. I am not sure if they have issues with other containers but if anybody has experience with that again I will leave information down in the show notes. And if also if you have suggestions for vending machines or other things that you can be when you travel or other travel tips we would love to hear about it. So please be sure to head out to lifehackerdiet.com and go to the podcast section and under each podcast there is a section for you to talk with everybody and give everybody your tips and advice as well so please do that.

So Elle those are great smacking tips. It’s actually getting your dinner… Sorry lunchtime for me and I’m getting hungry after talking about all this food. So I am going to put all the links to the blog post that we’ve discussed in the show notes and I know you are quite prolific out there so where can people get a hold of you and I will make sure to put those links as well in the show notes.

Elle: Yeah. I’m all over social media. I am on twitter, Instagram and Pintrest. My handle is Elle Penner Harvey. And like you mentioned before, my blog is According to Elle. I also write for My Fitness Pal blog which is blog.myfitnesspal.com and we have loads of great information, workouts, nutrition tips, recipes every day, a recipe newsletter. So if you’re looking for a health inspiration, another great place to go for sure.

Paul: What I would love to do a whole session on my fitness plan because I think there is just so many great features to it so maybe we can look at that in the future but everybody, go to your respective app stores, download My Fitness Pal, it’s free, it’s friendly and it really becomes a cornerstone for what ever you are trying to achieve. And there are lots of updates, they are always improving it so you just can’t go wrong with My Fitness Pal. So thank you very much Elle, really appreciate your time, wonderful actionable advice people can get right to it, we are heading up to Thanksgiving and they can just jump right in there and start using your advice! So thank you very much again.

Elle: Thank you very much for having me Paul!

Paul: Great, talk to you soon!

Elle: Okay, bye-bye!

[End of interview]

Paul: Told you it was a great interview. Now I have to try those chickpeas; traveling next week so I’m going to have to make some up and see how everybody likes them. Anyways as usual please let us know what some of your hacks are and what you do for snacking when you travel. You can get to any of the podcast by going to podcast.lifehackerdiet.com, find the podcast that is the one you want and click on it, scroll down to the bottom and there is a chat area there. We would love to hear what you guys come up with. I am sure there is some pretty inventive stuff so let us know.

Thank you for listening as each of us starts down our unique paths to leaner, healthier bodies, there are always challenges along the way which is why the_ LifehackerDiet_ community is so important. We would all love to hear your thoughts, questions, struggles and successes. Please add your voice to the discussion below and become part of the _LifehackrDiet _ community.

To get more LifehackrDiet _ content get sent directly to your devices as soon as it becomes available, please press the “subscribe” button in iTunes or follow us on Stitcher radio. We really appreciate reviews on iTunes and likes on Stitcher radio as those actions help the _LifehackrDiet Podcast to get noticed and benefit more people. Be sure to head over to the lifehackerdiet.com website for tons of free content on our blog, podcast, YouTube channel and downloadable LifehackrDiet easy_ start guide and also the DIY Weight Loss Gear Report.

Sign up for our weekly LifehackerDiet newsletter to stay on top of all of the latest actionable tips and content available for your own LifehackrDiet journey. All of this content is free and calorie free so you can consume as much as you want. Remember today is the first day of the rest of your life so make it count, have a great day.


  © 2014, Man Mountain Productions, Inc.

011 How Simply Walking for Exercise Enabled Me to Keep up with People Half My Age on the Hardest Hike of My Life. It Can Do The Same For You, Too!

011 How Simply Walking for Exercise Enabled Me to Keep up with People Half My Age on the Hardest Hike of My Life. It Can Do The Same For You, Too!

LHD Podcast 011: Listen Here;



LHD Podcast 011 – 011 How Simply Walking for Exercise Enabled Me to Keep up with People Half My Age on the Hardest Hike of My Life. It Can Do The Same For You, Too!

It wasn’t until I gave up on the idea of going to the gym, and started to look at everything in my life as a form of walking for exercise, that things started to change for me.



  • How to find opportunities in your everyday life to walk for exercise.
  • That by simply walking for exercise you will find you are capable of amazing physical feats.
  • You will learn that “Hiking” in British Columbia, Canada means something different than what you are used to…
  • Quite simply, you are what you do!

Plus more about Paul’s adventures in walking and his ascent of “The Chief.”

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



Reveling in my accomplishment on the summit of The Chief, my sandwich tasted 100 times better than it deserved to. The view was absolutely spectacular and as I was taking it in, a gentleman walked into my field of view. I said hello and told him how I was amazed to have survived the hike up. He wasn’t particularly impressed, but congratulated me anyway. I asked him if this was his first time on The Chief and he responded by putting me in line! He pointed to his house in the town of Squamish below us, told me he was 67 years old and climbs The Chief every Saturday and Sunday for a little fresh air and a stroll!


I guess YOU are what YOU do! Get walking for exercise!.


Check out the Blog Post on this topic Here!


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Click Here to Download the Transcript for Episode 011 (PDF) (Coming Soon!)


