Interview With Frank McGee, Author of "A Song for the World"

Frank McGee has built a distinguished career as a writer and journalist over half a century. In the tumultuous 1960s he covered stories as far afield as Brazil, Indonesia, and Viet Nam. As managing editor of “Pace” magazine, a contemporary of “Life, Look, and Holiday,” he worked with thought leaders from around the world.

During the 1970s, McGee launched and edited “New Worlds,” the signature magazine of California’s Orange Coast. The University of California at Irvine tapped him to write the coffee table book commemorating the school’s first twenty-five years. In the ’80s and ’90s, he authored and edited books on a variety of topics that were published in a dozen languages. Today, he lives with his wife in Tucson, Arizona.

Tyler: Thank you, Frank, for joining me. You’re here today to tell us about your new book “A Song for the World” which tells the story of how the Colwell Brothers and Herb Allen used music to bring peace and diplomacy to the world, particularly through the group, Up with People. To begin, will you tell our readers a little bit about how it began?

Frank: Glad to, Tyler. Up with People started in a way that surprised everyone at the time. It was born during the 1960s to give a voice to youth eager to have a say in building the future. There’s a chapter in the book about that. The Up with People show was launched in embryo in 1965 at a conference for young leadership on an island in the Great Lakes. It evolved that summer in performances from a showboat touring local harbors, and within weeks, literally, it was in orbit around the world. No one expected that to happen, least of all the Colwell Brothers and Herb Allen, who initially just wanted to provide a platform for the idealism and creativity of the young people attending the conference. You might say that Up with People was born through a passion for change.

Domestic and global audiences came to know the Colwells and Allen in the following decades through Up with People’s four Super Bowl Halftime Shows. Multiple casts had toured on every continent and across the U.S. and Canada. In America’s Bicentennial Year, 1976, they played in 771 U.S. cities to live audiences totaling 3.9 million. That year they literally invented the modern Super Bowl halftime format when the NFL invited them to perform. The first chapter of “A Song for the World” opens with that event. I have to say (speaking modestly as the author!) that it’s a pretty dramatic story. In 1980 I had the privilege of being a field photographer during their performance at Super Bowl XIV in the Rose Bowl.

Tyler: Frank, I understand you have been friends with the Colwells and Allen for fifty years. Would you tell us a little bit about that friendship and how it developed?

Frank: That’s half a century, Tyler! I first met them in their teens. I hadn’t advanced much beyond that myself. Allen was recognized as a musical genius from his youth, a child prodigy. In his hometown of Seattle he was famous as a wizard on the xylophone. He trained under the best classical piano instructors in the Northwest and was enrolled to enter the Oberlin School of Music, but his passion in his teens was his dance band, Herbie Allen and His Orchestra. Herb was a junior in high school when we met. I was then working with Moral Re-Armament (MRA), an international volunteer group focused on developing accountable leaders across a broad spectrum of society. Herb instantly responded to the objective. More and more I’ve come to realize the implications of the readiness of young artists like Herb and the Colwells to engage in a purpose that gave relevance and meaning to their talents.

The Colwell Brothers were already country music stars when our paths crossed in Southern California. They were regulars on NBC’s Tex Williams television show, broadcasting weekly from Orange County’s Knott’s Berry Farm, which was America’s first theme park (Disneyland opened later just up the road). The Brothers, aged 19, 17, and 15, were the youngest group under contract with a major label, Columbia Records.

I was in the cast of a Western musical show then, and someone got them tickets for the Hollywood premiere. Ironically, the show was about brothers who were feuding over water rights. “A Song for the World” tells the pretty amazing story of what happened during the next few months; I say amazing because in little more than a year they were giving their first performance in a language other than their own. It was in Switzerland, when they sang in French for Robert Schumann, the former foreign minister of France and a founder of the European Union. During the next decades they would write and sing in 37 languages and dialects, with help from the locals, of course. They all speak Italian. Herb Allen, who worked for years in Italy, speaks it like a native. There’s an incident in the book about Allen finding a machine gun under his bed when he was staying with the family of Bruno, a young communist he had come to know: “What’s worrying you?’ Bruno asked Herb when he “happened” to mention his discovery. “We all have machine guns here. There’s one in every apartment in the block.”

Tyler: Frank, why did you decide to write “A Song for the World?”

