Sunday, March 27, 2011

What are Nutrient Dense Foods Really?

Hello everyone!  This is blog #3.  I haven't been able to get this out sooner as my Dad has been in the hospital and I have been busy tending to his needs.  All the more reason to keep learning and studying how to create my own health through Nutrient Dense Foods, (so I can stay away from Heart Surgery).  So this blogs focus is on what foods we should be eating for optimum nutrition and to reach or maintain a healthy weight, and how to add Nutrient Dense Foods into our diet (which I copied directly from the Weston A. Price Foundation website).

The description "Nutrient Dense Foods" was coined, I believe, by the Weston A. Price foundation and is really what I have been focusing on recently since my Dad's heart surgery.  Nutrient Dense foods are what our bodies crave in order to thrive.  This article provides a good base to begin our learning process to see what a healthy diet looks like, and what it doesn't look like.  This information is for everyone, people with weight loss goals, people that just want to eat in a healthy way to supply nutrients to the body that it needs to stay free of disease, even someone trying to help correct disease or malnutrition in the body (probably from a USDA based low-fat, processed (rancid) oils, refined carbohydrate rich, diet).  

The article (and video) talks about diet guidelines and how it applies to growing children, and how it applies to everybody looking for Nutrient Dense Foods.  To view or print out a copy of the Weston A. Price Foundation's "Healthy4Life" booklet of their recommendations for Nutrient Dense Foods click on

There are many awesome articles on their website, and this one is a great place to start.  This blog (copied from their website) is about the VITAL part Nutrient Dense Foods play in feeding our mind and body and particularly how important Dietary Fats and Cholesterol are in health.  The right Dietary Fats and Cholesterol are instrumental in helping our bodies produce hormones and, among other things, are absolutely necessary for our children's 'mental and physical' health and growth.  To go directly to their website to read this article you can click on 

With all that said, this is very important information that we all need to know.  To view a short and concise video overview of this blog post click here or go directly on to the written article below.

Sally Fallon Morell's introductory presentation as part of the Valentine's Day 2011 Press Conference held in Washington, DC sponsored by The Weston A. Price Foundation, and including the Nutrition and Metabolism Society and members of the Healthy Nation Coalition. The conference was to expose the flaws and misuse of science in the formation of our nation's dietary guidelines. Promulgated by USDA, these guidelines are not based in current science and have resulted in a 30 year decline in our population's health.

Comments on the USDA Dietary Guidelines
Written by Sally Fallon Morell   
Wednesday, June 23 2010 07:22


Current USDA dietary guidelines are based on the flawed notion that cholesterol and saturated fat are unhealthy. They are unrealistic, unworkable, unscientific and impractical; they have resulted in widespread nutrient deficiencies and contributed to a proliferation of obesity and degenerative disease, including problems with growth, behavior and learning in children. The US government is promoting a lowfat, plant-based diet that ignores the vital role animal protein and fats have played in human nutrition throughout the ages.

The pyramid with its strictures against fat consumption does not recognize variations in human metabolism. Recommendations for fat restriction are predicated on the assumption that fat causes weight gain and heart disease; several recent studies have shown that that restriction of natural fats actually leads to more obesity in both children and adults, while the refined carbohydrates, polyunsaturated and trans fats that frequently replace natural saturated fats contribute to weight gain and chronic disease. Restriction of animal fats in children leads increased markers for heart disease and to deficiencies of vitamins A, D and K2, needed for growth, strong bones, immunity, neurological function, and protection from tooth decay.

See special article in Nutrition here: [Adele H Hite, MAT; Richard D Feinman, PhD; Gabriel E Guzman, PhD; Morton Satin, MSc; Pamela Schoenfeld, RD; Richard J Wood, PhD. “In The Face Of Contradictory Evidence: Report Of The Dietary Guidelines For Americans Committee,” Nutrition, October 2010 (Volume 26, Issue 10, Pages 915-924), published by Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/j.nut.2010.08.012.]


The Weston A. Price Foundation strongly urges the USDA Dietary Guidelines committee to scrap the food pyramid and replace it with the following Healthy 4 Life guidelines, based on four groups of whole foods.

