Part I: Maia Kobb Dowe
Maia graduated from Russell Sage with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Upon graduation she took a position at the New York Hospital / Cornell Medical Center (now New York Presbyterian Hospital) where she worked in the Burn Trauma Unit / ICU becoming a Charge Nurse after 1 year. Working on the Burn Unit, she became interested in research and subsequently worked with Johnson & Johnson as a Clinical Research Associate, in Medical Immunobiology, where she stayed for 15 years, moving to Quality Assurance and Training for Clinical R&D.
Maia is the mother of a 22 year-old son who is recovered from Autism. He is now a senior in college, an Honor student in Physics, and an accomplished jazz guitarist. He has many close friends and is a charming and compassionate human being. Her son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age 2 1/2 in 1993 — before the Internet, before the DAN protocol, and before people were really making the bio-medical connection with the Autism as a significant piece of the puzzle leading to the cause and the cure for Autism. Understanding the biology behind the disorder, and remediating her son’s developmental deficits piece by piece, bit by bit, became Maia’s all-consuming life’s passion.
Part II: Jonny Hinds
Jon is a Master Trainer and business founder with over 30 years of global training experience. With his broad knowledge of human physiology and simple training philosophies, Jon has mastered the art of healing and strengthening the body. His dedication to these disciplines has yielded numerous patented training tools and a unique training methodology that continue to attract Olympic and professional athletes from all over the globe.
Jon is also an exceptional motivational speaker and has toured with the famed Tony Robbins. His frank and direct demeanor allows him to quickly disarm and connect with his clients making the efficient progression he’s widely known for look simple.
Jon can leverage his abilities to motivate and inspire any who are willing to listen. Jon is as equally compelling from the confines of an elevator as he is in the expanses of a stadium. His lifelong pursuit of better approaches, regardless financial implication or trend, have galvanized a truly uncommon integrity in him. His endorsements and practices are carefully watched by a diverse community of elite trainers, athletes and coaches.
Jon is currently the Owner and Founder of the Monkey Bar Gym franchise. He is also the Vice President of LifelineUSA, a global leader in fitness innovation and product distribution. Jon is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, the National Academy of Sports Medicine and is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Jon is also a writer and contributor to a variety of major sports publications and periodicals.
PROGRAM TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and you are listening to It’s All About Food. It’s September 25, 2012, and here we are in the studio in Manhattan, New York. It’s a beautiful day. The air is fresh, the sky is clear, and it’s really lovely to be alive. So, I’m thankful for that.
So much in the news about food. I just wanted to mention a few things: Arsenic in our rice, and genetically modified organisms in our corn that are making tumors in rats, and who knows what else they’re doing. All these things are exploding this week in the news, and the question is, where can we go to get food that is not only good for us but not contaminated with things we don’t want to eat? Honestly, I don’t know that I have the answers because everything is connected on this planet, and when people are doing things in one place, it affects our water, it affects our air. The best that we can do, and there are a few things: One is we can buy from farmers and stores that have organic produce, but in this latest study that came out about arsenic in rice, we know that even organic rice is affected. So that’s kind of daunting. In addition, and I always like to say this because I think this is really important, even though it may seem very undocumented and trivial, is that whenever you eat and whatever you eat, enjoy it. Don’t worry about it when you’re eating it, and tell your body to take the good from the food, and leave the things that aren’t good for you out and let them pass through. Just let your body know that, and it will listen. We have really powerful minds if we use them correctly. So don’t panic, but certainly, if you have an opportunity, write your congress people. Let them know that we don’t want to have arsenic in our rice, and how do we do that? Well, we stop using toxic herbicides and pesticides in agribusiness. We get rid of factory farms because they are giving arsenic to chickens because they are unhealthy, and the arsenic kind of keeps them going until they are slaughtered. Then there is arsenic in their excrement and that is used as manure which is put on all the fields growing all the plants, and that’s how the arsenic gets into the ground, where we don’t want it.
Okay, so, that’s just a little bit of food for thought to get started, and now I want to bring on my first guest, Maia Dowe. She graduated from Russell Sage College, and she received a Bachelor of Science in nursing. When she graduated, she took a position with a New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, which is now New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she worked in the Burn Trauma Unit, ICU, and became a charge nurse. After that she worked with Johnson & Johnson as a clinical research associate in medical immunobiology. She worked with J&J for a total of 15 years in Quality Assurance and Training for clinical R&D as well. What we are going to be talking about today is what she experienced while being the mother of her son who was diagnosed at a very early age with autism, and this is a really fascinating story. I think we have a lot to learn from it, so let’s just jump right in. Welcome to It’s All About Food, Maia.