Show Transcript Below----->

[youtube “http://youtu.be/UIvB8qUk8XQ”]    

Read theBlog Post here…


© 2014, Man Mountain Productions, Inc.    

009 Hacking Your Hunger. Tips for How to Suppress Your Appetite.

009 Hacking Your Hunger. Tips for How to Suppress Your Appetite.

LHD Podcast 009: Listen Here;



LHD Podcast 009 – Hacking Your Hunger. Tips for How to Suppress Your Appetite.

To begin with, all of us are doing it wrong. We usually eat our snack out of their respective containers, grazing like a lazy cow on a warm summer afternoon. If it takes your stomach about 20 minutes to register “we’re A-OK down here,” with your brain, that means there is another 20 minutes of unsolicited calories making it’s way down your gullet. Stop eating with your eyes! Let real data influence when and how much you eat. Simply put; eat sensibly, mindfully and with purpose.


  • Hunger has helped Homo sapiens rule, but now it’s just a button for marketers to press.
  • People have survived not eating for up to ten weeks, which is really scary!
  • Hunger pangs are a nuisance and often make us eat when we don’t really need to.
  • If we become more aware of our own bodies through data, we might eat what and when we need to.
  • LifehackrDiet has trained me to eat what I need and not to excess.
  • Put yourself in charge and reinvent your eating to get the same satisfaction with fewer calories.
  • Did you know it takes about 20 mins for your stomach to tell you brain to stop eating?!
  • Eating out of packages is free-style eating, stop doing it!
  • Portioning out your food in reasonable quantities and putting away the packages is “bento-boxing.”
  • Eat deliberately, slowly and enjoy your food. Taste it, smell it, enjoy the texture. Eat one piece at a time.
  • Your goal is to put the last of your food in your mouth when your stomach gives the “A-OK.”
  • Hack your snacks from “free-style ’n” to “bento-boxing” and then cut their size down in size, slowly.
  • If you took control of your favorite snack you could lose about 13lbs in one year, eating it everyday.
  • You need to hack your snacks, but I give you my list of snacks from low intensity to high.
  • Your snacking universe is as big as you want it to be. Go forth and hack any snack.

Plus more about taking control of your eating habits. Eating is good, good eating is fun and healthy.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



There is “YOUR” world of options available for snacking. Just use the LHD guiding principles to help you hack your snacks and lose weight while you eat and enjoy, one bite at a time.


Check out the Blog Post on this topic Here!.


Thanks for LISTENING!

Thank you again for your support,

SUBSCRIBE Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher Radio to get automatic updates.

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Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life so make it count. Have a great day.

Paul Michaels, LifehackrDiet Guru


© 2014, Man Mountain Productions, Inc.


Show Transcript Below----->

[youtube “http://youtu.be/UIvB8qUk8XQ”]  

    Check out the twin BlogPost here; Hacking Your Hunger. Tips for How to Suppress your Appetite.      

© 2014, Man Mountain Productions, Inc.    

010 Curating Your Data with Nudge App, An Interview with Phil Beene

010 Curating Your Data with Nudge App, An Interview with Phil Beene

LHD Podcast 010: Listen Here;


LHD Podcast 010 – Curating Your Data with Nudge App, An Interview with Phil Beene.

Paul has a discussion with Phil Beene of Nudge, LLC, about the importance of curating all your health data with their iOS and Android app, Nudge. Today’s health apps create lots and lots of data and it doesn’t take much to find yourself drowning in it. We discuss the benefits of having all that data collected, processed and displayed into one single graphic. You will be surprised at how powerful this concept is, so be sure to tune in and listen.

As a sidenote, LifehackrDiet is announcing a wonderful new development that can help you the listener get a kickstart on reaching your health goals. Paul talks about it after the interview with Phil. Enjoy


  • What the free Nudge app can do to simplify your life and help you reach your health goals.
  • Nudge LLC, co-founder Phil Beene, is a soccer star and he knows how to keep his head down when the “S—” hits the proverbial fan. (on the beaches of USVI!).
  • What is Nudge Coach and why are Phil and Paul so excited about it? It’s going to make a difference in your life too!
  • A big announcement about how Paul Michaels of LifehackrDiet.com is going to magically fit in your pocket and personally help you reach your health goals.
  • What is Apple’s Health Kit and Health App and how they can benefit you and your health.

Plus lots more about a very exciting time in technology, your health tools, and what the future holds in improving the health of our fellow citizens.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.


[youtube http://youtu.be/1MUwsUzoaJg]


Even though a lot of this “quantified self,” health technology can become overwhelming, it is very possible to tame all that data, so that you can easily understand what you need to do to improve your health and wellness.

Check out the Video Post on this topic Here!


Thanks for LISTENING!

Thank you again for your support,

SUBSCRIBE Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher Radio to get automatic updates.

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Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life so make it count. Have a great day.

Paul Michaels, LifehackrDiet Guru


© 2014, Man Mountain Productions, Inc.


Show Transcript Below----->

[youtube “http://youtu.be/UIvB8qUk8XQ”] © 2014, Man Mountain Productions, Inc.

