Monday, December 31, 2012

Avoid Toxins

Avoid Toxins

A toxin is something capable of causing disease or damaging tissue when it enters the body. The greatest offenders in our diet include:

Cereal grains (refined flour, wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, rye, millet)

In order to protect themselves from being eaten these plants produce toxins that damage the gut lining, bind essential minerals making them unavailable to the body and inhibit digestion and absorption of other essential nutrients like protein leading to nutrient deficiencies.

One of these toxins is gluten. Gluten intolerant research has demonstrated that 1 in 3 Americans are gluten intolerant. The most sensitive people develop Celiac disease which is when a person has a (potentially fatal) immune response to even the smallest amounts of gluten. 87.5% of those with Celiac have no obvious gut symptoms. Gluten leads to inflammation and destruction of the gut tissue even in people without a high sensitivity.

Gluten intolerance can also effect almost every other tissue in the body including: brain, endocrine system, stomach, liver, blood vessels and smooth muscle. Gluten intolerance is associated with several different diseases, including type 1 diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia, psychiatric illness, ADHD, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, obesity and more.

Omega-6 industrial seed oils (corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, sunflower, sesame, peanut, ect.)
Anthropological research suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a ratio of roughly 1:1. It also indicates that both ancient and modern hunter-gatherers were free of the modern inflammatory diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, that are the primary causes of death and morbidity today. Today, estimates of the ratio range from an average of 10:1 to 20:1, with a ratio as high as 25:1 in some individuals.

Elevated Omega-6 intakes are associated with an increase in all inflammatory diseases. Some of these diseases include: Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, cancer, psychiatric disorders such as depression, and autoimmune diseases.

Sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup)
Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, lung, gallbladder and stomach. Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract, including an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Sugar can interfere with your absorption of protein, cause food allergies and it contributes to obesity.

Refined sugar is particularly problematic because it tends to promote overeating. When people eat whole food sources of sugar like fruit they tend to reduce caloric consumption to compensate. When they consume liquid-sweetened beverage like soft drinks they tend not to reduce consumption and thus their calorie intake increases.

Processed soy (soy milk, soy protein, soy flour, etc.)
Most people are unaware of how much soy they consume. It is present in almost every packaged and processed food in the form of soy protein isolate, soy flour, soy lecithin and soybean oil.  Soy in the U.S. and other western countries is consumed highly processed and unfermented and eaten in much larger quantities than in Asia where soy, in the form of tempeh, miso, natto and tamari, is typically unprocessed and fermented which partially neutralizes the toxins in soybeans. 

How does soy impact our health? The following is just a partial list:
  • Soy contains trypsin inhibitors that inhibit protein digestion and affect pancreatic function;
  • Soy contains phytic acid, which reduces absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc;
  • Soy increases our requirement for vitamin D, which 50% of American are already deficient in;
  • Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
  • Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12;
  • Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines;
  • Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods to mask soy’s unpleasant taste; and,
  • Soy can stimulate the growth of estrogen-dependent tumors and cause thyroid problems, especially in women.
Click here for a complete list of studies demonstrating the harmful effects of soy products.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stocking a healthy home

Focus on your Environment

The easiest way to change your diet is to change your environment. You can’t eat what’s not around you. If you got transported to Sub-Saharan Africa to live with Maasai, it doesn’t matter if you think you NEED a certain food.  You will have dramatically changed your eating habits after a week in this environment. In the same way if you are trying to change an eating habit at home its best to change what you have to eat in your home environment.
Make a commitment to eat real food

This means only having real food in your environment.  Over the years I’ve developed a pretty solid healthy shopping and cooking system that’s made eating healthy simple.  I’m thinking about it because I just got back from a couple days in Florida and I haven’t been shopping in a while. My fridge is empty of pretty much everything. And my shelves are bare. And it’s a lot easier to eat real foods if that’s all that’s there when I fill my shelves up again.
Start by buying one week of groceries at a time and improve on it each week until you are streamlined and love what you eat.  Continue to tweak for optimal health, efficiency and cost. Rinse Repeat.
Start by making a list of what guidelines are solid as far as real/healthy foods go. Realizing that spending a little more money buying quality food now as insurance against the cost of sick days and declining health later is an intelligent tradeoff. 

So what are these healthy foods?

Here’s the guide from Mark Sissons book ‘Primal Living.’ From all the reading and research I’ve done it’s one of the best and simplest guides I’ve found. 

The Pyramid for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and maximum longevity.


This helps to develop criteria of healthy options.

Herbs, spices and extracts:  K, find herbs we think are healthy, probably spices like cumin and anything leafy.
Sensible indulgences: Grab a single bar of 85% organic dark chocolate and a bottle of wine for the week.

Supplements: Omega 3, Vitamin D, an anti-oxidant blend, good multi-vitamin and a probiotic to maintain healthy gut bacteria. Done.

Get a small quantity of ‘Moderation’ foods

Fruits: A couple apples, a couple bags of different frozen berries for smoothies, and a thing of cherries. Perfect. Just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth. Not enough to gorge ourselves on glucose throughout the week. 

