The 2% Solution To Transform Your Health & Your Life | Dai Manuel

The 2% Solution To Transform Your Health & Your Life | Dai Manuel


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Deciding to transform your health and life takes a whole lot of courage. It is not an easy task to finally take that first step; but just because it is hard, doesn’t mean it is impossible. This episode’s guest is living proof of that. Morbidly obese at 15, it took a vast amount of emotions and strength for Dai Manuel to muster the courage to finally make a change in his life. Now, he is an award-winning digital thought leader and author who has mastered leading by example, always staying true to his values of Fitness, Family, Faith, Finances, and FUN. Today, he joins Corinna Bellizzi to share his journey and the 2% solution that pushed him to ultimately transform his life. Find out what this is and you’ll be amazed by how small things can make the most progress.

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • The 2% Solution: 30 minutes to transform your life
  • Tools to achieve health and fitness goals
  • Health smoothie recipes
  • The importance of mindset to a wellness journey

Guest Social Links:









The 2% Solution To Transform Your Health & Your Life | Dai Manuel

I'm thrilled to bring to you a fellow health enthusiast and friend, Dai Manuel. Dai is on a mission to inspire and positively impact one million role models across the globe. As an award-winning thought leader and author, he leads by example, staying true to his core values, what I'm calling the five Fs, fitness, family, faith, finances, and fun.

His story is one that so many of you will resonate, with as someone who struggled with health challenges earlier in his life and now has come out to be the picture of health itself. He focuses on inspiring us all to push through those tough times when the struggling and the juggling of all of life's challenges seem to make life hard so that we can ultimately reach our best and achieve holistic health.

Before I bring him up, I want to remind you all that this show is here as a resource to educate, inform, and even entertain. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any ailments. There is no patient-provider relationship established between myself and you, nor our guests like Dai Manuel. With that out of the way, I'll bring him right up. Dai, welcome to the show.

It's so excellent to be here. Thank you.

Somehow, I knew to expect some hand gestures.

The little bull horns or whatever. A lot of people don't know this about me, but my grandparents were deaf-mutes. From an early age, we started learning sign language. Everything is about the hands. It's all about the hand.

My excuse is being Italian.

There you go. Hand talking, I get it.

I know that we got our start with the intro. I alluded to the fact you struggled with health earlier on. Given that this show was all focused on nutrition and health, I'd love to offer you the opportunity to share that back story and how you got to the place that you are now.

Being 47 years young, we have a lot of ground to cover. I was an ‘80s kid. I was born in ’76 but the challenges started to come about in 1985-1986. I was about 9 and 10 years old when some new habits started to take over. They weren't necessarily healthy habits because a lot of people who meet me now or have known me for the last 30 years, working in the health and wellness industries, especially a big part of that being in the fitness space, presume, “You've always been healthy. You've always been this way, haven't you? You probably came out of your mom's womb with a six-pack.” I'm like, “What are you talking about?” I'm the furthest from that and I want people to understand this.

We came from the era of Big Gulps, 64 ounces of sugar water to start your summer days.

Even back then, remember, the Big Gulps even that big were like 32 ounces. That was the biggest you could have. Now it's a ginormous gulp.

I know, the super extra big gulp.

How much more sugar can that fit in a cup? Anyways, to your point, I was dealing with some emotional challenges at age nine. I thought life was perfect. I had no issues to worry about. I'd be completely transparent. I was raised in a very privileged environment. I never went wanting anything, but if I'm honest, there was probably some emotional support I was hungry for.

When my parents also ultimately separated and then divorced right around ages 9 and 10, it put me into this emotional turmoil because my mom now was doubling up on her work. She also wanted to go back to school to level up her education and get her master's degree so she could again further her career so she could better support my brother and me. She was the main person raising us.

We'd see my dad every other weekend. We didn't have the strongest relationship with him. We loved each other but never communicated that. My dad was someone who didn't emote very much. He was born in 1944 and grew up. He can remember his parents saying I love you one time to him in his entire adult life. He's perpetuating that. He was doing the best that he could with what he had and how he'd been brought up.

The long and short of this story is I learned very quickly that I can manipulate my emotional state with food and certain activities. Now, it wasn't like I was sitting around saying, “Can you pass me some more salad, please?” Those were words that you would never hear come out of my ten-year-old mouth. I would simply fill my mouth with foods that create a very quick energy response. The glycemic spikes and blood sugar spikes we get when we eat sugary highly processed foods, I loved it because, in the moment, I could distract myself from the world around me and focus on that emotion that food created.

I would compound with some of this dopamine and these nice little endorphin highs that I would get from the food or lack of nutritional food but very high in calorie food. I played video games and watched movies very passively. We don't need to be nutritionists or dietitians to know that if you do that repeatedly day after day, multiple times, and for time, it's not going to lead you to a very healthy place. Sure enough by age fifteen, I'm at the doctor's with my mom. Dr. Quinn, not the medicine man or medicine woman, like The Dr. Quinn show. I remember him pulling my mom outside the office and he left the door ajar.

