For the sake of convenience: Commercial sources of prebiotic fibers

Our efforts to obtain prebiotic fibers/resistant starches, as discussed in the Cureality Digestive Health Track, to cultivate healthy bowel flora means recreating the eating behavior of primitive humans who dug in the dirt with sticks and bone fragments for underground roots and tubers, behaviors you can still observe in extant hunter-gatherer groups, such as the Hadza and Yanomamo. But, because this practice is inconvenient for us modern folk accustomed to sleek grocery stores, because many of us live in climates where the ground is frozen much of the year, and because we lack the wisdom passed from generation to generation that helps identify which roots and tubers are safe to eat and which are not, we rely on modern equivalents of primitive sources. Thus, green, unripe bananas, raw potatoes and other such fiber sources in the Cureality lifestyle.

There is therefore no need to purchase prebiotic fibers outside of your daily effort at including an unripe green banana, say, or inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS), or small servings of legumes as a means of cultivating healthy bowel flora. These are powerful strategies that change the number and species of bowel flora over time, thereby leading to beneficial health effects that include reduced blood sugar and blood pressure, reduction in triglycerides, reduced anxiety and improved sleep, and reduced colon cancer risk.

HOWEVER, convenience can be a struggle. Traveling by plane, for example, makes lugging around green bananas or raw potatoes inconvenient. Inulin and FOS already come as powders or capsules and they are among the options for a convenient, portable prebiotic fiber strategy. But there are others that can be purchased. This is a more costly way to get your prebiotic fibers and you do not need to purchase these products in order to succeed in your bowel flora management program. These products are therefore listed strictly as a strategy for convenience.

Most perspectives on the quality of human bowel flora composition suggest that diversity is an important feature, i.e., the greater the number of species, the better the health of the host. There may therefore be advantage in varying your prebiotic routine, e.g., green banana on Monday, inulin on Tuesday, PGX (below) on Wednesday, etc. Beyond providing convenience, these products may introduce an added level of diversity, as well.

Among the preparations available to us that can be used as prebiotic fibers:

PGX

While it is billed as a weight management and blood sugar-reducing product, the naturally occurring fiber--α-D-glucurono-α-D-manno-β-D-manno- β-D-gluco, α-L-gulurono-β-D mannurono, β-D-gluco-β- D-mannan--in PGX also exerts prebiotic effects (evidenced by increased fecal butyrate, the beneficial end-product of bacterial metabolism). PGX is available as capsules or granules. It also seems to exert prebiotic effects at lower doses than other prebiotic fibers. While I usually advise reaching 20 grams per day of fiber, PGX appears to exert substantial effects at a daily dose of half that quantity. As with all prebiotic fibers, it is best to build up slowly over weeks, e.g., start at 1.5 grams twice per day. It is also best taken in two or three divided doses. (Avoid the PGX bars, as they are too carb-rich for those of us trying to achieve ideal metaobolic health.)

Prebiotin

A combination of inulin and FOS available as powders and in portable Stick Pacs (2 gram and 4 gram packs). This preparation is quite costly, however, given the generally low cost of purchasing chicory inulin and FOS separately.

Acacia

Acacia fiber is another form of prebiotic fiber.  RenewLife and NOW are two reputable brands.

Isomalto-oligosaccharides

This fiber is used in Quest bars and in Paleo Protein Bars. With Quest bars, choose the flavors without sucralose, since it has been associated with undesirable changes in bowel flora.

There you go. It means that there are fewer and fewer reasons to not purposefully cultivate healthy bowel flora and obtain all the wonderful health benefits of doing so, from reduced blood pressure, to reduced triglycerides, to deeper sleep.

Disclaimer: I am not compensated in any way by discussing these products.

How Not To Have An Autoimmune Condition


Autoimmune conditions are becoming increasingly common. Estimates vary, but it appears that at least 8-9% of the population in North America and Western Europe have one of these conditions, with The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association estimating that it’s even higher at 14% of the population.

The 200 or so autoimmune diseases that afflict modern people are conditions that involve an abnormal immune response directed against one or more organs of the body. If the misguided attack is against the thyroid gland, it can result in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. If it is directed against pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin, it can result in type 1 diabetes or latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA). If it involves tissue encasing joints (synovium) like the fingers or wrists, it can result in rheumatoid arthritis. It if involves the liver, it can result in autoimmune hepatitis, and so on. Nearly every organ of the body can be the target of such a misguided immune response.

While it requires a genetic predisposition towards autoimmunity that we have no control over (e.g., the HLA-B27 gene for ankylosing spondylitis), there are numerous environmental triggers of these diseases that we can do something about. Identifying and correcting these factors stacks the odds in your favor of reducing autoimmune inflammation, swelling, pain, organ dysfunction, and can even reverse an autoimmune condition altogether.

Among the most important factors to correct in order to minimize or reverse autoimmunity are:


Wheat and grain elimination

If you are reading this, you likely already know that the gliadin protein of wheat and related proteins in other grains (especially the secalin of rye, the hordein of barley, zein of corn, perhaps the avenin of oats) initiate the intestinal “leakiness” that begins the autoimmune process, an effect that occurs in over 90% of people who consume wheat and grains. The flood of foreign peptides/proteins, bacterial lipopolysaccharide, and grain proteins themselves cause immune responses to be launched against these foreign factors. If, for instance, an autoimmune response is triggered against wheat gliadin, the same antibodies can be aimed at the synapsin protein of the central nervous system/brain, resulting in dementia or cerebellar ataxia (destruction of the cerebellum resulting in incoordination and loss of bladder and bowel control). Wheat and grain elimination is by far the most important item on this list to reverse autoimmunity.

