The theme of the week seems to be cholesterol; good fats and bad fats; eating a healthy diet and living a healthy life-style. But what does that mean? It could mean a number of things to different people. According to the American Heart Association we should decrease the amount of Saturated Fats in our diet, eat whole grains and maintain a low-fat regimen. Then, there’s the other perspective… decrease grains all together, increase your fat intake (good fats – no trans, hydrogenated etc.) and maintain a moderate protein intake complete with wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef and wild-game.
So which is the “right” one… well, I’ll let you choose for yourself, but hopefully I will get you thinking and give you a little information to do the right thing.
It’s simple, if you didn’t have the daily conveniences of grocery stores, pre-packaged meals, microwaves & refrigerators, what would you eat? Yes, our world would look a whole lot different than it does today. Just think how much you rely on the grocery store to supply you with what you assume to be humanely harvested, healthy food choices… yes, ignorance is bliss… but is it? I’m guessing that if we didn’t have somebody packaging our food up in pretty boxes, claiming “natural”, “heart healthy”, & “fresh”, half of us would starve and the other half would go, well crazy! If we didn’t have these pretty boxes and shopping carts, we would have to supply for ourselves… just like the hunter, gatherer’s that are our ancestors. Farming, hunting and seed, fruit and nut gathering were a daily routine to sustain a healthy diet. There were no trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, highly processed, or super sugary foods in our diets… so whatever happened to these real, whole foods? Well, it seems to me, we got sugar happy and lazy and with it; we got heart disease and obesity!
I just went to a little seminar with Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body – Primal Mind (Empower Your Total Health the Way Evolution Intended & Didn’t). She gave a nice presentation on good fats and bad fats in the diet and what nature intended for us and what it didn’t. She made a good analogy with the following experiment: “Put a block of butter outside in the yard, next to a tub of margarine and see which gets eaten first”. She then went on to say how a client of hers went ahead and tried this, and you know what happened, the butter was gone in under an hour and the margarine, remained untouched for somewhere near a month! Interesting isn’t it, that even scavenging animals that pick at the trash won’t even touch something so overly processed and preserved, yet we lather it on our food everyday by the bucket-load. Another good point she made was that the rise of Heart Disease almost exactly correlates to the addition and increase of vegetable oils into the diet. These along with all the hydrogenation, processing and sugar-coating could just be the deadly killers we’ve been trying to ignore all along.
Anyway, the big point here is that our bodies rely on good fats from the diet. By cutting out fats in the diet and maintaining a low-fat diet regiment, we send a signal to the hypothalamus that tells our bodies we are starving… in turn, the body starts storing fat every chance it gets to survive (it’s an instinctual mechanism). By increasing the glucose intake (carbohydrates from simple sugars etc.) in the diet we essentially throw more fuel on the fire, propogating more of our calories to be stored as fat in the body. Cholesterol is a necessary part of our bodies and is essential in neurological processes and all basic cellular function. The cells in our body are essentially made up of fats, that’s what keeps them together & functioning properly. In addition a high amount of blood cholesterol, should be used as an indicator that there is something else going on in the body. Western drugs (statins) are good at removing the cholesterol, and lowering your blood levels on paper, but what does that mean? Basically, by doing so, you take away the fire-fighters @ the scene of the crime and let the fire run rampant… the downside is, that the fire in this case is silent and will subsequently keep burning until it hits the pilot light and the whole place blows up.
Enter Chinese herbs, Acupuncture, Qi-Gong or some form of Meditation, diet and lifestyle! All together, these modalities can work wonders and support the natural processes of the body, lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation, decrease body weight and therefore; body mass index.
So, just to add the convenience of this topic, I went on the computer this evening to order myself some more Krill Oil from Dr. Mercola.com and the first article on his home page read: Saturated Fat is NOT the Cause of Heart Disease… coincidence? I think not!
I could keep going on and on about the benefits of good fats in the body and why they should be a major part of our diet, but you have to remember that everything in moderation is a key component as well as the way in which foods are harvested and processed (but hopefully not). Make sure you read the labels, eat as many whole foods as you can; meaning vegetables, fruits and healthy proteins. No matter what diet you decide to eat, make sure you always buy “wild” salmon & “grass-fed” beef. Try to eat local and organic, sustainable foods; farmer’s markets are a great source and alternative to store-packaged goods. For more information on the “Primal Living”, check out Nora’s website and her awesome book:
- Primal Body – Primal Mind
- Also, check out the Primal Radio Station, there is a sound bite about me! Nora just interviewed Michael Skogg; owner of Elite Kettlebell Gym in Tigard, OR; Spinach Gym in downtown Portland, OR & is the face of Weider Powerbells & X-Factor Home Gym
Since I mentioned it, this brings me to a good point! I am currently also a trainer/coach at Elite Kettle-Bell Gym in Tigard OR, as well as Spinach in Portland, OR and it has been one of the best things I could have brought into my life. As you may know I used to be a competitive Freestyle skier back in the day, and love athletic ventures of all kinds. Kettlebells have definitely made it to the top of my list as far as awesome workouts that get great results without a lot of time and if you are in the Portland/Tigard, OR area, I highly recommend you check it out! It’s great for all people of ALL athletic abilities, it’s fun and there is always a great group of people with smiling faces around! The new gym in downtown is amazing, they just opened it up and classes are running Monday through Saturday pretty much all day. You can check out the schedule on Elite Kettlebell Gym’s website (the link is above) for more information. Plus it is a great addition to “Primal Living” and any kind of exercise regimen in that case!
Another good source of information on “eating primal” as well as “living primal” is Mark Sisson’s Webpage and Blog:
- Mark’s Daily Apple – He’s got easy to access information on diet, nutrition exercise and all sorts of primal living details! Check it out!
Well, that’s enough out of me, I hope you read, listen and link to these sites!
Happy living and be well,
Gedgaudas, N. (2009). Primal body-primal mind: empower your total health the way evolution intended (…and didn. Portland OR: Primal Body – Primal Mind Publishing.
Mercola, . (2010, February 25). Saturated fat is not the cause of heart disease. Retrieved from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/02/25/saturated-fat-is-not-the-cause-of-heart-disease.aspx