Frank: I don’t want to sound strange about this, but I think writing the book was decided for me. In the spring of 2003 I was in a gathering of long time associates who met from time to time to renew friendships and talk about what was happening in our worlds. A probation attorney from Oakland said that young people in her city were being confronted with unimaginable situations every day, and desperately needed hope. “There should to be a book about the Colwells and Herb,” she declared.

I’m not kidding when I say the thought hit me with an almost electric jolt that I was meant to write it. My wife, Helen, who has been my partner in creative ventures for half a century, felt the same impulse. And so did my friend John Ruffin, who was moderating our discussion that day. John’s company, Many Roads Publishing, would eventually produce the book, with startup financial support from more than a hundred people from across the world who believed this story had to be told.

Tyler: That’s a wonderful story, Frank. Obviously, musicians have the power to be a big influence on young people, both positive and negative. Do you think Up With People is able to reach young people today and what is their message to youth?

Frank: At the end of Up with People shows, there are always young people in the audience who apply to travel with the cast. Sometimes they’re too young to qualify, sometimes too old, but the element that reaches people most, I think, is a purpose that’s important. Of course the show alone is a big attraction, but in the setting of “Bringing the World Together,” it seems to offer an answer to that ubiquitous question, “What can one person do?”

Tyler: I understand these artists traveled a great deal and witnessed history in the making in several countries. Would you give us an example of one of the most interesting events they witnessed or participated in?

Frank: How about two? Seriously, there are many remarkable occasions described in the book, for instance, being the first international musical performers in China after the demise of the infamous “Gang of Four;” or taking the first show to Russia after the Cold War, even before the Berlin Wall came down. But here are two:

In 1957, Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi was about to embark on a grueling tour of Southeast Asia in which he would apologize to Pacific nations for atrocities Japan had committed during World War II. The Colwells and those they worked with, some of whom were parliamentarians, had been dialoguing with Kishi for months, and at his official residence on the night of the departure, they were invited to present the entire send off program for the prime minister, his cabinet ministers, and high government officials. Their friends spoke and the Colwells sang, with special songs written in Japanese for the occasion. The last sound Kishi heard that evening as he left for the airport was the music of three young Americans, in western costume, singing to him in his own language.

Two years later the Colwell Brothers were in the Congo, today called Zaire, where they sang at the official celebration events when the country gained its independence. The Congo is the size of Western Europe! During an intense and turbulent year they remained working in the country, living through rebellion, revolution, and a re-invasion by troops of the Congo’s former Belgian occupiers, and then U.N. intervention. President Lumumba was assassinated during that year. With an international team the Colwells visited every province in the country, meeting with tribal chiefs in the villages, singing to crowds in stadiums, to Congolese military and peacekeeping U.N. forces in open-air concerts, and performing for national leaders from all parties in the country’s capital of Leopoldville. In the rainy season they crossed swollen rivers with their van perched atop ferries built of planks laid over dugout canoes fastened side to side. The afternoon the army seized control of the country in a coup, the Congo was entirely without phone or telegraph communication with the outside world. An hour after midnight that night the brothers led journalists to a remote village they had visited months earlier on the Congo River, where the reporters could hire villagers and noiselessly slip out into the current in dugout canoes to get the news out to the world. During that year, with their international teammates, the Colwells made more than 400 broadcasts on Radio Congo, the country’s sole means of communication, programs the auxiliary bishop of Leopoldville called “a voice of sanity to the nation.”

Tyler: Wow, that is determination. What do you think really motivates the Colwells and Herb Allen to take these kinds of risks?

Frank: That’s hard to answer, for me at least, without seeming to quote from a press release. I’ve seen the grit, sweat, and sacrifice involved. They could have turned away a thousand times from the path they’d chosen. But they believed something lasting could be achieved, and that they were meant to give their time and talents to it. I don’t think they had the slightest idea when they set out on this journey where it would take them, or ask of them.

Tyler: Frank, when other groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were making huge hits and probably tons of money in the 1960s and beyond, why did Up with People focus instead on touring the globe and visiting countries in crisis?

Frank: I think that boils down to “reason for being.” I’ve little doubt that the 20,000 young people who’ve taken part in Up with People during its first forty years would appreciate tons of money! And I know Herb and the Brothers wouldn’t object!

But to get the answer to your question you have to look at the choices they made more than a dozen years before Up with People was even a gleam in anyone’s eye. Look at the back cover of the book, which has some paragraphs under the heading, “The Power of Music.” There’s a line there that says, “They literally walked away from their childhoods, comfort, careers, and loved ones, putting everything on the line for something they believed. They believed they could change the world.”