Maia Dowe: Thank you, Caryn. It’s really wonderful to be here today. Just listening to you speak a little bit in your intro about toxicity in food brings me back. My son is actually 22 years old, now, and he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was only 2 1/2, and that was back in 1993. So, there was no internet, we’ve talked about this, and autism wasn’t blown wide open like it is today. We didn’t know everything we now know about food, about gluten, dairy, and large proteins that get in the way of the immune and mental processing for children with autism.
Caryn Hartglass: Even with the internet and everything that’s available to us today, there are so many people that don’t have this information, and many people struggle with autism. Now, how did you know that your son had a problem at 2 1/2 years old?
Maia Dowe: Well, you hear so much about children where they had, pretty much, normal/ typical development until the age of two or three and then started to lose their words and their functions. In our case I think there was potentially some toxicity or an environmental viral trigger, maybe, going on much earlier because by the time Brian was one, it was clear to me that something was a little different. He had trouble crawling. He had a couple of words leading into age two but never put two words together, which is one of the things you do look for. By age 2 1/2 he had lost that. I was working, and he was in a nursery program. He was not interacting with the other children, not following directions, kind of going off by himself. The reason I found out at age 2 1/2, even though I was suspecting things, which my medical doctors were not supporting, my older sister, believe it or not, who had three boys of her own, came to watch my son over Christmas, and she made the observation which she shared with me. This was a lucky thing because when you have a child with autism, the sooner you know and the sooner you start limiting their foods and giving the right supplements and right behavioral teaching, the better chance you have of helping them.
Caryn Hartglass: Early diagnosis for everything is so critical, and it’s all about paying attention.
Maia Dowe: Exactly.
Caryn Hartglass: So, then what did you do?
Maia Dowe: The most important thing was to get a full, what they call, differential diagnosis by a hospital. In our case, we already suspected autism. I live in New Jersey, and there are, in the Princeton area, a couple of very well-known and expert programs in autism, and so we brought Brian directly there to Eden Institute. They did an observational diagnosis where they are trying to interact with the child, watching his interaction with the parents, and then doing some very specific, problem solving, coordination testing. Mostly, it was the connectiveness, and he didn’t have language, and I guess that was the biggest thing. He avoided eye contact, he didn’t have language, and he would scream because he couldn’t communicate.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, did you see a difference, because at 2 1/2 years old it’s really hard to know, but do you think there was something that triggered it, an event, and could you, maybe, tell a difference. I know when kids are older and they have already started to develop, their parents see an on-off difference. Their child just changes, they are never the same, and they try to figure out what it was that triggered it.
Maia Dowe: In my case I’m not sure if it might have been the oral polio vaccine. My son got a second dose of it, and I did see more of a regression following that. Also, I was always watching children at the park, watching the way they moved, used the swings, their motor coordination, eye contact and connectedness, and although my son was always very cuddly and there wasn’t that missing piece, those other things were never what they should have been. He was very sick from a very young age and had a lot of problems with digestion. He was breast fed, but at times when my milk supply wasn’t the best, we tried infant formula and he would projectile vomit the formula. He had a lot of chronic diarrhea as a baby, and so I think there was a digestion absorption problem going on from the get go. So, maybe our story was a little bit different because of that, because you need those proteins and nutrients in order to develop proper neurological function.
Caryn Hartglass: Autism is a word that is used all of the time today, and it covers a wide range. There is no blood test for autism, so it is a subjective kind of diagnosis, and people don’t always fit into a particular mold. I think this is because there is a lot more to it. We may attribute autism to a lot of different problems, and there may be more than just one or two to three or four things, but a lot of different things. It’s convenient, in some ways, to be diagnosed as autistic because then you can benefit from some state aid with schools and help. So, some parents may want to have this diagnosis for their children. We still don’t know a whole lot about it, and I think many different things could have triggered some of the symptoms that your son had. That’s what makes it so hard to figure out what to do about it because there are probably many different causes. Some people believe it’s vaccines, even though the scientists are trying to dispute that all of the time. I’m fascinated with this concept that the eggs in our mother’s womb were formed in our grandmother’s womb so that our DNA started two generations back and could have been affected by so many things a long, long time ago. So, it is really hard to keep track of what might cause developmental problems.
So, you were on a path, and you did a lot of different things. So, what are some of the key things that you did that helped?
Maia Dowe: I do want to say that we followed the theory of autism being multifactorial and that there were many different things contributing to the problem. So in order to heal a child you have to look at it from many different angles as well. So the first thing we did was to put my son into a one-on-one behavioral teaching program. He was very fortunate to be accepted into the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutger’s University in New Jersey, and he was in their outreach program almost right away. That early intervention everyday makes a difference because there is that window. Even though we now know that neuroplasticity exists well into adulthood and all of our lives, the brain is much more plastic between the ages of two and five. That is a window for recovery, re-teaching, and establishing that connectiveness. In our case, because I worked in medical immunobiology and I was looking at all of these various studies in my work, I started to see some parallels with certain immune deficiencies and what I observed going on with my son. Low and behold when we had him tested, he did have immune dysfunctions. So, the other piece was that it was very difficult for him to gain weight. We found a connection between wheat and dairy before the big studies came out of Scandinavia, establishing the connection between wheat, gluten and autism. The way we saw it, Caryn, was that he would wake up in the morning and he would be the best he was all day. As soon as he would start putting things in his mouth, it would be downhill from there. If he got a bagel with cream cheese, one of our favorite things to eat in my family, he would start spinning himself in the middle of the floor, toe walking, kind of going off more into his own world. So in a certain sense, it was very obvious, even at two, that something in the food he was eating was, at the very least, making this problem worse.