008 Climbing Back Down from Obesity. Listening to Your 10-Year Old Self.

008 Climbing Back Down from Obesity. Listening to Your 10-Year Old Self.

LHD Podcast 008: Listen Here;



LHD Podcast 008 – Climbing Back Down from Obesity. Listening to Your 10 Year Old Self.

As a 10 year old kid who loved climbing trees, I had the wisdom to solve my adult weight gain problem. Climbing Back Down from Obesity.



  • Why it is important to take responsibility for your own weight-loss.
  • Simple, broad steps to reinventing your lifestyle so that you lose weight permanently.
  • What the 10-year old Paul Michaels’ favorite activity was…
  • Why sometimes it’s important to listen to our inner child when looking to solve our adult problems.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



I think it’s fair to say that each of us climbed up the tree of “weight gain” with out the help of our Doctor or any traditional diet plan. My experience is that if we become personally responsible for our weight-loss, and look to our inner child for advice, the way back down can be pretty straightforward… Eat fewer calories, exercise more and make small changes to our lifestyles, so that the changes we make become permanent!


Check out the Blog Post on this topic Here!


Thanks for LISTENING!

Thank you again for your support,

SUBSCRIBE Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher Radio to get automatic updates.

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Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life so make it count. Have a great day.

Paul Michaels, LifehackrDiet Guru


© 2014, Man Mountain Productions, Inc.


Show Transcript Below----->

[youtube “http://youtu.be/UIvB8qUk8XQ”]  

Climbing Back Down from Obesity; Listening to your 10 year old Self. Read the Blog Post Here.

      © 2014, Man Mountain Productions, Inc.    

007 Buddhify 2 App, Mindfulness and Weight-loss. A Conversation with Rohan Gunatillake.

007 Buddhify 2 App, Mindfulness and Weight-loss. A Conversation with Rohan Gunatillake.

LHD Podcast 007: Listen Here;



LHD Podcast 007 – Buddhify 2 App, Mindfulness and Weight-loss. A Conversation with Rohan Gunatillake.

Learn from one of the masters of Urban Mindfulness, the creator of Buddhify 2 app, how your can improve your everyday life, and mindfully lose weight.


  • About Buddhify 2, an urban Mindfulness app that you can use in almost every situation to bring a sense of calm and clarity to your life.
  • What Mindfulness is and how you can benefit from it.
  • LifehackrDiet is, at it’s core, a “mindfulness” diet.
  • How to derive more pleasure from simple things we do everyday.
  • What you can do with “dead-time” or in-between moments in your day so that you can benefit.
  • How to get “in the moment” or “Flow” when you are doing things in your everyday life.
  • Some new features that are coming to the Buddhify app on iPhone and soon, Android.

Plus more many more tips and tricks for exploring mindfulness in your daily life and on the LifehackrDiet.


Related Videos

A Preview of the Buddhify 2 App.
[youtube http://youtu.be/0gzrYQKoHfI]

Rohan Gunatillake talking about the Buddhify 2 app.
[youtube http://youtu.be/pE8S584hviA]

Rohan Gunatillake talking at Future Fest about mindfulness and our society.
[youtube http://youtu.be/ghBUOXhthbc]



Mindfulness and meditation might seem like a foreign concept to you, but chances are you have probably practiced many times in your life, without recognizing it. As a kid, when you were crying or hurt, did anyone say “calm down, just breath, in and out”? Right there you were being instructed to focus on your breath – mindfulness! Before a sports competition or a speech did you close your eyes and calm yourself? – meditation!
It’s normal and natural to want to clear your mind or focus on your breath to achieve a state of calm and clarity. Now you can use modern tools like the Buddhify 2 App to train yourself and improve your everyday life, simply.

Check out the Blog Post on this topic Here!.


Thanks for LISTENING!

Thank you again for your support,

SUBSCRIBE Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher Radio to get automatic updates.

[et_bloom_inline optin_id=optin_5]

Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life so make it count. Have a great day.

Paul Michaels, LifehackrDiet Guru


© 2014, Man Mountain Productions, Inc.


Show Transcript Below----->


[youtube “http://youtu.be/UIvB8qUk8XQ”]  

Paul: This is Life hacker Diet podcast #007. Let’s meditate!

Speaker: Most diets are like going on a trip. The food is different. Your activities are different and then it ends. You fall back into your old ways and the diet fails. Lifehackrdiet.com is different because you make small changes to your lifestyle that gets results. When you hit your goal, your lifestyle has been reinvented by you and change is permanent. Lifehackrdiet.com, this is your last diet.

Paul: The Lifehackr Diet podcast exists to empower you to get one step, one mile and one pound of weight loss closer to your goals of superior health, wellness and well-being. Welcome, welcome. This is a Lifehackr Diet podcast #007. I am Paul Michaels, your host. And today, I’m really excited. I was just checking out the analytics on my podcast, and it’s been just over a month. And I’ve done just a soft launch on the podcast which means no advertising, just putting it up there. I’ve been very focused on getting content up into the podcast stream for all you guys so that you can get to work right now on loosing weight and being healthier. So I haven’t done any advertising. Basically, I haven’t told anyone about it and I’ve already had 700 listens (downloads).

