Andy Hnilo joins us for Episode 11 of the Optimal Performance Podcast.
Andy is an Oakley model, Bulletproof ambassador, Natural Stacks Champion and the founder and CEO of Alitura Naturals.
We discuss the importance of taking care of your biggest organ, practising gratitude and handling recovery situations.
Andy is also a bio-hacking expert, a fitness model, and former professional baseball player.
He's got an incredible survival story to share, and weighs in on self-experimentation and finding the right formulas for your own situation.
What You'll Hear From Andy Hnilo in this Episode:
- Fact Of The Day: We use an average of 9 personal care products each day (deodorant, soap, toothpaste, lotion, etc) with a sum 126 total ingredients... ingredients that may be carcinogenic, hormone disrupting, and performance robbing! Are YOU smearing these toxins onto your body's largest organ and absorbing them into your bloodstream?
- Andy's life-threatening accident and his amazing story of recovery. Andy shares how you can take control of your recovery from illness and injury and come back better than ever.
- How the condition of your skin affects confidence, performance and what it's telling you about your overall health
- The best position to sleep (HINT: This will help you avoid facial wrinkles!)
- Andy's summertime tips for better skin, nighttime tonics, and his favorite supplements
- Why Andy travels to Brazil to source the oils and honey for his products
- The do's and don'ts of self-experimentation (especially with topical applications)
- Andy's favorite supplements and foods to #LiveOptimal
- Where to get more of Andy & Alitura Naturals
- Andy Hnilo's Top 3 Tips to #liveoptimal
LINKS & RESOURCES
Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database
Whey + Collagen Protein to support healthy skin, muscle mass, immunity and recovery
BCAAs for supercharged recovery
Dopamine Brain Food to improve creativity and assertiveness
Krill Oil for its protective anti-inflammatory properties
ANDY'S MORNING RECOVERY TONIC RECIPE:
(it's a long one!)
Andy says: "I have noticed...
- An increase in vascularity
- Boundless energy
- Brightened complexion
- Minimized appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Disclaimer: I have been doing this for year years, these are my measurements. I am 6'3" 195 lbs.
Please consult a physician before using any of the ingredients in this tonic."
6 oz. Filtered water
1 large chunk of clear inner fresh Aloe Vera leaf
Half teaspoon organic turmeric powder
Half teaspoon shisandra powder
Half teaspoon reishi powder
Half teaspoon gynostemma powder
Half teaspoon cistanche powder
Half teaspoon he shou wu powder
Half teaspoon Restore the Jing Herbal blend
3 tsp spirulina
8 drops jarrosil silica
8 drops VIGR Elk Antler
3/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
4 drops organic lemon essential oil
Blend. ("It tastes horrible, but it is effective" - Andy)
Skincare and Bio-Hacking, with Andy Hnilo
Ryan: You're listening to the Optimal Performance podcast sponsored by Natural Stacks. This is the show everybody who's into performance and bio hacking should listen to. If you want to know more about Optimal Performance, check out www.optimalperformance.com.
Alright, happy Thursday optimal performers, and welcome to another episode of the Optimal Performance podcast! I'm your host Ryan Munsey, and I am really excited to introduce you guys to this week's guest and co-host, Mr Andy Hnilo! Andy, say what's up!
Andy: Hey how's it going, man? Thanks for having me!
Ryan: Absolutely. Thanks for hanging out with us today. So for our listeners who may not know who you are, let's just tell them that you are a former professional baseball player, you are an Oakley model, you are a TV star, Bulletproof ambassador and of course, you're the founder of the skin care company, Alitura Naturals. So as you may infer from that intro, listeners, we are going to be digging into skincare; why the largest organ of your body is so important and so crucial to performing at your best. We're gonna talk a lot about chemicals, we're gonna talk a lot about Andy's unique bio-hacking tips and a whole lot more.
But before we dive into all that, couple of housekeeping things. Show notes! They are always available at www.optimalperformance.com, for this specific episode go to www.optimalperformance.com/andy-hnilo. And you know we love your 5* reviews on iTunes, so please head over there and make sure that you tell iTunes how much you love our podcast, they really like to know that! I wanna read a really cool email that we got from a follower named Anthony. Anthony says: 'I've been a subscriber to the podcast after the second that the podcast aired. I'm a huge fan of the quality offered, and that includes the people interviewed, the diverse topics and the fluidity of the conversations, I stay intrigued the entire time.' So Anthony, thanks so much for your feedback, we're glad you love it and remember anybody else if you've got some reviews, head on over to iTunes and let them know how much you love the show. And with that, we're gonna dig right in.
Fact of the Day! Andy, since we're talking a lot about skincare I thought this one was really really cool and I wanna get your opinion on some of this, so the Environmental Working Group, EWG, just did a study where they followed 2300 people. And on average those people used 9 personal care products a day. And so by personal care products, we're talking soap, shampoo, toothpaste, sunscreen.. With those 9 products totalling 126 unique ingredients and most of those ingredients are unpronounceable, unregulated by the US government and I think that really, it's almost absurd, because as biohackers and optimal performers, we're going to great lengths to make sure that the food, the supplements that we put in our body; the exercise that we do is at top shelf highest level, yet we're going to literally bathe and smear these hormone disrupting chemicals all over our skin, our largest organ. So talk to us a little bit about how those things are getting absorbed right into our bodies and how that's going to negatively impact our performance.
I mean transdermally, what you put into your skin, goes right into your bloodstream. First and foremost, I wanna say congratulations on getting engaged, man! I know it's off topic, but that's awesome dude! You found your girl, you got your girl and that's huge! I can speak for myself that that's what I'm looking for and that's.. Congratulations, man, that's really cool!
