By:Dr. Al Sears, MD
There’s a lot of talk about “paleo” right now, and I welcome it. It’s a huge change and it’s a good thing because paleo is so much healthier.
But why don’t your hear me use the word paleo very much?
I don’t want to split hairs, but I have a better way of talking about this.
“Paleo” focuses on the wrong period in history, and the wrong problem.
You see, Paleolithic is the old stone age, and Neolithic is the new stone age.
Why is that important?
Because that change was a significant advance in technology. It allowed us to become better hunters. So Neolithic is better than Paleo.
We invented better spears and spearheads, hatchets with handles, and figured out how to poke holes in leather to make warmer clothes. We made better tools and taught each other about them, so we started to have a shared culture. Everything got better, and our health didn’t get worse.
So I don’t like using the word paleo because it implies that the technological advance to Neolithic was negative. It implies that we were healthy in Paleolithic times and haven’t been healthy since.
But there’s no evidence for that. We were still healthy at that point. Even better than before.
It was the next advance that got us in trouble — planting seed crops. But that happened only after a few thousand years ago, not in “paleo” times, and only in a few places. Most other areas continued with a very healthy Neolithic culture.
During Ceasar’s Gallic wars, the Roman ruler wrote that one of the reasons he thought the barbarians were so hard to conquer was that they had not yet started eating grains. He thought grains weakened the Romans. That was only 2000 years ago. The rest of Europe was still hunter-gatherer!
So there’s a big time problem with saying that paleo was healthy and that’s what we have to go back to. That’s going back way farther than we need to.
We only need to go back before the agrarian revolution. That’s when people started to use technology to harvest grains. This gave us very low-fat, low- protein, low-nutrient diet. We could feed many more people and outcompete Neolithic cultures by sheer numbers. But people got smaller, and people got sick.
Did you know that the Egyptians started getting arthritis just a short time after they started to rely on grains?
When man switched to a grain-based diet, we became shorter and lost muscle and brain size, too. It happened to the Greeks, who became shrunken and diseased after they switched to farming. And when the American Indians switched to grains instead of hunting meat, they got shrunken jaws, became shorter, and now suffer from diabetes and obesity.
But you don’t have to go back to Paleolithic times to regain good health and a lean strong body. You only have to focus on doing what is natural to you.
When you return to a natural way of eating, shedding extra weight and staying healthy is effortless. That’s the reason paleo is popular. It’s not really that it’s “paleo” because it’s not. But a step in the direction of doing what is natural to us is a much healthier way of eating.
All you have to do is remember where technology took a wrong turn. I don’t want to do without technology, I just want to use it in the right way to mimic our primal environment.
The beginning of where things went wrong was when we abandoned protein for low-fat, low-protein grains. That happened faster here in America than in other places like Europe.
Why is that? Because they still had some strong cultural eating traditions. They aren’t Paleolithic, but they are healthy. Like the tradition of picking up their vegetables fresh. They eat healthy oils and healthy fats, and most of their meat is grass-fed because it’s raised on the hillside near the town.
And sometimes it’s the way they eat. For example, the Italians have a tradition of eating fagioli (pronounced fadj-oh-leh) soup. It’s pasta and beans, served with salad and garlic bread. Yet they don’t get fat. The reason is the Italian white kidney bean is very effective at stopping the grains from creating fat. And they have a tradition of eating those high-protein beans first.
So even if you don’t go back to paleo times, there’s still a lot of good health advice with paleo because it’s a return to our more primal traditions.
This is why I tell my patients these three keys to returning to a natural way of eating to drop weight, and stay lean and youthful:
1) Eat as much high-quality protein as you can. Modern medicine only recommends 50 to 60 grams a day. But that’s not nearly enough. I suggest you eat one gram of protein for every one pound of lean muscle mass you have in your body.
That means if you weigh 160 pounds and have 20 percent body fat, you have 128 pounds of lean muscle. That means your goal is 128 grams of protein for the day. This triggers your body to shed fat, control your appetite and build lean muscle.
People are usually surprised when they realize how much protein I’m suggesting they eat. And I know your body doesn’t need that much protein. But:
2) Overeating protein is the point. When you do that, it sends the metabolic signal to your body that times are good and you don’t need to store fat. Then you’ll melt away the fat. Where will it go? Your body will use it for building bone, replacing cells, and for energy.
3) Free-range eggs and grass-fed beef are the best sources. In fact, one of my favorite ways to start off the day is with a steak and eggs for breakfast. If possible, eat grass-fed beef. The flavor is great, and it’s far better for you because it has the right kinds of fats.
Also, when you cook your meat, try not to use high heat or a lengthy slow-cooking method. Overcooking denatures protein, breaks down vitamins and removes nutrients. That’s a reason I like to eat my steak rare and recommend that my patients do, too.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
As the market for gluten-free foods continues to grow, oatmeal, the long-time breakfast favorite, has seen a resurgence in popularity as a gluten-free alternative to wheat. Oats are often touted in marketing campaigns as “heart healthy.” And of course, they are loved by bodybuilders and cookie-baking grandmas alike.
