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The Truth About Heart Disease

Based on the book “Put Your Heart in Your Mouth,” by dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

 

Is everything we think we know about heart health wrong? It just might be. For starters, the belief that saturated fat causes heart disease is wrong, based on recent research and publications. Unfortunately, the correlation between saturated fat and heart disease has been ingrained in our brains for so many years that it seems almost impossible to convince people otherwise. Yet, I’m going to try. 

The Truth About Heart Health

 

Is Saturated Fat to Blame?

Case and point: let’s talk about the “diet-heart hypothesis” proposed by Ancel Keys in 1953. This hypothesis led us to believe that low fat and low cholesterol diets were the answer to preventing heart disease. Keys’ infamous diagram showed the correlation between fat consumption and mortality from heart disease. While he studied 22 countries, only 6 of these countries were included in the diagram. Ironically, these 6 countries were the only ones that “proved” his theory. Interestingly, the same correlation doesn’t exist when the remaining countries are added. 

So, if this correlation is false, why are doctors still telling you to avoid fat and cholesterol? Shouldn’t they know better? Disappointingly, the research and information doctors receive is from the same source as the general public: drug companies. At the end of the day, the health industry is a game of politics and drug companies will do whatever it takes to make a dollar (or millions).

Despite the influence of drug companies on the health industry, the evidence is very clear: saturated fat does not cause heart disease. I won’t bore you with the science, but here are a couple of notable studies: 

  • Since WWII, the Japanese have been eating more and more animal fat, yet fewer and fewer of them die from heart attacks. Actually, mortality from most diseases decreased in Japan as they ate more animal fat. 
  • In the USA between 1930 and 1960, mortality from heart disease increased 10 times, while the consumption of animal fat decreased. 
  • Dozens of studies conducted in different countries show that people with heart disease eat the same amount of fat and cholesterol as people without any heart disease. The studies do show, however, that eating vegetable oils and margarine is strongly associated with heart disease. 
  • Many studies show that in old age, cholesterol is protective. 

 

The Health Benefits of Cholesterol 

Did you know that cholesterol found in foods has virtually no effect on our blood cholesterol levels? It may be shocking, but it’s the truth. In fact, humans cannot live without cholesterol. Cholesterol is vital to our cell membranes by making the walls of the cell firm and helping to communicate with other cells. Cholesterol protects us from infections, memory loss, and many diseases, like multiple sclerosis and other nervous system diseases. We need cholesterol to produce hormones, regulate our metabolism, energy production, mineral assimilation, and muscle, bone and brain formation. It is an important part of bile production, necessary for absorbing fat soluble vitamins, including Vitamin D, which most of us are deficient in. Recent research also shows eating full-cream dairy products can cure infertility in women. 

Low levels of blood cholesterol has been repeatedly recorded in criminals who have committed murder and other violent crimes, people prone to suicide, people with aggressive social behavior and those with low self-control. Clearly, cholesterol is not only essential for our physical health, but also our mental health.  

Arguably, the most important function of cholesterol is it’s healing properties. Cholesterol is sent to any area of damage or inflammation to begin repair. Healing involves the birth, growth, and functioning of the immune system and other cells that are made out of cholesterol and fats. So, when a blood test finds high cholesterol, we must look at what is causing damage to the body. While atherosclerosis is purely an inflammatory condition, cholesterol is often blamed as the cause- simply because it is found at the site of the crime. 

Causes of Inflammation in the Body

If cholesterol is a response to inflammation in the body, what is the root cause of inflammation?

 

  • Man-made chemicals, like personal care products, cleaning chemicals, detergents, prescriptions, over the counter drugs. 
  • Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke 
  • Industrial pollution 
  • Pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers 
  • Tap water containing chlorine, fluoride, nitrates, and other contaminants 
  • Processed foods 
  • Various infectious microbes 
  • Gut dysbiosis 
  • Nutritional deficiencies 
  • Lack of sun exposure 
  • Sedentary lifestyle and habits
  • Excessive stress 
  • Free radicals 
  • Electromagnetic Pollution 
  • Radiation 

 

In a healthy body, after any injury or increased inflammation, cholesterol is sent to the scene to help the body repair itself. However, in the case of atherosclerosis, inflammation never stops. Why is this? 

Metabolic Syndrome. 

Metabolic Syndrome is defined as a cluster of health conditions that occur together, like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. This increasingly common disease is due to our overconsumption of processed carbohydrates and high levels of glucose/insulin. As a result, inflammation increases and leads to atherosclerosis. Truthfully, heart disease was basically nonexistent before the invention of processed foods. 

How to Prevent Heart Disease

Given the increasing presence of heart disease in today’s society, what steps can we take to prevent this dangerous condition?

 

  • Stop eating processed foods, including breakfast cereals, wheat, processed sugar and salt, trans fats (vegetable oils), and soy. 
  • Eat fresh nature-made foods, traditionally-prepared: 
    • Fatty meats (avoid lean meats) and high-cholesterol and pro-healing foods, like: 
      • Animal brains 
      • Organ meats 
      • Caviar 
      • Cod Liver Oil 
      • Fresh egg yolk 
      • Butter 
      • Cold-water fish and shellfish 
      • Lard 
      • Meat and bone-stock 
    • Fish & shellfish 
    • Fresh fruit 
    • Raw, organic dairy 
    • Unprocessed nuts/seeds 
    • Soaked/sprouted beans/lentils 
    • Natural fats 
    • Fermented/sprouted, whole, unprocessed grains 
    • Unprocessed honey and dried fruit 
    • Fermented foods 
    • Freshly-pressed fruit and vegetable juices 
  • Stop polluting our bodies with man-made chemicals, like house-cleaning products, cosmetics, herbicides, pollutants, and more. 

