2017 certainly was a learning year for me. I wish I had documented more as I experienced the best changes to my health I have ever made. I started the year sick and weak from antibiotics for a cold I could not shake. I have avoided antibiotics for years knowing they make a mess of the microbiome. Four weeks after returning from New England with some crud I finally gave in. The next morning, I had a yeast infection and over the course of the antibiotics I kept feeling worse. Then the heart burn attacks started.
I tried some high doses of probiotics and gut repair protocols. Nothing helped me get my energy back. In April it was suggested that I needed to go on SIBO attack. SIBO stands for small intestine bacterial overgrowth. The large clue that this was the problem was the yeast infection after starting the antibiotics. Basically the antibiotics killed my good microbiome as expected. The bad bacteria were probably barely held in a weak balance before the antibiotics and then took over instantly after the balance was turned in their favor. SIBO protocol is extremely strict consisting of food that will starve the bad bacteria. By day 4 on the SIBO protocol my appetite dropped, my heart burn faded and my energy rocketed. I continued for five weeks.
What I discovered later was that the SIBO protocol put me into a state of ketosis. A state that I sought for the majority of the year. A keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein and low carb eating plan. If natural living was my goal, I feel that I found the bullet I needed to succeed. I am still focused on “real” whole foods and avoiding toxins and chemicals. I know now that weight loss is not about calories in versus calories out. Weight loss and more importantly – health – is about balancing hormones. I am still doing that as hormones take time to balance out but I have my greatest foe against the rails – insulin (the king of hormones).
I cannot wait to share more with you about proteins, carbs, delicious fats, insulin, cortisol, pregnenolone, water, fat adaptation, leptin, amino acids, fatty acids, inflammation, and so much more. I am devouring books, podcasts, videos and information in general on all these topics and understanding how our body functions and how to heal. I am not sure if this will reach anyone but I have always learned the most when I taught others so my game plan is to solidify all my experience, reading and information by sharing it here!
I recently attended a lecture on running and nutrition. Halfway through the night I heard “Eat Fat to Burn Fat.” Funny thing is that I have heard this same lecture many times but this time – this slide just struck me as odd. I asked for more explanation and was told that eating fat would train your body to burn fat. I trusted the speaker enough to follow the advice but over the next days it kept bothering me – why? I wanted to share some of that research with you. Although I found nothing about the training part I did discover a ton of information concerning how dangerous a low fat mindset is for our bodies.
A calorie is defined as the amount of energy required to increase one gram of water one degree Celsius. To measure the calories in various foods scientists break the food bonds down to just hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. The increase in the water temperature then provides the number of calories in the food. Using this method they determined that:
Proteins contain 4 calories per gram
Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram
Fats contain 9 calories per gram
GASP… 9 calories per gram! That is twice that in the others so it must be bad and fattening. More calories intake means more fat! Or NOT…
When scientists determine the calories in food they have to use enough energy to break the food down to hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. Our body does not break down proteins and fats. They are only partially broken down in the body. Amino acids are used to build our muscle, hair and skin. Fatty acids are used to build myelin sheaths, cell membranes and hormones. Because the body only breaks proteins and fats down to amino acids and fatty acids the caloric intake will not match laboratory results. Proteins and fats are used as building materials rather than converted completely to energy so little or none will go into fat storage.
Carbohydrates on the other hand are converted to energy. If that energy is not needed immediately it is stored as energy. Glycogen is a ready energy form stored in the liver and muscles. Body fat is the long term storage form of this energy. When carbohydrates are broken down the extra sugar in the body causes a release of insulin. Insulin opens the doors to store fat in fat cells. Insulin must be present to store fat and carbohydrates are the mechanism to raise the blood sugar to trigger the release of insulin.
Fat and proteins will not trigger the release of insulin. Therefore fats without carbohydrates will never be stored as fat. Eating fat does not make you fat. Eating enough carbohydrates to overflow glycogen stores and force insulin to store the energy will. Eating a balanced meal with fat, protein and healthy carbohydrates is the key.
Fat Deprivation Signs
Carbohydrate and Stimulate Craving
Dry, Limp, Thinning Hair
Loss of Lean Body Mass
Body Fat Gain Around the Middle
Scaly, Itchy Skin
Types of Fat
1. Structural Fats – class of fats used a building materials within your body. They are used for structures such as cells, hormones and brain components. Review the list of fat deprivation signs – all are covered by the lack of building materials your body needs to constantly rebuild.