But oats might not be the healthy food they’re made out to be…
In fact, a daily dose of gluten-free oatmeal can cause blood sugar imbalances, promote weight gain, increase immune reactivity and more.
Oatmeal: Healthful or Harmful to Blood Sugar?
While oatmeal is marketed as a “slow carb”, many people experience a sharp spike in blood sugar levels after eating it.
That’s because oatmeal has a relatively high (63) glycemic index rating. This is a measure of how quickly the carbohydrates in a given food break down to sugar during digestion.
But there is another – even more important – measure of how a particular food will affect your blood sugar. It’s called the glycemic load (GL). This measurement factors in the glycemic index of a food. But it also takes into account the amount of carbohydrates in a typical serving. And this is an important distinction when it comes to managing your blood sugar.
For example, a piece of hard candy – let’s say, a peppermint – is almost pure sugar and has a glycemic index near the top of the scale (95-100). But the amount of carbohydrate in one peppermint (5g) is actually quite low. So, despite the high glycemic index, eating one piece of candy would have a negligible effect on the blood sugar levels of the average healthy person.
Oatmeal, on the other hand, has a considerably lower glycemic index (63). However, the standard serving size is 250 grams, including 30 grams of carbohydrates that rapidly convert to sugar. Therefore, the glycemic load for a serving of oatmeal is 19 – or 300% higher than the GL of the candy!
While it should be noted that oats do have a lower glycemic impact than other grains (especially if you add a healthy fat source like Kerrygold butter and nuts) eating foods with a high glycemic load on a regular basis can promote insulin resistance and weight gain – especially if you are not engaging in regular, vigorous exercise.
But that’s not the only reason to avoid oats. In fact, this gluten-free food may actually trigger an immune response similar to that of gluten-containing foods.
Oatmeal: Is It Gluten-Free?
Avenin is a protein in the prolamine family, which also includes gluten from wheat, rye, and barley, and zein, from corn.
Immune reactions to avenin that cause damage to the small intestine are rare, but they can occur in people with a condition called Avenin Sensitive Enteropathy (ASE).
What’s more, while most people with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance can tolerate certified gluten-free oats, there is a risk of cross-reactivity between gluten and avenin.
In fact, a study published in the journal Gut found that 26% of the subjects in the study experienced damage to the nutrient-absorbing villi of the intestine and rash during a period where 50 grams of oats were consumed daily for 12 weeks.
And like other grains, oats are also high in anti-nutrients, namely phytic acid.
A Comforting Bowl of Anti-Nutrients
Phytic acid (or phytates) actively bind with minerals during digestion, prevents these important nutrients from being absorbed. Phytates also reduce production of an enzyme called pepsin, which is critical for digestion.
So, while oats might be relatively rich in mineral content, the presence of phytic acid will render a good amount of those nutrients inactive and unavailable to your body.
Some studies do show that phytic acid can be reduced (and therefore nutrient absorption increased) by lactic fermentation – soaking oats with whey, yogurt or kefir. However, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation, oats lack an enzyme called phytase - and therefore soaking alone cannot eliminate all of the phytic acid. A complementary grain rich in phytase – such as buckwheat – would need to be added to the oats during the soaking process to deactivate the phytates.
What Is YOUR Experience with Oats?
Many people cite adverse reactions to oats. In fact, if you notice that you feel “spacey” or experience nauseas after consuming oats, you’re not alone. This is surprisingly common complaint.
And while blood sugar spikes can cause these effects, that may not be the most likely explanation. Oats can also be contaminated with a mold toxin called deoxynivalenol (DON), which grows during the storage of the grain. This compound is also appropriately referred to as vomitoxin, as it can cause nausea, dizziness and vomiting.
Do you eat oats? If so, what is your experience with how they affect your blood sugar, energy levels and health, in general?
In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing information about gluten-free pseudo-grains and grain alternatives that you can enjoy in your gluten-free and Paleo lifestyle.
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product – Better Bread – a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.
1. University of Sydney Glycemic Index database: http://www.glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php?num=833&ak=detail
2. Weston A. Price. Living With Phytic Acid.
3. C Kilmartin, S Lynch, M Abuzakouk, et al. Avenin fails to induce a Th1 response in coeliac tissue following in vitro culture. Gut 2003;52:47-52 doi:10.1136/gut.52.1.47
4. Hollén E., Högberg L., Stenhammar L., Fälth-Magnusson K. and Magnusson K.-E. Antibodies to Oat Prolamines (Avenins) in Children with Coeliac Disease. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. 2003, Vol. 38, No. 7 , Pages 742-746
5. Guttormsen V1, Løvik A, Bye A, Bratlie J, Mørkrid L, Lundin KE. No induction of anti-avenin IgA by oats in adult, diet-treated coeliac disease. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2008;43(2):161-5. doi: 10.1080/00365520701832822.
6. K E A Lundin,E M Nilsen,H G Scott,E M Løberg, et al. Oats induced villous atrophy in coeliac disease Gut 2003;52:1649-1652
7. Bering S, Suchdev S, Sjøltov L, Berggren A, Tetens I, Bukhave K. A lactic acid-fermented oat gruel increases non-haem iron absorption from a phytate-rich meal in healthy women of childbearing age. Br J Nutr. 2006 Jul;96(1):80-5.