Ryan: I appreciate that, Andy and I certainly hope that you're able to find it too. It's a very cool thing and I know you're a great guy and you're very deserving of that too so..
Andy: We'll see. Congratulations! So, yeah, like I said, transdermally, whatever we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream. And so I don't wanna use any stabilizers, thickeners, emulsifying agents, preservatives, I just wanna treat it like another mouth. I mean, what we put on there, I want it to be not only food grade, but super food grade. I mean, I wanna put on just.. A lot of things didn't work, but there's nothing else I'd rather do than just buy these things; you should see my bathroom, you should see my lab. I'm in my lab right now and you should see my table, there's just.. I know where everything is, but people come in and they just laugh because there's just so much going on, so many different super foods, oils, butters from all around the world and I just, I know from experience that it's something that I can see and feel effects from immediately. And on the flip side, when I throw on something that's largely chemically based, I'm in a fog, I'm in a daze, and I almost go through a detox because I've been using these pure products for years now and it's just something that I won't revert to.
Ryan: And I get the business standpoint behind it, you know, you put a little bit of something in there, you market it right and boom! Now you have a product that's attractive to the buyer and you know, you dilute it and make it as unreleased, as cost effective as possible. But you know, I've had two employees, and I'm speaking out of turn, but myself and my buddies just kinda helped me along so cost never was an issue for me. I just wanted to create the best product with the best ingredients and that was it. Just kinda let the audience and the customers talk for themselves, and that's what I respond to as a buyer. I mean I will pay whatever, whatever it costs, as a customer, as long as it's the best and I trust these people, they've done the research and that's just what I respond to. And I'm starting to see a movement with people who are like minded in that aspect. But yeah, like you said, the chemicals, the fillers, the preservatives and the things that don't.. To me, they're counter productive in skincare, and like I said it's just right into your bloodstream. And it's going to affect you mentally as well, you know, the sun baking those chemicals in. It's just what makes sense to me, I'd just rather put you know, pure beeswax, cacao butter, essential oils, botanicals, super foods, just ingredients that are healthy, that I would eat, you know. Rather than 'I'm not gonna eat phenoxyethanol or you know, all of these sterates and parabens, I'm not gonna eat that, would you? You know, so it just makes a lot of sense to me. So that's just kinda, my mantra.
Andy: Yeah, so you know, I think we're noticing the same thing with that movement. There's definitely becoming a greater demand for you know, open source products, nobody hiding behind propriety labels, and that's something that resonates with not only the Alitura customers, but with the Natural Stacks customers too.
Ryan: Natural Stacks, absolutely. It's one of the reasons that we're, you know, so happy to have you on the show. Now you mentioned that when those things are put on our skin it just goes straight into our bloodstream, so you know, for example like sodium benzoate or you know, some of the glycerin, the PET/80 glycerine and yeah, so when those things get smeared on our skin and absorbed straight into our blood stream, what happens then? Why is that something that we wanna avoid and how does that affect performance and overall health?
Andy: Well it shocks the system, I think. I mean it's synthetically formulated, it's a chemical, not from the earth, you know, it's man made. So it's something that our body has to adjust to and I think goes through a little bit of a detox. Again, I don't know the science background but what I do is just have an extremely good knowledge of my body and how I feel after certain things that I've put in it and onto it. My skin, I mean. And it's just, I do a lot and there's so much information out there and there's nothing else, besides baseball or, yeah pretty much baseball and that's about it, but there's nothing else I'd rather read about and research and there's nothing else that I think that we can prepare for rather than for health, anti-ageing, longevity, vitality, and that's researching how to just optimize our health and that's Natural Stack's approach too, to you know, live optimal. That's great, I'm glad you guys got that because that's huge. Live Optimal. I mean all it says is 'radiate health', I mean that's just what I'm all about.
But I mean as far as the chemicals are concerned, once it hits your bloodstream and starts circulating throughout your body, now you're affecting your whole function, cognitive and physical function, from head to toe. I mean, again I wish I had more of the science background behind it, but that's dangerous, there's just not enough studies and science behind all of these different preservatives and ingredients. You know, I just want no part of them, that's just, that's my little theory.
Ryan: Well and the one thing that I'll add to that for our listeners, is you know, the Environmental Working Group is an incredible resource for people like us and they have a resource on their website called Skin Deep, we will actually have that link in the show notes, it'll be on www.optimalperformance.com/andy-hnilo. They have a list of all the skin care products that we should actually be avoiding, you know, because they're loaded with these chemicals. And I'm sure somewhere in there, they get into a little bit more of the science behind exactly what's going on, but like you said, these things, some of them are known carcinogens, some of them are known hormone disrupters, you know, that's not something that we want going straight into our bloodstream on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day. So, there's a lot of.. I was talking to my chiropractor the other day about that, I'll just adjust my posture while I'm saying that, yeah so just endocrine, just a lot of uh, estrogen build up with certain chemicals that we put on there and that's just scary stuff. I don't wanna mess with any of my fertility or anything like that.
Andy: Now, we know you're really big into like chinese herbs, so how does that relate to any of this? Again, I just.. After my accident, I met with a few different chinese herbalists to help build my system from the inside out, and we developed this theory that to cleanse my blood from all the toxins like antibiotics and heavy metals that I was accumulating from the CT scans and everything that I was going through every couple of weeks, and the antibiotics that I was unfortunately taking daily to prevent infection from my surgery to repair my jaw, I was just in a fog. So to repair my system, they wanted to cleanse by blood by building these chinese herbs, very specific doses, and then to circulate that blood throughout my system. I wasn't able to work out, at the time, for like the first week- 10 days, but then I started to walk and then I started to run and then I started to sprint, and this is all with my jaw wired shut!
Ryan: How hard is it to breathe when you sprint with your jaw wired shut?!
