Leafy Greens or Toxic Food? The Other Side of Eating Vegetables

Leafy greens or toxic food? The other side of eating vegetables

Here I go again…are you ready? I am about to question one of the most widely promoted health recommendations in the U.S. What is it?

I’m challenging the recommendation to “eat more vegetables”.

This is an interesting topic since most of us have been told all our lives that we need to eat more vegetables. Right?

For most of my life, I have been a huge advocate of eating tons of vegetables including kale, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Personally, I would eat at least 8 to 9 servings of vegetables a day — mostly raw. We have all been told vegetables are good for us because they contain loads of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidant properties. And this is true — vegetables are filled with all these health-promoting properties. However, does this mean that all vegetables are good for us? Or is there another side of the story we’re missing?

As many of you know, about three years ago, I went through a massive transformation in my beliefs about health and nutrition. At the time my diet consisted of organic vegetables, gluten free grains, lots of organic chicken and meats, protein shakes, some fruits, and tons of water. My diet included no dairy, little fat, and no fruit juice. Sounds pretty healthy, right? The problem was, my body started to break down, I started to feel like crap, and I had no idea what was going on quite honestly, because I thought I was eating the perfect diet. Over the next year, through trial-and-error and lots of research, I realized that maybe, just maybe, I could be wrong. (Gosh, I hate to admit I am ever wrong).

The USDA and most health professionals recommend increasing whole grains, nuts, and legumes. They recommend increasing consumption of “unsaturated” fats (which often ends up being high in PUFAs), while decreasing saturated fats. They recommend less juice, more fruit, and more vegetables — especially the green leafy veggies.

In the meantime, what am I doing? I added into my diet more saturated fats, removed most polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), removed ALL grains (including whole wheat and gluten free grains), started drinking more fruit juices, and eating more of the right fruits and sugars. I also greatly reduced my fiber intake — specifically green leafy vegetables, beans/lentils, nuts, and uncooked fruits. Yes, I know this is 180 degrees different from what we have all been told to do and the USDA recommendations for the last 50 years.

So, I am sure your next question is, why on earth would I do something so against the grain?

I believe the widely-promoted recommendations may not be totally on track. Are you ready to have your head spin?

Here are 3 main reasons why you may want to rethink your vegetable intake:

  1. Fiber.

Fiber is a major component of vegetables, coming in the form of cellulose. Cellulose is a polysaccharide (long carbohydrate molecule that the body cannot take apart) and is the structural component of the primary cell wall in green plants. Cellulose is also known as indigestible fiber — they used to call it roughage back in the day. No, humans cannot digest cellulose. We are told this roughage is good for us because it helps with the bulk of our stool. We are told this roughage helps clean out our intestines and helps prevent colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. But, is this actually true?

In Konstantin Monastyrsky’s book Fiber Menace, he discusses how increased fiber intake might do quite the opposite — causing more damage and increased inflammation and irritation to our already damaged guts. You see, whenever external factors (poor diet, stress, chemicals, processed foods) compromise bowel movements, the normal bacteria inside the colon are the first to suffer. Because these bacteria make up the bulk of normal stools (up to 75%), once they’re gone, stools harden up because the bacteria are no longer there to retain water, soften the stools, and provide stool bulk. After the bacteria are gone, and we become constipated, we start eating more fiber to replace their function. For a while, the increased fiber will appear to be working. Fiber makes stools voluminous and not as hard. Unfortunately, this is merely the calm before the storm. Regularity from fiber is not happening by restoring the body’s natural bacteria and bulk, but from replacing it with an outside bulking agent — fiber. For a while, the problems are hidden because you don’t feel them…yet.

Monastyrsky’s explains how most people will start to get inflammation of the intestines due to damage of this increased bowel size (caused by fiber and increase water consumption). The intestinal wall now becomes thinner due to physically being stretched by the bulk and increased inflammation, making it harder to expel your stool. Contributing to more problems like hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and colon cancer.

To some it up, our processed, fast food, and convenient American diet is killing the bacteria in our gut that makes up a large part of our stool. We try and replace this bacteria-bulk, by eating more fiber. The increased fiber leads to more water intake and retention in the gut, which leads to increased stool size which briefly makes us think everything is working great. Soon, however, we start having more intestinal inflammation, decreasing the size of the intestines even more, causing constipation once again, and repeating the cycle. And how do we treat this? Of course, eating even more fiber and drinking more water, which is just making the problem worse! Sound like anyone you know?

Everyday, I meet with people who have digestive issues, constipation, diarrhea, or all three. In fact, I have not met a person yet who does not have some sort of digestive issues. Most of these people are eating plenty of fiber in the form of high fiber cereals, oats, bran, and tons of salads — and they’re drinking plenty of water, yet they are still having issues. I’ll be honest, it’s not until we remove most of these high fiber foods and allow the intestines to heal that things start moving better. Personally, I had the same experience. When I use to eat tons of salad and high fiber foods, I used to feel bloated and distended all the time. After completely changing my diet, how do I feel? No bloating, no digestive disturbance, no problems.

