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Can I Eat That? (Should I Eat That?)

Changing Our Internal Narrative To Make Better Choices (Without Feeling Deprived)

I was recently listening to Dr. Paul Saladino, aka “The Carnivore MD” discuss the “carnivore diet” on the Joe Rogan podcast and it got me thinking.

If you’re not familiar with the term “carnivore diet”, it’s exactly what it sounds like: eating nothing but animal products.

Dr. Saladino makes a compelling case summarized by the following two points:

  • only a small percentage of plants are actually edible by humans; conversely, nearly all animals are edible by humans
  • every essential nutrient required by humans is available in animal products, but the same is not true in reverse

While both of these statements are true, I’m not 100% sold on the argument that a carnivore approach is for everyone.

The more compromised your gut health is, the more likely it is you should probably adopt a more carnivore approach at least in the short term, as meat tends to be very easy to digest and is completely absorbed very high in the small intestine, which can allow the lower gut to rest and heal.

I’m sure you’ve heard the arguments to the contrary, that “meat rots in your colon”, etc. but that’s simply not true.

If you want proof, simply ask anyone who’s ever had a complete colectomy and needed to use a colostomy bag what ends up coming out the other end; it ain’t animal products.

Or simply ask yourself this: when’s the last time I saw steak floating in the toilet? The answer is likely “never”, but the same cannot be said for corn…

funny corn in the toilet meme

As I said, before I sound too much like an advocate for a carnivore approach, much like veganism, I’m not sold it’s for eveyone.

Although animal products became an increasingly important part of the human diet sometime around 2.5 million years ago, it’s also very clear that human beings are omnivorous, able to eat both plants and animals, which brings me full circle, back to the real point of this article.

When it comes to our nutrition, it’s probably wise to let the question “should I” rather than “can I” guide our thinking.

It’s much like the ol’ “don’t think about pink elephants”. As soon as I tell you not to, the only thing you can think about is pink elephants. Likewise, when we start restricting our diets to foods we “can” and “can’t” have tends to pave the way towards a pattern of “restrict and binge”.

Can I live on a diet of just meat? Sure, but should I?

Can I eat that box of donuts? Should I eat that box of donuts?

When we make decisions based on “should I”, rather than “can I”, we’re much more likely to own our choices and to be at peace with them, which makes them much more sustainable over the long haul.

Tired of going it alone and not seeing the results you really want? Are you ready to get lean, strong and healthy for life? If you’d like to find out more about how we can work together, no matter where you are in the world, drop us a message below and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

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    PFAS In Carbonated Water; Should You Be Worried?

    A new research study by Consumer Reports has revealed that almost all carbonated waters sold in the US are contaminated with PFAS, or so-called “forever chemicals”.

    PFAS, short for per- and ployfluoroalkyl substances are mad made chemicals used on a variety of packaging.  These chemicals are known carcinogens and are also a cause of low birth weight in newborns and well as altered immune function.  They are referred to as “forever chemicals” because they are stored in the body’s fatty tissue and are not excreted in the sweat or urine (although I’m curious about the breath).

    Carbonated water is popular among dieters and the health conscious as a substitute for soda, juice, etc.

    Is PFAS in our bottled water really something we should be worried about?

    Obviously, the ideal amount of these chemicals in our water would be 0, but we don’t live in that world anymore, and the amount detected in the research was in the parts per TRILLION.  

    You’ll find the same, or similar levels of heavy metals and PFAS in pretty much most drinking water, and even spring water these days, and the effects of uncontrolled blood sugar from drinking regular soft drinks or juices will kill you a lot faster. In my book that effectively makes the results of this new study TBU:  true, but useless.

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    Three Reasons To Eat More Blueberries

    blueberries improve insulin levels, blood sugar and cognition

    You know I hate the term “superfood”; but occasionally, some foods come close to living up to the hype and blueberries have to top the list.

    Multiple studies have shown that making blueberries a regular part of your diet reduces your risk of 

    • cardiovascular disease
    • various cancers
    • type two diabetes

    New Study On The Benefits of Blueberries

    recent study lends even more strength to the case that we should all be eating more of them.

    This study is especially compelling because it’s a randomized, controlled crossover study. Randomized control trials are always the gold standard in evidence, and a cross over design even more so because we see the effect repeated in both groups at different times.

    Both groups were essentially fed a standard IHOP style breakfast that included a drink with the equivalent of 1 cup of blueberries, or a placebo that tasted similar and had similar calories. the researchers then tested postprandial insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as asking participants to complete a cognitive task.

    Both groups showed better insulin and glucose response after the real blueberry drink as well as performing better on the cognitive task.