High fat Dairy: Some aged cheese won’t be too bad - lets add a little of that to the morning omelet and see how we feel.  Kerry gold grass fed butter is a must. Put non-salted in your coffee and salted on everything that’s warm including your tongue.  You really want to stay away from things like 2% or skim milk.

Starchy Tubers, Quinoa, Wild rice: Stay away from this when not exercising but sense I’m lifting some weights, biking, running and playing hockey throughout the week I’m going to grab some yams and spaghetti squash and sprinkle it with pink Himalayan or Celtic sea salt and soak it in butter before or after a physical activity. Toss um in the cart. 

Nuts:  Mm mm. How many macadamia nuts can I afford? This many. Cashews? Almonds? What other nuts do I like - add them to the cart. As for nut butter - Peanut butter is bad for you, don’t do it. Almond butter is goooood. I probably eat too much. There is almond butter sold in packets by ‘Justine’ that are absolutely delicious. They have honey, maple syrup, chocolate and even vanilla ones. Not sure if that’s the best thing for you with the added sugar but it’s too delicious to pass up and it’s still a far cry from McDonald’s.  A couple of these a week spread on my apples can’t hurt.

Healthy Fats: Kerry gold Grass fed butter. Coconut oil. Domestic First cold pressed olive oil. Check.

Vegetables: What am I going to do to consume the vegetables? I’ll Steam a bunch at once and mix with bacon to eat throughout the week. Add them to the batch of Shepard pie I can eat throughout the week. And get some to grind up in a blender with the frozen berries and almond milk and drink like a smoothie - Lots of Kale. Something cruciferous; Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage. Some ginger and beats. Anything else that catches my eye with dark color that I could blend and consume for nutrition.  Shepard's pie stuff; onion, carrots, garlic, celery? cauliflower, cabbage. And some stuff to steam - Kale, weird long onion looking thing, Spanish, more kale, collard greens, assorted beats.

Meat. Fish. Fowl. Eggs.
Grab 1.5 lbs ground beef and .75 lbs spicy sausage with .75lbs regular sausage for the shepherd’s pie or some other combination of delicious meat. Trying to keep it grass-fed or local when we can. Grab some frozen cold water Alaskan wild caught salmon to toss in the freezer and saute in butter and coconut oil with herbs and water and the lid on. Eat that once each week.  Grab a pack of how ever much chicken I think I might put on a chicken salad that week. And buy a couple cartons of Cage free organic eggs. Experiment with different kinds until the ones with the darkest yolks are found.  Gonna want some delicious bacon with them eggs.  Let’s go grab the stuff from the butcher or make sure to get some that doesn’t have added sugar and looks like the pigs went to a good school, with nice caregivers and got a good education. 

How about beverages.  Almond milk. Coconut milk. As long as it’s not soy milk. Are delicious and not bad for you. These replace the skim milk rather nicely. Fill the rest of the gap with some other delicious health promoting drinks like Kombucha, tea, or coconut water - enough for about 2 that week. Quench the thirst during the times water just isn’t cutting it.

So now how do I set up my week?

I don’t want to spend a big chunk of time cooking each meal so let’s make sure we have some meal options that I can cook once, last awhile and reheat easily. That night or the next day I’ll try and make a large batch of Paleo Shepard’s pie to eat and save throughout the week. I’ll try and boil however many eggs I think I’ll eat with salads or as a snack throughout the week. Probably around 6.

For breakfast I’ll have 3 eggs and 4 strips of thick juicy bacon. Or ill have an omelet. Or ill skip breakfast and have bullet proofcoffee blended with salt free grass fed butter and some coconut oil and practice burning ketones like the cave men would do.

For lunch I'll heat up my shepherd’s pie on the stove with some butter and chase it down with chocolate almond milk. I know I could probably find an even healthier option but the combination is too delicious to pass up. 

If it’s a day of high activity I might have a green smoothie on the side with added nutrients.  Or ill make a yam or spaghetti squash for extra carbohydrates. 

If I’ve been inactive I’ll just cook my 3 chicken breasts and add as much of one as I want to my salad saving the rest for later in the week.

Ill snack throughout the day on the nuts and fruit when I’m hungry. For dinner, depending on how hungry I am or what my timeframe is like I’ll sauté shepherd’s pie in coconut oil or steam some vegetables and eat them with butter. Or both.  Every now and then after dinner I’ll have a bit of 75-85% cocoa organic chocolate bar and I’ll feel fantastic about all of it.  

My weeks just go by this way

Tweaking the minor ingredients as I read more books and learn more information.  Adding and taking things away depending on what kind of results I desire and what my current preferences for food are.  Every once and awhile Ill slip big and pound some pizza or ice cream and Ill regret it for the next 3 hours to a day and a half and I won’t sleep well that night. Reinforcing the healthy choices and making it easier to stick to life sustainable nutrition in the future. The healthier I eat the easier it becomes to eat healthy and the more I notice the effects when I don’t. The habits reinforce themselves and soon eating healthy becomes automatic.