  1. Goitrogens.

Goitrogens are substances that suppress the function of the thyroid by inhibiting the formation of the thyroid hormone. Goitrogens are found in all cruciferous vegetables, including but not limited to soybeans, broccoli, cauliflower, green leafy, bok choy, cabbage, cress, and brussel sprouts. Eating a lot of raw cruciferous veggies can suppress your thyroid, leading to a slower metabolism and increased metabolic hormone disturbance. Wow, that sounds inviting.

Now, if you’re dead set on eating a vegetable stir-fry or any other cooked vegetables, it is important to know that cooking cruciferous vegetables for about 30 minutes can lower the goitrogenic effects. Yes, I know cooking vegetables too long may significantly reduce the levels of some nutrients. But it also increases the bioavailability of other nutrients. Also keep in mind that there is more to a food than just nutrients. We must get past the thought that the more nutrients a food contains, the better the food is for us. Nutrients are very important, but how the food reacts to our hormones and metabolism, how the food is digested, and how it supports the other systems of our body are just as important.

  1. Chemical toxins in vegetables.

Particular leafy or “above-ground” vegetables will have a variety of defensive naturally-produced chemicals, all with specific functions to deter animals from consuming them. The leaves, stems, and seeds are susceptible to attack by insects, birds, and grazing animals. To protect themselves, these plants contain mild toxins. These plants toxins include phenols, tannins, lectins/agglutinins, and trypsin-inhibitors. In addition, above-ground vegetables (including the leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables) contain unsaturated fats, which, as I talked about in my polyunsaturated fat blog, can be extremely anti-metabolic. Unsaturated fats themselves are important plant defenses — they inhibit trypsin and other proteolytic enzymes, preventing the assimilation of the proteins that are present in seeds and leafy green vegetables. Unsaturated fats also disrupt all biological processes that depend on protein breakdown, such as the formation of thyroid hormone. Once again, there is more to a food than just nutrients.

How are you feeling now? Ready for a big salad? I know all this information may sound a little crazy to most of you. And well, I am ok with that. You must judge for yourself if anything I am saying makes sense to you and fits into your belief system. It took time for me to adjust to my new learnings. But when I did, my health improved — and so will yours.

I can hear you now. “What should I eat if I choose to avoid leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, but still want to eat fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients but low in toxic anti-metabolic substances?”

Here are my top 5 veggies to include in your diet:

  • Root vegetables. Potatoes, turnips, carrots, and beets. Since the root vegetables grow underground, they have a lower toxity level, no PUFA, and no cellulose. They don’t need the protective chemicals to protect themselves from insects, birds, and grazing animals. These vegetables still have a high starch content, so they should be cooked thoroughly (except the carrot), and eaten with a saturated fat, such as butter or coconut oil. This will enable easier digestion and a slower release into the blood system. It will also increase your body’s absorption of the fat-soluble nutrients in the veggies.
  • Fruit-vegetables. Squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and pumpkin. These are actually all considered fruits, as the seeds are inside. They have no cellulose, little starch, and a low PUFA content. Once again, these should be well cooked and eaten with a saturated fat.
  • Tropical fruits. These are lower in fiber and a good source of fruit sugar, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Cooked fruits. Apples, pears, peaches, and cherries are all high in fiber. However, if you cook these fruits, your body will have an easier time to digest the foods.
  • Fruit juices. Pulp-free juices are your best sources of nutrients without the fibrous pulp. Orange, grape, cherry, and pineapple juices are all acceptable.

*Please remember, none of these foods should ever be eaten alone, you should always eat all vegetables and fruits with a protein and fat to slow the blood sugar response. All vegetables and fruits eaten individually will throw your blood sugar out of whack.

To summarize, eating tons of high-fiber vegetables may not be as great as we have all been lead to believe. Of course, a diet with no vegetables or fiber, but tons of processed crap, is not a good argument for the benefits of a lower vegetable/fiber diet. Only a diet with the right metabolic foods will convince you that a lower vegetable/fiber diet is really a healthy option. Does this mean you should never eat a salad or side of raw vegetables? Of course not. I still eat salads. I just eat them 2-3x a month vs. 2-3x day. I eat far smaller quantities of these types of vegetables, but I do not avoid them all together. They do have some beneficial properties if eaten in smaller quantities and eaten the correct way.

Before I changed to my current diet, I was desperate to feel better. What I was doing was not working. Now, I feel 10 times better than I did a year ago. Will it work for you?  That is for you decide…

Remember I am only here to give you another side of what mainstream media, Dr. Oz, and what most nutritional magazines are telling you. I am not here to tell you what to do. I am just here so that you can question your own health, create awareness, and help you understand that there are two sides to every story — even in the health and fitness world.

Your Optimal Health Coach,

Kate Deering

“Disclaimer:  I am an exercise physiologist, personal trainer, nutritional and lifestyle coach, not a medical doctor.  I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease or physical problem. I do not provide diagnosis, care treatment or rehabilitation of individuals, nor apply medical, mental health or human development principles.  I do not prescribe prescription drugs nor do I tell you to discontinue them.  I provide physical and dietary suggestions to improve health and wellness and to nourish and support normal function and structure of the body.  If you suspect any disease please consult your physician.”

References:

1. Konstantin Monastyrsky; The Fiber Menace

2. Dr Ray Peat; Vegetables etc. Who defines Food?, Unsaturated Vegetable oil: Toxic., Mind and Tissue, Generative Energy

3. Josh Rubin www.eastwesthealing.com

4. Wikipedia; Cellulose, Goitrogens, Cruciferous vegetables

Is Your Workout Making you Fat?

