|Two of Dawn's clients Pete(left) and Diara(right) joined us at the seminar|
Diane Sanfilippo is a holistic nutritionist and lifestyle coach out of San Francisco, California and is also the creator of the blog Balanced Bites that we have come to appreciate as a great resource for recipes, food source information and lifestyle issues that can affect the quality of your life. You can find her site on our blog list to the right of our page and would benefit from spending some time on it. We were thrilled when we found out Diane was coming to Bethesda to give a Paleo Nutrition Seminar. Without recapping the whole seminar, we wanted to give you the highlights and what we took away from the morning.
First and foremost we really liked the order of the presentation. You can get really geeked out on all the complexities and variables that go into nutrition, but it always boils down to the effects of the food you eat on your hormones. Specifically the hormones of insulin, glucagon, and cortisol. These hormones are important in that they play a crucial role in blood sugar regulation. As Diane pointed out, regulating your blood sugar has to be the starting point for any lasting changes to your health and this can be done through what you eat. Failure to regulate your blood sugars creates a yo-yo of blood sugar peaks and crashes. This feeds a spinning loop of systemic inflammation from constantly high insulin and cortisol leading to metabolic derangement and a host of chronic conditions that we have talked about many times.
Another great part of the seminar was Diane's willingness to take on conventional wisdom and address how we got to the point where a large part of our population is sick because of the food we are told to eat. Other seminars we have been to tend to shy away from this piece. Diane talks about the inherent conflict of interest that exists between the US Department of AGRICULTURE being tasked with developing what is the best diet for us to eat. Their primary goal is to promote agriculture and their dietary advice is based more on economical factors than what is most healthy. As Diane said many times Saturday, if you want to know how we got into this predicament where our kids life expectancy is projected to be shorter than ours, "Follow the money." Even the labeling of "Food" has been manipulated to place your focus on nutrition facts as they relate to USDA guidelines rather than the actual ingredients found in "Foods." I put food in parenthesis because much of what is considered healthy by USDA guidelines has been processed to the point that it can no longer even be considered a food.
One of the more powerful points of the presentation was a side by side comparison of a traditional healthy breakfast as defined by USDA standards compared to a traditional Paleo breakfast. For the example Diane used a very popular, organic, "healthy," cereal Kashi with skim milk, a 12oz orange juice, and coffee with 2tsp of sugar and skim milk compared to 3 whole eggs, 1/4 avocado, 1c broccoli, 2 tomato slices and a 16oz coffee with half and half. Calorically speaking the meals are the same, both under 500 calories. However, if you examine the carbohydrate and sugar content(the body treats these two the same), which we now know has a direct effect on blood sugar regulation, you are looking at 123g of refined sugar compare to 27g of sugar. This starts the roller coaster of blood sugar for the day and you are left playing catch up. How many of us have had this same breakfast of cereal/oatmeal, juice and a little coffee with our cream and sugar and we are starving two hours later and running to the vending machine or pounding back nutra-grain bars to keep the cycle rolling? Again it's all about that blood sugar regulation.
The presentation went on to debunk the myth that eating fats makes you fat or that eating fats will give you heart disease. Diane explained that dietary fat alone causes no insulin response and excess sugar in the bloodstream from carb consumption causes insulin to store body fat. She also went into the flawed analysis that Ancel Keys used to come up with the lipid hypothesis that started the ball rolling on the notion that fat causes heart disease. Another revalation for us was the notion that damaged fats are bad fats. Fats that have been oxidized through whatever means, but mostly by heating can cause adverse health issues. What this means for us is we need to move away from using olive oil as our cooking fat. We have started using coconut oil in most of our heated cooking but still go to olive oil when we run out. We need to do more digging on this one, but a good rule of thumb is, if it is solid at room temperature and is not man made it is probably good for cooking. Diane also talked about the bad rap that cholesterol has gotten and how the drug companies have created a billion dollar industry out of scaring the public into taking statins when there is no scientific evidence that statins help to prevent cardiovascular disease. This is another area where we will post about soon.
Wow we covered alot and we have yet to get into Grains, legumes, dairy and leaky gut. We have talked about all of this in the past but wanted to share some of different takes in the hopes of making things make more sense for you. You can read Part 2 Here.