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
For years, mainstream nutritional advice was that we needed carbohydrates (in the form of glucose) to fuel our brain. This advice seemed to make sense, because the brain can run on sugar… but sugar is not your brain’s preferred fuel.
The same is true for your car. While it can run on dragster fuel, this is not what makes the engine in your car run best. In fact, the same fuel that sends a dragster screaming down the race track will quickly burn up the engine in your car.
So, what is the preferred fuel for your brain?
In fact, the brain works much more efficiently on fat, which provides more units of energy per gram than glucose… and which produces fewer waste byproducts in the process.
And while all healthy fats provide this supercharged fuel for the brain, there is one kind of fat that has been found to have especially beneficial effects on brain function…
Coconut Oil: The Healthy Fat That Boosts Brain Function
Coconut oil is rich in a unique kind of fat molecule, called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). The primary benefit of MCTs is that they are highly absorbable, they boost metabolism, and they are converted quickly to energy by the liver.
But that’s not all…
MCTs also produce molecules called ketones. And recent research shows that ketones are nothing short of miraculous when it comes to brain health.
A pioneering study published in the journal, Neurobiology of Aging, reported that cognitive function in older adults with memory disorders almost immediately improved with just one 40 ml dose of MCTs!
The study evaluated 20 patients with either mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. On separate days, the patients were either given MCTs or a placebo. Within just 90 minutes of taking the “shot” of MCTs, researchers found significant increases in ketones in their blood.
So, how did this relate to brain function?
The researchers administered the “gold standard” test for memory and cognition - the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale – Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-cog).
What they found is that patients who were given a SINGLE dose of MCTs had greater improvements in recall compared to those not getting the brain-booster. And these results were seen in all of the patients!
What’s more, the researchers reported significant overall improvements in the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease after 45 and 90 days of treatment with MCTs.
How Medium Chain Triglycerides Beat “Brain Diabetes”
While it has long been known that many foods provide functional and medicinal benefits, how could it be possible to achieve such profound effects after ingesting such a relatively small amount of MCTs?
The answer lies in the unique structure of these fats and how they are metabolized in the brain.
When the brain is accustomed to using glucose as fuel, insulin resistance and a low metabolic state develop. You can think of this unhealthy state as “brain diabetes.” In fact, many researchers are even calling Alzheimer’s disease Type 3 Diabetes.
This is the same thing that happens in the rest of the body when it runs on sugar. But the brain is extremely sensitive. When its function and ability are compromised, it is much more easily noticed and felt.
As the brain switches over from using glucose to using ketones, brain metabolism and insulin sensitivity increase. This results in clearer thinking and a recharged ability to recall information.
But that’s not all. In the process, ketones help clean up metabolic debris – or “cobwebs” – in neuronal structures of the brain. These cobwebs are partly made up of beta-amyloid protein – a substance that is correlated with Alzheimer’s disease and damages the ability of neurons to generate energy in brain cells.
How to Get the Benefits
Big Pharma has jumped on board with MCTs for Alzheimer’s. In fact, the FDA-approved 'medical food' caprylidene (trade name Axona) is now available by prescription.
But you can get all of the benefits (and none of the potential risks) by enjoying organic virgin coconut oil and other all-natural coconut products. Coconut oil contains approximately two-thirds (66%) MCTs by volume. For coconut milk, approximately 25% of its volume is fat, again, with roughly two-thirds being MCTs.
In addition to enjoying organic virgin coconut oil, protect your brain by following the healthy fat-rich, low-carbohydrate diet of our ancestors. Along with enjoying grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured poultry and wild seafood, add more body-and-brain-protecting fats to your diet with tallow, lard, duck fat and bone marrow.
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product – Better Bread – a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.
1. Reger M, Henderson S, Hale C, et al. Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults. Neurobiol Aging. 2004 Mar;25(3):311-4. PMID: 15123336
2. Anonymous: Medium chain triglycerides. Alt Med Rev 2002, 7:418-420.
3. Lauren C Costantini, Linda J Barr, Janet L Vogel, Samuel T Henderson. Hypometabolism as a therapeutic target in Alzheimer's disease. BMC Neurosci. 2008 ;9 Suppl 2:S16. Epub 2008 Dec 3. PMID: 1909098
4. Nafar F, Mearow KM. Coconut oil attenuates the effects of amyloid-β on cortical neurons in vitro. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;39(2):233-7. doi: 10.3233/JAD-131436.
By: Eileen Laird
What are Nightshades?
You may have heard of the term “deadly nightshade” referring to a plant called belladonna, which was used as a poison in ancient times. Lesser known are the commonly eaten vegetables in the same nightshade family. They aren’t deadly, but they contain enough toxins to cause inflammation in some people, particularly those with leaky gut or autoimmune disease. Often, we don’t realize just how much, until we stop eating them. Here’s the list:
• Peppers (bell peppers, banana peppers, chili peppers, etc.)
• Goji berries
• Ground cherries
• Ashwagandha (an ayurvedic herb)
• And red pepper seasonings (paprika, chili powder, cayenne, curry, etc.)