Caryn Hartglass: Good for you for paying attention. Most people don’t. We see such subtle things like, teachers probably know this, when kids have birthday parties in their classroom and the parents wanting to celebrate bring in cupcakes and candy. Then afterwards they leave their children in the hands of the poor teachers who now have to deal with this sugar overload and the behavioral changes in the kids.
Maia Dowe: Then people love to say those don’t exist. Yet those of us who are observant know they do.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, absolutely. Okay, so you found this connection. Now what is this leaky gut thing that happens? Can you talk a little bit about that?
Maia Dowe: Yes. So it’s hard to know which comes first, the horse or the cart. Does the leaky gut come first and then you have the problem with the gluten, dairy, and other large proteins, or do the large proteins assault the gut lining and then you have this hyperpermeability. I believe, in my son’s case as this was observable almost from birth, that it had to do with toxicity. I ate a lot of tuna fish all my life, almost everyday when I was pregnant, so I think I had a high mercury burden myself. I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding Thermisol, the mercury preservatives used in the vaccines 20 years ago and in almost all of them when my son was diagnosed. I do believe that the toxicity from our environment is disruptive to the gut lining. Children that are experiencing this are having those large molecules get through the leaky gut and they circulate as toxins to the nervous system, neurotoxins, and to the immune system. These kids tend to get sick a lot. They are on a lot of antibiotics that leads to fungal overgrowth and an imbalance of the friendly bacteria in the gut, and it just goes on and on and on like a snowball making everything worse. So for a parent to try to unravel all of this, it is a lot of pieces to put together, and it’s not easy.
Caryn Hartglass: The thing about the wheat and dairy for a lot of people, I think, they just don’t believe it will work. It takes a tremendous amount of effort for parents raising a child to monitor that and make sure they keep, what they aren’t even sure are problems, out of the diet.
Maia Dowe: Right. It’s hard to commit to something that is so difficult to do when you are not sure, really, where it’s going to get you and your child regarding improvement in their communication, their eye contact, and their ability to learn.
Caryn Hartglass: The other thing with autistic children, I understand, is that they are finicky eaters.
Maia Dowe: You are so right. They are amazingly finicky eaters, and the reason for this is because they have a hypersensitivity to touch, the texture of the food, and it relates to their processing problems. There can be a hypersensitivity to sound or, what we call, tactile defensiveness, to being touched on the skin, and it is the same thing with the textures of food in the mouth. One thing I can say is that it is so worth doing, and it is so much easier to do today, to eliminate the gluten, which is the protein in the wheat, and the casein in the dairy. These products are available in Shoprite and everywhere you go. I was sending away for brands from Canada about 20 years ago. When the children are little, if you have the luxury of having a child who is diagnosed early, it is so much easier to control them. The hard thing is when they go to school and they are out of house. They feel different and see other kids having things that they can’t have. One thing, since I know we don’t have a tremendous amount of time, I do want to get across to parents is that if you try the GFCF diet that is widely known about in the field of autism now, please be aware of the following: When you have a leaky gut lining which means large molecules are getting through the intestinal lining which shouldn’t be getting through because that semipermeable membrane is now more wide open, more permeable than it should be like a sponge that is wearing out, be aware that if they can’t break down one large protein like gluten, for instance, chances are they can’t break down a lot of large-chain proteins. So you tend to see a better result if you can take all of them away at once, and so by that I mean soy, corn, eggs, any large molecule that you know about. That part sounds harder to do than it is because now, with all of this awareness, you can find cookies, shakes and drinks that will say on the label no wheat, dairy, corn, soy, eggs.
Cary Hartglass: The top allergens.
Maia Dowe: Right!
Cary Hartglass: So it’s easier now, but there still are a lot of people struggling for some reason. We all need some sort of “Spock mind meld” or something so we can all come to the same place at the same time. A lot of doctors don’t know these things, as well, and certainly a lot of parents don’t know about this. A lot of parents struggle financially and with their jobs, and how much time do they have to look on the internet or do research. So it can be really overwhelming. I’m sure your nursing background helped you a lot in understanding what you were reading and where to go to look for information.
