Why are we fat?

This post is dedicated to that amazing group from Unity of Muskegon who meet for Let’s Talk Wellness and are making positive changes toward better health every day. I am SO proud of you all!

Last year as I ended our second year of monthly meetings at Unity on wellness, I asked what people wanted to discuss in the 2014. The topic of interest most requested was the title of this article. Yes, we already understand that being as active as possible reduces our fat reserves, so I didn’t focus on exercise. Everyone knows…get up and move! But if we don’t address the misinformation out there, we don’t stand a chance at weight loss and management.

Since I do not teach about short term fixes at the expense of the body’s health, we must address lifestyle changes, dispelling the myths we’ve been told the last 3 decades, to build vital cells, tissues and bodies. The focus must be on sharing the truth about the need for healthy fats and nutrient dense foods and how the low-fat/high whole grain/”sugarfree” additive recommendations have led us to the obesity fiasco we are in now.

Below is my evidence based summary of why we are larger (and much less healthy) than we should be:

• Eating BAD fats (polyunsaturated, liquid vegetable oils, margarine, oils from GMO crops {soy, cottonseed, canola, corn}, fatty meat/poultry from conventionally raised animals {complete with antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO fed, pesticide residue, no to very little sunlight}).

My family's favorite fat

My family’s favorite fat

• Not eating enough good fats (coconut, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed meat and poultry, wild caught fish, avocado, cod liver oil). Low-fat foods lead to obesity because we substitute with….

• Sugar and empty carb consumption (anything made with a fine powder like flour, like baked goods, candy, chips, pastas). These carbs are digested quickly and stimulate the hormone insulin, which, among other things stores fat in fat cells. High fructose corn syrup. Diet sodas.

• Eating processed and non-organic foods (and using chemicals on our bodies, in our homes and on our yards). These foods often have pesticide residues which keep our body from taking in the minerals we need to make our metabolism work correctly. Our bodies need nutrients to function and be the “right” weight for our structure. These empty foods lead to…

• Overeating – which we do WHEN WE ARE NOT EATING NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS! Our body keeps saying, “where are the nutrients?” and then “eat more and you might find some.” We can also get into the habit of over eating because of emotional issues, but again, it is often, if not always, nutrient deprived foods. We seldom eat too much when the food is REAL and nutrient rich.

• An unhealthy microbiome. Our balance of good micro-organisms in our body plays a significant role in our health and weight.

• When we have an underactive thyroid, we have a very difficult time trying to shed pounds. Be aware that water with chlorine and fluoride is thyroid disruptive. Drinking the cleanest water possible is a must. Also, good quality coconut oil supports the thyroid and is energy boosting.

What to do? The same thing I teach for other physical/emotional issues…

• Eat good fats at every meal
• Eat protein from clean (organic, grass fed, preferably local) sources at every meal – we need protein to make the happy chemicals in our brain
• Eat plenty of colorful, local (for more vitamin content), organic (for more mineral content) vegetables WITH LOTSA BUTTER (or ghee)!
• Take good quality coconut oil – even at every meal.
• Take a high quality probiotic and/or fermented foods and drink.
• Eat organic fruits as desserts (“cave people” ate them in the fall to fatten up for the winter)
• If you feel the need for baked goods, make them out of nut flour (organic preferably).
• Don’t starve yourself. This will mess up your hormones. EAT! Just eat the real foods described above.

Until next time…wishing you real food for real health so you can be real happy.




7 Simple Steps to Better Digestion

Specializing in digestive wellness, I have to encourage people to eat the highest quality food they can afford. Yes, I’m aware that grass fed animal products and organic produce cost more. Yes, they are worth it. However, we can only purchase what we can afford. Do the best you can.

My 7 Simple Steps, however, do not cost extra and they can be the difference between getting the most from our food/drink and not taking in the vital nutrients we need to thrive. I could site sources and scientific evidence for each step, but for this article I’ve chosen to stay simple. Trust me, these are activities that have been proven to be beneficial.

Ask yourself, do I…?

1. Say grace/bless my food/express appreciation for the food I am about to welcome into my body.

2. Eat at a table. Not in the car. Not walking around. Not at my desk.

3. Breathe while I eat. Try to enjoy the flavor of each bite.

4. Chew my food and don’t rush my meal. (This mechanical portion of the digestive process sets the stage for the rest of your food to be broken down effectively.)

5. Don’t drink a cold liquid with the meal…it puts out the digestive “fire”. It’s fine to have cold drinks between meals.

6. If I am going to drink with a meal, limit the liquid to about 4 ounces, otherwise I dilute the acid in my stomach which is needed to break down food. (Lemon and water enhances digestion, by the way.)

7. Leave about 5-6 hours between meals if I can. (Snacking stresses the pancreas among other things.)

How many do you do?

Until next week…wishing you real food (eaten at a table) for real health (that is savored) so you can be real happy (and grateful).




What’s with the Coconut Oil #2 – Let’s Get Practical

Usually the first comment clients make when I encourage lots of good fats, like coconut oil, is “What about low-fat?” Take a look at my April blog and the Weston A Price Foundation . As time goes by, we are seeing more and more truth hitting the mainstream about the low-fat myth. Gary Taubes was right on the money with his article What if it’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?

Ask yourself, if you still believe the low-fat jargon, what are you going to eat instead? Carbs. Carbohydrates that signal the release of insulin to store body fat. I haven’t met a client yet who wants that. And those carbs are usually processed foods (breads, “health food” bars, pasta) which make our blood sugar go up quickly then crash. Ample amounts of good fats, like coconut oil, at every meal keep the blood sugar level.