Tyler: Why do you think “Up with People” has been so successful?

Frank: Even more than the entertainment of the Up with People show, I think it strikes a chord in the consciousness of people. We all want to know there is hope for the future. We’d all like to participate somehow in creating it. To see young people dedicating themselves to that purpose is both a challenge and an inspiration. The show itself is really a show window. What is inside the store is the encouragement, the gentle persuasion, and possibly even a little provocation to get involved in the life of your community, to volunteer with others who work to make a difference.

Tyler: For readers unfamiliar with the group, what are some of the songs they might recognize?

Frank: People may know “Where the Roads Come Together,” by Paul Colwell. It’s a poignant and moving ballad about who we are:

None of us is born the same,

We don’t know why

It’s the way we came,

Every heart beats a little differently,

Each soul is free to find its way,

Like a river that winds it way to the sea.

There are many roads to go,

And they go by many names,

They don’t all go the same way,

But they get there all the same.

And I have a feelin’

That we’ll meet some day

Where the roads come together

Up the way.

If you lived in the Congo, you’d doubtless be familiar with the Colwell Brothers’ “Vive le Congo,” which became something like a second national anthem and was played on Radio Congo for years.

And of course, “Up with People” is a song known around the world. CDs of the Words and Music of Paul Colwell will soon be available at

Tyler: Would you tell us a little bit about the song-writing aspect of the group? Who writes the music and who writes the lyrics? Where do they get their ideas, and how does it all come together so the music can be performed?

Frank: Paul Colwell, as I mentioned, wrote many of the songs performed in early shows. He often had collaborators, frequently Herb Allen, who was listed as coauthor. There’s a chapter in the book titled, “Birth of a Phenomenon,” about the songwriters, arrangers, and producers from several countries who have worked with Up with People either long term or on specific events.

Several Up with People albums have been produced in Britain, with top technicians and arrangers brought together by David Mackay, a long time collaborator. Mackay has an impressive collection of gold and platinum albums to his credit, including production of the New Seekers’ international hit, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.” One writer Mackay brought in was John Parr, co-writer of “St. Elmo’s Fire, and also David Mallory, one of France’s most successful pop/rock songwriters who created most of the hits of megastar Johnny Hallyday, sometimes called the French Elvis Presley.

Tyler: You mentioned the Colwells have written many songs in different languages and dialects? How do they go about providing this kind of international taste to their music?

Frank: When they’ve written songs in other languages it’s almost always been with people from the area. There are a number of stories in the book about this. For instance, once they were traveling with Rajmohan Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, to the south of India to join in the land reform efforts of Vinoba Bhave, Gandhi’s disciple and the man regarded as his spiritual successor. At a train station in Bombay they chanced to meet a senator friend of Rajmohan who helped them write a song in Marathi, the mother tongue of Maharashtra state where they were heading the next day. After a dusty 12-hour road trip in 117-degree heat in a 20-year old seven-passenger Plymouth they had mastered the song. Arriving to meet Vinoba Bhave, they hauled Ralph’s acoustic bass and their other instruments out of the old car, and performed in the Marathi language for the saint and thousands of his followers. Vinoba Bhave used the words of their song as the theme of his address to the crowd.

Tyler: Musically, what do you feel makes “Up With People” stand out from other groups?

Frank: I think it’s been the content of the songs, plus their intent. They talk of taking down walls of misunderstanding, of excelling, of moving toward new frontiers. The songs are drawn from life. One, “The Last Embrace,” was inspired by a PBS special about a bridge that spanned the no man’s land between war zones in Kosovo, and a Christian boy and Moslem girl who had fallen in love, and died from gunfire on the bridge trying to cross it together. Many songs have been written for special occasions, for special people. A reflection by Captain Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, that he had looked back at the earth and seen “a world without borders,” inspired the visionary lyrics of “MoonRider.” Paul Colwell and Herb Allen’s “Song for China” opened hearts and doors in China when an Up with People cast went there in 1978 before diplomatic relations were established between China and the U.S.

Tyler: Frank, what do you feel is Herb Allen and the Colwell Brothers’ greatest contribution?