• Read labels: terms like “spices” and “natural flavors” often contain the above seasonings.
• Similar sounding foods that are not nightshades: Sweet Potatoes and Peppercorns (black, white and pink)
How Are They Harmful?
First of all, nightshades aren’t harmful to everyone, but they are harmful to some of us. Why? They contain toxic compounds called alkaloids. In nature, these protect the plants against insects, by poisoning the insect and dissolving its cell membranes. Unfortunately, alkaloids can have a similar effect in humans, increasing our inflammation, overactivating our immune system, and causing permeability in our intestinal membranes (known as leaky gut.) If someone’s healthy, with low inflammation in their body, a balanced immune system, and a healthy and strong digestive tract, they can often eat nightshade vegetables without a problem. However, if you have health issues, particularly if you have autoimmune disease, nightshades are a common food trigger which can make your symptoms worse..
If you want more details on these compounds and how they affect the body, here are two excellent articles:
What are Symptoms of Nightshade Sensitivity?
• Joint pain
• Stiffness upon waking, or stiffness after sitting for longs periods of time
• Muscle pain and tension
• Muscle tremors
• Sensitivity to weather changes
• Poor healing
• Skin rashes
• Stomach discomfort
• Digestive difficulties
• Mood swings
How Do I Learn If I’m Sensitive?
The only way to know is to eliminate them from your diet for at least 30 days. (No cheating.) Then, reintroduce them into your diet as a test: eat them at least 3 times over a 2-day period, and then stop eating them, and monitor your symptoms for 72 hours. Did you improve during the 30 days? Did you have a negative reaction when you ate them again? If yes, you’re nightshade-sensitive. If no, you’re not.
Does the Amount Matter? Can I Eat Just a Little?
I don’t recommend it. When I first went nightshade-free, I gave up the vegetables but kept eating the spices. I thought, ‘How can such a small amount hurt me?’ My inflammation lessened, but some remained. Then I did a strict elimination protocol, avoiding the spices as well. When I reintroduced them 30 days later, I had a huge reaction. Every joint in my body hurt, and it took 2 weeks before I returned to feeling normal again. Elimination diets are powerful learning tools, because by removing a food from your circulation altogether, you eliminate the chronic inflammatory response. When the food is reintroduced, if you’re sensitive, you will get an acute short-term reaction. It’s a very clear communication from your body on what foods are good for you and what foods are not.
How Can I Live Without Them?
• US Wellness is here to help. Many snack foods and meats commonly contain nightshades, so we’ve compiled a list of our nightshade-free offerings:
• If you’re craving potatoes, replace them with a starchy alternative: sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, butternut squash. You can cook all of these the same way you cook potatoes: fries, chips, roasted, mashed, and you know what? They have more flavor, too!
• Although there’s really no substitute for a fresh summer tomato, there IS a substitute for a classic tomato sauce, thanks to Danielle from Against All Grain.
• Nightshade spices usually give food a hot kick. You can still get this sensation through non-nightshade spices: white pepper, black pepper, ginger and horseradish. Usually you’ll need more of these spices than you would of the red peppers. Experiment.
• Restaurants are tricky. Many sauces and spice blends contain nightshade spices. You have two options: ask your waiter how the food is seasoned (and trust them to tell you the truth). Or order your food unseasoned and bring some spices with you.
• All of the recipes on my blog, Phoenix Helix, are nightshade-free.
• My final gift to you is a recipe for a nightshade-free curry, which you can use in any of your favorite curry recipes. Put all of these spices in a bowl and stir to blend well, then pour into a spice jar & use as needed:
Nightshade Free Curry
- 2 Tbsp. ground coriander
- 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 4 tsp. turmeric
- 2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried ginger
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
Eileen Laird, author of the blog, Phoenix Helix, used the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol to reduce her rheumatoid arthritis symptoms by 95%. Learning about her nightshade sensitivity was a key to her healing. Her blog features recipes, research and personal stories about the autoimmune experience.
We've known home chef and blogger extraordinaire Russ Crandall (aka- The Domestic Man) for many years. He popped up on our radar a few years back and we fell in love with his beautiful photography and traditional recipes. We have been best buds ever since. Like us, Russ believes in an ancestral, whole foods way of eating. Russ is a leader in the paleo/real food community, so we were thrilled to hear about the release of The Ancestral Table.
Russ was kind enough to send us a preview copy of The Ancestral Table, along with two extra copies to give away to our loyal followers.
Within the pages of The Ancestral Table, you will find over 100 traditional recipes for a gluten-free, paleo lifestyle. Russ shares his journey of medical setbacks and triumphs, and talks about what led him to this current lifestyle - one that is based on the paleo diet principles.
Inside The Ancestral Table, you will find American and international classics such as:
- Chicken-Fried Steak to rival Grandma's recipe
- Timeless French Onion Soup
- Bi Bim Bap with authentic, hassle-free Kimchi
- An incomparable Teriyaki Sauce
- Fragrant, satisfying Butter Chicken
We love that Russ includes a fun fact or brief blurb on the history of the each dish. We also love that Russ stays true to himself and his style with each ancestral, traditional recipe within the pages of The Ancestral Table. Check out this blog post from Russ himself on why he wrote The Ancestral Table.
