A knife slicing a pat of butter.

Good Fats & Bad Fats

Here’s a way to figure out what fats are best for you: look to see how they occur in nature. If they occur in nature, and we have eaten them in our diets for the past several hundred years, they’re most likely fair game.

Indigenous tribes (not touched by our Western Diet) ate between 30-80% of their total calorie intake from fats, and a lot of it was saturated! Remember, you want to add fat to your diet to slow down insulin secretion so that you can get back to health.

Here’s a list of my go to fats for health:

1. Nuts and seeds

Since they’re high in fiber, vitamins and mineral, I eat seeds and/or nuts at each meal.

2. Dairy

Only eat this if you have been found not to have a sensitivity to it (we use Nutrition Response Testing to determine this). Good choices in here are cheese, especially raw cheese, butter, full fat cottage cheese, full fat yoghurt and full fat Greek yoghurt.

3. Eggs

Eggs are the perfect food! High in lipotropic (fat burning) B vitamins, vitamins A & D, protein and the essential fat EPA, eggs are just what the doctor ordered! Make sure to never just eat the white of an egg because most of the nutrition, and especially the fat, is in the yolk! Try and get free range eggs (cage-free means they are just in one big pen, free range means that they live outside). I did an experiment years ago, and dropped my total cholesterol 30% while eating a dozen eggs a day! Remember, cholesterol levels are not affected by how much cholesterol you eat, but by how much you make in your own body, which is determined by how much insulin you secrete.

4. Meat

Beef, chicken, fish, and bison have naturally occurring fats in them. As long as they are free range, non-farmed, and wild caught, they will be the type of fats you need. Grass-fed beef, free-range chickens, grass-fed bison, and wild-caught fish all have more of the omega 3 fats than the omega 6 fats. Omega-3 fats are the ones you want for proper fatty acid balance.

5. Avocados

Avocados are high in fiber, monounsaturated fat, and potassium. The liver needs large amounts of potassium to balance blood sugar and break down fats. Try eating at least one avocado per day, or adding guacamole to your burgers, eggs or fish-awesome! Here’s two recipes for low carb chocolate desserts! https://www.galonamission.com/secret-ingredient-easy-chocolate-mousse/ and https://www.ketoconnect.net/recipe/chocolate-avocado-pudding/

6. Olive oil

High in healthy monounsaturated fat, olive oil has been shown to sensitize your cells to insulin, lower blood pressure, and help people lose weight. Use it every day for health!

7. Coconut oil

High in medium chain triglycerides, coconut oil helps people lose weight and lower total cholesterol while raising high density lipoproteins (HDL, or good cholesterol). It also has lauric acid and monolaurin, two fatty acids that are very good for supporting your immune system. I use it every day when I cook.

Bad Fats

1. Fried foods

High in trans-fat and other garbage, avoid fried foods like the plague!

2. Conventionally farmed fish, chicken, meat, eggs

These are too high in omega 6 fats. When consumed in too high of quantities, they can cause insulin resistance, and inflammation (two things we are trying to stop!)

3. Vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil and a few others

These do not occur in high amounts in nature, and the amounts that are used in food processing is not something the human body is made for or used to. High in omega-6 fatty acids, and trans-fats, they can really mess up our metabolic machinery. Avoid them in favor of the fats I talk about above.

4. Margarine

High in trans-fatty acids, margarine increases your total cholesterol while lowering HDL’s, and desensitizing your cells to insulin. Time and time again, margarine has been shown to increase inflammation and increase the risk of heart disease. So why do we still use it? Because it was marketed as a health food. Now that you know, avoid it like the plague.

5 Things You Can Do to Improve (or in most cases, reverse!) Diabetes

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you might be wondering what you can do to help it.  Personally, in our office, when we have put a patient with Type II diabetes on a personalized diet and supplementation program, we’ve seen people dramatically reduce their fasting glucose, H1AC, triglyceride, and cholesterol numbers.  I’m happy to say I’ve heard this sentence many times: “My doctor says I’m not diabetic anymore, and I don’t need meds!”

