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must read blog post: how perfect is the perfect body?

In must read blog posts, topics on July 17, 2012 at 11:17 am

photo credit: Whole 9 Life

For some, maintaining low body fat is effortless; they are built this way. For others, specifically if they had to lose weight to achieve that body composition, it is a constant struggle. Self-consciousness, obsession, and neuroticism often fall right in line behind one another. They drive us into a pattern of restrictive behaviors, negative self-talk, and sometimes disordered eating patterns; and we very often end up resenting what has actually been for quite some time a beautiful, healthy, normal weight body. This is heart-breaking on an infinite number of levels.

Optimal health does not demand achieving the ideal body. True, holistic, radiant health instead demands nourishment and care. It demands prioritizing the needs over the body over the way that it looks, and it demands dropping any kind of warfare mentality. True health begs of us to work with our bodies, in partnership, and to nourish and nurture them in our health and weight loss journeys rather than try desperately to cram them into shapes they are not designed for.

fail fast

In awesome advice, life lessons, must read blog posts on July 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

Fail fast: This is the biggest part of The Paleo Shift. Let’s say you messed up. Let’s say you went off the rails and were all “PALEO-NO!” It happened! Move on. Fail fast. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, shake it off. For your next meal, be Paleo. “Fall down seven times, get up eight,” is the Japanese proverb. Paleo is a lifestyle, not a crash diet. We should strive for progress, not perfection and to be compassionate with ourselves when we fall short.


paula deen: please cut out sugar not fat!

In must read blog posts, paleo, topics on July 14, 2012 at 12:57 am

Paula Deen after and before (photo:

After Paula Deen announced in January 2012 that she had type 2 diabetes (no surprise considering all of the sugar and flour she uses in her recipes), she was criticized in the media for her high fat recipes and some people said Deen even deserved her diagnosis. She was also condemned for endorsing a diabetes drug after years of teaching people to eat unhealthy food. In July 2012 Deen was on the cover of People magazine sharing that she had lost 30 pounds, thus telling the diabetics & pre-diabetics of America that her “diet” works. But does it?

In her most recent blog post, Caitlin Weeks, aka Grass Fed Girl, looks into how Paula Dean changed her diet and wonders if Paula has learned anything about the causes of diabetes.

I am sure Paula Deen is trying to lower her dietary fat at the advice of some well meaning dietician who has their facts all wrong. A low fat diet leads to cravings for saturated fat which are often mistaken as sugar cravings. Have you ever felt like you were going to kill someone if you didn’t get something sweet at 3 pm? Have you ever eaten a whole pint of ice cream in the blink of an eye? This is your body craving saturated fat and it will do anything to get it. Our brain is 70-80% fat so the body needs it to rebuild and repair daily for optimal cognitive functioning. Saturated fat helps our bodies absorb minerals like calcium and magnesium for strong bones and reduced sweet cravings. Saturated fat also increases good HDL cholesterol and detoxifies the liver so it can burn body fat more efficiently.

Caitlin’s advice to Paula Deen included:

1) Cut the sugar, not the fat.
2) Skip the sugar filled smoothies for breakfast. Have protein & healthy fat instead.
3) Stop smoking.

On a recent episode of Dr. Oz she blamed her diabetes on genetics but what “runs in her family” is a diet full of processed carbs, vegetable oil, and sugar that she has eaten her whole life. Dr. Oz challenged her to cut the fat and calories in her recipes to make “healthy versions”. Watching this clip was insufferable for me because I wanted to scream! Diabetes is not about calories or fat grams, it is about repeated blood sugar spikes coming from foods like breaded oven”fried”chicken and low-fat whole wheat mac and cheese. These high carb foods will send your blood sugar sky high wearing out your pancreas setting the stage for diabetes. I have news for Dr. Oz and Paula, fats like coconut oil, grass fed butter, olive oil, ghee, avocado, grass fed meat and eggs will help to stabilize blood sugar and keep people full for hours.

I agree.

Check out the rest of Caitlin’s thoughts here:

binge/restrict: the most common pattern of overeating & how to stop (with love!)

In disordered eating, must read blog posts on July 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Many women who binge and restrict would like to stop bingeing before they stop restricting. They think that they will lose whatever progress they have achieved, in terms of caloric deficits, if they stop restricting first. They anticipate continuing to over-eat, even while they are not restricting. This is an understandable fear — and trust me when I say that I understand how powerful fear can be as a human being in this precarious state. However: this is impossible. Deliberate restriction necessarily begets bingeing behavior. Necessarily. Restriction must be phased out of our lives before we can stop over-eating. Willpower does not do the trick. Hard-lined restriction does not win. Love does.

The more we love and nourish our bodies, rather than restrict them, the more they respond to us, and the more we can love and cherish them. It’s a phenomenally beautiful and harmonious thing. It really, really, really is.

All we have to do is inch into that trust.