I swear he did this on purpose because he knew I was listening, “Betty Ann, Dai is morbidly obese.” At the time, I didn't understand what morbidly meant. Nor did I understand what obese meant but I knew how I felt inside and I knew it wasn't a good thing. Sure enough, I didn't make any changes at that moment because I wasn't ready to make changes. Even though my mom was trying to encourage me. My dad was trying to encourage me.

My friend's trying to encourage me to be more active and to make healthy habit changes. Every time somebody suggested something like, “Have you thought about doing this or you should try this?” Every time I heard somebody say that to me, instantly I'd get triggered, lash out, and get angry. It was because internally, I felt like you were telling me I'm not enough as I am.

They're also coming from a superior place and there is that.

That's a very valid point. For them, I know that it was coming from a kind place though. They were trying to help me because they saw that I was hurting but I didn’t want to make any changes. I thought everything was okay even though it was not okay. I'd walk into rooms, I'd hear the snickering. I'd see people look then look back to each other and see them whispering.

High school was horrible. It’s hard those early years, 8th grade and 9th grade, especially. I got to age fifteen and it's the weirdest thing because it wasn't like it was a bunch of things that happened all at once. It was one thing at the right time and the right result then followed this one thing. I was at my dad's place one weekend.

As I said, we'd see him every other weekend. My dad was very quick to give in to what my brother and I wanted. The covers are full of snack foods and not healthy snacks, by the way. We're talking like the big jumbo chocolate bars from Costco. You get the Costco cake muffins. You know the muffins I'm talking about like 1,500 calories in one of these little muffins. They’re not so little. They look like a cake.

The size of your head.

They are and I'd eat a couple in a sitting easy peasy. Back in the day, you'd rent video game consoles. We'd rent a video game console. We'd go to the video store and get all the movie deals. We'd sit in front of the TV for the weekend and that was normal.

In our era, that was our babysitter. It's like, “How did your parents get things done?” You were either left to your own devices outside and you weren't allowed indoors or you were held indoors and all you did was watch TV or play video games. That was what got Blockbuster video to go like gangbusters for a while because what would you do? You'd go on a Friday evening, check out a bunch of stuff, and bring it back three days later. That was the lifestyle.

It was and our Blockbuster was right beside a Pizza Pizza, which is a pizza joint in Canada. If you did the walk-in special, you get two mediums for like $9.99. Now, we'd each get two mediums. When I think back on this, it was remarkably the amount of food I could put in me. Sure enough, this one day at my dad's place, I'm having a shower. This is hard to admit at times, but I would go into the shower and before I would get out, I would turn the water on extra hot.

Not to burn myself but because it would create so much condensation that by the time I would exit the shower, the mirror would be covered in condensation. It'd be all clouded up. This is my way of avoiding looking at myself especially without my clothes on. This is systematic because I would avoid mirrors. There's one photo of me at age fourteen that I have to be able to share with people to show like, “No, I was this way,” because people don't believe it.

I had this moment because my dad was rushing me to get out of the shower because he had someplace he had to get my brother and me, and we were under a timeline. I hop out of the shower without doing my hack. I'm trying to towel off and I'm turning, so profile view to the mirror and I'm trying not to look at myself. For some reason, I turned to lock eyes and the next thing that happened was I started to gaze by looking down, going to my chest, and seeing these, then going down to my protruding belly, which at the time was like a 46 inch. I was a kid at that time, which was like 5’8”.

My BMI was in the 40th percentile. I didn't need to be told I was unhealthy. I knew I was healthy because I had to deal with everything in my life. It felt hard. By the time I got my gaze up, I had to towel off my chest again because it was like Niagara Falls, this ugly cry. The cathartic sobbing releases a vast amount of emotions. I bawled for I don't even know how long. I lost track of time, but I came to this moment where I was like, “I don't want to be like this anymore. I want to be me.”

Now, I had no idea how to, but I wasn't concerned about that. I knew I didn't want to feel like this anymore. I was fifteen. I knew that if I didn't make a change that day and start making some consistent changes, by the time I'm twenty, it’s not going to get any better. I'll probably be in the worst place. I imagine it'll be even harder to make changes. To be fair, I made the changes based on fear, initially. I was afraid of the potential future that I was looking at if I didn't make some changes.

Nutrition Without Compromise | Dai Manuel |Transform Your Health


Later on, it became something that was not quite so fearful. It’s more intentional and less reactionary but more proactive, but that didn't come until later. Initially, I got out of the shower and I went and found my dad. I put some clothes on and I'm like, “Dad, I don't want to be like this anymore.” I remember holding the rolls in my belly over my pants and saying, “I don't want to be like this anymore. I want to be healthy.” My dad’s eyes blew up. He's like, “What did you say?” He's like, “Is this coming from you?”

