Metabolically Stimulating Fat?

Metabolically stimulating fat? Once upon a time, in a world far, far away — well… Atlanta, Georgia (far enough), I used to be a no-fat freak. Yes, you heard me. I wouldn’t go near the stuff. I, like many of you, was under the impression that dietary fat makes your body fatter. So, if fat makes you fat, eating no fat must help keep you thin and healthy. Right? Wrong! The problem was that most of our “trusted advisors” were on board with this theory — the USDA, our doctors, and every health-related book and magazine preached this message. Many still do. You see, fat does not make us fat. Wait, let me specify — certain fats, especially saturated medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), like coconut oil, do not make us fat. In fact, these MCFA can do quite the opposite. Back in the 1990s our trusted researchers failed to realize that not all fats are created equal. Bad fats, like hydrogenated oils, trans-fats, and PUFAs, will make you fat — not only by their high caloric values but by their metabolically lowering effect. Remember, there is more to gaining body fat than just calories. The actual response of your metabolism (revving it up or slowing it down) is far more important. Back in 1990s, I could have been the poster child for how to slow down your metabolism. I ate tons of low fat, low calorie processed foods filled with vegetable oils, fillers, additives, hormones, and other (pardon my language) crap. I performed hours of steady cardio every day. I got very little sleep and I drank alcohol...

Why I love saturated fat…

My saturated fat story… If there is one thing you should know about me it is this — I have always been a health freak and a workout queen — and I have loved every minute of it. I knew from the moment I started walking that a sitting job was never going to work for me. Thus, I think I was born to be the athlete-personal trainer-fitness-nutrition freak that I am today.   You know, your basic super hero.. Fast forward a few decades to about a year ago, I was training for 3 or 4 half-marathons, a possible half Iron Man triathlon, and a few 10-hour hikes — crazy, yet normal for me at that time of my life. I thought my body was healthy, so I could do anything…right? Nope. Unfortunately, at the end of 2010, I incurred a nasty groin strain. This was not my first injury, but this was the first injury that was absolutely relentless — and alarmingly, it was not healing. About the same time, my body started to feel chronically tired, I gained a few pounds, and I was feeling “blah” — not a good state for a fitness professional. I went to every doctor, massage therapist, chiropractor, orthopedic professional, physical therapist, acupuncturist, voodoo-ist I could find (ok, I didn’t do voodoo, but I considered it). Each appointment would help for a bit, yet nothing seemed to completely heal me. I felt “off”, and I started to become totally frustrated. I am a nutritionist, so I knew I was eating right. I was trying to stay less active (Ok, I did the...

The Great Egg Debate

Much like the milk and meat controversy, the egg debate has been going on for years. One day, eggs are a major power protein. The next day, they are as bad for you as cigarette smoking. Just last month, national headlines reported, “Egg yolks almost as bad as smoking”, “Eggs Are Nearly as Bad for Your Arteries as Cigarettes”, and finally, “What do egg yolks and cigarettes have in common?” We are once again left confused, and wondering if that three-egg omelet is really a good idea after all? Recently, a research study by Dr. David Spence, a professor at Western University of Ontario Canada, proclaimed that eating egg yolks regularly (at least 4.5/week) was 2/3 as bad as smoking. Yes, you heard it: eating eggs could kill you almost as fast as puffing away on a pack of Marlboros. Dr. Spence questioned 1,231 elderly men and women from the London Health Science Center, who were recovering stroke patients, on their egg consumption, smoking habits, medications and other lifestyle habits. Ultrasound was then used to measure the amount of plaque build-up in each of the patients. The study found that those who ate more egg yolks per week had almost 2/3 the plague build-up of heavy smokers. The study showed that those who smoked the most and ate the most egg yolks had the most plaque build-up. In comparison, those who smoked the least and ate the least amount of yolks had far less plaque build up. The study also concluded that those who smoked the most also ate the most egg yolks. Apparently, in this study, it seems...

Where is the Grass Fed Beef?

As we all know I am a big proponent of the quality of food. Quality is king in my book. It trumps fat content, sugar content, and calorie content. Unfortunately, food quality, especially in the United States, seems to be making a steady decline. People are spending more money on cell phones, TV’s, and the latest tech gadgets, thus leaving less money for the things that are really important — like the quality of their food. Forty years ago, before the industrialization of food, the average household used to spend 17% of their income on food. Now, we spend less than 6% of our income on food. Yes, the government has made food more affordable by introducing conventionally farmed food, concentrated animal feeding operations (cafos), more herbicides, pesticides, chemicals, more processing, and introduced genetically modified foods. But at what cost? Well, how about a staggering healthcare bill at 2.7 trillion dollars a year! Yes, these food cost savings have not come without major health concern with increases in obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and a slew of other diseases. The truth is, the U.S. spends more money on healthcare than any other industrialized nation. At a steady increase of over 2% every year, the U.S. now spends an average $8,000 a year on every American. Yikes! So we are saving money on food, yet throwing it away on healthcare costs. Is there a correlation? I think so… I want to discuss the quality of our food — more specifically, the quality of our beef. Is grass-fed, pastured beef really that much better than today’s norm for “conventionally farmed” beef?...

Is Your Metabolism Broken?

Is Your Metabolism Broken? Is your metabolism working at an optimal level? Do you know? Lately, It has come to my attention that most people’s metabolisms are operating at a below optimal level of function. They’re trying to lose weight and get healthy, while their body’s internal system for weight loss is… well… broken. Trying to lose weight with a low metabolism or broken system is like trying to run a race with a broken leg. You could do — but it will be much harder, and in the end you will most likely do more harm than good. Therefore, wouldn’t it make more sense to heal the leg first, and THEN run the race? I think so. The problem is most people don’t go through this healing process when trying to lose weight. They try running the race (try losing weight) with the broken leg (low functioning metabolism). And yes, with a lot of persistence, willpower, and food deprivation, some end up losing a little weight — only to find in time that they cannot live with this deprived lifestyle for long. So they put all the original weight back on — and then some. I think Diane Schwarzbein, MD (author of The Schwarzbein Principle) said it best: “You have to get healthy to lose weight — not lose weight to get healthy.” Health is not defined by weight loss, how lean you are, or how fast you can run. True heath is defined as being free of illness, injury, pain, a warm body, good sleep, happiness, good digestion, and an ability to stay lean without countless hours...