Frank: May I answer that in two parts? The first would be a personal response. These four have enriched the lives of many. They are fun to be with, never take themselves too seriously, and never, never get carried away with the PR about them. They’re quick to deflect credit and give it to others, and I have never heard them claim to have caused positive things to happen because of their work. Of course I know otherwise, but they would hit the “delete” button on any “spin” I might have tried to slip into the book. Okay, now to part two:

To me their greatest contribution would be the demonstration of the power of music to generate change. They typically wrote and performed not just any music, but music that touched lives, was drawn from what was important to people, and from what they saw around them. They never set out to tell others what they should think or do. On the contrary, they went everywhere to listen, to learn, and to understand. As a result, doors and hearts seemed to open to them everywhere. You might say that Up with People is their legacy. I think to them it is much more than a show or organization; it is proof to young and old of what the great English educator Edward Thring declared 150 years ago, that music “sooner or later is the great world bond.”

Tyler: Thank you, Frank, for joining me today. Before we go, would you tell our readers your website where they can buy a copy of the book and also what other kind of information they might find there about “A Song for the World?”

Frank: Go to You can order the book there, read reviews, learn which cities are scheduled to be visited for concerts and book signings, and see many of the photos from the book. Thanks very much for having me today, Tyler.

Tyler: Thank you, Frank. I wish you lots of luck with “A Song for the World” and I hope it introduces the Colwells and Allen to a whole new generation of fans.

The Serrano Show: An Interview With Dr Eric Serrano

Dr. Eric Serrano is the ace sought out by elite athletes around the world for help with the most difficult of problems. He spends a large part of his time promoting the health of his everyday family practice patients in Pickerington, a suburb of Columbus Ohio. Amongst the thousands of patients are elite athletes from around the globe who will travel to the ends of the earth to consult with Dr. Serrano.

A wide array of athletes from the NFL, NHL, MLB in addition to countless elite amateurs make up Eric’s elite client list of athletes. His cohesive expertise comes from years of practicing medicine and his career as a record-breaking powerlifter. As an athlete and family man, Eric understands the needs of his clients and pushes himself to stay on the cutting edge of training, supplementation, nutrition, injury rehabilitation and performance enhancement.

Dr. Serrano is a graduate of Kansas State University and earned his medical degree at Kansas University. Currently, he is a professor of family practice medicine at the Ohio State University. One will never have an idea of what extreme demand exists for Dr. Serrano’s services, which is obvious by viewing a message log full of inquiries from elite athletes, strength coaches and related practitioners around the world. He is truly the expert of experts, only the elite come to for guidance and information.


JP: Let’s start with protein. How much does one need if they are training heavy to put on strength and size?

Dr. S: That’s an easy answer. If you are a male, 1 – 1.5 grams per pound. The maximum would be 2 grams per pound if you are training extremely heavy plus doing aerobic exercise. If you are a female. 0.8 grams per pound is sufficient. These recommendations are for people who are not taking anabolic steroids of course.

JP: How about for fat reduction?

Dr. S: It is more important to manipulate fat and carbohydrate levels for body fat reduction than overall caloric intake. In fact, some people do not consume enough calories for true fat loss to occur. The above-mentioned protein ratios apply here as well.

JP: You always hear the casein vs. whey debate and I know that you’ve actually separated proteins for their predominant anabolic or anti-catabolic properties. Can you briefly explain this? What are the best protein powders on the market?

Dr. S: First of all, I do not believe that whey isolates are the best. Let me explain why. When we simplify things, we tend to destroy other things along the way. For example, going from milk to whey destroys many of the growth-support proteins. Taking this a step further, processing whey alters the alpha-lactalbumin to beta-lactoglobulin ratio so that the latter is in greater concentration in the end product. Well, guess what, beta-lactoglobulin is the most allergenic protein of them all!

To answer the casein vs. whey question, it depends on the process. There’s calcium, potassium and sodium caseinate, but I prefer to use milk protein isolate that has all the proteins together or micellar casein which seems to be a superior source. For whey, I favor whey concentrate which is cheap, pure and better quite frankly. There’s a supplement called ImmunoPro which is not cheap, but has a more favorable alpha-lactalbumin to beta-lactoglobulin ratio and is one of the best products on the market.

To gain size, you want proteins with both anabolic and anti-catabolic properties. Anti-catabolic proteins are rapidly absorbed and will prevent breakdown of muscle (eg. free-form and branched-chain amino acids which get in the system quick, raise insulin which prevents the muscle from breaking down) while anabolic proteins will help build muscle (eg. red meat).

