I have this thing.
I call it the foodie bubble.
Its this deceptive(though comfortable and delicious) place that a lot of professionals in the holistic wellness world can live; where you forget that not everyone in the world has their life revolving around health. Not everyone spends their free time searching the internet for the latest findings on the gut microbiome, or knows the farmer who supplies their grassfed beef by name. Ive been known to be an all or nothing person—a ‘pendulum swinger’ as my boyfriend so lovingly puts it—and am the first one to forget the importance of stepping out of my perspective and into the many others that surround me.
All that to say, I think it is so important before we jump into the nitty gritty of any health truths you may not be aware of to first dispel the more subliminal, insidious lies that are told to us by clever marketing and misguided sources. Like–for example–contrary to what you’ve been told, beef is actually wonderful for you!
I KNOW I KNOW GET EXCITED PEOPLE
- BLANK Macronutrient is the enemy. Cut it out and you’ll lose weight/heal everything/become Goddess Perfection
This one. THIS ONE. (cue major eye roll)
**Let me just start with this one caveat: there is a time and a place for therapeutic macronutrient manipulation. A perfect example of this is the ketogenic diet for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers Dementia. This is a diet that restricts dietary carbohydrates completely until the body produces a form of energy called ketones to rely on instead of glucose. There are also the complexities of certain macros agitating health conditions like SIBO or Candida, in which case removing for a period of time until you solve the root issue is definitely recommended. However, those are exceptions. Im not discussing exceptions today, but rather the misguided messages we receive from diet culture that usually center around unhealthy weight loss or food fear, both of which are not welcome here.**
Pick your macro. We’ve got the low fat fiends who are still living in the 80’s, the low carbers who think insulin is the devil, and then there are the rare few low proteiners eating fruit all day (I’m lookin at you 90/10ers). We’ve got 4 Macro Nutrients: Fat, Protein, Carbohydrates, and Water. For the majority of people, however, fat or carbs tend to be the one they zero in on. Most messages that tell you either of these should be avoided are marketing from diet culture, intending to selling you a product and don’t take into account 2 MAJOR components of the macro puzzle:
- TYPES of fat/carbohydrates
- The importance of Bioindividuality
Are you my type? Trans fat don’t interact in your system the same as monounsaturated fats, saturated fats, or polyunsaturated fats. Not to mention, where you source your fats matter. Are they organic, cold pressed, or unrefined? Are your animal fats coming from happy healthy animals raised on a pasture or were they fed grain in a cage? Are you cooking with heat stable fats? This is just a peek into the complexity of dietary fat which deserves its own series of posts entirely. (Look out for a Wholly Healed guide to dietary fats in the coming weeks for an easy breakdown you can take shopping with you!). But for now, I want to make sure no one leaves without new found skepticism of diet culture and their motives disguised as ‘informative’ nutrition help. When you hear demonizing messages making fat out to be the enemy, you take your grass-fed butter and run the other way my friend. Here’s why: Lack of proper dietary fat can cause
- mental interferences like low mood, anxiety, depression
- low sex hormones
- low immunity
- irregular or loss of period (aka amenorrhea)
- unstable blood sugar
- lack of satiety
- neuronal death
- deficiency of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K)
Dietary fat found in nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and pasture raised animal fats are critical for hormone production, formation of our myelin sheath (which allows our brains to function and fire efficiently), regular digestion, and so much more.
The same goes for types of carbohydrates. Are they whole food based carb sources like sweet potatoes and fruit? Or are they processed and refined to remove all nutritional value like white bread and pasta? WHICH CARBS YOU EAT MATTER. I will never forget the annoyance I felt when I heard this one man at the gym coach his girlfriend through refueling ‘it doesn’t matter if you have a cookie or an apple. sugar is sugar’ …Nah brah. Nah. That not how it works. Even within carb sources are different molecular makeups of the sugar and how they are processed in the body. For example, fructose heavy foods like apples are routed through the liver while glucose heavy foods like starches are absorbed into the blood stream via the intestinal tract. Going too low carb for your body can cause
- decreased thyroid function (often leading to unexplained weight gain and a whole host of other symptoms)**this is very common in women on low carb diets and is actually what happened to me!
- Glucose intolerance once carbs are reintroduced
- Inability to preform in workouts
- Inability to recover from workouts
- Disturbed sleep
- Chronically elevated cortisol levels
- Adrenal fatigue
- Lack of energy
- Loss of period/ irregularity
- Insufficient intestinal bacteria
- And more
Including starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, yucca, and winter squash while also experimenting with your fruit tolerance is a great way to include nutrient dense, whole food carb sources to fuel your life and your gut microbiome.
