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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.

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:

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.

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:


a man’s guide to eating like a caveman (aka paleo)

In awesome advice, paleo, topics on July 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm


You’re eating like a cow

You’ve heard it many times in your life…in fact, you’ve heard it so many times by now it almost seems like you were born knowing it: a healthy diet is high in grains. The USDA puts it right in your face from the time you enter school: grains are not just edible and healthful in a human diet they say, but should literally be its foundation. Really? You wouldn’t think so if you were out in the wild, hungrily scanning the horizon for something to consume and spotted a patch of wheat sprouting towards the sky. Why not? Because it’s fucking grass! Some people might not have ever given this much thought, but as it turns out, humans can’t actually eat grass. Which brings up a couple of interesting questions: what exactly would a human being in a natural setting without the aid of modern industry actually be able to consume, and from that selection, couldn’t we call that set of foods the humans’ natural diet in the same way that we observe other species’ consumption and do likewise? Well, the hard work of answering those questions has already been done for us and its theory has a name: The Paleolithic Diet.

Stop eating like a cow

Simply put, our ability as a technological species to extract digestible nutrition from grass has introduced an exceptionally unnatural food source into our gullets, and that very food source is making us fat, stupid and degenerate. How is it doing all that you ask? Grains contain chemicals in them that we call anti-nutrients, a name we give them because they are just that, against nutrition. These chemicals aren’t just in the grains for the hell of it, they’re there because they don’t want us to eat them! Within the bran casing which protects the germ from being digested, the grain stores phytic acid, which blocks the absorption of many key micro-nutrients including calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. Also contained in the grain are enzyme inhibitors, which are designed to directly stop the digestive tract from breaking down the product.

But what about Fiber?

Pound for pound and calorie for calorie, no fiber source is as rich as the foods that really ARE on the natural menu for humans: fresh fruits and vegetables. Just one large apple has about 100 calories and 5.4 grams of fiber. You would only get about 3 grams of fiber from the same calories worth of whole wheat. And veggies? A hundred calories worth of spinach would yield about 10 grams of fiber! Leave grains behind and fiber is definitely not going to be one of your problems.

What do I eat?

Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables/greens.

Don’t eat: wheat, corn, rice, potatoes, beans/legumes, peanuts and cashews (these are not nuts, they’re legumes), refined sugars (our bodies are not equipped to handle pure sugar in a refined state, an advent of the Neolithic era along with grains).

Simple, eh.


Read the full article at:

exclusive leaked documents: american dietetic association is intentionally using state legislatures to block alternative nutrition providers and restrict free epeech

In topics on July 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm

“So far, the ADA is acting like pretty much every other professional association in existence: it wants special laws passed, conferring special rights and privilges on its members, for the express and primary purpose or limiting competitors and upstarts. Nothing new under the sun.

But here’s where it starts to get truly kooky.

The ADA, in this freshly-leaked document analyzed here, outlines a detailed policy of surveilling and reporting citizens who provide nutrition advice publicly, under state dietetics laws, for the primary purpose of maintaining, justifying, and strengthening the laws themselves:

States generally require that someone file a complaint before an investigation into a violation can be opened; the complaint process is integral to aggressive enforcement of dietitian licensing acts. Because all too often state dietetics boards receive few (or no) complaints alleging violations, one is led to conclude either that (a) few, if any, violations are occurring in these states and licensing is not necessary or (b) violations are occurring, but are not being reported. If the latter scenario is accurate, dietitians and others benefitting from licensure must be more vigilant in identifying and reporting violations.

The document says it plain and clear: the reason to surveil and report citizens who provide public nutrition advice (people like Steve Cooksey) is not that there’s any evidence that these citizens actually harm the public. Rather, the reason to surveil and report citizens like Cookey is that doing so is necessary to maintain licensure laws (which were designed by the ADA explicitly to limit market competition.)

Of course, the ADA tosses a bone to public safety in all of this: “The purpose of licensure is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.”