Correct vitamin D deficiency

It is clear that, across a spectrum of autoimmune diseases, vitamin D deficiency serves a permissive, not necessarily causative, role in allowing an autoimmune process to proceed. It is clear, for instance, that autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes in children, rheumatoid arthritis, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are more common in those with low vitamin D status, much less common in those with higher vitamin D levels. For this and other reasons, I aim to achieve a blood level of 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of 60-70 ng/ml, a level that usually requires around 4000-8000 units per day of D3 (cholecalciferol) in gelcap or liquid form (never tablet due to poor or erratic absorption). In view of the serious nature of autoimmune diseases, it is well worth tracking occasional blood levels.

Supplement omega-3 fatty acids

While omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, from fish oil have proven only modestly helpful by themselves, when cast onto the background of wheat/grain elimination and vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids compound anti-inflammatory benefits, such as those exerted via cyclooxygenase-2. This requires a daily EPA + DHA dose of around 3600 mg per day, divided in two. Don’t confuse EPA and DHA omega-3s with linolenic acid, another form of omega-3 obtained from meats, flaxseed, chia, and walnuts that does not not yield the same benefits. Nor can you use krill oil with its relatively trivial content of omega-3s.

Eliminate dairy

This is true in North America and most of Western Europe, less true in New Zealand and Australia. Autoimmunity can be triggered by the casein beta A1 form of casein widely expressed in dairy products, but not by casein beta A2 and other forms. Because it is so prevalent in North America and Western Europe, the most confident way to avoid this immunogenic form of casein is to avoid dairy altogether. You might be able to consume cheese, given the fermentation process that alters proteins and sugar, but that has not been fully explored.

Cultivate healthy bowel flora

People with autoimmune conditions have massively screwed up bowel flora with reduced species diversity and dominance of unhealthy species. We restore a healthier anti-inflammatory panel of bacterial species by “seeding” the colon with high-potency probiotics, then nourishing them with prebiotic fibers/resistant starches, a collection of strategies summarized in the Cureality Digestive Health discussions. People sometimes view bowel flora management as optional, just “fluff”–it is anything but. Properly managing bowel flora can be a make-it-or-break-it advantage; don’t neglect it.

There you go: a basic list to get started on if your interest is to begin a process of unraveling the processes of autoimmunity. In some conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and polymyalgia rheumatica, full recovery is possible. In other conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and the pancreatic beta cell destruction leading to type 1 diabetes, reversing the autoimmune inflammation does not restore organ function: hypothyroidism results after thyroiditis quiets down and type 1 diabetes and need for insulin persists after pancreatic beta cell damage. But note that the most powerful risk factor for an autoimmune disease is another autoimmune disease–this is why so many people have more than one autoimmune condition. People with Hashimoto’s, for instance, can develop rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis. So the above menu is still worth following even if you cannot hope for full organ recovery

Five Powerful Ways to Reduce Blood Sugar

Left to conventional advice on diet and you will, more than likely, succumb to type 2 diabetes sooner or later. Follow your doctor’s advice to cut fat and eat more “healthy whole grains” and oral diabetes medication and insulin are almost certainly in your future. Despite this, had this scenario played out, you would be accused of laziness and gluttony, a weak specimen of human being who just gave into excess.

If you turn elsewhere for advice, however, and ignore the awful advice from “official” sources with cozy relationships with Big Pharma, you can reduce blood sugars sufficient to never become diabetic or to reverse an established diagnosis, and you can create a powerful collection of strategies that handily trump the worthless advice being passed off by the USDA, American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Among the most powerful and effective strategies to reduce blood sugar:

1) Eat no wheat nor grains

Recall that amylopectin A, the complex carbohydrate of grains, is highly digestible, unlike most of the other components of the seeds of grasses AKA “grains,” subject to digestion by the enzyme, amylase, in saliva and stomach. This explains why, ounce for ounce, grains raise blood sugar higher than table sugar. Eat no grains = remove the exceptional glycemic potential of amylopectin A.

2) Add no sugars, avoid high-fructose corn syrup

This should be pretty obvious, but note that the majority of processed foods contain sweeteners such as sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup, tailored to please the increased desire for sweetness among grain-consuming people. While fructose does not raise blood sugar acutely, it does so in delayed fashion, along with triggering other metabolic distortions such as increased triglycerides and fatty liver.

3) Vitamin D

Because vitamin D restores the body’s normal responsiveness to insulin, getting vitamin D right helps reduce blood sugar naturally while providing a range of other health benefits.

4) Restore bowel flora

As cultivation of several Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species in bowel flora yields fatty acids that restore insulin responsiveness, this leads to reductions in blood sugar over time. Minus the bowel flora-disrupting effects of grains and sugars, a purposeful program of bowel flora restoration is required (discussed at length in the Cureality Digestive Health section.)

5) Exercise

Blood sugar is reduced during and immediately following exercise, with the effect continuing for many hours afterwards, even into the next day.

Note that, aside from exercise, none of these powerful strategies are advocated by the American Diabetes Association or any other “official” agency purporting to provide dietary advice. As is happening more and more often as the tide of health information rises and is accessible to all, the best advice on health does not come from such agencies nor from your doctor but from your efforts to better understand the truths in health. This is our core mission in Cureality. A nice side benefit: information from Cureality is not accompanied by advertisements from Merck, Pfizer, Kelloggs, Kraft, or Cadbury Schweppes.

Cureality App Review: Breathe Sync



Biofeedback is a wonderful, natural way to gain control over multiple physiological phenomena, a means of tapping into your body’s internal resources. You can, for instance, use biofeedback to reduce anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure, and achieve a sense of well-being that does not involve drugs, side-effects, or even much cost.

Biofeedback simply means that you are tracking some observable physiologic phenomenon—heart rate, skin temperature, blood pressure—and trying to consciously access control over it. One very successful method is that of bringing the beat-to-beat variation in heart rate into synchrony with the respiratory cycle. In day-to-day life, the heart beat is usually completely out of sync with respiration. Bring it into synchrony and interesting things happen: you experience a feeling of peace and calm, while many healthy phenomena develop.