Up to that point, they're trying to say, “We can figure it out. We'll get you a dietitian or nutritionist.” My mom was an RN. She shall have these connections. My dad was like, “I’ll pay for a gym membership. We'll get you into our martial arts classes.” They were constantly trying to get me to do things and I said, “I want to do this for me.”

It has to start with what you're putting into your body, which is very hard to do at that age when the crutches, as you already described them, were the things that made you feel better in the moment. There are two things that I wanted to talk about as bridges from this. One is that when you are in a space of what was for you, childhood obesity, you're setting the stage for worsening health throughout your 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond.

Also, because of how fat cells work, you have a finite number of them, so to speak, but then if you get past a certain threshold and all those gas tanks are full, you start to build new fat cells and fill them up. This affects both your metabolic health and how slow your metabolism is. At the same time, it will make you feel less full. It's like all this stuff is happening to make you want to eat more. You're having to force yourself into a situation where you move away from food addiction without knowing what food addiction is at that particular moment in time.

If you don't tackle it then and early enough, then this is almost a recipe for alcoholism later in life too because it's a sugar addiction that then translates to an alcohol sugar addiction. Sometimes, it goes back to sugar if people quit drinking. I wonder if you have any thoughts on this or how you were able to achieve those first hurdles like getting over the first hurdle of accepting yourself at that moment for how you were and then building the plan to go beyond it.

It wasn't that structure to start with. Nor did I have that thought process, if you will, but I knew I wanted to make some changes. I remember my dad asked me, “How can I help? How can I support you with this?” I said, “I remember when I was younger,” and that time I was fifteen years old, “I remember when I was little, Dad, I used to love riding my bike.” I was like, “Can we get me a bike?” He's like, “I can get you a bike.”

We went out that afternoon. After we did those errands in the morning, we stopped at a bike shop and we got me a bike. I came home with that bike that day and I went up for my first ride. I didn't go very far. I went out for about twenty minutes but it was twenty minutes more than I'd done in the previous five years and I felt it. I could tell that I'd worked. I'm a natural person who sweats a lot anyway. I still sweat profusely. It's like the ongoing joke at the gym that I coach and train at. It's like, “Dai has been here. Look at Lake Moose.”

They call me Coach Moose and there's always a little lake that I got them all up after. I tell them it's the efficiency of metabolism. This is how my body keeps me cool. Either way, I sweat profusely. Back then, I was still a sweater. I remember coming back and my clothes were drenched and I felt great. I felt like I'd done something for me. I committed to myself. Every day, I'd go up for a little bike ride. After about a week, I noticed some changes very quickly.

I started to feel better. I started to feel a bit more confident because I was doing something that was feeding me with the right endorphins. I also knew that I had to change the way I was eating. I had no idea how to do that so I went to the library. I read books about nutrition. I got some fitness books out. There were some magazines I was able to get. My kids still laugh. They’re like, “Dad, why don't you just Google it?” I'm like, “What are you guys talking about? I'm older than Google.” They're like, “What? Older than TV too?” You know how the kids can be. It was rather humorous but that's what I did. I started to devour information to try to learn.

I started to eat a little bit differently. I noticed further this energy to then continue to do the exercise but also to increase the intensity because I felt more energetic, less tired, less lethargic, and less wanting to just sit on the couch and chill. It was about twenty months of this consistently being done and I eventually released all that weight, which also I had retarded my hormones based on that inactivity and the way I was eating. I was late to come to puberty as a result of some of the things I wasn't doing for myself.

As soon as I started to write that shift, puberty kicked in which then helped me further accelerate this transformation. I like to let people know that because I released quite a bit of weight, but I, also, at the time put on some muscle mass. I also grew from that 5’8” position to 6’1”. All these factors happened but had I not made those changes, I may never have hit puberty in that way. I would have continued to have probably depressed testosterone levels and things would have been very different.

That amount of extra fat for you would bring your estrogen levels to a higher percentage of the overall, which would slow the transformation. That's right. Today you have worked to lead by example. I've shared that in your intro, but you are. You're doing it. You started a podcast in November of 2023. You're already at 52 episodes, which I find astounding. As it stands, that show is called The 2% Solution: 30 Minutes to Transform Your Life. Why did you decide to start this show? What can listeners expect if they tune in?

Thank you. After 30 years of being in the fitness industry, especially, I've pretty much heard every possible excuse that someone could have for not doing something. I've heard and I've probably heard multiple times. What I found was I understand what it's like to be in that place where it's easier to give excuses why we can't do something than admit that we can. It's again, that path of least resistance, but it's often formed in habits, past decisions, and the way we've lived our lives. Experientially speaking, it forms a lot of these belief systems.

Getting to a place where I have the self-belief that I can make changes, I can't gain control, and I can get healthy, it's doable but only if the mindset supports it that we truly believe that we can change. My invitation to a lot of people because most often, the number one excuse I would hear and there were two of them that were pretty close. One is around time, “I don't have time. My life is too busy.”

