Do you ever wonder what modern processed food is doing to kids?
While childhood obesity and Type II diabetes are running rampant, the answer to that question is usually a bummer.
But you’re about to hear from a remarkable 9 year old who I met at a book signing last spring who made me feel a heck of a lot better. This fourth-grader not only read all the way through my book, The Wild Diet, but also shared a story I won’t forget.
I know how unexciting vegetables can be… especially, when you’re in fourth grade.
But what if you found out that eating clean made you better at sports… and school?
A few months ago, Jack’s mom, Deb, wrote in and she said:
Dear Fat-Burning Friends,
Last Spring my son and I met Abel and Alyson at a book signing at Penn State Hazleton.
My son, Jack, used The Wild Diet to drop weight for wrestling. Though he made it to States, he did not metal.
When Abel signed his book he wrote, “next year you will get that metal.” And so he did (see photos below).
He was the youngest, at age 9, to place in the 9/10 year old bracket. He even wrestled a boy that just turned 11! Although he placed 8th, we are looking forward to him wrestling at age 10 in the same bracket next year.
He’s a young boy and does not always eat “wild” but every time it’s not processed I consider it a win. And we always come back to basics – especially breakfast.
P.S. – He also is the youngest boy and has the highest grade in his class. I SWEAR it’s because I’ve never bought him a box or cereal. HA! HA!
A true believer,
Believe it or not, I convinced Jack (and Jack’s mom) to share what he learned on this special episode for you here today, and you’ll be surprised by how much we have to learn from our 9-year-old rockstar.
Jack Peters is a fourth grader from Muncy, Pennsylvania. He began wrestling at the tender age of 5. After devouring The Wild Diet and dropping body fat himself, Jack placed at Eastern Nationals, and became All State in wrestling. Jack is a linebacker in football and a catcher in Little League Baseball. Also an avid outdoorsman, Jack loves hunting and fishing. His interests include science, math, and Civil War history. And I hear he’s even at the top of his class.
On this show with Jack, you’re going to learn:
- The surprising snacks Wild kids pack for lunch
- How playing sports makes us smarter
- The hardest part about eating Wild when you’re in 4th grade
- How to trick adults and kids alike into eating clean
- And much more!
Jack Peters: How to Eat Wild When You’re 9-Years-Old
Abel: Jack, thank you so much for coming on Fat-Burning Man. In back of you, you have a whole lot of trophies there. And I know that when I met you, just a year ago, you were coming up, trying to get a handle of diet and nutrition. So can you tell us why you were originally interested in eating better?
I was interested in eating better because last year I was around 83 pounds, and I either had to wrestle in the 90 or 75 pound brackets. And there were a lot of good kids at 90, so I dropped 9 pounds just to get down.
Abel: Wow. And how did you do that?
I mostly cut out sweets. And I also added more vegetables, and maybe a little more meat.
Abel: Did any of your friends make fun of you for eating vegetables in public or in front of them?
No, they just wondered why I was eating that.
Abel: That’s cool. I bet they liked it when you started doing really well in wrestling though, huh?
Abel: Were you surprised when you started cutting out the candy, and the sweets by how your body changed or how you felt?
Yeah. I’ve cut like 1 – 2 pounds before, but nothing like that. I felt faster and stronger.
Abel: What about how much you were eating? Did that change? Did you notice that you were hungry more, or less, or anything like that?
I wasn’t really hungry at all. I usually eat meat, vegetables, and I usually have a couple spelt muffins.
Abel: Yeah, right on. Spelt muffins are good, man. You need some clean burning carbs when you’re out there shredding on the wrestling mat. But you also play some other sports, don’t you?
Yeah. In baseball, I have to get speed to run around the bases and strength to hit the ball. Football, you have to be quick to be able to make a tackle or get a block, and you also have to be strong to make contact as hard or harder than the other person pushing into you.
Abel: You probably already know this, but one of the coolest things is that, if you’re leaning down for competition, whether it’s wrestling, or crew, or bike racing, or marathoning, like when you met me…
A year ago, at Penn State, when I was signing my books, and you came to my talk (which was so cool to meet you), I think I weighed around 175. And so I had a fair bit of muscle, but still pretty low body fat. But when I was doing marathons, when I was running long distances, I was at 148 pounds. I was a lot smaller. And if you look at pictures of me, I looked like a character from Sesame Street.