A company called HeartMath has applied this principle through their personal computer-driven device that plugs into the USB port of your computer and monitors your heart rate with a device clipped on your earlobe. You then regulate breathing and follow the instructions provided and feedback is obtained on whether you are achieving synchrony, or what they call “coherence.” As the user becomes more effective in achieving coherence over time, positive physiological and emotional effects develop. HeartMath has been shown, for instance, to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure, morning cortisol levels (a stress hormone), and helps people deal with chronic pain. Downside of the HeartMath process: a $249 price tag for the earlobe-USB device.

But this is the age of emerging smartphone apps, including those applied to health. Smartphone apps are perfect for health monitoring. They are especially changing how we engage in biofeedback. An app called Breathe Sync is available that tracks heart rate using the camera’s flash on the phone. By tracking heart rate and providing visual instruction on breathing pattern, the program generates a Wellness Quotient, WQ, similar to HeartMath’s coherence scoring system. Difference: Breathe Sync is portable and a heck of a lot less costly. I paid $9.99, more than I’ve paid for any other mainstream smartphone application, but a bargain compared to the HeartMath device cost.

One glitch is that you need to not be running any other programs in the background, such as your GPS, else you will have pauses in the Breathe Sync program, negating the value of your WQ. Beyond this, the app functions reliably and can help you achieve the health goals of biofeedback with so much less hassle and greater effectiveness than the older methods.

If you are looking for a biofeedback system that provides advantage in gaining control over metabolic health, while also providing a wonderful method of relaxation, Breathe Sync, I believe, is the go-to app right now.

Amber’s Top 35 Health and Fitness Tips

This year I joined the 35 club!  And in honor of being fabulous and 35, I want to share 35 health and fitness tips with you! 

1.  Foam rolling is for everyone and should be done daily. 
2.  Cold showers are the best way to wake up and burn more body fat. 
3.  Stop locking your knees.  This will lead to lower back pain. 
4.  Avoid eating gluten at all costs. 
5.  Breath deep so that you can feel the sides or your lower back expand. 
6.  Swing a kettlebell for a stronger and great looking backside. 
7.  Fat is where it’s at!  Enjoy butter, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil, duck fat and many other fabulous saturated fats. 
8.  Don’t let your grip strength fade with age.  Farmer carries, kettlebells and hanging from a bar will help with that. 
9.  Runners, keep your long runs slow and easy and keep your interval runs hard.  Don’t fall in the chronic cardio range. 
10.  Drink high quality spring or reverse osmosis water. 
11.  Use high quality sea salt season food and as a mineral supplement. 
12.  Work your squat so that your butt can get down to the ground.  Can you sit in this position? How long?
13.  Lift heavy weights!  We were made for manual work,.   Simulate heavy labor in the weight room. 
14.  Meditate daily.  If you don’t go within, you will go with out.  We need quiet restorative time to balance the stress in our life. 
15.  Stand up and move for 10 minutes for every hour your sit at your computer. 
16. Eat a variety of whole, real foods. 
17.  Sleep 7 to 9 hours every night. 
18.  Pull ups are my favorite exercise.  Get a home pull up bar to practice. 
19.  Get out and spend a few minutes in nature.  Appreciate the world around you while taking in fresh air and natural beauty. 
20.  We all need to pull more in our workouts.  Add more pulling movements horizontally and vertically. 
21. Surround yourself with health minded people. 
22. Keep your room dark for deep sound sleep.  A sleep mask is great for that! 
23. Use chemical free cosmetics.  Your skin is the largest organ of your body and all chemicals will absorb into your blood stream. 
24. Unilateral movements will help improve symmetrical strength. 
25. Become more playful.  We take life too seriously, becoming stress and overwhelmed.  How can you play, smile and laugh more often?
26.  Choose foods that have one ingredient.  Keep your diet simple and clean. 
27.  Keep your joints mobile as you age.  Do exercises that take joints through a full range of motion. 
28. Go to sleep no later than 10:30pm.  This allows your body and brain to repair through the night. 
29. Take care of your health and needs before others.  This allows you to be the best spouse, parent, coworker, and person on the planet. 
30.  Always start your daily with a high fat, high protein meal.  This will encourage less sugar cravings later in the day. 
31. Approach the day with positive thinking!  Stinkin’ thinkin’ only leads to more stress and frustration. 
32. You are never “too old” to do something.  Stay young at heart and keep fitness a priority as the years go by. 
33. Dream big and go for it. 
34.  Lift weights 2 to 4 times every week.  Strong is the new sexy. 
35.  Love.  Love yourself unconditionally.  Love your life and live it to the fullest.  Love others compassionately. 

Amber B.
Cureality Exercise and Fitness Coach

To Change, You Need to Get Uncomfortable

Sitting on the couch is comfortable.  Going through the drive thru to pick up dinner is comfortable.  But when you notice that you’re out-of-shape, tired, sick and your clothes no longer fit, you realize that what makes you comfortable is not in align with what would make you happy.   

You want to see something different when you look in the mirror.  You want to fit into a certain size of jeans or just experience your day with more energy and excitement.  The current condition of your life causes you pain, be it physical, mental or emotional.  To escape the pain you are feeling, you know that you need to make changes to your habits that keep you stuck in your current state.  But why is it so hard to make the changes you know that will help you achieve what you want?  

I want to lose weight but….

I want a six pack but…

I want more energy but….

The statement that follows the “but” is often a situation or habit you are comfortable with.  You want to lose weight but don’t have time to cook healthy meals.  So it’s much more comfortable to go through the drive thru instead of trying some new recipes.   New habits often require a learning curve and a bit of extra time in the beginning.  It also takes courage and energy to establish new routines or seek out help.  

Setting out to achieve your goals requires change.  Making changes to establish new habits that support your goals and dreams can be uncomfortable.  Life, as you know it, will be different.  Knowing that fact can be scary, but so can staying in your current condition.  So I’m asking you to take a risk and get uncomfortable so that you can achieve your goals.  

