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.




What’s with the Coconut Oil?

This is the first in a 2 part series on consuming coconut oil and coconut products. While this article addresses the “why?” the next article will be the “how”.

Talk about a super food

For balanced energy, blood sugar and health

One of the primary things I suggest for my clients (and family and friends) to consider is adding coconut oil into their lifestyle. The reason is 2-fold. First and foremost we have got to get those toxic vegetable oils out of our diets. We were told they were good for us because of the polyunsaturates, right? However, the truth was skewed to benefit the edible oil industry. The process by which they are made is downright scary. Vegetable oils (i.e. corn, soy, canola, etc) become even more toxic when they are heated. These oils, as well as margarine, were NEVER good for us, but their sale is good for market share. Unfortunately, what is on TV and in the media does not have to be the truth, it just has to make money.

The second reason is the plethora of benefits the human body can gain from consuming coconut oil (orally and through the skin). Read on.

From Sally Fallon’s foundational Nourishing Traditions – The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats we learn how oils like coconut and palm have protected third world tropical communities from fungus and bacteria in their food supply for generations. As more recent generations have switched to poly-unsaturated vegetable oils, the incidence of intestinal disorders has increased. This is because coconut oil is chalked full of medium chain fatty acids (also called medium chain triglycerides) like lauric acid which has strong anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. The only substance that has as much lauric acid is human breast milk – liquid gold to an infant’s developing immune system. The body changes the fatty acid to mono-laurin which can destroy lipid coated viruses like HIV virus, measles virus, herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1).

From Dr. Ray Peat we see: An important function of coconut oil is that it supports mitochondrial respiration, increasing energy production that has been blocked by the unsaturated fatty acids we been told to consume for the last several decades. While these polyunsaturated fatty acids inhibit thyroid function on many levels, coconut oil can promote thyroid function by reducing those toxic effects. It allows normal mitochondrial oxidative metabolism, without producing the toxic lipid peroxidation that is promoted by unsaturated fats. This assistance with metabolism helps with weight control, something most of my clients are concerned about.

From Dr. Bruce Fife: Consuming coconut oil slows down sugar being absorbed in the bloodstream and helps with the secretion of insulin by the pancreas. We all depend on our pancreas so whether you’re diabetic or not, this is positive for your body.

So coconut oil increases our immunity, helps our pancreas, blood sugar, thyroid and metabolism. Does it do anything else? According to an article by Dr. Mary Enig it helps improve heart health promoting normal platelet function. The liquid vegetable oils in the grocery store do the opposite – they increase platelet stickiness which can lead to blood clots.

After starting consumption of coconut oil on a regular basis, clients tell me they feel better than they have in years, their skin is more supple, and they don’t get hungry (and subsequently don’t snack too much like they used to). However, the most exciting case study of which I am aware regarding the benefits of coconut oil comes from Dr. Mary Newport whose husband has shown remarkable cognitive and functional gains since he began to consume coconut oil. Dr. Newport, medical director of the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Florida, watched as her 53 year old husband became incapacitated by early onset Alzheimer’s. When conventional medication failed to help his condition, Dr. Newport (after much research) decided to try using coconut oil because of the medium chain triglycerides. The liver converts MCTs directly to ketone bodies, which are then available for use as energy by the brain. Her husband just celebrated his fourth year of improved functioning, not the regression usually seen in Alzheimer’s patients. We aren’t aware yet what it can do for the “average” brain.

So much to ponder…

Next week we will take a practical look at how to add this wonderful substance to your life everyday. Adding coconut oil to one’s diet is easy on the body since most of the fatty acids in it do not require bile for digestion. And the body turns them directly into energy providing fuel to meet the activity expectations we have for our busy lives.

Until then, wishing you REAL food, for REAL health so you can be REAL happy.




The First Step to Better Health – Bacon Fat*

*from grass fed pigs…and organic evco

This post is dedicated to the incredible activist film maker Chris Bedford who introduced me to the sad and insidious world of food politics. He guided me – and thousands of others – to the possibilities for making our world sustainable. Today’s blog is controversial…Chris always loved controversy.

My family's favorite fat


Fats? Seriously? We’re supposed to avoid them, right? They clog our arteries and make us unhealthy. Especially animal fats. NOT!

Many people ask me what the first step toward better health is – I say switch out your fat. In my studies and travels I’ve met a growing number of very healthy people who understand the dire importance of good fats in the diet. But I’ve found the majority of people who live in my beautiful corner of the world, the Lakeshore of West Michigan, don’t have a clue. So I write this for them. The rest of you, nod your head and say “yup”.

Our bodies need fats. And saturated fats, those dreaded rascals that the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society have been warning us against for decades, are in EVERY cell in your body. Our heart, nerves, hormones and brain need them everyday. Has the advice we’ve been getting all these years shown a dramatic decline in cancer and heart disease? Let’s be honest…No.

Lipids and cholesterol = healthy cell membranes

That’s because our cells are starving. Look at any anatomy book and you’ll find that saturated fats and cholesterol form a key part of the outer edge (membrane) of all the cells that make up YOU.

So we have been encouraged to swap out animal fat with vegetable oils that aren’t healthy at the cellular level. Our poor cell membranes don’t get what they need to stay pliable and do their jobs in relation to the cells around them (cell signalling). After years of consumption of these liquid vegetable oils we end up with problems all over the body – immune system disruption, heart disease, memory issues, cancer and more. Yes, other lifestyle factors contribute to these concerns also, but why increase your risk? Dr. Mary Enig, the world renowned expert on the biochemical structure and effect of fats in the body discusses the issue at length in this interview, if you want to know more (and you REALLY should). No, you won’t see this on television or in the mass media because there’s no money in it. At least not for big business. But the truth is coming out, thanks to organizations like the Price Pottenger Foundation and the Weston A Price Foundation and the Internet (as long as we remain uncensored).

Well done Dr. Enig!! How sad that so many young people’s eyes were damaged because the advice we were given was flat out wrong. How long is it going to take to get this truth into the mainstream?

We must be aware of the QUALITY of the fats we eat. The fats from a grassfed cow are going to be healthy and the fats from a feed-lot cow eating GMO grains grown with pesticides and then filled with antibiotics and hormones are going to be VERY different. The organic extra virgin coconut oil that our cells thrive on and that can be safely heated to high temperatures is miles ahead of the rancid refined vegetable oil on the grocery store shelves that gets further damaged when we cook with it.

We’ve been sick long enough. It’s time for a change. The very first step I recommend is get rid of those truly dangerous fats and start adding in the coconut oil and fats that come from critters raised outside naturally. By the way, grass fed bacon grease is one of THE most tasty ways to add flavor to your casseroles and stir-frys.

We’ll talk about the superfood cod liver oil some other day.

Until next time, 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