When you think about success does your health come to mind? What some fail to realize is that your physical and mental well being is critical to your business success. This week my guest is Ron McKinnon, a Holistic Life Coach that helps people look and feel great from the inside out. You can learn more about Ron and his 6 keys to creating the health, energy and vitality you need at Thrive Holistic Living.

Michael Alden: All right. My name is Michael Alden. This is another edition of the Alden Report. We are fortunate to have my guest here in studio. I’m excited to have people here in studio when they can make it here. It’s a little bit different dynamic to have a face-to-face conversation, but my next guest is a personal trainer. He’s a holistic coach. He’s a life coach. He’s been doing it for a long time. He’s got an interesting story. He’s also a friend of mine. We talk a lot at the gym, and we talk a little bit about personal growth. We talk about health and wellness, and he’s always giving me tips and stuff. I just went vegan, for those of you who know. We want to talk a little bit about that. He’s here, again, to talk about your overall health, your wellness, not only your physical but your mental wellness, what we can do, and really what’s going on in the world of health and nutrition today. Ron McKinnon, thank you so much for being my guest.

Ron McKinnon: Thanks for having me.

Michael Alden: Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and how you got involved in the world of health and nutrition, because I think it’s an interesting story.

Ron McKinnon: Sure. As far as holistic health, initially it was really for selfish reasons. I was looking for ways to improve my own health as I was going through some health challenges. I’ve been into physical fitness my whole life. Playing sports, just get training for sports performance, and eventually just to really look good at the beach for my ego.

Michael Alden: That’s what a lot of people do, right?

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, exactly. I was of a more mechanistic type of view for a long time where it was old-school bodybuilding, calories in, calories out, type of training, but around 2011 my philosophy on training and nutrition in general got a serious overhaul.

Michael Alden: Why?

Ron McKinnon: When I had my gallbladder surgically removed. I had a series of health challenges, which included that. As you know, the gallbladder is a very important part of your digestion.

Michael Alden: I don’t know. Tell me about that, because I hear about people who have gallbladder issues all the time, and people do gallbladder cleanses and stuff. What’s the purpose of the gallbladder? I don’t know.

Ron McKinnon: The gallbladder is a reserve sac for your bile, and bile is there to help break down digestion for fats and that type of stuff. Today’s view, as far as allopathic medicine, they think, “You really don’t need your gallbladder,” and sometimes they just cut them out. It does serve an important part of your function for your digestion. When I had that taken out, knowing what I know now, I honestly think that I could have saved my gallbladder and not had to go through that. It was my gift, because that’s what brought me into this path right now to study holistic medicine. When I was going through the challenges, I got to the point where I was about 40 pounds heavier than what I am right now.

Michael Alden: Really?

Ron McKinnon: Mostly muscle. I was into bodybuilding. When I started having those…

Michael Alden: I’m about 40 pounds heavier too, but I don’t know if it’s muscle…

Ron McKinnon: When I started going through the health challenges, I got to the point where I couldn’t even eat a piece of bread without being in debilitating pain, just-

Michael Alden: Really?

Ron McKinnon: Yeah.

Michael Alden: That was post removing the gallbladder.

Ron McKinnon: Prior to having the gallbladder removed.

Michael Alden: Prior to. Okay. All right.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah. Prior to it. I was just getting to the point where I was just starting to wither away, and-

Michael Alden: Do you think you caused it from what you were doing, or is that your diet? What do you think caused it?

Ron McKinnon: This goes into the deeper philosophy of holistic meaning mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. It could be all the things I’ve done to my body physically. It could be stinking thinking. It could be-

Michael Alden: Zig Ziglar.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, it could be emotional stuff, liver, gallbladder. It could be anger stuff. It could be repressed anger, and then there’s the spiritual stuff. In my beliefs, my philosophies, my teachings, and my teachers, that everything manifests on the spirit level before it comes down to the physical level. What caused it? It’s hard to know, not quite sure exactly what it is. Going into it, looking back now, knowing what I know now, I do believe I could have kept my gallbladder without having to have it removed. It was a gift, because that’s what led me to study what I’m studying right now.

Looking into digestion, food, and like I said, I couldn’t eat without being in debilitating pain, so I was just losing muscle mass, and just withering away. At that point of my life I was really, my ego, that’s why I had my muscle mass, I used it as a shell, because I wasn’t really confident with who I was. I kind of put up that barrier.

Michael Alden: But I’m sure you looked great.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, but then the universe, God says, “Okay, if that’s who you are, you’re this tough guy, whoever you are; let’s see who you really are. Let’s strip that muscle away from you.” For me, it was really a dark, dark night of the soul. At that point in time I was working full time at real-estate, and I knew that wasn’t my life calling. I’d always been passionate about health and wellness in general, and so I was starting to explore different avenues, doing some consulting and stuff like that. This really brought me full speed into trying to fix myself.

Looking into the food, nutrition, that’s what builds your body, that’s how I really started looking. I’ll never forget I clicked on, “What are natural flavors?” That’s kind of what led me down that path. Then about a year or two, I was just starting to get a good grip on myself. I had my gallbladder removed and was learning how to build my body back up. I got into yoga and that kind of stuff.