Here’s a quick summary of what you can do to help yourself if you’ve been diagnosed with type II diabetes (or been told that you’re pre-diabetic).

  1. Cut down the carbs, especially refined carbohydrates such as grains, sugar, and other junk food, but also high carb fruit such as bananas, mangoes, and pineapples. When you’ve been diagnosed as being a type II diabetic, or pre-diabetic, foods such as these will cause your blood sugar to skyrocket, further beating up your blood sugar regulation.  Better to eat low carb fruit such as berries, low carb veggies such as greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, etc (basically avoid high carb veggies such as potatoes and corn), as well as meats, nuts, seeds, and low carb dairy such as cheese, cream, butter, and cottage cheese.  Most of my patients either use a carb counting app on their phones, or keep track of their carbs using a pen and paper (we call it a diet log in our office).  See the link below for a partial list of good foods for type II diabetics. Keep in mind, you should cut down your carbs, but increase your veggies!  Veggies help to regenerate your liver’s function, which is key to blood sugar stabilization.
  2. Eat more fat and protein. Fat causes very little insulin to be released when you eat, protein (especially higher fat protein sources) causes your body to release more more insulin, but not as much as carbohydrates. A good rule of thumb is that at least 70% of your calories should come from fat and protein for optimum blood sugar control.
  3. Cut down the snacking. Every time you eat, you stimulate the release of insulin. Therefore, cutting down the number of times you eat per day will give your pancreas and insulin receptors on your cells rest, so that they can heal.
  4. Get moving, especially in the morning on an empty stomach. Exercising first thing in the morning helps to re-sensitize insulin, which is of utmost importance when fighting type 2 diabetes. I like to go for a slow jog of 1-1 ½ miles, but if you have more time, you can walk, do yoga, ride a bike, whatever.  Just get moving, preferably in the morning!
  5. Take your blood sugar at least every day. Usually on a program like this, people’s blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides will plummet, so make sure you’re keeping tabs on this, and communicating with your MD.
  6. Take supplements.  There’s lots of supplements that will help with blood sugar stabilization, so this is not a complete list. These are just the ones that I’ve successfully used in my office:
    1. Glyc-Aide-This is my go-to product from Ulan Nutritional Systems.
    2. Gymnema-This has a long history of helping blood sugar issues. I like the one from MediHerb.
    3. Zinc, chromium and magnesium-All of these have been shown to be deficient in the majority of patients with diabetes type II, so supplementing them helps. I like Standard Process for these supplements.
    4. Other supplements for the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and adrenals-as determined by Nutrition Response Testing.

Honestly, I like to get the 1st 5 steps in place before I recommend supplements.  You can’t “out supplement” the wrong diet, or make up for lack of exercise with supplements.

Give this program a try, and see how you do.  As always, please feel free to leave feedback, or ask questions below.  Thanks for watching.

3 Types of Excercise

3 Types of Exercises

One of the most common questions I get when consulting with at patient about getting them healthy again is “what type of exercise should I do?”  I usually tell them “the best exercise for you is the one that you will do.”  While that’s the long and short of it, that’s usually not enough of an answer for people, so let’s break this down.

Let’s talk about 3 general types of exercise.

  1. High intensity excercises-30 min/wk,
    1. Pros-
      • raises fat burning hormones
      • builds muscle
      • sensitizes insulin, and
      • burns fat post exercise (post-exercise oxygen consumption).
    2. Cons-
      • raises stress hormones (may be too much for those already under stress or tired)
      • difficult
      • may be injury producing if not done properly (you must do this type of exercise properly!).
    3. Example Exercise Types
      • sprinting (running, cycling, or swimming)
      • certain types of weightlifting
      • Crossfit
  2. Moderate intensity excercises-1 .5-3 hrs./wk
    1. Pros
      • good for “getting in shape”
      • not too difficult
      • usually “fun”(games such as tennis, soccer, and hockey, as well as “leisure” exercise, such as the more difficult types of yoga, jogging, and weightlifting fall in to this category)
      • not as high of risk of injury
      • does not raise stress hormones too much
      • sensitizes insulin
      • builds muscle
      • Burns calories (and potentially fat).
    2. Cons
      • takes 1 ½ to 3 hours per week.
    3. Example Exercise Types
      • Tennis,
      • Soccer
      • Hockey
      • “Leisure” exercise, such as the more difficult types of yoga, jogging, and weightlifting