That means that people have downloaded a podcast of the Lifehackr Diet podcast, 700 times which is mind boggling. So I want to thank you all for taking the chance on the Lifehackr Diet podcast. I want to continue to give you great information, actionable stuff, you can take to heart right away and start acting on. But I need your feedback. I need to know what you want, what you don’t, what you like, any questions you have and the way you can do that is heading over to lifehackrdiet.com and click on the podcast button, and it will take you to the list of podcasts and under each podcast, show notes there is an area where you can leave comments. And I would really appreciate knowing what you guys want to hear more of. And today is a good example because I’m continuing with my interview series. And this time, it’s with a gentleman by the name of Rohan Gunatillake who is the brainchild behind a Smartphone app called Buddhify 2.

What does this have to do with the Lifehackr Diet? Well, that’s why we did the interview. So I think you’ll find that it’s a lot more than you think it has to do with it, but to find out, you have to listen. So here we go with the interview.

INTERVIEW: I’d like to welcome Rohan Gunatillake to the LifehackrDiet podcast. Rohan is an innovation producer and entrepreneur working in Wise Technology & Modern Mindfulness. Rohan, heads up 21awake, a creative studio which combines deep experience in meditation technology and design. 21awake is best known for Buddhify and I believe Buddhify 2 which are the best selling urban mindfulness apps in the iPhone app store and soon to be on android. So Rohan, I want to thank you very much for taking time to be here today.

Rohan: Not at all, Paul. Thanks for having me.

Paul: So the reason I wanted to set up this interview is because I downloaded Buddhify 2 and it was out of curiosity, and I was immediately drawn in by the app. And I’m not easily drawn in! I’m a bit of an app junkie, love to see what people are doing out there. And I also don’t have a lot of experience with meditation. So it tends to be a little scary at first. And what I found about Buddhify 2 is it completely disarms the listener. And I think one of the core things that I think you’re sort of subtitle, it is modern mindfulness wherever you are. And I found that to be absolutely true because you have meditations for surfing the web, walking down the street, taking a break, exercising, traveling, eating, even waiting around.

So what’s so great about it, Buddhify 2, is that it’s accessible because it’s on my iPhone but it’s also… it’s current to my everyday activities. And I think that’s what’s so wonderful about Buddhify 2 is because it is very relevant on a daily basis.

Rohan: Yeah, that was very much the big idea behind making it which was to solve this problem that a lot of people sort of may have heard about mindfulness meditation but never sort of found a way into it, and the main reasons people tend to not pursue their interest is either they feel they don’t have time to go to a class or course and so that’s why this whole idea of meditation the way you are like all those different activities and locations you mentioned. And also the, I guess one in the States, you might say the perception of meditation being a very ‘wu-wu’ thing. So we spend a lot of time on sort of visual design, the aesthetic, the language, the tone of the whole, of all the content and just a look and feel of the product as well, to make you feel like it’s a sort of app that you’d be very happy showing your friends on your phone. You won’t be embarrassed because it’s full of crystals and lotus flowers and all that kind of stuff.

Paul: And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing because it somehow finds its way to most of the conversations I have, and I end up pulling it out and showing people. So I think you’ve been extremely successful that way. And I think I’ve listened to some podcasts with you and watched some video clips of you online, and I think one of your kind of philosophies is that there’s a lot of noise out there and our technology just amplifies the noise that we get that’s not useful to us. It’s almost out of habit that we check our Twitter feeds and all these things, and you want to see how you can kind of twist technology or not twist it but use it in a way that actually brings positive results to people. And I think…

Rohan: Absolutely, I think too often where we think that technology is intrinsically bad for us. I think the more examples we have like Buddhify and all sorts of other things which show us that we can actually use this stuff to make in our lives a little bit more peaceful or connected and that can only be a good thing.

Paul: Right, and that’s the reason that I wanted to talk to you on the LifehackrDiet podcast. Because the LifehackrDiet is very simply looking mindfully at your life and just making small changes in both the way you approach things and what you consume, so that you make huge strides in hitting your goals of loosing weight and getting healthy. So what I would consider noise is everybody saying “go exercise three times a week. Eat less food.” And that’s noise because we can’t process it. And what LifehackrDiet does is it says “hold on a sec, when you go grocery shopping, I know you hate it. Let’s actually kind of twist this around a little bit and why don’t we study how many steps you get when you go, exercising. How can we increase the steps you take when you go grocery shopping? And when you go grocery shopping, do you take reusable bags so you can kind of lift them like weights as you’re going along.”

And so what we’re trying to do is move activities that people do everyday and exercise which they don’t do enough of and move them synchronously. So we actually help people analyze their lives and find out how doing exactly what they’re doing, they can get more out of it.

