Fatal Conveniences with Darin Olien

June 13, 2023
James Whittaker

Check out this episode on the Win the Day Podcast

Look after the land and it will look after you. Destroy the land and it will destroy you.”

Aboriginal Proverb

Everything in your environment determines whether you win or lose…

But how well do you know your environment? 🤔

Our guest today is health legend, superfood hunter, and New York Times bestselling author, Darin Olien. Darin is best known as co-host of the Emmy Award-winning Netflix docuseries, Down to Earth with Zac Efron.

After spending nearly 20 years exploring the planet to discover new and underused exotic foods and medicinal plants, Darin developed Shakeology. Since 2008, it’s grossed over $4 billion in sales.

His first book SuperLife was a monster hit and a New York Times bestseller. Darin’s new book, Fatal Conveniences, has just been released. He’s also host of the top-rated podcast The Darin Olien Show.

In this episode:

  • How toxic products have permeated your home (and the reason you’re low on energy each day).
  • The importance of sustainable business practices on your health and the environment.
  • Darin's personal journey and how various cultural influences shaped his mindset.
  • The impact of everyday conveniences on your health, including hidden dangers in common household products; and
  • How to master the art of healthy living.

Before we begin, the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode or could use some help to Win the Day, share it with them right now.

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Darin Olien!

James Whittaker:
Darin, great to see you, brother! Thanks for coming on.

Darin Olien:
Hey, I'm stoked, James! You got me fired up.

To kick it off, what was the mindset around healthy living in your household when you were growing up?

There wasn't really. It was just standard for us – iceberg lettuce and jello, and some steak and potatoes.

As weird and cliche as that is, it's a small town in Minnesota. Mum had two boys running around, getting in trouble and jumping off things … bicycles, motorcycles, and all of that stuff. So mum would end up getting frozen pizzas and throwing them in during the summer so that we could just make our own stuff. So it was tumultuous from a relationship standpoint from my mum and my dad, but from a health perspective, didn't really think about it and just kind of actively lived.

But at 13, being born premature, set me off with a little skew. I had vulnerabilities. We talked a little bit about your son who was dealing with some health stuff. And so I certainly right away at birth had some challenges.

But at 13, being born premature, set me off with a little skew.

At 13 years old I read an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about this grapefruit diet, and it was the first time that I ingested something consciously and then witnessed and experienced a different feeling in my body. And that informed me, but of course I was just a kid.

So I felt the difference, but I wanted to play sports, I wanted to get more, not professionally involved, but a little more intentional. And so I started picking up my first weights and realizing, oh, we can do a lot more than just sit here. Then it just kind of progressed from there.

The story that you share in the book about your dad being diagnosed with what they believed to be chemical sensitivity disorder, not only did that turn his life upside down, but it sounds like it did the same for you too.

100%, yeah.

Cut to the '90s, I was in college studying physiology, nutrition, and all of that stuff. So I was interested in what was going on more and more.

And my dad, a high functioning guy, he was a tenured professor at the University of Minnesota, and so he was starting to describe to the family – and my parents were divorced at the time – but he would say, "Yeah, I'm not feeling good. I'm lethargic, I don't have energy, I can't think, I'm foggy."

He was talking to us early on about, "These perfumes and fragrances are affecting me." You hear that and you're like, "Dad, come on. What do you mean? We're not affected by it." And then slowly being an educator, he would make VHS tapes and hand them to us and record shows and talk to his doctors and then do research and print out stuff and highlight it for us.

Ultimately, I believe the depression and isolation spiraled him down the path of picking up a drink after 30 years of sobriety.

Then he'd start doing it with his colleagues saying, "Hey, if you're going to be in this wing and be in my office, you can't wear things that have fragrances. There's shampoos and conditioners and laundry detergent and clothing and the dyes coming off of it, all this stuff." And you're like, whoa.

So in order to be around him when I'd come home from college, I would have to change so much. He'd send me these care packages of unscented everything. And that was my first time naturally getting detoxed from it. And then once I started feeling and perceiving and smelling these things, I was like, oh, I actually don't like this. I was used to it like anyone else, but it became a very real thing for him.


You’re reading an excerpt of this interview. To access the full Win the Day episode with Darin Olien, including bonus content that doesn’t appear here, check out the YouTube or podcast version. 🚀


That very real thing was causing these problems and kind of spiraled him down into early retirement, disability. So the university acknowledged that this was a real thing as doctors told them, and he had to retire on disability. And then ultimately what that led him to is isolation.

