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.

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.

The Best Breakfast for Health and Weight Loss

A holistic approach to weight loss

As a holistic doctor, one of the most common questions I get from people about diet is “what do I eat for breakfast?” About 4 years ago, I learned from a world famous trainer named Charles Poliquin, that you should basically be eating meat and nuts for breakfast.  This is the best breakfast for weight loss and to feel better. The reasons for this are very basic-it will:

  1. lower blood sugar fluctuations, and
  2. subsequent insulin surges.

This is important for five reasons. Lowering blood sugar fluctuations and insulin surges will help:

  1. Lower cortisol levels (the primary stress hormone)
  2. Lower inflammation (the primary factor in most chronic diseases)
  3. Reduce food cravings
  4. Strengthen the immune system
  5. Build muscle and lose fat
  6. Balance hormones (including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid hormones)
  7. Help you lose weight

So, basically, you need to cut your carbs, ESPECIALLY in the morning, in order to be healthy. The problem is, most people don’t want a piece of fish or a hamburger for breakfast. But there are other solutions. What I tell people to eat is protein and nuts, not necessarily meat and nuts, for breakfast. If you absolutely CANNOT eat in the morning, you can substitute a low carb protein shake (recipe below). The reason I say this is that back in the day, I took a whole lot of body fat measurements on my patients (I would still do it, but it took too much time, and I had to charge accordingly). People consistently lost a lot more fat if they ate protein rather than drank it. So that’s why drinking your protein is a distant second. Here’s some choices of what to have for breakfast:

  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Burgers
  • Fish

Feel free to mix and match these, don’t eat the same thing every day. Along with your protein, eat a handful of nuts. I recommend going easy on the peanuts, though, because they’re actually a legume, and some people don’t handle them well. Also, it goes without saying, that organic, local sausage, bacon, and eggs are much better than commercial. But like the saying goes, get the quality of food up after you’ve cut down the quantity of poison you put into your body (sugars and refined carbs).

If you must, must have a protein shake, here’s what I recommend. One, use my protein, Sheehan Whey, and/or Standard Process SP Complete. These proteins are the best ones I’ve come across, have no artificial sweeteners, and have no sugar. Two, mix these with water, sugar free coconut milk, almond milk, hemp milk, cashew milk. NO soy milk, as soy is a major food allergen, may be a hormonal disruptor, amongst other problems. There are better options, so use them instead. Three, if you like your shake creamier, add ½ to 1 avocado. If you must put a fruit in there, you can add berries, just not cherries, as they are high in sugar. Four, if you’re feeling really adventurous and healthy, add some greens, in the form of baby spinach, kale, whatever. It’s actually not bad. So here’s a shake synopsis:

  • Liquid (water, sugar free coconut milk, almond milk, hemp milk, cashew milk)
  • Sheehan Whey and/or SP Complete
  • Avocado (optional)
  • Greens (kale, baby spinach-just add a little, don’t want to overpower the rest of the shake)
  • Berries (raspberries, red or black, blueberries, etc.)
  • Essential Balance Oil (a properly balanced oil that has omega 3, 6, and 9 in the right proportions). You should definitely add this for the healthy fat; protein by itself won’t hold you.
  • Other spices of you like-like organic cocoa, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, stevia, you can get creative here.

Use these guidelines to create your own unique shake. Just make sure that it has protein, fat, and low carb. Go crazy!

So there you have it, what to eat for breakfast. This should satisfy everyone. And remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! So let’s get healthy with a healthy breakfast each and every day!