And what you want, depending on what type of competition you’re in, is a strong power to weight ratio. You don’t want a lot of fat on your body. You want some, but you don’t want more than the amount that you need, which is not all that much, certainly less than most people have right now.
So when you start eating right, you cut out those sweets and the junk food, and the other nonsense. You start eating your vegetables, and the meats, and the healthy fats, like you said. And then, you get rid of the processed gluten, instead just have the spelt muffins, or some rice, or oats, or sweet potatoes. Or regular potatoes, as long as they’re not fried.
If you’re getting that real food, all of a sudden, you see your weight go down a bit, which means you’re losing fat, and then you see your power to weight ratio go up, which means you’re smaller, but you’re stronger.
So you can actually wrestle at a lower weight class, but be stronger than other people. You have more muscle there, because more of your body is made up of muscle, which is pretty cool.
Tell us about reading The Wild Diet. Actually, when I met you, I think you were the youngest kid who came up to me to get your book signed. But a lot of kids don’t really read these days, so why did you decide to read my book?
There are a lot of overweight people, just because they’re eating like you were eating, low fat. I also had to lose weight at that time, so that’s why I wanted to read your book.
Abel: Did you read the whole way through or did you skip to some of the recipes? Did you try to make any?
Yes, we made the carrot cake, which is my favorite. And, oh, we also made the apple pie. I also want to make the apple cider donuts.
Abel: Apple cider donuts—those are my favorite during the holidays, in the fall, when the apple cider is just ready. You know that, in Pennsylvania, the fall is the best for apples.
Yeah, we even grow our own apples and my grandmother makes homemade apple sauce out of it.
How Jack Defines “The Wild Diet”
Abel: Oh, man. My grandma did the same thing.
I’d like to ask you this, Jack. When people ask you, “What is The Wild Diet?” what do you say?
I usually say it’s higher fat. You eat more vegetables, take out the starches, and eat a little bit more meat.
Abel: Nice. Yeah, that’s a good way to think about it, especially when you’re growing. It doesn’t have to be too complicated.
But especially if you’re being active and you’re in athletics and wrestling like you are, you want to make sure that you’re getting basically the components that you need—the building blocks—to make sure that you’re recovering and building muscle.
You want to eat veggies, meat and fat, and it doesn’t have to be too complicated. You want to keep clear of the stuff that’s in packages and is really sweet.
Most of us know what’s good for us and what’s bad for us. But what do you do when eating out at a restaurant or when you’re at school for school lunch?
Well, I usually pack my own lunches… And it’s hard to stay away from all the stuff. I usually go to Hoss’ or stuff like that. So I’ll try to get a salads, but sometimes I get stuff I shouldn’t eat.
Abel: Of course. We all do sometimes. And I’ll tell you what, Jack, you can get away with it for a little while, because you’re a lot younger than me and a lot of the people who are listening and watching this video, so you can have some fun with it.
But it’s important to remember that when you eat food, it’s fuel, right? It’s fuel for your activity, for your athletics, for your wrestling match. And if you put the wrong fuel in, then you’re going to feel worse. Your performance is going to suffer.
If you put the wrong fuel into your car, or you put dirty fuel in there, you just pour some water or sugar water into the gas tank it’ll gunk everything up. You’re not going to be be firing on all cylinders and doing your best.
Did you learn anything else from reading “The Wild Diet” that surprised you?
When you put your list of the primary foods and secondary foods, I was surprised what was on there.
I eat a lot of things on the secondary foods. I sometimes eat bacon, grapefruits, raspberries, and oranges.
And on the primary list, I like to eat crab and salmon. And I also eat lettuce.
I learned that not all foods you read about are good for you. They say, “This is going be good for you.” It’s not, necessarily.
Plus, I learned about GMO corn that kills bugs. But you have bugs in your stomach, so it also kills your stomach bugs.
Abel: Well, like you said, it’s not just the lettuce that you’re getting. You’re also getting, as gross as this sounds, all the little bugs that you can’t see that are living on that lettuce, and you’re getting the fiber in that lettuce, and the water. And what it was grown in matters. If the soil is poor quality, if it has a bunch of chemicals, and has been abused with toxins and pesticides, some of that shows up in our lettuce.
So if you go to a fast food restaurant and there’s lettuce in your burger, that’s what you’re getting and it also doesn’t really have that much nutrition in it.