Maia Dowe: It did help me a lot. I was very fortunate, not just in my nursing background, but in the job I had at the time in clinical research with Johnson & Johnson where I was lucky enough to be exposed to information that made me wonder if this was a factor for my son and to look into it. One of those things was digestive enzymes, for instance. I was looking at a study with children with cystic fibrosis who were taking digestive enzymes because they didn’t make them and were digesting food very well doing that. So I sought out enzymes for my son, and now we know that anybody that doesn’t digest and break down foods well can be helped by taking enzymes with their foods so that you can get those smaller building blocks that our bodies need to make things like neurotransmitters, antibodies, or hormones.
Caryn Hartglass: An interesting thing is that nature is smart in that nature has figured out a lot of things for all life on earth, and she has figured out what humans need but we’ve kind of gone in our own direction and reconfigured things so that we are eating all of the wrong things. So I find that a lot of things that work for one chronic disease or one illness will work for another. That is the magic of this plant-based diet because when you eat it you are reducing your risk significantly for all the chronic diseases. The diet that works for cardiovascular problems works for diabetes, works for cancer, works for multiple sclerosis, works for all the autoimmune diseases. It works, works, works, and a lot of the nutrients we are lacking are because we are not getting it from our food like we should. Right now vitamin D is the sexy vitamin because everybody is saying it prevents this and that and everything else, and everybody works indoors and we are afraid of skin cancer.
So what supplements were you giving your son?
Maia Dowe: I brought my son to nutritional doctors, and it was very difficult in the beginning, 22 years ago, to find physicians who were interested in being a pioneer in this area with children with developmental disabilities, but the doctor who has been with my son for 13 years and really made one of the biggest differences for us is Dr. Kenneth Bock. He is up at the Rhinebeck Health Center. Dr. Bock practices integrative medicine, and I think he actually was the president, or head, of the Integrative Medicine Association for a number of years. What is good about that is that when you have a child that is dealing with a critical situation, sometimes you need to get a bandaid on it, and that bandaid can be a pharmaceutical or a dietary change that might mean we do have to include certain things for a while that ultimately you wouldn’t want. So I had a lot of medical guidance for Brian, and got many of his supplements directly from his doctors, but I love Kirkman Labs. They are based out of, I think, Oregon, and they have many special supplements that have been specifically designed for children with autism, developmental disabilities, children that can’t have wheat, dairy, and many of the allergens. They were one of the first companies to come out with an enzyme called dipeptidyl peptidase-4. We like to call it DPP-4 for short, and this is the enzyme that many children with autism and related disorders don’t have and don’t make well themselves. You take this enzyme with food. You can open the capsule and sprinkle it on the child’s food. That way they are not developing these, what I call, intermediate break-down products. For instance, when you eat wheat and dairy together and it’s broken down only half way, that forms a morphine-like substance called casomorphin, and that can make you completely disconnected with brain fog, hard to concentrate and all those other things.
Caryn Hartglass: Pizza!
Maia Dowe: Exactly! Pizza, macaroni and cheese, cereal and milk, like what do kids love to eat? So, it is putting them in this fog almost all the time, and the actual reaction from the gluten can be a delayed reaction, so it can be hard for parents to observe. So it is important to take those enzymes, and it is such an easy thing you can do. You want to avoid wheat and dairy as often as possible if you are trying this diet approach, but sometimes with kids you can’t or it is hard, and that’s where the enzymes come in. They help tremendously, and they help to break down the food into usable subsets that their bodies can regulate themselves naturally the way they need to do.
So, I know I’m getting off on a tangent, but I just want to say even though my son was in one of the best one-on-one programs–teaching the applied behavior analysis, ABA, which is the standard one-on-one therapy–as we began to unravel the medical side of the autism, clean up his diet, and heal the leaky gut, he became so much more teachable. So, instead of running a program 500 times, we could run it 15 times or 5 times, and he would have it. He could generalize skills easier. So, I just feel that the idea of a puzzle piece being a symbol for autism is so perfect, and we need to use that to remember that there are many pieces to this puzzle.
Caryn Hartglass: And the more you put it together, the easier it is solve the rest of this puzzle.
Maia Dowe: And, each time you put a piece in you don’t take it out when you look for the next piece. All of the pieces have to stay in. I’m doing my one-on-one teaching, I’m taking those large proteins (wheat and dairy) out of the diet, I’m adding enzymes. At the same time I’m doing some vision therapy, if the child needs it. My son had trouble with every processing system. He needed auditory training, and as he got older and he was declassified, actually, from his primary diagnosis of autism at age 7, he still had residual processing problems with vision, motor coordination, and processing auditory directions. So, what you need to know is to keep adding those pieces in and doing those therapies, but don’t take the other pieces out. Don’t forget what got you to that point. You have to maintain the diet.
One thing, I don’t know if we have time to talk about it, is toxicity.