Rohan: Yeah, I think that’s a really powerful idea, the idea of sort of embedding or overlaying your normal life with all these differences whether it’s sort of the exercise practices that you’ve outlined there and we have all these interstitial moments during our day which often we sort of sometimes wrongly call sort of dead-time or in between time. And these are wonderful opportunities to, like you say, to work on elements of physical health and also mental power as well. And I think that it can bring some sort of purpose, energy and excitement so that maybe eventually people enjoy going to the supermarket.

Paul: Right, well, when you benefited from it physically, it certainly changes your attitude. And the other thing that I think is important. I’ve been listening to a lot of the meditations on Buddhify 2. You’ve got a couple for eating, and just this simple idea of being mindful of what goes in your mouth. And I think one of the huge problems in society in North America and I think probably over in the UK where you are too, is eating is just another activity that we do because we have to, It’s like going to the bathroom. And that’s not what eating is or should be! And so in your… actually both of the meditations in the food section of Buddhify 2, you actually ask people to take the time to actually taste the food, the motion of your hand going to your mouth. What does it feel like? And you’re just slowing things down and you’re letting people actually, lack for a better word, meditate on the fact that they are eating.

Rohan: Yeah, and I think there so many different dimensions to eating. I think so there’s that… it’s pretty much the most sensually and enjoyable part of our day for a lot of us and I think it’s just a shame that despite that we can not see and whoop it down or don’t actually connect with just the simple sense experience of taste and texture and the flavor and all the lovely symphony of experience that happens when we eat. And I think that… so those tracks we talk about is sort of just trying doing a better idea to get off becoming this just making the decision to be more sensitive to what’s happening, be it the physicality around the movements or the taste sensations. And then just noticing, like whether that’s a more enjoyable eating experience or not. And if it is, then the mind naturally will want to do it again.

I think that’s the sort of the whole, the magic, the sort of secret or power meditation works is that when you sort of pay attention in this kind of way to different elements about experience in eating and so on, when we actually feel the benefits of what that kind of attention can result in, then we just naturally want to do it more, and I think that’s the sort of natural gravity or momentum towards that kind of sensitivity which is really nice. And there are where, like I said, we’re adding some new tracks to Buddhify. And so we added a couple of more eating tracks and other dimensions around eating such as obviously, like a lot of… there’s a big movement around now about sort of becoming more sensitive to the how our food gets to us at all.

So all the supply chains and the farmers and the whole system that exist behind what can seemed quite a simple thing. And so we’ve added couple of tracks which sort of help us reflect on that kind of practices as well, engender, often the whole reflection in the media becomes quite negative one around say like welfare of animals or workers and so on. But I think there’s a much more powerful positive dimension when which we can actually grow our sense of gratitude and towards everyone in the food system and that’s something that we’re interested in doing with Buddhify as well, Clearly. It’s a quite different dimension to sort of the sensitivity of the experience itself, an equally important one where you can take, walk and feel like of an individual activity literally just putting this stuff in you body but it can come a bit more sensitive to being actually connected with other people, and that can be quite a beautiful thing as well.

Paul: Absolutely, I mean the more I study mindfulness, the more I think about the LifehackrDiet. And I’m writing kind of the bible on the diet. I’m beginning to think that it’s actually meditation because what I’m doing is I’m trying to stop people from mindlessly eating, to looking at their food and most diets say, stop eating what you’re eating, eat this. What LifehackrDiet does is it says, no, no, no. Eat what you want to eat because that’s who you are. But what we’re going to do is we’re going to make a little bit of a change to your food. And I give this example all the time of one of my favorite snacks is guacamole and chips, and I had to change that because it’s too many calories and I eat it all the time. So I ended up with sugar snap peas and guacamole and it takes it down almost half of the calories.

And suddenly, I have’ve looked at what I’m eating. I’m mindful of what it is and I’m mindful that I have control to make a change, which if I eat that, seven days a week which I probably do, it’s like a 910 calorie savings over what I would’ve normally eaten. So because I’m conscious of it, because I’m mindful of what I put that in my mouth and that I need to make a change, I guess in a sense, it’s not so much meditation but certainly mindfulness of what you’re doing. And you know the fact that I’m asking people to, when they park the car, don’t park at the closest spot to where you want to go because that’s what we all do. We’ll go around for hours to try and find a parking spot right near where we want to go. Take a parking spot that’s a distance away and walk the difference and it’s going to be better for you.

So just analyzing your life in a more mindful way, what’s really good for me, what will benefit me, and I think the mindful way we can encourage people to be, the better off we’re going to be as a society. Because again, we go back to your comment about the food and where it comes from. How many people actually think about who prepared their food? If you go into a deli and get a sandwich, there’s somebody making it. But what’s their life like? Why are they doing this? How do they feel while they’re doing this? And one of the meditations that I really enjoyed on Buddhify was one of the walking around the city ones, and it was that…

Rohan: Sure, yeah. That’s a lot of people’s favorite part.