As far as I’m concerned, the best proteins on the market are Beverly International Ultra Size (which also has beef in it), Biotest Low-Carb GROW!, Champion Nutrition Met Max, ImmunoPro as I already mentioned, MD+ Myosin, and a meal replacement powder called Micellean Bioactive Superfood from VPX which tastes pretty good too.

One more thing regarding protein, you can snack on soy beans if you wish, but no time in a male’s life should they consume a soy protein isolate!

JP: Many people are looking for ways to naturally increase testosterone levels. Any suggestions?

Dr. S: Believe it or not, there are some studies (on resistance trained athletes) that show that eating too much protein can actually decrease testosterone levels especially when fat and carb levels are low. There is a direct correlation between dietary (saturated and monounsaturated) fat and testosterone – in general, the higher the fat intake, the higher the T levels. Olive oil, cheese, are red meat are excellent sources. Many athletes stick to only lean cuts of meat – it’s these guys in particular that can attain an erection but have a hard time keeping it (pardon the pun!) Also, a study just came out recently showing that tribulus specifically from Bulgaria (not Japan, China or India) and from the fruit (not the stem or the roots) elevated LH and testosterone levels.

JP: How can you naturally control dreaded cortisol levels?

Dr. S: Well, every time you eat, you lower cortisol levels – raising insulin lowers cortisol – that’s a natural response. So, the first method would be to eat frequent small meals. There are certain supplements that will lower cortisol levels naturally: rhodiola rosea (600 mg), panax ginseng (2 studies now show that it decreases cortisol levels – you need a minimum of 1 gram), PS (400-800 mg). Fats are also very important particularly monounsaturated fats, but no matter who you are and what you do, the best way to decrease cortisol levels is sleeping at least 8 hours a night! There’s a book called Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival by T.S. Wiley & Bent Formby that illustrates this. The process involves circadian rhythms of hormones and timing of melatonin levels. There were an incredible number of studies performed on this subject, but on average 8 hours of sleep (optimal being 9) is necessary every night. The key is not watching tv late at night. One study I recall involved placing people in a dark room and shining a little light bulb behind the knee for 20 minutes to see what would happen. The subjects’ sleeping pattern changed even though they were in a dark room, and in only 2 weeks, the melatonin levels of all the subjects was completely altered so you know that the skin has some type of sensitivity to light. That’s why in the summer, we stay up longer because there is more light and in the winter, the opposite occurs. Since there’s less light, we feel more tired, stressed and depressed and we want to go to bed earlier. It makes sense!

JP: How would you go about regenerating the adrenals after say a lengthy period of stimulant abuse?

Dr. S: If you use stimulants or thermogenics for more than 12 weeks, you kill the adrenal glands. It takes about 8 weeks to recover. To regenerate them, you need to take adrenal gland supporters (eg. Standard Process Drenamin, Metagenics Adrenogen), vitamin C (at least 3 grams a day), DHEA, and fish oil. In fact, the adrenal glands are 60% fat – polyunsaturated fats are important here (they will also decrease cortisol levels). Again, sleep is crucial.

JP: Or how would you cleanse the liver after a steroid cycle which included orals?

Dr. S: Okay, make sure that you have some liver tests (i.e. blood work) done by your physician to obtain a baseline. This is one of the few times that I agree to a medium protein diet. In addition, it is important that you do not smoke, drink (alcohol), take Tylenol, birth control pills or other drugs during this time. To clean the liver, you need the right foods. Eggs are useful in this situation – the lecithin found in eggs will help. As far as supplements are concerned, liver tablets (Beverly International Ultra-40), milk thistle, glutathione, and glutamine also helps the liver. Finally, 25-50 grams of vitamin C taken intravenously has been shown to regenerate the liver. I use this approach in my office occasionally when I have a patient with hepatitis A, B or C and the results are incredible!

JP: Okay, let’s give the reader an example of how you diagnose things. We’ll take the thyroid for example. You’ve mentioned that you check TSH, T4, T3, reverse T3 and triglycerides as well as ask questions about hair loss, constipation, weakness, palpitations, and usage of carbs and caffeine. What exactly do you look for and how do you go about correcting some of these anomalies? How about boosting the thyroid gland, what would you suggest?