My younger brother is an organic farmer up there in New York, not too far from where you are, and if you get lettuce from his farm, then, number one, it’s going to be an old school heirloom lettuce that our grandmothers would have been growing back in the day in their victory gardens and their gardens behind their houses.
But on those vegetables, you know like on the carrots, you see that part that looks dirty on the outside, that you just can’t rub it off?
That part is full of those good little bugs that you actually want, and it’s part of the dirt. You’re eating a whole ecosystem, and inside your body, it’s an ecosystem, too. So if you’re eating a bunch of poisons that are designed to destroy parts of the ecosystem, then that happens inside your body too, when you eat it.
Eating that fresh vegetable or those fresh apples from behind your house is so much better than going to the convenience store, or Walmart, or something like that.
And getting one of those apples, because, you know what, Jack? It might be about 12 months old by the time you get an apple from a store. Did you read that part of the book?
Yeah, you want farmer’s market food that’s just been picked. Or stuff like that, like fresh corn.
What Do Wild Kids Eat?
Abel: What are your favorite foods to eat? What do you eat most weeks?
Well, I usually pack sugar snap peas every day. And also cucumbers and those spelt muffins.
Then sometimes, I throw different meats in, like salmon burgers, chicken, or sometimes bacon burgers.
Abel: Cool. What’s the hardest part?
The hardest part is trying to not want to eat the sweets.
Abel: It’s tough. What makes it hard for you? Is it seeing your friends eating sweets, or is it seeing it on TV, or billboards, or what makes it hard? Or are you just hungry?
Well, sometimes I watch “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” and stuff like that.
All those bad foods in restaurants that they claim are good for you, they just make me hungry and I try to eat better than that.
I sometimes eat ham and cheese, and stuff like that.
Abel: And then do you eat sandwiches, or do you make burritos, or wraps, or anything like that? You said you pack your food a lot, so what are you packing up?
Well, I usually pack vegetables, and maybe raspberries in there some weeks or strawberries other times.
Abel: That sounds good. And what about meats? Do you eat the meats on their own, like the chicken, for example, or do you put it in something?
A Thermos. I put it in a Thermos sometimes, so it stays warm.
Abel: Right on. Do you drink bone broth? Have you tried any weird foods, like liver, or eyeballs, or brains, or anything like that yet?
I tried the bone broth, but it was alright.
Abel: It was a little funky, huh? Was it the beef kind? Do you remember?
Oh, we got the bones from a local store where we know the people that own it. So we made the broth with that.
Abel: That’s awesome. Well, yeah, beef broth can be a little funky sometimes. You saw Star Wars, right? Imagine what Yoda’s kitchen would smell like. It’s kind of like that, right? It’s a little swampy. That’s an advanced level of light side nutrition right there.
If you want to go for it and do the beef bone broth, I highly encourage people to do that. But if you just want something that’s a super satisfying delicious soup or broth, then you can use chicken or turkey. And those both come out really nice. They make your whole house smell good, like an old fashioned diner or something.
We make bone broth sometimes, but we haven’t tried turkey or chicken. It sounds pretty good.
Sometimes we buy broth instead of making it.
Abel: Buying it is getting easier, but making broth yourself winds up saving you money. You can get a whole chicken, and then you can roast that up, or bake it, or throw it in the slow cooker, or something like that, and make that into a recipe. And then when you’re done with it, you take all the bones, some of that leftover meat, and you just throw it in the slow cooker with water for a few hours. And then you have this beautiful broth.
Do you remember what Krav Maga is, the self defense stuff I did a few years ago? Kind of like karate. When I’m doing that, or when I’m exercising a lot, going to hike a mountain or something like that, bone broth is actually really cool, because it’s a real food protein supplement. You can think about it like that.
Instead of having a protein powder, this is the real version, where you’re not just getting the protein, but also a lot of other really cool compounds that help you out when you’re recovering.
Kobe Bryant, he drinks a lot of bone broth. And a lot of people who are pro athletes, which is very exciting, because it’s a weird food and it takes a little bit of getting used to, but that’s part of the fun of it. Are there any other foods that you’ve tried that you didn’t think you would like, but you actually do?
Oh, bison venison. That didn’t sound like a regular food, and I tried it, and I liked it.
Abel: Bison is really good. I grew up down the road from a bison farm and it tastes, I think, a little bit less gamey than beef even. It’s actually quite subtle. It’s not too intense.