Michael Alden: Right. Let me ask you a question. Okay, so your gallbladder is removed, and you have this kind of awakening, so to speak. You are the classic, I guess, the bodybuilder doing the protein and hitting the gym and doing all this other stuff. The whole spirit, mind, and body probably weren’t really a part of your whole philosophy. What was it, or did you find something, did you read something that you said, “You know what? I got to look a little bit more into the overall human element,” so to speak, not just that exterior of post gallbladder. Again, did you read something? Did somebody talk to you about it? What happened there?

Ron McKinnon: I would say probably the two most important books for my awakening, one was Napoleon Hill “Think and Grow Rich”, and then-

Michael Alden: Big fan.

Ron McKinnon: … “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda. Those two books.

Michael Alden: Okay. Yeah. Did somebody give those to you?

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, they did find a way to me.

Michael Alden: Great. I’m a big fan of Napoleon Hill, and every time we go in the gym, he does work at the gym. He has his own business as well. When I walk in the gym, he always puts new quotes. I know most of them. Some time I’ll take a picture of them and even post them myself. I steal some of them all the time. You read the Napoleon Hill book. Let’s talk about that a little bit, because I’m a big fan of “The Law of Success”, which is kind of the prelude to “Think and Grow Rich”. The mental side of it, I think a lot of people think this is hocus pocus stuff. You said you had this shell. You had, like you said, maybe some mental barrier, so to speak.

You read Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich”. The whole book isn’t about being rich. It’s about the whole mental aspect of changing your life. Tell me a little bit about how that book changed your life. How did it change your thought process?

Ron McKinnon: In the book where he starts talking about his guides and his council, when I got to that chapter and was talking about the spirituality of it, that really caught me off guard. I was like, “Wow, this really got very interesting.” For me, that kind of helped expand that, because it did seem like a very materialistic, money rich, but then when it got into that chapter, that really kind of opened me up quite a bit. Just the whole, and I become fascinated with the invisible that-

Michael Alden: The vibrations we talked about, you and I’ve talked about that before.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah.

Michael Alden: Right, yeah.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, how the brain is a transmitter, and how you can receive. I’m fascinated by the invisible, and what’s so exciting now is that we’re able to start taking the science to measure the spirituality stuff that’s been going on for thousands and thousands of years as opposed to just rainbows and unicorns. Now we’re actually being able to measure it. That was-

Michael Alden: Right. Again, because I remember my first book was “The Magic of Thinking Big”, and that kind of transformed my life, and then I’ve read a million books since then. I remember reading “The Law of Success”, and he’s talking about the vibrations and the spiritual side of things. Actually, it’s funny. I just finished reading Norman Vincent Peale’s book, and it’s very, very spiritual, “The Power of Positive Thinking”. A lot of people think that it’s just hocus pocus BS, but it’s really not, right?

Ron McKinnon: Yeah.

Michael Alden: For me, I think if I hadn’t have read those books, I don’t know where I’d be today, right?

Ron McKinnon: Yep true. When you start to practice this stuff, and doors start opening for you, and synchronicities, it can’t be denied. The proof is in the pudding.

Michael Alden: Sure. Okay, so we start with the mind. We’re talking about the mind a little bit. Obviously you’re a firm believer in reading books. I was just reading an article today. It’s just a fact. The most successful people in the world, this is what they do. They educate themselves, are reading new things. They’re just constantly trying to absorb new information. That’s one thing we need to do, right?

Ron McKinnon: Absolutely.

Michael Alden: It’s not hocus pocus, folks. Again, if you’re watching right now, if you’re listening right now, again, we’re on with Ron McKinnon from Thrive Holistic Living. If you’d like some more information about Ron, you can just go to Thriveholisticliving.com, right?

Ron McKinnon: Yes.

Michael Alden: It’ll bring you to his Facebook page. It tells you a little bit about his life and the things that he’s doing. He’s here locally in the North Shore, but he is helping people as well in other places. If you want some more information about him, you can just go to Thriveholisticliving.com. We first started talking about the brain. First we started with your physical challenge and then the brain. You and I, we talk a lot, obviously, at the gym. I just went vegan. I’m a big guy. I’m doing all these different things, and he kind of smiles at me, because I’m always trying all these crazy things. I spent two weeks today. By the time this airs, it’ll probably be a month if I stay being vegan. The interesting thing that you said to me, and when we talked about it was is I went vegan because I watched a documentary “What the Health?”, and I’ve seen “Food Inc.”. I just was like, “Man, I just can’t eat meat anymore.” You said to me, “Well, everybody’s different.” Tell me a little bit about your philosophy on food.