      3. Low intensity excercises-5 hrs./wk

      1. Pros-
        • lowered stress hormones to burn fat
        • very gentle, very low risk of injury
        • you don’t need a partner
        • you don’t need to go to the gym
        • inexpensive
      2. Cons-
        • May be limited by weather (walking, jogging, and biking)
        • Not much, if any post exercise calorie and fat burning
        • You need to do a lot to benefit from it
      3. Example Exercise Types-
        • Walking
        • Jogging
        • Biking
        • Yoga
        • Swimming

There you have it, the three general groups of exercise.  You can mix and match these, in fact, that’s probably the best way to do them.  For example, you could work out with weights for 1 hour, 3 days per week, and take a leisurely walk for ½ hour each morning to get in your high intensity, moderate intensity, and low intensity exercise.

Or you could go to a yoga class 3 days per week, for 1 hours per session, and maybe lift weights 2 days per week, for 1 hour per session.  Like I said, the most important thing is that you actually pick an exercise that you will do consistently.

I hate vegetables. Help!

What do I do if I hate vegetables?  I know I have to eat them for better health, but they don’t taste that great, and boring!

Listen, I know what it’s like to know that I need to eat more veggies, but I don’t have the time to cook them, or even eat them in the quantities they’re needed in.  So I found this great tip by Dr. Eric Berg.  Basically, you make your veggies into a smoothie.  I thought it sounded pretty gross when I first heard of it, but I’ve got to say, I drink them just about every day now!  It’s all about how you prepare them. Here’s the ingredients list:

  1. 1-2 cups Berries (you should stick to lower sugar berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
  2. Kale-the amount can vary. I use 4-6 cups of kale and squish it down, but it you’re giving this to a child, they may insist on a little less.  Go with however much you want.  I like to use kale, because overall, it’s one of the highest nutrient vegetables, but you can use another veggie or veggies if you like.
  3. Protein powder-this is totally optional. I use it because it makes my shakes taste good, and I exercise every day.  As a shameless self-promo, I use my own protein powder I designed because it has no sugar, has all natural flavors and sweeteners, and kids love it!
  4. Sweetener-you can add a little stevia if you like, but it’s totally up to you.
  5. Some coconut milk or an avocado-1/4 cup of coconut milk (the type that comes in the can), or a cup of coconut milk from the carton, or an avocado go a long way in making it much creamier and palatable. As an added bonus, they also add fat to help balance your blood sugar and hormones, and if you add avocado, you’ll get a ton of potassium-win!

Now here’s the trick.  You blend it for a couple of minutes, usually 2 minutes will do. If you don’t blend it well enough, it’s all chunky and nasty.  Drink a portion of it when you blend it, and you can save the rest for later.

There you go, that’s it!  A quick way to get in a day’s vegetables, which even kids will love!  Feel free to check out our Pinterest page: we try to pin a lot of smoothie recipes there that we’ve found.

 

Types of Carbohydrates (from a blood sugar point of view)

 

When people come in to my office, and we start talking about diet, and we start talking about carbs, they invariably say “are all carbs bad for you?”  This is a difficult question to answer, because it’s not about bad or good, it’s about what carbs your body need and can handle, and how much of each.  Every person is different, but there’s some good rules to follow.  Now keep in mind, this is not the article about simple vs complex carbs, or refined vs unrefined, or something else like that.  It’s literally what myself and other nutritional specialists have observed after treating thousands upon thousands of new patients.  It’s more about how to practically apply knowledge of carbohydrates vs theoretical what they’re made of, and how they work in the body (although there’s a place for that, most people just want to know what they should and shouldn’t eat.  So here it is).