Paul: So just for the audience, this is not your typical meditation. It’s kind of a video game in a way. You’re basically, when you’re walking through the city, you put this on and you zap people you walk past. But you don’t zap them with anything negative. You actually zap them by wishing them a good day and health and happiness. And it kind of feels weird at first but the voice over, I don’t know if they’re actors, but the woman who’s doing the voice over who is just fun, and you find yourself falling into it, and you’re doing it. And by the end of it, you feel better because you try to kind of, enlighten or help these people that you don’t know through this meditation. So I think it’s very important that we are more mindful of the “chain” of people that ended with us, whether it’s our food, whether it’s our medical care whatever it is. And when you ask somebody ‘how’s your day?’ you know “thank you very much”, it helps them with their day and makes them feel good. And that’s sort of a way of you saying I can only assume that that’s kind of the benefit of one of the new meditations you’re putting in there.

Rohan: Yeah, yeah absolutely. It’s just a simple like the simple way of sort of, because one of the issues especially in my urban environments is that the feeling of isolation and just these very simple reflections can help us feel just a bit more connected to others even though we may not know them or ever know them in any detail, whatever can help us soften. We will a go through our own personal soap opera where we are the center of the universe and all these, everything’s happening to us and often we can feel quite hard done by and so, I’m just sort of by including other people in the experience and even do sort of play safe, quite playful game like-wise, then it can soften some of the that trickiness we feel around that so.

Paul: Absolutely. The other thing that I found fascinating, it was also in the same category of walking in the city, was a meditation called stride, and it’s a very simple meditation and basically what it does is it has you focus, all your attention on the bottom of your feet touching the pavement as you walk. And as a kid, I grew up in Canada and one of the things we learn from the cradle is how to canoe. And they say that the voyageurs that would travel thousands of miles in a canoe would paddle, singing these kind of repetitive monochromatic kind of songs. And they would find themselves in a trance and a hundred miles of paddling would go by very easily because they would just have put themselves into a trance. And for what little it was, stride did that and it was actually when I finish the meditation, it was like shocking. I mean it was just weird that I was able to focus everything to the bottom of my feet and just stay there. And I think one of the thing that that made me realize was the power of these meditation, and that it can actually transport you into a different place.

Rohan: Yeah and I think, there so many different aspects in meditation, the one you talk about there is really an interesting one. Some people call it flow, other people… in sports you talk about people being in the zone. And it’s a fairly common experience when there are just of your sense of flow and naturalness with what’s happening around us and that’s sort of those. And just taking… so we’ve taken like our experience and mind states like that and sort of just put their sort of the mechanics into those tracks. Like example, the reason that works is because and those of you and your listeners who do things like, they might be in whatever their activity is, be it running or cycling or even playing music or whatever. This feeling of when you become less dominated by your sort of thinking chatting mind and there’s an absorption in the physicality or walking or running or listening to music or reading even or writing for many people.

This whole a bit of the… and when sportsmen and when sportsmen and athletes talk about getting in the zone and they have particular techniques they use. I remember listening to the golf as recently at the British Open talking about, Rory Mcllroy talking about techniques he used to stay in the present moment when he’s in really stressful situations with his massive golf tournaments. And they’re all very similar techniques of putting all your attention in the body, sort of letting go of any sort of general chatting and really being as present as possible. And the more he do that, the more the types of experience that he described can happen and it’s a skill. A lot of us sometimes think that these things just happen by accident but it’s very much a thing that can be trained as well.

Paul: So we kind of discussed two types of mindfulness, one being in the zone which is the sort of thing that you would tend to experience when you’re doing something active and then another kind of mindfulness which is, just kind of absorb being the moment and the feelings and the taste and the smells when you’re eating. What I find interesting about what you just said is, mindfulness and meditation are around us, have been around us forever between the voyageurs and the latest golf open. People have been practicing this. They have their ways of doing it but if you said to them, okay well, why don’t you join our meditation? They might say, oh no, oh why, I don’t meditate. And it’s like, yes you do. You’ve been doing it all your life you just didn’t realize it. And so what I like about what you’re doing about Buddhify is that you are introducing us, but maybe to a lot of people you’re re-introducing us to it and putting a title to it and making it very modern and very accessible.

Rohan: Yeah, and I think like you said, you’re absolutely right because focus is incredible natural behaviors. They’re not… there were all things, we actually use sort of elements of this intentional training all the time, the sort of meditation traditions or the mindfulness traditions, they’re just really great at is understanding all of it in a bit of depth and in a bit of systematic kind of way and sort of mapping out the various types of practice that you can do and the different types of results you can get by doing different things. So all it is, is sort of optimizing and developing natural skills. It’s not, it’s all working with what you’ve got rather than trying to. It’s not alien stuff. And the result of that, it can often just feel quite a natural thing as well. And so that’s with the proof of that, I guess.

Paul: So let’s just back for a second and let’s just… we’ve discussed how real people use it in real life, how our listeners can use this. I will be discussing more because I’m really starting to see this with the Lifehackr Diet, how you can use with the Lifehackr Diet. But let’s just take us back. If you could kind of give us a definition of what mindfulness is and how it benefits people. I think that would be great.