Ron McKinnon: Sure. Yeah, the bio-individuality. You could use the example of one person could think that peanuts are delicious. Another person could say peanuts, I’m dead. Those are pretty extreme. As far as how we’ve evolved, our genes, you could look at the extremes of you have, for instance, an Eskimo, and Inuit Indian, there’s not a whole lot of green stuff growing up there. They’ve evolved to thrive on mostly fat and protein, otherwise they didn’t make it. Then you look at someone like a Hawaiian, where they have evolved there’s a plethora of fruits and vegetables. If you feed that Eskimo like the Hawaiian, that Eskimo is going to get sick. If you feed the Hawaiian like the Eskimo, the Hawaiian’s going to get sick. Everyone’s different. Everyone has got a different response to food.

Michael Alden: How do you know what you should do? You hear about all this genetic testing and these allergy tests. As you were talking, I was thinking I’ve never done that before. How do you know what you should be eating as you? I have what they call the mesomorph body type. People would say that I should be doing a more of a paleo type diet. I don’t know. I don’t know. How do you know?

Ron McKinnon: It’s a process of getting in touch with your body, learning to feel your food. So many people just when they come in “Tell me what to eat.” I’ve got a series of questions that can help you get a starting point, but it really comes down to you, the individual, figuring out what foods work well for you and which ones don’t. There’s so many different channels that you can make that process happen. You can do an elimination diet. There are so many different things. The bottom line is taking responsibility and getting in touch with how you feel, how certain things impact you.

Michael Alden: Yeah. It’s interesting you say that, because again, as being vegan now for two weeks … I can’t even call myself a vegan. I’ve been doing it for two weeks, so I’m kind of vegan. Yoga, we’ll talk about yoga in a little bit. I do yoga here and there. Steve, our producer, always makes fun of me. You might even see me doing some yoga once in the gym, so I kind of do it. For me, again, when I started two weeks ago, the first few days I felt great. It’s been two weeks today. I was telling you as I came in, I woke up this morning, and I didn’t feel so hot. The interesting thing, and now I think about you know why? Because I woke up last night in the middle of the night, and I actually had a peanut butter sandwich. I’m like, “Well, that falls within vegan.” The bread, maybe not. I don’t think there was any … I don’t know if there’s actually any egg in there. I woke up this morning, I felt like I was hungover. It was probably because why? Because my body’s transitioning?

Ron McKinnon: It could be.

Michael Alden: I’m transitioning, folks.

Ron McKinnon: It could be detoxing. It could be something you ate that was in the food possibly. Yeah, as we continue to clean out, typically some people will start to feel not so good for a little bit of time as we’re cleaning out. That’s totally natural.

Michael Alden: Yeah, so it’s like the toxins kind of being released in your body.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah.

Michael Alden: What’s going on right now in the world? You hear about the SAD diet, the Standard American Diet. Why are so many people overweight? Why are so many people sick? What’s your take on what’s going on today?

Ron McKinnon: The quality of the food. You could eat a bag of potato chips and still feel hungry. You could eat a big bag of potato chips. You’ll feel bloated, not so good, but you’ll still feel hungry, because you haven’t gotten the nutrition. Your brain’s going to tell you you’re full when you’ve gotten enough nutrition. We have all this food. A lot of the stuff that’s out there is crap, as far as genetically modified corn, all kinds of garbage out there. We can talk about that later on if you want to. Just not getting enough nutrition. People are eating nutrient deficient foods.

As far as body fat, when we take in toxins, the body will take those toxins, and whatever you can’t break down in the liver to eliminate, the body’s going to shove all the way into your fat cells to protect the body, to protect your vital organs. Often people who are obese who have a lot of weight, they’re very toxic. Some of those heavy people, when they start working out and they start breaking down the fat cells, some of those toxins, that’s what happens, they get released. It’s like the bad guys are in jail. The fat cells, they release the guys out of jail, and then they’re in your bloodstream again, and you can start feeling bad, and you can have a rebound effect. You can feel terrible, and then have to-

Michael Alden: Then I’m guessing if that happens, like again this morning when I woke up and I felt like, “You know what? Maybe I’m not going to do this anymore.” That can really have a … For you, as someone who works with people every day, that’s got to be a tough thing to overcome. Like, “Hold on a second here. I’m working out. I should be feeling great, but I feel horrible.” You obviously train people and educate them on that fact. How long does it take usually to get through that kind of toxic stage?

Ron McKinnon: It’s going to determine how long have you been toxic? How many years have you been putting this stuff into your body? You don’t undo five years of damage in five days.

Michael Alden: Not going to happen.

Ron McKinnon: Yes, and everyone’s different.

Michael Alden: Right. Let’s talk about some of the kind of crazy things. You hear these, the ketogenic diet I hear a lot about right now. You hear the paleo diet a lot right now. You and I were talking about a raw diet. I know you say it’s up to the individual. If you had someone, like you said, say, “Show me what to eat,” like you say, what would you say, “Okay, look, I can’t tell you exactly what to do, but if I were you, this is how I would do it?” What should somebody do, without giving away I guess all of your secrets?