Dr. S: Yes, the biggest problem I’ve seen in this area is that some labs return normal and you assume everything is fine so you do nothing – you must listen to the patient! If the thyroid is borderline, meaning that TSH is between 2.5 and 3.0, you can use adrenal supplementation for 4 weeks. If after 4 weeks you do not see results, then I would recommend thyroid medication. Armour thyroid is a natural thyroid that contains both T3 and T4. If you have someone with hyperthyroidism, then putting them on a thyroid medication may actually help to lower their levels.

JP: You’re not a fan of milk, but you don’t mind other dairy products like cottage cheese or even whipping cream. Why is this? Also, what type of cottage cheese do you recommend (i.e. organic, low or high fat, does it matter?) and when?

Dr. S: Let’s clear up the first part: it’s not that I’m not a fan of milk, I’m not a fan of pasteurizing and homogenizing milk! Heating at high temperatures for a short period of time is okay, I guess, but filtering the fat through small filters completely changes the composition of milk. Raw milk is great but it is difficult to obtain (unless, of course, you get it straight from the breast!) Goat milk is a better choice than cow milk because it has more fat and less carbohydrates, and it tends to be a lot friendlier for people with milk allergies because the protein sources are different. Cottage cheese is one cheese that will actually elevate sugar and insulin levels. I would recommend organic, high fat (the highest you could find) cottage cheese.

JP: Explain why you believe this whole concept of acidity is faulty.

Dr. S: I assume that you are talking about the acidity of the blood. This being the case, the human system is so keen on controlling the pH of the blood that any change affects the body. For that reason, the body will try to fight acidity or even alkalization. I don’t believe too much on this concept. I do agree, however, that certain foods will affect the pH of the blood for a short period of time, but it’s nothing to worry about. The most common change in pH is secondary to a lack of oxygen. If this happens and you go too acidic, then you’re in deep shit!

I have a problem with those that claim that eating too much meat will make you too acidic. Let’s go back to prehistoric times when there was no agriculture so there were no grains. Basically, we had to hunt to eat. We ate lots of meat and got our fiber from eating intestines not grains. In the summer, we had plenty of fruit to feed on (like cherries, strawberries, etc.) but what happened when winter came? It’s gone! The only thing left is food that is walking around so we had to follow this food that would migrate south. Now, we would stumble across other sources, like bananas for instance, which would influence nutrient intake. Our bodies, therefore, were never deficient because we would transition between seasons – this is one of the reasons why I believe in a food rotation diet. Anyhow, to get back to my original point, if you’re going to tell me that eating meat is going to make me acidic than there were a lot of acidic people millions of years ago and we would not have survived!

JP: What are your views on food combining?

Dr. S: The body is prepared to digest food, plain and simple. It does not have a separate blueprint for each individual food. You think your body automatically recognizes that you’re eating a banana or a strawberry? No, it doesn’t work that way. It is true, though, that combining certain foods can affect you hormonally. For instance, eating carbohydrates with protein will elevate insulin levels and facilitate the transport of amino acids into the muscle cell which is beneficial post-workout. However, people are misguided if they feel that food combining will aid digestion. If you have a healthy digestive system than food combining is unnecessary. If this is not the case, then fix it!

JP: Can you clear up the whole egg issue. For one, some people don’t believe that we digest eggs all that well and that they are a common food allergy; whereas, others feel that since they are so similar to human tissue, they are easy to digest. Then there’s the issue of cooking them or not. On one side of the coin is Dr. Mercola who believes that cooking destroys some beneficial enzymes and nutrients and that the risk of salmonella poisoning is actually quite rare. Then there’s John Berardi who says that cooking the eggs will increase their absorption. And finally, the whole egg and cholesterol issue.

Dr. S: Eggs are one of the most allergenic foods you could eat. Is there a difference between boiling, scrambling, or eating raw eggs? Yes. The more you cook eggs, the greater the free form amino acids. Eating raw eggs provides intact proteins which is more allergenic. Boiling is a step in the right direction, but scramble your eggs as much as possible. Mercola is right in that cooking will destroy some enzymes, but it’s a trade-off where I prefer less allergies over more enzymes. I definitely agree with Berardi that cooking eggs will increase their absorption.

Cholesterol and eggs is not an issue at all. I can’t believe that people still suggest this to be true! Almost every hormone you have is cholesterol-based except for protein-based hormones like insulin and growth hormone. The lower your cholesterol levels after the age of 55, the higher the chance of cancer!

JP: You impressed me with your knowledge of kinesiology and your diagnostic skills. What are some of the common weight training injuries that you see in your practice?