    Some Caveats About This Study

    Despite the overall strength of this study, I think there are a few caveats worth considering;  mainly the shitty breakfast. Would the study participants have seen as much benefit from the blueberry drink if they hadn’t eaten a meal so high in processed carbs to begin with? It might be tempting to assume that they would have seen even better results, but other research seems to indicate that while some of these so-called “superfoods” can help do damage control, the benefits are much less pronounced when the overall diet quality is already high.

    One cup of fresh blueberries is about 18g of effective carbohydrates, so if you’re on a very low carbohydrate diet, you may have to avoid them.

    The evidence is already becoming well established that cognition (and conversely cognitive decline) is intimately intertwined with metabolic health.  Many researchers and neurologists like Dr. David Perlmutter already refer to Alzheimer’s disease as “type three diabetes” or “diabetes of the brain”.

    With this in mind, I’d love to see this study repeated with a meal that kept postprandial blood glucose levels in a more ideal range to begin with so we could see if the boost in cognitive performance was really a boost at all, or if the IHOP style breakfast caused more of a decline due to an excessive blood sugar, and insulin spike which the blueberry drink helped to balance out.

    Metabolic Health Matters

    In the “Age of Krona” metabolic health is more important than ever. High fasting blood sugar is one of the strongest predictors of negative outcomes at the time of admission, and likely plays a key role (along with blood pressure, blood lipids, vitamin D, zinc, and selenium status) in whether we even become symptomatic to begin with.

    Considering all the benefits they have to offer: potent antioxidant activity that protects against both cancer and cardiovascular disease, improved blood sugar and insulin levels, swapping out your usual carbohydrate for a stiff serving of blueberries seems like a smart investment.

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    Does Drinking Beer Help Prevent Dementia?

    Are you a beer drinker? Tired of your uppity wine drinking friends hogging all the glory? Well, there’s some good news for those of us who love beer!

    A new review paper, called “The Nutritional Components of Beer and Its Relationship with Neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s Disease” published in the journal “Nutrients”, looked at the potential role moderate levels of beer drinking plays in preventing cognitive decline in our later years. (Moderate means ~1-2 drinks per day)

    It’s been known for some time that light to moderate drinkers tend to have better brain health and function in their older years, compared to those who drink heavily or not at all.

    Beer is full of antioxidants which seem to help in several ways. Here are just a few:

    Heineken 0.0 beer

    Reduces Plaque

    Drinking beer helps to prevent the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. Autopsies performed on 125 men who all died of sudden causes, showed that those who were moderate drinkers of beer had less plaque in their brain. While some recent research seems to show that beta-amyloid plaques don’t play the role scientists have previously thought, most

    Alcohol!

    The alcohol itself seems to help with preserving the brain’s memory centers. Moderate drinkers had a bigger hippocampus, while light drinkers had improved episodic memory.

    Hops

    Hops contain many plant-based chemicals called polyphenols which suppress inflammation in the brain and improve cognition. Hops are also a source of resveratrol! Resveratrol can help increase insulin sensitivity, protect against heart disease and can help increase testosterone and control estrogen in men.

    Silicon

    Whole grains like barley and wheat are high in silicon, which also acts as an antioxidant in the brain, perhaps most interestingly by blocking the action of aluminum in the brain. Aluminum is a highly toxic substance. The silicic and orthosilicic acids in beer reduce the bioavailability of aluminum (meaning we absorb less) and increase the amounts of aluminum excreted from our bodies. Win/win!

    Melatonin

    While most people know melatonin as the hormone that helps you sleep, it also acts as an antioxidant, and you guessed it; beer is a great source of melatonin as well.

    If you’re on a low carb diet, or maybe you’re pregnant and can’t drink regular beer, there’s still great news for us! The researchers looked at non-alcoholic beer as well and found that NA beer was also effective!

    When it comes to non-alcoholic beers, I’m a HUGE fan of the new Heineken 0.0!

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    Two Hours Per Week Is Key Dose of Nature For Health & Wellbeing

    While the Japanese martial arts are better known for their dojos, Chinese martial arts, like the one I practice, are more known for being practiced outdoors in local parks or secluded in nature.

    Spending time outdoors has been known for a long time to improve overall health and wellbeing, and that’s one of the reasons I prefer to run all my classes outdoors in the local parks, but until now, there was no clear idea of what the minimum effective dose was.

    paddle boarding in OR
    Enjoying the outdoors paddleboarding at Applegate Lake in OR

    A researcher from the UK looked at the issue recently and found that 120 minutes outdoors every week was the minimum needed to see improvements in health and wellness.

    The good news is it doesn’t matter whether you get all 120 minutes in one shot, or broken up into a short walk in the local park several days a week, as long as your weekly total adds up to 120 minutes or more every week.

    What can you do today to spend just a little more time outside?