My dad was very engaging and cared about people, but also maturing in his life through academics. Then all of a sudden, boom, he couldn't perform the very thing that he was really finding a lot more rewarding later in his life. So then he'd go on these trips – he'd go to the ocean to get fresh air and not be exposed to this stuff. And then he'd feel better. He'd just isolate himself.

Ultimately, I believe the depression and isolation spiraled him down the path of picking up a drink after 30 years of sobriety. Then he passed away years later. The diagnosis was alcohol. And they very rarely put that as the thing, but they don't know of anything else. He didn't have a heart attack, he didn't have a thing, his body just stopped.

So yeah, this book's dedicated to him, and it was a compelling notion to write this book because it was like when you're facing this, when you stare at this stuff and the first educator being my dad telling me about this stuff, you can't unknow it. And people will find out in this book – you've found out in this book – once you realize something, you can't unknow it and then it's up to you.

It's not my job to convince people of anything. It's just like, here's some information to help people realize that there’s always a better way. There's always a much improved way of doing something. So you can still be in the modern-day world, you can still function, you can still Win the Day, but you can win it more because the body burden of all of this dangerous stuff adding up over time.

Not one thing here is killing you acutely. It's your environment. And you quickly realize our environments are what expresses us either winning or not winning, similar to epidemiological expressions of our life. What are we doing to turn on genes or turn off genes? Because largely we have certain formal genetics – the way we look, the length of my bones, that type of stuff. But the expression of the health of our life is largely determined by our environments.

And so coming from this idea, and this very real experience of my dad's spiral, I was compelled to write this so that ultimately underneath everything I do to the best of my humble ability of being human is trying to unravel and unpack something so that liberation can happen, more choices can be available, and so that people can live a life that's great.

The exposure of these things that I didn't have a say in, you didn't have a say in, largely we were born into it, it's not okay. It's not okay with some of these processes and chemicals.

Yeah, it's a hell of a mission. You're doing some really great work.

You've traveled all around the world, you've been exposed to different cultures and rituals. How would you describe your life philosophy? And is there a particular ritual that helped shape the mindset you have today?

That's a good question. 

I mean, it literally is infused in you by certainly season two of Down to Earth – it was just so beautiful because every land we went on, we did a ceremony with the First Nations people of that land. And so all of the trips in the 20 years of doing that, there is this – similar to your opening quote – take care of this land and take care of our environment and it will take care of us. It is so abundant, it is so beautiful. But when we don't do that, we have a list of side effects.

So from that perspective, the Indigenous First Nations ideas from the First Nations people here in America that I've spent a lot of time with, in Indonesia, in India, in Uganda and Senegal, all over the place, there's a similar ideology or a common sense to all of that.

Not one thing here is killing you acutely. It's your environment.

I don't know if it's a philosophy or not, but I know that this is the avatar. You and I get to walk around in these literal avatars, and we are infinitely connected from one source, whatever you decide to label that source is. The droplet into the water, we are that.

The more we acknowledge that, the better our life will be, I believe, because the isolation, the siloing, the disconnection, the polarity, the disconnect of ideas and ideologies, that's a lie, but it's progressed by judgments, angers, fears, things like that.

Out of everywhere you've been, where did you feel most connected to the planet?

The first answer is everywhere. There's memorable times for sure in the middle of the Amazon, and Peruvian side and the Brazilian side just because of the mana, Gaia expressing herself powerfully just going, wow, right? It's like that perfect example of when we're not in the way, life is just extraordinary.

Also in the Great Barrier Reef, under the ocean, you're looking at the extraordinariness of this amazing planet. Then a few years ago, I finally went home to where both sides of my family come from in Norway. That certainly was just something different when you kind of genealogically know that your ancestors are directly from there. That was powerful too.

Any wild animal encounters that you've had!? Like the Amazon, you're in anaconda country. In Australia, you get access to some of the most dangerous snakes and spiders and sharks around the world…

Yeah, luckily no shark and snake attacks!

I got bit by a wild dog in the Yucatan. There was a snake nearby, so we just had to be aware of that. Weirdly, not to make this a big story, but I was hunting for certain things in Cambodia, and a government official knew that I was there. He also had a farm, apparently, and there was flooding at the time, so he kept missing meetings when we were supposed to meet in person, like had to helicopter to some other disaster area and everything else. 

So he said, "Hey, I won't be able to make it, so why don't you go to my farm?" So he gave us the location and we went and it was kind of like this dilapidated old zoo, but it had wild creatures in it from giraffes to lions. Apparently it was rescued from other areas to give the rest of the life over that could never be brought back into the wild.