Dr. S: The most common weight training injuries that I see are imbalances between the frontal superficial line versus the back superficial line. Visit for more information. Hamstrings are notorious for being tight. Also, I notice many people lacking the supporting muscles. For instance, it’s common to see weak lats with strong upper traps pulling the shoulder girdle closer to the clavicle which causes impingement of the rotator cuff. Also, stress-related injuries which affects posture results in weaker muscles that are more prone to injury.

JP: While we’re talking about injuries, any tips or supplements that will speed up healing?

Dr. S: There are many supplements that will speed up healing. Research has shown that digestive enzymes will help injuries. They act as anti-inflammatories and will even help reduce cancer. Another big one, albeit through a separate mechanism, is glucosamine and chondroitin. These are more applicable to the joint (as is collagen); whereas, enzymes (specifically bromelain) will act on the tendons. Fats are also important. Fish oils and GLA have been shown to have a potent anti-inflammatory effect. Other supplements include Vitamins C (2 grams) and E (800 IU’s), MSM, reishi mushroom, cat’s claw, tumeric, feverfew but the dosage used will depend on the injury.

JP: You’ve mentioned some impressive numbers with regards to your own training and I saw you perform multiple repetitions of towel chin-ups with ease. Do you have any strength tips that you would like to share?

Dr. S: Wow, I never knew you were so impressed with me, JP! First of all, the most common mistake I see is overtraining. If you’re over 35 years old and do more than 10-12 sets per body part, you are overtraining! If you do legs more than twice a week (depending on your state), you’re overtraining! In a strength phase, work your legs only once a week and your total workouts should not exceed 3 times a week especially if you are performing any aerobics. Always keep in mind the stress factors of your client, such as work, rest, nutrition, family, etc. I have research that clearly demonstrates training more than 3 days a week elevates cortisol levels for up to 4 days. This is important because elevated cortisol levels will not help you build muscle! You want to have an acute destroying effect on the muscles and then stop it – allow them to recover and build. One of the best ways to stop this so-called destruction is to use BCAA’s. BCAA’s lower cortisol levels. I’ve been saying it for years to always ingest BCAA’s pre-workout.

Another thing, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. So always work on your weak muscles. One way to figure this out is to train the body unilaterally at first to see what is lagging behind. Once you know, spend more time on that particular side. Also, remember that your grip dictates your strength – if your grip is weak, you won’t be able to bench as much. The most common weakness I’ve seen are hamstrings while the glutes get too strong. Usually, both the lower and upper back tend to be weak leading to injury.

JP: I learned from you that limited range calf raises hit the medial head of the gastrocnemius. Any other little secrets?

Dr. S: If I tell you then they won’t be secrets any more, but I’ll share one with you anyway. A common injury I see involves the origin of the biceps (long head) due to lat pulldowns. Most people tend to train their biceps solely with elbow flexion, but the biceps function as both elbow and shoulder flexors. Usually, biceps injuries occur at the shoulder. To properly train them, you should go from a stable to unstable, prestretched to shortened position. Let me explain what that means. Anytime you rehab someone, you should start from a stable position and work around the joint that is hurting. So, if the origin of the biceps is painful, you can work the distal end in a stable position by performing elbow flexion without contracting the origin at the shoulder. This way the muscle does not weaken and heals faster due to increased blood flow, although sometimes it is necessary to just rest. Sit on an incline bench and perform an incline curl as normal (involving only elbow flexion.) This is considered a prestretched position which helps the fascia heal. Performing incline curls on a Swiss ball will actually provide a more stable environment since you can rest your triceps on the ball. Move to a contracted position (i.e. preacher curl) after a few days or even a week when there is no more pain. Then, progress to more unstable positions.

JP: Can you discuss your fruit hierarchy? A little while ago, you faxed me a flowchart that showed the end metabolic pathway of fructose. Although known for their high antioxidant and fiber content, why is that fruit consumption can hamper fat loss? And can you explain why it’s important to eat fruits in season?

Dr. S: Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think fruits are bad. It’s the amount of fructose in the diet that we must be concerned of. Fructose (specifically high fructose corn syrup) is the #1 sweetener used. It’s a very metabolic, pro-oxidative pathway that is used as a glycosylated carbohydrate because the body does not like to do anything with it – you have to spend a lot of energy to change it to fat or glucose/glycogen so the body converts it instead to glycosylated proteins. Health-wise, this is not desirable. Fruits will make you fat not because they are bad for you, but primarily for the reason that people eat fruits that are “easy”, i.e. grapes – just put a bunch in your mouth, or bananas – peel one and keep walking (and they have about 3 or 4 a day!) Usually, people that eat fruit, do not eat proteins with them – another mistake. Fruits (fructose) are excellent post-workout because they are slowly metabolized, just make sure to add protein with it. Also, I do not believe in juicers because they remove the pulp/fiber from the fruit.