All of which is to say that it is scary, but it should also be exciting to embark on this journey. And liberating. And beautifying. The more we love ourselves, the more free we are from our obsessions, and the more self-confidence and happiness we can garner. Letting go of social norms and of negative self-talk– this is a long journey. But it is a beautiful one of progress and self-exploration and growth, and for that reason I would not have it any other way.

It is 100 percent possible to be beautiful and non-restrictive. In fact, I would argue exactly the contrary, that the less restrictive a woman is, the more self-love she can have, and the more empowerment and pride and health, and therefore the sexier she is. I believe this fully, I really, really do.

Excerpt from:
Binge/Restrict:The Most Common Pattern of Overeating, and How to Stop (with Love!)

Listen to Stefani Ruper on Episode #45 Balanced Bites podcast here

Further reading:

talk to me about FODMAPS

In GAPS diet, must read blog posts, paleo, topics on July 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm

UPDATE 9/16/12: You must listen to this podcast that SCD Diet did with Dr. Allison Siebecker on FODMAPs: You can download the MP3 file here

FODMAPs-SIBO relationship

The acronym FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols.  The term FODMAPs was coined by Australian researchers Susan J. Shepherd and Peter R. Gibson; they found that a low FODMAP diet helped up to 75% of their IBS patients. A low FODMAP diet avoids foods containing certain sugars and fibers capable of causing diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and abdominal pain in people with IBS.

Common examples of FODMAPs

  • Fructose: a single sugar which naturally occurs in fruits, honey and some vegetables. It is thought that 30-40 per cent of IBS sufferers, and also 30-40 per cent of the general population, suffer from fructose malabsorption (although symptoms can vary widely in how much discomfort they cause).
  • Fructans: a chain molecule of many fructose sugar units joined together, naturally occurring in wheat, onions and many other foods. Because fructans are combined fructose molecules, people who suffer from fructose malabsorption should also avoid these foods.
  • Polyols: often used as an artificial sweetener in gums and confectionery (usually with the warning ‘excess consumption may have a laxative effect’), and naturally occurring in some fruits and vegetables.
  • Lactose: a double-sugar which is contained in the milk from cows, sheep and goats.
  • Galactans: a chain molecule of many single sugar units joined together, commonly found in legumes, baked beans, kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils.

FODMAPs  can be poorly absorbed during the digestive process. They are rapidly fermented by the bacteria that live in your gut. They can alter the fluid balance in your gut. Together, these effects can lead to bouts of IBS symptoms within hours of eating a high FODMAP meal or snack. By reducing the overall dietary load of these carbohydrates, you can often reduce your troublesome GI symptoms, but that might not be enough.

Symptoms can include: bloating, wind, abdominal distension,discomfort, abdominal pain, inconsistent or excessive bowel movements, lethargy, and even psychological symptoms such as anxiety or depression.

I know these symptoms well. And stress only makes it worse.


Read the rest of this entry »

america gets fatter thanks to dieticians

In must read blog posts, topics on July 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Eating half of your daily calories from carbohydrates will lead to hormonal changes that will create muscle wasting, insulin resistance, increased body fat, and lethargy. Without adequate dietary protein, the body lacks sufficient tools to build muscle. In addition, you will continue to lose muscle mass as you age and develop a disproportionate amount of body fat to muscle.

Most people do not understand the difference between simple carbs and complex carbs and will take this message and run with it. Someone could easily read the recommendations for 6-11 servings of starch and just eat 6-11 pieces of bread each day, thinking that is a healthy thing to do. That kind of carbohydrate intake is pro-inflammatory, creating a vicious cycle of high insulin and cortisol output. Plenty of research shows that a diet high in carbohydrates can increase C-reactive protein, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.

We also have to take our sedentary lifestyles into account; most of us are not exercising enough to burn off such a high intake of carbohydrates. I have trained many marathoners and Iron Man competitors over the years, and they don’t go above 30-40% carbohydrates unless they are doing long workouts of 2 hours or more. Complex carbohydrates like fresh fruit, vegetables, beans and sweet potatoes do have their time and place, but most of the time they should only be consumed following a high-intensity workout and only on the days those workouts occur.

in the words of Krista Scott-Dixon

In inspirational, must read blog posts on July 12, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Health to me means optimal function and thriving – in all possible ways. We give lip service to things like mental health but once you truly achieve a balanced state of health, you’ll wonder what the hell you were thinking when you confined your concept of health to the body. You cannot be healthy without the mind and soul coming along for the ride – and in fact, physiological data show us that in functional terms, your brain is your body and vice versa.