Andy: You know, it's funny, you know you strain, well at least I do, when I'm running. You know they tell you to relax your face but I'm getting after it, so I kinda strained a little bit so it must have looked a ridiculous! You can't really move your top and your bottom teeth, so I must have looked like a maniac running up Bretton Canyon. But um, yeah, I mean it's just as far as you know, cleansing that blood and building up that blood and things like Ho She Wu, schisandra, gynostemma, schizonts, pearl powder, lycium, salvia, I mean I have so many different.. You should see my cabinet, it's awesome. It's a little complicated for some people and I should probably optimize my setup in the morning but I'm just mixing and matching different teaspoons, quarter teaspoons, half teaspoons of different ingredients and I kinda created this balance I wanna keep throughout the rest of my life. I just feel great, you know. I know the fog that I was in and I know where I'm at now, just feeling locked in and having energy daily. It's just something I wanna keep and I'm actually glad I went through it because I developed a better quality of life through that. But as far as, yeah, the chinese herbs. They really believe in building the blood and circulating that blood and it cleansing things like the kidney, the liver and you're just optimizing your body's bodily functions and I just, you know, it's something that I love to do.
Ryan: So, I wanna ask you a couple more questions about that recovery process, but before we do, just in case anyone listening doesn't know or isn't familiar with your story, I mean that's how I first found out about you. I heard you interviewing with Dave Asprey on Bulletproof Radio, where you talked about.. I mean this is a really compelling story. You were hit, by not one but 2 SUVs crossing the street, woke up in the hospital, you probably tell the story a little bit better than I do..
Andy: Yeah, so I mean I was hit by a westbound heading car or truck, and then hit into the eastbound lane and then run over by an eastbound heading truck. They both pulled over, I'm very lucky to be alive. The biggest thing that trips me out about all of that is just waking up and then you're on morphine and you think that everything's like a joke, and seeing my buddies over there and that's a very powerful drug, because I was like happy. Like I see you and I think everything's a joke I'm laughing. I had bone exposed through the bottom of my mouth, man. Like, that was.. Yeah, that's disgusting.
But anyway yeah, like I was saying, my jaw was just shattered from the bottom of my chin all the way to right here underneath my ear, a couple inches down from that. And like I said, once you're I mean, really lucky to be alive, everything is just a bonus from here on out. Every single day, every single minute. I mean I was a grateful dude before and I'm very grounded, but it's just a different.. You know anybody who's been in my situation, it's hard to explain, it's real, it's not just me saying that. Every single.. I don't take anything for granted. Smiling, without my teeth running into each other, which I had to do for the first year. Imagine like diminishing a happy moment where you want to smile, but then thinking immediately that one of your sides.. Because my mental nerve was severed right here, so this was all numb, so you didn't know, like I would cut myself shaving and I would see blood but I wouldn't feel anything, it was completely numb.
It's just an indescribable amount of gratitude that I have, and I've had that for a while, my whole life but now it's just to another level and like I said I'm glad I went through it. I have a purpose now, I have a company through a product that I created out of necessity for myself, to counteract my abrasions and scarring and it's just something.. Yeah, thanks for asking that. It's just, it made me who I am. And I've actually helped a lot of people from around the world so there's a lot of good that came from it and that's what I'm focusing on. And you know things like, I still can't feel from my lip to my eye, left side over, from here to here. That's all numb. I don't know if that'll ever come back, it's a little fuzzy, but I don't think about that too much.
Ryan: Yeah and that's what makes it such a unique story, is you know, it's not that you would ever wish that on somebody, but it has turned out to be quite a positive for a lot of people's lives, so it's really cool that you've been able to spin it into something that can benefit others.
Andy: Thanks man
Ryan: What made you so determined to take control of your own recovery? Because you mentioned, in the recovery, you were taking things to combat the antibiotics and all of the.. Some of the traditional medicines. I mean, why not just trust the doctors?
Andy: Well, yeah exactly. I mean, my surgeon, bless his heart, he got me back to where I am right now but he was recommending products that I thought were counterproductive to healing, and I was like, I had nothing else to do. I was really deformed, I had a little bit of an infection here from post-surgery and this area right here swelled up, and I'll spare you the details, to the size of a little bit smaller than a golfball. And that was gradually going down, they'd have to drain it, it's disgusting, I understand, but you just don't really want to leave the house when you look like that and on top of that my jaw was already.. So people would look you in the eye and then look immediately down to your jaw area and it was just, I would see that and it made me self conscious so I would leave the house as little as possible really. So when you're at home, what else are you gonna do than read, research, you try to counteract and you try to beat, you know, whatever you're going through. At least, that's what I did.
Ryan: So what kinda books, did you have any role models, anybody who was like a guide or a helper for you? Like how did you acquire.. Where did you go to find all of this information?
Andy: It's online. There's a lot of stuff online. I had a lot of consultations with like I said, a lot of big time chinese herbalists; George from Jing Herbs, I visited the people at Dragon Herbs quite a bit, Crosby Tailor, he's a very respected.. He's a Bulletproof ambassador as well, just these guys really really helped me out. And that's what I think the society is going towards, is trust in people who can explain why they use certain things, you know, from truth and without selling anything, just giving you what they believe. You know obviously, they have to be reputable, but you know, Ron Teegarden from Dragon Herbs, he's been doing this for years, I mean he's very very highly respected in the chinese herb space and then I just built from that. And you know, I know how I felt and I just gradually started to feel better and you know, you can tell a lot through being your own biggest science experiment. So I would just research things, it would just.. When you start to feel better and you start to see things minimizing, you just get a level of hunger that just grows, and that hunger for knowledge grows. And when you're rock bottom and then you start to you know, diminish that level of down and outness- however you wanna call it, that's just something that just grows. And I needed anything that I would take to become more apt at that point, you know.