If you come here to Texas, then we have a place here called The Lonesome Dove that Alyson and I just went to. And they have a sausage that’s made out of rabbit and rattlesnake, and we had that just a couple weeks ago!
So you’re the youngest to place in your bracket for wrestling, right?
Yes, I am.
Abel: Yes! Why do you think you were able to do that? What’s the secret advantage you have?
I got lucky in the bracket. All the people were spread out.
Abel: Ha, that comes in handy.
Yeah, and also it was at my natural weight, so I had an advantage.
Abel: Have you ever seen “Vision Quest?” It’s an old movie about wrestling. It might make you laugh, but you might want to check that one out. It’s pretty fun. I remember watching that and that made me want to wrestle so bad, but we didn’t have a wrestling team in New Hampshire where I was.
So I hear you also have the highest grade in your class, right?
Yeah. There’s a lot of competition, though.
Abel: There always is. But do you think being good at wrestling or spending a lot of time doing sports makes you worse at school or better at school?
I think it makes you better at school, because, say I have a science test about the outdoors. You know what’s out there, so you can get a better grade at it.
Abel: I totally agree, I think that doing things that seem weird and different from each other, like wrestling and math, actually, when you get good at one of them, you can start to bring what you’ve learned from that one to the other one. And then you can use that to your advantage all across life.
Yeah, and also, say you sit around all day for a test. Your body is used to that. Other people that don’t go outside, they’re all energetic and they just sit inside all day.
Abel: Well, what do you think it’s going to look like when you’re my age? When you’re all old and 32 like me? When you’re all covered in wrinkles? Are you still going to be wrestling or are you going to be exercising everyday? Are you going to be eating right? What do you think?
I’m probably going to try and eat right, and try to exercise.
I’m an outdoors person. We cut down trees to make our own firewood. We have to roll logs down a hill, so I like to throw them down.
Abel: Cool! I used to do that when I was a kid too. How much wood do you have?
Well, we cut down some older trees, so it would probably be about, maybe 15 to 30 pieces of wood per time or tree.
Abel: Wow! Now, do you count that as a workout, when you’re rolling things around, throwing big logs?
No, they’re not really big. They’re just probably about that big.
Abel: That’s not too bad. That totally counts as a workout, I think, because anytime you’re picking something up with your body, you’re using your balance, you’re moving in weird directions. Those are the ones that you need to be practicing anyway.
If you’re stuck on machines, it’s like being stuck in a desk. You’re just trapped in the system. But when you’re out there in the woods, when you’re moving around, and doing adventures, your body is very ready to do that, and it rewards you, and it surprises you.
You can get through some tricky stuff. Have you broken any bones or you had any injuries yet?
Well, I had this one. Have you ever heard of a hip flexor? I injured that two times. It was during football season and wrestling season, so that put me back two, three weeks maybe.
Abel: So what did you do to recover from that?
Well, I did stretches and also I ran a little just to get the strength back. And also I had to move it, get active more than I usually do, to get it back.
Abel: Did it bum you out when you had to take time off?
Well, during football season it did, because I can only play three plays per half.
Abel: Yeah, that’s hard. But did you do anything to try to get out of that funk when you were injured, to get in a good frame of mind, so that you were still happy and looking forward to getting back out on the field?
Yeah. I was still active, but I didn’t put too much pressure on it. I went to practices, ran a little, ran around the field a couple of times.
Abel: So you started slow, didn’t push it too much, and then came back, and you’re back in action?
Abel: I love it. So what’s the best part of eating The Wild Diet way?
The best thing is, probably, you get to eat more food than following a low fat diet. Doctors say, “Eat less food.” I ate more food.
You feel… It’s almost like, if you eat that much food, you have all your energy that you need.
On The Wild Diet you get to eat more food than following a low fat diet. Click To Tweet
Then, I just know when I’m not hungry anymore.
Abel: Unless you eat the sweets, right?
Abel: Alright, what are your favorite sweets?
I like white chocolate. I like a lot of Hershey’s, Skittles…
I probably eat one every wrestling match we have. Just to be able to get my energy up for that wrestling match.
Abel: I see. How much do you eat? Is it before?
Yeah, around before, or maybe after my first match, or something that..
Abel: Yeah, so you just need a quick burst of energy. A little bit of sugar, actually, isn’t too bad for that, as long as you don’t overdo it.
