I’ve had trouble controlling my weight for a long time, especially recently with the transition from being a full time student for 20+ years to opening my own practice. So stress is certainly a constant factor. In addition to the stress of running a business i have dealt with depression since i was a child. I have also been pre-diabetic for some time now. I have been able to manage those variables by modifying multiple areas of my life. I will elaborate on one of those facets today.
The BIGGEST key was and is my diet. When I say diet I mean the way I habitually eat, not something I do for a month or a few weeks. No master cleanses or any other cleanses either. The biggest change in my diet was the almost elimination of sugars. Sugar is now known to be highly addictive (see the attached on sugar’s effects above pages 2&3, do you see something on there that you are suffering or dealing with?). We never learn enough about nutrition growing up so it’s not our fault we don’t know a lot of this info. These 3 pages worth of info are a great way to start. After implementing these points I found that I didn’t have to exercise tirelessly to keep weight off. I also didn’t have to work nearly as hard to build muscle.
Until a few years ago I NEVER ate breakfast and pick the excuse- no time in the morning, not hungry in the morning, almost nauseous in the morning. Then I learned that the brain uses glucose (sugar) as its main food source. When we get hungry our brains know which foods will give us the fastest source of glucose to allow for proper brain function (you remember the brain, that lump of fat in our heads that runs every single bodily function, kinda important). This made a ton of sense as to why when I got REALLY hungry I wanted and desperately craved a Kit Kat or cinnabun instead of a nice steak. Our hunger and satiety or feeling of being full is all run by our…you guessed it – HORMONAL SYSTEM. Yes this system is more than sex and “that time of the month”. Our hormonal system dictates the way our body functions, from how we sleep to how we break down foods to how we regulate our body temperature and soooooo much more!
In today’s world we get hung up on nomenclature and labeling. Diabetes, anxiety, depression to name a few are now used as diagnoses when in fact they are symptoms. Symptoms are signs that your body gives you to say “HEY!! Something’s not working right!! Fix it!” I will take it a step further and say that gaining weight is a symptom. Not being able to put on weight is a symptom. They are both signs that our bodies aren’t functioning the way they can and SHOULD.
Epigenetics has recently been a hot topic that emerged in 2010. Epigenetics is the study of how genes can be turned off and on via environmental triggers. So when people say “oh, well my mom had ______ so I will end up having _______ too.” Epigenetics says “ahhh, not so much.” We can’t directly turn genes on/off (at least not yet, or not that the general public knows of) but we can make healthy choices and be aware of the toxins in our environment (Pharmaceuticals, synthetic fluoride in our water supplies, pollutants in the air we breathe, food that has been grown in soil littered with waste like birth control and pesticides). These toxins put stress on our liver (the organ of the body that filters the crap we put in) and are one of the main reasons our bodies are so INFLAMED. So the next time I thot “oh well my whole family has diabetes I will have diabetes too” I quickly checked myself and realized that I will go down that route only if I did what they did, ate what they ate.
For the last 8 years i haven’t taken any medications beyond the occasional ibuprofen or benadryl, and when i do its once in a blue moon. The side effects and byproducts that our bodies are forced to deal with when we litter our system with medications is an area that is typically overlooked by most of the medical community. Look for our “Pharmaceuticals” post in a week or so. One point to keep in mind is that if pharmaceuticals made people healthy then it would hold true that the healthiest person in our society is the one on the most meds. Think of the healthiest person you know and ask them how many medications they are on…NONE!
Inflammation is the number one cause of any chronic illness. We typically know of inflammation as the reason we swell up if we sprain our ankle. Well, inflammation can effect every part of the body- the gut(preventing proper absorption), our blood vessels, our lungs to name a few. We now have world renowned heart surgeons (http://www.nutrientrich.com/1/heart-surgeon-speaks-out-on-what-really-causes-heart-disease-almost.html) that are speaking up and saying that heart disease is not due to cholesterol or fat. It’s due to inflammation of the arteries that supplies the heart with blood.
