How to Successfully Shift to a Metabolically Supportive Diet.

How to Successfully Shift to a Metabolically Supportive Diet.

How to successfully shift to a metabolically supportive diet.

Five years ago I went from a diet most would consider to be very “clean” and healthy, to a diet most would consider delicious, satisfying and very “non-diet” like.  Yet, when I switched from the old diet to my current diet, I made many, many mistakes.

Before this transition five years ago, my diet consisted primarily of lean chicken and turkey, egg whites, raw leafy veggies, protein powders, almond milk, olive oil, nuts, berries, seeds and tons of water with very little salt.  Believe it or not, this past diet proved to be a metabolic disaster, for so many reasons, as to why I began searching for a new approach to health.  Once I learned about metabolically stimulating foods like coconut oil, fruits, dairy and root vegetables, I switched my diet literally over night.

My diet over the past five years consists of milk, cheese, fruit, orange juice, fish, root vegetables, whole eggs, coconut oil, chocolate, salt and ice cream.  This diet, believe it or not, is very supportive to metabolic health, a lean body and good energy.  Yet, when I made the extreme shift from the first diet to my current diet, my body shifted in ways that would make most health minded people think the diet change was far from healthy.

Within days of shifting my diet five years ago, I experienced severe hormonal shifts that led to bi-weekly menstrual periods, skin breakouts, weight gain, an increase in cholesterol, constipation and diarrhea.  At the time, I thought my new way of eating was a HUGE mistake.  Why was I experiencing so many negative symptoms from a diet that was supposed to be more metabolically stimulating to me?  Was my new diet truly bad for me, or was something else going on?

After years of research and self-experimentation this is what I learned…

When you go from one diet to another, especially if the eating protocol is very different, you have to make changes slowly—NOT quickly, like most diets tell you to do. You have to consider your food changes, macronutrient ratios, calories, meal frequency and your body’s energy needs.

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Here are 5 things to consider when changing your current diet to a more metabolically supporting diet.

1. Consider the types of foods.   My previous diet was high in muscle meats (chicken, beef, and turkey), low in fat (mostly unsaturated from nuts and seeds), and low in carbohydrates (mostly vegetables and some fruit).  My current diet is moderate in protein (whole eggs, fish, some meat, dairy), moderate in fat (primarily saturated from coconut oil, butter, dairy and chocolate) and moderately high in carbohydrates (primarily fruits, orange juice and milk).   These food changes were significant.  And any time you make a significant food change, even for the better, it can be stressful for the body. I literally stopped eating one diet one day, and started an entirely new diet the next.  This extreme and quick diet shift proved to play havoc on my body.  Luckily, I am a patient woman and I was willing to self-experiment on myself.   I knew I was on the right track with the diet shifts, I just wasn’t sure when I my body was going to self-regulate, so I waited out all of my body’s physical reactions to the shifts and in a few months all my negative symptoms went away.  However, what I learned was had I made the dietary changes slower, my body would have responded with less negative reactions and I would have saved myself months of weight gain, hormonal shifts, acne and digestive issues.

Therefore, when you start changing your diet, change the foods slowly.

*For More information on what foods support a HIGH metabolism—click here.

Example: If you are eating 5 servings of meat every day, and no dairy:  Shift to 4 servings of meat/day and one serving of dairy.  Each week add in more dairy and decrease muscle meat.

2. Consider your macronutrient ratios.  One of the biggest mistakes I made and many other people make when starting to eat a more metabolically supportive diet, is altering their macronutrient (fat, carbohydrates, proteins) ratios too quickly.

Example:  If you are eating a diet low in carbohydrates (20%), high in protein (40%) and high in fat (40%) and immediately start eating a diet high in carbohydrates (50%), moderate in protein (25%) and moderate in fat (25%) you are going to produce an undesirable result, which usually results in weight gain.  This is what I did when I shifted my diet.  I went from a low carb to high carb diet in a matter of days.  My body didn’t know how to handle the additional carbohydrate load, and in response I gained weight and experienced hormonal issues.