 

Is your workout making you fat?

Lately, I have been bombarded with calls and emails from women and men, who are doing tons of cardio AND gaining weight! Correct, they are doing loads of cardio exercise (1-3 hours day) and are gaining, not losing weight.

Is this possible? My first thought is, perhaps they are simply gaining muscle? Well, maybe? However, if they are doing tons of cardio, trust me when I tell you, this is NOT an anabolic workout (a muscle-building workout) this is a catabolic workout (a muscle-breakdown workout). Thus, a high amount of cardio usually results in muscle loss, not muscle gain. Have you ever seen a really muscular marathon runner? I certainly have not. Most elite marathon runners look emaciated. They are super lean yet have very little muscle. You see, long distance endurance activities are very catabolic. They end up breaking down muscle — not building it.

Over time, this means:

Lots of cardio=catabolism=Less muscle = lower metabolism = Fat gain

Most people think the opposite:

Lots of cardio = more calories burned = weight loss

Shouldn’t this be the right equation? Well, it would be, however, you are leaving out one very important component — hormones.

Lots of cardio = elevated cortisol, decreased T3 (active thyroid), and increased estrogen (fat storing hormone) = Muscle breakdown + lower thyroid function = FAT gain and muscle loss.

Is it really possible to gain fat while doing tons of exercise?

Yes. Here is what is really going. After about an hour of exercise, your cortisol levels increase and stay elevated until you have finished your extended cardio workout. Cortisol is a major body stress hormone. Exercise is stress. Thus, long duration exercise elevates cortisol for extended periods of time. Elevated cortisol is very catabolic, it breaks tissue down. Once your glycogen stores (long-chain sugar stored in the muscles) are used up, cortisol starts to mobilize (burn) not only fat, but also other tissues: muscle, organ, and bone. The longer your workout session, the longer cortisol stays elevated, the more tissue breakdown can occur.

In addition, about 30-45 minutes after you start your workout your thyroid hormones plummet.  The thyroid senses the bodies increased metabolic needs so it starts slowing many metabolic processes down (immune system, hormones, digestion) to conserve energy.  As thyroid drops, the stress hormones rise so the body can start using its own energy stores (fat, muscle, tissue).

Now, don’t get me wrong — initially the long cardio sessions will help you lose “weight”, since you will be burning fat (AND burning some muscle). But at what cost?  The cost of valuable muscle, bone, and tissue?

You are losing muscle, so your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR/how many calories your body will burn at rest) drops. Although you are burning many calories during your extended workout, you actually start to burn fewer calories while you are not working out.   Which long term means less calories burned in any given day.

Your body starts to adjusts to the longer workouts by becoming more efficient.  Which means an increase endurance fitness level, but an overall slower metabolic rate at rest. Eventually, you find you have to workout even longer to burn the same amount of calories — or you start gaining fat again. Does this sound like something you may be going through? Do you feel you have to work out longer to stay thin — or if you miss a workout the fat and weight gain is a really fast process?

To make matters worse, like I said above, without proper nutrition, during your long cardio sessions, your active form of thyroid (T3) plummets. T3 needs sugar to work properly. If you utilize all your body’s stored sugar (glycogen) for exercise and do not replenish these stored glycogen stores, T4 stops being converted to T3 in you liver. Once T3 can not be converted, your metabolism slows and your body then releases more cortisol and the cycle continues.

If your workout is making you fat…

Here are 10 things you can do to make sure you will be losing fat — not gaining — in your workout:

  1. Shorter workouts: Keep your workout sessions under 60 minutes — especially if you are a beginner.
  2. Lift: Engage in weight training to build muscle, which will increase your metabolism.
  3. HIIT: Try high intensity interval training (20-30 min workouts that are short but very intense).
  4. Eat right: If you want to train for an endurance event, make sure your nutrition is in check. It is imperative to eat the right combination of carbs, protein, and fats before, during, and after the workout to help replenish your glycogen (sugar) stores and keep your metabolism working optimally.
  5. Intensity: Work harder — not longer. Stop using long cardio sessions as a way to lose fat. Longterm, it does not work.
  6. Sleep: Get plenty of REST to help your metabolism heal.
  7. No dieting: If you are dieting while doing long cardio sessions…STOP immediately, this is killing your metabolism even more!
  8. Essential nutrients: A good diet will contain all your vitamins and minerals.  ONLY take supplement if food is not available to meet mineral and vitamin needs.
  9. Ask for help: If none of this works, or you are a little confused, ask an expert for help.
  10. Patience.  Healthy fat loss takes time, and commitment.

Do yourself a favor — allow your body to start working for you, not against you.

Get off the cardio wheel of insanity. There are far better methods for long term fat loss and leanness.

Your Optimal Health Coach,

Kate

* I do want to make a side note that there are many competitive, endurance athletes out there that are lean, muscular and fit. However, 99% of these athletes have never used their sport as a weight loss tool. They workout to compete NOT to lose fat. They eat five to ten thousand calories a day to support their metabolism and all their activity. They train at a very high aerobic threshold, usually 80-85% of their max heart rate, their sport is their life, yet trust me, if they ever stop…they will gain fat!