Ryan: I'm sure you were at a place where you almost felt helpless and to be able to discover that there were certain things that you could control that would contribute to moving in a positive direction, I mean, that's empowering. It builds confidence and it keeps you moving. And I think that's something that's core at the movement of biohacking is, you know, we deep down I think we all want something better, we want the best for ourselves. It's the radiate health, it's the live optimal thing, and you know you mentioned experimenting, I think as long as things are based in science and as long as we have some sort of rationale, scientifically, for why we wanna try these experiments, it's safe to try these things especially if, as you said, you get the information from somebody respected and especially if it has a longstanding run of success somewhere else. I mean you look at things that have been around forever and there is a reason some of these things have been used for thousands of years.
Andy: Yeah, tried and tested
Ryan: What about topically? Um, how do you kinda draw the line with what's safe to experiment on your skin, that way?
Andy: My personal belief is that if it's from the earth.. This is just, you know, my belief, and I don't want anybody to go out there and try anything crazy, but if it's from the earth, you know, as you said it's been time tested and a lot of.. I love trying things from different cultures, you know, I order wild-crafted oils from the Amazon and you hear these people from Brazil and I've got a bunch of friends out there who you know, speak so passionately about all these herbs and these oils and these butters and stuff like that. And I'm like, alright well if it works for them! And you can just tell by the way they speak about things, this passion, it's like okay, I'll try it! It's like being offered a meal or something, someone's so passionate about what they made. I'll try it, I mean, that's what it's all about. You know, just trying different things and experimenting on me.
That's how I've built all my products you know, by trying it out on myself and then going for it and experimenting and data testing with my friends and friends of friends and stuff like that. But yeah, as far as trying these different remedies, and that's just what really interested me. You know there's a lot of stuff in you know, Dr. Oz herb book.. I don't wanna speak negatively about him but you hear these different little extracts and they use just a speck of this extract that's supposed to you know, burn fat and stuff. You know, there is a lot of gimmicky stuff out there and I get that. But my whole thing is you can tell, if I'm excited about something, others hopefully will.. It's just like you said, building that trust. And if it works for me then I really believe it's going to work for others.
Andy: And there's a lot of stuff out there that doesn't, you know. Green tea extract, tumanu oil, argan oil, these are things that I really, saw and felt nothing from. Coconut oil, topically, nothing. Maybe on the body, coffee scrubs, I mean there's a lot of stuff out there that I really don't see anything, but on the flip side, there's a lot of stuff out there that is undeniable. When you feel activity and you see results immediately, there's a reason for that and you know, like I said, we're our own biggest science experiments. For the longest time I would check people's groceries and stuff and the conversation would always come up about what I ate and what I did for different, you know, skin care, hair care, stuff like that, and I'm like, well there's gotta be a reason for that. And now I can see why, it's just what I do for a living and I can't wait to keep [unclear 23.18] for the rest of my life, but it's just, yeah, there's so much out there. Purity of ingredients, I don't care, I mean my night cream's coming out and there's 26 ingredients in it right now and I have 16 different sources. That's a lot of phone calls, you know. But I don't care, I mean, I just want.. It's a lot of sourcing, it takes forever, but you build from that what I think is the perfect product. I'm not just gonna go one-stop-shop it like a lot of people do, and then move onto the next one.
Ryan: Now I know you're actually.. You've told me recently, that you're actually gonna travel to Brazil to check out one specific ingredient.
Andy: Oh yeah!
Ryan: Tell us about the night cream itself, but also why you're going to Brazil, what you're looking at down there.
Andy: I wanna meet people that are crafting my oils, you know. Who does it? I wanna be that guy. I wanna meet these people who apparently.. I have a really good friend over there right now in Sao Paulo, and the person who I source my oils from; [unclear 24:20] gauschi(?), acai, buriti, all these oils that I've never even seen over here, but they are amazing. I've been using them since October. You should see what.. Just little drops here and there, I'm like a little alchemist. But I love the stuff, all these butters, for the hair and there's just something about the Amazon, right? It's just great, there's these beautiful plants; and a lot of our medicines are derived from these plants in the Amazon, like big time pharmaceutical medicine, obviously that's not what I'm about but if you just take that extract and now only use that extract rather than all these chemicals, now you create something that is just mindblowing. And that's what I wanna do. All these amazing superfoods that are from the Amazon; there's just something amazing about the Amazon that is really intriguing to me. Just these huge, beautiful trees and these huge animals and snakes and stuff like that that are jus.. I think it's cause they're eating and surrounded by things that are just...
Ryan: There's an absence of chemicals, there's an absence of pesticides, there's an absence of all those hormone disrupters and carcinogens that we talked about in the intro.
Andy: Yeah, so I wanna go over there and first off, I wanna visit Brazil- still working on a passport situation- but yeah, I wanna take pictures with the people that are crafting my oils. I don't wanna just phone it in, go yeah, I'm using an area.. If I get called out at a conference and: 'oh, how do you know these are cold pressed?', 'uh, I don't know, 'have you been there?', 'uh, I don't know'. well I'm gonna go there and I'm gonna take pictures of these awesome people and I just.. It's just something I really wanna do.
Ryan: So what is.. Tell us more about the night cream itself, this new product that you have. Is it out? It's not out yet is it?
Andy: No, no. Okay, by the time this airs actually.. Ah, nah it won't. But yeah, we're just finalizing it. I mean, my moisturizer took 22 tweaks and we're on tweak 10 with the night cream. I'm really particular, man
Ryan: Oh no, I'm only laughing.. Not because it took that many tweaks but because when we met in.. The first time we met in person was last year at the Bullletproof conference and you had one of your tweaks, it was the very first time you had the glass bottle, and actually, you were so particular that even the glass bottle was something that you were very passionate about.