Rohan: Yeah, so I’ll do that in two ways. Mindfulness is generally is quite a broad term and it applies to basically a range of practices, meditation practices. So often the word meditation mind tends to be used interchangeably in this general sense. And so the general definition is ways of using your attention so as to develop positive results, results such as calm, concentration, compassion, self-awareness and so the general umbrella of mindfulness in meditation is particular techniques and exercises you can do with your attention to do that. And then there’s a more specific definition which is where mindfulness is paying attention to experience which is happening right now in the present moment, experience in our bodies are or in our minds in a way that is very open of course it isn’t trying to…. isn’t in conflict with the experience, that’s just to be balance type of attention. And so that’s a more technical definition.

But I think more often it is the general idea of these different exercises you can do with your mind to develop positive qualities. That’s how I see it so, I see very much like the idea of exercises which train you in such and ways. And see you can do a certain meditation techniques or styles which can train concentration, other things which can train a sense of calm, other things which can train a sense of compassion and they’re all slightly different but they’re all based in the thing that sort of unites them all is this idea of using our attention in the very present way.

Paul: And so you’ve obviously introduced many people to this. And what kind of benefits do they kind of… do they’ve noticed first when they start doing both Buddhify and just in general mindfulness in meditation?

Rohan: Sure. I think one of the first things people notice is that there’s a whole part of their life that they’ve not really looked at in detail before, this idea of an inner life. It’s not often that we look at what’s going on in our minds that often. And so one of the first sort of, definitely one of the most common things when doing a conventional meditation session is this whole like, whoa, like my mind is crazy. I never knew. And for some people, that’s terrifying. For other people, that’s really interesting. They say, oh wow, there’s these all, my thoughts are all over the place and this is happening and that’s happening, and it becomes really interesting thing. That is aspects of experience which people get a sense that they can learn to understand and learn to train in certain ways.

And then there’s more sort of over time, people start to see the ability to grow their concentration which is something which is quite scarcity at the moment in our culture, I guess, and can be quite an asset of being able to just put your mind in one thing and put it to stay there without too much distractions, maybe that a piece of work or another person or whatever is that your interested in focusing on. Also there’s this idea of what people experiences mental chatter, sort of inner chatter which can, this sort of this voice in your head constantly commenting on things. Naturally, that should just starts to loose a bit of power and loose a bit of dominance and so, one’s sort of inner life can be a lot more calm and relaxed.

There are sort of two big things. There’s all sorts of stuff… And so sensitivity to ones body is actually really important one. I think it definitely important in the context of LifehackrDiet is that often we can not be aware of different be it, attention or sensations in our body. And through becoming more aware of that, we’re able to notice when, sort of, almost like early advance, early warning system for like any troubles coming ahead. So for me, me for example, so there’s an example. Most of us, I call it stress signature which is typically everyone will have a particular part of their body which when feeling stressed will become quite tight. And typically it can be around the chest or in the belly or in the face.

And for me, for example, I feel it really in the jaw like sort of the sense of tension. It could be quite quiet but it’s definitely there. And so for me, that’s actually quite useful because often, I don’t know what I’m stressed about but I’ll get this feeling of anxiety or stress that is expressed through this feeling in my jaw and in my face. And that really, it gives me a massive cue to think about, to look, oh, I’m starting to get stressed and use that as an opportunity to take a break from something or so on. It’s not often that your body lies to you about how it’s feeling. And so often we can be so stuck in our heads that the most sensitive we become to physical experience and particularly physical tension. You can really head-off some bigger issues earlier on by growing that sense of embodiment. I definitely find that as well.

Paul: Yeah, and I had found this as well. Just taking what you said and translating it over LifehackrDiet. So what we do is I basically use a digital pedometer, a food diary app, a weight scale. And on a daily basis, you basically, you are able to automatically track how many steps you’ve done, how many calories you burned by doing a food diary, you’re actually suddenly becoming conscious of the food that’s going in your mouth because it has a value to it. And then weighing your self once a day, you kind of check all those balances and see what happens. Again, just trying to find a parallel, I know people when they’re trying to loose weight, they freak out if suddenly it goes up. And I’m just writing blog post now. That sites is an example…

My wife and I went to a Mexican restaurant. They made guacamole right in front of us. And before I could say anything, the guy pinched a huge chunk of salt and just sprinkled in into the guacamole. And I don’t eat much salt so it’s like, oh, great. I ate the guacamole anyway because I’m not going to let it go to waste. And the next day when I weight myself, I was like a pound-and-a-half heavier. That doesn’t mean that I pigged out and I’m a pound-and-a-half heavier, what it actually means is you’ll find the day or two later is that was water that your body is retaining. So by understanding what you’re eating, by understanding the exercise you’re doing and what should happen, instead of freaking out.

Oh my God, I’m on a diet but I’m gaining weight is like I’m on a diet. I ate too much salt. I’m retaining water. It’s fine, move on. And the idea of demystifying your body and understand how things work, I think, gives a great sense of empowerment because instead of its cogs in a machine that you have no concept of, suddenly you understand what happened and you know what you need to do to get back on track. And what I’m trying to do is give people tools, some of them are mechanical or digital but the majority of them are just tools of understanding, of how their body works, how their metabolism works. And it gives you a sense of peace, you know what you need to do in each situation rather than just freak out.