Especially with parents, “I got too many commitments with the kids. I got to get Tommy to the piano lesson. I got to get Susie to soccer practice. The next few years, it's all about the kids. I don't have time.” I'm like, “Do your kids ever hear you say this?” You're telling the kids, “You're the reason I'm unhealthy.” That is what you're saying. I'm not trying to be confrontational or antagonistic, but we have to look at the words that we use to communicate to ourselves and how we justify things in our mind to say things are okay to let ourselves off the hook, so to speak, accountability-wise.

That's one, but then the time is the real piece that I always used to get frustrated with. Today it's awesome because we have these beautiful little devices called smartphones or smart watches. I love the phones because they have these screen trackers now that will tell you every day how much time you spend on every app. This is just for your phone. We're not talking about computer monitors, TVs, iPads, or eReaders. We have lots of screen time every day.

Now I'm able to tell people. It's like, “Can you give me 2% of 24 hours to prioritize your health and your self-care, whether it's focused on personal or professional development? Do you think you can give me 2% of 24 hours to prioritize you?” People are like, “Let me think about it. Every 24 hours is 100%, and I give you 2% of that for me to make myself healthier, feel better, and happier. I can do that.” I'm like, “Great. You're going to start 30 minutes a day,” and they're like, “Oh, 30 minutes.”

It's so funny how people shift. That's why I refer to it as a 2% solution versus the 30-minute solution because you'd be surprised how many people say, “I don't have 30 minutes.” The thing is, when you present 2%, it seems so small and insignificant over the whole day. It's like, “I can do that.” It's funny to see how we limit ourselves very quickly.

Even with going to the gym, people will say, “I don't have 90 minutes to go drive to the gym and go to the gym for an hour.” You can start with a twenty-minute workout and get some serious work done if you're targeted. People don't want to work that hard and I get it too. I got a little lazy with my gym routine and I didn't realize this. I've shared this on the show before. My gym had grown too much and it was always crowded.

It got to the point where I was irritated when I got there because I would not be able to keep my burn going. I prefer to lift weights as opposed to sitting there on a treadmill like a gerbil for an hour. I'd like to go and do different things. I wouldn't be able to keep a flow going. Because of that, I would get frustrated. I wouldn't get the workout that I wanted and so I stopped going. I got honest with that.

I was able to get a membership at a gym that is much nicer and much bigger. It turns out my insurance covers half of the fee so it's the same price as what I was paying before but for a much nicer place with a cold plunge, a sauna, and an Olympic pool. If I want to turn it up and change my workout routine, I can. By going since December 1st, I've been able to drop 13 pounds at the same time that I've put on about a pound of muscle.

Doing those two things at the same time is hard, especially, and you could make lots of excuses. I’m 47 years old. Putting on muscle at this age and the stage of my hormone development, I'd probably perimenopause. I don't have any symptoms yet, so I can't tell you but that age is common for women to start going through some changes. It becomes harder to lose weight but by being honest with myself and identifying what the problem was. I was able to get to a place where I solved that pretty quickly.

I'm enjoying my workouts again. This has gotten me into the kitchen a little bit more. I'm being more honest with the foods I'm eating. I'm logging my food. I bought myself a smartwatch for Christmas. It's keeping me honest in that way too. I'm tracking my sleep. I'm able to be honest with myself about how well I'm sleeping now because it gives me a sleep score every night.

There are tools available in our toolsheds to help us on our journey. One of them could be your podcast and getting these actionable tips that you can do within 30 minutes each day. Another could be doing something like having an accountability partner or getting a smartwatch or an app on your phone to help you track the foods and the exercise that you are doing so that you're clear with what you're doing with how much water you're and calories you're consuming so that you can achieve your goals.

There are tools available in our toolsheds to help us on our health journey.

For me, that means I have to eat more protein. It's hard for me to get enough protein every day because I'm mostly plant-based. I'm logging it and I'm doing my shakes. As soon as I'm getting enough protein, I find that everything else falls into place because I'm more sated, meaning I'm not hungry all the time. I'm able to retain my muscles and build more muscle. Generally speaking, if I'm getting enough protein which is typically about 0.8% per kilo.

Lean weight. You want to feed the lean weight. Not the whole body.

I'm generally trying to get 100 grams of protein a day. I'm not quite getting there but I'm around 90 most days. That is enabling me to achieve those health goals. At the same time, I do have a core set of supplements I take every day that help me to achieve that, too, including of course my omegas from Orlo Nutrition. I have a few that I like that are outside of that scope too. I wonder if you would share, what's in your tool shed? What do you use to help you achieve your health and fitness goals in the day-to-day, whether it be foods that you run to or nutritive supplements? I love to know.

There are a few things. Thank you for asking. Also, congratulations on those physical changes you've made. I know they don't happen simply by just thinking about it and being like, “Universe, please give me this better body and health.” You have to do actions. You have to have frequency and consistency. The proof is in the pudding. Congrats. That's awesome.