Again, we’re on with Ron McKinnon from Thrive Holistic Living. If you’d like some more information about Ron and what he’s doing, just go to Thriveholisticliving.com. It’s going to bring you to his Facebook page, and then I’m sure they can ask you questions, and he’ll get right back to you. We’re here in Beverly, Massachusetts in Blue Vase Studios. That’s where Ron and I met. I’ve seen him train people, and I’ve been really, really impressed with what he’s doing. We talk all the time about not only health and wellness, but also the mental side of things, the spiritual side of things, the success side of things. Again, it’s a holistic approach.

I come to you, and I say, “Look, man, I don’t know what to do. I just want to feel better. What sort of diet should I follow?”

Ron McKinnon: It comes down, everyone’s different. You got to take a look at what they’re eating now, because if someone-

Michael Alden: You do a whole intake, is that how it works?

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, yeah.

Michael Alden: I’ve never been to a nutritionist or anything like that. You sit someone down. I guess walk me through the process. I’m a new client. I want to get healthy.

Ron McKinnon: Sure. Yeah, it’s more than just food. The six parts I work with, I work with your thinking. I work with your hydration. I work with your nutrition. That’s a building block. I work with your breathing; make sure you get the right breathing patterns. I work with your movement, making sure you’re getting the right kind of exercise, because there’s working out, and then there’s working in. Working out is you’ve got energy to give, push, ass-kicking workout. Working in is more restorative, tai chi, yoga, qi gong, things that help bring energy into your body. Then you’ve got sleeping.

Michael Alden: I’ve never heard working in before. That’s interesting. Yeah, yeah.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, working out, working in. Then you got rest, sleep. You could have the best nutrition in the world with the best exercise program in the world, but if you’re not getting enough rest, you’re not going to meet your potential, poor nutrition. All six of those are equally important, and you’ve got to have balance.

Michael Alden: Right.

Ron McKinnon: My intake forms, I got to figure out where they are, as far as all six of those categories, and what is going to be the priority as far as where we need to get the work. If someone’s eating a lot of takeout, fast food, and I tell them, “This is what you should be eating,” first of all, I don’t tell people what they should be eating anyhow. It’s a process. If you throw too many things at them at once, they’re going to get stressed out. Part of the initial assessment is determining what their total physiological stress load is. For some people, it might just be writing three things you’re grateful for every night before you go to bed and drinking more water. Then start building up some momentum. If you’re talking about, “You need to cut this out, do this, do that,” you’re going to overwhelm them. They’re going to say, “Screw this. I can’t do this,” and you’re causing more stress than it’s worth.

Michael Alden: Right. Do you find that … Not to call you out or whatever, I guess maybe the industry out in general of personal training, holistic coaches, nutritionists, what’s the overall success rate? Out of 100 people that come to not just you, I guess to the industry, do most people stick to it?

Ron McKinnon: As far as clients adhering to the program?

Michael Alden: Yeah. You got 100 people, how many people actually stick to it forever?

Ron McKinnon: I couldn’t tell you. I couldn’t tell you.

Michael Alden: Anecdotally, what do you think though? What do you think it is, if you had to guess?

Ron McKinnon: I think it depends on where the person is in their life, and as I’m sure you know, usually its life crisis that create these true change, transformation. It’s something that’s bigger than them that really make them make these changes and stick to it. The younger people, they can get away with a lot more eating garbage and not have the repercussions of it as when you get older. I think that age also has something to do with it. It really depends on the individual, where they’re at, and how badly they want change. When the pain outweighs the pleasure of whatever they’re doing, that’s when they’re going to continue to make those positive changes in their life. I couldn’t put a number on there. I couldn’t tell you what it would be. What would your guess be?

Michael Alden: I have no idea. That’s why I’m just curious, because when you talk about the gradual changes, my book “Five Percent More”, that’s all about that. Actually, the title itself was derived at your gym. Yeah, so the spinning teacher. Yeah, I think that what you’re saying makes sense, the gradual changes. That, to me, is definitely the smartest way to go. The science actually proves that as well.

Let’s back up a little bit. You’d mentioned genetically modified foods and the food supply. Tell us a little bit about the food supply and why someone should … I know you and I talked. I think you go to a specific store in your hometown to buy most of your stuff. Why should someone try and seek out organic, grass-fed, non GMO versus just whatever is in the grocery store?

Ron McKinnon: Sure. We’ll just look at the nutritional aspect. Organic food has been shown to be much more nutritionally dense. Again, we talked about the bag of potato chips and being hungry after, because there’s no nutrition in it. One, you’re getting more nutrition. It costs more money, but you’re getting more nutrition.

Michael Alden: Right. In a way, you actually should save, because you’re getting more stuff, so you should eat less.

Ron McKinnon: Yes. Even more importantly, you’re not getting the toxins that go with that food, as far as commercially raised food. We’ll talk about fruits and vegetables where they’re sprayed with pesticides. Again, that’s chemicals that are poison that your liver is going to have to break down. Whatever your liver can’t break down, it’s going to help store as body fat. The toxicity in itself, that’s an important reason why to eat good, clean, organic food.

Michael Alden: Don’t you think it’s insane as you’re talking, to me, I think it’s absolutely insane that the USDA and the EPA and the United States Government as a whole, but the USDA and the EPA have acceptable ranges of toxins that can be in our food. To me that drives me nuts. There is an acceptable amount of TNT, which we haven’t used since World War II that can be in your food. Isn’t that insane?