 

The Secrets to Proper Core Training

The Secrets to Proper Core Training

Six pack abs, a flat stomach, NO belly fat, a small waist, thin, trim, and skinny…all words that attract us when it comes to our  mid-section.

What about proper posture, corrective work, improving muscular imbalances, reducing back and hip pain, and improving spinal function…maybe not as popular, but all can occur IF you train your “core” properly.

First, what is your core?

The core is a group of muscles that provide stability and support through the entire body.  Many of us would say the core is your abs or stomach.  True, but there is so much more.  Your core is made up of your ABS which include your external obliques, internal obliques, rectus abdominis, and transversus abdominis.  The core is also made of your hip muscles (glute medius, maximus, minimus, and psoas) and your lumber spine muscles (erector spinia, Multifidus spinae, quadratus lumborum, lower lats).   Some texts books will even consider the rotary cuff of your shoulder and  your neck as part of your core as they both have a direct effect on how your mid section operates and creates stability.

So now that you know what muscles you need to work to provide proper stability and support for your body, how should you train your abs?

Can you train your core everyday?

Well, Yes and No.

Yes, as long as you train different parts of your core on different days.

An example would be:

Day 1 *Lower abs and hips (Rectus Abdominis and transverse abdominus)

Day 2  Obliques and low back

Day 3 *Upper abs (rectus abdominus)

*Although we actually don’t have a separate upper and lower ab muscle, the Rectus Abdominis (or your six pack) is divided into a lower and upper abdominals at the belly button.  Since it has eight sources of nerve innervation  the single muscle can be stimulated many different ways, thus can actually be worked like 2 different muscles.

Your Core area is like any other musculature, you should NOT train ALL of it every day.  It needs at least 48 hours of  rest and recovery. Therefore, if you are doing crunches EVERY day, you are more than likely creating an imbalance and over training your abdominals.  In addition, if you are doing crunches on the ground you are missing 1/2 the movement.  You need to get off the ground and onto a stability ball, with the added extension, you will get far greater range of motion.

Another mistake most people make when training the core is that they only focus on the front side of their bodies and not the back.  They do tons of abdominal exercises and nothing for the low back.  Doing hyperextensions, prone cobras, dead lifts, bent over rows and low rows are essential for a strong core.  To keep a body in balance the back and the front should be trained synergistically.  If not, you may show a 6 pack of abs but your posture will suffer and so will your back!

If you do decide to train ALL your core muscles in one day, train them like this:

  1. Hips
  2. Low back
  3. Lower abs( train low abs first  since they are usually the weakest)
  4. Obliques
  5. Upper abs

Below are some specific CORE exercises for each area:

  1. Hips:

Squats, step ups, lunges, dead lifts, hip lifts, leg kick backs, bridges

2. Lower back:

Hyperextensions, Lat pull downs, dead lifts, prone cobra, reverse hyperextension

3. Lower Abs:  Anything that involves flexion of the hip.  *Heel drops ( lay on back, legs are at 90 degree angle, lower heels to ground), *Leg drops (more advanced) lay on back, extend legs straight into air, lower to ground, knees to chest ( lay on back roll knees into toward your chest, reverse crunches (lay on back, legs straight in air, raise heels to sky). *make sure lower back stays on ground. 

4.  Obliques:anything that offers rotation of the mid section or side flexion. ie. Side to sides( sit on ground, sit back, and rotate middle from side to side), Bicycles ( laying on back a crossing opposite knee to elbow, alternate every other side, Side planks with flexion(side plank, raise hip to sky).

5. Upper Abs  All flexion of the torso or isometric hold, ie. Stability ball crunches, Planks, Cable crunches( need a cable machine) stand or knee in front of cable machine, rope behind neck, crunch through waist.

Training your core is essential for staying healthy, strong and balanced.  It is your bodies center and needs YOUR attention!

Your Optimal Health Coach,

Kate

  1. To get the best results with the visual look of your core, make sure you follow a healthy diet.  Core exercises will make you stronger, more stable and improve back and pelvis function, they will NOT spot reduce!

References:

Scientific Core Training, Paul Chek

Scientific Back Training, Paul Chek

How to Eat, Move and be Healthy, Paul

Got Milk?

Got Milk?

Now that’s a question that has received tons of controversy in the past 30 years. Is milk really good for you? Does it make you fat? Does it make you thin? Does it play a role in cancer or heart disease? Does it help promote bone development? Is whole milk better? Is skim milk better? What about pasteurization and homogenization? One day, milk is good for us. The next day, milk is bad for us. I will be honest, in my own personal research on milk, for every article I find praising milk, I can find another one tearing it apart. So, what should we believe? What is the truth?

Well, the truth is milk can be good and milk can be bad for us. Huh? I believe the difference depends on some very important questions. Ask yourself, where does the milk come from (organic and pastured-fed or conventional and grain-fed), are their additives (synthetic Vitamin A, D, and thickeners like carrageenan), has it been pasteurized and homogenized, is it whole fat or skim, and finally, what if the person drinking the milk has a milk intolerance? The question of, is milk really good for us? depends on so many variables. So, for us to make an educated decision on choosing or not choosing to add milk to our diet we need to understand a few things…

Organic and pasture-fed vs. conventional grain-fed milk.