Andy: Oh yeah, we're using Miron glass from the Netherlands; UV rays can't penetrate the glass; the radiation from airport scanners can't taint my bioactive ingredients and that's what we're using for every product from now on, is Miron glass. It's just yeah.. I'm gonna create something based on how particular I am, for myself. What I created is something that I would use, and I'm seeing that people are responding to that.
Ryan: I'm just curious. You mentioned, a) what makes that glass impenetrable for those airport x-rays and also, if they can penetrate other glass, what are they doing to any bioactive ingredients in anything else that we may be carrying on with us?
Andy: Exactly, yeah, it's extremely important that a lot of my cold press oils, my raw ingredients, they have to maintain their bioactive function, you know, to be as potent as possible. The whole theory is that it is preserved by the bottle, not by toxins. I don't wanna use any preservatives, it's like you know, do you wanna eat canned food or do you wanna eat fresh, you know, really, you know, dense, food in your meal. And so you know, that analogy to me has just stuck. So yeah, the night cream is hyaluronic acid based, so basically it expands our own water molecules in our skin with a vegetable source of hyaluronic acid using 10% of that, not just storing it in there, but using 10%, which is a good amount. I've had a ton of talks with respected estheticians who have been doing this for 20+ years and God, I really appreciate that, by the way! And it's people that have reached out that wanna help that know my vision and were aligned with just having purity of ingredients.
So I'm combining that with just really good beeswax, cacao butter, an essential oil list that is just unparalleled, you know I'm not using just a little speck here and there of one thing. I'm creating a dream team roster like I did with my moisturizer and I'm adding plant derived stem cells, so basically what these labs have done; if you cut a plant, I'm using gardenia and edelweiss, which one of them helps with lifting and then the other one helps with, you know, building and structuring collagen which is what we wanna do at night when we have you know, 5-6 to 8 hours of just sitting there, we want to condition that area while we sleep so you wake up toned, firm, ready to go, locked in. So I've been finetuning this, so plant derived stem cells, hyaluronic acid, a blend of essential oils and super foods; it's just, we're using grass fed beef tallow, throwing colostrum in there, 36 hour milking colostrum, the same colostrum that I use in my mask. It's just perfect. You know, I've never seen anything like this on the shelves which is what I wanna do with every single one of my products and it's something that I can control, it's what I put into my products, in my ingredients and in the story behind it, and it's just.. God I love that, it's just what drives me, you know.
Ryan: Now you mentioned using the night cream- I've actually heard you say this before- to sleep on your back. To not put your face on the pillow. Tell us why we wanna do that.
Andy: It's a big culprit of wrinkles. You know, you sleep on your side, they say to sleep on your right side so you expose your heart and get better cardiovascular function. So, what I've started to do is sleep a little on my right side, but you've got to be careful because if you're on your pillow and you're pushing that, that little crinkle on your skin is staying like that for however long you sleep. Same thing with the left side, you can see it right there. And for the longest time, I'm sure it's comfortable, but you've gotta sleep on your back and be very cognizant of how your skin is lining up on that pillow because that's.. Just do the math. Say you do that 6 hours a night, 42 hours a week, multiply that times 4, whatever, 168 hours per month that you're spending like that, I mean it's gonna lead to big time wrinkles in that eye area which everybody's trying to counteract with these chemicals and all these different things, but how about you just sleep correctly, eat correctly, you know. I've noticed myself, you know, I'm not perfect you know, sometimes you do sleep like that. You wake up and there's a big thick line right there, so it's real.
Ryan: So do you have any tips for.. Let's say that happens, and then you've gotta maybe go out and have a casting that day. How do you get rid of that big line if you do happen to wake up and you have one?
Andy: Um, well if I have a casting then I definitely do the mask, so I mean, that's.. Not to top my own products, but I've just never seen anything..
Ryan: So, let's just touch on that. The ability to use your mask the day of a shoot or a casting, and that's something unique to your mask too because I know you've mentioned in the past, that before you developed your own mask, a lot of chemical peels or a lot of other treatments that are common, you've got a 1-2, sometimes 3 day recovery period.
Andy: Sometimes a week, sometimes who knows.. I've just seen and heard so many horror stories of things like microdermabrasion, chemical peels, enzyme treatments, things with unpredictable downturns. I mean, I've been fine tuning a clay based mask and using one actively since I was like 21? But that was just one ingredient, and since then I've been using a 4 ingredient for like the last 8 years and then I really turned it up after my accident, which was 4 years ago now. And it's just something that I've never gone more than a week without using; and nowadays every other day.
I did one this morning. And I don't know how red I am.. I think I'm okay or whatever, but my skin's just gotten used to constantly being flushed and circulating and just getting those nutrients flowing throughout my body. Whereas a lot of people who may not have done a mask before, I recommend doing it at night; the night before so you're nice and tight and firm when you wake up and you're not as red. But what it does is just really encourages the oxygenating of your blood and cell turnover. It just feeds that area, you know, reconditions it, exfoliates it and just encourages growth of new skin cells. It's just something that, yeah. If you're just starting to do a mask I would recommend doing it the night before, if you're just starting to do it; but yeah if you've been using stuff like that for years then I mean day of. Just give yourself an hour or two.