  1. White Trash, or White Death, as Arnold Schwarzenegger would call it. Yup, the worst of the worst, white sugar, and white flour and all of its family. I would include in this any refined sugar, and any refined flour, and all its family, cousins, and extended family.  Here you’ll find candy, cakes, soft drinks, juice drinks and fruit juices (even though fruit juices are from fruit, they are still concentrated sugars. I’ve seen them be responsible for serious health problems like high cholesterol, high triglycerides, weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, suppressed immune function, etc.), cookies, pies, bagels, bread, pasta, doughnuts, rice, rice cakes, pastries, I think you get the point.  These are bad.  No one does well with them.  They might get away with them for a while, but eat enough of them, and they will catch up to you.  Remember the insulin surge caused by these foods may not cause weight gain, high blood sugar, and or triglycerides, it might just cause high cholesterol, blood pressure, or they may just be causing hormonal problems or tumor growth.  Avoid them at all costs.
  2. Whole grains. People are often surprised that I tell most of my patients to avoid them. Why would I do that?  Aren’t they supposed to be “good carbs?”  Don’t they have B vitamins and fiber?  Well, here’s the rub.  A lot of people have digestive sensitivities to them, and they aggravate any health condition they have.  You get more B vitamins from certain veggies, and definitely meat.  You can get plenty of fiber once again from veggies.  Also, it’s very easy to overdo it with these. Take for instance brown rice.  One cup has 45 carbs (ok, so only 41.5 net carbs, since it has 3.5 grams of fiber)!  Considering that most people can only handle 70-100 grams of carbs per day for optimum sugar balancing, having whole grains once per day can severely limit the amount of vitamins and minerals you can get from other carbs, like fibrous veggies.  In this category I’d put brown rice, whole wheat (although I’d avoid this altogether because almost all of my patients with symptoms are sensitive to it, some severely), quinoa (although it’s not as high in carbs as other grains), corn, barley, spelt, and other grains.  The low down on grains is that you are not looking to lose weight, and that you don’t have health problems, you can eat them sparingly. If you’re looking to lose weight, balance blood sugars, inflammation, or reverse an illness, avoid them.  They have a sneaky way of getting in to your diet.
  3. High carb veggies-In here are things like potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, certain squashes, beets, and some others. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and some are especially high in potassium (extremely important for liver health, especially in how it processes sugars and fats).  They are good for you, but depending on how well you handle carbs, you may need to limit these.  For example, for someone with diabetes or pre-diabetes, or some kind of inflammatory condition, I’d only eat them sparingly.  Basically, this is a grey area, and you’ll have to use some judgement.
  4. High carb fruits-In here are bananas, pineapple, mango, and of course dried fruit. Once again, it’s not that they are bad for you, they are actually good for you if you can handle sugar.  For someone with diabetes or prediabetes, or some kind of inflammatory condition, I’d only eat them sparingly.
  5. Medium carb fruits-In here you’ll find apples, oranges, pears, cherries, blueberries, grapefruit, etc. You can eat more of these, even if you’re a little carb sensitive.  But not too much, or you’ll blow your carb count, and aggravate any condition you have.
  6. Low carb fruits-In here are strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. You can eat almost as much of these as you want.  Eating a little here and these won’t even bring someone out of ketosis if they are in a ketogenic diet usually!  I put them in my shakes if I’m trying to lose weight, I love fruit.
  7. Low carb, or fibrous veggies-There are a huge number of fibrous, low-carb veggies. There loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  You can, and should eat a ton of these.  I try and eat at least 10 cups of leafy greens per day (yup, 10 cups).  You need a lot to support liver detoxification, and balance blood sugar.  Some favorites (but I’m not listing them all) are broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts, spinach, salad greens, peppers, squash, zucchini, onions (a little on the high side of carbs, but not bad), and the list goes on and on.  Unless you’re on a strict ketogenic diet, you can eat pretty much as much of these as you can handle.

Here’s a pictorial representation of the carbs.  As you can see, we should eat plenty of the ones on the bottom.  The ones at the top, everyone should avoid.  In the middle is the “grey” area.  The better your blood sugar metabolism is, the more you can eat. Hope this helps.

