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098: Better Health Through Blue Light Reduction with James Swanwick

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If you’re aiming for better overall health through blue light reduction there are many options on the market. But which is the best and most effective? Our guest today, James Swanwick, has created the foremost blue light blocking glasses in the marketplace today.

James is an Australian-American investor, entrepreneur, speaker, former SportsCenter anchor on ESPN, host of The James Swanwick Show podcast and the author of The 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge. He is also the creator of Project 90, an online program providing support and coaching for individuals eliminating alcohol from their lives. James and his brother Tristan co-founded Swanwick Sleep, a popular health brand which produces blue light-blocking glasses to improve well-being and sleep quality.

On today’s episode of Awesome Health Podcast, we talk about a myriad of topics including his ability to network and connect with people, the origins of his brand Swanwick Sleep and reducing or eliminating alcohol from your diet.

James says his ability to network and connect with people stems from both his parents and his time as a reporter in the early days of his career. His parents encouraged him to be a good person, they were more concerned with how his teachers said he was as a person than the grades he received on his report card. They also supported him taking drama and speech in high school.

Right after high school, he landed an internship at a large newspaper in Australia. Quickly he put those personable skills to work by connecting with the people involved in the stories he was writing and getting them to open up and share. It’s a skill he’s continued to fine tune over the years. Today he approaches relationships from a goodwill perspective and always asks how he can serve the person he just met, and when he sees an opportunity to do so he follows through.

From there we switch gears and shift into a discussion on the origins of Swanwick Sleep and his blue-light blocking glasses, Swannies. After seeing his friend wear a pair of orange safety goggles one night as a way to reduce his exposure to artificial light, James tried them out at home. He began wearing his own pair of ski goggles before bed. Soon he noticed he was falling asleep faster and waking up more refreshed, so he continued his nightly ritual until a friend of his invited him out to a bar in Hollywood. James was torn: he wanted to get a good night’s sleep later, but he didn’t want to wear the ski goggles.

And a light bulb went off: why not create a stylish pair of glasses that would do the same thing as the goggles? He and his brother put their heads together and came up with Swannies: a line of stylish glasses designed to block artificial light.That was 5 years ago and today those glasses have evolved into Swanwick Sleep, one of the premier go-to brands in the health and wellness industry.

James walks us through the early days of designing and marketing the glasses along with how to reduce or eliminate alcohol from your diet and why James has stayed alcohol-free since 2015.
Join us to hear that and more on episode 98 of Awesome Health Podcast with James Swanwick!

Episode Resources:

Read The Episode Transcript:

Wade Lightheart: Good morning, good afternoon and good evening it's Wade T Lightheart from BiOptimizers with another edition of the Awesome Health Podcast. And today we have a very special guest. His name is James Swanwick and he is an Australian American investor entrepreneur speaker, former sports center actor, or excuse me, anchor on ESPN host of the James Swanick podcast and the author of the 30 days no alcohol challenge. Forbes lists James as one of 25 professional networking experts to watch he's the creator of project 90, an online program, providing support and coaching for individuals eliminating alcohol from their lives. And he is the co-founder of the popular health brand Swanwick sleep, which produces blue light blocking glasses to improve wellbeing and sleep quality. I am wearing mine right now. And of course what's interesting with James is he was a reporter for Rupert Murdoch's news limited reporting on worldwide news politics, business and entertainment for newspapers, including the courier mirror and news of the world. Bro, welcome back to the podcast. Great to have you on board.

James Swanwick: Great to be here. Thank you very much.

Wade Lightheart: Well, you know, for those who are watching, you can see us with our Swannies on video, but for those that don't, I want to share a little bit I met James a couple of years ago at a health event of a friend of ours in Arizona. And what's really interesting about you, James is you have a very affable personality that you instantly want to connect with. And it's like, he talked to you for 30 minutes and it feels like you've been friends with that person forever. So you have a unique skill to disarm people. And on top of that, you have an extraordinarily generous spirit because at that time my girlfriend and I, at the time you made a point to not only take to say, Hey, you were going to provide us some glasses, but you followed up, got it delivered.

Wade Lightheart: We both got them. I had only met you that one time and I knew on boat, you, but I'd never met you. And so you are as advertised. Thanks for coming on here. And I'm curious right now of, before we get into the topic, how did you develop such an extraordinary ability to connect with people in a very short term interaction? It's a really incredible skill that I think you have. And I think a lot of people would underestimate how much of a superpower or wish they had it. Is it something you've always had or something you developed?

James Swanwick: Well, firstly, thank you very much for the compliment. My mother will be thrilled to hear her son spoken about in such glowing terms. I was a newspaper reporter right out of high school. So I finished year 12 and I was lucky enough to get an internship on a Brisbane Australia based newspaper called the courier mail. And when you're a daily newspaper reporter, you're kind of forced into persuading people to talk to you, to open up to you, to give you quotes or information that you can then publish in the next day's newspaper. So each day I would come in to work when I was, you know, 17, 18 years old, go and visit my chief of staff who was responsible for creating all of the stories that would appear in the following days newspaper. And he would give me two or three stories per day to go out there and generate.

James Swanwick: And so really it was a case of hitting the phones, trying to get people, persuade people to talk to me on the phone, trying to persuade people to let me go and meet them in person, try to persuade people to let me take their photograph, to appear in the paper the next day. And so, you know, I think at the time I was kind of, I would consider myself to be introverted. And then I was kind of in like forced extroversion for a few years that I was there in that daily newspaper. So I think having parents that encouraged me to take speech and drama lessons throughout high school, and then also being thrown into a daily newspaper role where I had a daily deadline that was dependent on me speaking to people and getting people feeling comfortable with me really kind of embedded that ability to be, I guess what you said, affable or likable or trustworthy.