Realize that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit.  I believe it takes triple that amount of time to really make a new habit stick for the long haul.  So for 21 days, you’ll experience some discomfort while you make changes to your old routine and habits.  Depending on what you are changing, discomfort could mean feeling tired, moody, or even withdrawal symptoms.  However, the longer you stick to your new habits the less uncomfortable you start to feel.  The first week is always the worst, but then it gets easier.

Making it through the uncomfortable times requires staying focused on your goals and not caving to your immediate feelings or desires.  I encourage clients to focus on why their goals important to them.  This reason or burning desire to change will help when old habits, cravings, or situations call you back to your old ways.
Use a tracking and a reward system to stay on track.  Grab a calendar, journal or index card to check off or note your daily successes.  Shoot for consistency and not perfection when trying to make changes.  I encourage my clients to use the 90/10 principle of change and apply that to their goal tracking system.  New clothes, a massage, or a day me-retreat are just a few examples of rewards you can use to sticking to your tracking system.  Pick something that really gets you excited.  

Getting support system in place can help you feel more comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Hiring a coach, joining an online support group, or recruiting family and friends can be very helpful when making big changes.  With a support system in place you are not alone in your discomfort.  You’re network is there for you to reach out for help, knowledge, accountability or camaraderie when you feel frustrated and isolated.  

I’ve helped hundreds of people change their bodies, health and lives of the eleven years I’ve worked as a trainer and coach.  I know it’s hard, but I also know that if they can do it, so can you.  You just need to step outside of your comfort zone and take a risk. Don’t let fear create uncomfortable feelings that keep you stuck in your old ways.  Take that first step and enjoy the journey of reaching your goals and dreams.  

Amber Budahn, B.S., CSCS, ACE PT, USATF 1, CHEK HLC 1, REIKI 1
Cureality Exercise Specialist

The 3 Best Grain Free Food Swaps to Boost Fat Burning

You can join others enjoying substantial improvements in their health, energy and pant size by making a few key, delicious substitutions to your eating habits.  This is possible with the Cureality nutrition approach, which rejects the idea that grains should form the cornerstone of the human diet.  

Grain products, which are seeds of grasses, are incompatible with human digestion.  Contrary to what we have been told for years, eating healthy whole grain is not the answer to whittle away our waists.  Consumption of all grain-based carbohydrates results in increased production of the fat storage hormone insulin.  Increased insulin levels create the perfect recipe for weight gain. By swapping out high carbohydrate grain foods that cause spikes in insulin with much lower carbohydrate foods, insulin release is subdued and allows the body to release fat.

1. Swap wheat-based flour with almond flour/meal

  • One of the most dubious grain offenders is modern wheat. Replace wheat flour with naturally wheat-free, lower carbohydrate almond flour.  
  • Almond flour contains a mere 12 net carbs per cup (carbohydrate minus the fiber) with 50% more filling protein than all-purpose flour.
  • Almond flour and almond meal also offer vitamin E, an important antioxidant to support immune function.

2. Swap potatoes and rice for cauliflower

  • Replace high carb potatoes and pasta with vitamin C packed cauliflower, which has an inconsequential 3 carbs per cup.  
  • Try this food swap: blend raw cauliflower in food processor to make “rice”. (A hand held grater can also be used).  Sautee the “riced” cauliflower in olive or coconut oil for 5 minutes with seasoning to taste.
  • Another food swap: enjoy mashed cauliflower in place of potatoes.  Cook cauliflower. Place in food processor with ½ a stick organic, grass-fed butter, ½ a package full-fat cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add optional minced garlic, chives or other herbs such as rosemary.
3. Swap pasta for shirataki noodles and zucchini

  • Swap out carb-rich white pasta containing 43 carbs per cup with Shirataki noodles that contain a few carbs per package. Shirataki noodles are made from konjac or yam root and are found in refrigerated section of supermarkets.
  • Another swap: zucchini contains about 4 carbs per cup. Make your own grain free, low-carb noodles from zucchini using a julienne peeler, mandolin or one of the various noodle tools on the market.  

Lisa Grudzielanek, MS,RDN,CD,CDE
Cureality Nutrition Specialist

Not so fast. Don’t make this mistake when going gluten free!

Beginning last month, the Food and Drug Administration began implementing its definition of “gluten-free” on packaged food labels.  The FDA determined that packaged food labeled gluten free (or similar claims such as "free of gluten") cannot contain more than 20 parts per million of gluten.

It has been years in the making for the FDA to define what “gluten free” means and hold food manufactures accountable, with respect to food labeling.  However, the story does not end there.

Yes, finding gluten-free food, that is now properly labeled, has become easier. So much so the market for gluten-free foods tops $6 billion last year.   However, finding truly healthy, commercially prepared, grain-free foods is still challenging.

A very common mistake made when jumping into the gluten-free lifestyle is piling everything labeled gluten-free in the shopping cart.  We don’t want to replace a problem: wheat, with another problem: gluten free products.

Typically gluten free products are made with rice flour (and brown rice flour), tapioca starch, cornstarch, and potato flour.  Of the few foods that raise blood sugar higher than wheat, these dried, powdered starches top the list.

 They provide a large surface area for digestion, thereby leading to sky-high blood sugar and all the consequences such as diabetes, hypertension, cataracts, arthritis, and heart disease. These products should be consumed very rarely consumed, if at all.  As Dr. Davis has stated, “100% gluten-free usually means 100% awful!”

There is an ugly side to the gluten-free boom taking place.  The Cureality approach to wellness recommends selecting gluten-free products wisely.  Do not making this misguided mistake and instead aim for elimination of ALL grains, as all seeds of grasses are related to wheat and therefore overlap in many effects.

Lisa Grudzielanek MS, RDN, CD, CDE
Cureality Health & Nutrition Coach

3 Foods to Add to Your Next Grocery List

Looking for some new foods to add to your diet? Look no further. Reach for these three mealtime superstars to encourage a leaner, healthier body.