As I discussed in a previous blog, Where is the grass-fed beef? pastured, grass-fed cattle produce a far superior product than commercial, grain-fed cattle. This is not only true in the meat they produce, but also in the milk they produce. One of the big reasons for this is pastured, hormone-free cows produce less milk than commercial cows, but the milk is richer in vitamin content. When farmers try to increase their milk production by using synthetic hormones like rBTH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), selective breeding, and an energy-dense grain diet, they end up increasing the milk volume, BUT diluting the nutritional content of the milk. This means less Vitamin A, D, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, B2, B12, and phosphorous in the conventionally farmed milk. This is one of those times when less is more.

In addition, grass-fed pastured cows produce milk that has higher levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA is a family of at least 28 isomers of linoleic acid that is best known for its anti-cancer and anti-inflammation properties. In a 1999 study by the Journal of Dairy Science, it was concluded that cows grazing on pasture and receiving no supplemental feed had 3 to 5 times more CLA in their milkfat than cows fed a grain diet. In many animal and human studies, CLA has been shown to not only slow the growth of cancer on the skin, breast, prostate and colon, but also help in weight loss and increased metabolism.

*Just a side note, many people take a synthetic version of CLA that is widely promoted as a diet aid and muscle builder. New research shows that the type of CLA in the pills may have some potentially serious side effects, including promoting insulin resistance, raising glucose levels, and reducing HDL. Just another reason to eat real food and toss out your expensive supplements.

Finally, organic, grass-fed pastured milk is free of any hormones (free of rBGH) and antibiotics. We should assume what goes in the cow, will end up in the milk, which will eventually end up in us. The hormone rBGH has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer in humans. The additive has been banned in Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and the entire European Union — yet, here in America, it is widely used in the conventionally farmed dairy industry.

As you can see, grass-fed organic milk is an entirely different product than conventional grain-fed milk. From what I have read, most of the negative research on milk has been on conventional grain-fed milk. So the question is… Is it really the milk that is bad for us? Or is it how we’re treating the cows?

Lets keep going…

Milk additives.

Most milk products contain some form of synthetic vitamin A and D. Yes, this is even true for some organic brands. Due to their lower fat content, US law requires most organic low-fat and skim milks to be fortified with additional Vitamin A and D. All conventionally farmed milk products, including whole, low fat, and skim milk varieties, are fortified with Vitamin A and D.

What does this mean to you?

According to Josh Rubin of East West Healing and Performance, many people have an inflammatory response to these synthetic vitamins. Some are very cheap and many come from overseas where the quality standards are much lower than the United States. The FDA reports that less than 20% of these overseas vitamins are actually regulated by their standards. The only milk products I have found that have no Vitamin additives are all raw organic milk products and some pasteurized whole milk products. Just another reason to read your food labels.

In addition, some milk products, including skim, low fat versions, and chocolate milk contain carrageenan. If you have not already read my Carrageenan blog, Carrageenan is natural emulsifier and thickener used in many products. It has been linked to several types of cancer, arthritis, ulcerations of the intestines, and many other issues. Once again, is it the milk you are drinking OR the additives in the milk that are making it unhealthy for you?

Pasteurization.

Pasteurization is a process of heating a food, usually a liquid, to a specific temperature for a specific length of time and then cooling it immediately. The purpose is to kill off all harmful bacteria and pathogens. The problem is that pasteurization also kills the good bacteria (probiotics); alters the enzymes, proteins, fats, and sugar in milk, and creates a dead food. Non-pasteurized (raw) milk consumption has been shown to positively influence the immune system’s resistance to the development of asthma, hay fever and atopic sensitzation (skin allergy). In fact, many cultures use raw milk as a homeopathic healing food.

The only positive thing about pasteurization is that it allows for a longer shelf life. Raw milk, due to it being a live food, will spoil much faster. Remember, the improved shelf live is a big plus for the commercial dairy farmer. Longer lasting milk = less spoiling = more money.

Is pasteurized milk really safer than raw milk? I believe raw milk and pasteurized milk are equally susceptible to contamination. The only way to make milk safe is to keep it clean —clean cows and clean dairies. Instead, to make things easier, we kill a lot of the good in milk and produce a less healthy product.

Whole fat milk vs. low fat and skim milk

One of the many reasons milk has received such a bad name is due to its saturated fat content. Saturated fat has received a bad name because it has been linked to increase cholesterol, heart disease, and heart attacks. However, as I discussed in my blog on saturated fat, this is not the case. Saturated fat can be very beneficial to our bodies. It is the most stable of all the fats, it contains vital nutrients, it can help with metabolism, digestion, thyroid function, and liver detoxification. Once we remove the saturated fat from milk, what we are left with is cheap sugar water with a little protein. The milk fat contains vitamin A and D, and is needed for proper vitamin absorption. Remove the fat, you remove the nutrients…as to why the government has to add them back in.

Lactose Intolerance.