My Mum freaked out the other day, she got all bright red, you should have seen the little picture she snapped! She was so concerned. I was like: 'Mum, that's just circulation, it's just redness'. It's what a lot of people want, it's that brightening factor which is just encouraging blood flow to the surface of your skin which a lot of us want. There's just so much dull; I think a lot of our undereye circles, that's the culprit, it's just those cells and those capillaries not getting circulated properly. It's what the mask does for me for years. When I was bartending til 3 or 4am, I'd get up or whatever at 8 and that's not a lot of sleep, you know, sometimes 7 or whatever, just 3 or 4 hours of sleep. Bartending and stuff, you think, undereye circles just build up, the puffiness and things like that, can be counteracted immediately with the mask, just get that area circulated and then remove any puffiness.
Ryan: Okay. What other best practises can you recommend for folks with skin care or the Alitura line in general?
Andy: Big thing that's really helped me right now is the derma-roller. I have to be careful with the claims that I make in general, but just in my opinion, that derma roller.. They're just like little titanium spikes and just kinda what they do is just like aerating your lawn. You pull out and just kinda aerate that area and then feed and nurture that area that was just opened up with these little spikes that just roll across your skin. And then what I do is just throw on a mask and then the minerals and the micronutrients are absorbed immediately into your skin and it's just something that.. It's something that is gonna get in there regardless if you don't use that, but it's really turned up the mask and that's something that I do once a week. I also use an old one, you know, you can only use a derma-roller like 8 to 10 times, but I use an old one on my scalp and I use the mask on my hair as well but the principle is the same I think. You open up that area and then escort those micronutrients into the scalp and you're going to create a better, healthier scalp and maybe even better, healthier hair follicles as well. So I think those are 2 big things right now that are really game changers in my eyes.
Ryan: Okay. Well we've talked about this part before too, where you know, earlier just in this episode where we mentioned, you know, some of the benefits of just taking control of what is in your body, you know, removing chemicals and toxins, not putting them in your body, so we know how taking care of your skin that way is beneficial. But like I was saying, one of the things that you and I have discussed previously was putting the mask on your face, getting those good minerals in, pulling toxins out when things are that close to your brain; that's a huge aspect of this as well, and it's definitely going to affect cognitive function and performance that way as well.
Andy: Absolutely. Especially when I do that on the scalp area as well, you feel the release. It's almost like a little acupuncture for your skull and then also for your face as well. Well, not skull, but for your head. You're just releasing, you know. It's the same principle with the Bulletproof sleeping mat, and you know, I did it last night and I slept so well, I can't believe I don't do that every night. I don't know why I don't just have it in my bed permanently. It just opens up that area and you know, like Dave explains, it releases serotonin and then a calming sense and then also if you're combining a mask with it then now you're sort of feeding that area with those micronutrients and superfoods. So I mean it's just.. It all makes sense to me, but I, you know, can't believe it's taken me so long to start doing that. But I'm glad I've started now because it's extremely effective.
Ryan: Well for somebody else who's just getting into this or is maybe hearing this episode is their first exposure to.. 'Oh wow, like I really need to start paying attention to my skin!'. How can our listeners assess if their skin is healthy, if it's not healthy? What kind of signs or symptoms might we see if something else is going on in the body that may manifest as a skin condition?
Andy: Hmm. I would say that your skin tone. How even and how uneven is it? I mean are you seeing dead skin cells.. When they start to build up you start seeing folliculitis, which is where the hairs get trapped under, it's almost like ingrown hairs. You've just.. You've gotta stay on top of this constant process of exfoliating those dead skin cells and encouraging growth of new skin cells. So if that builds up, you'll see like a drying build up of dead skin cells and it'll create an uneven skin tone and I just.. I really think you've gotta stay on top of your skin and your eyes. You're starting to hear more and more about the whites of your eyes and your skin and really being a sign of your health, you know, liver health and kidney health.
Ryan: That's what.. It always stands out when you see somebody with the yellowing around their eyes; if the whites of their eyes are not very white then it's a dead giveaway right now that that person is not as healthy as they should be or could be.
Andy: Yeah, so. Just stay on top of the evenness; of the overall skin tone. Pore sizes, I think that's more of an oil buildup and that's something for me. I used to use those Biore pore stips and stuff but now I don't need to anymore considering what I'm doing. But yeah, that's a good question. I hope I answered it!
Ryan: So how often are you using the mask?
Andy: I use it every other day. I do it every other day; it's something that I really look forward to. It's something that just.. Not really, you know, from the brightening and the full on like, flush and you know, circulation that my face and now I use it on my whole chest, arms, scalp.. Not only that but I just feel better.
Andy: There's just something about the essential oils that I throw in there, the organic kelp powder, the creatine, aromatherapy.. I mean I'm hanging upside down in my inversion tank when you're getting all them, [unclear 40:12] a day, I mean, how can I not just feel awesome after that? So it's just something I look forward to now, I really do. My friends do as well. They're the most critical friends, ever, you know, and it's always fun to hear, you know, just be winning people over with something that makes them feel better, you know. But yeah, I do it every other day. And it's just not only a physical thing, but it's a great way to start the day, you know. Just removing those impurities, those toxins from the system. I mean, like you said, that close to your brain. I mean it's gotta affect.. A couple of baseball players that I gave it to use this like heart monitor and their heart rate has gone down. It's a calming..
Ryan: Oh that's cool
Andy: Yeah, they have all.. And I have another couple of people on facebook that have shown actual tests of just like, numerous tests, not just one, of how it's affected their heart rate in a positive way. There's something out there, you know. I should hire a scientist to really track these things.
Ryan: Just get that data and you know, use it!
Andy: Yeah, yeah.