Ron McKinnon: It changes. If the levels of toxins go up, they just increase what the level of fair range is for foods.

Michael Alden: Someone once gave me an analogy. They said, “Okay, that’s fine. I’ll tell you what; I’m just going to spray a little bit of Raid on your salad, just a little bit. It’s within an acceptable range. It’s not really going to harm you.” I’m like, “To me that drives me …” The organic route, I also as an attorney and as someone who’s kind of a skeptic a lot of times; I went to a strawberry farm in Bradford with my daughter. They claim it’s all organic. I said, “You don’t spray and pesticides?” They responded, they said, “No, we don’t spray any pesticides on the strawberries. However, we do spray pesticides before the strawberries actually blossom.” I was like, “Hold on, wait a minute. How do you call that organic?” How can you trust? How do you really know?

Ron McKinnon: The only way you can know is to grow it yourself.

Michael Alden: Right, yeah.

Ron McKinnon: Really.

Michael Alden: Do you do that? Do you have your own garden?

Ron McKinnon: Yeah.

Michael Alden: Yeah?

Ron McKinnon: Not extensive. I’m learning more and more, but I do feel like that is just a way that we’re going to need to shift to really to have a healthy society. We need to start taking responsibility for where our food comes from, getting to know your farmers and that type of stuff, because yeah, the FDA, the government is not protecting us. They’re looking out for big agriculture, big pharma. We’ve lost, as far as where I stand, I do not depend on … Anything the government says, that’s not my concern whatsoever.

Michael Alden: What about as I’m thinking, as I’m thinking about what the government claims is acceptable amounts of chemicals in our food supply, what about water? What do you do with water? I notice every time I see you at the gym you have a specific type of water you’re always drinking. What about water filters, bottled water, BPAs, all this other stuff? What should people do with their water?

Ron McKinnon: Just your average tap water is very toxic stuff.

Michael Alden: Fluoride.

Ron McKinnon: Talk about fluoride, we’re actually paying money to put fluoride into our water. The science clearly shows that this is a neurotoxin.

Michael Alden: Right.

Ron McKinnon: It blows my mind. Again, I didn’t know about this stuff not too long ago.

Michael Alden: Hey, but our teeth look great.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah.

Michael Alden: Right.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, exactly, at the expense of what? Even that, the whole fluoride for your teeth is there’s a lot of science that shows that that’s not even legit stuff anyhow.

Michael Alden: Right.

Ron McKinnon: I don’t want fluoride in my body knowing what I know now, so what I have in my own home, I have a Big Berkey countertop water filtration system. I have special filters on there, because fluoride is not easy stuff to get out of your water. Your typical Brita water filter, that stuff’s not going to pull it out.

Michael Alden: Really?

Ron McKinnon: No.

Michael Alden: See, I would always think that it does.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah. I got special filters to help pull out things like arsenic and fluoride. Then because it pulls a lot of stuff out, it pulls all the good minerals, too, so you have to put a little bit of minerals back into your water. I just use a good quality Celtic sea salt to put into my water, and it helps to put some minerals in my water. You can also use something like a reverse osmosis system. That’ll take everything out of it. Again, that’s another place we have to put some minerals back into the water.

Michael Alden: Right. Why do we have to put minerals back in the water? Why can’t we just hydrate? Why do I have to put minerals in?

Ron McKinnon: Because your body needs it to have-

Michael Alden: But wouldn’t you get it any other way? Wouldn’t you get it from food?

Ron McKinnon: I guess so. I guess so. I just have to have a little extra insurance, I guess.

Michael Alden: Yeah. The reason why I’m kind of being almost a bit of a rhetorical question because I believe that no matter what we eat, we have to supplement. This is what we do. We sell supplements. I don’t say that just because we sell supplements, but we know a little bit about this stuff, right? Because of the way people are eating, we’re eating it all starts with the soil. I remember I went to a camp, and it said, “Dirt made my lunch.” Starting with the soil that’s depleted, and then the food supply is toxic, and you’re just not getting the nutrients. No matter how well you’re eating, you got to supplement somehow. That’s basically what you’re saying.

Ron McKinnon: Absolutely, yeah.

Michael Alden: Putting the nutrients back in. You list on your Facebook page and on your literature meditation, I found, and I talked about this, I found TM probably four years ago. It totally changed my life. Tell us a little bit about meditation, mindfulness, and why that’s important to your overall health and wellness.

Ron McKinnon: I think it’s important to set aside some time to be with yourself. You could be with yourself to understand who you are at your core. That gets into the whole spirituality ends of things as well and to connect with your source, God, infinite intelligence, whatever you want to call it. It’s so important to be able to get that level of peace and quiet within yourself, and to be able to be calm throughout the rest of the day. My morning ritual is when I wake up; I’ve got my five minute mindset. The first thing I do is I go sit down, and I’ll write in my journal what I want to do for that day. Today is a great day. I’ll just connect and breathe and get in touch with source to help set the tone for my entire day. Why that’s important is because it makes me happier. It makes me calmer, more peaceful, and less reactive.

