Meet Gary. Gary and I met when we were practicing at a naturopathic clinic. In the year and a bit that I’ve known him, Gary has co-founded a wellness platform called Ikkuma, written and published a book (Ikkuma – Evolution of Vitality), launched an organic, non-GMO functional beverage (Ikkuma Boost and Chill infusions) and a supplement (Limitless) to support brain health. Whew! Gary is a no B.S. kind of guy who takes a tough love approach to health but still enjoys life. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Andrea: How do you describe how you eat? (e.g. plant based, paleo, vegetarian, etc.)
Gary: Let’s start off with what I don’t eat. I (almost) NEVER eat genetically modified foods (GMOs), artificial sweeteners, processed foods, and avoid added sugar and processed grains as much as possible. I eat almost 100% organic and stick to whole foods. Being omnivores, I believe we were designed to eat meat – have the teeth to prove it. I believe organically, and humanely, raised meats can be a great source of complete protein. I also eat beans from time to time. Shunned in the paleo diet, legumes are fantastic for good gut flora, acting as ‘prebiotics’ (feeding good bacteria; helping them flourish).
How long have you been health conscious? What motivated you to take this path of health?
Probably since I turned 30. I’ve been weight training for over 20 years – I’m 42 now – but it was really when I started reading fitness magazines that I started picking up nutrition tips through osmosis. When I was 35, my friend Brad got diagnosed with lymphoma. It was then that we both starting researching ways to defeat cancer. I started immersing myself in the field and never looked back.
What motivates you to keep doing this for yourself every day?
If you witness someone slowly and horribly dying from cancer or any other disease, it will have a measurable impact on how you live. I strongly believe that life is a game of numbers. We all control the odds. When I’m 90 years old I won’t have any regrets on how I lived.
Do you have any rituals or morning practices that you do?
I wake up, drink a glass of filtered water with an ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and then have another full glass of water to wash away the acid and further hydrate. I then get ready and make an Ikkuma Smoothie. I drink the smoothie on my way to work and throughout the morning.
Describe a day in the life of you.
Wow, that’s a loaded question. I’ll summarize it very quickly:
- previously mentioned morning routine, however 2 days a week I intermittent fast (skip breakfast).
- hit the gym around 11:30am (4 days a week) for a compressed 35 minute high intensity resistance training workout. Two days a week I also do a High Intensity (cardio) Interval (HIIT)
- I eat a loaded salad with organic chicken for lunch with about half a litre of the remaining morning smoothie
- snack on organic nuts and raisins throughout the day
- drink plenty of filtered water
- grab dinner around 7:30pm (little late but long days at work). Dinner isn’t exciting but usually consists of 3 eggs, avocado, aged cheddar, tomatoes, kimchi, and steamed spinach
- hit the hay at around midnight, after about 90 minutes of reading (low artificial light) and always get at least 7 1/2 hours of sleep
- wake up the next day and repeat… no one said it was sexy. I reserve my ‘benders’ for the odd weekend.
What would you say the healthiest thing you do each day is?
Wake up and remind myself that I am beyond thankful for feeling great. The day before my friend died he had just found out that there was no chance he would make it. He said, “I just wish I knew what it was to feel good again. All I want is one healthy day.” If you wake up feeling good, be thankful that you have that day.
Do you have a particular food or drink that you like that gives you a feeling of well being or energy?
My Ikkuma Smoothie has over 20 organic ingredients. It’s essentially a day’s worth of amazing nutrition in a glass! Pure gold!
What’s your favourite way to treat yourself? How do you indulge?
I don’t stress over my social outings. I earn them. Like I say in my book, it’s similar to a credit card, I call it the Ikkuma Account. You need to make deposits to afford more withdrawals.
Who inspires you?
Brad’s life inspired and continues to inspire me. Plain and simple.
Do you have a recipe you’d like to share?
I have been experimenting with smoothies for decades. This recipe may seem daunting but it really isn’t that hard if you stage all the ingredients. I’ll try to make it as clear as possible. First I will list what needs to be staged, and then I will give you the recipe.
To be staged (prepared):
“Fruit & Vegetable” Staging: Clean and chop, beets, apples, purple cabbage, broccoli, celery, ginger, kale and garlic (one clove). You can effectively use whatever vegetables you want but I stress a good variety. Chop enough for about one week’s worth of smoothies (use trial and error for this one). My experience is that chopped vegetables, placed in a sealed container with one or two paper towel sheets at the bottom, can effectively keep relatively fresh for about one week. This will save a ton of time when making your smoothies.
“Seeds of Life” Mixture: Using a coffee grinder, grind sesame, chia, and flax seeds. Place them in a small Ziploc bag and store in your freezer. Try to keep it relatively fresh by only staging two weeks worth of the mixture, though the seeds should stay fresh in the freezer for longer than that.
Add the following ingredients to your high powered blender and blend until desired consistency. One small caveat: if you don’t have a VERY powerful blender, vegetables from the brassica (cabbage, broccoli and kale) family may promote gas. Try to introduce them slowly and if it doesn’t work simply substitute with other fruits or vegetables such as spinach, and avocado:
¼ cup of organic almond or coconut milk
2 cups of the “Fruit & Vegetable” already prepared
1 heaping tablespoon of the Seeds of Life mixture
25-35 grams of high quality natural whey protein (or a vegan protein powder, such as sprouted brown rice, pea, or hemp)
½ cup of organic frozen berries and 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut
2 heaping tablespoons of organic yogurt (coconut yogurt can be used if you have dairy intolerance)
¼ tsp cinnamon to stabilize blood sugar and ¼ tsp of turmeric powder to load it with cancer fighting compounds
1 tsp of maca root powder for an energy kick (find this at any health food store)
1 heaping teaspoon of glutamine for muscle repair (if desired)
You can also add a serving of your favorite fish oil
2-3 ice cubes (if desired)