Caryn Hartglass: Sure, just briefly.
Maia Dowe: So you were talking about eating a clean diet, vegan diet, and this is where it is difficult for children that have textural problems, but I’ve seen so many great recipes you have for making juices, and you can actually make fun cookies gluten-free and add vegetable juices and other good nutrients which is a wonderful thing to do. You also want to be careful to avoid the processed foods that have so many additives and toxins in them. Not only that, but we need to be aware of toxins on our skin, products we put on our children’s skin, and what’s in our water at home.
Caryn Hartglass: There is a lot to think about, and it all matters.
Maia Dowe: Right, and it is so far reaching, but you need to be aware of toxicity and just eating clean and close to the earth which really helps these children so much because it is hard to be reading the labels on every single thing.
Caryn Hartglass: Right. The good news is that your son has done very well. He is an honor student in physics and a senior in college. He is a jazz musician, has many close friends, and he is doing well. So I congratulate you for that.
We are going to take a break now and we will be back with my second guest, and, Maia, stick around and you can join me in the next half. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You have been listening to It’s All About Food. Check out my web site ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com where you can find a lot of information, and send me an email at info@RealMeals.org
Transcribed by Ann Dungey, 2/17/2013
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn Hartglass: We’re back! I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food. Okay, we’re gonna change things up a little bit, and I’m gonna bring on my next guest, Jon Hinds. He is a master trainer and business founder with over thirty years of global training experience with his broad knowledge of human physiology and simple training philosophies. Jon has mastered the art of healing and strengthening the body. His dedication to these disciplines has yielded numerous patented training tools and a unique training methodology that continue to attract Olympic and professional athletes from all over the globe. And he’s the owner and founder of the Monkey Bar Gym franchise and the vice president of Lifeline USA, a global leader in fitness innovation and product distribution. He’s a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Super! Welcome to It’s All About Food, you’re Superman!
Jon Hinds: Thanks, Caryn, how’re you doing?
Caryn Hartglass: Good, how’re you doing?
Jon Hinds: I’m great, thanks.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, well I hope my listeners go to my website ResponsibleEatingAndLiving and check out what this guy looks like, because he’s an awesome specimen of humanity. You have some websites yourself; where can people go to find out about you?
Jon Hinds: They can go to monkeybargym.com and if they want to see more of my own training and nutrition and stuff like that, they can go to jonnyhinds, that’s J-O-N-N-Y-H-I-N-D-S, dot blogspot dot com (jonnyhinds.blogspot.com), and that’s my blog, basically telling you how I eat and train and restore my body.
Caryn Harglass: Okay, let’s talk about each of those things just briefly.
Jon Hinds: Sure.
Caryn Hartglass: How do you eat?
Jon Hinds: Hundred-percent plant-based for about the last twelve years.
Caryn Hartglass: Woo! And you look that good, and you can get all that strength and muscle? How does that happen?
Jon Hinds: Yeah, it’s crazy how many times people ask that: “Where do you get your protein and stuff like that?” And I always say, “All plants have proteins in them. If you eat strong plant foods, you’re gonna get strong.” You can eat plants wrong too, and a lot of people do, and that’s what’s giving us a tough go-about it sometimes, because so many people you have eaten just cheap plant foods like potato chips and Kool-Aid, and they think they’re plant-based. They give it a bad name, and people get a stereotype that you can’t eat plant-based and get super-strong and lean and energetic, and that’s completely false. And we’re proving that. I mean, my gym is the only gym in the world that’s plant-based. All the trainers are lean and strong and vibrant, and we’re excellent examples of what can be achieved by eating a plant-based diet and also training in a functional way.
Caryn Hartglass: I love it. Now, we were talking earlier on the show about doing things from the inside out. And I know that there are many athletes out there that look really stunning on the outside, but they’re not eating the right foods, and they are not as stunning inside.
Jon Hinds: Right. That’s real common. I mean, you see it happen where they’re young athletes, they’re okay, and they can get away with it, but as they get longer into their careers, things start creeping up on them. They have back pain in the morning when they get out of bed, the backaches start to hurt them during their games, they have the tight hips, hamstrings, and it’s just from a lack of movement, one, and doing things in a balanced manner, and also eating a diet that creates health from the inside out, like a plant-based diet does.
Caryn Hartglass: Right. Now, what do you—what is the art of healing from your point of view that you have mastered?