Bioindividuality matters. Every body is different, with different macronutrient needs. A great example of this is the difference between men and women when it comes to carbohydrate needs. Because we can have babies, and that’s a pretty hard thing to do, our bodies are much more sensitive to a perceived food shortage. When we consume carbs (especially starchy carbs like potatoes) we produce an enzyme called Amylase to process and break them down. Amylase is also the enzyme that tells the pituitary gland in our brain that we are full and fed. Which means: no carbs=no amylase= brain not thinking its full, fed and safe. It can then freak out and shut down hormone production because (wisely) it doesn’t want to make a baby if there is a food shortage. (I recommend this article for a greater explanation of the importance of carbohydrates for womens’ fertility).
All in all, every one is different and the only person that can tell you how much fat or carbohydrates are best is YOU. So experiment, listen to your body and tune into what it’s trying to tell you.
- EXERCISE: MORE IS BETTER
Type A overachiever Im lookin at you. I know because I AM you. I was raised with the idea that if you wanted something, you just push and work harder until you get it. So when you grow up in a society telling you the only good body to have is a small one, you just think ‘hey, no problem. Ill just do MORE.’ More runs, more restriction, more gym time, more more more. Never mind that your hormones are suffering, you’re not sleeping, and you feel like your muscles are crying every time you walk up the stairs…
HURTS SO GOOD
Movement is a critical piece for a healthy vibrant life. It supports gastrointestinal motility, mood, bone strength, and metabolism. However, the myth that there is a certain kind of exercise that must be done for the purpose of body manipulation is not acceptable. And THAT is the myth I want to destroy today. I have so many women come to me complaining about symptoms they have no idea are connected to overworking their body and too much restriction.
-constant soreness or aches
-loss of motivation
-sleep disturbances (particularly inability to stay asleep)
– hormonal acne around mouth and jawline
– GI issues (runners diarrhea anyone?)
– Plateau in muscle gains
-unexplained weight gain
In actuality, exercise needs will vary not just depending on the person, but also the season of your life. Life stress, sleep, emotional and mental stress, diet, and current health issues will all play a role in how often and what type of exercise you will feel best engaging in. When you feel any of these symptoms and just decide to ‘push through’, you are chronically elevating cortisol—your main stress hormone. This is very inflammatory and has long term effects like stealing from sex hormone production, skin irritation, anxiety, insulin resistance, insomnia, and much more. When it comes to exercise, instead of more is better, I like to tell people listening is better. Do not try and override your body, listen when it’s telling you to chill out. There is a major difference between challenging yourself for gains or growth, and suppressing your body’s natural brake system. If you exhibit any symptoms above, tune into your intuition and ask yourself WHY? Why are you pushing so hard at the expense of your health? Dig in and expel those lies that center around not being good or thin or pretty enough. Your body is a vehicle, not an ornament. Fuel and treat it kindly.
- FOOD QUANTITY MATTERS MORE THAN FOOD QUALITY.
This is one of my favorites to talk about, because in the heat of everyone yelling about carbs this and fat that, rarely are people talking about food sourcing. Let me tell you, that is a VASTLY underestimated piece of the health puzzle. Buying meat that isn’t organic or grassfed more often than not means you are buying sick animals. Eating sick animals make sick humans. This is a basic statement I like to tell all my clients so they remember that you are what you eat ATE. When you go to the grocery store and pick up burgers that aren’t organic or grassfed, that usually means a few things: they were cows raised in brutal environments and small spaces, fed anything from soy/gluten feed to trash, overloaded on antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick in such horrible conditions, injected with hormones so they grow faster and can die or produce milk sooner, and lived a terrifying life where they felt pain and initiated a stress response in their body 24/7 which caused them to be sick and inflamed. (Brutal, I know. But this is important stuff guys). If you want more info about Feedlot Farming practices, this is a great resource. Therefore, to say that a burger from those cows is the same as a grassfed burger from a cow who lived a full life on pastured grass is a fallacy. Grassfed beef is higher in nutrients like Omega 3s, CLA, and antioxidants like Vitamin E. It is also free of the endogenous hormones and antibiotics that grain fed meat give us. Because animals store toxins in their fat, it is very crucial to be buying grassfed, non toxic animals so we don’t consume the toxins that circulate in unhealthy animals.
The same principal of food quality applies for produce. Buy organic whenever you can, but especially focus on the dirty dozen. Pesticides have been under a lot of heat recently, for good reason. Latest research is showing they are connected to everything from endocrine disruption to neurotoxicity. The first thing I do with my clients, before we dig into diet changes, is to elevate their food quality. Choosing pasture raised animals, Organic potato chips baked in coconut oil, produce free of pesticides, etc. It’s amazing what changing the quality of the same type of food does. Digestion improves, weight normalizes, skin clears, and energy levels pop up. If that’s not reason enough, higher quality food tastes so much better. If you ever need convincing, grab a brick of the bright yellow happiness that is grass-fed butter and get back to me;)
WHEW. That’s a lot. Alright, join me next post for the next 3 myths. They include stress, calories, and weight loss. Its going to be juicy! Want to make sure you don’t miss it? Don’t forget to sign up for my email list!
Did any of these surprise you? Was there any information you wish you could learn more about? Wanna tell me a joke? Comment below!