Michael Alden: Right. Yeah, as you’re talking about that, the one thing that popped into my head, too, I think it goes back to the success rate of people that come to you, that takes work, right?

Ron McKinnon: Absolutely.

Michael Alden: The say, depending on the science, between 60 and 90 days before something becomes habit. You got to work at it, right?

Ron McKinnon: Yeah. Yeah, the most important relationship you can have in life is the one with yourself.

Michael Alden: Right, and the happiness thing, too. I talk a lot about happy. In fact, in my bedroom I have a painting from Romero Britto, and it’s of the word happy. I look at it every day and remind myself, because even that, no matter how in tuned you are with your body and whatever it is, you got to work on your own happiness. I think so many people don’t realize that. I think that a lot of people just feel as though, and I think I agree, you’re entitled to be happy, but you got to work at it. Today, I woke up and I did not feel so hot, but I just was like, “All right, I got to work at it.” I went to the gym, I meditated a little bit. I didn’t get my full 20 minutes in. I’m going to get it in after. It’s a process.

Ron McKinnon: Sure.

Michael Alden: Right?

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, and there’s also, for me, there’s different types of meditation, like a moving meditation, for instance. I’ll go out and I’ll do a walk in nature. I’ll do some chanting. That’s my way of connecting, but also getting some outside activity, being outside in nature, fresh air at the same point in time. There are all different types of ways that you can have your internal quiet time to connect. It doesn’t have to be … Everyone’s got different methods that work for them. You’ve got your TM that works well for you, but you don’t have to be pigeon holed into just one specific thing, you have to do thing. If it doesn’t feel right, you’re not going to want to do it. It’s got to be something that you want to do on a regular basis anyhow.

Michael Alden: Yeah. How do you feel, too, because I see you working with people sometimes, and I’ve seen you doing tai chi over on the pond that’s next to where we work out? I think about how, again, back to “The Law of Success” and I used to think it was just kind of hocus pocus or whatever, how do you feel? How do other people feel, I guess, about some of the things that you’re training them? Sometimes it seems just like, I guess for lack of a better term, like hippy-ish. It’s like, “Whoa, this guy, he’s a little out there.” To me, I used to feel that way, but what you’re doing is what everybody should be doing.

Ron McKinnon: When they’re ready, when it makes sense to them, wherever their soul’s evolution is, whatever that might make sense. I won’t get into the rainbows and unicorns stuff with a lot of people, because they’re not ready for it. What I have been finding is that I do have people that come to me, because I’m kind of like the gateway to spirituality for some of these people. They’re ready; their soul is ready to take this next step in their progression of spirituality, which is at the end of the road of health and wellness in general. Some people, they’re really open to it. They love it. There’s exercises that I do that will work on your chakras that they’re not going to know they’re working on their chakras, but there’s certain movements that help move energy in certain areas of your body. You know about the chakras.

Michael Alden: Yeah, yeah. Of course. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, so we can do some certain squats and stuff like that that are going to be actually good for the root chakra. I know that. They don’t need to know that, but they’re getting that energy moving in their body.

Michael Alden: Yeah. I’ve done some light therapy to improve your chakras as well as actually the place over here near us called Body Science. I’m going to give them a plug. Body Science, and their whole thing is Ayurvedic medicine. Their massages, everything is based off of the Ayurvedic method.

Back to just real quick about the food, where should someone go? All right, let’s talk vegetables for a second. I want to get vegetables. I want to do whatever I can, no matter where you are in the country. Again, so folks, I want to ask you this no matter where you are in the world I want vegetables. I don’t want the pesticides in them. I want non-GMO. Where do I go?

Ron McKinnon: To where I go, we’ll go to a series of different places. I live in Gloucester, and I’ve got the Common Crow. Very fortunate, because it’s a-

Michael Alden: What’s the Common Crow?

Ron McKinnon: The Common Crow, it’s a market grocery store. They are definitely of a higher consciousness, as far as the awareness of food and not having GMOs. When you go in there, you can feel pretty good about buying most everything in there. The majority, their produce is all going to be organic or raised without chemicals. They’re very particular about their foods and their types of meats that they get.

Michael Alden: If you’re anywhere else in the country, is your advice find a local store that you can trust, right?

Ron McKinnon: Yeah. We’ll go to Stop and Shop. We’ll go to Market Basket. The more people that command that demand this type of produce; they’re going to supply it.

Michael Alden: Right. Yeah, I noticed that Stop and Shop now where I shop sometimes, their organic section seems to be growing. What I also love that they’re doing there is they also bring in exotic fruits. I’m always trying the different stuff. You really kind of just go in a-

Ron McKinnon: Here and there, pick different spots. Farmers markets or your garden.

Michael Alden: I was going to say that’s … Yeah, yeah. Right. Yeah.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, it’s not just one source this is where I go to for all my food. Its multiple locations.