For myself, this idea of 2% or 30 minutes every day, when I walked in for myself, gave me some clarity and confidence to at least know what to do on the busiest of days. I tell people, “I'm not living a busy life but I am living a full life.” Busy implies that. I used to wear a badge like, “Ask me how busy I am. I can't wait to tell you.” It was my ego that was driving that. I wanted to appear to be more than I believed I was.

It was driving a lot of my decisions, how I show up, how I'd engage with people, and even how I would move my body. The types of work I was doing were heavily influenced by the image I wanted to be perceived as. This idea of 30 minutes a day was freeing for me because no matter the busiest days, I could still prioritize some self-care for myself. It's 15 minutes of movement with purpose, body weight-based, and calisthenic exercises.

Everyone has a body, so you have the perfect gym already. Got enough room to put a towel on the floor then you have enough room to do a workout. You do 15 minutes of movement with purpose and 5 minutes of mindful movement to follow it up because I find it way easier to meditate and focus on my breath when I'm trying to bring my heart rate down. I hear people say all the time, “I'm meditating so hard.” I'm like, “Trust me, try it after a workout. You'll probably start to get the hang of it.” Lastly, once you're primed and ready to receive and you're hungry after those twenty minutes, fill your mind with something positive.

Listen to one of your podcasts. It'll be a prime example of a great way to invest time to plug in those inputs because it's the inputs that affect the outputs. We're talking about scientific methods, especially. Complimenting all that is the basics for the body, mind, and spirit. We got to talk about how you fuel your body because that's every day all day. Not quite literally. It's not like you're feeding yourself all the time. It's waking to sleep but it's something that we do very repetitively.

It's not like a workout. We go to the gym. We might bang out at a 20 or 30-minute workout. You're going to have 3 or 4 or 5 meals in a day, depending. I have some days where I train heavily and I'll have like five meals that day because I'm trying to hit 3,500 calories. Lots of protein intake too, but the supplements, and this is where I love because I know this is a big belief system that you also support and have come to. Supplements are meant to supplement.

I look at our lives, the big blocks, the cinder blocks that we make up our lives with these houses and lifestyles that we want to design for ourselves. There's mortar that holds us together but if that mortar erodes, watch out. Those cinder blocks are going to be shaky. An earthquake comes through, a tsunami comes through, and that big health crisis comes through. It's going to take down a wall if not the whole house.

Supplementation is a way to augment and reinforce the mortar of the bricks of our lives. That's how I look at supplementation. I use very specific ways to monitor. I work with a functional medicine practitioner and a naturopath. I do blood work a couple of times a year to see where I'm at, hormonally speaking. I know I'm going off the deep end with this.

Supplementation is a way to augment and reinforce the mortar of the bricks of our lives.

No, it's good. It's good to test out guests. If you have access to these resources, you should use them.

Full disclosure, about a decade ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune condition and I have to be very mindful of the inflammation in my body because when gets too high, watch out. I started to develop these symptoms of the condition and it could floor me. I was sick a couple of weeks ago and it would have been something that most people would balance back in 24 hours. I was floored for a week and a half because I allowed my system to get to that place where I'd overdone things. I wasn't respecting the recovery and to be perfectly transparent, I was also slacking on my nutrition protocols.

My favorite though is Orlo. One, it's also because I am very mindful of the environment. I have two daughters. I know they're going to have kids one day and I'm fearful of the world for their kids and the kids next to follow that. I know sustainability is key. Orlo is one of the best products, especially when we talk about sustainability. I know you can speak to this much better than I can but that's something that I resonate with. I want to put my dollars into that. I'm going to buy that product. I'm going to buy an Omega supplement, period. I believe in that. I know it affects my inflammation markers drastically. Outside of that, there are a couple of other more vitality and longevity-based products.

Things that are surrounding mitochondrial health, longevity, and metabolic health. I use a product called Cell Care. The other one, I forget what it's called but it's geared around energy and strengthening our cell membranes. Outside of that, it's the typical. I'm a 47-year-old guy. I use DHEA, which is a precursor to testosterone and it's been huge. It's naturally allowed my testosterone levels to get back up to a level that would be equivalent to me in my late 20s and early 30s.

There are smart decisions like that then vitamin C and vitamin D3. I live in Canada. The gray sky is 6 or 7 months of the year. I need some D3, believe me. There are a couple of other little knickknacks but I love protein supplementation as well because I can't eat enough food in a day usually based on my calendar and my schedule. I do a couple of shakes a day and I love it. I'm going to shake-a-holic. I will do that all day long.

I like the way they make me feel. If I have a protein shake, I feel good and energized for the day. I find that if I don't eat before noon and have anything. I start to fall flat. I start my day with a protein shake typically by around 10:00 in the morning or mid-morning then I feel like I'm doing good and I don't need my next meal until the afternoon. I'm not bonking, so to speak. It's a healthy way to get the right nutrition in your body. I'm not surviving on coffee until 2:00 in the afternoon.