Microgreens

Microgreens are simply the shoots of salad greens and herbs that are harvested just after the first leaves have developed, or in about 2 weeks.  Microgreen are not sprouts. Sprouts are germinated, in other words, sprouted seeds produced entirely in water. Microgreens are grown in soil, thereby absorbing the nutrients from the soil.

The nutritional profile of each microgreen depends greatly on the type of microgreen you are eating. Researchers found red cabbage microgreens had 40 times more vitamin E and six times more vitamin C than mature red cabbage. Cilantro microgreens had three times more beta-carotene than mature cilantro.

A few popular varieties of microgreens are arugula, kale, radish, pea, and watercress. Flavor can vary from mild to a more intense or spicy mix depending on the microgreens.  They can be added to salads, soup, omelets, stir fry and in place of lettuce.  

Cacao Powder

Cocoa and cacao are close enough in flavor not to make any difference. However, raw cacao powder has 3.6 times the antioxidant activity of roasted cocoa powder.  In short, raw cacao powder is definitely the healthiest, most beneficial of the powders, followed by 100% unsweetened cocoa.

Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than blueberries, red wine and black and green teas.  Cacao is one of the highest sources of magnesium, a great source of iron and vitamin C, as well as a good source of fiber for healthy bowel function.
Add cacao powder to milk for chocolate milk or real hot chocolate.  Consider adding to coffee for a little mocha magic or sprinkle on berries and yogurt.




Shallots


Shallots have a better nutrition profile than onions. On a weight per weight basis, they have more anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins than onions. Shallots have a milder, less pungent taste than onions, so people who do not care for onions may enjoy shallots.

Like onions, sulfur compounds in shallot are necessary for liver detoxification pathways.  The sulfur compound, allicin has been shown to be beneficial in reducing cholesterol.  Allicin is also noted to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal activities.

Diced then up and add to salads, on top of a bun less hamburger, soups, stews, or sauces.  Toss in an omelet or sauté to enhance a piece of chicken or steak, really the possibilities are endless.  

Lisa Grudzielanek,MS,RDN,CD,CDE
Cureality Nutrition & Health Coach

3 Band Exercises for Great Glutes

Bands and buns are a great combination.  (When I talk about glutes or a butt, I use the word buns)  When it comes to sculpting better buns, grab a band.   Bands are great for home workouts, at gym or when you travel.  Check out these 3 amazing exercises that will have your buns burning. 

Band Step Out

Grab a band and place it under the arch of each foot.  Then cross the band and rest your hands in your hip sockets.  The exercise starts with your feet hip width apart and weight in the heels.  Slightly bend the knees and step your right foot out to the side.  Step back in so that your foot is back in the starting position.  With each step, make sure your toes point straight ahead.  The tighter you pull the band, the more resistance you will have.    You will feel this exercise on the outside of your hips. 

Start with one set of 15 repetitions with each foot.  Work on increasing to 25 repetitions on each side and doing two to three sets.



Band Kick Back

This exercise is performed in the quadruped position with your knees under hips and hands under your shoulders.    Take the loop end of the band and put it around your right foot and place the two handles or ends of the band under your hands.  Without moving your body, kick your right leg straight back.  Return to the starting quadruped position.  Adjust the tension of the band to increase or decrease the difficulty of this exercise. 

Start with one set of 10 repetitions with each foot.  Work on increasing to 20 repetitions on each side and doing two to three sets. 



Band Resisted Hip Bridge

Start lying on your back with feet hip distance apart and knees bent at about a 45-degree angle.  Adjust your hips to a neutral position to alleviate any arching in your lower back.  Place the band across your hipbones.  Hold the band down with hands along the sides of your body.  Contract your abs and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up off the ground.  Stop when your thighs, hips and stomach are in a straight line.  Lower you hips back down to the ground. 

Start with one set of 15 repetitions.  Work on increasing to 25 repetitions and doing two to three.  Another variation of this exercise is to hold the hip bridge position.  Start with a 30 second hold and work up to holding for 60 seconds.

Fat is not the demon

Fat is not the demon

So my patient, Dane, generously volunteered to be on the Dr. Oz show, as I discussed previously.

What we didn't know, nor did the producer who contacted us mention, that Dane would be counseled by low-fat guru Dr. Dean Ornish on a strict low-fat diet. The teaser introduction essentially tells the entire story.

Ironically, that is the exact opposite of the dietary program that I advocate. I rejected the 10% fat diet long ago after I became a type II diabetic, gained 30 lbs, and suffered miserable deterioration of my cholesterol values on this diet. I also witnessed similar results in many hundreds of people, all following a strict low-fat diet. In fact, elimination of wheat--whole, white, or otherwise--along with limitation or elimination of all other grains has been among the most powerful health strategies I have ever witnessed.

I now regret having subjected my patient to this theatrical misinformation. Dane is a smart cookie--That's probably why he was not allowed more than a "yes" or "no" during Dr. Oz's monologue, else Dane might have pitched in about some ideas that would have tripped Oz and Ornish up.

In their defense, if we took 100 Americans all following a typical 21st century diet of fast food, white bread buns, Coca Cola and other soft drinks, chips, barbecue sauce, and French fries, converting to a plant-based, high-carbohydrate, grain-rich diet is indeed an improvement. People will, at first, lose weight and enjoy an initial response. (The occasional person with the Apo E4 genetic pattern, heterozygote or homozygote, may even enjoy long-term benefits, a topic for another day.)

But the majority of people, in my experience, after an initial positive response to an Ornish-like low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet will either plateau (stay overweight, have low HDL, high triglycerides, plenty of small LDL, and high blood sugars) or deteriorate, much as I did.

Thankfully, Dane has been a good sport about this, understanding that this is essentially show business. I believe he understands that the information was all well-intended and, after all, we are all working towards the same goal: reduction of heart disease risk.

By the way, regardless of which diet you follow, it is, in my view, absurd to believe that diet alone will do it. What about vitamin D normalization, thyroid normalization (thyroid disease is incredibly common), omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, identification of hidden sources of risk (something that is unlikely in Ornish, since small LDL particles skyrocket on a low-fat diet), postprandial glucoses, etc., all the pieces we focus on to gain control over coronary plaque? Eating green peppers and barley soup alone is not going to do it.