Like the type of food you are eating, slowly shifting your macronutrient ratios is very important.  If you are consuming only 20% carbohydrates, try adding in 5% more each week and see how you feel.  As long as you are getting a positive response (increased body temperature, better energy, sleep improvements, etc.) your body should be able to handle your new macronutrient ratio without weight gain or hormonal shifts.

3. Consider the calories.  Now, I am not a huge advocate on calorie counting.  I believe in eating until you are full and then stopping.  However, when shifting diets, it’s important to eat about the same amount of calories you did on your previous food plan.   Dropping your calories too much can result in a lower metabolic rate.  Increasing your calories too quickly can result in fat gain.   Whether you are eating too little or too much, you want to shift your foods first before you shift your calories.

Example:  If you are eating only 1200 kcal of low calorie processed foods:  Start your diet shift by adding in more metabolically supportive foods that will total 1200 kcal.  Once you make the food shift, then you can work on adding in more calories.

4.  Consider meal frequency. Meal frequency is how often you are eating on any given day.  Most people are told to eat three square meals consisting of breakfast, lunch and dinner. For some people, three meals per day works quite well. These people are able to utilize the meal for energy, repair, brain function, movement, etc. and the rest of he food that is not used, is stored as muscle and liver glycogen.  Yet, for others, who may not be able to store glycogen very well, more meals may be necessary.  If you have blood sugar issues, low thyroid, fatigue, constipation, sleep issues, etc. you may do better on 6-10 small meals/day.

Example:  If you are currently eating three large meals/day and find you have blood sugar issues, weight issues and energy issues try eating three smaller meals along with 2-3 snacks.  You may find that consuming the same amount of calories but eating smaller meals helps with your energy level, blood sugar control and weight issues.  Sometimes just adjusting your meal frequency can be the trick to helping you feel better.

5. Consider your energy needs.  When you are busier, thinking more, moving more and doing more your energy (food) needs increase.  Thus, to keep your metabolism high, you need to eat according to the demands you place on your body.  More energy out put (thinking, moving, exercise, etc.) needs to be followed by increased energy input (food).  What this means is that on a day-to-day basis you need to adjust your energy (calories) based on your activity.  If you are exercising or are extremely busy one day, you need to eat more than on a day you are lying around the house watching movies.  To eat the same amount of food every day despite how much energy you are expending makes no sense.  Eating too little on a day when your energy needs are high, over time will slow down your metabolism.

For most people their energy increases as they wake up, peaks around mid-day (when they are working, exercising, thinking, etc.), and then starts to decline as they get closer to bedtime.  Therefore, lunch and breakfast should be your biggest meals because you place more energy demands on your body early to mid-day.  Dinner should be your smallest meal, because your energy demands are lower at night.  Many people do this in reverse and eat a small breakfast and lunch and then eat a very large dinner.  If you don’t eat enough during the day, you will always be starving at night.  This way of eating will lead to weight gain, low energy and sleep issues.

Example:  If you are eating 300 calories for breakfast, 300 calories for lunch, three 100 calories snacks in between, and then a 600 calorie dinner, you are setting yourself up for weight gain, even on this very low calorie diet (total calories =1500 kcal).  Adjusting your meal size to a 400 calorie breakfast, 500 calorie lunch, three 100 calorie snacks and a 400 calorie dinner would help you lose weight—even while eating more food (total calories=1600 kcal.).  This works because you are keeping your metabolic rate higher all day by eating more food when your energy demands are high.  Thus, once you eat dinner, your metabolism is still high and now you will be eating less food, so less is stored at night and more is burned while you are sleeping.

Does it make sense now why changing your current diet too quickly may cause some adverse reactions? Any massive change to your body, good or bad, can be stressful.  And when you are trying to heal the body the goal should be to create less stress not more.  The types of food, macronutrient ratios, calories, meal frequency, and your energy needs are all important in helping you understand how you should eat for metabolic health.  The more you understand how your body works and responds to how you eat the quicker you will heal and the healthier you will become.