There was a food forest all over, amongst all of this stuff. So we were checking all of that out, and some of the things he was growing. And a friend of mine that I was with, he was reacting, and I looked over and there's an orangutan. It was in a cage, and that's not great, but it was his whole life, they can't reintroduce him.

I went over there and as soon as I pulled up my phone to take a picture, the orangutan reached his arm out and slapped the phone out of my hand, and it fell between the fence and his cage, which is maybe my arm's length. In a nanosecond, the orangutan reached down and grabbed my phone, and I grabbed his hand. 

He beat me to it. He pulled it in the cage and then was acting like he was going to break it. And so we had to raise all this stink, and one of the workers came over, eventually went in there, wrestled with him, the phone dropped, and they threw it out, and I was able to get the phone back. This is on video too, by the way!

That's amazing. I was getting Jurassic Park vibes the way that you were setting that story up!

Yeah, but it was a funny moment because he was playing and he wanted it back, and he wanted to keep playing, but he was definitely probably going to break my phone eventually.

That sense of play is such a big thing. It brings so much joy and connection. I feel like the world is missing so much of that these days.

Totally. Pets and just enjoy getting out and interacting and connecting.

It's connection. We know how powerful connection is. Some of the greatest things in the world are when you go out naively, knowing that “I don't know anything in this area.” And so I'm a complete humble visitor to learn. And that would always set the stage of the connection first with any Indigenous or First Nations people or researcher or herbalist or whatever, to then go, okay, there's an established trust building.

Every superfood adventure was always leading with the connection first.

Then things would start to open up. You would find they would share things with you that they probably don't share that often. They would show you things, and then you would come away with things, like I didn't even know that plant existed on this earth. And those kinds of things.

Every superfood adventure was always leading with the connection first. For me deeply, I needed to have that connection of that farmer, that forager, that person, to then understand, what are you doing? How are you doing this? What can we do to make it better?

You've had some massive career wins. Is there a particularly dark day that stands out along this journey? And if so, what were the lessons from it?

The Minnesota kid naively believes every word someone says.

Yeah, the naive Australian did that when he first came to LA as well.

Right? Yeah.

You take people at their word, do things on a handshake to find out very quickly in the land of smoke and mirrors that it's important sometimes to have legal agreements to fall back on and hold other people accountable. But you don't think about that when you’re finding your feet.

Totally.

Well, legal agreements are kind of like this. You dip the toe in the water to then talk about things that may or may not happen, but they may happen. It's a good way to start the uncomfortable conversation. Uncomfortable conversations are a necessity. The radical honesty like, "Hey, I want to do this deal, but if this happens and that happens, how are we going to work this out?" 

Way too often, I would fling myself into situations going, "I want to change the world here. And you've got amazing technology. You've got an incredible mission." So I would show up. I would show up in the middle of a country, and then I would go like, "Yeah, let's do it." And then I would include my attorney, if at all.

Uncomfortable conversations are a necessity. 

Next thing I know, I'm funding stuff, I'm giving them money, there's no agreement, and they're off doing who's who knows what. And so it took way too long for me to acknowledge that. 

I lost a lot of money and a lot of grief.

Getting burned out in the process? That's certainly how I felt when I was on the other end of those things.

100%. It's so exhausting.

And the other major one was my company, Barùkas. So Barùkas is this nut out of the savannah of Brazil, and it checks all the boxes. It's good for the Indigenous people. We're planting trees, it's a wild food, all of that stuff. 

I'm not here to sell it, I'm just saying I'm setting it up. I mean, it means a lot to me because that nut is not only delicious, it's nutrient dense. So for me, as a conscious capitalist, I love to find something that I know people are going to love and it's going to help other people in the process, indigenously.

Last year we had internal fighting of my founders, and it was imploding the company. It got so toxic, I actually quit. I was like, I'm done. So I quit. I remember walking through an Erewhon and I saw it on the shelf, and I literally just had a tear in my eye. I'm like, this thing that I care about and the people that I know down there, I have to walk away because this is toxic.

So in that two weeks of quitting, saying, "Yeah, take my name off of all the packages." I reconnected with a buddy, Steve Fabos, who just sold one of the largest bakeries in the United States. So he was making all these cake-pops for Starbucks and everything else – a very successful, sweet guy, plant-based forever. And I know his son-in-law.

He was like, and he hinted at it before, "I want to do something with you. I want to do something healthy. I want to do superfoods and stuff like that." And by the way, this was a year, dude, this was a year trying to get other investors to buy these people out. This is like I'm desperately, desperately trying to make Barùkas work. So this is a year of my life. This is more phone calls than I could possibly imagine to so many people within the company in Brazil, all of this stuff. So I had exhausted myself.