James Swanwick: So I think that's kind of where I learned it and then I've just fine tuned it over the years. Every job that I ever got for myself before I became an entrepreneur, I never got it through sending in a resume or a CV. I only ever got it through personal contact through a friend of a friend or an acquaintance of a friend. And again, I think that was implementing the people skills that I learned from being a daily newspaper reporter and using that in other areas of my life. Here's the other thing you can be a natural introvert and still just have a few basic little techniques about being interested in other people versus trying to persuade them to be interested in you. And all of a sudden, even if you're secretly carrying around this introvert introversion, you can come across as quite extroverted very quickly and it can have profound effects.

James Swanwick: So I think those things really embedded it. And then later on in life, I would say, I read a book by Keith Ferrazzi, it's called Never Eat Alone. And in that book, the theme of the book is, go into every new relationship with the story in your head being, how can I help this person as opposed to, how can this person help me? And maybe you experienced that when we first met Wade,because you know, I mean, I remember meeting you, I don't remember the story in my head at the time, but I remember I'm sure I would have had the story of like, how can I serve Wade? How can I get to know, wait, what lights Wade up? What does Wade find interesting? And then I'm thinking of ways, how can I serve him? How can I help him? And in that instance, it seems like the example was simply just sending a pair of my Swannies blue light blocking glasses. Going into every relationship like that, asking how can I help rather than how can that person help me, I think really creates a heck of a lot of Goodwill.

Wade Lightheart: That's an incredible I think overarching philosophy, which you have demonstrated, and it's something that I'm very passionate about in my own life. And my mom grew up in a Christian background and it was always kind of be, you know, I was kind of trained into that thing is be a good person. They would always be worried about looking at my report card, not for the marks, but for how I was as a person. They were much more concerned about that than, you know, how I scored on spelling or mathematics. And I look back now and I feel very grateful that I did have the parents that followed that obviously testament to your mom's and she deserves all the kudos for that. It's a beautiful way to look at life. And I think in today's world of kind of fast interactions and trying to climb up the ladder, and of course we're in Los Angeles and we know what that can be like.

Wade Lightheart: It's so refreshing to have people who have that kind of holistic human condition kind of mindset, and you can feel it and pick up on it. And it's one of the things that I find that almost everyone I interact with has that exchange. So there's always this wonderful flow back and forth. And I'm grateful for that. I want to switch gears though and talk about sleep in particular, because that was kind of where this whole conversation came back to it, then you've developed blue light blockers for a specific reason. And for those who listened to this podcast or you're into the biohacking world, they're probably familiar with it, but what was the backstory behind you getting involved in blue light blockers and its relation to sleep?

James Swanwick: I was in Palm Springs, California with some friends of mine. And we were in a hotel restaurant. It was a nice restaurant and a friend of mine named Mark was wearing a pair of really ugly orange safety goggles at the dinner table. And I looked at him and I said, you look ridiculous. And you're making me look ridiculous by association. There was actually a table of quite attractive ladies adjacent to our table. And I could see them kind of staring inquisitively at my friend who was wearing these, you know, quite frankly, ridiculous looking glasses. And I said to him, why, what are they, what are you doing? And he said, I'm trying to block the blue light. And I said, the blue light, what are you talking about? And he went on to explain that blue light artificial blue light comes out of most of our lights in our home, in our lives, the blue light in the hotel restaurant that we were in at the time blue light from our cell phones, from our computer screens, our TV screens, the blue light from our microwave for the blue light that comes out from our refrigerator, the blue light that lights up the speedometers in our car at night, the traffic lights, the McDonald's golden arches.

James Swanwick: All of these lights are emitting an artificial blue light, which when we look at it stimulates our melatonin, I'm sorry, stimulates our pituitary and pineal glands, which compromises our melatonin production. In other words, at nighttime, if you're looking into artificial light, you're tricking your body and brain into believing it's daytime, which means you stay alert, you stay awake and your body does not turn on the melatonin faucet, which in turn results in compromised sleep. So my friend Mark explained this to me. And so I went back to my home in West Hollywood at the time. And I dug out an old pair of ski goggles that I used to use when I went to park city, Utah each year for the annual Sundance film festival. And I wore these ridiculous sort of yellow lensed ski goggles in the last hour, before I would go to sleep while watching reruns of the TV series, mad men on AMC.

James Swanwick: And it's a great combo. And what I found was when I was wearing these ridiculous goggles, I found that I did actually feel sleepier quicker. And when I removed the goggles turned off the computer where I was watching mad men and turn off the light and rolled over and went to sleep. I realized that I fell asleep quicker. And when I work up in the morning, I realized, Oh, I actually noticed that I slept a little deeper than usual. Now I did this for about three or four weeks. So to get over any possible placebo effect until I was convinced, I'm like, wow, blocking even some of that blue light at night is actually helping improve my sleep quality. The only problem was I still looked like a myth chemist wearing these ridiculous goggles at night. And I remember a friend of mine was at the Laurel hardware restaurants on Santa Monica Boulevard on a Friday night.