For many years, it was almost en vogue to be lactose intolerant. Now gluten intolerance seems to be the new hip “intestinal issue”. Still, many people are claiming they have a hard time breaking down the lactose (milk sugar) in milk because they are no longer producing the enzyme lactase. This ends up giving them all sorts of problems like gas, upset stomach, cramps, and bloating. The enzyme lactase is needed to break down the milk sugar lactose. Lactase is produced in the microvilli of the small intestine, and is released once lactose enters the intestines. The problem starts when the gut and intestines become inflamed and damaged (usually happens over time with the consumption of alcohol, drugs, PUFAs, grains, processed foods, additives, etc.) and lactase production shuts down. When this happens, lactose cannot be broken down and what we develop is intolerance to anything containing lactose.

So why not just consume lactose-free products?

Well, you could do this, but there is a reason milk contains the milk sugar lactose. Lactose is needed in helping calcium get absorbed by your body and into the bones. Yes, milk sugar is needed for optimal calcium absorption into the right areas (bones, not arteries). A better idea would be to heal the gut and slowly start adding dairy back into the diet. According to Dr. Ray Peat, you can heal the gut and intestines of lactose intolerance in as little as two weeks. Peat says you may want to try adding a small amount of additive-free cheese first, and then start adding in a little whole organic, grass-fed milk over time.

As you can see, there is more to Got milk? than meets the eye. Yes, milk can be considered bad for us. But given the right quality of milk, with the right person, in the right amounts, milk can be very beneficial. Personally, I drink milk every day. For me, the benefits of milk far outweigh any negatives.

Not only is milk a complete food (contains fats, proteins and carbs), but it contains CLA, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Vitamins A, B2, B12, and D. I would suggest, if you are going to start adding in milk to your diet, purchase the best source available.

My personal selections are:

1) Raw (non-homogenized, non-pasteurized), grass-fed, organic whole milk is best (no additives)

2) Pasteurized, non homogenized, grass-fed, organic whole milk (no additives)

3) Pasteurized and homogenized organic, grass-fed whole milk (no additives)

4) Pasteurized and homogenized organic, grass-fed 2% or 1% milk

Remember, the less processing, additives, and degradation your milk has gone through, the more healthful this food will be for you. Quality is king!

Your Optimal Health Coach,

Kate

“Disclaimer:  I am an exercise physiologist, personal trainer, nutritional and lifestyle coach, not a medical doctor.  I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease or physical problem. I do not provide diagnosis, care treatment or rehabilitation of individuals, nor apply medical, mental health or human development principles.  I do not prescribe prescription drugs nor do I tell you to discontinue them.  I provide physical and dietary suggestions to improve health and wellness and to nourish and support normal function and structure of the body.  If you suspect any disease please consult your physician.”

References:

  1. A. Aro et al, Kuopio University, Finland; Bougnoux, P, Lavillonniere F, Riboli E. “Inverse relation between CLA in adipose breast tissue and risk of breast cancer. A case-control study in France.” Inform 10;5:S43, 1999)
  2. Jensen, S. K. “Quantitative secretion and maximal secretion capacity of retinol, beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol into cows’ milk.” J Dairy Res 66, no. 4 (1999): 511-22. )
  3. Dhiman, T. R., G. R. Anand, et al. (1999). “Conjugated linoleic acid content of milk from cows fed different diets.” J Dairy Sci 82(10): 2146-56
  4. Riserus, U., P. Arner, et al. (2002). “Treatment with dietary trans10cis12 conjugated linoleic acid causes isomer-specific insulin resistance in obese men with the metabolic syndrome.” Diabetes Care 25(9): 1516-21.
  5. Dr. Ray Peat: “Milk in context: allergies, ecology, and some myths”,  “Calcium and Disease: Hypertension, organ calcification, & shock, vs. respiratory energy”
  6. Ron Schmid, ND; The Untold Story or Milk
  7. Josh Rubin; East West Healing and Performance; www.eastwesthealing.com

 

Polyunsaturated fats: Essential or toxic?

Polyunsaturated fats: Essential or toxic?

Yes, I’m back—back with even more mind-twisting information that will make you question, once again, the foods you are feeding your body.

Today’s topic — Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids — also known as PUFAs. Now, before you stop reading because you have no idea what the heck PUFAs are, and you are not interested in all this science jargon — I beg you to continue.

Why? Because you are probably consuming PUFAs everyday! The problem is, you are most likely thinking you are doing something healthful for yourself. When in fact, you may be causing your body to age faster, slowing your metabolic rate, which is making you fatter, and increasing your chances of disease. Do I have your attention now?

Good! Let’s continue.

First, what are polyunsaturated fats?

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are fatty acids with many double bonds. All polyunsaturated fatty acids lack several hydrogen atoms. This makes them far less stable than a fully saturated fatty acid. This instability produces a molecule that is more susceptible to being attacked and damaged by free radicals. Free radical damage can cause accelerated aging, hormone imbalance, cancer, and immune disorders. Yikes!

So what oils contain polyunsaturated fats?

Well, to be honest ALL oils contain some amount of PUFAs.

Here is a list of oils that have the highest concentration and can be the most harmful:

Soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, sesame seed, nut oils (peanut, walnut, almond, etc), flaxseed, fish oil, cod liver oil, evening primrose, borage oils, and yes, this even includes Omega-3 and Omega-6 (also known as the “essential fatty acids”).