Fitness means “the power to do.” It captures a capacity – to do stuff, which I define very broadly. I like to think of fitness as being like James Bond. Aside from the psychopathology, that guy can do anything – ski, swim, run, do parkour, ballroom dance, fence, fix his own heart attack, and knock boots like a boss. So really, isn’t this an epitome of physical capacity? Skill, strength, power, work capacity, resilience, stress tolerance, flexibility/mobility, focus, mental toughness, and the ability to have physical fun?

use cocoa powder to combat cravings

In must read blog posts, topics on July 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Cocoa powder is rich in bioflavanoids especially catechins. The bioflavanoids are “bioactive” meaning they have direct biological activity in the body. You can almost think of these as compounds that act as “food based hormones”. Some of the active compounds in cocoa powder include penylethylamine (PEA), anandamide, serotonin and other brain chemicals and activators. Cocoa serves to raise the levels of both dopamine and serotonin. This is huge given these are the most frequent cravings individuals have. Serotonin especially is closely related to eating behavior. PEA is a dopamine mimicker. Anandamide had been called “chemical bliss” given its ability to bind to receptors in the brain that stimulate euphoria.

Because of its ability to impact the brain in several overlapping mechanisms, cocoa is one of the most clinically effective substances we have found to combat cravings. We make our craving control cocoa drink by mixing 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder in hot water (pour water on top of cocoa slowly while stirring to avoid clumping). You can also add any non-calorie sweetener (our favorites are stevia, xylitol and erythritol) as well as cinnamon, cayenne and/or other spices to taste. To get the best benefit of cocoa it should be taken alone and not mixed into foods, protein powders or milk.


Quick Healthy Organic Cocoa Drink:

1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened raw organic cocoa powder mixed in hot water
Optional add: pinch of cayenne pepper and/or pinch of cinnamon
and/or pinch of pure xylitol/erythritol or stevia

Read more about the benefits of cocoa powder here:


question everything you have been taught – a registered dietician’s letter to the ADA

In must read blog posts on July 8, 2012 at 2:51 am

“Dietitians are promoted as “the nutrition expert.” How can we possibly make that claim if we do not abide by what the science actually says? How can we claim to be science-based when we ignore every piece of science that contradicts the view we want to take? Our view should be based on the actual science, not the politics behind the science. The science that has come out in the last twenty to thirty years clearly contradicts the diet-heart hypothesis and the lipid hypothesis in its present form. So, trying to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol is a waste of time because it does nothing to prevent LDL from becoming oxidized and, therefore, is not helpful in preventing atherosclerosis.”

how bone broths support your adrenals, bones and teeth

In beverages, casein free, dairy free, GAPS diet, gluten free, must read blog posts, paleo, primal, recipes on June 29, 2012 at 11:10 am

photo credit: nourished kitchen

From within the traditional Chinese paradigm, bone broth nourishes our kidneys, supports our vital essence (chi), and builds blood. Who wouldnʼt benefit from another bowl of soup?
Bone tissue relates to the kidneys according to Chinese medical theory. So, given the theory of like supports like, consuming bone tissue will support the kidneys and therefore the bones (including the teeth).
The Chinese medical perspective includes the adrenals as part of the system they call the kidneys. So, bone broth directly supports adrenal function. It is recognized that the adrenals perform so many hormonal functions vital to our immune health. Adrenal fatigue is another one of those ʻelephants in the living roomʼ that so many of us in the real food movement are talking about yet remains unheard of in mainstream media.
Bone broths provide the adrenal glands with the much needed nutritional support to help make the shift from survive to thrive. Dr. Shanahan even suggests that the nutritional matrix in bone broths may actually help patch the holes in the kidney tissue that cause the kidneys to function less optimally.

Bone stock is rich with minerals. Isnʼt it interesting that within bone broth are the exact minerals, in the proper proportions, that our teeth are also made of? 65% of the mineral mass of bone is made up of calcium and phosphorus – the two main minerals that compose our teeth. When making bone broths we stew the bones for several hours, even days, the stock itself becomes very rich with minerals.
Itʼs interesting to note that the bones after making stock are so soft you can push your thumb nail into them. That tells you that the minerals that were in the bone are now in the bone broth.
How does this translate into stronger, healthier teeth that resist decay and even can heal from tooth decay? Well, the mechanism the body utilizes to remineralize the tooth enamel is through the saliva. Provided that the diet has sufficient minerals, the saliva will have the necessary minerals to interact with the tooth enamel to remineralize the teeth. Bone broth provides the necessary minerals in the proper, combinations, to make them available for use throughout the body. The reason the concept of tooth remineralization is not present in the culture at large is due to the fact that our diets, for the most part, are miserably deficient in the minerals necessary to optimize health.

The problem with mineral supplements is that we arenʼt what we eat. A more accurate statement is we are what we absorb from what we eat. Mineral uptake is the issue here. The good news is the fats in bone broths help restore greater gut health and therefore increase the absorption rate of the minerals present in broths. So, rather than searching through the vitamin section of your health food store, make friends with the butchers at the meat department and establish your supply for quality bones!””When you combine the facts that bone broths make any soup way more delicious, provide the much needed support for our adrenals, offer such a rich source for much needed minerals, nourish our bodyʼs ability to build healthier blood, along with care for all the connective tissues throughout our bodies, you can see why we consider bone broths to be such a foundational dietary pillar for anyone looking to navigate to greater oral health as well as create optimal system wide immunological health.