James Swanwick: And he texted me and he said, come on out, I'm out with some friends. And I used to live around the corner from there and I was wearing these goggles, watching mad men. And I was like, I don't really want to take these off because I want to sleep well tonight, but I don't really want to go out to a Hollywood bar restaurant wearing pair of goggles. I'm going to look weird. Everyone's going to look and think I'm weird. And that was when the idea hit me, how can I create a stylish pair of blue light blocking glasses that I would be motivated enough to want to wear consistently enough, both inside the home and outside in public, without them thinking that I was a meth chemist, of course. And so my brother Tristan, and I then put our heads together and we produced a pair of stylish blue light blocking glasses in 2015. And we've been producing them and helping folks sleep better ever since.

Wade Lightheart: An extraordinary story. The question is, did you go to the party with the goggles on?

James Swanwick: No, I didn't. I'm sure I would have, if it was October 31st and Halloween, I may have done it. Yeah, no, I didn't do it.

Wade Lightheart: Nowadays people probably just say, Oh, it must be a biohacker, but back then that was very radical. And so over the last, I guess that's five years now that you've kind of developed a kind of go-to brands in the industry. And what's that been like as a businessman, as an entrepreneur to kind of go from, Hey, I'm watching mad men at night with ski goggles to someone who is running an operating a company that's in the biohacking realm and providing a very useful tool for people to improve their sleep.

James Swanwick: So I remember I was at Dave Asprey's Bulletproof conference in Pasadena, California. It's about 40 minute drive outside of Hollywood, West Hollywood in 2016, which was inside our first year of operations. And we bought a booth there. We said, let's take a risk. We'll get a trade booth and we'll try and promote these glasses. And we hadalmost sold out by four o'clock in the afternoon on the first day of a three-day event. And people would just, biohack is everywhere in this big, like convention center in Pasadena, we're wearing our glasses and the more people wore the glasses, the more people would come over to our booth going, what are these glasses that I see people wearing. And we had to quickly overnight more stock so we could sell more on day two and day three. And luckily, fortunately, we were able to do that, but I remember thinking at the time, like on day two, day three, as I was walking through, just seeing, it seemed like 20, like one in five people were wearing our glasses.

James Swanwick: And this is like a thousand people who were attending this event every day. I was like, Oh my goodness, this is just a smash hit. Like, this is, this is an absolute smash. We've crushed it. And we actually did generate a million dollars in sales in our first 12 months. And that's kind of like a dream for first time entrepreneurs or e-commerce owners or whatever. I mean, that's a dream to be able to generate a million dollars in sales in the first 12 months. That is incredible. And so we were just like, wow, we've just crushed it here. The first six months of sick of the second year, we still did well. And then all of a sudden, you know, like a lot of businesses have issues with growing too quickly. I didn't know what I was doing. I hadn't started a proper e-commerce business before.

James Swanwick: All of a sudden you're dealing with like cashflow issues and times between buying stock in China and trying to get it over and marketing and things are starting to break. And our customer support is all of a sudden, I'm like, man, I've got to create systems and processes in here. And it was a mess or at least it felt like a mess. To be honest, it did stunt our growth as a company. However, we were still serving people like people were still thrilled with the product and people were sleeping better and feeling great. And it was a really cool, fun brand. So it feels amazing. But the high that I felt in year one, and maybe in the first 18 months turned into like, I wouldn't say a low, but it was like, Oh man, I'm struggling. I'm struggling here from like 18 months to two and a half, three years. I don't know if you felt that way before in businesses. But in the beginning it was like, wow, this is incredible. We are crushing it. And then all of a sudden it was like, we've grown too quickly. And then it took like a year, almost 18 months to try and get back to a situation where we had a strong base and a strong foundation to really build again.

Wade Lightheart: I think there's a model. I think it's the rule of one, three and 10, and it works out to a million, 3 million, 10 million, 30 million, a hundred million billion. So it seems like there is these inflection points in running a business that you have to transcend. And I can remember a business mentor of mine saying a number of years ago. And he said to me, you get a business to you know, make a million to 5 million a year. You really ought to think about if you want to grow past that point. And I remember thinking at the time like, God, what does he really mean by that? And then having gone through that part with BiOptimizers and I was like, Oh, I get it. It's not for the faint of heart challenges.

Wade Lightheart: Don't end. They just increase first. I always say there's a kind of a model. There's the volume of challenges that come up. And then there's the intensity of challenges, which seems to be the next letter level. And then the third one is the complexity that I think starts to go the bigger your company is the more people involved, the more moving parts, you know, whether it's supply chain, cashflow, manufacturing, customers, like it's an endless array, new channels, whatever it happens to be. There's all at each level. There seems to be another array of challenges that come up and that can be fun and exciting, or it can be a drudgery and horrific, depending on the nature of the entrepreneur, the passion for what you do and the people that you have around you kind of rowing the boat with you.

Wade Lightheart: And I think also identifying what you're good at and what you're not good at, I think is probably the biggest obstacle to growth. I think it was Tony Robbins that said the choke-hold of any business is the mindset and skillset of the entrepreneur. And I thought that's a very telling component I want to move on because you've got an extraordinary brand and we'll put links to where people can get James blue light blockers. I've been using them for years. So thank you for that. I really appreciate that. And I think it's a lovely thing. I used to actually make fun of my way to solve the problem with my girlfriend at the time. And she used to wear these really horrific looking blue light blockers that look like bug eyes, and she'd be wearing them around the house.