Jon Hinds: That’s doing things in a manner that creates balance in your life, making you feel happy and healthy basically is the goal. And that’s a question that I constantly want—I ask myself that all the time—“Am I feeling good, healthy? Am I happy?” And if I’m achieving those things, I know I’m on a good path, by listening to my gut and my heart, and I always strive to go by that: listen to my gut. And when I eat good, healthy foods from the earth, that makes me feel good, healthy, and happy. When I train in a way that’s instinctive, and it’s movement-based—it’s not muscle-based, because we focus on movements, not muscles. And when you do that, you’re connecting to the way we’ve moved for thousands and millions of years as primates. We move by crawling, climbing, running, jumping, and reacting. And that’s the exact way that I’ve trained everybody since I started training some thirty-something years ago, and it works because it’s fun and it’s instinctive. But when you put those things together, you have a recipe for long-term health. Especially with a diet that is instinctive and natural for us, which is a plant-based diet. And you’re doing things that are—when they’re fun, and they’re healthy, and they improve both your movement and you from the inside-out, how could it be wrong? And that’s what creates that balance in the body and in the mind and gives a long-term health so that you can do anything that you want at any age that you want. And that, to me, is the goal.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, I’ve heard a lot of guys that are weightlifters, they say that they have to have animal protein in order to really get big.
Jon Hinds: Right. And that’s just that mindset, they’re still stuck in a matrix basically, that that’s the only way. And so many people still say, “Well, you gotta bench-press. Well, you have to do your leg-curls,” and blah-blah-blah, stuff like that. It’s just that old mindset, they’re stuck. And so what needs to happen is what we’ve been doing. I mean, I’m forty-nine years old, I can still dunk a basketball, and I’m strong as hell. And the reason why I point those things out is not for ego, but it’s to stress the point that you can do anything that you want at any age, and you do not need to rely on the animal products in order to do that. It’s a complete mess.
Caryn Hartglass: I like that. You can do anything you want at any age. What’s underlying that, that’s so important. People think that they get older and they’re supposed to get aches and pains and slow down and feel miserable. Uh-uh.
Jon Hinds: No, no, you’re not supposed to have aches and pains, you’re not supposed to slow down. If you choose in your mind that you’re getting old, you will get old. And if you choose in your mind that you’ll stay young and vibrant, and you do things that support it, like moving, like putting foods that are high nutrient-dense foods into your body that support fast recovery and allow you to continue to train and move at a high level, there’s no end to what you can achieve. I mean, it’s incredible.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s magic.
Jon Hinds: Everything, we can do.
Caryn Hartglass: It sounds too good to be true, it’s so simple. Now, what about your style of exercising? What goes on in the Monkey Bar Gym? What’s there and what isn’t there?
Jon Hinds: There’s no machines there, there’s no mirrors there, and we don’t wear shoes generally, most of the time. So it’s no shoes, no mirrors, no machines, and, been training that way for a long time. I’ve been going barefoot for seventeen years in my training, and it’s caught on over the last five or six years, people are starting to do it. But we have protocolled everything that we do so that we teach them how to do all these things in a safe manner. Because it’s good for you, but you gotta learn how to progress into it. But those are the things that we don’t have in the gym; the things we do have in the gym are movements that are fun and instinctive. Like, we teach people how to crawl. We teach people how to walk on their hands at their level. We teach people how to climb ropes and do chin-ups and pull-ups and swing from bars at their level. We teach people how to run and jump at their level. And what I stress is “their level.” So, no matter where you are, what level that you’re at, whether you’re eighty years old, you’re an eighteen-year-old teenager that’s full of energy, it doesn’t make a difference. Let’s say you’re an eighteen-year-old and I’m an eighty-year-old, and I’ve never worked out, and you’re on the high school volleyball team, and you’re a stud. Well then, you would do jumping drills today, maybe resistance, where I would to a simple squat that prepares me for, if I wanted to, someday, to jump. But it’s slower movement that’s working towards full range of motion. That’s what beginners at the Monkey Bar Gym do, which we call “stability level,” because you’re just gaining your balance and your movement. And that’s the safest, smartest way to indoctrinate somebody into relearning how to move again. And then that same movement, I’m doing a squat, is just accelerated to add speed to it so that they eventually are jumping. So everybody can work out together. Everybody can benefit from the same type movement, and all workouts are done in a way that we balance all types of movements, whether it’s jumping and running, or pushing and pulling, like for example, walking our hands and climbing a pole. Those are opposites and they balance each other.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m thinking about how good this is for so many reasons. Even people that really think they’re fit and have a lot of muscle are not very flexible. And they might get themselves in a situation where they bend in the wrong direction and they rip, they tear, they break, they have problems. And I also think about when we fall. Some people fall accidentally, some people fall because they don’t have balance or they have some problem, but I think you can talk more about this maybe, but when we learn how to move, when we learn how to react, we even learn how to fall so it doesn’t hurt us.
Jon Hinds: Exactly. And we do that at every single class. We teach people how to do cartwheels. We teach people how to fall and roll forward, how to fall and roll backwards. We teach you how to crawl and then roll into a forward, roll into a standing position, to walking backwards and falling and rolling backwards back up onto your feet.
Caryn Hartglass: Sounds like fun.