What!! I know you are thinking. “I thought these oils were good for me? I thought these oils were “heart healthy” according to the USDA, my doctor, and my registered dietitian? How could they possibly be bad for me?” Yes, I know it is a little mind boggling, especially considering the massive marketing push on fish oils, flax, and cod liver oils. Trust me — it took me months and months of research to wrap my brain around it, especially since I used to be an avid fish oil user. So let’s go back about 80 years ago so you can understand what has happened.

Back in 1929 George and Mildred Burrs published a paper claiming that polyunsaturated fats are essential for the prevention of several diseases and essential for health. Burrs study concluded that rats that ingested unsaturated fats were far healthier than the rats that were on a fat free diet. Which, in fact, was true.

However, over 10 years later The Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute found that “Burr’s disease” was actually a vitamin B6 deficiency. Back in 1929 the B vitamins were not yet discovered. The new research explained that the PUFAs had actually slowed down the metabolism of the PUFA-fed rats, causing a decreased need for nutrients. Thus, this allowed them to not be as nutrient deficient as the fat-free diet rats. The non-PUFA-fed rats had a higher metabolic rate, and with that comes an increase in nutrient demand, especially the B vitamins. And since the demand was not met, the rats became sick. Basically, all Burrs showed was that PUFAs slow your metabolic rate down, allowing you to survive on less nutrients. Thus the PUFAs prevented a deficiency on a deficient diet. Interesting, huh?

Think of your body like an engine. A high powered engine (high metabolic rate) needs premium gasoline and oils (the right carbs, fats, and proteins) to run optimally. If you give your high powered engine cheap gas and oil (PUFAs) it will slow down, causing damage, and eventually early engine death. Now, this is not to say a slower, smaller, lower powered engine (lower metabolic rate) could not survive on the cheap gas and oils — but it would NEVER run at the speed, strength, or longevity. Making sense? Basically, do you want to run like a Ferrari or a Ford Fiesta?

This may explain why people who eat a diet primarily of nuts, seeds, and vegetables can live a long life. Their metabolism is actually slower, so they have less nutritional requirements, which allows their body to live on very little food. The problem is these people usually have less energy, drive, motivation, and vitality. Ever seen a “healthy” looking vegan? I sure haven’t. In fact, most complain of low sex drive, low energy, muscle loss, low motivation, and sleep problems.

Here are some other things to think about.

Back in the 1940’s, farmers attempted to use coconut oil (a saturated fat) to fatten their animals. But then they found it only made them lean, active, and hungry. You see, coconut oil is a food that makes the body highly metabolic. It actually increases your bodies ability to burn fat. Farmers soon found that corn and soy oils, both almost entirely PUFAs, could be used to fatten their livestock. Why? Because corn and soy oils are fattening agents. Remember, PUFAs slow down your metabolism. This lower metabolic rate allows these animals to gain weight faster, which allows farmers to spend less money to get their animals fat faster. We must remember farmers don’t care about having the oldest, healthiest living animals — they just care about producing the fattest animals the fastest way possible.

Another interesting fact is this:

Bears and squirrels hibernate in the winter. They do this by eating a high level of nuts, seeds, and berries before hibernation. These nuts and seeds with their high PUFA levels allow the metabolic rate of these animals to slow, allowing them to sleep through the cold months of the year. Researchers have found that bears and squirrels given coconut oil (saturated fat) and the right carbohydrates were unable to hibernate since the animals had an increased metabolic rate and energy level.

And finally…

By 1950 it was established that PUFAs suppress the metabolic rate, and apparently cause hypothyroidism. Researchers found that PUFAs damage the mitochondria of cells, suppressing respiratory enzymes, and promote excessive oxidative damage in the body. The more PUFAs one eats, the higher the suppression of tissue response to thyroid hormone, the lower the metabolic rate, and the more weight gain. This is one reason hospitals feed soy oil emulsions to cancer patients — to prevent weight loss!

But Kate… I thought these oils, especially the Omega 3’s and 6’s (EFA), caused a decrease in cholesterol and were heart healthy!

Yes, there is a cholesterol-lowering effect with the essential oils. It’s true. The question is, how are they doing this, and is this actually good for us long-term? In the book Generative Energy by Dr Ray Peat, he discusses how these “essential fatty acids” (EFAs) actually suppress the immune system by suppressing the cells that cause inflammation. Remember that cholesterol is part of our immune system, it is elevated by the liver when our bodies are in a state of inflammation to help protect our cells. However, just like statin drugs, all the EFAs are doing is suppressing a symptom. They are not correcting the actual problem. Long-term, these EFAs cause immune suppression, kill white blood cells, and inhibit proteolytic enzymes that are needed for proper metabolic function.

Does your brain hurt yet?

Ok, so if PUFAs in vegetable oils and nuts are so bad for us, what should we eat?

There are others, but here are my top 10.

  1. Eat saturated fats. Coconut oil, butter, ghee, coconut milk.
  2. Eat root vegetables. Sweet potatoes, beets, carrots (all root vegetables have very little PUFAs).
  3. Eat fruits and fruit-like vegetables. Papayas, apples, pears, peaches, squash, tomatoes, zucchini, etc.
  4. Eat grass-fed meats. Corn- and soy-fed meats have a higher PUFA content. Beef, bison, lamb.
  5. Consume organic, grass-fed dairy. Milk, cheese, yogurt.
  6. Consume tropical nuts. Macadamia, hazelnut, and cashew (in limited quantities).
  7. Eat free-range, pastured, organic eggs. Corn- and soy-fed chickens produce higher PUFA content eggs.
  8. Consume gelatin and beef broth. Both are non-inflammatory proteins and easily digested.
  9. Eat wild white fish and shellfish. Halibut, cod, sole, shrimp, oysters, and crab.
  10. Once a week eat grass-fed organ meats. Organ meats in limited quantities are full of vitamin and minerals.