Every day, eat high quality, whole foods to provide an abundance of nutrients, chosen from each of the following four groups:
  1. Animal foods: meat and organ meats, poultry, and eggs from pastured animals; fish and shellfish; whole raw cheese, milk and other dairy products from pastured animals; and broth made from animal bones.
  2. Grains, legumes and nuts: whole-grain baked goods, breakfast porridges, whole grain rice; beans and lentils; peanuts, cashews and nuts, properly prepared to improve digestibility.
  3. Fruits and Vegetables: preferably fresh or frozen, preferably locally grown, either raw, cooked or in soups and stews, and also as lacto-fermented condiments.
  4. Fats and Oils: unrefined saturated and monounsaturated fats including butter, lard, tallow and other animal fats; palm oil and coconut oil; olive oil; cod liver oil for vitamins A and D.
Avoid: foods containing refined sweeteners such as candies, sodas, cookies, cakes etc.; white flour products such as pasta and white bread; processed foods; modern soy foods; polyunsaturated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and fried foods.


The demonization of saturated fats is unscientific and has had an extremely detrimental effect on the health of the whole nation, particularly on growing children. The human body contains high levels of saturated fat in the cell membranes and in protective fat around the organs. When saturated fat is not available in the diet, the body very efficiently turns refined carbohydrates into saturated fat;1 thus restriction of saturated fat can often lead to cravings for refined carbohydrates.

Saturated fatty acids are said to cause cancer, heart disease and obesity. Yet these diseases were rare at the turn of the century when consumption of saturated fats was much higher than it is today. The likely culprits for these conditions are polyunsaturated fatty acids and trans fats, which came into widespread use after WWII.2

Saturated fats play many important roles in the body chemistry:
  • As saturated fats are stable, they do not become rancid easily, do not call upon the body’s reserves of antioxidants, do not initiate cancer and do not irritate the artery walls.3
  • Vitamins A and D, which are vital for proper growth and for protein and mineral assimilation, are found only in mostly saturated animal fats.
  • Saturated fats enhance the immune system, thereby protecting us against infection and cancer.4
  • Saturated fats help the body lay down calcium in the bones and help prevent osteoporosis.5
  • Saturated fats provide energy and structural integrity to the cells.6 At least 50 percent of many, if not most, of the cell membrane must be saturated fat for the cells to work properly.
  • Saturated fats protect the liver from alcohol, drugs, pesticides and other poisons.7
  • Saturated fats enhance the body’s use of essential fatty acids, which the body needs in small amounts and obtains from whole foods.8
  • Stearic acid, found in beef tallow and butter, has cholesterol-lowering properties and is a preferred food for the heart.9
  • Saturated fats are needed for the kidneys to work properly.10
  • The lung surfactants are composed of saturated fatty acids.11 The lungs cannot work without adequate amounts of saturated fats.
Warnings against dietary saturated fats are predicated on the assumption that saturated fats contribute to atherosclerosis and therefore to heart disease; yet, as saturated fat consumption has declined in the U.S. over the last one hundred years, heart disease has increased. Recent epidemiological evidence from Europe does not support a correlation of saturated fat with heart disease, as shown in the charts below.12
What happens when children are put on lower fat diets? When researchers prominently associated with the American Heart Association fed children lower fat diets and measured some of the markers they consider important predictors of heart disease, they found that these lower fat diets were causing the very problems they wanted to prevent. The children whose genes would normally have been producing the desirable light and fluffy form of LDL started to make the dangerous small and dense form of LDL.13 Thus the US dietary recommendations are likely to be causing heart disease, not preventing it.


The USDA Dietary Guidelines have led to the restriction of saturated fat in children’s diets; pediatricians now advise parents to put their children on reduced-fat dairy products and avoid meat and dairy fats starting at the age of two; and school children no longer have the option of whole milk in school lunches.