Comments (36) -

  • Matt Stone

    4/16/2010 1:09:27 PM |

    You might wanna revise the last statement in parenthesis about a low-carb diet causing small LDL to skyrocket Smile  I assume you meant low-fat.

  • Eloise

    4/16/2010 1:23:10 PM |

    I´ve been a low fat healthy anything victim myself for over 12 years and know exactly that it is a difference to SAD - but as you said only at the beginning. But maybe it´s easier to take those first changing steps into the right direction even if it´s the wrong way.
    Low fat, tons of fruits and whole grains are not the solution.
    Now I´m VLC for over one year, keto the last half got rid of eczema, asthma, mood issues and much more. Laboratory always repeat the tests because they can´t believe it: HDL 199, triglyceride 35. That´s high fat.

  • Dr. John Mitchell

    4/16/2010 1:26:29 PM |

    Dr. D
    You are on the mark with the last paragraph...it's more than one "magic pill" to solve the health problem. The solution appears to be a combination of many aspects of human existence...diet exercise and mental state.
    Eat right, exercise right, and think right...making the right choices for a healthier lifestyle.

  • Anonymous

    4/16/2010 2:08:30 PM |

    (something that is unlikely in Ornish, since small LDL particles skyrocket on a low-carb diet)

    Should this not read either

    "Low-Fat" or "High-Carb" diet?

  • John

    4/16/2010 4:07:42 PM |

    I applaud Dane--I don't know how long I'd be able to contain my frustration if I had to not only watch the Dr. Oz show, but actually receive direct advice from Ornish and Oz about low fat...

  • Chuck

    4/16/2010 4:33:16 PM |

    You mean "skyrocket on a *low fat* diet", right?

  • Anna

    4/16/2010 4:37:00 PM |

    "since small LDL particles skyrocket on a low-carb diet"

    I think this is a typo that was meant to say "high-carb diet", right?  Or perhaps it was large LDL particles skyrocket on a LC diet.

  • Nigel Kinbrum

    4/16/2010 5:31:01 PM |

    "since small LDL particles skyrocket on a low-carb diet"
    I think you meant high-carb diet

  • Anonymous

    4/16/2010 5:56:34 PM |

    I think you have a mistype here:

    (something that is unlikely in Ornish, since small LDL particles skyrocket on a low-carb diet)

  • Anonymous

    4/16/2010 7:38:14 PM |

    Dr. Davis,

    I watched Dr. Oz's show on reversing heart disease and it was interesting to read your comments.  

    Regarding the reversal of heart disease, while I admittedly haven't read your publication, do you have Heart Scans/Calcium Scores, angiograms or PET Scans that show the same results Dr. Oz (and other MDs like Dr. Caldwell Esselstein or K. Lance Gould) that show the same results with your program?  

    Thank you again and look forward to your feedback.

  • Anonymous

    4/16/2010 7:46:00 PM |

    maybe I am reading into this wrong but " (something that is unlikely in Ornish, since small LDL particles skyrocket on a low-carb diet)"

  • Anonymous

    4/16/2010 8:27:32 PM |

    ''something that is unlikely in Ornish, since small LDL particles skyrocket on a low-carb diet''   You surely meant low-fat diet.

  • jd

    4/16/2010 8:45:38 PM |

    Thanks as always.  Please fix third line from bottom, after skyrocket,"low-carb," to help the newbies.

  • pjnoir

    4/16/2010 8:53:34 PM |

    See- it was an AMBUSH. They write the rules and that is that. WE, the low carb HIGH fat diet, community must be the grass roots driving force. We are like Galileo committing hiFat heresy among an antiFat, Whole grain Inquisition. Fight on and screw tv talk shows.

  • Drs. Cynthia and David

    4/16/2010 10:51:34 PM |

    I will be curious to see how this goes down on the Oz show, but am afraid we'll be left wanting to bang our heads on the wall.  Does this mean that Dane did not get a chance to respond at all to their advice or that he must agree to follow their advice (maybe with a  follow up to show improvement, or NOT).

    I agree with you that their diet advice is probably better than what most of their featured patients eat.  And you probably can show improvements to a degree that way in many people.  Just cutting the enormous glycemic load in conjunction with omega-6 rich oils should help a lot.  But that doesn't make it optimal for health.

    What's it going to take to shut up the low fat dogmatists?  A class action lawsuit?

    Why don't you have a show of your own?  I think it would be a good thing.

    BTW, I think you meant to say "small LDL particles skyrocket on a low-FAT diet" in your penultimate sentence.

    Cynthia

  • Phil

    4/16/2010 11:32:21 PM |

    Dr. Davis,
    Should the next-to-last sentence read "...small LDL particles skyrocket on a low-fat diet..."?  I thought low-carb diets reduced small LDL.

  • Steve

    4/17/2010 12:42:09 AM |

    Typo should be fat
    "small LDL particles skyrocket on a low-carb diet"

    I've enjoyed reading your blog.

    Other ideas...
    Niacin and phosophorous suppression causal for insulin resistance?

    Fibrates?

  • Dr. William Davis

    4/17/2010 4:41:10 AM |

    Ooops!

    Thanks, all for catching the typo.

    The sentence should have read:

    . . . small LDL particles skyrocket on a low-FAT diet.

    I guess everyone is paying attention!

  • Gys de Jongh

    4/17/2010 8:55:20 AM |

    not every body agrees ....

    Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):578-85.

    Lack of suppression of circulating free fatty acids and hypercholesterolemia during weight loss on a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.