2. Body Fat – reservoir of fat found in fat cells in the form of triglycerides that is used as insulation and energy.
3. Dietary Fats – come from animal and plant sources. They are composed of structural and body fats. Plant fats are oils that are made up of fatty acids.
Two final points:
When fat is included with a meal it slows down the transient time of food therefor decreasing the glycemic index of the meal. The lower the glycemic index the less insulin released to handle the sugar. The less insulin the less energy long term storage.
Fat also is specifically used by the lower intestine to trigger the brain that the body is satisfied – stop eating. When fat is not included in a meal that CCK trigger is not sent to the brain. This can results in carbohydrate cravings (all day grazing/snacking).
Fats are needed by the body just like water. Cholesterol (a fat) directly impacts metabolism. Essential fatty acids can not be produced within your body and must be consumed to build hormones and repair cells. Although I didn’t find any research to prove that eating fat trains the body to burn fat, I definitely found enough research to suggest that trying to fit fat under some acceptable count is not smart. Let your body’s internal system tell you when it has had enough – until then enjoy good healthy fats like coconut oils, avocados, olive oil and nuts.
Several months ago I started getting sharp stabbing pains down my shoulder blades. My neck would be tight with discomfort along the shoulder down my upper arm. The worst pain was when the spasm would stab down into the blade itself. Typically it would happen on the right side, only to be relieved by an adjustment from my chiropractor. The adjustments helped for a week to a month. On my last visit he asked me to get a kettlebell and start doing 3 different exercises.
Kettlebell? At first I told him I didn’t even know what one was until I remembered playing with one in a Walmart with a friend wondering why anyone would get one. One thing you will learn is that I have the highest possible opinion of my chiropractor. He is far more than that to me. He is a brilliant nutritionist and the most read and current mind I know. As I share more you will learn that following his advice has saved me from “depression” pills, trained me to become a runner and inspired me on this entire journey. So when he said do 3 exercises, I went to the store and bought my first kettlebell.
A Little History…
Kettlebells are basically a cannon ball with a handle. They were first seen in Russia in the 1700’s. They were used by farmers to help weigh crops. The handle extendes the center of mass beyond the hand allowing ballistic and swinging movements providing grip, wrist, arm and core strengthening.
The options for a kettlebell today can be overwhelming. There are the traditional all iron options and then there are handle padded kettlebells with screwable plates to adjust the weight. The lightest I found was a 5 pound baby kettlebell compared to the 55 pound beast I never hope to touch. Prices ranged with the features from $30 to $55 for the 20 pound options.
I was warned not to go with too light an option because in the first month I would significantly increase my strength. Having done some minimal training in my past I also did not want to get anything too heavy because lack of control leads to lack of form and injury. Also, my upper body is scary weak, something I have needed to change for years. Although the 20 pound is probably where I should be with one handed exercises I knew I would not be able to do even a single repetition. So, knowing that I was probably throwing away money, I got a cheap 10 pound kettlebell for the single arm exercises and a padded 20 pound for the two arm exercises.
Two more quick points from my initial research. Two major reasearch studies were conducted using the kettlebell. One at the University of Wisconsin in 2010 (full report) and the second at the University of San Jose in 2011 (full report). These studies showed a measurable increase in soccer and la crosse players stamina, oxygen levels, core strength, flexibility and endurance. Although weight loss was not measurable, one wouldn’t anticipate this aspect in fit college players.
For me the need was not to increase my capacity to top form, this tool was about strengthening my arms and shoulders to stop the pain. I will share more about the three exercises and let you know how they helped in the next few weeks. Next time I will share the three exercises and my first experience with them.
Interesting title – I had meant to post a note that this site is new and a work in progress. I still need to get it setup and configured; I just didn’t want the “Hello World” post to be what anyone saw. But how appropriate to the purpose of this site. My journey to natural living was started years ago and yet is still a work in progress.
I can still remember the first step – a nutrition class that compelled me to give up my “crack.” As a programmer I could sit in front of a computer and easily drink two 2-litter bottles of diet soda a day. I loved that crack. I experienced such withdrawals over those first weeks. Tell me that is natural when I had to suffer sweats, shakes and cravings to stop drinking it. Aspartame – the first speed bump on my journey to natural living.
That baby step was the start with many to follow in the last 5 years. I succeeded and failed many times attacking the killer chemicals in foods (dyes, glutamate, etc.). I am still a work in progress starting now to experiment with making cleaning products and using essential oils instead of medications. I learn more daily and want to share that with you.
Thanks for visiting the site and I hope you keep coming back as I load more content weekly!