Authorities justify these restrictions of nutritious foods by claiming that fat, especially saturated fat, results in weight gain. Yet a recent study from Sweden found that a higher intake of fats, including saturated fats, in childhood resulted in lower body weight; children on reduced fat diets had higher body mass and greater insulin resistance.14

Furthermore, in a study of Swedish adults, consumption of whole fat milk and cheese was linked to lower weight gain;15 and dairy fat was not linked with weight gain in a longitudinal study of adolescents.16

Individuals who try to restrict saturated animal fats according to the USDA guidelines often end up consuming more trans fats. Yet animal research indicates that in calorie-restricted diets containing the same number of calories, those diets containing trans fats result in increased weight gain.17


Restriction of saturated animal fats is also justified with the argument that animal fats contain cholesterol, and therefore cause heart disease. Yet even the amount of cholesterol found in three to four eggs per day produces no change in blood cholesterol levels in 70 percent of the population, as shown in randomized, placebo-controlled trials; in the other 30 percent, dietary cholesterol increases both LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol equally and turns small, dense “pattern B” LDL into light, buoyant “pattern A” LDL, changes that are widely regarded by promoters of the cholesterol theory as beneficial.18

Cholesterol restriction is particularly harmful for pregnant women and growing children. Pregnant women need extra levels of cholesterol for the formation of the fetus, and cholesterol-lowering drugs can lead to extremely serious birth defects.19 Growing children cannot produce all the cholesterol they need for the formation of the brain and gut, but need to obtain it from a cholesterol-rich diet. Just a few decades ago, experts on child feeding agreed that the best foods for infants were cholesterol-rich foods such as egg yolk, liver, butter and whole milk; today, thanks to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, children are denied these nutrient-dense foods so important for growth and neurological development.

Roles of cholesterol include:
  • Along with saturated fats, cholesterol in the cell membrane gives our cells necessary stiffness and stability. When the diet contains an excess of polyunsaturated fatty acids, these replace saturated fatty acids in the cell membrane, so that the cell walls actually become flabby. When this happens, cholesterol from the blood is "driven" into the tissues to give them structural integrity. This is why serum cholesterol levels may go down temporarily when saturated fats are replaced with polyunsaturated oils in the diet.20
  • Cholesterol acts as a precursor to vital corticosteroids, hormones that help us deal with stress and protect the body against heart disease and cancer; and to the sex hormones like androgen, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
  • Cholesterol is a precursor to vitamin D, a very important fat-soluble vitamin needed for healthy bones and nervous system, proper growth, mineral metabolism, muscle tone, insulin production, reproduction and immune system function.
  • The bile salts are made from cholesterol. Bile is vital for digestion and assimilation of fats in the diet.
  • Research shows that cholesterol acts as an antioxidant.21 This is the likely explanation for the fact that cholesterol levels go up with age. As an antioxidant, cholesterol protects us against free radical damage that leads to heart disease and cancer.
  • Cholesterol is needed for proper function of serotonin receptors in the brain.22 Serotonin is the body's natural "feel-good" chemical. Low cholesterol levels have been linked to aggressive and violent behavior, depression and suicidal tendencies.
  • Mother's milk is especially rich in cholesterol and contains a special enzyme that helps the baby utilize this nutrient. Babies and children need cholesterol-rich foods throughout their growing years to ensure proper development of the brain and nervous system.
  • Dietary cholesterol plays an important role in maintaining the health of the intestinal wall.23 This is why low-cholesterol vegetarian diets can lead to leaky gut syndrome and other intestinal disorders.


It is very difficult, if not impossible, to construct a diet based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines that meets the nutritional requirements of either adults or growing children.24 Meals based on the dietary guidelines will not only contain an excess of carbohydrates and not enough fat (or high levels of processed fat), they are also likely to be deficient in a number of nutrients:

  • Vitamin A: Since USDA Guidelines severely restrict animal fats and do not specifically recommend liver and other organ meats, meals based on these guidelines will be virtually devoid of vitamin A. USDA has recognized this problem and tried to solve it by insisting that adequate vitamin A can be obtained from vitamin A precursors found in fruits and vegetables; in fact, contrary to statements in biochemical textbooks and the Merck Manual, USDA falsely labels these carotenes as vitamin A. Yet the precursors to the true animal form of vitamin A are very poorly converted, especially in babies and children who need vitamin A the most.25 Vitamin A is an extremely important nutrient, needed for growth, hormone production, healthy bones, skin and eyes and protection against infection.
  • Vitamin D: A consensus is building that vitamin D deficiency is widespread in the U.S. population. According to advocates for supplements, adequate vitamin D cannot be obtained from food. This is certainly a true statement if one is following the USDA Guidelines. Yet there are many food sources of vitamin D including butter, whole milk, egg yolks, organ meats, lard and other animal fats from animals raised in sunlight, cod liver oil, shellfish and oily fish. The problem is that the Guidelines have demonized these high-fat, nutrient-dense foods and they have largely disappeared from the American diet.
  • Vitamin K2: Recent research indicates that the animal form of vitamin K is needed for numerous processes, not just the clotting factor in the blood. Vitamin K2 is needed for healthy bones, normal growth, freedom from tooth decay, proper neurological function, reproduction and protection against heart disease. The USDA Dietary Guidelines result in a diet largely devoid of vitamin K2, which is found in meat fats, organ meats, whole cheeses and butterfat.26
  • Zinc: A critical nutrient for reproduction and neurological function. The best sources are red meat and shellfish. Diets high in whole grains—recommended in the USDA Guidelines—tend to block absorption of zinc.
  • Vitamin B12: A critical nutrient for healthy blood, neurological function, protection against depression and other psychological disorders, and protection against heart disease, cancer, anemia and multiple sclerosis. Best sources are organ meats like liver and shellfish.


As formulated, the USDA Dietary Guidelines and Food Pyramid have resulted in widespread nutrient deficiencies and have had the effect of conferring official approval on very unhealthy processed foods containing trans fats, processed vegetable oils, refined carbohydrates and neuro-toxic additives such as MSG. These Guidelines have undermined the traditional healthy diets of the various populations that have immigrated to the United States, Most seriously, they have influenced the makeup of baby formula, allowing manufacturers to use vegetable oils and sucrose rather than the animal fats and lactose that mother’s milk provides.

The consequences of the flawed guidelines are extremely serious; we are already seeing the tragic effects in the current epidemic of chronic disease in adults and low birth weight, growth problems and learning disabilities in our children.

The Weston A. Price Foundation urges the committee to start over, scrap the unworkable food pyramid, abandon the strictures against saturated fats and cholesterol, and provide useful, science-based guidelines that will steer Americans towards a diet of nutrient-dense whole foods.

Prepared by Sally Fallon Morell, President
The Weston A. Price Foundation
Washington, DC
(202) 363-4394

Another great article from their website is: (click here).  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Understanding How to Lose Weight

Hello, this is Blog #2 from Vicki Keller!  Hope it finds you well.

In this blog we are going to explore the Paleo approach to losing weight.  As I said previously, we are going to offer different approaches (with the same underlying theme) to health and losing weight (if that's a goal) so you can incorporate what works best for you.  All the apporaches we are exploring are designed to create health and to keep, or help promote, a desire weight. 

Remember, insulin in the body is what promotes fat storage on the body.  In order to burn fat, we need to decrease the insulin response in the body.  The foods that create insulin are in fact, carbohydrates, whether whole or simple.  (I know the word being promoted right now, on TV and basically everywhere you turn, is to eat "healthy whole grains" but that is not going to help with weight loss or health.  What a high intake of carbohydrates produces is insulin which promotes fat being stored on the body.  Trust me on this one.

The food pyramid information is not promoting health, and our children (school lunch programs, in particular) are the biggest vitims to this unfortunate message. 

Once a desired body weight is obtained, adding back in carbohydrates, based on body weight stablization, can be done.  You will be able to have an occassional piece of cake (or whatever your temptation is) in your diet.  Hopefully, by this point, we will have shown some alternatives to the typical white flour temptation and you won't crave the high-sugar/high-flour items like before changing your diet.

I found that once I removed a large percentage of carbohydrates (I'll be adding some back in once my desire weight is obtained), I felt my blood sugar stablize and I no longer craved sugars and breads all day long.  It was such a relief!  The intrusive thoughts of food ended.  What feels right for me, and what is promoting fat loss, is that I eat about 10% - 20% of my calories from carbohydates (probably closer to 10% right now) mostly vegetables, small amounts of fruit and nuts, and fermented dairy products.  (This comes out to about 65% -70% from fat, including healthy saturated fat and 15% - 20% from protein).  Everybody is a little different here.  You may not have to go that low.  I had gestational diabetes and a family history of diabetes and heart disease and my genes don't tolerate much more than that for weight loss.  Since realizing what actually was creating fat, and my resistance to losing it (insulin promotes fat from eating carbohydrates), I have started losing my last bit of weight.

