I intended to sit down and write a quick review of the seminar and it turned into this two part series. As a quick recap, Diane Sanfilippo is a holistic lifestyle coach and certified nutrition educator out of San Francisco and recently gave a 4 hour seminar in Bethesda. You can find her on her web site Balanced Bites.
I left off in part 1 talking about the cholesterol myth and a promise for a post about that soon. It is in the works and is near and dear to my heart as I have close friends and family members who are being pushed, by their doctors to take Lipitor or some other STATIN drug. They do not like how it makes them feel or the fact that they are being told they will have to take it the rest of their lives, but the alternative, as it is presented to them, is death. This is not right and I hope to able to arm them with information to have a conversation with their doctors.
On to the seminar.
An important point to make about Diane's approach and ordering of her seminar was the fact that the grains and legume part did not play center stage. It was presented after discussing hormones, blood sugar regulation, and cholesterol. The no grains and legumes piece of Paleo nutrition is where we get the most resistance from people we work with as well as from people who disagree with our nutrition prescription altogether. However, as Diane points out, there are so many more reasons to take a look at how you are eating. Grains and legumes are just a part of it. "How can heart healthy whole grains be bad for you?" "How can beans be bad for you?" "They are both natural." These are the questions we get a lot. Diane went on to break down the reasons grains and legumes can have an adverse impact on your health. Whole grain flour is still a refined, processed, food. Grains contain an internal defense mechanism of proteins or anti-nutrients that our digestive enzymes cannot break down causing gut irritation. Remember the bean song? "Beans beans good for your heart" The gut irritation caused by these anit-nutrients also inhibit your ability to absorb minerals leading to deficiencies in things like calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D.
Diane's approach to dairy is a bit more liberal than others. In her opinion, it should be eliminated from your diet if you are experiencing any autoimmune issues or other digestion issues. However, if you have no know issues with dairy, raw whole milk, from grass fed cows gets a green light.
With regards to essential fatty acids (omega 3 and Omega 6) Diane's views are a bit different than what we have been practicing. We have been
We quickly went through the effects of fructose on the liver and looked at macronutrients. The emphasis in this section was to not wed yourself to any one approach as there is no one right way for everyone. Again, Diane did not shy away from taking a look at how we got to where we are in the medical community today. We have screwed a bunch of things up by trying to "manage chronic conditions with an approach designed to fix acute problems." This has led us to the point where we go to the doctors with the expectation of walking out with a pill that will fix our problems.
My favorite portion of the presentation by far was the portion on digestion. Diane went through the digestive process and highlighted several ways of knowing if your digestion was working. This was enlightening for both of us as we have been eating Paleo for more than two years now and still have issues with proper digestion. I have always known that I can tell the quality of my nutrition by what comes out the back end, but we were given detailed descriptions of what the various bowel movements mean from a nutrient absorption standpoint as gross as it sounds it was very enlightening.
We went on to leaky gut(intestinal permeability) and spent a considerable amount of time going over what it is and the mechanisims that can cause leaky gut. Diet is only one of six. The presentation included some really nice visuals that helped to clarify exactly what is going on at the microscopic level of the villi of the small intestine.
The presentation finished by going over what a paleo approach would look like for various groups of people. Someone focused solely on health, someone trying to lose fat and lean out, someone trying to gain weight or build mass, and someone with an autoimmune condition. All would have a slightly different approach.
I said at the beginning of part 1 that I was not going to go into detail and as long as these two posts are I have not touched the detail you get from actually attending the seminar. Dawn and I have been to Robb Wolf's seminar twice and The Whole 9 twice and rank Diane's seminar right up there with both. She knows her stuff and has a casual, freindly way of presenting. We were glad we were able to get in early and look forward to the expanded version in the future.