Ryan: Well I'll tell you my personal experience. I've talked to some former Navy Seals who have talked about using eucalyptus oil at the end of the day, just trying to inhale it to help them calm down. You mentioned mixing oils with the mask. Our local natural health store here has a sinus oil blend, and it's lavender, it's eucalyptus and I think peppermint or spearmint oil. And I mix that in with the mask and if I've had a really stressful day and I come home like, I know like a lot of people come home and have a beer and watch TV and just chill out, but for me that mask with that oil is like the ultimate relaxation, and I think it's a healthy way to unwind and you know. I'm at the gym and we don't have air conditioning and it's 100 degrees, you know. If I've lifted and then spent the next 5 hours, I'm sweaty, I'm oily, I wanna get all that stuff out. I'm stressed, you know. So I can definitely tell you from experience, I don't have the scientific data but I know that it helps unwind.
Andy: Aromatherapy is real. You know, Ben Greenfield, he had some really good examples and he did have some science to back it up. I heard him explaining it on one of his podcasts so I went out and bought a few of the oils that he had mentioned and I still have them. I still use them actively. You know, it's just undeniable. Lavender, relaxing before you go to bed. You know, it's just, I mean it's something that is extremely consistent. You've gotta be careful putting it on topically, lavender, and I think eucalyptus as well. If it's working for you, awesome, but I'm just really careful with that. I put it on my wrists and I rub it around, I put it on my pillow, and it's just something that's extremely calming, helps the quality of my sleep, and I mean, it just helps me relax at the end of the day.
Ryan: Why do we need to be careful of those topically?
Andy: They're very harsh. You've got to blend them, well, they are blended, but you've got to use a carrier, you just have to be careful with those particular oils, actually, all 3 of them. Well, peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender, on the face.. It's just sensitive skin and I- oh man, you're going to laugh. But I used to put lavender underneath my nose, like right here above my lip, because I felt that my nose was going to breathe it in. And I slept unbelievably, don't get me wrong, but I noticed that that area was getting bright red and I'm like what?! I couldn't figure it out and then I don't know, it's not like rocket science, but it was the lavender that I was putting on it that was causing irritations. So you've gotta be really careful, you've gotta combine it with other oils, possibly a carrier oil and maybe even some good butter, and I would put it on my body but not my face. But that's just me and everyone's different, but I think that's something that, you know, eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint you've got to be really careful with, but they're undeniably effective for when you use them in a spray or in a sauna or on a pillow, but kind of just, maybe dilute it a little bit, but just yeah.
Ryan: Alright, well before we wrap this up let's go a little bit of rapid fire. You know, like we mentioned in the intro and if people haven't picked up on this by now, you're one of the most well versed biohackers out there, you've got all kinds of tips and tricks!
Andy: Thank you.
Ryan: Tell us a couple of your go-to foods to help you feel your best.
Andy: Liver, oh man. That's grass fed beef liver. It's, I mean,that's one of the most effective foods that I've.. I have got out like 7 or 8 pounds. I get it from US Wellness Meats at www.grasslandbeef.com, they send it to you overnight and it's horrible. I really wish, you know, it's like a lot of these things, you know. My morning tonic, I don't know if I'll ever get used to that. It's horrible, you know, it's extremely bitter, a lot of the herbs.. But it goes back to that Chinese philosophy, you know, bitter melon. These bitter herbs and foods and fruits and horrible tasting things are usually the most medicinal. So I just, yeah. Beef liver, for sure, is one thing that just.. Every single time. It's like nature's Red Bull. So that's extremely effective.
Coffee. Coffee in the morning. And that's just one thing you know, I combine.. I do the Bulletproof coffee, but that's just one thing. You know, it improves my quality of life. It improves my drive, you know. And I had that before but I only started a few years ago, right after my accident, I started drinking coffee. I never did it before because I read all these false reports of the caffeine that I believe was.. You know, bad for your heart rate and high blood pressure and I just, for me, a little bit of Bulletproof coffee in the morning combined with my herbs and other weird things that I do, I'm locked in, ready to go all day.
So yeah, so the Bulletproof coffee, liver. I would say fermented vegetables are great to maintain that gut flora and digestion. You know, you have a healthy digestive tract, you're gonna be lighter on your feet, good to go all day and just.. That's what I'm all about, just being bouncy, being strong, swift and durable. And just ready to break into a sprint whenever, you know, keep it primal, I'm ready.
Ryan: Bouncy but not overstimulated and like strung out, not that kind!
Andy: No, you're right. Yeah, good point.
Ryan: Now let's take it over to supplements. Tell us what's in your morning tonic and then give us a couple of your other go-to supplements.
Andy: You know, it's a lot. I do a lot of branched chain aminos, turmeric, ho she wu, gynostemma, lycium, salvia, pearl powder, schisandra..
Ryan: Do you ever forget any of these in the morning? Or do you have like a system?
Andy: Nah, it's all right there. It's just all right in front of me, it's kinda hard to forget, you know what I mean? It's what I eat, breathe and sleep, you know. I wake up, my products all in front of me, I know exactly what.. It's literally what I eat, breathe and sleep.
Ryan: It's routine, like you don't even think about it?
Andy: It's routine but it's also like a.. you know, it's a huge passion of mine. Like there's nothing else. It's what I'm doing all day and I'll catch myself and you know, I'm trying to think about like, what I should be doing. And I'm in the middle of mixing these things up, maybe applying some stuff topically. Technically I am doing it, all day. Whether it's something that I'm working on like a hair product or a skin care product, something like that. I may be thinking about what I'm gonna get done today, but I'm actively doing something. It's just what I eat, breathe and sleep. All day. Okay, well back to the tonic.
Ryan: So there is an Alitura hair care product coming?
Andy: Oh yeah, it's coming out. Yeah. I mean it's down the road, but it's just all this R&D is happening right now in my head. I've been doing it for a couple of years and I'm just, you know, you see these brands and there's a way to optimize it, you know, and there's a way to make it better. It's like going to Denny's and getting a burger. I could crush that burger, you know, on my own. Just making it on my own, and that's why I just don't really go out to eat that much. You know, it's not rocket science. Do your research and have an extreme attention to detail, you know, it's gotta be perfect. It's gotta be perfect. And I think that there's a way to do that. It's something that we can control.