Never stop learning your life depends on it!

Your optimal health coach,

Kate

If you want more information on “How to Heal Your Metabolism”—CLICK HERE.

Why Eating Like a “Celebrity” Will Ruin Your Metabolism

Why Eating Like a “Celebrity” Will Ruin Your Metabolism

Why eating like a “celebrity” will ruin your metabolism

There was a time in my life, many, many years ago, that I used to buy into “celebrity” diets.  I’d pick up the current People or Us magazine and read how Oprah or some other celebrity had lost extreme amounts of weight–quickly.   The celebrity would claim that all they had to do was eat pre-packaged food, or consume a liquid-only diet, or eat a low calorie diet and/or take a magic supplement to drop pounds rapidly.  I would see the before and after pictures and think, “Wow, that diet really worked, look how fast they lost weight, and see how good they looked.”.

Both the celebrity and I would assume the diet really worked!

What you didn’t see or hear about was how the celebrity, three months later, was struggling to keep off the weight.  Then within the next 6 months to 2 years, the same celebrity would show up in People or Us magazine with all the weight back on confessing they had no will power and they had failed, once again, at keeping their weight down.  Oprah, it’s not you fault!!!

Oprah weight loss

How many of you have seen these headlines in a magazine, TV show, on the Internet or one of the other million of places you are marketed to?

*Learn how insert celebrity name here lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks.

*Or learn how insert celebrity name here lost her baby weight in 60 days.

*Or learn how insert celebrity name here got red-carpet ready.

The story above and all of these statements NOW irritate the crap out of me.  Why?  Because all of them are supporting a system of weight loss, that is not only unhealthy, but will do long term damage to your metabolism.   Celebrity diets are nothing but quick weight loss strategies designed for you to lose weight FAST. Right?  And isn’t this what most people want, to lose weight fast?  Yes!  Yet, although this is what people want, quick weight loss strategies are not supportive to long-term health or a HIGH metabolism.

When you lose weight FAST.  This is what is really going on…

1.  You are losing water

2.  You are losing muscle

3.  You are cleaning out your bowel

4.  You are depleting muscle glycogen

4.  You may lose a very small amount of fat

This is why quick weight loss strategies are ALWAYS followed by the weight returning, PLUS a pound or two more.  You see, when you lose weight FAST, most of the weight you lost is NOT fat; instead you are losing water weight, muscle, muscle glycogen, and the contents that are inside your intestines.  And to make things worse, since most quick weight loss strategies are calorie restrictive, nutrient restrictive, carbohydrate restrictive, protein restrictive, fat restrictive or some sort of combination of all or few of these, these types of deprivation diets are slowing down your metabolism.

How do restrictive diets slow down your metabolism?

Your body requires energy (food) and nutrients to function optimally.  Food to a human is like gas to a car.  Without gas your car will not run.  Just like without food, your body stops working properly.  Unlike a car, your body has a back up system in place just in case food is unavailable.  The sympathetic nervous system, referred to as your flight or fight system, allows your body to start using its own tissue (muscle, tissue, bone, thymus gland, fat), by releasing your stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, in case food is not available so that you can stay alive.   This is a good thing for short-term survival, but NOT for long-term health.

When you deprive yourself of energy (food), your body starts slowing down metabolic functions to conserve energy.  These include, but are not limited to, digestion, detoxification, immune function, muscle growth and repair, brain function, circulation, hormonal production, and heat production.  When less energy is available, your thyroid slows down the production of thyroid hormones to conserve energy.  In addition, the liver needs adequate amounts of sugars (carbohydrates), protein and nutrients to complete thyroxine/T4 (inactive thyroid) to triiodothyronineT3 (active thyroid) conversion.  Lower levels of T3 will decrease cellular respiration telling the body to conserve more energy and decrease heat production and body functions.