So, with that said, the following is an article that explains alot!  I wish that I had written this article, but I did not.  I ran across this article at the Paleo Diet Lifestyles website (there is a link to the website and this exact article and others in my blog roll at the right) and I can't explain it any better than this.  It is worth the read.  I just cut and pasted into this blog.  Whew, that wasn't so difficult....

How We Get Fat

How We Get Fat
This article is written so you can properly understand why eating a high saturated fat diet won’t make you fat and why counting calories and trying to burn more calories than you consume is a recipe for disaster. Elevated stress, fatigue, frustration and ultimately weight gain are the results of medium to long term calorie-restriction and/or excess cardio training.

You’ll see why a calorie isn’t just a calorie and why the calorie-in/calorie-out theory based on the law of thermodynamics when applied to a complex system like the human body is completely bogus.

Staying lean is not just important for aesthetics and self-esteem, but the mere fact of gaining fat means that you are already metabolically deranged and somewhat insulin-resistant. This means that your body is not functioning as it should and the risks of developing other metabolic problems in the future are high. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and a vicious weight-gain cycle are some examples.

Taking care of your health is about looking at the science and evidence more than listening to the current dogma. After all, as more and more people eat “healthy” whole grains and low fat and endure long hours of strenuous cardio exercise week after week, we see the general health condition of people getting worse and worse. If you’ve been following the standard recommendations and are still struggling with weight gain, you’ll learn that loosing weight is actually effortless when you start to work with your body instead of against it.


The calorie-in, calorie-out hypothesis

Most people believe that they get fat because they consume more calories than they burn. It’s an over simplistic way of seeing it and the human body is a complex system, not a machine that works the same with fuel of any kind. When we eat food, there is a complex hormonal system at play and those hormones ultimately decide if you’re going to store fat or not.

One of the major ideas that floats around that’s related to this theory and that tries to explain why so many people are fat today is the lack of exercise. It is believed that, because we exercise less, we burn less calories and the excess calories accumulate as fat over time.

Once again, the story is much more complex than that. If you believe in the calorie theory and you do the math, you’ll see that you’ll need to pedal and sweat for hours just to burn the calories in a few cookies. Even worse, exercise will increase your hunger so you’ll constantly have to fight the way your body wants you to act. Just sitting there and doing nothing, you’ll burn an amount of calories that’s not too far from what you burn while exercising. Your brain, digestive system and heart require a tremendous amount of energy just to run properly.

You probably already know that your body is mainly interested in survival and reproduction. In the wild, a major component of survival is energy conservation. Ancient humans weren’t interested in burning more energy than they had to and doing otherwise would jeopardize their chances of survival when food was scarce. For the purpose of energy conservation, the body uses a set-point and will try its best to keep its composition within that set-point. This is why people struggle so hard to lose weight when working against their nature and almost always put it back on later on. The body simply returns to its set-point. This also works the other way around. If you try to overeat in order to gain fat, it’ll work for a while, but you’ll shortly return to your normal weight once you stop overeating.
Cardio equipmentIn fact, if we didn’t have that complex set-point system, it would take an accuracy of about 0.01% of your calorie intake to stay within a 5 pound range over a 5 year period, but yet we see people staying basically at the same weight for years and years.

If exercising and burning more calories doesn’t work, then reducing your caloric intake and eating smaller portions will, right? Wrong!

When you suddenly spend more energy than usual (i.e: long sweaty miles on the thread mill), your body will give you strong hunger signals so you can regain the energy lost and stay within your body’s set-point. This is also true if you start eating more. You’ll have more energy and be inclined to get active and eliminate the surplus. At lest, these happen to a normal and healthy person who isn’t metabolically deranged. You’ll also assist to something similar when your energy input reduces with situations like starvation or hypothyroidism. You’ll have much less energy available and will feel sluggish and rundown in order to preserve energy.


The role of insulin on health

Insulin is an important hormone secreted by the pancreas that controls glucose metabolism and glucose uptake by the cells. In other words, it helps keep your blood glucose stable by delivering any surplus to liver, muscle and fat cells. This is the way the cells can get access to glucose to use as energy and your blood glucose can stay within a normal range.