Ryan: Alright, so back to supplements. Give us a few of your favorites?
Andy: Okay, yeah. Alright, Nutrex spirulina, that's a great one. I use like 5 teaspoons a day of that.Um, I love The Green Pasture's fermented cod liver oil. Apparently that's like #3 on the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. I think calves liver's number 1, beef liver's number 2 and cod liver oil number 3. So, just out there yeah. If anybody can find calves liver or get a grass-fed calf liver, please email me, text me or tweet me, facebook me, whatever. I've gotta find that shit cause I can't.. It's hard to find. And it's the number one most nutrient dense food on the planet, apparently. So I'll do fermented cod liver oil, krill oil, Natural Stacks krill oil, CILTEP, Natural Stack's CILTEP's huge. I use a lot of Natural Stacks products. The branched-aminos, the Dopamine that you guys have, you know, serrapeptase, wobenzymes, vitamin K2, vitamin D3, to absorb the K2. Um, yeah. There's just so much stuff. Silica, I'm big on just you know, mineralizing, staying mineralized, just get..
Ryan: Yeah, talk about silica for just a minute. Because you actually had a post on Facebook about that recently, you were showing a product that didn't even come close to containing what the label claimed. That's not the way I wanna go with this, I just wanna know.. You know, tell everybody why you would take silica?
Andy: Silica is a building block in collagen, so like one of my ingredients in my mask is Pyrophyllite Clay, which is over 70% silicon. So that put on topically and also feeding that from the inside with things like I use JarroSil silica drops which is ionized silica drops, which I throw in the tonic as well. I've been doing that.. I found out after my accident that rebuilding bone is not only calcium, but it's things like D3, magnesium, silica, K2.. Just bone, skin, tissue, connective tissue, ligaments. I'm all about just strengthening those areas and keeping it nice and inflammation free. So yeah. the silica's big for tissue, skin, nails, hair.. Hell, I don't know, everything!
Ryan: Awesome. Well, Andy I think this has about wrapped up this episode! Tell everybody where they can find more of you, or more of Alitura.
Andy: Yeah, so I'm on Facebook, Andy Hnilo. I'm on Twitter, same thing, Instagram: @andyhnilo. Alitura Naturals is on instagram and Alitura is on facebook, and it's all me. I'm here, I'm available, I love this stuff. And I just.. I just wanna help. So yeah, feel free to contact me with any questions. Any recovery questions especially, that's what I love.
Ryan: Well before we get to the top 3, we've just gotta say congratulations with everything that Alitura and that you have accomplished over the last couple of years.
Andy: Aw that's nice, thanks guys.
Ryan: You know, you're an awesome guy and we share the same kind of passion for the best of everything and providing the best to people. So you know, congratulations. I wish you continued success with that! Tell us your 3 tips, if you could only tell our listeners 3 things to live optimal, what would you say?
Andy: Uh, 1 has got to be gratitude. It's not hocus pocus, I think you release to the universe that you're grateful to be here and you're grateful, you know, to be alive and to have what you have. Gosh, we have so much to be thankful for, you know. We really do. And just that release. Verbalizing it, thinking it, whatever, you know. I do it all the time. I've always done that. I just really have so much to be thankful for, we all do. If you're hearing this, believe me. Everybody's situation is different, but you know, find a positive in whatever your situation is. So yeah, expressing gratitude, that's got to be number one.
Number two is just surrounding yourself, you know, with your top 5. I heard Will Smith say this a long time ago and ever since he's said that it really made sense to me. You know, you are the cumulative of your top 5. So whoever you hang around with, look at what they're doing, what they've done, and that's pretty much a reflection of you or it's going to be down the line and I keep my top 5, you know, pretty pretty happy with those top 5. It's just you know, motivates me to do more and be more.
So yeah, number 3. Discipline. It definitely helped me in baseball and athletics and that's translated over into my career and my professions right now. And that's just being okay with saying no and not doing things just because.. I know what I have up here and what I wanna do down below and what I wanna do for my family and things, they're goals that are attainable. They're attainable through discipline, discipline, discipline. Discipline is always rewarded for me. It's like, if someone out there always putting me out there in certain situations of choices, you know, choices that we can make. Good and bad. I'm not perfect by any means, not even close. But every single time, every single time that I you know, make the choice to do the right thing and stay disciplined and it's rewarded every single time, so yeah. I would go gratitude, keep the Top 5 pristine, and then maintain discipline and shoot high, man.
Ryan: Awesome. Those are great tips. And Andy, thanks so much for hanging out today, man.
Andy: Thanks for having me, man. Good to talk to you and congratulations on the Men's Health article too. That is badass! I saw that in the grocery store line and that's really cool, dude.
Ryan: I appreciate that, man. Men's Fitness, but still!
Andy: Men's Fitness?! Ahh! With Mark Wahlberg on the front, right?!
Ryan: Yeah yeah.
Andy: Ohh, I thought it was Men's Health! Alright, whatever.
Ryan: That's alright, thank you! Alright, so guys, that about wraps up this episode. Remember that you can always find the show notes at www.optimalperformance.com. This particular episode www.optimalperformance.com/andy-hnilo, and make sure that you check out some of the Natural Stacks products that we talked about today. Krill oil, vitamin D3, branched chain amino acids and dopamine, all at www.naturalstacks.com. And remember, Optimal Performance podcast loves your 5* ratings, so make sure you head on over to iTunes and tell everybody how much you love the show, and we will personally make sure that your reviews get read on the air. See you next Thursday!