Besides being an amazing chef, Russ is an officer of the US Navy. We are honored to partner with him for this release celebration and also thank him for his service to this great country!
The Ancestral Table comes highly recommended from all of us here at US Wellness! It's one of our favorite new cookbooks, and one we will be cooking from for a long time to come. We love seeing our products within the pages of The Ancestral Table, and we applaud Russ for his efforts.
In honor of the official release, Russ has so kindly agreed to let us share one of our favorite recipes:
(Recipe from The Ancestral Table by Russ Crandall)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours
2 lbs stew meat, chuck roast, or similar, cut into 1 1/2" chunks
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock or broth
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
2 carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 parsnip, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped
1. Season the meat with the salt and pepper. In a Dutch Oven, heat the oil on medium until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Add the meat and brown, in batches if needed, turning every few minutes. Set the browned meat aside.
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the onion to the Dutch Oven and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds, then add the beef and its accumulated juices, wine, broths, thyme, and bay leaves. Add more broth if needed to mostly cover the beef. Bring to a simmer, cover, and put in the oven to roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
3. Add the potatoes, carrots, and parsnip to the Dutch Oven. Roast for another 40 minutes, until the vegetables and meat are tender. Remove from the oven, uncover, and place on the stovetop to simmer on low heat as you prepare the vegetable puree below; discard the bay leaves.
4. Using a ladle or large spoon, remove some of the potatoes, carrots, and parsnips about 2 cup total, and 1/2 cup of the bone broth. Blend the vegetables and broth into a smooth puree, then return it to the Dutch Oven, stirring until thick, about 1 minute. Carefully stir in the peas, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with fresh parsley, and serve.
Without further ado, let's talk about what we're giving away!
First Prize - The Ancestral Table and $100 US Wellness Meats gift certificate
Second Prize - The Ancestral Table and $75 US Wellness Meats gift certificate
Entering is easy. Enter via the widget below:
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Giveaway open to US residents only. Sorry folks, but we are unable to ship outside the continental United States.
Thank you for your participation!
The US Wellness Meats Team
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
In my last couple articles, I’ve shared how common foods and nutrients can help - or hurt - your brain and long-term memory.
Today, I’m going to share what researchers now believe is the MOST toxic, brain-damaging compound in our food supply…
Why We Can’t Shake Our Sugar Addiction: The Evolutionary Link
If you love sweets, you’re like most people. In fact, we are all genetically programmed to seek out sugar for survival.
Sugar-rich foods are very energy dense. So, it’s no surprise that our ancient ancestors prized seasonal fruits and berries and would go out of their way to steal honey from a hive. However, it’s important to remember that not only did they expend energy in the process of seeking out these sweet foods, but their efforts produced very little in terms of total sugar contribution to the diet. We should also note that many of these foods were only available part of the year.
In our modern world, however, sugar-laden foods are within arm’s reach at nearly all times. They’re dispensed via vending machines, they line the shelves of convenience stores, and tempt us from our own (unhealthy) home pantries. A sweet treat – containing more sugar than our Paleo ancestors ate in a typical month – is easily obtained and consumed in mere moments.
Dr. Robert Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, In his book, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, he states:
“Nature made sugar hard to get; man made it easy.”
The result of all of this “easy” sugar is that our diets contain a very different macronutrient ratio than what our ancestors consumed.
In fact, researchers believe our ancestral diet was roughly 75 percent fat and 20 percent protein. Just 5 percent of our diet was carbohydrates or sugar. By comparison, the average American diet today is made up of 60 percent carbohydrates, 20 percent fat and 20 percent protein.
Our bodies and brains were not designed to handle the amount of sugar in our modern diet. And the result is disease and degeneration.
Your Brain on Sugar: A Sticky Situation
A recent analysis published in the Archives of Neurology found that high blood sugar levels is directly correlated with the risk of cognitive decline.
How does this happen?
As blood sugar levels rise, a process called glycation occurs. This is when a sugar molecule joins with a protein, an amino acid or fat molecule. The result is a tiny, but harmful, compound called an advanced glycation endproducts (or AGE).
AGEs are “sticky” compounds that then glom onto organs and tissues, causing them to stiffen. As you can imagine, this interferes with their function. In the brain, AGEs form plaques, resulting in a loss of clear thinking and memory over time.
What’s more, researchers found that high levels of AGEs result in brain shrinking, or atrophy. In fact, a study published in the journal Neurology found that individuals with the highest levels of glycated compounds had nearly double the brain loss of those with the lowest levels over a six year period.
And the more sugar you eat, the more brain-harming AGEs you create.
Save Your Brain – Dump the Sugar (Even From “Healthy” Sources!)
If you’re concerned about maintaining your memory and preserving your health into your eighth, ninth and even tenth decades, then get serious about cutting sugar out of your diet… from ALL sources.
That means even “healthy” sources like fruit and raw juices.
Many people believe that eating fruit – and “juicing” – is healthy. And while fruit does contain beneficial nutrients, some fresh juices contain as much as 80 grams of sugar per serving. That’s the equivalent of drinking two sodas!