You probably understand that if we don’t consume a high carbohydrate diet (carbohydrates are transformed into glucose in the body), we need much less insulin to deal with it. The opposite is also true.
BreadThe problem with the Western diet is that the amount of carbohydrates consumed is so high compared to what our ancestors were used to that our insulin is chronically high. This then triggers a chain of reaction that we call the metabolic syndrome and weight gain is often one of the first signs.

The muscles and the liver can only store a certain amount of glycogen (stored glucose) at any given time. Once those stores are full, insulin has to put any excess glucose of the blood somewhere else. The glucose gets stored in the fat cells as triglycerides. Et voilĂ ! This is the basics of how you store fat.

The story doesn’t end there though. Chronically elevated insulin also disrupts another hormone called leptin. Leptin is an hormone that talks with the hypothalamus to signal hunger and energy reserves. When insulin is high all the time to deal with all the sugar, you get hungry and eat even more sugar even if your cells are overfed and don’t need more energy from food.

What happens next if the vicious cycle continues is your cells become resistant to the effects of insulin to protect themselves the damaging and inflammatory effects of too much glucose. Glucose then as trouble getting into the cells and more of it gets stored as fat, even when your cells are hungry and deprived. The problem is that your cells now don’t get the energy they would get from glucose, because they are resistant to insulin.

Your cells are now starving for food while sugar is being stored in the fat cells. Since your body needs energy and in the energy conservation optic, you get even more hungry and your energy levels fall while you gain weight.

Also note that excess fructose consumption (from sodas, fruit juices and anything with added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup) is also a big problem on the standard American diet and causes insulin resistance at the liver, which is very bad news. The focus of this article is not on fructose, but a whole article will be dedicated to the specific damage that fructose do. For now, just keep in mind that carbohydrate is less of a problem when fructose consumption is low, but in our present society about any kind of carbohydrate comes loaded with fructose.

Coke, very high in fructoseIn this sense, obese people are sedentary and overeat because they are fat and not the other way around, just like teenagers who are not growing because they are overeating, but are overeating because they are growing. It’s not a defect in will-power or dedication, it’s a defect in ratios of macro-nutrients consumed which triggers an unnatural hormonal reaction.

If the vicious cycle continues even more, chances are your cells will become more and more insulin resistant and you run the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a situation where the pancreas becomes tired of producing all that insulin and now produces inadequate amounts to keep your blood sugar in the normal range.

Now this might seem quite unlikely to happen to you and might sound far fetched or extreme. Keep in mind that the metabolic syndrome presents itself differently and at different times for everybody. It can take years or decades, but as soon as your start gaining unnatural weight you’re already somewhat insulin resistant. It doesn’t mean it’s going to develop into full blown type 2 diabetes or other metabolic problems, but odds are not on the good side. Some people develop some form of the metabolic syndrome without getting fat, and it’s quite dangerous, because there is no prior sign or wake up call.

Some people will imitate their favorite athlete, who might be eating tons of carbohydrates while staying lean and fit. Athletes can afford to go harder with the carbs and fructose because their glycogen stores are more often depleted and there is no negative metabolic effect in repleting glycogen stores. It’s when you hammer them while they are already repleted that problems happen.


Getting fatter had its advantages

If excess sugar and especially fructose is bad and the root cause of all modern metabolic problems along with grains and omega-6/omega-3 imbalances, you probably wonder how our ancestors got by eating fruits, probably without restriction. After all, fructose got its name from the word “fruit”. The thing is, most fruits back then were much less sweet and much more fibrous and/or tart. The other thing is that in most parts of the world, fruits are only available at certain times of the year. Most of the time, this would happen right at the end of the summer when it was the ideal time to over-eat a bit of it and get fatter to go through winter, when food becomes scarce. Getting a higher amount of carbs a couple of times a year instead of chronically causes no problem, especially when your metabolism hasn’t been messed up already.


How to lose stubborn weight

Metabolically deranged personThe good news as that most broken metabolisms can be brought back to normal with the proper approach. As a general rule, the more insulin resistant and metabolically deranged you are in the first place , the more rigorous you’ll have to be in your approach. Most healthy people will get by just fine and achieve their health and weight goals simply by following the 15 rules described in Paleo 101. Those who still struggle to lose weight though might need to take it up a notch to trigger their metabolism in a proper mode of fat burning. You have to put your body in a metabolic state different enough so your body decides to change its set-point and burn fat.