We already said the brain is made of fat, how can fat be bad for our body? And cholesterol? That’s the basic element of any hormone, which we established are essential for proper bodily function.
“So what can cause inflammation??”
It would be easier to talk about what DOESN’T cause inflammation. In today’s world we have so many inflammatory agents like the toxins we spoke of earlier as well as genetically modified foods like corn and wheat. Wheat used to be a very healthy grain until the 1950’s when a Norman Borlaug(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug) discovered how to modify the genes of the wheat plant in order to make it more resilient. At first this was a great concept because we could grow it easier, he even won the Nobel Peace Prize for discovering this. The downside was something we wouldn’t learn until years down the line because it wasn’t the direct effect this newly modified substance has on our system within the first year or two. It took years to see the long term effect. A great reason to be hesitant of these new crazes in food and pharmaceuticals, we don’t know right away what effect it will have on us 20+ years down the line.
A statistic that always blew my mind was that approx. 97% of the average American’s carbon atoms (they make up all of our cells) are corn derivatives!! That is because corn is in every processed food we eat and yes that includes genetically modified fruits and vegetables. Cows, chickens and other animals we raise for food consumption are fed corn instead of what they have evolved from eating, grass. Why? Because corn grows faster than grass. The good news is that we literally regenerate ourselves. Every 35 days our skin regenerates every cell, every month or so your liver regenerates every single cell and every 7 years we regenerate every cell in our body, except for the brain and central nervous system. So we literally are what we eat. It is up to US to decide what we become.
So much how we eat and what we crave is decided by psychological connections to particular foods. This is important because over-eating can be a symptom of emotional hunger. Emotional hunger is when you feel a sudden craving that is specific (rocky road ice cream and Carls Jr are mine). You tend to eat more than you normally would and feel guilty as hell after. The opposite would be Physical Hunger which typically comes in gradually and is easy to put off. With physical hunger most foods will satisfy the urge, you will stop when you are full(not when you FEEL full), and you feel good about yourself after.
With this new information in mind, the idea that I have read before on Gary Taubes’ “good Calories, Bad calories” and the information that my good friends Nathan Brammeier and Dr. Marc Papantonio have been giving me for years started to really click. The information they gave me is what I will give you now. This has been the most crucial part to my well-being. It’s the fundamental concept of circulating your diet around proteins and fats, instead of the typical food model given to us in grade school that emphasized grains and dairy.
If you think of it simply, the human body is made of water, fiber, protein and fat. Why not consistently give it what it’s made of? So that’s what I’ve been doing. I no longer crave sugars the way I used to. When I do crave sugars, I have a slice of lemon. Lemons are technically a fruit so they have sugar and will give your body that sugar fix, but the great thing is that after having a slice of lemon, you typically kill the urge to eat sugar after. Works like a charm.
Let’s clarify what I mean by “good fats”-
Avocados, butter, fatty cuts of beef, bacon, coconut, fish, nuts, olive oil. Butter is great for cooking in high heats (>1800F), olive oil is great for fresh food and cooking in low heats (<1800F).
Let’s clarify what I DON’T mean by fats-
Margarine, Trans fats, shortening, canola oil aka Rape Seed oil (it is literally derived from what’s called the “rape seed” a plant found in Canada that is poisonous to animals!!!), vegetable oil, soy oil (soy has been shown to increase estrogen levels in males, estrogen is the “female” hormone), hydrogenated oils.
I will still have alcohol in small amounts once every couple weeks. I try to stick to tequila because it is derived from the agave plant and has the least amount of processing compared to any other alcohol. I will also still have a Pepsi once every month or so if I am out at dinner. The same with chocolate. I never really liked coffee and caffeinated tea so that wasn’t an issue for me to “let go” of but if you are a caffeine addict i would start by trying to switch to decaf. The biggest change was NOT BRINGING THEM INTO MY HOME!!! Don’t keep that crap around me, out of sight out of mind.