And then when I met Steve, congratulations. He sold his business. He was ready to do these things. He goes, "What do you want to do?" I said, "Well, we can kind of do anything." I said, "Well, I kind of just quit, but we have this Barùkas." He goes, "Well, let's look into it." 

Six, seven months later, we ended up buying the company back from everyone. Everyone was happy to go off in their own direction. So Steve and I are now 50/50 partners.

Amazing.

I worked so hard. Literally when I quit, I didn't feel like there was anything left to try. 

Then serendipity stepped in, and timing and synchronicity, and the energy of Barùkas or whatever it was came in. Now we are a brand new team, huge energy, planning another trip here soon to reinvigorate everything. And it's looking good.

So many lessons from that. I mean, the power of relationships, the way that the universe can present you opportunities at the right time – as long as you’re open.

Big time.

Not to mention, if you were to put a dollar value on the amount of negative energy or just energy wasted from an entire year…

Millions.

Something our mutual friend Gabby Reece shared when she was on the podcast was how she’s pursuing more and more the power of simplification and concentrated effort. And that's something that I'm trying to do so much more now as well. It sounds like for you, too.

Oh, man, I am, but I fail at that all the time! I get involved with way too much. 

You still see things through to the finish line and get them done, which is very, very important.

I feel like most people, they're so busy driving themselves crazy, running around in a circle, never finishing anything. At least you finish a whole bunch of amazing things along the way. Like seasons on a TV show.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's an effort for sure, but a loving effort.

Your new book, Fatal Conveniences, is an amazing read. You touched on it a little bit earlier, but what is the problem that you wanted to solve with the new book and why did it fall on your shoulders to do it?

Many problems. I wanted to face things honestly, so that we can do something about them. 

When realizing from my dad's path, from these chemicals, from even the superfood path, because this is still happening in the superfood world, this is still happening in the formulation world, this is still happening in the food industry, all of these things like, what do you mean you're having these propylene glycols and other flow agents that are in this flavor when it says “natural”? So this stuff we were having to reinvent for flavor companies or different manufacturers, we had to reinvent the way we were doing things. So this has been a theme of mine for a long time.

I think the biggest thing was I'd written SuperLife like, eat great food, get hydrated, wholefoods, all of that. Let's celebrate life. Let's have a super life. So I'm staring at this going, yeah, but there's an invisible world here from electromagnetic fields, to formaldahydes and phthalates, and BPAs and BPHs, and PFAS and Teflons, and dyes and formaldehyde that is all around us all the time, massively affecting pretty much the most primal aspect of our life. 

That is our glandular system to actually move life forward, meaning our testosterone is plummeting as a result of these endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Women's estrogen, our estrogen levels are spiking high because of phthalates and things like that. So our motility, men's motility is in the toilet. And they predict in less than 10 years, we won't even have sperm that's viable.

How are you supposed to have a great life when unknowingly you're being hijacked by chemicals of all sorts?

So I'm staring at this going, well, how are you supposed to have a great life when unknowingly you're being hijacked by chemicals of all sorts? From the shampoos you're using to the moisturizers, to the clothing you're putting on, to what you're washing the clothes with, to what's in your home, on and on and on. 

It was like that moment, dude, where I was like, because with the success of the first book, there's always so much more to get into from the environmental perspective. What I realized with this is I had to. Did I want to? No, I had to. It's different.

So, yes, I went into it. It was informed with, is anyone else going to do this? And of course, people have. References I've used and people I've learned from, Dr. Leo Trasande, who's dedicated his life to educating on EDCs, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and other great researchers I've referenced in the book that have dedicated their lives to this. 

But we need it on a bigger scale because the big populations of people are just buying whatever they're buying because they're focused on prices.

And deceptive marketing.

Yeah.

You and I do the same thing just in very different ways. You and I are both trying to awaken people out of their complacency to recognize that a much greater, happier, more meaningful life awaits if you can start making a few incremental changes that add up to massive exponential gains over time.

Totally. Well, that's the key. That's the key. And if you don't know it, then you can't choose. So this book is riddled with knowledge and then you can choose to apply it or not. 

But it doesn't have to be overwhelming. You could pick up this book, open a page, and learn something pretty much guaranteed because I learned so much deeper. Of course, that's a great thing about writing a book. I amassed over 20 researchers to sift through so much. Each chapter could have been volumes of books. 

