Nuts and seeds…Too much of a good thing?

Nuts and seeds…Too much of a good thing?

For years, nuts and seeds were a BIG part of my diet.  Nuts, seeds, nut and seed bars, and nut butters were staples when it came to my everyday food plan.   I ate almond butter in my oatmeal in the morning, a bag of nuts for a snack, a few nuts on my salad for lunch and a scoop of peanut butter in my protein shake later on in the day.  Nuts and seeds, seeds and nuts…how could you lose with such a tasty nutritious snack?

The only problem, were some digestive issues: stomach bloating and seeing the undigested nuts and seeds in my stool (I know…too much information).  Quite honestly, I didn’t think much about any of these things because I knew how healthy they were for me. I thought of nuts and seeds as a good source of protein, filled with anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals…plus they were convenient and tasted great… right?

These days, almost every-health conscious person loves their nuts and seeds.   Almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts… these crunchy, tasty snacks go great with any salad, casserole or just eaten by themselves as a snack.  Eating nuts and seeds has become a staple for individuals who want a healthy snack, that’s easy and taste great.

BUT — (you knew there was going to be a BUT)—have any of you, like me, ever had digestive upset, bloating or undigested nuts and seeds in your stool?  I’ll guess most of you will say “yes,” and for those of you that said “no”, you may want to take a second look. Have you ever wondered why the nuts and seeds are in your stool?  No?  Well, the good news is I did…and this is why I am now asking:

“Are nuts and seeds as healthy for us as we all have been lead to believe? Could we actually be damaging our metabolism eating them everyday of our lives?  Are we over-nutting and over-seeding and causing digestive distress?”

Keep reading and you will find out…

First, lets look at the positive qualities of nuts and seeds.

* Nuts and seeds contain a moderate level of protein (anywhere from 5%-30% of their total calories)

* Nuts and seeds contain the so-called “healthy” fats

* Nuts and seeds contain anti-oxidants and other mineral and vitamins including:  selenium, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, folic acid and vitamin E.

* Nuts and seeds contain fiber

* Nuts and seeds are easy and convenient to eat when you are on the go

* Nuts and seeds taste great and go well with many dishes

So far, this all looks pretty good…right?  So, what possibly could be wrong with consuming nuts and seeds on a daily basis?

Here are 6 reasons you may want to re-think your nut and seed intake

  1. High levels of the wrong fats

So many people believe nuts and seeds are a great source of protein, which in truth, they are anywhere from only 5% to 30% protein.  Most nuts and seeds are somewhere in between.  The rest of the nuts and seeds calories come from fat.  Now, if you have been reading my blogs you will know I am not against eating fat.   BUT, I am against the anti-metabolic polyunsaturated fats (PUFA’s).  PUFA’s are commonly found in soy, corn, legumes, AND nuts and seeds.  The PUFA’s in nuts and seeds are actually used as protection toward hungry animals and from the cold winter weather.  However, what is protective to the seed has been shown to be toxic to the human.

According to Dr. Ray Peat

“Polyunsaturated oils defend the seeds from the animals that would eat them, the oils block the digestive enzymes in the animals’ stomachs. In addition, seeds and nuts are designed to germinate in early spring, so their energy stores must be accessible when the temperatures are cool, and they normally don’t have to remain viable through the hot summer months. Unsaturated oils are liquid when they are cold, and this is necessary for any organism that lives at low temperatures. These oils easily get rancid (spontaneously oxidizing) when they are warm and exposed to oxygen. When the oils are stored in our tissues, they are much warmer, and more directly exposed to oxygen, than they would be in the seeds, and so their tendency to oxidize is very great. These oxidative processes can damage enzymes and other parts of cells, and especially their ability to produce energy (cellular respiration).”

Like Dr. Peat states PUFA’s are highly oxidative, especially under heat and in the presence of oxygen.   This can cause decreased cellular function, leading to disease, aging and a slower metabolism.  If you want to understand the dangers of PUFA’s more refer to my blog, PUFA’s essential or toxic?

  1. Phytates or phytic acid

If you read my article on soy, you would already have some understanding of the negative effects of phytates.  Phytates are anti-nutrients that can block the absorption of important minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.  Phytates are usually located in the hard outer shell of the seed and nut referred to as the hull.  Phytates have a strong affinity for minerals, and any mineral it binds to will become insoluble. This is how phytates leaches nutrients from the body.