Remember: Sugar, from any source, produces the same effects on your brain and your metabolism.
If you want to make juicing a part of your healthy diet, use non-starchy, green vegetables (organic spinach and kale, organic celery) as the base, with organic citrus fruits (like lemons and limes) for flavor and light sweetness. Apples, beets and carrots should only be sparingly, and then only in their whole-food form (including the fiber).
Blood Sugar: You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure
In addition to following a low-sugar, Paleo diet, it is a wise idea to begin routinely testing yourself for early indicators of insulin resistance and blood sugar imbalances that contribute to cognitive decline. (Yes, even if you believe you are “healthy”, “thin” and “fit”)
Here are a few simple, effective, inexpensive tests that will give you a snapshot of where you are today and help you track and modify your health over time. Unfortunately, doctors typically don’t administer these tests unless you are already diabetic or “at risk” for the disease.
Don’t wait – do these now…
Fasting blood glucose: This test is commonly used to test for “pre-diabetes”. It is a good way to see if you have developed insulin resistance. Between 70 and 100 mcg is considered normal. You can test this on your own with a simple blood-sugar monitor available at most drug stores or online at Amazon.
Hemoglobin A1C: This test gives you a snapshot of your blood sugar over a 90-day period, which is a better measure of your blood sugar control over time. The A1C test detects damage already done to brain proteins (glycated hemoglobin). The good news? Reducing carbs and sugars, exercising more and shedding body fat will all reduce A1C levels. The ideal range is between 4.8 to 5.4. You can pick up an A1C test from your local store (The ReliOn A1C should be less than $10 at WalMart).
Fasting insulin: This test is done first thing in the morning – before eating. It gives you a good indication of how your pancreas is working. High fasting insulin levels mean you are consuming too much carbohydrate and are at risk for insulin resistance. Anything over 5 µIU/mL is considered elevated.
Research shows that protecting your brain from degenerative disease is as easy as living the way our ancestors did. Enjoy a low sugar, grain-free diet, rich in healthy fats from grass-fed meats, pastured poultry and eggs, wild fish, nuts and seeds – foods you could hunt or gather. Get sunshine and fresh air and move your body, regularly – with long walks and short sprints – to stay healthy, happy and spry into your golden years!
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product – Better Bread – a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat. Through Wednesday, February 5th get 10% off your entire order with coupon code “GRASSFED”.
1. Perlmutter, David, MD. Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers. Little Brown 2013.
2. Marios Hadjivassiliou, et al. Gluten Sensitivity as a Neurological Illness. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, no 5. May 2002: 560-63
3. 4. RO Roberts, et al. Association of Duration and Severity of Diabetes Mellitus with Mild Cognitive Impairment. Archives of Neurology 65, no. 8 (Aug 2008): 1066-73
4. Amy Dosker Marcus. Mad Cow Disease May Hold Clues to Other Neurological Disorders. Wall Street Journal. Dec 3, 2012.
5. David, William, MD. Wheat: The Unhealthy Whole Grain. Book Excerpt: Wheat Belly. Life Extension Magazine October 2011.
6. C. Enzinger, et al. Risk Factors for Progression of Brain Atrophy in Aging: Six-year Follow-up of Normal Subjects”, Neurology 64, no. 10 (May 24, 2005):1704-11
7. Lustig, Robert H. (2013). Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease (Hardcover ed.). Hudson Street Press. ISBN 978-1594631009.
Please join us in welcoming the newest addition to the Nom Nom Paleo Family - Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans!
Henry and Michelle, the masterminds behind Nom Nom Paleo and a very successful cooking app, have created a beautiful, hardcover cookbook featuring over 100 "nomtastic" recipes using real, fresh ingredients. Half of the recipes featured within the pages of Food for Humans are never-before-seen recipes.
Here's a sneak peek at some of Michelle's mouth-watering recipes:
and Henry's comics:
Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans is a must-have addition to any home library! We're confident you will love this book just as much as we do, so we're giving away a copy to one lucky fan!
What's up for grabs?
We're pairing Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans with a $100 US Wellness Meats gift certificate, so you can cook your way through the book with Henry, Michelle, Owen, and Ollie.
Entering is easy! Use the widget below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open to US residents only. The winner will be announced on Monday, February 3rd.
Thank you for your participation!
By: Eileen Laird
The Prevalence of Autoimmune Disease
According to the NIH, autoimmune disease affects 23 million Americans, and the AARDA puts that number closer to 50 million. The standard course of treatment is a lifetime of medication which can cost as much as $2,000 month, and comes with potentially dangerous side effects. Many people are looking elsewhere for answers, and finding the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. Originally developed by Dr. Loren Cordain, it was popularized by Robb Wolf in his book, The Paleo Solution, and expanded by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, author of the upcoming book, The Paleo Approach.
What is the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)?
The AIP is an elimination diet. You stop eating certain foods for 30 days (or longer), and then slowly reintroduce them to test your body for food intolerance. If your body reacts positively, you can happily reintegrate that food into your diet. If your body reacts negatively, you know that food is an inflammation trigger for you, and best to avoid. This communication has allowed many people with autoimmune disease to reduce their symptoms dramatically, some even going into remission.