As most of you know, celebrity diets do work in the short term.   Consuming less food and nutrients does help with weight loss.  Yet, give the celebrity 3-6 months, or even less time, and they will regain their lost weight and advertising something new for you to invest your hard earned money on.   Remember ALL restrictive diets DO NOT work—long term.  Although its possible to keep the weight off by restricting calories and nutrients, eventually anyone using this type of weight loss strategy will start to experience fatigue, agitation, cold, more susceptible to illness, constipated, sleep issues, hormonal issues, decreased muscle mass and/or thinking power.

What should you do for long-term weight loss?

Increase metabolic rate silly!

What do you need to do to increase metabolic rate? Here are five things you can do now that will help increase your metabolic rate.

1. Eat Real Food.  Consume the right fats, carbs and proteins, in the right amounts and frequencies that are right for you.

2. Rest and Sleep.  Sleep helps with mitochondria regeneration.  The mitochondria are the cells’ powerhouse and where cellular respiration takes place.

3. De-stress.  Stress suppresses metabolic rate and thyroid function.  Remove the stress; increase the thyroid and metabolic rate.

4. Move purposely.   Do movement exercises that you love and enjoy, and that make your body feel good.  You should move to increase muscle mass, flexibility, mobility, stability, strength and power, NOT for quick weight loss.

5. Be happy.  Figure out what you want out of life and go for it.  Happiness is far less stressful than being unhappy.

Bottom line:  Save your hard earned money and your time by avoiding all celebrity diets and ALL plans that produce QUICK weight loss results and guarantees. THEY just don’t work—long term!

If you want to find out how to really regain your health and lose weight forever, by improving your metabolic rate, then check out my new book, “How to Heal Your Metabolism.”

Your Optimal Health Coach,

Kate

 

 

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

Is Your Diet Making you Fat?

Is Your Diet Making you FAT?

In my career, spanning over 20 years in the health and fitness industry, there is one thing I know for sure, dieting never works, at least long term.  In fact, long term, people who diet usually end up slowing their metabolism down and end up gaining weight and getting fat FATTER !   YIKES!

First, what do I mean by dieting?

When I reference “dieting”, I am referring to any food plan that is restrictive in one or all of the following area:

1. Calories.  The energy we get from food.

2. Micro-nutrients.  This could be vitamins, minerals or combination of both

3. Macro-nutrients.  This includes fat, protein, and/or carbs.

These diets include, but are not limited to low calorie diets, low carb diets, low fat diets, low protein diets, low salt diets, liquid diets, cleanses, fasts, juice diets, vegan diets, and low REAL food diets.

Can you lose weight on any of the above diets?  Yes, of course you will…short term.

Will you also feel hungry and deprived?  YES! Will also you become cranky and crave sweet or salty foods?  YES!  Will you be able to maintain this diet for a lifetime?  Most likely, NO!   You might be able to last for awhile or a restrictive diet, but eventually you will crack and eat the foods you are craving.

In fact, you have about  a 1-2% chance or maintaing a restrictive diet for over 2 years.  The only people I know that can maintain a calorie restrictive, nutrient deficient diet for any extended period of time are those that usually develop an eating disorder…and well, we all know how Unhealthy that is for you.

Will your metabolism slow down, allowing you to conserve ever bit of  energy on a calorie, nutrient restrictive diet?  For sure!

Will a slower metabolism HELP you live life filled with vitality, energy and health.  No WaY!

Basically, when you eat  a low calorie, nutrient deficient diet you are telling your metabolism to SLLLLLOOWWW down.  You put your body in a state of starvation and deprivation and it wants to conserve every bit of energy you give it.  Your body is smart, when you starve it, it begins to stop or slow down certain systems of your body to conserve energy.  These systems include your immune system, hormonal system, detox system, digestive system, nervous system, and your muscular and skeletal systems.  All the systems in your body are effected when you deprive them of energy and nutrients.

