Dec 9, 2013

Eat Y'Self Fitter: Disregard These Myths of Health


standard food group pyramid stamped with THIS IS BULLSHIT


Do you get annoyed when people go on and on about how they've started "juicing" and cutting out fatty foods? Me too. Not because they're trying to better themselves but because they're usually going about it the wrong way, with bandwagon blindness. Here at Baby Black Widows, we do care about health. That's why we find out why we're supposed to do whatever everyone says to do. So, today, let's look at why you should eat as much healthy fat as you feel like eating and why NOT to consume only juice for a week (or even longer) to "cleanse" your system.

First off, as stated in the sidebar, I am not a doctor, lawyer, scientist or dietitian. What I am is a person who likes to feel good [read: healthy, happy, motivated], with an interest in what makes that happen. I have internet access and a proclivity for finding the answers I seek. That's it. If you have a health problem or are overweight, please do your own research and ease into implementing any major changes to your lifestyle. Find a doctor or health specialist who is receptive to the data presented here and heed their advice. If you disagree with anything I say then I truly hope you will try to find your own answers. Let me know in the comments.

I grew up in a world where adults, those all-knowing beings in charge of what I did and didn't eat, were largely misinformed in matters of nutrition. It wasn't their fault. They trusted "professionals" the same way a child will trust adults. America's Dairy Farmers paid for those "Milk. It does a body good." commercials from the 1980's. Of course they did. ADF was and is a marketing committee, concerned exclusively with boosting sales of milk. I'll not spend much time on this because dairy is the focus of a future article but the truth is that most milk does not do most bodies good. Strong bones? NOPE! Exactly the opposite, in fact. Vitamin D, something of which you are almost certainly deficient and should supplement, has been shown to be far more critical than Calcium in bone health. Consuming dairy from commercially raised, grain-fed cows, pumped full of hormones (like rBGH) and antibiotics also increases the insulin-like growth factor-1 [IGF-1] in your blood. That, friends, will give you cancer.


got milk advertisement


Still with me? I promise that I'm not trying to scare you. Living in a state of perpetual worry is also very bad for your health. I'm interested in presenting healthy changes we can make in order to feel and live better. Why to choose an alternative needs to be demonstrated by first pointing out what is wrong with the current model. Trust me when I tell you that the proposition of eating nothing but puffed rice cakes dipped in soy milk for the rest of my life is unthinkable. That is not where this article is heading.


HEALTHY FAT IS HEALTHY


I'm baffled every time I go to the grocery store, every time I see packaging emblazoned with "0g SATURATED FAT" and "REDUCED FAT" stamps. American consumers have been told so wrong for so long that these companies are pitching the negative aspects of these products to us. [Next time you go to the store, check out the eggs. There will probably be some brands championing the fact that their chickens are "vegetarian fed." This is the worst egg option in the store. "Vegetarian fed" probably means those chickens are eating some sort of soy bean feed. That's wrong for a lot of reasons but the main reason is that chickens don't eat that in nature. Chickens, unlike cows, eat bugs and grains. Bugs and grains make healthy chickens which make healthy eggs.]

In 1958, Ancel Keys began the Seven Countries Study, hoping to prove that diets rich in fat cause heart disease. "Hoping to prove" is an important phrase there. That isn't a scientific approach. This wasn't a scientific study. Ancel intentionally avoided researching the people of Holland and Norway, countries where heart disease was very uncommon despite their high-fat diets, as well as the inverse, countries rife with heart disease despite their low-fat diets, like Chile. So Ancel published this study showing that saturated fats cause heart disease, nevermind the fact that it doesn't seem to be true. Unfortunately, this study is still influencing nutrition in America. In 1977, George McGovern led a senate committee to publish the first Dietary Goals for the United States, based on guidelines provided by the USDA. [The United States Department of Agriculture is the whole grains version of America's Dairy Farmers. ADF sells milk, USDA sells grains.] The high-carb/low-fat diet was born. Fat America soon followed. Obesity and diabetes seem to be caused by the high-carb/low-fat diet.

Fat is good for your body, if you choose the right kinds. We've been told that eating a lot of fat will raise our cholesterol. That's a ridiculous statement, if you understand how cholesterol works. You need cholesterol to live. Some cholesterol is good, some bad. More HDL cholesterol in your blood means less chance of heart disease. Fat, even saturated fatraises HDL cholesterol.

Fat is good for your mind. Again, I'm not a scientist, but this all makes sense to me. These studies concern the effects of sodium butyrate on mice. Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid found in butter, even more so in butter from grass-fed cows. If you don't feel like reading all of the jargon at those links, follow this link to a simple infographic at The Bulletproof Executive

Fat is better than carbs as an energy source. You always hear about marathon runners eating platefuls of pasta to "carb up" before a big event the next day. They need to do this because strenuous physical activity burns up the glucose in your body, which carbs help replenish. Unless you have a physically demanding job or an intense athletic regimen that your life is built around, a high-carb diet will not treat you kindly. (Furthermore, if you are busting your ass in a gym more days than not, you might want to rethink that.) Inversely, a no-carb diet will eventually leave you with several symptoms of depleted glycogen: sleeplessness, dry eyes/sinuses and intestinal problems galore. [Try a spoon full of raw honey* for a quick fix, if this happens to you.] The solution: High intensity interval training, every fourth day or so, followed by one high-healthy-carb [read: sweet potatoes] meal and an otherwise low-carb diet, seems to be a safer method of staying in shape and looking fit. Study after study has delivered amazing data on the subject. HIIT will be a topic for later but I have already written an article on healing injury and restoring flexibility to your muscles and joints.