Wade Lightheart: And I'm like, God, it's just, it's just wigging me out wear those things. It just feels like disassociative. And she got yours and everything kind of worked out all nice and smooth. So thank you for that. You've got another passion though that I think is very close to my heart. And that is you teach people how to reduce or quit alcohol. And that seems like an interesting topic because I mean, alcohol is everywhere. It's integrated into virtually every single social setting that we have here in North America and around the world. And a lot of places. What gave you the idea that you wanted to engage in that? Like that's an interesting topic that probably has a cool backstory that people might not know.

James Swanwick: I grew up in Brisbane, Australia. I was a societaly acceptable drinker. So I would have a couple of beers at the end of the day. I might have maybe a couple glasses of red wine instead of the beers, maybe two seemingly innocent drinks per night. At the end of the day on weekends, I might drink a lot more, you know, rarely did I get drunk. I wasn't waking up in a ditch. I wasn't getting arrested. None of that kind of stuff. I was just a consistent drinker. What I found was I got to my mid thirties and I realized that I'd been putting on some weight and I hadn't been sleeping as great as I used to sleep. And I was kind of just operating at what I perceive to be like a six out of 10. It was kind of like, I wasn't excelling it.

James Swanwick: Wasn't rock bottom either. I was just kinda like, blah. And in March, 2010, I was in Austin, Texas at the South by Southwest festival. I went out to an industry party on a Friday night, I had to Bombay Sapphire gin and tonics, didn't get drunk. Just two drinks got in a taxi, went back to the hotel where I was staying at, which is 20 minutes North of downtown Austin, went to sleep. And I woke up in the morning and I looked in the mirror and I was like, man, you look a bit weathered James. Like you got some crow's feet wrinkles, your skin's dry. I had a little beer, God, wasn't a huge beer gut, but it was pronounced enough that it was noticeable. And I took a shower and I went next door to this.

James Swanwick: I hop international house of pancakes, which was adjacent to the hotel that I was staying in. And I walked in there. I sat down and sat in the window seat and I looked around and there were some very unhealthy looking folks eating in there. Or you can eat pancakes with maple syrup and whipped cream. And it was an overcast day. And I was looking out the window and the view out the window was horrendous. It was like a big, big highway. Cause this hotel was adjacent to a highway. I remember just looking at the mirror and just looking out the window and just saying, James, just take a break from alcohol. Just take 30 days off just to see if you can do it. Let's try and feel better because I had a tiny little hangover, my mouth was dry. It was kind of like just average.

James Swanwick: Again, it wasn't like the worst thing over in the world. It was just two seemingly innocent drinks, but it was enough for me to just go. And so in that moment, I just said, you know what, I'm going to go 30 days without drinking. And I did. And in 30 days I dropped 13 pounds of fat. If you can believe it just fell off me, 13 pounds, just like that. I slept better. Instead of having seven hours of disturbed sleep, I had seven or eight hours of deep restorative sleep. I joined a gym up on Hollywood Boulevard, walking distance from where I was living in Hollywood at the time it took like a little two week, 14 day trial membership and started moving the body a little bit more. And at the end of 30 days, I was like, actually I feel pretty good.

James Swanwick: In that 30 days period, a friend of mine who I had helped weeks before said to me, Hey, ESPN is looking for an international anchor to host sports center. I thought you might be good for it. Are you interested? And I'm like, yeah, absolutely. I had no television experience. I only had, you know, newspaper experience and I just decided I'm going to get that job. And I had the clarity and the focus and the strategy because I was clear because I wasn't drinking because I had this new found energy. And so I ended up flying over to Bristol. Connecticut did a couple of auditions and got this job as a sports center, anchor on ESPN. And literally within three weeks of that, I've made my day hosting sports center on ESPN. And I was like, well, this is pretty good. This alcohol free lifestyle is really turning out here.

James Swanwick: I think I'll just keep going with this. So I just thought, I'll see if I can get to 60 days or 90 days. And then I'd get to six months. And I was like, I might as well just keep going. And then I got to a year and I was back in Austin, Texas at the following year, South by Southwest festival, 2011. And I went to a bar called the Lustre Pearl bar, which was on rainy street. It's been knocked down now and I walked into the bar and I ordered a Budweiser. And I went to put the Budweiser to my lips to celebrate one year alcohol free. Cause I decided I'm just going to not drink for a year. And at the very last moment I thought to myself, well, hang on in one year, you've lost 20 pounds. You feel great, you're sleeping better.

James Swanwick: You got a dream job hosting a TV show in America. You're learning how to be an entrepreneur. You've attracted higher quality relationships. Like this has been pretty much the best year of your life. Maybe just keep going with this alcohol free lifestyle. So like, yeah. So I put the beer down, gave it back to the barman, ordered a water ice, a piece of lime instead. And I literally have not touched a drop of alcohol since. So that's now a decade and a half coming up 11 years, I've been alcohol free in 2015. I got tired of people asking me about it. So I said, I'm just going to create a program to help people. And so I created a 30 day, no alcohol challenge, which helps people quit for 30 days just to get a glimpse of what it feels like. And then later on in 2017, I created a six month support program for high achievers folks, maybe in their late thirties, forties and fifties business owners, sales professionals who want to reduce or quit alcohol so they can increase their performance and feel better and finally get power over alcohol.

James Swanwick: And it's helped about 20,000 people now it changed their relationship to alcohol. And then I'm currently writing a book which hopefully will be out 2022. Again, really just introducing the world to the alcohol free lifestyle.