This one brought me to an edge for sure. This was like, wow, how do I organize this? How to start and stop and try to develop a system? Where do I stop? How do I do this in a way that is celebratory? 

And I really believe this is celebratory. 

It's very nonjudgmental, that's how it came across. 

I'm pretty good with nutrition, but I don't know what the ingredients really are in things like laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste, and dental floss, I had no idea about any of this stuff.

But you've made it very simple and very actionable for people to be able to start making one or two changes each day. See how you feel. If it feels like it works for you, then keep going.

Right. Well, thank you because that was part of the line to walk. So I more or less ended with, does this sound good to you? Right? Leaving with questions, are you sure you want to do this? 

Similar to you, trying to turn on the switch of common sense. Turn off the switch of apathy and awaken that which we all fall victim to, the regular pattern of our habits and then we become unconscious. But let's make sure the habits are winning. Let's make sure our habits are in our best interest and not victims of a system. 


Because largely these things are systems. They're systems of production. They're systems of a product. They're systems of our system. Is this aligned? So maybe not put the dental floss that has PFAS chemical that's connected to endocrine-disrupting cancers, you name it, that you're putting in your mouth.

Why don't they have to tell you? Because it's deemed a “medical device.” So if you're in shock that what I'm saying is shocking, then that's why there's all these little loopholes that I wish it wasn't the case. I wish the FDA, the FCC, the EPA, there's great people at these companies, so I'm not also throwing them completely under the bus. However, there's too much unregulated within this whole thing.

Let's make sure our habits are in our best interest and not victims of a system. 

So again, why I wrote the book, because people from my perspective aren't doing an adequate job. And it's affecting you, it's affecting me, it's affecting your children, it's affecting our pets, it's affecting our communities.

Plus the thing that was glaringly obvious was you and I are ecosystems, right? We are an amazing ecosystem. You look at your skin cells under a microscope and you will be blown away. And every system from digestion to your skin microbiome, to your eyelids, to your hair, to your tongue, everything is striving for homeostasis.

Now add 60 to 80,000 manmade chemicals every year that's blasted at us. Every woman from personal care to beauty is being exposed to over 126 chemicals. Most are endocrine-disrupting and probable carcinogenic activity from them. And you're like going, "What!?" That's what I was saying 30 years ago when my dad was telling me about this stuff.

So bringing it up and out and going, hey, man, I'm not saying don't wash your hair. Look towards brands that are not only from a packaging perspective or integrating and trying their best to do their best and all that stuff, because that also has an effect, but from an ingredient standpoint.

As a formulator of products, it's easy for people to get lazy. “I'll just take the natural flavor.” Okay, but what's in the natural flavor that the FDA said was okay? Am I saying it's okay? I was in shouting matches 15 years ago until the bulb went out. Oh, they keep saying this is a good natural flavor. I keep saying, why are there flow agents that are chemicals that I don't want in my body in here? 

Then when I looked under the hood further, the FDA bylaws allow for certain things even to be in the natural flavor.

Most of the companies I see with it these days almost use it as an endorsement, like, “Hey, we’re naturally flavored.” And most people think it’s a good thing because it sounds healthy and it sounds natural.

Exactly.

It doesn't necessarily mean that if “natural flavors” pops up that there are dangerous ingredients in there. I'm just saying that there can be some dangerous ingredients still in there. Now, there are companies like Beachbody, which I formulated Shakeology, we actually went back to them and said, "Here's our list. This is how you're going to make our natural flavor." 

But on the label, it still says natural flavor. So you don't know the difference, right? You have to do your work. So as stewards of people, because we have businesses, we are stewards of people and the planet, period. I don't even care what your business is, you are a steward. Take responsibility. Do the extra work to do the right thing.

If you don't know, don't just assume someone has the authority to say “That’s fine.” Someone says, "That's fine." Guess where I'm going? That's where all this stuff, every product in here, that's fine because it's on the shelf.

A big theme of your work is along the idea that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Yet, I see so many people who over-consume the healthy alternative to the point that it becomes bad. They’ll drink four LaCroixs or four Diet Cokes a day.

It's a good point because it's the body burden of the continuousness of this stuff. Because if you look at parabens, which show up in most of the personal care and beauty products and phthalates as well, and PFAS, because if it doesn't wipe off, it's giving you a good indication that there's a PFAS derivative forever chemical that's bioaccumulating.

The reason I say all that stuff is that of those hundreds of chemicals that you and I potentially –  if we don't have the awareness – we're getting exposed to, the parabens and the phthalates have half life, so for a few hours. So the body has to deal with them. They are causing endocrine disruption. They are causing some problems, but the body rids them. 