So what are the right kinds of fats?
  • Grass-fed beef, lamb or wild game, cooked so as to not oxidize fats.
  • Butter (or ghee) from grass-fed cows. Other dairy may still be problematic.
  • Egg yolks from healthy chickens, as raw as you're comfortable eating.
  • Avocados, avocados, avocados. Olives, too, unless bottled in bad liquids.
  • Dark chocolate & cocoa butter, depending on other ingredients. Try Lindt 85% Dark.
  • Avocado oil, virgin olive oil, palm oil. Don't oxidize them by cooking at high heat.
  • Coconuts, good coconut oil & MCT oil, particularly that last one.
  • Raw nuts & butters of: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, walnuts (Note that most nuts have high levels of Omega 6 fatty acids, which you want to keep well below your Omega 3 intake, so take it easy with these.)
  • Supplementing in the form of krill oil is also a great idea.


The great thing about these foods is not only that they are delicious but filling. How many of you have tried to "eat clean" by eating nothing but salads and you never get full? Vegetables should be a big portion of your diet but provided you are eating low-carb, you should be able to eat these fats until you feel full and not get fatter.


STOP JUICING UP


"Fruits and vegetables."

"Gotta get more fruits and vegetables into your diet."

"I haven't been eating enough fruits and vegetables lately."

Right?

Sorry, no.

Thinking of fruits and vegetables as equally important to one's health is a mistake and a potentially dangerous one. Fruits and vegetables are not the same thing. Not even all fruits are the same thing. An avocado (technically, a berry) has a nutritional profile that is wildly (get it?) different from that of, say, a mango:


Side by Side comparison of Mango and Avocado Nutrition Facts


These charts are straight from Google, likely the first thing a person would see when searching for information online about these foods. Let's compare. Pretty close to the same amount of calories, which doesn't matter because all calories are not the same. Potassium, Iron, B-6 and Magnesium levels are all approximate. The major benefit of the avocado is the 21g of healthy fats and 10g of usable dietary fiber. [As opposed to a grain, like corn, that your body simply cannot totally digest.] The major benefit of the mango is a Vitamin C bomb that comes with a healthy dose of Vitamin A in Beta Carotene form. Unfortunately, the price you pay for those antioxidants is 46 grams of bad sugar! If you are healthy and at the weight you want to be, by all means, have a mango every now and then. The problems start when you consume mango (or similar fruit) juice daily, as so many Americans are apt to do.

So, all fruits are not made equal. The same thing goes for sugar. Glucose is useful to your body and insulin function. Fructose is not. While the liver can and does turn fructose into glucose for storage, it can only handle so much at a time, and the excess gets turned into adipose tissue. A diet of excess fructose leads to loss of memory and cognitive function, diabetes and weight gain. This is why you've been trying to avoid high fructose corn syrup, in case you didn't know. This is also why it's a bad idea to drink juice or smoothies that are high in fructose.

If you eat a mango whole, then your stomach has to slowly break down the fibers, giving it more time to process the fructose into glucose. [Because, hopefully, you are only drinking this after a workout in which you've depleted your liver's store of glycogen.] When you pulverize the fibers of the mango in your badass blender of doom or, even worse, drink a juice that has been strained of its pulp, you are presenting your system with a tsunami of sugar. This is bad, bad, bad. This is like that time you threw a party and that one guy you barely know showed up with a fresh-bought, half-empty bottle of tequila, hit on your cousin, made everyone listen to Rammstein, threw up on your hamster, took off his pants and passed out facedown in the litter box. Nobody was ready for that party.

So, what do you do?

Green smoothies. It isn't a new answer but it's one often ill-executed. Get some kale or spinach and make that the main ingredient of your recipe. Cook your greens by lightly boiling them. This is to break down the oxalates, which can lead to a myriad of health problems, like kidney stones. [If this is a matter of grave concern for you, a further preventative measure would be to use mineral water in your recipe.] Then do whatever you have to do to meet your dietary goals without offending your tastebuds. Use a good protein powder. Throw in a few raspberries, blackberries or strawberries, which are very flavorful/sweetening with only a small portion, giving you a relatively lower in sugar smoothie. Or you can sweeten things up with some stevia. It may take a while before you find a blend that works for you but keep experimenting. I personally get a kick out of adding fresh garlic or a chunk of ginger or even cayenne pepper to my own smoothies.

Thank you for your time. Are there any questions?

-TMC


P.S. - Several of the concepts in this article were introduced to me by The Bulletproof Executive blog and forums. I strongly recommend that you make some time to visit.

Onnit is a great resource for products helpful to a healthy-minded individual. Their no-return, money back guarantee on supplements is a foolproof way to try out new products. If you order a supplement from them and it doesn't seem to be helping you, they refund your money (on up to 30 pill purchases) and you can even keep the pills. The policy is modified, but still very fair, for larger orders and those containing food products.

2 comments :

  1. The thing about milk... when you pasteurize the living enzymes out of it, the body gets greeted with a bunch of dead matter rather than nutrient-facilitating probiotics. Most lactose-intolerance starts here. Just as most gluten-intolerance (not to mention autism) comes from glyphosate. Another matter for another time...
    I think raw milk is disgusting but my wife loves it and it makes her better able to breastfeed the little one. That said: organic, raw, grass-fed cheese is one of my favorite edibles ever. I highly recommend it. Although I have no idea how they get cheese to eat grass...

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    Replies
    1. I'm definitely interested in raw milk but I haven't gotten there yet.

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