It's funny that you say that because I'm the same way. That is my one vice. I stopped drinking alcohol fifteen years ago. It was so interesting that you made that reference earlier in this conversation because I did have that challenge. A lot of mine was psychological and emotional based on why I gravitated to alcohol but I didn't think about the physiological effect of the sugar in the alcohol that also triggered that part of the brain that I used to get triggered when I would eat certain foods. It was all compounding but that was a nasty habit for fifteen years that was affecting me. I don't need to get into that story but I did do a TEDx Talk if people are interested.

People will be curious for sure.

I was going to say, though that something I've gotten into and it's made a big difference is performance coffees. I know there's a whole emerging market around this but things around various neurological boosters. There are lots of different ways people are tapping into some of the mushrooms and the micro-dosing space and neural boost. I'm using a performance coffee called Unity. I loved it. It has all these neural boosts benefits but also I get my coffee fix. It's got some nice coconut oil in it. I've been starting my mornings with that and it's made a big difference. I've seen my daily caffeine intake go down as a result of that.

That's also a positive though. I'm very appreciative of the interviews that we've hosted with Dr. William Lee and he hasn't taken my coffee from me. He has said, “It's a powerful nutritional device.” because there's a lot of connection between caffeine from coffee and coffee in particular and things like diminishing likelihood that you'll develop Alzheimer's later in life or other neurodegenerative diseases.

I happen to have one representation of APOE4, and those with that representation are more likely to develop some of those neurodegenerative diseases. My grandmother succumbed to them ultimately and died in her 70s without knowing much of anyone around her by the final days. I'm on a personal mission to not have that be my reality.

I will also say that just as a tool for my tool shed, something that I used in my marathoning days and also when I'm getting serious about reaching my fighting weight is that I love d-ribose in my coffee and that makes for an incredible treat. I don't use it consistently in my coffee. I tend to drink my coffee with a little bit of oat milk like a splash of oat milk. If I'm getting ready to go to the gym, I'll take a teaspoon of d-ribose and put it in my coffee on the way to the gym. I'll drink that and because d-ribose is sugar the way your muscles use it. I find that I get more out of my workouts when I have them.

I will be able to lift more. I will feel like it's easier to do. The same thing would occur to me when I was working on my time trials for miles and trying to get my mile into the quickest span possible. I went from an 8-minute mile to a 7-minute mile with d-ribose being the only change. Having this experience of getting this space where I was never an elite athlete but I trained for and ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. I've been through these big hurdles of preparing my body to run 26.2 without stopping. That's a lot. I never slowed to a walk. I never stopped for 26.2 miles. For somebody to do that in an uphill marathon like in Boston, you have to feel pretty good about yourself in the end.

It's a huge accomplishment.

Overall, people need to understand that there are things that can help you to push the envelopes that are not hard and they're not unpleasant. They might cost a little bit extra but they can help you get more out of the time that you are spending. If you only spend 30 minutes at the gym, you're getting more out of that 30 minutes than you otherwise might. There are a ton of pre-workout fuels out there. I have mixed reviews of them mostly because I don't like the way they taste. I hate the way most of them taste.

I get that. I'm in the same way. Also, some of them are very chemically. I can't pronounce the ingredients and it's like, “I don't know if this is a good pick.”

There's still full of sugar, alcohols and some of them even have aspartame in them which are health killer. I prefer to keep them out of my microbiome and d-ribose isn't one of those. It is sweet. It's great. It's from sugar. It's non-GMO but it's how your muscles use sugar so you don't store it as fat.

That's a great tip too, by the way. It's been a while since I had some d-ribose. I have had it in the past, a little tub of it. I usually put it in my smoothies but I didn't think about putting it in my coffee. That's genius.

If you're getting some caffeine and a little d-ribose before a workout, it works great. Also, because I've doctored my smoothies. I understand from listening to your podcast, you have a smoothie guide that you offer to your audience. I would love for you to share with us one of your favorite smoothies so that our audience can know how you architect something like this. How do you make it pleasurable? What's your favorite?

There are a few different ones. The one that I've shared with people is Rosemary's Baby. I know it's a play on words there with a throwback to one of my favorite horror movies. It has a sprig of rosemary in it. A little bit of ginger and avocado. Sometimes I put blueberries in because blueberries are naturally very sweet. It's got that nice sweetness to it and it also gives a nice texture. I use a little bit of cauliflower rice in my smoothies. The frozen stuff you can buy in the stores. It's easy. It's interesting because it's low calorie but yet, it's got this very filling side of it. It also gives this thick texture to the smoothie.