Which foods are eliminated? The AIP permanently eliminates non-paleo foods: processed foods, refined oils, refined sugars, grains, legumes and soy. The AIP temporarily eliminates the following foods for 30 days, before they are reintroduced one at a time: dairy, eggs, nightshades, nuts and seeds.
AIP-Friendly Shopping at US Wellness Meats
As you can imagine, this diet is a challenge, but the rewards make it very worthwhile. Autoimmune disease brings with it some of the most debilitating symptoms of any illness. US Wellness believes passionately in the nutritious power of real food, and it’s inspiring to see people applying nutrition to successfully reverse autoimmune disease. To help, we have a list of AIP-Friendly foods that we offer. These include convenience foods (all nightshade-free). We’ve also linked to some nutrient-dense foods recommended for healing, such as bones for broth, and organ meats. Enjoy!
Sugar Free Pork Bacon
Sugar Free Beef Bacon
Plain Beef Jerky Sticks
Plain Turkey Jerky
Beef Polish Sausage Sliders
Polish Kielbasa Sausages
Plain Beef Pemmican Bar
Beef Pemmican with Cherries and Honey
Salt & Pepper Pork Rinds
Cooked Sockeye Salmon Packs (Shelf-Stable)
Canned Wild Red Salmon
Canned Albacore Tuna
Bone Broth Ingredients
Beef Organ Meat
Lamb Organ Meat
Poultry Organ Meat
Eileen Laird, author of the blog, Phoenix Helix, used the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol to reduce her rheumatoid arthritis symptoms by 95%. She reached out to US Wellness to help them identify their AIP-friendly offerings. Through her blog, she also hosts a weekly Recipe Roundtable, where people share AIP-friendly recipes.
By: Dr. Al Sears, MD
Happy New Year to You & Your Family,
As the New Year begins, you may be thinking of making the same resolution I make each year. I want to get a little leaner and stay that way.
I seem to be able to accomplish most of my financial goals every year. As far as my social goals go – reaching out to my family and getting back in touch with people from my younger days – I seldom seem to get around to those. But I’m still going to resolve to try.
It’s keeping those few extra pounds off after I lose them that seems to be a big challenge. At least, it is for me.
I stay pretty fit, and I can get lean playing tennis and doing P.A.C.E. But then between traveling, working, writing, seeing patients… a few pounds always seem to creep back on. If I don’t do anything about it, extra fat will settle in around my waist.
So this year, I’m going to stick to one simple principle: eat extra protein.
Protein helps you build muscle and lose fat. But it may surprise you that eating extra protein helps you keep the fat from coming back.
It’s all about satiety – that feeling of being full. Protein gives you the feeling that the meal is done and you’ve had enough. Much more so than carbs or fat.
A study from doctors in the Netherlands proves this point. After the test subjects lost fifteen pounds each, they were divided into two groups. One group ate a regular diet. The other ate the same, but added an extra thirty grams of protein.
The group that didn’t have the protein gained back 350% more weight than the group with the protein supplement.(1) And the few pounds the protein group gained back was muscle – not fat.
To top it off, the protein group was thinner around the waist. That little fact reminded me of my PACE Study Group and got me motivated again. In the PACE Study Group, people who followed the high-protein eating plan I include in my PACE Express DVD program had an average:
- loss of 24.7 total inches
- 10% drop in body fat
- fat loss of 25.4 pounds
- overall loss of 23.8 pounds
These numbers started to go down right away as soon as they started PACE, and people kept losing the fat through the entire study.
Some of the people got a much more dramatic drop than the average. Randy R. lost 45 pounds and more than 41 total inches. Shawna B. lost 31 pounds and 41 total inches off her waist, thighs and arms. Karen W. lost 45 pounds… and there are dozens more like her.
Also, the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine found that eating more protein helps keep off pounds you’ve shed and continue dropping extra. That study looked at the added effect of combining more protein with a low-glycemic eating plan, like the one I show you in PACE Express.
Of the 1200 people in the NEJM study, only those who ate more protein and low-glycemic foods didn’t put back on the pounds. Even better, those who ate high protein with a low glycemic index continued to lose weight after the initial weight loss.(2)
As clear as this proof seems, you’d expect mainstream medicine to catch on, right? Wrong. If you visit the website for the American Heart Association, you’ll notice they have a “warning” against high-protein diets.
They claim that most Americans already eat more protein than their bodies need. Don’t ask me where they get this information. I can only guess. Most Americans barely get enough protein to survive let alone enough to build strong, resilient bodies.
They also suggest that high-protein diets restrict people from eating things like fruits and vegetables. As if we ate nothing but slabs of meat and raw eggs.
What modern medicine seems to forget is that your body is intelligent. It has the ability to adapt to change. By eating more protein than you need on any given day, you’re reminding your body that times are good. Life is abundant.
Protein boosts your sensitivity to the hormone leptin, which tells your brain that you’re full. As a result, you begin to feel the satisfaction that comes from having a good meal and you eat less. Then your body responds further by burning off fat. If you don’t need it, there’s no reason to keep it around.