And that’s before we even get into bodies that are already compromised. Maybe there's something going on with the liver. Maybe there's something going on already with the kidney. Maybe there's something going on already with the gallbladder. That aside. If you're being exposed to these things, but then you're always being exposed to them.

So, okay, I get exposed, I put my lotion on, but then two hours later, I'm touching up all my makeup if that's what I'm doing. Or I'm putting on clothes that I just washed that have formaldehydes and fragrances and 100 other chemicals. So you're constantly phthalate, phthalate, phthalate, paraben, paraben, phthalate, PFAS. It's the constant and then it's the everyday.

If you want change, you have to face it.

Then you're also talking about your second skin of your home. Where are those exposures? So the whole point to all of this stuff is, if you want change, you have to face it. And if you're not willing to face it, you don't get to change. You don't have another choice. And that's as good as it gets.

If you're cool with as good as it gets, that's fine. I'm not here to convince you. I'm not here to convince anybody. I'm here to supply knowledge because I saw my mentor, my father, my first teacher suffer. So it's in me. It's in me. That's why I'm doing it.

Ultimately, as someone who cares about all sentient beings on this planet, the planet herself – I care about you, I care about your producers, I care about everyone listening, I care as a human family – I would rather not have people suffer on my watch. So I want to give them an option. 

Again, people can do whatever the hell they want with this information. They can burn this book. It's not on me to do it. Even if you open it every week and just go, “Okay, I'm going to work on this one. I can definitely go online and buy a different dental floss today. Maybe I won’t buy all of the latest fast fashion” because most of its formaldehydes, azo dyes, polyurethane, elastin, all of this stuff sucked next to your organ of your skin. 

Maybe just continue to change your patterns. And then like you said, as you integrate, then you start to receive. The challenging thing about humans is they kind of only feel how they feel, and they don't know how great they can feel.

An example of that is even just getting around inspiring people. If you're hanging around people who are depressed all day versus people who are inspiring you and trying to raise each other higher, the difference is huge.

I mean, every successful person on the planet has that. If you look at the people you're hanging out with, you pretty much know your future. 

So then let's take that same idea because I like that idea. Let's take the invisible and make it visible through the knowledge and go, huh, I have chemicals, I have phthalates, I have moisturizers, I have sunscreens. What the hell's in my laundry detergent? What's in my underwear that's next to my genitalia? What is affecting my testosterone? 

And then they shift that norm too. So now they shift that goalpost. So now it's normal. You're normal. Regular doctors say you're fine. No, you're not. That's not ideal. So all of these things become the adjunct of you.

If I look at someone, I go in their home, I open their fridge, I look at what they're putting on their skin, I can guarantee that they are going to be suffering. Guaranteed. And they won't even know it. And if you slowly start to improve these things…

I think of it as going “in to out.” You're opening your mouth, probably start there. Filter your water. We now know, which I was super surprised in actually, one of the highest ways that we're receiving PFAS chemicals – which are forever chemicals that bioaccumulate, that are grandsons of Teflon that are in many things – that we're getting it from our drinking water. 

So although a modern marvel of going to your house and having on-demand water when there's 2.2 billion people in the world that does not have that. That's not lost on me. Miracles of our conveniences are not lost on me. I just don't want that divorce from nature or divorce from something that is beneficial when it could continuously be beneficial as opposed to having side effects.

If you look at the people you're hanging out with, you pretty much know your future. 

So filter your water because you're opening your mouth up to things that you can't see, but are there. And that's only one. There's pharmaceutical drugs that they don't... The things you flush down your toilet are in the waterways, are coming back to you because they're not sophisticated. 

The water treatment facilities are really good at making sure you don't die acutely of dysentery, typhoid and cholera. And then the rest, they don't have any idea or don't have the funding or are not doing it to filter out the rest of the chemical fricking romance that we have in our water. So filter your damn water. 

We know that 60% of the calories here in America are coming from ultra-processed food. That's chemicalized food. It's virtually foodless and nutrient-devoid, and your body is not going to be satisfied even though you get satisfaction from the addiction. 

So I kind of think of these fatal conveniences as deal with what's going in your mouth first. And then as things kind of roll out from there, the skin, the exposure, the environment, and continue.

In a world where, in America in particular, pharmaceutical companies can advertise directly to consumers, sunscreens are getting news articles about them because of reports that they cause cancer. How does anyone know what to believe!? 