Wade Lightheart: Beautifully said. A lot of people don't know, I don't drink alcohol either and neither does my business partner. And it's not that we have anything against it, but we both have discovered that we seem to function better and we are able to do what we do significant at a significantly higher rate without alcohol. And it was funny that you should say that because last year I was at the Tony Robbins date with destiny event and one of the components was, Hey, we need to, I was working on you're moving towards and moving away from, I had just gone through a surprising breakup with my fiance. And I was like, I let her work on some of these things that I'm not sure of. And one of the reasons that we broke up is that she likes to drink and I don't, and she likes to go out and have social occasions and stuff.

Wade Lightheart: And it was just not something that was cool for me. And for her, it made her feel more connected or less anxious or whatever. And I'm not denying that. And it was a moot point because there was a disassociation in our relationship. So I went to this event and I was like, Hey, I'm going there. And I've got my two kind of partners as we're doing all this stuff. And we're kind of going through all the qualities that I would looking for in a partner. And the two ladies who were with me and they're like, they were actually getting drinks and like, Oh, you want some drink? Like get some drinks at the thing. And I'm like, no, I don't drink. And they're like, Oh, Oh, well,how are you going to find one of these girls? You know, like if you don't drink, like what are you going to do socially?

Wade Lightheart: And things like this. I'm sure there's other women that don't drink. But what was interesting is, they believed at that moment that there was a real strike against me, both socially in my ability to connect. And there was certainly significant evidence to support that based on what recently transpired one of the wedge points within my former relationship, I stayed true to my own things. Not because I'm trying to be a do good or anything else. I just felt like this is my life. And if someone can interact with it, Hey, I get it. It's okay. How do you deal with people who feel that alcohol is an absolute must for social connection or business, or taking the edge off, or creating that romantic environment with a sexual partner? What's your answer to all those questions, because those are the ones that always come up.

James Swanwick: Well, that's most people in the world at the moment. I'm afraid to say Wade because most of society has been brainwashed in my view to normalize alcohol anyway, it's societaly acceptable. But the reality is that it's simply attractively packaged poison. You do not need alcohol to create romance. You just want to create romance. You do not want alcohol to take the edge off. You just want to take the edge off. You do not want to drink alcohol to relieve you of your stress and anxiety. You just want to be relieved of your stress and anxiety. You do not want alcohol to have fun. You just want to have fun, and you can do all of those things without one drop of alcohol, without alcohol being present. Now I get it. I mean, like I get why people think and believe why they need alcohol in order to fit in or to create a get to remnants.

James Swanwick: I get it because this brainwashing has been going on for decades. It's in all of our advertising. Like, I mean, you watch any of those Superbowl ads and where they're promoting beer brands like Budweiser and cause light. It's all goofy guys or hot attractive looking women in all of the marketing for international travel, they show a photo of a couple smiling at sunset with a bottle of wine over candle, over a candlelight dinner. And so it's always being like, just embedded into our brain. Alcohol is normal. Alcohol is what you do to create romance. So alcohol is what you do to have fun alcoholism. It's just brainwashing, brainwashing, brainwashing, brainwashing, brainwashing. And so I get why people fail and think that way. But if you are able to take a step back to step out of the matrix, so to speak and appreciate that alcohol is nothing but attractively packaged poison, and you change your relationship to alcohol. And rather than saying, I'm going to say no to drinking, but I'm going to, and instead say, I'm saying yes to an alcohol free lifestyle that puts you in a very powerful position to be able to have fun over a candlelit dinner, without alcohol to dance on tables. If you like and swing from the rafters. Well, not having one drop of alcohol in you from having a great time with your friends and laughing and joking, laughing hysterically without a drop of alcohol, it is possible. And in fact, I would suggest that is the way life is supposed to be. It's like when nature didn't create alcohol, human beings created alcohol human beings. In fact, do you know what the term where the term alcohol comes from? It's an Arabic term. Alcohol and the translation of alcohol is literally body eating spirit. So alcohol is a body eating spirit. It was used in witchcraft back in the days. And so human beings mostly are using this to numb themselves.

James Swanwick: To numb themselves from the pain of being human, to numb themselves from any social awkwardness, they feel they're using it to create a level of confidence in them. But what I do in my coaching and in my outlook, I guess is you're already naturally confident. You're already naturally fun. You're already naturally healthy. That's already inside you. It's just this attractively packaged poison that you are consuming is getting in the way of your natural state of being.

James Swanwick: So your initial question, how do I deal with people who kind of turn their nose up at me? The answer is I don't have to, because nobody really does because of the way of my being when I'm interacting with those folks. Let me explain that. Just if I may, for a second, if someone who doesn't drink goes into a social situation with people who do, and they're kind of almost like apologetic for not drinking, like, Oh, I'm sorry. I wish I could drink, but I can't all sorry. Then of course you're telling yourself, and you're telling your social group that you are depriving yourself of fun. That ordinarily you would choose to drink alcohol. That's the natural state, but you're depriving yourself of that. And you're depriving your social group of fun by not consuming it. That's what most people do.
James Swanwick: They feel awkward, they're embarrassed or they probably think I'm an alcoholic. I better just tread carefully here versus another scenario where you're just like, I'm alcohol free. Haven't drunk in a decade, but love it. You got a town. Let's go, we'll swing from the rafters. We'll have fun. I will go toe to toe with you on a drinking contest. You go your wine and I'll do shots of this sparkling water in line and just laugh and be lighthearted about it. And when you're that way, people's judgment or people's like verbal challenges. They either reduce significantly or they just dissipate. So what do I think of those folks? I mean, I just think that they haven't woken up yet. That's all, I'm not judging them for it. I get why they feel and think that way, they haven't yet woken up to what I think is the natural state of affairs, which is life is simply better without alcohol

Wade Lightheart: I can recall a few years back, a friend of mine, who's a very successful internet marketer. And he had a whole group of, kind of the wild and crazy internet marketers that were attending his wedding in Mexico. And he said to me beforehand, he said, Wade…. It's one of those, you know all you can eat all, you can drink kind of facilities, which are so common and those elements. And he says, you know, Wade, you're the only guy in my life that doesn't drink that I would even consider inviting to my wedding.