Rohan: Absolutely. I think the way you’ve described it. You could categorize all of these as just data, right, and its different types of data which help us make better more informed decisions. And so whether it’s body awareness or physical step tracking or understanding their constituents of food or understanding nutrition and all these sorts of things. It’s all better data which is helping us make good decision. I think like in a way, like mindfulness is a data capturing technique or it’s just a different type of data business, interior data.

Paul: Right, well I definitely see the correlations there. So that’s interesting. So I just want to start to sign off here because we’re up to just over 30 minutes. So I want to encourage everybody to go to the App store and download Buddhify 2. Just as a note it is spelled B-U-D-D-H-I-F-Y and I will have links to it in the show notes. I will also put up some videos that Rohan has done to show off Buddhify. And then some other videos that are online where he talks more about mindfulness and technology. And with your permission, I would like to just do a quick 30-second demo of Buddhify on my phone so people get a sense of how beautiful it is and how cool it is to use because it’s great interface.

Rohan: Yeah, sure, absolutely. And just a note to everyone that commonly it’s only out iOS but an android version is on track by later this year. So don’t feel too bad if you’re on android for now.

Paul: And I think you also have albums that are available, right?

Rohan: Yeah. That was just a short term thing because I knew we have to launch on iOS only just for capacity reasons and so we published a couple of albums just off tracks. And there’s some pre tracks on the Buddhify website as well. But once the android version is out then I’ll give a much more accessible experience to more people so that’s great.

Paul: Awesome. Well, I highly recommend it to everybody. There is almost no situation that can’t have a little Buddhify applied to it. And I think you’ll be absolutely delighted and quite surprised at what happens when you listen to a lot of these short meditations and I’m sure Rohan has lots of great exciting things in-store for us shortly. I believe you’re working on some more stuff. You want to go into that?

Rohan: Yeah, just to say that we’re just working on a couple of new products. All sort of, they share this idea of new and accessible ways for new audience as to get into meditation and mindfulness. The one I’m most excited about, I want to say too much about it but it takes the idea of meditation as a two-player game instead of a one-player game. And so that’s the one I’m most excited about.

Paul: You’re definitely translating this into the modern era which is wonderful. Where can people find you or find more information about what you’re doing?

Rohan: Yes, you can just look on Twitter. Find @rohan_21Awake. That’s my company name and I’m easily found if you Google my name.

Paul: And I will have a spelling of it in the show notes and I’ll have links to Rohan’s Twitter feed. So I want to thank you again very, very much for taking a time out to chat with us. And I’m very curious to see what people listening to this had to say and what questions they have. Just remember, everybody at the bottom of every podcast on the lifehackrdiet.com website, there’s a chat section. So be great to get a chat going on seeing people who have never meditated before. And if you download Buddhify 2, and try it, I’d love to hear what you think of it and how it’s affected your life, what are your favorite tracks?, how have you used it in an unusual way. Let’s just get the discussion going and we’ll make sure that Rohan here sell the good stuff. So again, thank you very, very much. And best of luck with everything you’re doing. I know I’m going to be there and maybe we can get you back on the show on the future and discuss new stuff that you’re doing.

Rohan: Brilliant. Thanks, Paul great to talk, excited to yeah, just looking forward to have a conversation in this whole area of growing, I guess.

Paul: Excellent. That was my interview with Rohan. I hope you guys found it as interesting as I did. The more and more I spoke with him and the more I was thinking as I was preparing for this interview, the more I realize that in a way, the LifehackrDiet is kind of a mindful way of approaching your diet which I think is a very positive thing. And you know I found the more that you understand about your body and about food and exercise, the better off you are. In fact, just a little personal situation or personal story that I have to apply to this was I had been on LifehackrDiet for about 16, 17 months. Obviously, I’d hit my 30 lbs of weight loss and I was maintaining it. And I went with my family on a 10-day vacation to Central America. We went to Costa Rica and had a wonderful adventure holiday. But I did not have my Fitbit with me. I did not have my food diary going. And I ate like a pig, of course, it was exotic food for me and so thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed myself eating and trying new stuff.

We were doing a fair amount of exercise because we’re doing white water rafting and kayaking and climbing and all that kind of stuff. But what I found really surprising is when I got back, the morning after, I weighted myself and I actually weighted less than when I left. And one of the things I can attribute that to is the fact that I’ve been doing this for 16, 17 months and it actually has become second nature. It’s part of my operating system now. And although I keep using my pedometer and my food diary, if that all went away now, I think I probably would have no problem maintain my weight. So it’s just kind of interesting how you start to learn about yourself, you learn about the food you eat and how it affects you. And soon enough, it just becomes your lifestyle.

So anyway, I hope everybody got something out of this. Please check out the App. Please check out the other Apps. There are lots of them out there. There’s stuff in web about meditation. Give it a try. You’ll never know. It certainly not going to hurt you but it might help you a lot. So thank you again for listening to LifehackrDiet podcast #007.    

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