I mean, there's conflicting studies that come out saying, "This thing's really healthy for you. It's a superfood." Another study comes out and says, "This thing will kill you." How does anyone know what to believe about anything these days?

Exactly.

Which I'm sure has contributed to the complacency that people have.

We have lost the integrity of even our studies. I remember reading this article of this top researcher that I think between himself and his colleagues, there were thousands of research articles. I forget his name, but he was saying 75% of the research out there is compromised by other interests. 

So yeah, it is startling. I mean, doing this research, it's like is there conflicts of interest in any of this stuff? And yeah, there's a ton.

So reading this book, to me, it makes a lot of intuitive sense. Basically everything that you spoke about, I'm like, of course this makes total sense. Even things like AirPods, it's like, well, would it be a smart idea for me to have something on either side of my brain for eight hours a day? That's probably a horrible idea.

Right. People just go crazy and they're not going to change it. 

And from that perspective, just to touch on EMFs, is that very clearly, the research always came around and the research can get nuts. And it's like, can I validate that? No. Do we need more studies? Absolutely. All of this stuff. So maybe not throw the products out on the population before we know.

But on the EMF side, the frequency and the electromagnetic fields of a phone, we're not even supposed to have our phones within nine inches to our body. That's already in the fine print. And there was just an article of Apple coming out and saying, yeah, not a good idea to have this close or on your body.

And most people, when they take a call, they put it in their pocket. And women, when they shove it in their sports bra or something. You realize your heart is an electromagnetic pump, it emits electromagnetic activity. Our whole body does. That's how they measure your heart rate. And you have a device that is emanating polarizing electromagnetic fields. That's just not a good idea. 

So some of the main things that kept showing up are free radicals. It was increasing free radical cellular damage by electromagnetic frequencies. Wifi routers, smart devices, cellphones, eyebuds, all of that stuff. Earbuds.

And so they saw free radical immune stimulation, not good amplification. So almost on the verge of what I was kind of reading between the lines of potentially autoimmune conditions. But that was never called out in the actual research. That was my opinion. 

And then the thing that really scared me was seeing the blood-brain barrier. Whenever you see a research article, it's “BBB”, blood-brain barrier. That is a very, very protective mechanism to not allow what shouldn't be in your brain to be in your brain. And this was showing that it was opening up the blood-brain barrier to allow one, there was probably several others, but one protein albumin was showing up in the brain, and that is not supposed to be there. And that causes all kinds of inflammatory conditions.


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And again, this stuff is long-term, we don't know. This is dangerous, dangerous stuff that we're playing with. That's where it gets really from the moral perspective, from the ethics perspective, from the Minnesota innocent kid, this is right and wrong. This is not right.

You don't get to throw out frequencies and market this cellphone and these wifis and everything's good with 20-year-old safety data from the FCC. That's not okay. Not when I'm staring at all of this research that's showing that this is not okay. And we have children. The brain imaging of a cellphone being up to a child, it's penetrating all the way through the skull and gliomas, tumors and cancer showing up all over for the past 20 years. We're insane. We need to stop this stuff.

And so that's the capitalism gone wrong. We throw it out there. We have a line item for when someone's going to sue us or when something happens. Similar to the pharmaceutical industries, they have line items for this stuff. They know that they're going to get sued, but their upside is infinitely in the billions. And the line item of a lawsuit is nothing compared to that. 

So similar to the stuff that, okay, we're seeing all this dangerous stuff of proximity because proximity to these EMFs is where the danger is, the proximity of that phone to your head, the proximity of that towards your genitals. We're seeing testosterone, this is very similar to chemical exposure of endocrine disruptors showing up in our personal care and all these other places. The phone is doing very similar things. It's lowering your and I's testosterone. It's increasing endocrine disruption. This is as if it's a freaking chemical. And this is coming by way of invisible frequency and electromagnetic radiation. This is crazy.

Every time I hear of a parent, I immediately just go, what kind of diapers are they using? The talc that was contaminated in heavy metals from Johnson and Johnson, and that was a couple of years ago and that was on the market forever. And you're like, what the hell, man? 

So part of the thing that people have a hard time, and I don't know if it's, maybe the younger generation doesn't have as hard a time about it. I don't know. But this delusion that someone else has done our safety for us and that I can walk into any store and be relatively fine, yeah, relatively fine from an acute standpoint, but you're using that shampoo, you're using that laundry detergent, you're using those same clothes, you're doing those same things all the time. You're exposing yourself all the time.

How do we get kids away from video games to connect more with the outdoors?

Your guess is as good as mine on that.

