So what should we eat? Paleo? Vegan? Low Carb? Healthy Carb?
We heard so much about getting back to our roots that we went in search of how exactly the hunter-gatherers ate…Then we became even more confused than before we started. Everyone had a different opinion and a valid reason why they felt that eating their way was best.
Out came the Expos, our whiteboard wall and scientific studies conducted on different diets!
We mapped out the similarities and differences between all these diets, what facts were evidence based and what the side effects were for both their short term and long term use. Then we researched studies comparing the effects on these diets on groups of obese/overweight individuals.
In 90% of these cases the data showed that low carbohydrate diets created greater weight/ fat loss over the spans of the experiments with improvements in other health markers, too…
And that these changes were sustained for longer terms if carbohydrates were continued to be consumed in lower amounts as compared to proteins and fats.
There is a good study posted in the Journal of the American Medical Association that reviews these findings in more detail.
What did we learn?
This is a summary of what we learned, with some slight variations between different people and their different digestive needs. Get ready to dispel some long held notions of what constitutes a healthy diet!
Eat 60 – 70% of your diet as fats
- Eat some saturated fats found in foods like pasture raised eggs, grass fed cheeses, butter, ghee and meats (remember when these use to be bad for us?). These fats are necessary for absorption of certain vitamins, calcium uptake, immune function, and cell membrane structure.
- Eat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in olives and olive oil, sunflower, sesame, flax, avocado, safflower oils and nuts. The only caution is to use avocado or coconut oil if heating to a higher temperature to limit the free radicals released.
- Avoid entirely all trans fats and hydrogenated oils! These cause a vast array of inflammatory diseases and inflammation in your body. Read here for more about how eating fat helps your body get rid of fat http://www.livestrong.com/article/557726-eat-fat-to-burn-fat/
Eat more organic nuts, algae, fish, pasture raised poultry, pasture raised eggs and grass fed meats to your weekly menu.
- Wild caught fish have higher Omega 3 levels that balance the Omega 6’s that are already in our systems. High Omega 6 levels with lower omega 3 levels leads to all inflammatory diseases. Farmed fish do not have a healthy 6 to 3 ratio because of their supplemented feed and limited swimming areas. Read Dr. Axe’s reviews on farmed fish here. http://draxe.com/the-dangers-of-farmed-fish/
- Eat only pasture raised and grass fed meats to insure that you are not ingesting pesticides, GMOs or other hormone disrupting substances from the animal’s feed. Think – what they ate you eat.
- Organic nuts should be sprouted to ensure digestibility and offer a good source of monounsaturated fats. These can be eaten raw, roasted and salted, chocolate dipped (might I add Yum! and see below for the recipe) or as nut butters. Peanuts are Not a part of this good-for-you nut list and should not be ingested due to their higher levels of mycotoxins.
Eat a variety of dark colored vegetables and a little bit of fruit every day.
The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, is among the first to quantify the health benefits of eating different amounts of fresh produce.
- Eat 5-7 servings of vegetables and fruits per day and have a 42% lower risk of dying from any cause.
- Eat 3-5 servings and have a 29% lower risk.
- Eat 1-3 servings and have a 14% lower risk.
How many servings are you eating?
We’re up to 8-10 per day because each additional veggie lowers our risk by 16%.
In case you’re wondering, a serving is about 1 cup of sliced vegetable (lightly placed in cup – not packed in).
Fruits will be discussed more in another article but for right now treat them as a condiment not a main course. Too much fructose and natural sugars cause a rise in insulin and a rise in stored fat.
Instead try veggies in your morning omelet, a large salad for lunch with some form of protein and olive or coconut oil, veggie with a healthy dip as a snack, two cooked veggies with coconut oil, olive oil or butter topping and a small salad for dinner.
With the oils, butter and cheeses on everything, this isn’t as hard as you would think to do. Adding these fats is necessary for your body to absorb the fat soluble vitamins in the vegetables. Without adding some form of fat you lose out on the nutrients in them.
Keep checking our recipes for more delicious ideas. If you want more information on this study you can access it thru Dr. Mercola’s website.
No Sugar Allowed!
Sugar has been shown in many scientific studies to increase weight gain. Cutting sugar from your diet has a multitude of health benefits, but we will focus on weight loss here and cover the others in a subsequent article.
Here’s a breakdown of how sugar is processed in our bodies.
- First we eat a snack containing sugar. This generates a rapid rise in blood glucose as the body uses these calories to create an energy source for the muscles.
- To adjust for this rise in glucose, our bodies (the pancreas) secretes the hormone insulin into the bloodstream to lower and stabilize this surge of glucose.
- The insulin secreted does its job to store the extra sugar calories in our adipose fat cells (think belly fat, and thigh fat).
- The process doesn’t stop there because if we continue to eat a diet higher in sugar then we develop a situation called insulin resistance.