Phytates are not only found in nuts and seeds but also in grains, soy, beans and legumes.  I think it is important to understand that phytate rich foods may not only inhibit the nutrients within the food itself but also in the foods eaten with the phytate containing food.   Meaning the phytates in your nuts and fruit snack or your salad and nut meal will not only block the nutrients contained in the nuts but also the nutrients in the fruit and salad.

  1. Trypsin Inhibitors

Nuts and seeds, like soy, contain trypsin inhibitors.  Trypsin inhibitors, like phytates, are anti-nutrients.  Their function is to protect the seeds of plants from insects by blocking enzyme function. Just another protective mechanism mother nature has given seeds and nuts. These trypsin inhibitors prevent protease enzymes from digesting protein in the human digestive tract.  Therefore, the little bit of protein you may think you are getting from your nuts and seeds may not even be digested.

  1. Cooked nuts and seeds

Now, there is good news and bad news to cooking your nuts and seeds.  The good news is cooking your nuts and seeds can decrease the effects of phytates and trypsin inhibitors.  Cooking the nut and seed allows the fibers to break down and allows for easier digestibility.  The bad news comes in how the nut and seek are cooked.  Most nuts and seeds are “roasted”.  This usually means they were fried and cooked in more vegetable oil, adding insult to injury in the amount of PUFA you are about to ingest.  Some nuts and seeds are dry-roasted, which is better, but unfortunately still damaging to the nut or seed.  In a 2008 study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, nuts and seeds that were roasted had a higher degree of fat oxidation and increased levels of trans-fats.  Research also shows that roasting nuts and seeds at high temperatures denatures the protein.  The denatured protein loses it structure and can become harder to digest.

  1. Raw nuts and seeds.

Many health conscious people think they are winning the battle over nuts and seeds by eating them raw.  Quite honestly, I use to be one of those people.  However, with further investigation I now believe eating raw nuts may be worse than eating the dry-roasted ones.  Why?  Well, mostly for the reasons I have already explained. Raw nuts are filled with phytates and trypsin inhibitors.  Raw nuts are almost indigestible by the human body.  They can cause irritation in the gut and small intestine by getting “stuck” in the intestinal micro-filli; this can cause inflammation, bacterial over growth, bloating, and gas.  I cannot even tell you how many health conscious people I meet complaining of digestive upset.   Nut ands seeds may be the sole culprit, or there could be a number of contributing factors– grains, fibrous vegetables and fruits, cheap dairy, carrageenan, processed foods, additives, grain-fed meats, PUFAs, endotoxins, and bacterial overgrowth all seem to play a role in digestive upset.

  1. Non-organic nuts and seeds.

If you are a nut and seed-eater, you know they are not a cheap food.  Nuts and seeds can be costly and if you go organic they can cost you upwards of $25.00/lb.  Most clients I work with are eating the raw or roasted non-organic varieties.  The problem is they may also be consuming pesticides and herbicides that are concentrated in the oils (fats) of the nuts and seeds.  The fats in seeds and nuts have a high affinity to attracting toxic pesticides.  Organic nuts and seeds are usually, but not always, free of toxic pesticides.

Ok, so what have we learned?  Maybe the handful of raw nuts and seeds you have been gobbling down everyday is not as healthful as you thought.  Maybe, just maybe, you might need to rethink your nut and seed consumption.

Personally, I am no longer a nut and seed-eater.  Or should I say a daily nut and seedeater.  My consumption has gone from a few handfuls a day to maybe a few handfuls a month.  If I do consume nuts and seeds I try and follow some simple guidelines.

  1. Soaked and/or sprouted are best.  

 

  1. Go Organic.  
  1. Some nuts are better than others.
  1. Eat in moderation.

Have I managed to make your head hurt yet?  Although it is never my intention to make people confused about what they are eating, I know it may sometimes occur.  Yet, I do believe we learn and grow as soon as we become confused.  So if I have confused you–then good—you are learning something.

Honestly, my only true intention is to share with you what I am learning and how it is working/not working for my clients and me.  It’s certainly not up to me to tell you what to do.  I am only here to help educate you and help you THINK before you grab that next bag of nuts.

I think it is important to remember that there are no clear-cut routes when it comes to nutrition and how it can affect YOUR health.  I think we should all be open to learning the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to eating certain foods.  We are all different, at different phases of life, and have different health issues and needs.  The more you learn, the more you understand the more you can improve yourself and your diet.