And obviously, it’s great if you get it from the highest quality that you can, but if you’re young and exercising a lot, especially in competition, you can get away with some treats like that.
Actually, when I was running marathons, jelly beans were a huge thing. And they’re still a big thing, because people are out there, they’re really convenient, and they’re popping them in their mouths the whole time. It’s not the best food, but if you’re going to eat jelly beans anyway, that’s a good time to do it, for sure.
And so how many Skittles would you eat, or how much of a Hershey’s bar?
Well, since it’s just after Easter, I got this big white chocolate bar. Usually my mom breaks it off into little pieces and gives me a piece, maybe once a day.
Abel: That’s a smart way to do it. And having one piece, you appreciate it more, right?
Abel: Yeah, you look forward to it. You take your time eating it. It’s not like you get a whole bar, you get this whole bowl of ice cream. It’s like you have this one thing, and you’re so thankful for it, and it’s so good, and you can’t wait to have that, right?
Abel: That’s a lesson that you’ve already learned, that’s going to work very well for you down the road, because that doesn’t apply to just food.
But I think, if you can start, like you’re already doing, acting not for what you want right now, but for what you really want later.
You might want to eat a whole bag of Skittles right now or a whole Hershey’s bar, but I think you want that next medal more, right?
You want to be up there on the leaderboard. You want to be dominating your opponents, and crushing it, and being a rock star of wrestling. You want to be the best you can be and you want to do what it takes.
Abel: So if you do that the right way, it really pays off. I had someone on my show, Dr. Cate Shanahan, and she worked with Kobe Bryant, like I said before, the NBA player, and Dwight Howard, another NBA player.
And I’m going off the top of my head, but I think she said that Dwight Howard, when she started working with him, was eating 21 or 22 Hershey’s bars a day. And the way that plays out over time, is that when he was younger, he was alright. Maybe he could have been a lot better. But even in his mid-20s, certainly late 20s, he started to have nerve problems, and problems with his hands, and inflammation. He wasn’t recovering because he was eating way too much sugar.
That sugar is like a dirty fuel, and you can have that quick burst sometimes, but like in rock, paper, scissors, you can’t use fire all the time. You can only use it once ever. So you have to think about sugar like that.
During your day, you get maybe a little sugar burst during your workout or something like that. And that can be really good for fueling your mind and your body when you need that quick hit. As long as you don’t abuse it, you know?
As long as you’re not a slave to the Skittles. As long as you’re not thinking about Skittles and Hershey’s bars all day.
Right. When I wrestle, I sometimes say, “Oh, maybe I could have a bag of Skittles.” But once I eat that, “Oh, this next match is coming up. We should worry about that.”
Abel: You might feel good for a little while if you eat that bag of Skittles, but you know what a sugar crash feels like, right? What does it feel like?
Once you eat sugar, you want more, and then more.
Abel: Yeah, it’s a roller coaster. And then, you get cranky. I know I get cranky. Do you get cranky afterwards, when you have that crash?
Abel: “Hangry” is what we call it, when you’re hungry and angry at the same time, and all you need is something to eat right now. And usually we pick the worst option, which is bad mojo.
It’s a great idea to pack your lunch, like you’ve been doing for awhile, and I know your parents are great, too. They help, and are super supportive, and I’m really thankful that you took the time, Jack, to come on this show, and share all of your knowledge and expertise with everyone else, because there’s a lot to learn from you. It’s true. You better believe it. You’re way ahead of your time, Jack.
So what are you looking forward to in the next few years? What are you after, more medals?
Yeah, next year, I’m hoping that I get another state medal, one of the top ones. First, that’s what I’m hoping for.
Abel: Awesome. Well, like I said when I signed your book, “I know you can do it.” And you’re going to do it even bigger the next time, and I can’t wait to see what happens next, so you better keep in touch, alright?
Before You Go, Want to Be More Like Jack?
The Wild Diet is great for kids and families because our approach nutrition is based on real, clean, wild food that nourishes your body. That’s what also makes it great for adults who want to lose weight, heal metabolic issues, or just optimize your health to perform better in the workplace or on the wrestling mat.
With our Wild 30-Day Fat-Loss System, there are no expensive gadgets, no pre-measured meals or calorie counting, and no insane workouts. It’s just simple, real foods that are simple to make and help you meet your highest potential.
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What did you think of this show with Jack? Learn anything new? Let us know in the comments below.