- Characteristic symptoms of insulin resistance include: fatigue after meals, craving for sweets that doesn’t go away when sweets are eaten, increased thirst, and frequent urination.
- Another path our bodies may take from surges of higher and then lower blood sugar is hypoglycemia. The symptoms of this disorder will be lightheadedness, irritability, shakiness and fatigue between meals, which is often relieved after eating. In this case people have insulin surges and the body should respond to low blood sugar by producing cortisol to increase blood sugar levels. However, in this case, periodically hypoglycemic people usually have low adrenal function and rely on adrenaline to elevate blood sugar between meals, which causes the shakiness and lightheadedness between meals..
It gets even worse…
Higher insulin levels change the way our hormones react to the foods we ingest.
- High insulin lowers the release of glucagons (the hormones used to break down glucose – sugar- to glycogen – usable energy instead of fat storage)
- High insulin reduces the amount of human growth hormone HGH that is released (the hormone that regulates the growth and development of our muscles and strength)
So basically, the insulin from the excess sugar carbohydrates promotes storage of more fat in our cells, and then decreases our body’s ability to lose that fat. That’s a definite double negative.
All we can say is check labels, shop organic and start making your own foods – we will help with as many tasty, healthy recipes as we can find and create.
Drink better water.
Notice we didn’t say drink more water, although we all know we need to do that.
- If we drink more of the bad or contaminate water coming out of most of our faucets then we are just filling our bodies with more and more toxins.
- Drinking better quality water makes the most difference in reducing inflammation, hydrating our bodies with trace nutrients, decreasing dehydration, and increasing fat loss.
- Have your water checked for bacteria, nitrates, heavy metals, radionuclides, and other harmful microorganisms.
- Less Toxins – Less Immune Reaction – Less Fat Storage…are you seeing the pattern here?
If it doubt go with a reputable bottled water company or if you can afford it, a reverse osmosis water purification system. Or if you’re lucky to live close enough, you can do like we do and travel to the nearest natural springs to bottle your own water.
Get enough good sleep!
This is easier to do as you get healthier, because your body will naturally sleep longer and more soundly.
- Our bodies need sleep to regulate the production of ghrelin, the hormone in our bodies that controls our cravings for foods.
- Too little sleep also decreases the production of leptin, the hormone in our bodies that tells our brains that we are full or satiated, thus stopping us from eating too many calories.
- Lack of or too much sleep has an effect on the amount of physical activity we will want to do that day, on how hungry we will feel, on how much hormones will be excreted by our bodies to regulate our appetites, and on how efficiently we will metabolize the calories we take in.
- Studies show that ideally we should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep a night of uninterrupted sleep.
- The quality of our sleep counts too. According to studies presented by The American Journal of Health Promotion and Brigham Young University, “People who maintain an unvarying sleep routine have a lower percentage of body fat than those who keep irregular sleep hours, says a new study, published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.” and “What the researchers found was that
- Getting less than 6.5 hours of sleep and more than 8.5 hours of sleep was linked to higher body fat
- High quality sleep was associated with lower body fat while poor sleep correlated with higher body fat
- Waking and going to sleep at the same time every day (particularly a consistent wake time) was most strongly linked with lower body fat
- The difference in body weight was greater with more variation in sleep pattern.
- Women whose sleep patterns varied by 90 minutes a night had higher body fat than those whose sleep varied by 60 minutes or less on average.
- Body fat also varied with sleep quantity; women who slept between 8 and 8.5 hours a night had the lowest body fat.
- The greatest effect at all was seen in women who woke up at the same time every morning seven days a week.
Here’s other things…
…in our life that can affect our ability or inability to lose that extra fat from our bodies. We felt a bit overwhelmed with changing all of them so we chose one or two to work on. Why are bad habits so easy to start and so hard to change?
Dr. Mercola shares more on his site about each of these but here’s the breakdown of possible fat influencers:
- Eating too many “low fat” foods
- Drinking soda – both regular or diet
- Eating too quickly
- Watching too much t.v.
- Eating off of large plates
- Taking big bites
- Not drinking enough water
- Eating too late
- Drinking fruity beverages
You Have Control When You Have Understanding
The positive aspect of all of this is that when we know more about how our bodies work, we can begin to gain some control over what changes happen to them. We can learn the “why” about something changing in us, and the “how” it happened, and then learn the “what” we can do to change it back to a healthy state. Our bodies adapt and heal every day – make today the start of your healthy life.
Join us on this journey! To get a good start or just for kicks, you can access a food/ fat loss calculator that follows these principles and determine how much of each category you need for your own personal weight loss/ health goals at http://keto-calculator.ankerl.com/
Cauliflower Moment…before I thought my diet was just “ok”, but that’s why I only felt “just ok”.