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.”

Reference:

  1. Rita Yaacoub, Rachad Saliba, Bilal Nsouli, Gaby Khalaf and Inès Birlouez-Aragon.  Formation of Lipid Oxidation and Isomerization Products during Processing of Nuts and Sesame Seeds.  J. Agric. Food Chem., 2008, 56 (16), pp 7082–7090
  2. Thomas Richardson, John W. Finley.  Chemical Changes in Food During Processing.  Pg 206-209
  3. Pelvan E, Alasalvar C, Uzman SJ Agric. Effects of roasting on the antioxidant status and phenolic profiles of commercial Turkish hazelnut varieties Food Chem. 2012 Feb 8;60(5):1218-23. Epub 2012 Jan 27.
  4. EUFIC REVIEW 11/2010   “The Why, How and Consequences of cooking our food”
  5. Bohn T, Davidsson L, Walczyk T, Hurrell RF. “Phytic acid added to white-wheat bread inhibits fractional apparent magnesium absorption in humans.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004. 79(3):418-423.
  6. Mahgoub SEO, Elhag SA. “Effect of milling, soaking, malting, heat-treatment and fermentation on phytate level of four Sudanese sorghum cultivars.” Food Chemistry. 1998. 61(1-2):77-80.
  7. Macfarlane BJ, Bezwoda WR, Bothwell TH, Baynes RD, Bothwell JE, MacPhail AP, Lamparelli RD, Mayet F. “Inhibitory effect of nuts on iron absorption.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1988. 47:270-274.
  8. Fanbin Kong1 and R. Paul Singh.  Food Biophys. Digestion of Raw and Roasted Almonds in Simulated Gastric Environment.  2009 December; 4(4): 365–377.
  9. Pandey P, Raizada RB, Srivastava LP.  Level of organochlorine pesticide residues in dry fruit nuts.  J Environ Biol. 2010 Sep;31(5):705-7.
  10. Ricardo Bessin, Gerald R. Brown, John R. Hartman, and James R. Martin  FOOD SAFETY:  PESTICIDE RESIDUES IN GRAINS, VEGETABLES, FRUITS AND NUTS.   ISSUED: 7-90  http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ip/ip9/ip9.htm
  11. Allard JP, Kurian R, Aghdassi E, Muggli R, Royall D.  Lipid peroxidation during n-3 fatty acid and vitamin E supplementation in humans.  Lipids. 1997 May;32(5):535-41.
  12. Meydani M, Natiello F, Goldin B, Free N, Woods M, Schaefer E, Blumberg JB, Gorbach SL.  Effect of long-term fish oil supplementation on vitamin E status and lipid peroxidation in women.  J Nutr. 1991 Apr;121(4):484-91.
  13. Gonzalez MJ, Gray JI, Schemmel RA, Dugan L Jr, Welsch CW.  Lipid peroxidation products are elevated in fish oil diets even in the presence of added antioxidants.  J Nutr. 1992 Nov;122(11):2190-5.
  14. Humphries KM, Yoo Y, Szweda LI.  Inhibition of NADH-linked mitochondrial respiration by 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal. Biochemistry. 1998 Jan 13;37(2):552-7.
  15. Dr. Decuypere’s Nutrient Charts™
~~ Nuts, Grains & Seeds Chart .

http://www.health-alternatives.com/nut-seed-nutrition-chart.html

  1. Dr. Ray Peat.   www.RayPeat.com  ”Unsaturated Vegetable Oils: Toxic”

How To Heal Your Metabolism

How to Heal Your Metabolism

Lately, as many of you know I have been deep in reading and researching about the systems of the body, healing the body, nutrients, foods that heal and how they are all related in increasing metabolic function.  I think we can agree that we would all like to increase our metabolism…right?  As we get older we are led to believe that our metabolism will just naturally slow down.  We will have to work harder and eat less just to stay thin and feel good about ourselves.  Do these statements ring true to you?  They certainly did for me…of course, until now.

You see, for many years, I believed the only way that I could increase my metabolic expenditure (increase calories burned) was to add more muscle to my body and/or to exert more energy through increased exercise load and intensity.  However, there is actually a third way to increase your metabolism.  One that is not discussed very often, either because people do not know about it or they just do not understand it.  Are you wondering what it is?  Oh, I bet you are…

Over the last few years of my studies, I have begun to look at the body and its functions very differently.  I have realized that the health of our metabolism is more than just how much we move and how much muscle we have; a healthy metabolism is about what is happening in every cell of our body and the actual respiration of every cell of our body.  Thus, if we can increase cellular respiration we can increase metabolic function.