You’ll need to keep your carb and fructose intake very low, so low that you’ll go into a state called ketosis. Ketosis happens when your liver starts making ketone bodies out of fat as a fuel source that replaces glucose. Don’t worry, being in ketosis is perfectly healthy and most ancient humans were in ketosis probably more often than not. There are even metabolic advantages to being fat adapted and most of your cells prefer burning ketone bodies than glucose. If you don’t consume any carbs whatsoever, your body will make glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis for the few organs and cells that can’t run on ketone bodies (some parts of the brain and red blood cells mainly).
Pork rillettes, full of good fatYou’ll get into ketosis at about 50 grams of carbs or less per day. You can buy urine test strips at your local drugstore to test whether you are in ketosis or not.

For serious weight loss needs though, I recommend that you keep your carb intake near zero. 5% of your caloric intake as vegetables used as condiments to your meals is probably fine. Even excess proteins will be transformed into glucose so you should keep protein intake at around 20% of your caloric intake.

I also recommend against eating any fruits, nuts or starchy vegetables. Nuts and seeds contain some gut irritating properties from lectins and often have a very bad omega-6/omega-3 ratio. A good ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is even more important when you are metabolically deranged, so I recommend keeping your polyunsaturated fat intake to a minimum and supplement 1 or 2 grams of a good quality fish oil every day to get those fats in the right balance. Also strive to only eat grass-fed meat and wild fish. Read my paleo on a budget article to learn how save money while eating grass-fed and pastured animals. Grass-fed ruminants like beef, bison and lamb will have a better omega-6/omega-3 ratio in their fat than pork and chicken, even when well-fed.

None of the problematic neolithic foods should be consumed. This includes all grains, legumes, vegetable oils, sugar and possibly even dairy.

Your diet should therefore be around 75-80% fat, 20-25% protein and 0-5% carbohydrates. This diet is also healthy in the long-term and you will get all the nutrients you need from muscle meat, organ meat, good quality animal fat, fish, shellfish and homemade bone broths. Most ancient humans in most regions of the world probably ate a diet very similar to that.
Bacon and eggsYour fat sources should be mostly from animals. Butter, tallow, lard, duck fat and egg yolks are some examples. Coconut oil is also fine, as is non-heated olive oil. If you buy the fatty cuts of meat, you’ll already get a good amount of fat just by eating all the trimmings. For those struggling to get enough fat, heavy cream from grass-fed and pastured cows or goats can be an easy way to get it higher if you are positive that you tolerate dairy very well. You’ll have to experiment with it to really know.

If your body is not used to be in ketosis and to use fat as a source of fuel, you might feel shaky and sluggish for two or three weeks. It will soon pass though and you’ll experience far less cravings for carbohydrates by keeping your intake very low.

Proper sleep and an optimal vitamin D level are also really important to let your body heal, regain its vitality and permit your hormones to fall back to a normal balance where you’ll lose fat. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night, try to wake up without an alarm and, unless you’re exposed to sunlight everyday, get 4,000 IU of vitamin D every day.

Once your diet is in order, you’re past the initial sluggishness of becoming fat adapted and your sleep is optimal, you should start to lose weight effortlessly and feel generally great. You can stay on this stricter version of the diet for as long as you need to.

As for training and exercise, short and intense weight lifting with a focus on big compound movements (squat, deadlift, pullups, should press and bench press) as well as short and sporadic sprinting sessions are optimal for proper hormonal balance, gene expression and ultimately weight loss. You should rest enough between training sessions to fully recover and not train when you don’t feel like it. Ultimately, it’s proper diet and lifestyle habits that will put your body in a weight loss mode, not exercise.

Fatty meat



I hope this article helped you understand some of the main mechanisms implicated with weight gain so you can better understand why some people always struggle to lose weight and why most people following a diet ultimately fail and regain all the weight. Proper dietary and lifestyle changes that align with what our paleolithic ancestors were used to in nature is the only sure-fire strategy for long-term health and weight control. 

To read other articles by the same author, see the blog roll at right and click on it to go to the website.  They have many other wonderful articles about specific foods.  Next blog we will look at the Weston A. Price Foundation and their approach to health and weight loss.