    Abstract
    BACKGROUND: Little is known about the comparative effect of weight-loss diets on metabolic profiles during dieting. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of a low-carbohydrate diet (< or =20 g/d) with a high-carbohydrate diet (55% of total energy intake) on fasting and hourly metabolic variables during active weight loss. DESIGN: Healthy, obese adults (n = 32; 22 women, 10 men) were randomly assigned to receive either a carbohydrate-restricted diet [High Fat; mean +/- SD body mass index (BMI; in kg/m(2)): 35.8 +/- 2.9] or a calorie-restricted, low-fat diet (High Carb; BMI: 36.7 +/- 4.6) for 6 wk. A 24-h in-patient feeding study was performed at baseline and after 6 wk. Glucose, insulin, free fatty acids (FFAs), and triglycerides were measured hourly during meals, at regimented times. Remnant lipoprotein cholesterol was measured every 4 h. RESULTS: Patients lost a similar amount of weight in both groups (P = 0.57). There was an absence of any diet treatment effect between groups on fasting triglycerides or on remnant lipoprotein cholesterol, which was the main outcome. Fasting insulin decreased (P = 0.03), and both fasting (P = 0.040) and 24-h FFAs (P < 0.0001) increased within the High Fat group. Twenty-four-hour insulin decreased (P < 0.05 for both groups). Fasting LDL cholesterol decreased in the High Carb group only (P = 0.003). In both groups, the differences in fasting and 24-h FFAs at 6 wk were significantly correlated with the change in LDL cholesterol (fasting FFA: r = 0.41, P = 0.02; 24-h FFA: r = 0.52, P = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: Weight loss was similar between diets, but only the high-fat diet increased LDL-cholesterol concentrations. This effect was related to the lack of suppression of both fasting and 24-h FFAs.

    PMID: 20107198

  • Fred Hahn

    4/17/2010 2:15:57 PM |

    If I'm correct, the study cited in the comments section fails to reflect LDL particle size. IOW, your total LDL can go up and still result in a superior outcome.

    Also, weight loss isn't the issue - fat loss is. We want to know which group lost the most fat, not weight.

    Additionally, A calorie restricted, low fat diet that places carb intake at only 55% (FAR lower the the USRDA recc's) is still a relatively low carb diet.

  • Lou

    4/17/2010 3:28:45 PM |

    Gys de Jongh,

    I've seen that study before. I can't access to the whole study but did they use NMR lipid test or traditional lipid test? Huge difference! I'd bet the study was flawed.

  • TedHutchinson

    4/17/2010 8:38:20 PM |

    @ Gys de Jongh
    In this study Subjects were told that polyunsaturated fats
    and monounsaturated fats were healthier sources of dietary fatty acids than were saturated fats,

    readers here know Dr Davis makes his recommendations on the basis every effort is made to improve omega 3 status while avoiding omega-6-rich sources like corn oil, vegetable oils, sunflower or safflower oils.

    Similarly New Atkins devotes a lot of time explaining the importance of raising omega 3 while reducing omega 6 sources.

    It is a pity these researchers didn't make similar recommendations.

    I would also like to point out that  in this study, concentrations of LDL cholesterol were estimated by using the Friedewald equation
    You may be interested in Dr Davis's  previous comments on Making Dr. Friedewald an honest man

    The point is that in the context of  high omega3 ~ low omega6 intakes, we would normally expect to see a low carbohydrate diet produce a beneficial effect on triglycerides and free fatty acids without reducing TOTAL cholesterol but this may seriously throw Friedewald off target.

    Without any positive recommendations to address the omega3<>omega6 ratio, the low carb diet used in this research is not a low carb diet that either Atkins proponents or Dr Davis would support.

  • donny

    4/17/2010 11:03:08 PM |

    Gys--

    So how much did the high carb group eat? The abstract only says that calories were restricted, it doesn't say to what extent.

    What was the composition of the weight loss?

    "There was an absence of any diet treatment effect between groups on fasting triglycerides or on remnant lipoprotein cholesterol, which was the main outcome."

    Triglycerides at the same level probably means different things, depending on the overall picture.

    A particular triglyceride level in a high carb diet might be a measure of the continuous production of triglycerides in the liver. In a low carb diet,  triglycerides might be at a similar level, and if this comes alongside a higher level of free fatty acids, those free fatty acids will be in competition for takeup with the triglycerides; so the same level of serum triglycerides could be reached, even though triglyceride production itself might be decidedly lower.

  • marshall

    4/17/2010 11:04:44 PM |

    Gys,

    It would be interesting to see if it was the large, fluffy LDL or the small, dense LDL that increased. Were the high fat diets consisting of a lot of Omega 6 or PUFAs? Or did the high fat come from coconut, grass fed meats, and omega 3 fatty acids?

  • Bobby

    4/18/2010 12:02:18 AM |

    I know lots of folks on a low fat high carb diet who flourish and do not have your experience. I know folks who are on a diet you recommend who also flourish. This whole subject must be more complex than currently understood. Either folks are different or we are missing some variables. The oriental cultures flourish on a high carb diet and they do well (until the SAD influences them).

  • nightrite

    4/18/2010 4:01:27 PM |

    It's not uncommon for LDL to increase with a high-fat diet. This increase however is in the large fluffy LDL subparticles and not in the small, dense type LDL.
    Small LDL is the real "bad guy" in the cholesterol story.

  • Jan-Peter

    4/18/2010 4:26:54 PM |

    I recently had the Berkley Heart panel done and found out I was a 3/4 APO E carrier.  Their recommendation of a 20% low fat diet I found misguided.  Instead I went on a restricted calorie (1,700/day I'm 5' 11") diet consisting of no grains, some limited fruit (mostly berries)and lots of veggies (daily carbs 110g), lean protein (grass fed if red meat) about 125g. And I eat a ratio of fats (80g) mostly from avacado, olive oil, nuts, and yes some saturated (20g).
    The Macro ratio is 46% fat/30 % protein/24% carbs.
    By being high fat I am able to maintain this low calorie diet without feeling depreived.
    After 2 months on this diet I lost 24 pounds my LDL went from 130 to 91, my HDL went from 45 to 54, and my triglycerides from 230 to 94.