First, what is cellular respiration?

Cellular respiration is the set of the metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products.

Basically, it is what happens when glucose (sugar) enters the cells and converts to usable energy.  Without getting too scientific, it’s the most efficient way for cells to harvest energy stored in food.

Cellular respiration has three main stages: glycolysis, the Kreb’s cycle, and the electron transport chain.  For all the geeks, here is a basic explanation of each, for everyone else, skip ahead…

  1. Glycolysis is the metabolic process occurring in the cytosol of your cells that converts glucose (sugar) into two pyruvate molecules.  Glycolysis is an anaerobic (does not require oxygen) reaction that has an end production of 2 ATP (ATP is usable energy) molecules. 
  2. Kreb’s Cycle (Citric Acid Cycle) is an aerobic (requires oxygen) reaction that occurs in the mitochondria of every cell in your body.  The mitochondria are referred to as the cell’s power plant because they produce most of the cells supply of ATP (energy). Once oxygen is present, Acetyl Co A is produced from the two pyruvate molecules.  Through an 8-step process 6 NADH, 2 FADH2, and 2 ATP are formed (yes, I know you have no idea what this means…but keep reading, it will all make sense soon).
  3. 3. Electron Transport Chain (ETC) is also an aerobic reaction occurring in the mitochondria.  The ETC transports electrons from donors (like NADH and FADH2) to acceptors (like Oxygen).   When working properly the Kreb’s cycle and the ETC produce most of the cells energy.  The end result is an additional 34 ATP.  As you can see we need adequate amount of glucose, oxygen and a healthy mitochondria to produce sufficient amounts of energy…without these our cells become inefficient and eventually die.

Have I lost you with all this scientific jargon?  Stick with me; things will start to come together soon…

What I want you to see is when everything is working optimally and our cells are getting adequate glucose and oxygen we produce lots of energy (increased cellular respiration).  With increased cellular respiration our metabolism increases.  A great running metabolism means we are meeting our body’s energy needs, we are repairing tissue, we are detoxing properly, we have proper hormone function, we have good energy, we feel happy and life is good.

Did you ever have a friend when you were young who was thin, didn’t workout and could eat whatever she wanted and never gain a pound?  You know, that friend you hated… we will call her Britch.   Britch had great cellular respiration.  It is not the amount of muscle she had or the amount of exercise or activity she did that kept her thin.  Her increased metabolic function came from great cellular respiration.  However, if Britch continued to live her crappy-eating, non-exercising lifestyle her cells would become damaged and her lifestyle would catch up to her.

Many of us would attribute this phenomenon to great genes.   This is partially true since our mitochondria has its own set of DNA.   However, we can help or harm the health of our cellular respiration through the foods we eat, the lifestyles we choose and the decisions we make.  So even if you were not born with great mitochondrial genes you can still improve OR worsen your cells energy production.

Want to know how?

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Don’t worry, you know me, I’m here to provide you with FREE usable information…

Here are ELEVEN things that will help increase cellular respiration and help heal your metabolism.