Wade Lightheart: He is one of the most fun, loving outrageous kind of guys. And he likes to drink and party and all that stuff. But he said, I know that it's not going to affect, like, you're going to be the guy dancing on the floor more than everybody. You're the guy staying up late, more than every year. But the guy like doing all this stuff, and to me, it was such a nice compliment because like, like you suggested I, through those early stages where I would go to the social gathering with my family members, for example, at Christmas time, which I do every year and not my kind of my extended family. And I can think of one event and, everyone's like, you have a beer, right? You're going to have a beer. And one of the things that they used to use, your word was like determining how liquored up someone might be.

Wade Lightheart: They'd be like, that guy wasn't feeling any pain, or I wasn't feeling any pain, which is, like you said, there's a numbing newness to life. And many of these people engage in life. That's very difficult and challenging and I'm not taking away. And they're using that to manage the circumstances of the life and have at it. But I always remember going to these events and still today kind of suspiciously by those folks. An it's okay. I don't have any problem with it, but when he shared that with me, I thought, Hey, you know, that's really cool that someone who is completely integrated with that lifestyle didn't feel that I was going to quote unquote, make anybody feel comfortable nor feel uncomfortable because everybody else was drinking. And to me, that was a very good telling point that, Hey, we're on the right track here.

Wade Lightheart: You can do all the things that you suggested, and I'm not here to be advocating that everybody needs to be a teetotal or anything like that. I'm just saying as well, I've acknowledged in a great number of my friends in the biohacking community and people within my own company, we just don't drink. And I do feel that there's a certain level of clarity. And for me, and I want to add to this because for people who might be drinking or thinking about this, I'm encouraging you to take your 30 day challenge. I'm going to share a story that I had, because I think this is important and I've never shared this with anyone. And I had stopped drinking for a long period of time. I had gone through bouts of it when I was in competitive athlete.

Wade Lightheart: And then I had stopped again for meditation purposes and stuff. And I realized that I had a little bit of an attitude about it. I had a judgment about other people that, Oh, they're a drinker. And it kind of creeped into my thinking. And one day I started to recognize it's like, wait a second. I'm actually passing judgment on somebody for what they're doing. So who's the pro. Maybe people can pick that up. And so I had studied this meditation technique is to just allow all things to happen, whatever they were. And I said, well, I've got this attitude about it. So it came out that I said, no attitude about it, no deal. Someone offers me a drink, I'll just drink it, whatever. And I did this for a period of time. I ended up dating a woman who was a drinker and I would say she was probably an alcoholic.

Wade Lightheart: And so we'd be kind of hanging out and she was a lot of fun. It's like, Hey, you want a beer? Yeah, sure. I'm going to have it. And I was doing this. And then we ended up one night at this bar and that I wouldn't normally go to, but she was there to drink, come on in, have a drink with, ran into her. And her ex boyfriend came into the bar that night. And he was also an alcoholic and was frequent of that. And he came in and there was a discussion or whatever. Now it's just kinda like whatever, they're working their stuff out. And he grabbed her in a kind of a rough way. And I had known that she had been subject to abuse at another time. No, I don't think that person would have done that. Had he been in his right mind or had she been in her right mind?

Wade Lightheart: So I knew that there was impact on that. And so I went over to the fellow and I said, Hey time for you to leave. That's not appropriate to put your hands on this woman, whatever. Now, as I got closer to the person, the people in the bar who knew this person regularly decided that, Hey, Oh my God, I think Wade's going to go kick that guy's butt. And so the manager, the cook, and one of the servers attacked me. They attacked me cause they thought I was going to attack this. And all of a sudden, now I've gone from the situation and I have these people by the door. And so I drug everybody outside because I didn't want to get in a fight inside the bar. Cause that's an established outside is another thing. So I had some wits about me still and I disabled the attackers.

Wade Lightheart: And at one point I was getting this choke, hold on my neck from this huge, huge guy that was the chef. And I was going to throw him over my back and he would have, his back would have hit this. His back would have hit this kind of railing. And it probably would have broke his back or certainly hurt him really badly. And I stopped. And I just said, why is everybody attacking me? And the guys are like, well, we thought you were going to kill this guy. And I'm like, I just wanted the guy to leave, the guy's grabbing a woman in a rough space. I'm trying to help her out of this situation. And you guys are attacking me. Well, this guy's going through. Like this doesn't make any sense. I went back into the bar. I hung out with a girl, a little bit, went home.