11 Ways to Lower Insulin

So by now you’ve probably watched a number of my videos, and/or read my articles, and know that we mainly focus on cutting down refined carbohydrates and sugars in the diet, to cut down the body’s secretion of insulin, to help return your health.  You know high insulin and carbohydrate levels are linked to inflammation, tumor growth, increased cholesterol, triglycerides, heart disease, strokes, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, blood pressure, anxiety, depression, hormonal imbalances, and so on.

Basically, almost all of the chronic diseases we suffer from in this country today can be at least partially linked to high insulin and carbohydrate intake.

So how do we cut down our insulin production and blood sugar swings?

Here are eleven steps:

  1. Cut carbs.

    The quickest way to cut down your secretion of insulin and balance blood sugar is to cut carbs. Start with the cakes, cookies, pies, breads, chips, baked good, candy, soft drinks, and fruit juices, and then move on to starches like potatoes. If you’re still having health symptoms, problems with blood sugar, altered lab tests, or trouble losing weight,  then cut out fruit.

    Start with the high sugar fruits, like bananas, pineapples, and mangoes, and move on to cut out the other fruits.  Low carb fruits, such as raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, and non-starchy vegetables almost never have to be cut out. In fact, veggies should never be cut out as they help your liver balance blood sugar and blood fats.  On the other hand, high carbohydrate dairy, like milk,  should usually be cut out in the beginning steps of counting carbs.

  2. Eat a moderate amount of protein

    Protein, also causes your body to secrete insulin, although not as much as carbohydrates. However, it’s hard to eat too much protein, and in our society, it’s not as common as overeating carbs. That’s why we don’t concentrate on it.  Our bodies need protein to make enzymes and rebuild muscle, hair, skin, and nails. Protein is needed by our bodies to make enzymes and rebuild tissues such as muscle, hair, skin and nails. So don’t skimp on it!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Keep this in mind:  the lower the fat content of the protein source, the more insulin you will produce.  That’s why I recommend full-fat meat, eggs, fattier fish and chicken and so on. Eating your protein with fat such as avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, low carb cheese and butter will lessen insulin secretion.  Stick to protein servings the size of the palm of your hand three times per day, and you’ll be fine.

  3. Eat moderate to high amounts of fat

    Fat slows down sugar absorption, to blunt blood sugar and insulin spikes. Fat is the only macronutrient that does not cause insulin secretion. Most fat sources, such as nuts, seeds, low carb dairy, oils, and butter, create a small insulin surge because they almost always naturally occur with small amounts of proteins and carbohydrate.  In fact, the more protein and carbohydrate they have in them, the more they secrete insulin (but it’s still a small amount).  Include a little extra fat at each meal.  Good fat sources are low carb dairy, butter, seeds, nuts, avocado, coconut oil, and nut butters.

  4. Increase veggies

    Besides being high in fiber (helping you to feel full), veggies slow down sugar absorption, and keep your bowel healthy (and therefore aids in liver detoxification) In addition, non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates, and high in the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Vegetables are especially important in detoxing the body. They also help you body to break down fats (i.e. they help to lower cholesterol, and triglycerides, while raising HDL cholesterol).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One of the common complaints of  older ketogenic diets was that they did not contain vegetables, which puts you at risk for fatty liver syndrome (and other problems) if you don’t eat plenty of them while you diet.  I speak from experience: I’ve followed a low carb lifestyle for many years, but did not incorporate enough veggies into my diet. I ended up suffering from liver toxicity.  Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts are especically good for minimizing blood sugar spikes and resensitizing your body to insulin, since they powerfully detox the liver. For an easy way to get in your veggies, see my Kale shake video).

  5. Proper sleep

    Sleep helps lower stress hormones like cortisol, and bolsters feel-good hormones like serotonin. Since you are not eating while you sleep, your pancreas and liver also get a break, allowing them to regenerate helping to resensitize your  cells to insulin for better blood sugar control.  Sleep deprivation has been shown to decrease insulin sensitivity to levels seen in people who are diabetic, and/or obese.  Bottom line: If you want to have healthy blood sugar control, sleep enough.  People need plenty of sleep, 7-9 hours minimum. If health is your goal, try getting more like 9 hours per night.