*Please understand these are basic recommendations. Everyone is different, so different things work for different people. However, one of the biggest recommendations I would say works across the board is getting rid of as many PUFAs out of your diet as you can…unless of course you want to get fatter, sicker, and look older.

To be honest, I am certainly not asking any of you to take the things I am saying as the absolutely truth. I am just asking you to consider another side of things, so you can ask yourself if what you are doing is truly working. My goal in these blogs is not to tell you what to do. My goal is to only educate you. It is up to you to find out what works for you and what does not. It is up to you ask for help, if you are lost and confused. It is up to you to take an active role in your health and life.

For me and many of my clients, applying this science-based philosophy has been life changing. It does work, but it takes time and commitment and a willingness to change not only your body but your mindset. Real change takes work. There are no easy solutions, yet if you are ready, there is help. Call me to set up a 30 minute FREE consultation. It’s time you start feeling better!

Your Optimal Health Coach,

Kate

“Disclaimer:  I am an exercise physiologist, personal trainer, nutritional and lifestyle coach, not a medical doctor.  I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease or physical problem. I do not provide diagnosis, care treatment or rehabilitation of individuals, nor apply medical, mental health or human development principles.  I do not prescribe prescription drugs nor do I tell you to discontinue them.  I provide physical and dietary suggestions to improve health and wellness and to nourish and support normal function and structure of the body.  If you suspect any disease please consult your physician.”

References:

Josh Rubin www.eastwesthealing.com

Dr Lita Lee www.Drlitalee.com “Unsaturated Fats”

Dr Ray Peat www.Raypeat.com “Unsaturated fatty acids: Nutritionally essential, or toxic?”, “Unsaturated Vegetable Oils: Toxic”, “Coconut Oil”

Dr Ray Peat Mind and Tissues

Dr Ray Peat Generative Energy

Dr Ray Peat Nutrition for Women

 

Seven Exercise movements EVERYONE should be doing…

 

Seven Exercise movements EVERYONE should be doing…

When I talk about exercises there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of exercises you can literally perform.  Now, with the on-set of functional training, kettle bells, ropes, med balls, bands, TRX, etc the quest for the perfect workout seems quite confusing.

Well, I am here to make it a little easier  for you.  Your body is designed to move…right?  In fact, your body is designed to perform seven main primal movement patterns.  Primal patterns are used to describe the movement patterns our ancestors used while hunting, gathering and building.  They are the same movement patterns we use today in every day life.  They are to lunge, push, pull, squat, bend, twist and gait (walking/running).  Therefore, to keep your body strong, lean and functional, EVERY great workout you perform should contain some, if not all, of these primal patterns…

  1. Squat.  The squat is one of the best exercises to strengthen the butt, front (quads) and back (hamstrings) of the legs.  Most of us squat all day long and do not even realize it.  Every time you sit down you are squatting…well, almost.  When you do an actual squat you don’t sit back on anything.  You sit back and put the weight of your body in your heals and when you feel you can not go any lower you come up…
  2. (Push) Push Up, chest press, etc.  This is a great chest and core exercise.  A push-up is just a plank in motion.  Start on your knees.  Trying doing as many as you can and then add in at least one more push-up each week.  When you can do 20 on your knees, try moving to your toes.
  3. The Lunge.  I love lunging.  You can do it forward, backward, static, walking, lateral, the list goes on and on.  The lunge is a great butt and leg shaper.  Think of lunging like exaggerated walking.
  4. (Pull) Pull up.  The pull up is great for your back and arms.  If you can’t do a full pull up on your own then either use an assist machine or use a Lat pull down machine.
  5. (Bend) The dead lift, straight leg dead lift,or bent over row would work here.  The bend is great for core stability, back and leg strength.
  6. (Twist) The twist is any rotational movement.  Lunge with rotation, wood chops, row with rotation, press with rotation, any throwing, swinging or batting move.  Also, great for the core, the low back, hips and butt.
  7. (Gait) This is your body moving in motion by leg action.  Gait includes walking, running  or sprinting.  Gait is what keeps your cardiovascular system in check, helps burn fat and keeps you breathing right.

Here is an example of a Primal pattern workout:

10-20  dumbbell squats,

10-20 lateral lunges,

1-10 pull-ups or 5-10 pull downs,

5-10 dead lifts

10 Med ball wood chops

1-5 100 yard sprints

Do 1-3 sets of these exercises, 2-3x a week.

These 7 exercises will help shape you butt, your thighs, your back, your chest, your arms and you core…

Exercise does not have complicated, just hit the 7 Primal movement patterns and your body will do the rest.

Your Optimal Fitness Coach,

Kate Deering

References:

Paul Chek  ”Eat, Move and Be Healthy”

Paul Chek  ”Movement that Matters”