Michael Alden: Right. All right. Let’s talk about meat real quick. Again, I’m a vegan now two weeks. Two weeks vegan. Meat. Okay. I know that you’re of the belief that it’s, again, whatever is best for you. Let’s talk about beef, poultry, and fish. How do we get the best stuff there?

Ron McKinnon: All you’re going to be looking for free range, organic, optimal. Just commercially raised meat in general is just toxic stuff, as I’m sure you well know.

Michael Alden: Right. Yeah. “What the Health?” is the documentary I watched that changed me. Man. You watch that, you will become vegan just like me.

Ron McKinnon: In general, I do think as a society we eat too much meat. We don’t need to eat as much meat. Some people can do well with no meat. In my experience, what I’ve seen is that people can do well without meat for a certain amount of time, maybe as a cleansing type of aspect to their life, but some people might not do so well in the long run without meat. Your genes, genetics, you can change your genes. Your body can adapt without meat. Everyone’s different.

As far as the quality of meat, where you get it, it’s again; you’re going to picking up meat make sure you’re getting grass fed, grass finished.

Michael Alden: What’s grass finished? What’s that?

Ron McKinnon: They’re making sure that … Sometimes they’ll put grass fed, but they’ll just feed them just a certain amount of grass, but then they’ll finish them off with corn. It’s just the label, ways to get around the labels.

Michael Alden: Oh, that’s interesting. I never heard the finish thing. That means grass fed and finished means they’re eating what they should be eating throughout their entire life.

Ron McKinnon: The entire process, not just give you some grass in the beginning, and then finish you off with corn.

Michael Alden: Oh wow.

Ron McKinnon: It’s really this day and age, it’s so difficult to know what you’re really getting unless you grow it yourself, you raise animals yourself, you know the rancher, and you know the people who are raising the food. Just do the best you can on what you have.

Michael Alden: The key, too, is paying attention, right?

Ron McKinnon: Paying attention, absolutely.

Michael Alden: Yeah. I find now that again, I’ve always been into health and wellness and do my best to try to pay attention to my body. Over these past two weeks, I’ve been very acutely aware of what is in my food and looking … I want to make sure there’s no animal product whatsoever. I noticed that when I was shopping, I would sit there and I would spend a little bit of time reading the label. I never really had done that before, because I was like, “All right, if I’m going to try and get lean, I’m just going to eat cottage cheese and lean beef,” and I would just buy whatever and not really paying attention to really what’s in it, where it’s sourced, where it’s from. Spending a little bit of time can really go a long way, right?

Ron McKinnon: It’s always the first part of my getting into holistic health was starting to look at labels, natural flavors. What the hell are natural flavors?

Michael Alden: What are natural flavors?

Ron McKinnon: It can be so many; it can be thousands of different chemicals. There’s all kinds of stuff that are labeled as GRAS, generally regarded as safe, they don’t even have to put on the label. There can be so much stuff in there that they’re not putting on the label, because it’s generally regarded as safe.

Michael Alden: Right. Is there anything that you would recommend that people absolutely not eat? Not eat, not drink, is there certain things you say, “I don’t care what your body type is, I don’t care, you absolutely should never do this.”

Ron McKinnon: Avoid processed foods whenever possible, especially vegetable oils and things like canola oil.

Michael Alden: Hold on. What about olive oil? Olive oil is good though, right?

Ron McKinnon: Olive oil, olive oil’s fantastic, sure.

Michael Alden: Canola oil, no.

Ron McKinnon: That’s something, just don’t-

Michael Alden: I didn’t even think about that. I think vegetable oil, that’s got to be good for me.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, industrial processed vegetable oils, that stuff’s-

Michael Alden: Not good for you.

Ron McKinnon: … not good for you.

Michael Alden: Why? Jeez, I didn’t even think about it. Vegetable oil is processed. What does that mean with vegetables? I have no idea what that means.

Ron McKinnon: It comes to a lot of the science with it is with the omega 3 to omega 6 ratios where at one point in time, our diet was about one to one, or it’d be two to one omega 6 to omega 3. Now it’s like 20 to 1, 60 to 1. We just have this abundance of omega 6 to omega 3 ratio where it’s inflammatory. Inflammation is a root-

Michael Alden: Of everything, right?

Ron McKinnon: Of most stuff, yeah. Sure. It’s very, very inflammatory. It’s poor nutrition for your cells.

Michael Alden: When you say processed meat, give me an example of processed meat.

Ron McKinnon: Processed meat, you could have cold cuts and stuff like that, but-

Michael Alden: Cold cuts? Okay, so cold cuts. All right. What about the cheese that you get at the deli? I’ve heard stuff, I’ve read stuff that if you ask for cheese at the deli, first of all again, after watching this and becoming vegan, I don’t think anybody should eat cheese, but I’ve heard a lot of times if you ask for cheese, you’re not even getting cheese. You’re getting some sort of weird chemical compound.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, I would say that most of the stuff in the deli, deli counter is not going to-

Michael Alden: Stay away from it.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah.

Michael Alden: Yeah. What’s another example of processed food?