  1. Decrease polyunsaturated fats (PUFA).  As I have discussed before PUFAs are highly unstable and oxidize easily in the body.  PUFAs cause mitochondrial damage and reduce respiration.  PUFAs also bind to the same protein receptors that transport your thyroid hormone, reducing thyroid usage…which, once again, has an adverse effect on your cells respiration.  Some examples of PUFA’s are vegetable oils, corn oils, seed oils, nut oils, fish oils, most nuts and seeds and most conventional meats.
  2. Decrease phytoestrogens (soy). An increased level of phytoestrogens increases free fatty acids (FFA) in the body.  FFA acids are known to inhibit the thyroid function and disrupt glucose metabolism.  Soy, like PUFAs, lowers cellular respiration.
  3. Increase saturated fats. Yes, you heard me.  Increasing the right types of saturated fats like coconut oil, organic butter or ghee, cocoa butter, raw organic dairy, and grass fed meats can be very beneficial for your cells.  Saturated fats are stable. Unlike PUFAs, saturated fats bind to proteins in the correct way.  They are used properly and do not break down causing damage to mitochondria genes (DNA).
  4. Eat the right types of carbohydrates (sugars). I know everyone is scared of the words carbohydrate and sugar these days.  You would think by telling you to consume them, it is like telling you to go jump off a bridge.  We must understand not all carbohydrates (sugars) are created equal.  When I say the right types of carbs or sugars, I am referring to ripe fruits, root vegetables, organic raw dairy, pulp free OJ and some low starch above ground vegetables.  I am not referring to processed cookies, crackers, grains, breads and candies.   Sugar is the bodies preferred source of energy.  When we use the right sugars to fuel our cells they produce the most energy by using the least amount of our own bodies resources.  When we use a less optimal fuel (like protein or fat) our body uses more resources to produce less energy.
  5. Eat the right type of protein. Consuming easily digestible proteins like organic beef broth, gelatin, white fish, eggs, dairy and shellfish help support the liver and thyroid.  Increase thyroid hormone increases mitochondria respiration and increases CO2 production.
  6. Increasing Carbon dioxide (C02). C02 helps increase cellular respiration.  You can increase your C02 levels by living at high altitudes (Denver, you are all set), bag breathing, ingesting or bathing in baking soda and increasing your intake of carbonated water.
  7. The right exercise.  Stressful exercise increases mitochondrial damage.  Long duration cardio is incredibly stressful to the body.  Endurance athletes, although fit, have decreased cellular function, you can see this in their very low pulse and low body temperature.  According to Dr. Ray Peat “concentric” weight training is actually restorative to the cells mitochondria.  This means lifting with a load and relaxing without a load.  Burst training (short burst of exercise followed by rest) is also supportive of a healthy metabolism.
  8. Get more Sunlight. According to Dr. Ray Peat, “It turns out that day light 
stimulates our ability to use oxygen for energy production, and
 protects our tissues from some of the free-radical toxins that are
 produced by normal metabolism, by stress, or by radiation.”   This does not mean lay in the sun for 10 hours/day.  Refer to my blog on Vitamin D to help decide how much sun you need.
  9. Get more Sleep. Getting restorative sleep helps with proper cellular function.  This can mean anywhere from 6- 10 hours depending on the person.  Deep sleep is better than more sleep.  Best hours for sleeping are between the hours of 10:30PM -6:30AM.  When the body is at rest its primary energy source should be fat.  Burning fat while sleeping is far less harmful to the cells than oxidizing it while working out.  Remember to optimize energy production sugars should be used while awake and fats should be used while asleep.
  10. Stop dieting. Dieting, starvation, and detox programs may all help you lose weight fast and help you feel better in the short run.  However, long term they are all doing the same thing…they damage your mitochondria and decrease cellular respiration.  Have you ever wondered why ever time you “diet” it gets a little harder to lose weight?  It’s because dieting deprives our cells of proper energy and nutrients, damaging our cells and decreasing metabolism.
  11. Reduce all other toxins.  Remove as many toxins from your life as possible.  This includes processed foods, trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, additives, preservatives, carrageenan, hormones, anti-biotics, drugs, alcohol, environmental toxins, fluoride, pesticides, herbicides, mercury, radiation, etc.  All toxins will disrupt and interfere with proper cell function.  All toxins will lower cellular respiration.

Okay, you got all that?  Yes, I know this is a lot to take in.  And yes, I know some of you may think I am crazy.  This is totally okay with me.  However, what you should know is everything I write about is based on the physiology of the human body, scientific research and my own self-experimentation.   I am not here to tell you what you should or should not do.  My intentions for giving you this information is to only share with you what I am learning, and how it is helping not only myself, but also many of my clients.

Please understand the recommendations I am giving are not person specific.  Every person is different, is at a different state of health and has different needs.  You must also understand that healing the body on a cellular level takes time, a real commitment to wanting to get better and a belief that you are doing the right thing.  There is so much misinformation on health and nutrition out there, it is hard to know what to believe anymore.  In fact, you should question everything you learn, including me.  It is important that you investigate on your own, find out what works for you, ask lots questions, and get help from a professional if you feel you need it.  For more information on how to heal your metabolism…Buy The BOOK.

Happy healing!