    DESPITE THESE #'S MY PHSYCIAN AND THE DIETIAN FROM BERKLEY WARNED ME THAT MY GENOTYPE DOES NOT METABOLIZE FATS WELL!
    I know there are conflicting studies (Krauss). I would love Dr. D to take on this APO E subject.  I can't believe from an evolutionary standpoint that 20 % of the population can't eat high fat diets, something is wrong with this hypothesis.

  • Norm

    4/18/2010 9:41:03 PM |

    Gys de Jongh, maybe you should read this interpretation of the study on Dr. Eades' blog.

  • Gys de Jongh

    4/19/2010 11:11:00 PM |

    @ TedHutchinson :
    The Friedewald equation works fine in this case because the baseline Trig's were 117 mg/dl

    If Trig's < 100 mg/dl, LDL is over estimated by 12.17 mg/dL or if you have a (very) good lipid panel your LDL might be over estimated by 10% . Nothing to worry about I would say Smile

    The article is free :
    Arch Iran Med. 2008 May;11(3):318-21.
    The impact of low serum triglyceride on LDL-cholesterol estimation.

    PMID: 18426324

  • Gys de Jongh

    4/19/2010 11:17:49 PM |

    @Lou
    Total cholesterol and triglycerides were measured enzymatically with a colorimetric endpoint (Roche Diagnostic Systems, Indianapolis, IN), as were HDL-cholesterol concentrations (Diagnostic Chemicals Ltd, Oxford, CT). LDL cholesterol was calculated from plasma total and HDL cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations

  • Gys de Jongh

    4/19/2010 11:23:07 PM |

    @donny
    Suggested caloric intakes for women initially were set at 1200–1500 kcal/d, with the higher intakes recommended for those with a BMI > 36. Men were instructed to eat 1500–1800 kcal/d, again with the higher intakes recommended for those with a BMI > 36. Subjects were encouraged to consume about 30% of calories from fat, 15% from protein, and 55% from carbohydrate.

  • Gys de Jongh

    4/19/2010 11:30:30 PM |

    @Bobby
    The best "diet" for you depends on what your genes do with the food after you eat it  Smile
    Int J Circumpolar Health. 2007 Dec;66(5):390-400.
    Common variants APOC3, APOA5, APOE and PON1 are associated with variation in plasma lipoprotein traits in Greenlanders.
    Abstract
    OBJECTIVES: We undertook studies of the association between common genomic variations in APOC3, APOA5, APOE and PON1 genes and variation in biochemical phenotypes in a sample of Greenlanders. STUDY DESIGN: Genetic association study of quantitative lipoprotein traits. METHODS: In a sample of 1,310 adult Greenlanders, fasting plasma lipid, lipoprotein and apolipoprotein (apo) concentrations were assessed for association with known functional genomic variants of APOC3, APOA5, APOE and PON1. For significantly associated polymorphisms, between-genotype differences were examined in closer detail. RESULTS: We found that (1) the APOE restriction isotype was associated with variation in plasma total and LDL cholesterol and apo B (all p < .0001); (2) the APOC3 promoter genotype was associated with variation in plasma triglycerides, HDL cholesterol and apo A-I (all p < .002); (3) the APOA5 codon 19 genotype was associated with variation in plasma triglycerides (p = .027); and (4) the PON1 codon 192 genotype was associated with variation in total and LDL cholesterol and apo B (all p < .05). CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our results suggest that common genetic variations in APOC3, APOA5, APOE and PON1 are associated with significant variation in intermediate traits in plasma lipoprotein metabolism in Greenlanders; the associations are similar to those observed for these variants in other populations.

    PMID: 18274205

  • Gys de Jongh

    4/19/2010 11:35:35 PM |

    @marshall
    High-fat/low-carbohydrate-diet treatment
    Participants in the high-fat condition were instructed to consume a diet that was low in carbohydrate and thus higher in percentage fat and/or protein (13). The central feature of this approach is carbohydrate restriction with unlimited consumption of fat and protein. Subjects were told that polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats were healthier sources of dietary fatty acids than were saturated fats, but it was clear that the primary goal was to limit carbohydrate by whatever means were required. Participants were provided a treatment manual, which described the rationale for a low-carbohydrate diet as well as numerous suggestions for meal plans. The treatment manual for the highcarbohydrate diet plan was modified to make it parallel to the high-fat (low-carbohydrate) recommendations. This substudy took place during the first phase (“induction”) of the intervention. During this phase, participants were instructed to consume ’20 g carbohydrate/d. They were told to eat until full while remaining within the carbohydrate limit.

  • Lou

    4/20/2010 10:38:22 PM |

    Gys,

    What about small LDL particle vs large LDL particle? Did they use vegetable oil? What kind of carbohydrates?

    How do you explain this clincal study - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=17583796&dopt=AbstractPlus?

    I rapidly lost a lot of viseral fat past month after cutting most of wheat flour based food AND adding more healthy fat like avacado, coconut milk, olive oil, egg yolk and plenty of various meat. I feel better. I tried low fat high carbs diet and it was not sustainable because I go hungry all the time.

    Unless I have full access to that study, I'm going to write it off as flawed misleading study. The author was clearly trying to promote high carbs and low fat diet. I'll have to see where they got grants from to do the study.

  • Catatonic Eyes

    4/22/2010 3:15:12 PM |

    Dr. Davis what brand of fish oil do you recommend? I have been taking Flameout by Biotest but am feeling it may not be the best choice. I am hopeful to find something reasonably priced that works well. When my Vit d tested at nine in December when I was admitted to the hospital, I started taking the NOW brand of Vit d 3 and mid March was at 53.....my new doctor is having me increase my dose as he wants it higher. Any brand recommendations for someone struggling on one income for the family for fish oil? Thanks for all of your articles. I am learning so much and will regain my health in time!

  • wendys

    4/26/2010 9:42:26 PM |

    Did they do a full colesteral work-up and will they show the results if it shows that Dane's numbers got worse instead or better?

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