Maya Dowe: Sounds like some of the gymnastics Caryn and I did way back in the day.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right, when we were younger, yeah.
Jon Hinds: That stuff’s fun, but like, even that stuff. Let’s say, a person’s coming off an injury. Well then they have to do stuff at a more basic level. And so what we do is a form of yoga called Eischens Yoga, which is a very unique style of yoga that, anybody can do it. And it’s all about realigning the body to develop stability and mobility at the same time. But we do it with, we can do it on our own, but you can also do it with a partner giving you hands-on feedback, and that’s the thing about Eischens Yoga that’s truly unique. You can sometimes work with a partner and they can tell you to lengthen a little bit more here, or resist your neck back a little bit more here, because we don’t see those weak links, working with another person, they can help you out to create strength where there was weakness beforehand. And that’s a big premise of the gym.
Caryn Hartglass: Mm. I like it. We need—I think we’re learning more and more that humans have excelled and survived because of cooperation, not because of survival of the fittest.
Jon Hinds: Exactly, exactly.
Maya Dowe: Can I chime in a minute here?
Jon Hinds: Yeah, please.
Maya Dowe: Hi. My name is Maya Dowe, I spoke earlier about my son with autism, and I’m listening to you talk, and one of the things that happened with my over-focusing on my son and all the energy that it took to heal him is that although I had been a very active and fit and athletic person, I lost a lot of that. I developed injuries, and I lost the confidence, movement-wise, to build that back up. And I did go to my traditional gyms where I live in New Jersey, and some of what happened from that is that I gained more injuries because it wasn’t movement-based like you’re describing, and people that are coming back to rebuild themselves, I’m listening to you talk about building balance and stability, and moving through a natural field of movement, and I’m thinking, “That’s exactly what I needed!” And it’s very difficult to find a facility that’s geared that way. I’m very impressed.
Jon Hinds: Well thank you. But you can do it from your house. We have our workouts are free, everyday online. The Eischens Yoga that I talked about, we made a DVD so that people can practice it at home and I can guarantee you that will help you out incredibly. If you just do the beginner’s sequence for a minimum thirty days’ straight, your life will change, I guarantee it.
Maya Dowe: Thank you very much.
Jon Hinds: Yeah. And then after that you follow the workouts at your level, which as you’re starting would be stability level, and this is the level that my mom works out at. She’s eighty-one-years-old. She can now, after open-heart surgery and having a stroke, she can now do a full hanging pull-up, she can do a squat with her feet all the way together, butt to heels, and she can kick up into a handstand.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow! That’s fantastic. I’m all in for that video.
Maya Dowe: Definitely.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, where do we find that?
Jon Hinds: monkeybargym.com, and just go to the—just find our store, you’ll find Eischens Yoga DVD, and you’ll follow the beginner’s sequence for thirty days, minimum, thirty days straight, and I guarantee your life will change. It’s amazing.
Caryn Hartglass: Now what about when you have an injury? Are there some that you can, you should workout with, some you shouldn’t workout with? Because a lot of people think when they’re injured, they should just do nothing.
Jon Hinds. Yeah. See, that mindset, that’s—it’s basically just a give-up mindset. And I hate that. And doctor’s often-times tell us, “Oh, just don’t do anything.” Well, that’s not stimulating blood flow through the body. You want blood to flow through the body. But let’s say, for example, your knee hurts. Well then, just do things that don’t make your knee hurt. You can do a pushup. You can do a pull-up. You can do a, if you use kettlebells, a kettlebell swing. You can do tons of exercises that don’t aggravate your knee. You can do almost the entire yoga sequence at whatever level that you want of bending your knee as long as you don’t bend it so much that it hurts. And what is that doing? It’s stimulating flow of energy and blood through the body, and that’s what helps to recover and heal the body. If you let it sit, it’s stagnant. It’s just like a traffic jam, and the police guy in the middle of the street’s just saying, “Everybody just sit here and the traffic jam will miraculously clear itself.” No. It’s totally bogus to think that way. Move! And you will heal yourself.
Caryn Hartglass: How did you get to be so smart?
Jon Hinds: I studied animals all the time. That’s how I learned so much. I was fortunate that my dad, my dad was head president of Lifeline USA and he, at a very young age, he invented the Lifeline jump rope and then he invented the Lifeline Gym. When I was a real little boy, so I started thinking outside the box as far as exercise by the time I was about six years old. And he introduced me cause a lot of people liked his equipment when I was little, so I got to meet a lot of pro athletes. And I always asked, “How can this stuff help them move better?” And then I always would look at how humans moved, and humans always moved in a segmented manner. And then I look at animals out in the wild, and they never moved in segments or isolation, they always moved whole body. And that always confused me as to why do humans move in isolation when every other species on the planet moves whole body? It never made sense to me. So from the time I was little I always started moving whole body, and my performance was always high. But yet when I succumbed to training with my buddies and say, “What do you bench?” basically mentality, my performance dropped. So then when sensibility hit me again and just admit, “You don’t need that stuff,” I went back to training the way I used to, my performance went to incredibly high levels to the point that I could hit my head on the basketball rim, and I’m only six-one-and-a-half. And I hit my head on the rim, that’s almost forty-eight inches. Which, almost nobody on the planet can jump that high.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow.