Ron McKinnon: Anything that comes in a bag or a wrapper. That sometimes will be not so good for you. When you look at a label, you want to have minimal ingredients on there, and you want them to be things that you recognize. Anything that’s a chemical, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

Michael Alden: Yeah, I’ve heard that before. Yeah. I heard someone once say if it’s in a box, a can, a bag, don’t eat it.

Ron McKinnon: Again, we do the best we can with what we have, especially given where you are in a certain situation. Eating good does take a little bit more money, until it is that you get your own garden and stuff going like that. It does cost a bit more money, but you-

Michael Alden: It might cost a little bit more money. I don’t mean to cut you off. It might cost a little bit more money now, but you’re going to save a lot more later with medical expenses and everything, right?

Ron McKinnon: Exactly.

Michael Alden: I don’t mean to steal your thunder, but I just-

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, that’s exactly it. Pay now or pay later. It’s how you feel, because I’ve gotten so sensitive. I’ve cleaned my body out so much that when I eat something that’s not so good for me, if I go to a wedding or something like that, you got to live, too. You’ve got to enjoy life. You can’t just-

Michael Alden: Yeah, so if you’re at a wedding, you’ll have a piece of cake if you feel like it, right?

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, it depends. Just knowing what I know about sugar, if I have any kind of inkling whatsoever that I’m not feeling, I might have some sort of pull or something like that, if I feel like that might happen to me, I’m not going to have any sugar, because I don’t want to suppress my immune system. Just in general, animals that probably weren’t raised the best or something like that if I have that food like that, I feel it the next day. I am mindful to make sure I don’t eat as much, but I’m going to live. I’ll drink a lot more water. Yeah, I will feel it now. I feel my food.

Michael Alden: Sure. Right, and because you’re thinking about it, too.

Ron McKinnon: At the end of the day, that’s where everything comes from anyhow is what type of association do you have with what you’re putting into your mouth, your mind.

Michael Alden: Right. All right. We don’t have a lot of time left, but I wanted you to … You mentioned one thing I do want to talk about: sugar and how that affects the body, and how addictive it is, and what it can do, how to avoid it. Tell me about sugar, the different types of sugar. For instance, I had a coffee on the way here, and I haven’t had sugar in coffee or any sort of chemical. I use Stevia. Tell us about sugar. Why is it so destructive and why is it in everything?

Ron McKinnon: Because it tastes good. Obviously, it lights up all those type of endorphins in your brain, and it’s toxic to your body. It also suppresses your immune system.

bMichael Alden: That’s an interesting thing. You said it suppresses your immune system. A lot of people don’t realize that. Like you said, if you’re not feeling well, and you load up on sugar, you have cookies, whatever, a brownie, whatever you’re having; you could actually make yourself sicker.

Ron McKinnon: Yeah, you’re decreasing your vitality, your ability to fight off-

Michael Alden: Right, increasing your susceptibility to the flu or something like that.

Ron McKinnon: Sure, yeah.

Michael Alden: That’s really, really interesting. A lot of people don’t realize that. Again, if you’re eating junk, you’re going to be more susceptible to getting sick.

Ron McKinnon: Absolutely.

Michael Alden: That’s interesting.

Ron McKinnon: Actually, even sugar will increase your respiration, and your breathing is very important, as far as helping to maintain your pH balance. If you have sugar, it will increase your respiration rate.

Michael Alden: Right. Yeah, yeah. The pH balance, we could talk a lot about that as well. Ron, we’re actually running out of time. Any last thoughts that you have for our viewers and listeners about maybe a quick tip or something that you say to the people that you train that is something that we should all know before you go?

Ron McKinnon: I would just say just to pay a little bit more attention to what you’re putting into your body, and know also that when you buy commercially raised food, not only are you poisoning yourself, but you’re promoting poisoning the planet and the earth. As above, so below. Buy organic whenever possible, and help take care of the earth, which in turn will be resulted in your body as well.

Michael Alden: That’s a great way to end the program. Again, my name is Michael Alden. This has been another addition of the Alden Report. We’ve been on with Ron McKinnon. He is the founder of Thrive Holistic Living. You can go to Thriveholisticliving.com. It’ll bring you to his Facebook page. No matter where you are in the world, he’ll get back to you. He’s growing his business. He’s helping people not only here locally, but all over the United States. I’m sure if someone reaches out to you and says, “Hey, Ron, can you help me?” I’m sure you’re already doing that as well.

If you want some more information about a guy that’s life has been transformed and he’s someone that I know personally. I know he’s as real as it gets. He lives this life. I talk to him every day. A lot of these guys that are out there kind of selling things, I think they’re just out there to make money. He’s living this life, and he’s really helping other people. Again, I see it every single day. Again, if you want some more information about Ron, you can just go to Thriveholisticliving.com. This has been a really informative show. I could talk to you for hours, but I know we don’t have a lot of time. His wife is literally probably going to have a kid in a couple minutes. I know he’s busy as well. Ron, I want to thank you so much for being my guest.

Ron McKinnon: Thank you.