Are you going to move away in a jungle by yourself? Probably not. In this modern day world, you have to consciously do that. So as early as possible, get those kids out in nature, get those kids in the streams, get those kids playing in the dirt, climbing the trees, playing with sticks. And it's good for their microbiome. It's good for their being. 

Make field trips. Where is your food coming from? Where is the farmer? How do they grow this stuff? There's a great company called Food Forest Abundance, and they do education portals and programs and planting food where there was once lawn and creating more food security, and they're setting up curriculums. Kids, man, love this stuff because it's our nature. It is our nature. We can absolutely get addicted to this stuff.

I'm too addicted to my phone too, because it becomes this business thing. You got to interact, you've got to keep posting because it's our own little special little mini TV set that we're marketing. I feel so good when I've had a day where I'm out on the land, even working, just had to jump on the tractor or got to do something. The other day I just went in the stream. I just literally went down in the stream and hung out.

Especially now where the phone is our camera. So if you've got kids running around or friends there and you want to capture some of these moments, it's hard to have the discipline to put that on airplane mode at the same time as you're trying to capture those memories.

Please put it on airplane mode. Please put it on airplane mode and then just use it as a camera, unless you have an emergency or something. This is a practice. 

Hell, they're doing movies, documentaries about how gnarly this is and how sugar, salt, fat, ultra-processed foods, the same thing. It's the same playbook as social media. They're using things that will addict us so that we keep doing it. It's the same playbook. 

Okay, so are we mice just reacting, or are we going to take a quantum leap of consciousness and just go, okay, what kind of life do I want? Start asking yourself those questions. What do you want your life to be? Do you want two hours every day of just endlessly scrolling? 

I'm all for it if you're clear on your life, if you're content and more content that you're thriving. And then, hey, I'm a constant scroll. Sometimes I find these funny fail videos and it just gets me to laugh my ass off! I finally got to meet Rob Dyrdek, big shout out to Rob.

Rob Dyrdek is a legend!

A legend, right? His TV show, Ridiculousness

One fun fact that people don't know about me, I can watch Ridiculousness because it's like I am so serious in my life about certain things to a point where I have to also make sure, and the dogs help me because they pull me outside and they break up my days and stuff. Ridiculousness is my medicine, man. I can watch the freaking videos and laugh my ass off over just stupid shit.

I interviewed Rob for Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy, which was my second book. Amazing guy. I just couldn't believe the journey and stuff that he's been on.

And now his dedication to his, I don't even know what to call it. You can call it time management. It's his ability to maximize what he's doing. But also he's spent a lot of time, and he says it better about himself than me, but carving out exactly what he wants. I want to spend time with my family, but I also want to create this and I want to have security of finances and money and purpose and all of these things. How do they interact and how do I carve that out?

If I were to say my last relationship that I was in, I suffered and she suffered because I was so out of my mind busy, out of my mind. To get this book out was two years with only two weekends off. Saturday, Sunday, all week, because I have the rest of my life. I'm shooting stuff, I'm doing stuff, I'm podcasting, I'm shooting TV shows, and then I'm like, heavy research. I had to shut off everything else because to do something like this, it takes a different part of your being. It's so intense to go through all that stuff. So relationship suffered as a result.

If you have some consciousness, then you can say, "Hey, this isn't going to last forever." But I failed at a bunch of stuff. You see things when you step over the line of stuff. So I think it's really important to ask what you want.

Yeah, absolutely. Whenever I help people, the first two questions I ask is, who are you and where do you want to go?

Bingo.

That's it. We need to get those things done. 

And Rob talks about his “rhythm of existence playbook.” I've never forgotten that. The way that he talks about that, it's about creating an entire life ecosystem, about being your best and giving you energy.

If I want to go for Paris for lunch with my wife on her birthday tomorrow, I'll do it because he's created an entire method of being able to do that.

Totally.

Big shout out to Rob.

On your best day, what's an affirmation that you would write on a flashcard that you could show yourself on your worst day?

Shit. That's a good question. 

I would just say, who are you really? Because what you're being right now is not who you are.

Final question, what's one thing you do to Win the Day?

I mean, it's the morning. It's got to be. I think meditation to journaling, then there's this secret little thing that I do after that, that is making action steps out of that space. That to me is more specific to your question.

Everyone can say meditate. Everyone can say journaling. But then out of that kind of clarity, it then crystallizes in my day, what am I doing today? And I'm then starting from that space, being that truer architect of what I perceive.

Darin, great to see you, mate. Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Brother, this has been awesome. Thanks for having me.


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