  6. Decrease stress

    Stress causes the release of cortisol, which tanks your body’s sensitivity to insulin (bad!), and causes blood sugar spikes. Good ways to decrease stress include low intensity exercise (like walking, qi Gong, tai chi, and yoga), mindful meditation, adopting the dietary changes I talk about above (a low carb, medium fat, medium protein, high vegetable diet prevents blood sugar swings and lowers stress hormones, like cortisol), getting on the proper nutritional supplement program, and handling any stress you have in your life (wow is that a whole topic in itself-see my video on that).

  7. Don’t snack

    Every time you eat, your body secretes insulin to counteract the blood sugar spikes. One of the best ways to decrease insulin production and blood sugar spikes is just to cut down the number of times you eat per day.  You could even skip a meal (whichever meal is easiest to skip for you), and do an intermittent fast.  I have one patient that comes into my office, a 13 year old young man, who was pre-diabetic.  We had him cut carbs, while increasing fat, and he started exercising more. He also confided in me that he felt like lunch was too much for him, so he started skipping it.  I made sure that he was eating enough, as he was still growing, and he was, just skipping lunch.  He stopped gaining weight, and is now at a healthy weight for his height (he “grew in to” his weight).  What’s more, it’s something he came up with that he likes, and works for him.  I myself was snacking a lot during the day, and stopping that was one of the things that helped me recently drop 20 pounds of belly fat (along with increasing my intake of kale, cutting milk, and doing just a little fasted cardiovascular exercise in the morning-like 15 minutes).

  8. Exercise

    Exercise resensitizes insulin receptors, and stabilizes blood sugar, but only in the muscles exercised. That’s why weight lifting works better.  Also, for every pound of muscle you gain, your insulin receptors will work better further stabilizing blood sugar.  For maximum benefits, combine weight training and cardiovascular training.

  9. Fasted cardio

    Performing fasted cardio, aka doing cardio first thing in the morning, really sensitizes your cells to insulin and raises fat burning hormones, adding to long term blood sugar stabilization. The key is, don’t do it too hard, in other words, not over 60% of your maximum heart rate.  To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.  Take this number, multiply by .6, and this is where you should keep your pulse while performing fasted cardio.  For example, I’m 45, so (220-45) x.6 is 105.  When I perform fasted cardio, I keep my pulse around 105.  Good activities for morning fasted cardio are walking, jogging, biking, and yoga.

  10. Avoid Sitting

    My wife always says, “Sitting is the new smoking!” Studies have shown that sitting a lot is just as detrimental to your health as smoking!  What defines as “sitting a lot”?  Having a desk job where you sit all day qualifies.  If you have a desk job, think about getting a standing desk, or even a treadmill desk, or getting up every hour our half hour for 5 minutes of walking or stretching, or even calisthenics.

  11. Supplements

    Ah yes, the part that everyone wants to hear, what pill can I take to make me feel better! First, get in the 8 steps above, because I always say, diet and lifestyle first!  That being said, here’s what will help to lower blood sugar and resensitize your cells to insulin, safely and effectively:

    1. Glyc-Aide-This is my go-to product from Ulan Nutritional Systems. I’ve seen it work time and time again.
    2. Gymnema-This has a long history of helping blood sugar issues. I like the one from MediHerb because of its high quality.  In a lot of other herbal products, you can’t always tell how much they contain of the actual herb.
    3. Zinc, chromium and Magnesium-The majority of patients with Type 2 Diabetes and blood sugar issues have been shown to be deficient in these three minerals. Supplementing with them helps. I like to use Standard Process for these supplements.
    4. Other supplements for the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and adrenals-as determined by Nutrition Response Testing.  If you’re interested in a Nutrition Response Testing consultation, go here or give us a call at 717-392-6606 to schedule!