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. Mitochondria and Mortality.  Dr. Ray Peat
  2. Energy structure and carbon dioxide: A realistic view of the organism. Dr. Ray Peat
  3. Using Sunlight to Sustain Life.  Dr. Ray Peat
  4. The acute phase response and exercise: the ultra marathon as prototype exercise. Clin J Sport Med. 2001 Jan;11(1):38-43.
  5. Systemic inflammatory response to exhaustive exercise. Cytokine kinetics.
Suzuki K, Nakaji S, Yamada M, Totsuka M, Sato K, Sugawara K.  Exerc Immunol Rev. 2002;8:6-48.
  6. Inhibition of NADH-linked mitochondrial respiration by 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal.
Humphries KM, Yoo Y, Szweda LI.  Biochemistry. 1998 Jan 13;37(2):552-7.
  7. 4-Hydroxy-2(E)-nonenal inhibits CNS mitochondrial respiration at multiple sites.
Picklo MJ, Amarnath V, McIntyre JO, Graham DG, Montine TJ.  J Neurochem. 1999 Apr;72(4):1617-24.
  8. Effect of high plasma free fatty acids on the free radical formation of myocardial mitochondria isolated from ischemic dog hearts.
Kamikawa T, Yamazaki N.  Jpn Heart J. 1981 Nov;22(6):939-49.
  9. Acrolein inhibits respiration in isolated brain mitochondria.
Picklo MJ, Montine TJ.  Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Feb 14;1535(2):145-52
  10. Acrolein, a product of lipid peroxidation, inhibits glucose and glutamate uptake in primary neuronal cultures.
Lovell MA, Xie C, Markesbery WR.  Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Oct 15;29(8):714-20.
  11. Thyroid hormone action in mitochondria.  C Wrutniak-Cabello, F Casas and G Cabello UMR Différenciation Cellulaire et Croissance (INRA, Université Montpellier II, ENSAM), Unité d’Endocrinologie Cellulaire, INRA, 2 Place Viala, 34060 Montpellier Cedex 1, France

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

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

 

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 best I could — I am a trainer for God’s sake). I slept, I drank tons of water, took tons of supplements — tried everything. Yet the damn groin still hurt and I was still feeling “blah”.

This is when I stopped looking for doctors to give me answers and I started my own self-directed research. I found physiologist Dr. Ray Peat, renowned chemist and nutrition expert Dr. Lita Lee, Dr. Broda Barnes, Dr. John Lee, and Josh Rubin (a highly respected colleague of mine and holistic health practitioner). This is when I allowed my current set of beliefs on nutrition and what I believed to be “healthful” to be completely turned upside down. It’s not to say that what I was doing was “wrong” per say, it just what I was doing wasn’t working for me anymore. Sound familiar to anyone? By all health standards, I was eating the perfect diet — lean meats, tons of vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits, organic protein powders, and whole food organic bars. I was eating no butter, no cheese, no milk, no sugar, no saturated fat — no fun. Yet, my current diet and lifestyle, although very healthy by most peoples’ standards, was just not working for me anymore.

For the next 8 months, I was 10 feet deep in research, human physiology, endocrinology, nutrition science — learning about thyroid issues, hormones, inflammation… science, science, science. I think I read more articles and books in the last year than I did in 4 years of college. What I realized was my body was in a chronic inflammatory state — not just from my recent injury, but from years and years of over exercising and “healthy” dieting. I say “healthy” because for years I followed the trends of dieting and thought I was eating healthfully, when in all reality, I was not.

It has only been within the last 9 years of my life that I have really understood what a healthy diet should be. And now, with all my current knowledge, it will evolve again. Yes, things change, we learn more, we get better, we apply what we learn, and we grow. The nutrition and medical industries are constantly changing. As we all know, we are learning more everyday…as to why things that were bad for us are now considered good, and things that were good for us are now considered bad. Just another reason for you to be constantly invested in your own health and well being.

I have been a fitness professional for almost 20 years now, a clinical nutritionist for 9 years, and a holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach for the last 4 years. There is never a year that goes by that my practice doesn’t improve and grow. Yet this year, with all that I learned, the knowledge really changed me — it changed how I run my practice, how I live my life, how I view health, and how I eat.

I started including moderate levels of saturated fats, and then gradually increased them more. I started using healthy sugars (including cane sugar and fruit juice), and healthy proteins like grass-fed dairy (milk, cheese, cream), shell fish, gelatin, white fish, and a small amount of grass fed beef. I also began removing many other foods that are currently considered “healthy” by many, including ALL polyunsaturated fats, beans, and grains. I also cut out most nuts and some vegetables (this will be a blog for another day).