Fundamentally, our bodies are miraculous creations that heal and repair themselves, as long as we allow them to do so. When our bodies become ill from polluting ourselves with chemicals, processed foods, and unnatural lifestyle habits, it becomes inflamed. Consequently, it calls for help with signals of pain, stiffness, and unpleasant digestive symptoms. Instead of supporting our bodies with what it needs to heal, we turn to prescription drugs to stop the pain, which only silences the body’s cry for help. 

What would happen if we started treating the root cause of inflammation, instead of simply masking symptoms? I’m willing to bet heart disease and inflammation would actually start to decrease, and as a result, our society, as a whole, would gain a better quality of life. 

If you’re looking for help to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health, I would love to chat with you. Book a free discovery call, here!

 

4 REASONS YOU SHOULD TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING

What is all this chatter about intermittent fasting?  Maybe you’ve heard the term swirling around, read an article about it, or have even seen your favorite athlete or celebrity talk about it.  It seems like everyone these days (at least in LA and in the wellness community) is practicing some form of it.

What is it?  Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you limit your eating window to certain hours of the day.  A pattern of feasting and fasting, much like our ancestors naturally practiced.

 

Why should you try it?  These days we have access to food around the clock, whenever and wherever we want it, and that has shown to be extremely detrimental to our health.  When our bodies are constantly in a “fed” state, we don’t allow for the cellular and molecular repairs that can only happen when our body is in a “fasted” state.  Intermittent fasting is an extremely powerful tool, and here’s why:

 

  1. IT’S EASY & FREE.

    My favorite reason!  The best thing about intermittent fasting is it requires no extra time on your part, plus it will even save you money (music to an entrepreneur’s ears!).  Let’s just remember that nobody makes money from fasting, which is why it might not yet be a mainstream practice.  The concept of 3 meals a day was created as a means of convenience and ritual, and many food companies bank on that.  Doesn’t it just make more sense intuitively to eat when you’re hungry versus when the clock tells you to?   No planning, no cooking, and no cleaning.  And more time to enjoy life!

  2. YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT, WHILE ALSO MAINTAINING MUSCLE.

    If you are eating during a smaller window of time, chances are you’ll end up consuming less food overall, leading to weight loss.  Not only that, but contrary to popular belief, short-term fasting (less than 72 hours) will actually increase your metabolic rate.  This is due to a decrease in insulin and an increase in human growth hormone, signaling the body to burn stored fat and preserve muscle.  Add in some resistance training and you can even gain muscle, along with boosting all of the benefits listed here.

  3. ANTI-AGING & DISEASE PREVENTION.

    During intermittent fasting, a biological process called autophagy occurs.  Autophagy is basically the body’s way of removing all of the old, damaged, toxic cells and proteins.  This decelerates aging and leads to a decrease in conditions, such as Alzheimers, Huntington’s Disease, and cancer.  Intermittent fasting also lowers inflammation, and reduces your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

  4. YOUR CRAVINGS WILL DIMINISH, DIGESTION WILL IMPROVE, AND ENERGY WILL SKYROCKET.

    It may take some time to adjust to this new pattern of eating, but once you do, your body will be burning fat for fuel instead of sugar.  You’ll find yourself with decreased hunger, and your cravings for processed foods and sugary treats will decrease.  When your body is not burdened with digesting food all day long, you will have all the energy you need to complete tasks and enjoy your life!

 

So, how do you do it?  Below are a few popular methods.  As a starting point, we should be fasting for at least 12 hours every day, from dinner to breakfast the next day.

  1. The 16/8 or 18/6 Method.  This method of fasting includes 16-18 hours of fasting and an eating period of 6-8 hours.  So, if you eat dinner at 8pm, you wouldn’t eat again until 12pm or 2pm,  just skipping breakfast.  Or you could also finish your last meal of the day by 4pm and then have breakfast at 8am or 10am.
  2. Fat-fasting.  Instead of skipping breakfast as above, this method just replaces breakfast with a “fat breakfast,” such as a Bulletproof coffee/tea (a drink made with grass-fed butter/ghee and MCT oil).  This is a great alternative for someone who finds skipping breakfast a challenge.
  3. 24-hour Fasting.  This method involves periodically (1-2x/week) fasting from dinner one day until dinner the next day.

 

Personally, because I’m not usually hungry for breakfast, I practice the 18/6 method most days, and occasionally I accidentally fast for 20-24 hours.  I can easily finish dinner by 4-5pm, and not eat again until 2pm the next day.  Given mornings and early afternoons are my busiest, fasting helps to keep my energy up during those times.  Find what feels best for you and do that!  On nights when you’re too tired or maybe not that hungry for dinner, skip it!  If you have a busy morning or don’t have an appetite for breakfast, skip it!

On a final note, this is not an invitation to eat whatever you want during the feeding window.  Intermittent fasting will be much more intuitive and enjoyable if you’re eating the right type of foods (whole, high-quality, and nutrient-dense), moving your body regularly (preferably resistance training), and managing your sleep and stress.

 

Have you experimented with intermittent fasting?  Has it worked for you?  Let me know your thoughts!