Jon Hinds: And that made me realize, there’s something to moving full-body. And so I just then applied it to every other type of movement that we do, whether it’s pushing or pulling, and results have always been phenomenal with myself and my athletes that I train, and then twelve years ago I just thought, “Well why not bring it to the masses? Why not teach everybody how to move this way, how to restore their body with the Eischens Yoga and how to eat plant-based so that we heal ourselves from the inside-out?” And it’s working incredibly well. We’re affecting tens of thousands of people all over the world, we’re in six continents now and we’re growing really fast, and it’s really exciting, right now, everything that’s happening.
Caryn Hartglass: You are awesome. You are just awesome!
Jon Hinds: Thank you. I try, I do my best. I’m trying to help the planet people…
Caryn Hartglass: I just love the energy that’s coming out here that I’m feeling from you. You really have some good positive stuff going on. Now you talked about getting up in the morning and asking yourself, kinda checking in and seeing how you’re feeling and if you’re happy. And a lot of people aren’t.
Jon Hinds: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: What do you do to motivate people and help them along to find joy?
Jon Hinds: Well you gotta really, truthfully, ask yourself, “Am I happy? Am I doing things that make me happy? Am I listening to my gut?” And as Bruce Lee used to say, “Be like water, my friend, be like water.” That meant, flow. That means, do not resist life, whether it’s martial arts, or business, or relationships. You gotta go with the flow. And that means, like, it doesn’t necessarily mean just eat ice cream and lay around all day. It doesn’t mean that. The objective is to do things that make us happy. And, do things that help the planet and people, because that is what we are all here for. We’re not just here to help ourselves, we are here to help each other to evolve to a higher place, whatever that may be for each person, but to help make ourselves and the planet better for future generations. And so, what are you doing that you enjoy on a daily basis that makes you happy and that does a greater good? And so I think about, “How can I affect the planet in the biggest way?” I can help people eat in a better way that’s tasty, that makes them leaner, that makes them stronger, and makes them healthier. That’s pretty awesome.
Caryn Hartglass: It is pretty awesome.
Jon Hinds: If I can teach them how to move in a way that’s instinctive, that’ll help them get leaner and stronger and healthier and have a lot of fun while they’re doing it, I’m gonna do that, and that’s what I strive for every single day, is for people out there, there is a choice. There is something else out there besides the monotony of isolated training and also hitting out a piece of cardio with the TV one foot in front of your face and zoning out for an hour and feeling like that’s your choice. There’s so much more out there, it’s incredible. Have fun with moving. Crawl around. Jump up and do some jumping rope and learn how to do a bunch of tricks. Climb over furniture, just have fun with things. Try out workouts and stuff. Play with little kids. Get out there and run with your dog and do different types of movements that you have fun, and that from your heart, make you smile. And that stuff will reap incredible benefit for you, just on movement. And the eating point, we don’t have to eat as much food. Eat just less food, you’ll have lots more energy. Eat plant-based because you’ll do yourself and the planet good. And you’ll lose fat, you’ll feel a lot better, and you’re gonna do everybody a lot better for short- and long-term. And both of those things, you can do easy. You can do those starting right now, today, and it doesn’t have to be this enormously difficult thing to do. And if you want stuff to do it, whether you want to go to a gym and do our workouts, or do them at home, or go to a Monkey Bar Gym, it’s all free and it’s on our website, monkeybargym.com.
Caryn Hartglass: I love it.
Jon Hinds: We do that because we want to help people and planet. It’s free, we want to help.
Caryn Hartglass: I love everything you’re saying, and the thing I didn’t realize before this whole thing about moving the whole body: we have such a reductionist society. We’re reductionist in so many ways, with medicine, where we have specialists that look at one part of the body and not the other. And on the planet, we are all connected, we share the same air, the same water, and we all need to realize how connected we all need to move together. So it just all makes sense that we need to exercise our bodies this way and move our bodies as a whole, not as different pieces. It’s brilliant.
Jon Hinds: Exactly, exactly.
Caryn Hartglass: So thank you so much for joining me on It’s All About Food. It was really a pleasure talking to you and hearing your energy, and I can’t wait to go to monkeybargym.com!
Jon Hinds: Thank you very much, and I hope y’all have a great day.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. I want to thank my guests Jon Hinds and Maya Dowe. And I’m Caryn Hartglass, and you can send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I need to hear from you, okay? Have a delicious week.