Coconut oil at room temperature, which is how it should be stored, is a solid. This shows that it is saturated (and good for you) and stable. Being saturated makes it a good cooking oil as it won’t turn toxic when heated.

What to buy…Make sure you get organic, virgin coconut oil. In their book Eat Fat, Lose Fat Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon highly recommend tropicaltraditions.com as it is made through a traditional process and supports artisan coconut oil producers. Most health food stores as well as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stock virgin coconut oil extracted using safe, non-toxic methods.

OK, so you’ve got your coconut oil…now what? Switch it out for any toxic liquid oils you have in your cupboard (vegetable, canola, corn) or margarine in the frig (if you’re not allergic to milk…keep eating butter. It provides a whole other bunch of nutrients.)

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re in luck. Consuming coconut oil before your meals can help escalate weight loss. When you consume it about 20 minutes before meal time, you won’t feel near as hungry – which will curb your appetite. It’s 100% natural and something your body recognizes (unlike diet pills and powders). Start with a teaspoon in warm water once a day first thing in the morning. Don’t like the taste? Have it in green tea, or herbal tea, or your coffee if you drink that. You’ll get used to it.

After a couple days, double the amount you’re consuming, after a couple more, double it again. Below are Fallon and Enig’s recommendations for daily consumption according to weight:
90-130 # – 1 Tbl per meal up to 3 Tbl day
131-180# – 1.5 Tbls per meal up to 4.5 Tbl a day
and over 180# – 2 Tbls per meal up to 6 Tbl a day

How else can you get this wondrous oil in your body
* Use as a body moisturizer
* Use a small amount for dry scalp and hair
* Use on toast (preferably true sourdough as it is prepared traditionally)
* Super drink – add to warm bone broth with a dash of tasty mineral rich sea salt
* Add a tablespoon or 2 to your casseroles or mashed potatoes
* Mix with your butter or use alone on morning warm cereals
* Have a quart jar in your cupboard with Mary’s (Enig) Blend in it for cooking: 1 cup each coconut oil, olive oil and sesame oil. This is especially delicious for salad dressings

And please be aware, not only is the oil of the coconut incredible for you, but the meat and the milk are good for you, too. Make sure to get high quality organic safely made products.
Then you can try:
* Sprinkling coconut on top of just about anything – salads, casseroles, oatmeal (which is best for the body if soaked).
* Adding coconut milk to smoothies, soups, porridge, and sauces

This should give you ample ideas for integrating coconut products into your life.

Do pay attention to your body’s response. After years, even decades of eating unhealthy fats, it may take your body some time to adjust to the molecules of this healthy fat. Start out small, like with cooking. If you don’t feel well after eating coconut oil, perhaps it’s not for you. I personally have not met anyone yet with such a sensitivity, but I believe it can exist.

As always, wishing you REAL food for REAL health so you can be REAL happy.




Eat Red Meat!*

* from grass fed cows – local farms if you can

I just got done listening to an interview with Dr. James Carlson about the importance of red meat and saturated fat in the diet and how the recent study that came out from Harvard is fraught with poor research and advice. That report says any level of red meat consumption increases the rate of mortality. I strongly encourage you to take a listen at red-meat-bane-or-boon.

Dr. Carlson is the author of a book entitled Genocide: How Your Doctor’s Dietary Ignorance Will Kill You. Think about that title, please, because it speaks a sad and deadly truth. Dr. Carlson specializes in treating patients with heart disease, diabetes and obesity and does so by encouraging his patients to eat more red meat and animal products and reduce their consumption of whole grains and fruits. He says he sees “wonderful health benefits” when they change their diet in this way.

Because I know how busy everyone is and how inundated we are with SO much information, I felt compelled to note some of the highlights of the interview. This is very very important information that is contrary to the mainstream ill-advice the media is perpetuating.

The above mentioned “study” is based on questionnaires filled out by people from memory. Inferences were then drawn from those results. Lifestyle factors (confounding factors) like smoking, drinking, BMI and being sedentary were not adequately considered. No differentiation in the source of the meat was made. So corn fed, hormone and antibiotic laden factory cows were put in the same catagory as beef from cows raised in the sunshine on pasture. There is a difference. We are what we eat and the cows are what they eat.

Dr. Carlson points out in the interview the importance of cholesterol and saturated fat in the diet for proper nervous and circulatory system function. As a biochemist, he stresses that the danger comes not from eating cholesterol but from when our body creates cholesterol out of glucose and fructose. In the modern U.S. diet, this means processed food – and items like whole grains, pasta, rice and fruit. These products contain an overabundance of carbohydrates that break down to simple sugars which form the cholesterol that causes deadly plaque in the arteries. When his patients back off on carbs, their critical lab numbers (i.e. blood sugar and blood pressure) improve. He also contends that he has seen HDL increase more with the consumption of good saturated fats than with exercise.

Denise Minger’s analysis of the Harvard study was discussed. I encourage you to look further into her critical, well written examination of the faulty research.

Carlson’s “take home” from the interview is to be VERY cautious about the advice from this study. He ends by saying if you’re obese and have issues with diabetes and heart disease, grass fed red meat is the way to go (and back off whole grains and fruit)…based on his clinical practice of over 20 years.

As always, I encourage you to do your own research and come up with your own conclusions.

Until next time, wishing you Real Food for Real Health so you can be Real Happy