This is what happened:

Initially, I saw my weight and my cholesterol rise. Weight gain and increased cholesterol levels — that can’t be good, right? Well, let’s remember, I was in an inflamed state (from chronic overtraining), and the cholesterol was being released to allow me to heal. The additional weight was also in response to trying to heal my metabolism — a metabolism that was damaged from years of overtraining and under-nourishing (omitting saturated fat and the right sugars, and eating far less than my body really needed). In a matter of 3 months, while I allowed my body to heal, my cholesterol dropped over 40 points, my body weight dropped back to normal, and I started to feel that everything was right in the world again (no more “blah” feeling) — all while eating over 2000 to 2200 calories and 50-100g of fat a day (most of that being saturated fat). Interesting, huh?

Yes, I lost body fat while eating anywhere from 50-100g. grams of fat a day, while exercising less than I had in the last 10 years of my life. I never made all the planned runs or the half Iron Man. Yet, I’m sure it was for the best, as my body has almost fully healed. In all honesty, it may take years for my body to fully recover from my HIGH activity level and damaged metabolism.

Believe it or not, most highly active individuals have a damaged metabolism, yet most don’t understand this. They believe it is age that is affecting their metabolism. The truth is, all things that are stressful to your body, including exercise, can affect your metabolism negatively.  Once again, this does not mean you should not exercise. It just means do the right type of exercise, for the right amount of time, and at the right intensity for YOUR needs so that you can get better, rather than worse.

Ok, where was I? Right — saturated fat…

Now, I am not telling you to go out and eat tons of butter, cream, and cheese to try and lose weight and get healthy.  You need to have an understanding as to how, when, and what types of saturated fats you should be eating.  Plus, there is a lot more to healing your metabolism that just eating saturated fats. Is it ok to eat all these things? Absolutely! Should you start eating 100 grams of saturated fat like I do without understanding what you are doing? Probably not.  Saturated fat is a very powerful nutrient. If the proper types are used, in the right amounts, with the right combination of protein and carbs, you can have not only a healing nutrient, but a nutrient that will actually allow you to enjoy rich, great tasting food again.

For those of you who have asked, here is a typical day of eating for me:

Breakfast: 

Two whole eggs cooked in 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup of OJ and 1/2 cup of well cooked russet potatoes (with butter)

Coffee with 1/4 cup whole milk, 1 tsp cane sugar, and 1 tbsp gelatin

Snack: 

6 oz.Orange juice, 1 tbsp gelatin protein, and 3 pieces of 85% organic dark chocolate

1 medium carrot with 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil

Lunch: 

3 oz grass-fed beef, 1 cup of bone broth, 2 cups of squash cooked in 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil

Salad: Tomato, cucumber, onion with parmesan cheese, sea salt, and balsamic vinegar

Snack: 

Shake: 1 cup of raw whole milk, ½ cup of fruit, 2 tbsp of gelatin, 1 tbsp Greek yogurt

Dinner: 

4 oz wild cod cooked in 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil

2 cups of cooked fruit (cooked in butter and cinnamon), 1/4 cup ricotta cheese,

1 cup of cooked peppers and onions with 1 tsp butter

Snack: 

1 glass of 2% milk, ½ cup of OJ, dash of salt

Now, this is a typical day. The calories may increase or decrease due to stress, workout load, and work load. Or I may just want some ice cream (yes, I eat that too…Hagan Daz only…no additives). Personally, I monitor my diet weekly to make sure I am constantly running at an optimal level (I do this by measuring my pulse, body temperature, and get frequent blood/lab work*).

*No need for you to do as much lab work as me, I do it for research purposes only.

The end result is my body feels better. I used to be in a constant state of achiness. I honestly thought it was normal because of all the activity in my life. I lived with aches and pains every day. I never complained. I never really felt “bad” — I guess I just got used to the achy feeling. Do you do that? Would you like to feel better?

At the end of the day, I consider myself a trainer, a nutritionist, and a constant researcher. I read at least 1 to 2 hours every night, more on the weekends, and even more on vacation. I love to learn and I love to share with all of you what I am doing, what I am learning, and how it can help you. My goal is to always get better, to help all of you get better, and to live a long, healthy life of prosperity, happiness, and joy.

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.”