So you don’t have to live the life of a monk, or eat bird food and grass. If you really want to drop a few stubborn extra pounds this year, here’s what I’m doing, and I recommend you do too:
- At every meal, remember to have a pure source of protein. This means eating grass-fed beef and/or wild seafood whenever possible.
- To add extra protein, instead of sticking with the standard recommendation of 50-60 grams a day, try eating one gram of protein for every pound of lean muscle. If you weigh 180 and have 20 percent body fat, you have 144 pounds of lean muscle mass. So shoot for 144 grams of protein a day. If you don’t know your body fat percentage, the average man is between 15 and 18 percent, and the average woman is between 18 and 22 percent. To get that protein boost, you can use a scoop of protein powder mixed into your favorite beverage.
- Also, you want to eat sources of protein that are as complete as possible. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so you want foods with an amino acid score at or higher than 100. Some fruits and vegetables have this… like the avocado with a score of 129. Beans, soy, and flax are not good sources. They are lower than 100.
- Always balance your diet with a healthy portion of fruits and vegetables. These give you the antioxidants and many of the minerals you need to keep your metabolism going and burn off fat. Plus, they are much lower on the glycemic index than grains.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1. Kovacs, EM, et. al. “High protein intake sustains weight maintenance after body weight loss in humans.” International Journal of Obesity, 2003; 28, 57–64.
2. Larson, T, et. al. “Diets with High or Low Protein Content and Glycemic Index for Weight-Loss Maintenance.” N Engl J Med, 2010; 363:2102-2113.
By: Kelley Herring, Healing Gourmet
According to a recent Harris Interactive study, there is something that people fear more than cancer and even death: Dementia.
The inability to recall fond memories, use reasoning and logic, or even recognize the faces of the people you love is a disturbing thought. It’s a fate that most of us would do anything to avoid.
Yet, for more than five million Americans and their families, this is a reality of day to day life. And unfortunately, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise.
Between 2000 and 2010, deaths from Alzheimer's disease increased 68 percent! According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an average of one American is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease every 68 seconds. By 2050, it’s estimated that two people will be diagnosed with this disease every minute of every day.
But there is good news…
Alzheimer’s is not a genetic disease. It is a degenerative condition that is not a normal part of healthy aging. It can definitely be prevented and in some cases the symptoms can even be reversed.
And the answer to protecting your mind and your memories lies in your diet…
How Gluten and Grain-Based Foods Are Harming Your Brain
You probably already know that gluten and grain-containing foods have potentially harmful effects on your digestive system and immune function. But you may not know that these so-called “healthy” staples can also profoundly affect your gray matter.
According to an editorial in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, your brain may suffer from the effects of gluten – even in the absence of any noticeable gastrointestinal problems. This means you could feel fine after indulging in pizza, pasta or bread – while gluten is silently taking its toll on your brain.
Researchers have conclusively shown that the brain and the gut are intricately linked to one another. This is why the digestive system is often called “the second brain”.
And the important thing to remember is that…
What Happens in the Gut… Doesn’t Stay in the Gut
During digestion, gluten is broken into small proteins that cross the blood-brain barrier. These little proteins (called exorphins) bind to morphine receptors, producing the feel-good sensation we associate with comfort foods. But that’s not all. They also cause an onslaught of inflammation throughout the body.
Inflammation in the brain can present itself as foggy thinking, difficulty in communication and finding the right words, headaches, depression and other mental maladies. Over time, this same inflammation causes permanent damage to the brain, contributing to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In fact, according to research cited in The Gluten Syndrome: A Neurological Disease, it is the central nervous system – not the gut – that is the primary site of gluten damage. This is because of the unique and destructive way that it interferes with the body’s neural networks.
Protect Your Memory with a Paleo Diet
Despite its prevalence in our modern diet (the average person consumes a towering 133 pounds per year), wheat is a food that is foreign to our Paleo genetics. It is not just a coincidence that the rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s have continued to climb.
If you wish to reduce the brain inflammation associated with chronic disease and cognitive decline, I urge you to follow a grain-free diet which emulates that of your ancestors.
In my upcoming articles, I’ll tell you about several other foods you should avoid to protect your brain (especially sugar), as well as the delicious foods, spices, herbs and “supernutrients” (including cholesterol!) that can provide significant protection for your brain.
ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the creator of a best-selling low-glycemic, gluten-free and Paleo baking program, Guilt-Free Desserts. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product – Better Bread – a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.
1. Alzheimer’s Association. 2013 Alzheimer's Facts and Figures
2. David, William, MD. Wheat: The Unhealthy Whole Grain. Book Excerpt: Wheat Belly. Life Extension Magazine October 2011.
3. Perlmutter, David, MD. Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers. Little Brown 2013.
4. Marios Hadjivassiliou, et al. Gluten Sensitivity as a Neurological Illness. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, no 5. May 2002: 560-63
5. Ford, R. The Gluten Syndrome: A Neurological Disease. Children’s Gatroenterology and Allergy Clinic
6. Christine Zioudrou, et al. Opiod Peptides Derived from Food Proteins (the Exorphins). Journal of Biological Chemistry 254, no. 7 (April 10, 1979): 2446-49.