To quit cold turkey like that is hard. But it is the following that allows me to not feel like I DONT NEED sugar.
I precook sausages and kale just in case I don’t have enough time to make breakfast in the morning, I can scarf those down quick and go!
Breakfast doesn’t have to be different from the other meals of the day!! Don’t get caught up in feeling like you have to have certain foods in the morning. Again circulate every meal around fat and protein.
Pre-cooking my meals
I take 2-3 hours every Sunday and make meals that I can take with me to work as well as having some back up meals for dinner in case I come home and am too lazy to cook!
I enjoy cooking so this is the fun part; people who complain healthy food is boring don’t understand how to use herbs and spices.
I mainly consume organic meats, eggs, and cheese
I try and buy produce grown organically and locally to reduce the pesticide and toxin factor as well as help stimulate the local businesses and farmers. CSA is a great company that will deliver organic produce and eggs to your DOOR!! You can also shop for groceries on line now!!
Cook those veggies at a low heat!!! We typically cook 50-90% of the nutritional value of a vegetable OUT of the vegetable due to high heats making it rather worthless to eat in the first place. This is a great reason why Raw Food diets work so well is because most Americans suffer from Malnutrition and eating raw veggies gives you the highest nutritional value. Also genetically modified veggies and fruits, although may look perfect have much less nutritional composition to them.
I try to eat a piece of fermented (pickled) food with every meal- Homemade pickles and gardinera are SUPER easy to make. It will take you 10 minutes to prep a couple months’ worth of fermented foods. This really helps stimulate the GI tract and digestion.
The carbs I do eat are mainly leafy greens because they have high amounts of protein, fiber, anti-oxidants. Vs. potatoes which are extremely high in sugar and starch.
IM spoiled!!! I have unbelievable resources at my disposal that I can ask the minutest of questions and will always get a great response. You can have that too!!!
“It’s hard to find something you aren’t looking for”, now that you are looking for these particular people as your support groups; you WILL find them, guaranteed. Email us or call and we can help!! firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-289-8011,http://www.functionalhealthspecialists.com
What do I mean by sugar?
i. Complex Carbohydrates
ii. Simple Carbohydrates
Any processed food with sugar
ALL pasta, bread, tortillas, chips
Any Juice (even the 100%), Soda, energy drink, vitamin water, etc.
If it says sugar or High fructose corn syrup on the label, it doesn’t go in my body
Rules of thumb
Ask for nutritional information from people who are qualified to give it!!! Asking your MD for advice on your diet is like asking your mechanic for relationship advice. Most MD’s have 2 of their 400+ units in nutrition as opposed to an RD, chiro with advanced training in nutrition.
When buying produce look at the sticker or tag. If the number on the tag is a four digit number it means its conventionally grown. A five digit number starting with a “9″ means it is certified organically grown, a five digit number starting with “8″ is a genetically modified fruit or veggie.
If it isn’t found in nature, don’t put it in your body.
Circulate meals around fats and proteins
Cook your own meals!!! At least you know what’s going into it!
If you do buy something processed-if there are more than 5 ingredients it’s probably not good.
Drink Water!!! recommended half ounce for every pound of your body weight. Drinking water in the morning helps jumpstart your digestive tract. Also drinking water before a meal will help you digest better as well. In addition to the nutritional benefits, it is crucial for your spine’s mobility which is directly related to your nervous system function(you remember that fatty brain and the wires that come down from it called the central and peripheral nervous system) but we’ll talk more about that in our next installment . I fill my water jugs at Harvest House in Concord, CA. They have a reverse osmosis filtration system that gets you as clean of water as possible. Ideally, if you own your residence then the way to go is to install a reverse osmosis system for your whole house’s water supply. Although it is a bit of an investment at first, its a great payoff over time. I’ve been drinking reverse osmotic filtered water for the past 6 months now and its amazing how you can really taste the difference from bottled and tap water.
“Good Fat doesn’t make you fat!!”