You blend all that up and people are like, “The rosemary spring, you blend that in?” I'm like, “Try it. It's cool.” It tastes so good. I was surprised by it when we were sampling that and trying it, especially my wife. She's good at that stuff. I'm less patient. My morning smoothie is probably less exciting for people because I put everything and the kitchen sink pretty much in the smoother like into the Vitamix. I love some of those because I find it's almost like a refreshing treat. Sometimes, I'll also put in a half scoop to a full scoop of my favorite protein as well or a recovery mix.

Again, my smoothies are typically I'm aiming for about 500 calories. That's what I find works well. That level of calories, but I have to make sure that there's enough protein in there. Otherwise, I do find the blood sugar train gets a little bit out of control. You get that bit too much of a spike and you inevitably get a bit of a crash. You have to play with it because I know that sometimes you look at recipes and it's a fix for a certain amount. I do invite people to experiment a little bit. You might want to go maybe three-quarters of what a recipe calls for.

If it's your first time, see how your body feels because if you're hungry like 60 minutes or 70 minutes later, call it an hour and a quarter later, chances are the mix is off. You should have been able to sustain the blood sugar a little bit longer than that. That's why we have to be willing to experiment. We all respond to some foods differently. There are certain foods I eat. I get a big inflammatory response. Meanwhile, my wife and my kids can eat it. They get nothing. Not a big deal.

The 2% Solution To Transform Your Health & Your Life | Dai Manuel


I try not to do all of those artificial flavors and sweeteners. I tend to get my proteins unflavored or if they are flavored, pretty clean and unsweetened. I'll get a whey protein, for example, because I still do use whey that is unflavored, unsweetened, and RBSD-free like clean, regenerative, and organic. Clean protein and I'll mix that. I like to put cranberries, blueberries, dark cherries, and strawberries. I have berries heavy in there, but only 3 or 4 of each of the small fruits, so to speak, so it's not overpowering, and then some chia seeds.

For sweetness, sometimes I'll throw in stevia or sometimes half a scoop of another one of the flavored proteins I have that have some sweetness to them. If I'm feeling like I need an extra calorie booster, a little extra sugar to my life. I'll throw in a third of a frozen banana. All in all, at the end of the day, this protein shake comes out with about 25 grams of protein and is under 300 calories generally speaking because the berries are low in total calories but they are very dense in their antioxidants and phytonutrients.

I did read, however, that even a little bit of a banana reduces the benefit that you get from the berries, which broke my heart. That's why I've stopped doing as much banana and using a little stevia if I want to sweeten it a little bit. What I find is that this is very satisfying and very filling. The chia adds both omega oils and also some fiber so it makes it filling for longer. The frozen cranberries add a little tartness, so it's got more complexity to it. Now, I'm thinking about throwing a rosemary sprig in there, too to see what that tastes like.

Experiment, or some ginger. I love ginger in my smoothies. I always find it so good.

Ginger is great in just about everything. I love that.

It's pretty good. If I wanted like a real treat, I'd sometimes use cacao nibs, some peanut butter, half a banana, and maybe a scoop of chocolate protein. I use plant-based proteins because whey tends to give me a bit of an inflammatory response most of the time but that makes them with ice cubes. It's incredible. It's a nice little treat. You can't go wrong with that chocolate peanut butter combo. It's so good.

Anyway, I love smoothies. It's such a simple way for people to give this influx of nutrition to your body and your body thanks you for it. It does. The mental clarity the focus and the energy. Those are all confirmation that you did something great for yourself. My invitation to people is to pay attention. Be mindful of how your body thanks you, how it tells you, and reinforces, “This is good” If you keep making decisions that provide that immediate response, you're going to be okay. You're going to do fine. That's all to be able to be that self-aware, but I do also recognize we get easily distracted. There are lots of things fighting for our attention.

Nutrition Without Compromise | Dai Manuel |Transform Your Health


That's certainly true. I encourage all of our audience to check out your new podcast. You are bringing incredible guests on. You have your Monday and Friday low-downs to inspire people and round out their week. This is all going to be a great asset and tool for people. I encourage them to also check out your social channels. I can see your heart is in sharing what you know with your community and I appreciate that too.

As we prepare to wrap, I have a final question for you, but before we get there, I want to remind everyone that you can get an extra 10% off at We've touched on Omega-3s and how important they are for total health here. Orlo's Omega-3s are three times better absorbed than fish oil. They are the most sustainable Omega-3s available on the planet and are grown regeneratively in Iceland using only green energy and the power of photosynthesis.

We're using today's energy to create something truly beautiful that your body can recognize and enjoy. All you have to do is use the coupon code NWC at checkout and you will get an extra 10% off your order and this includes our subscription. That could be up to 25% off your first order of Orlo Nutrition, just go to We like to leave our audience with a few thoughts about what they can do differently tomorrow to impact their health journey tomorrow and through the rest of their days. What would you like to see more folks do on their wellness journeys starting now if they haven't already?