But it is quite clear from the document the real purpose of the licensure laws they’re lobbying for in all 50 states. In the very next sentence, the document informs us: “Because professional regulations act as a barrier to entryand usually provide a mechanism for removing harmful practitioners from practicing within the state, they effectively restrict the supply of practitioners and often lead to an increase in the cost of services.” [Emphasis added.]”

See also:

breastfeeding linked to healthy infant gut and positive changes in gene expression

In topics on July 9, 2012 at 10:09 pm

“While we found that the microbiome of breast-fed infants is significantly enriched in genes associated with ‘virulence’, including resistance to antibiotics and toxic compounds, we also found a correlation between bacterial pathogenicity and the expression of host genes associated with immune and defense mechanisms.”

He continued, “Our findings suggest that human milk promotes the beneficial crosstalk between the immune system and microbe population in the gut, and maintains intestinal stability.”

the importance of zzzzzzzzz …

In books, topics on July 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm

One of the most damaging things you can subject yourself to is sleep deprivation. Sleep is a necessary human physiologic need. Our autonomic or unconscious nervous system, which regulates the metabolic processes, is divided into the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. During the day, we’re predominantly in the sympathetic when the operational metabolic processes take place. Our nervous system transitions to the parasympathetic mode when we sleep, which activates the repair processes such as making new cells, membranes, tissues, enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters, thus it is truly beauty sleep. In addition, allowing your adrenals to replenish reserves lets you wake up with more oomph than what you went to sleep with. Everyone knows how much better they feel physically and mentally after a deep sleep. You’re better equipped to seize the day.

People who avoid sleep are aging faster than they should because they don’t give their bodies, and especially their adrenal glands, a chance to repair. Think of your adrenals as a savings account. You only have what you deposited into them. If you continue to spend adrenal reserves, your adrenals won’t be able to keep up with the demand and your account will dry up, baby.

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is associated with dreaming, is the time when the brain integrates information taken in during the day and consolidates it into long-term memory. REM sleep occurs about every ninety minutes, and the periods of REM sleep get longer as the night progresses. Between the seventh and eighth hour of sleep is when we can experience a solid hour of REM sleep.

When you don’t sleep enough, your brain carries a backlog of unprocessed information. Your brain simply goes on overload, and you either won’t be able to get to sleep because your brain is frantically processing, processing, processing everything that is backlogged. Or, when you finally do get to sleep, your brain will launch vivid dreams in an attempt to process this stored information. These dreams can wake you up and keep you awake with whirling thoughts.

Accelerated aging is not just the result of factory-food products, diets, and drugs. Lack of sleep is a huge contributing factor. Sleep deprivation weakens the immune system, accelerates tumor growth, accentuates glucose problems, and impairs memory, problem solving, and performance. What sleep deprivation does to your brain is very destructive.

from: Healthy, Sexy, Happy: A Thrilling Journey to the Ultimate You by Nancy Deville




myth: I can change my body’s pH by eating certain foods

In topics on April 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Mary Wissmann, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, St. Louis County, University of Missouri Extension explains:

Some fad diets claim that you can make the pH of your body less acidic (in other words, more alkaline) by consuming more fruits, vegetables, and milk and less meat, fish, eggs and grains. This diet is based on some studies showing that cancer cells growing in test tubes will grow faster in an acidic environment and some anti-cancer drugs work better in an alkaline environment. Supporters of the diet argue that your urine, and therefore your body as a whole, will become more alkaline by following this diet. They believe that the more alkaline your body is, the better it can protect itself against cancer. Unfortunately, there are several major flaws in the alkaline diet theory. First, following an “alkaline diet” will make your urine more alkaline, but it doesn’t change your blood pH. Urine is contained in the bladder and is not the same as blood. The kidneys are constantly working to keep blood pH from ever changing significantly; a condition that can make a person extremely sick and even result in death if untreated. Additionally, numerous studies show that no human cells can survive in an alkaline environment, regardless of whether they are healthy cells or cancer cells. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a good way to help prevent cancer because of the many nutrients that fruits and vegetables contain. Don’t be fooled into cutting out other food groups, especially whole grains and heart-healthy fish, which can also protect against some cancers.