Wade Lightheart: And the next day I woke up and I had this pain in my throat from where the guy was choking me from behind. And I said, wait, would you have been in this situation if you wasn't drinking? And I said, no. And at that point, I said, I'm never touching that again. Because like he said, I was in a situation. I was in an environment. I didn't have my wits about me. I just had a little bit of fog that had built up over the times that had happened. And I knew I was making decisions and making choices in my life that I wouldn't normally in the cascade of those little choices over time, make a difference in your business career. They make a difference in your health. They make a difference in your relationships. They make a difference in everything. And the reality is alcohol is a depressant. It dulls the senses. It doesn't make you as sharp as you like to think of. Would you agree with that?

James Swanwick: A hundred percent it's filled with toxins. And when you consume alcohol, it gives you a temporary and illusionary feeling. That's a high, that's a buzz, right? So it's temporary and it's illusionary. And the sad thing is that when those toxins finally leave your body, then it becomes a depressant. It causes you irritation. It compromises your sleep. Now again, I want to stress this. You do not need to be an alcoholic for alcohol to be destroying your life. You can be a societaly acceptable drinker who just has a couple of drinks per night, even one seemingly innocent glass of red wine a night is enough to compromise your sleep, which causes just a little bit of irritation the next day, which causes you to snap at your husband or your wife or your girlfriend, or your partner or your kids, which causes just a little bit relationship issues, which causes you to seek refuge in some sugary foods, like a Kit-Kat or a coffee from Starbucks with some extra cream or a couple of sugars.

James Swanwick: Just to give you a little pick me up because you're feeling a little bit tired, awkward, or irritated from the night before, when you had a couple of seemingly innocent drinks, which then leads to you putting on just a little bit more weight, let's call it five or 10 pounds over the year, which results in you feeling just a little bit less confident, which creates just a little bit more self judgment, which creates just a little bit more relationship challenges with your boss or your colleague or your staff, or your friends, or your lover, or your wife or husband or kids, which causes you to seek refuge and numb just a little bit with another nightly glass of wine or beer at the end of the day. So you can see the spin-off effects of this seemingly innocent drink, which has just infiltrated all areas of your life.

James Swanwick: And in most cases, for most people, it's a silent, almost invisible damaging effect. They don't recognize that it is that seemingly innocent glass of wine or beer. It's kind of like death by a thousand cuts. It's like this invisible kind of energy leak going drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, and it just kills you over time. Cause most people think of like, Oh Jesus, he's not drinking. He must be an alcoholic. They're thinking of because they got a DUI, they got into a huge fight. They said the wrong thing. They cold called an ex lover. 10 times they did something super embarrassing and that can happen. But I challenge you if you're listening and watching this now just really have a good think about what is the damaging effect of just the seemingly innocent glass or two each night. And wait, thank you for sharing that story.

James Swanwick: As you were sharing your story about the scuffle that you got into at the bar, I was thinking to myself, how often have you got in a scuffle outside of a bar or a restaurant? How often have you got into a fight where alcohol hasn't been present? I would suggest for you and for most people probably almost never, but you see a heck of a lot of fights taking place where alcohol is involved. So you just look at it as pure like data, look at it as data it's like when I've got in fights or scuffles or arguments has alcohol being present. And for most people nine times out of 10, the answer will be yes. And if it hasn't been present, maybe it's because you're feeling the effects of the alcohol the night before.

Wade Lightheart: I think that's true. I remember taking advanced drugs and behavior in a psychology class at university and the professor did something. And of course I know drinking all the time, all that sort of course. And he was talking about this and he said, if you actually looked at all of the different drugs that existed in the world, he said, what drug do you think has caused the most damage, death, destruction and economic ruin of the world? Most people are thinking, Oh, it must be cocaine, right? Must be cocaine. Or it must be one of these hard drugs or heroin or something like that. He goes, alcohol has created more economic damage, more loss of life, more damage to society, both in their family unit and at large than all other drugs combined on the planet, yet it is promoted and regulated by the government, which I find just absolutely fascinating.

Wade Lightheart: Like, you know, and I'm certainly not. I do believe that I'm more of a libertarian, I think, Hey, people are going to get access at it, put it into the regulatory components, but I find it very interesting. Something that could be so common could be also so damaging. Any thoughts about that? I see some cultures that introduce alcohol very young in life, and they'd seem to have less challenges than the one than the cultures that introduce it later in life. Like, you know, here in the United States, it's 21 in Canada it's 18 and stuff like that. Any thoughts around that particular?

James Swanwick: Well, it's not funny at all. I was about to say the funny thing is, but it's, there's no nothing funny about it when the COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns were taking place and there was the government were what was announcing the closure of non-essential services and the keeping open essential services have a guess what liquor stores were considered essential. Liquor stores were considered an essential service. So all of these small business owners had to shut down because they were not essential, but we're going to keep open the liquor store, which causes more family strife, more health concerns, more mental issues, then all other drugs combined more than opioids, more than heroin, the cocaine, like all that stuff. That is how ridiculous our society is at the moment like that. That is just to me, that is just the most preposterous thing that came out of the whole COVID 19 lockdowns for me. I mean, obviously I'm biased because I'm familiar with alcohol. I coach people on how to reduce or quit alcohol, but the fact that liquor stores were considered essential services is like, should show you or should wake you up to realizing just how backwards our relationship to alcohol actually is.

Wade Lightheart: Well, same thing. They've kept fast food restaurants open, so you can go get fast food. And we know that the obesity and diabetes and heart disease are the three major co-morbidities that increase mortality rates for people who have COVID. So we keep those things open. Then we increase the stress about, you know, financial stress not being able to produce, not being able to provide for your family having the uncertainty, the loss of business. If we look at everything is upside down and inverted. And I do believe that a lot of people who are making these decisions are making those decisions based on cloudy judgment, and proclaiming to those people who are spending a lifetime of mink, maintaining cognitive clarity, and health and vitality as the boogeyman, and as we're the people that's not conforming, where are the people who are inviting destruction and death in the world.