Once your body learns to use less energy and decreases the amount of energy it gives your body’s systems you get sick easier and more often, your libido decrease, you have trouble procreating, your digestion slows down and you become constipated, your reflexes are slower, you lose muscle and bone development and your body has a hard time removing toxins.  In addition a damaged metabolism leads to a lower body temperature (your body temperature should be around 98.6* degrees), decreased energy, poor sleep, weight gain, hormone imbalances, dry skin, forgetfulness, and a slew of other symptoms.

Yes, you may lose some weight (a combination of fat, muscle, tissue, bone and water) along the way, but at what cost…your health?

Metabolic slowing happens with constant dieting.   Ever time you “diet” and deprive yourself of energy and nutrients, your metabolism gets damaged.  Yes, every time!

The biggest problem with repeat dieting is people never take the time to repair their damaged metabolism before trying to lose weight and diet again.   It’s like trying to build a house on a cracked foundation.  You have to fix the foundation (your metabolism) before building the house (losing weight).

The best thing to do before trying go lose weight,  is repair the foundation (your metabolism) FIRST and then build the house (lose weight).  As Diane Schwarzbein says in her book  “The Schwarzbein Principle”, “you have got to get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy”.

But Kate, don’t you have to eat less than you are burning, to lose FAT?   Yes, of course.  However, wouldn’t it be smarter to HEAL your metabolism FIRST so that you can burn more.  Once your body learns to consume more energy again, all while supplying energy and nutrients to all it’s systems, you will not have to work nearly as hard to lose fat.  Doesn’t that sound better…EAT MORE, WORKOUT LESS all so you can lose fat safer and more healthfully.

So what is the solution?!

I am so glad you asked.  You have to eat to lose weight!  The key is eating the right foods, in the right portions, combining the right amount of macro nutrients,  at the right times with the right exercises and of course the right amount of sleep…for you.  We are all different and are at different stages of health, so note there is no “one size fits all solution”, there is just you solution.

Yet, here are some general guidelines to live by:

1. Macronutrient ratios. All meals should contain a fat, a protein, and a carbohydrate.  Of course, the percentage of each is dependent on your metabolic type, your energy needs, your lifestyle, and the current state of your metabolism.

2. Eat the RIGHT FATS.  Organic coconut oil, grass-fed ghee, organic butter, RAW and/or organic dairy, cacao, grass fed meats and free range eggs.

3. Eat the RIGHT PROTEINS.  Organic grass fed meats, raw and/or organic dairy, eggs, white fish, shell fish, bone broth and gelatin

4. Eat the RIGHT CARBS.  Organic fresh-cooked veggies, tropical fruits, cooked fruits, fruit-vegetables (squashes), root vegetables, raw carrots, honey, and even sugar.

5. Drink water.  Drink water to thirst.  Drink more when its hot and you are working hard.  Consume minerals and sugar with water to replace needed nutrients.

6. Food Frequency. Find the number of meals that works for you to control your blood sugar and keep your body temperature high.  Some people may work well on 3 meals, while others need 8-9 meals.

7. Sleep. Try to sleep between the hours of 10pm and 6am, or around those times.  Deep sleep is better than longer sleep.

8. Decrease Stress. Nothing suppresses thyroid function (the controller of your metabolism) more than stress.  Rest more, work less, smile more laugh more, love more.

9. Weight train. Weight training can increase muscle mass and allow your body to utilize more energy, thus help with fat burning.

10. Be patient.  Losing weight properly takes time.  Weight loss should be no more than 1 pound a week. If your metabolism is severely damaged, the concentration should be on healing and warming the body and not weight loss.  Once the body is in a healthier state, the focus can be placed back on weight loss.

Trying to lose fat does not have to be a constant state of deprivation.  YOU can eat.  YOU need to eat!  YOU can enjoy the foods you love.   To lose FAT, you MUST obtain an understanding as to what is going to fuel your metabolism so that your body can continue to work optimally, all the while you are losing fat.

Remember you have to build a strong foundation to build a strong body.  If your foundation is cracked (slow metabolism) then you have to fix it FIRST, before trying to build the house (lose the weight)!   You need to be healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy!

 

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.”

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