Why is it important to eat fruits in-season? Because God knows better! You should eat fruits that are in-season at that time. For instance, if it is cold outside, eat an apple; whereas, in the summer, strawberries, cherries, watermelon, etc. are in-season. Do not eat fruits that are not available. Bananas are not in-season during the winter, yet guess what the most commonly consumed fruit is at that time? That’s right, bananas!

JP: Can you reveal your new food pyramid? I’ve heard you discuss the inherent problems with the original model, and although the new proposed pyramid is a step in the right direction, it’s still off. Please explain.

Dr. S: Water should be at the bottom because you can die after 3 days without water. Tell me which food is more essential than that? Next would be proteins, preferably organic. Then comes vegetables, everything but white potatoes (sweet potatoes are fine) and corn (which is actually a grain). The next level involves fruits and nuts together – I consider these the same in value. Cheeses follow since most are not fermented. After this comes carbohydrates – the best sources are rice and oatmeal. My food pyramid would include a disclaimer that reads: “Carbohydrates are activity dependent!” If you are a couch potato, then you should not consume any carbohydrates – no grains or anything – and fruit only occasionally. However, if you are active, then by all means, consume those carbs.

JP: I know that you are a fan of fish oils and olive oil. Can you discuss the importance of these unsaturated fats? What makes your new Alpha Omega M3 better than most of the other EFA supplements?

Dr. S: As I discussed earlier with regards to olive oil, higher monounsaturated fat intake increases testosterone levels while decreasing cortisol. Fish oil can decrease the size and number of fat cells. The reason why my Alpha Omega M3 is one of the best EFA supplements on the market is because it is the only one with just a little bit of ALA yet contains high dosages of olive oil, fish oil, CLA and GLA in specific ratios. Another good one is MD+ EFA+, but it’s missing the olive oil (monounsaturated fat) which I feel is important.

JP: With all this talk about mercury toxicity, is it even safe to eat fish these days?

Dr. S: I had a guy who was eating 3 cans of tuna a day. He upped it to 5 and his mercury levels shot from 5.2 to 47.4 – that’s toxic! So, you have to be careful with some fish especially tuna, shark and dolphin. Salmon, herring and crab are okay.

JP: You’ve brought to light that the enzyme responsible to break down ALA into the active constituents DHA and EPA is deficient over the age of 35. Does that mean that it is relatively worthless to take flax seed oil over that age? And if below 35, how much flax seed oil should you take?

Dr. S: Flax seed oil is very high in polyunsaturated fats. These fats are unstable in the body because they can be easily oxidized. The enzyme responsible for breaking down ALA into DHA and EPA is lower (not deficient) after the age of 35. I just found out in a study conducted on pregnant women that taking as little as 3 teaspoons of flax seed oil removed all the EPA and DHA from the breast milk. Yet, when they changed to fish oil, EPA and DHA were present in the breast milk. That tells you something. The conversion rate is only 15% from ALA to EPA/DHA so it’s better to take fish oils. What are things that affect the enzyme: caffeine (people taking thermogenics have even lower activity of that enzyme), high insulin levels (from excessive carbohydrates), alcohol is the biggest factor, and low magnesium levels.

JP: This last question is a must ask. Any new hot supplements we should look out for?

Dr. S: I am conducting a study on Humanavor right now. I’m measuring insulin, lipid screen (good and bad cholesterol), DHEA and cortisol levels. I’ll let you know what happens. Some good, new ones include anti-cortisol, hyper-metabolic supplements meaning that instead of just concentrating on a thermogenic effect, you have something that lowers your cortisol so that insulin works better (or is diminished) similar to alpha-lipoic acid. Also, a combination of BCAA’s with taurine and arginine before workouts.

JP: Thank you, Dr. Serrano, for taking the time to conduct this interview. As always, talking with you is a serious learning experience. I know that you are extremely busy these days with over 8000 patients and that you are not taking on any new clients. How can the readers out there contact you if they are interested in a consultation?

Dr. S: Go to