Wade Lightheart: And there is zero evidence to support that the people in the health industry are advocating, we're like, Hey, let's be out in the sunshine. Let's take our vitamins and minerals to boost their group. We don't necessarily need masks and things like this, that people do, we need sunshine. We need to go, they closed down gyms, which are exercising. We have a Microsoft. And we can go get drugs at the drug store. We can go get alcohol at the alcohol store. We can go get fast food. And the Corona damages of those are well-documented assured, but that's okay. And now we're going to get the virus. I know I'm going, or the vaccine I'm going on a tangent, but I'm just like, wait a second. This doesn't make sense. What did we say? Is it easier to make that assessment when you're, as they say, clear and sober thinking, and I got another piece on that I want to add.

James Swanwick: I mean, I'm in alignment with how you feel on this. I mean, I went into a hospital recently and to pick up my father who was just having a minor operation. And I was shocked at the vending machines in the hospitals selling Doritos and Mars bars and Kit-Kats, and I'm like isn't this supposed to be a place of health and vitality and energy. And yet they're selling the very thing that puts folks in this hospital in the first place. And then, I don't know if you've ever been to a hospital cafeteria. Oh my God. It is the worst. It's fried food, like burgers, fries, chips, like sodas, like Coke and Sprite. This is a place where you go to here. And then a lot of people, when they come out of an operation, what's the food that the nurse gives you to try and get your spirits up again. They give you ice cream and Jell-O and cookies and crap sandwich. I mean, to me, it's backwards. It's not a view shared by the majority. And that tells me everything I need to know about the modern healthcare system. It's crazy to me.

Wade Lightheart: I had a naturopathic doctor Dr. Cory Hawley, who took a sports nutrition course from a music. He's a model of health. He's in his sixties. He's vibrant. He competes at world championships for seniors in the hammers throw at the seniors Olympics. He is prolific in his creative capacity and is a model of health. And he was in a debate, a doctor, a medical doctor, and was advocating all these things. And the medical doctor was grossly obese and was in a state of disease and was talking about that there was no science and what he was advocating about vitamins and minerals and all that sort of stuff. And he said to him, well, what is the science between? But by what you feed people, when they're trying to heal from a surgery or cancer, or one of these major conditions, and you're serving them pop tarts and jello.

Wade Lightheart: And you're trying to tell me there's science behind that. He goes, when you start applying the science of nutrition to the recovery of your patients, maybe you'll have an argument and better yet. Maybe you'll apply it to yourself. And I think this want to come full circle here, because I want to encourage people for your 30 day challenge. And that is I would like people to engage in a little exercise. What if the things that you've been doing over the last while those little mornings that you woke up with a little hangover or less than, or not feeling yourself from a night about partying or a few drinks after work or whatever, and think about how many years you've been doing that. What if, what James said is true? What if that does make you a little less aware, a little less sharp, a little less focused.

Wade Lightheart: And what if you've been doing that for five, for 10, for 15, for 20 years, what do you have to lose? If you tried 30 days to see, did you run an experiment to see if you feel clear, a little sharper, a little more focused, wouldn't it be worth it to just experiment? And if it didn't work out, you could say, you know what? These guys were full of crap. I'm going back to my boozing ways. I be interested to run that experience. So I'm encouraging people to do it. Where do people find out where you are, how to do this experiment and what they might find by doing it?

James Swanwick: Find everything at You spell my last name, SWANWICK. So I've got links there to the 30 day, no alcohol challenge. Also our six month support program is called project 90. There's a link there as well. If you'd like to get a free guide, I've produced a guide that helps folks really change their relationship to alcohol. Again, you can find the guide at or you can just go to and then feel free if you want to reach out to me and ask me a question, or just share what's going on with your alcohol journey, or ask me any question about sleep. You're always welcome to send a direct message over on Instagram at James Swanick. Just let me know that you heard me here, or you saw me here and you can find all you need, basically, or over on my Instagram.

Wade Lightheart: James, you are an incredible man and just a wealth of knowledge and information and good at a lot of different areas. I might say, I really commend the work that you're doing and advocating this. And I had no idea that we would go down this road. And that's what I love about doing this podcast, because, you know, I know that cutting alcohol out of my life made a massive difference. I know that using your blue light light blockers has made a difference in my life. And I know that your networking ability has made a difference in my life. So if your goal was to make a difference in people's lives, I can absolutely attest on three different cases. Plus this one that you've made a difference in my life. And of course the people associated with me, and I want to thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. You're a good man doing good things in the world. And if you're out there listening to this podcast, folks, make sure you check out James' information. We've got all of the links associated with it. Any last words closing is before we wrap up the show, James?

James Swanwick: Life is simply better without alcohol.

Wade Lightheart: Amen. Well, there you go folks from the man himself, go get those blue light blockers. The Swannies are where it's at. And of course, we want you to try his 30 days, alcohol free lifestyle. Please download it, give it a shot. You know what, great time to get this. This will be coming out probably just right after the holidays. So good time to implement it at that time. I'm Wade T Lightheart from BiOptimizers. That's another wrap of the Awesome Health Podcast. We'll see you on the next episode.
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