Let's talk about the mindset for a second. I often relate to this as the muscle between the ears but I had a neuroscientist that was in the crowd when I was doing this keynote to a bunch of doctors. He came out to me afterward and said, “It's not a muscle. It's an organ.” I'm like, “I know that.” Let's just pretend it's a muscle because it's one of those things in your body. You have to use it or you're going to lose it.

It's just one of those things. We can condition it like anything else. We can strengthen our minds, our mental aptitude, our focus, and our ability to look at the world and look at ourselves differently but it has to start somewhere. We have to start. You have to start doing things that proactively move you forward. Not backward, because trying to stay still never works. My invitation is to think about what is it that you're doing.

I invite you to think about this. Nike has a great slogan, “Just do it.” That's great. I want to ask you to reframe it. I want you to start focusing on celebrating that I just did it. It's subtle. I'm sure I'm going to get a cease and desist from Nike one of these days but regardless, this idea if I just did it because we're celebrating ourselves the fact that we did the thing that we said was important to us. We followed through on a commitment. We're being integral to our self, our health, and our well-being.

The coolest thing is all of us learn through two things, mentorship and modeling. If you're a parent, you have little kids that see everything that you do. Let them start seeing you do things that are great for you and good for your family, your local community, and your global community, and celebrate that I just did that. If every day you can celebrate, I just did one thing for myself today. That changes the world. It does. That's what I'd like to leave people with. Forget about trying to just do it. Celebrate that you just did it.

I love that and what did we just do here, Dai?

We had an awesome conversation and I love this. You're going to be on my podcast very shortly, so I'm super excited to have you on my podcast. I get to fire all the questions at you.

I'll be able to share whatever I can about my journey with Omega-3s and perhaps, some of my experience as a doctor who's trained for and run marathons as well. I'm in an effort of full transparency and vulnerability here sharing even about my present health journey because I let myself get a little bit too fluffy because I was working too hard too constantly, going to grad school, and not making time for myself, doing all the things wrong that you mentioned at the beginning of this. Not making that 30 minutes or more for myself the day.

The end of 2023 has been all about that recommitment to myself and my own personal health. What I will tell the audience in closing here is my house got hit with influenza A. My 9-year-old son got hit hard. He had a fever most of the weekend and had to be out for most of the week for the school week. I got it too. For me, it manifested in my nasal passages. It’s super annoying. I sneezed a lot and I'm still possibly in a little bit of recovery there, but because I have been so committed to my health journey and I'm getting the right nutrition in, it's my humble belief that I'm recovering from it much more quickly.

The reason I didn't get hit as hard as my son who probably relies a little bit too much on the carbohydrate food intake than I'd like him to. I've been bolstering myself with Orlo's immunity, which is vitamin D3 and some B vitamins with spirulina to help my immune system. I've been taking my Q-immune, which is another supplement that I like, and hitting my Omega-3s, and making sure I keep the protein coming in even when I don't have much of an appetite. Following the protocol and doing the things that we talked about can help you get through these rough patches too.

That's something I want to remind everyone. These habits today help you tomorrow. We're all bound to confront health challenges throughout our lives. If we seed ourselves correctly, if we provide the right building blocks, then we will be able to not only survive but also thrive. That's everybody's real mission here. Thank you so much for joining me, Dai.

Thank you. What you do is freaking awesome and I want everybody that's tuning in to this, this show is epic. It goes deep on some subject matter that is so accessible to all of us. We start looking at things differently. Thanks for being a great role model and example of what’s possible. Also, the vulnerability. That always gets me right here in the feels as I pound my tart. Thank you so much. It was a wonderful opportunity to be here. I hope we get to do this again sometime.

Anytime, Dai. Thank you so much. This has been awesome.


What a great episode with Dai Manuel. I'm so pleased to have encountered him on this journey to also have discovered his podcast. I encourage you to listen to it. As always, I'll be sure to include links to where you can find out more about Dai Manuel and also his show, The 2% Solution: 30 Minutes to Transform Your Life. It will be detailed in our expanded blog at

If you enjoyed this episode, I hope that you'll subscribe. While you're at it, leave us a review, a star rating, give us a thumbs up, and leave a comment. All of these things help us to reach more people. At the end of the day, that's what we're here to do. We're trying to transform people's health journey to make it something truly enjoyable so that we cannot just survive but thrive. Each of these actions helps. As we close this episode, I hope that you will join me as I raise a cup of coffee and say to you my closing words, here's to your health.


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About Dai Manuel

Nutrition Without Compromise | Dai Manuel |Transform Your HealthGet ready to meet Dai Manuel - the ultimate super dad, husband extraordinaire, and all-around life enthusiast! Dai is on a mission to inspire and positively impact one million role models across the globe, encouraging them to lead a FUN-ctionally healthy life through education, community, and much encouragement. As an award-winning digital thought leader and author, Dai has mastered leading by example, always staying true to his values of Fitness, Family, Faith, Finances, and FUN. He knows firsthand how challenging it can be to juggle life's responsibilities while prioritizing health and happiness.

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