Monday, April 26, 2021

April's Challenge, Tasty Fat and Insulin

Breaking fast meal, fat and protein

For the last week of April's challenge on fat, I am going to focus on insulin levels. Maybe seems crazy, but as I say, there is a method to my madness. 

What is insulin? Insulin is a form of a hormone that is produced in the pancreas. Insulin plays many important roles in the body. It is vital to life. Without it we would die. Too high, too low and havoc is wreak throughout the body. If insulin is consistently elevated, our health begins to unravel at the cellular level and beyond. Insulin is kinda a big deal.  

One of the roles of insulin to regulating blood sugar, glucose, in the blood. When you eat carbs and sugars, insulin is produced in response to the glucose. The body uses insulin to take the glucose out of the blood stream and push it into the cells to be used for energy, stored in the muscles or liver, if your stores are full, it is converted to fat and stored on the body as fat. Shuttling out the glucose from our blood stream is important because glucose left in the blood stream can become toxic. We need to flush it out, use it or store it.   

Another role of insulin is regulation of fat storage or break down. Yup, insulin tells your body to either store fat or burn fat for energy. If glucose levels are high in the blood, the insulin being produced and released by the body, keeps fat safely locked away on your body to be burned later for fuel. When insulin levels come back to stable levels, the body can begin to use your fat stores as a source of energy. You have to use glucose first, if it is left in the blood stream it can become toxic to the body. If you continue inputting sugar laden foods, your insulin levels remain high and fat continues to be stored on the body. 

There are many other roles insulin plays in the body, very important roles. We are going to stick with these two for today.

Remember, insulin is important in the body. We have to have it. It is about the levels we have it in. We need enough for all the roles insulin plays in the body, seamlessly rising and falling with in a narrow range for the vitality of life. We want to avoid the big waves, crashes, and consistently high levels. We want more of a whisper.

Insulin is triggered by the level of glucose in the blood stream. Eat a lot of carbs, insulin levels go up to shuttle this glucose out of the blood stream, then plummet. This triggers hunger. The more unstable and higher your insulin levels, the more hungry you are. Your body is trying to keep you alive here, too high or too low of insulin levels and we are in trouble. Mood swings, hangry, exhaustion, inability to think, focus, weight gain..... Getting the picture? 

If carbs, increase the amount of insulin produced in the body, what do we eat? Protein and our good friend fat. The bulk of your nutrient intake should be coming from fat and protein. How much? An idea is a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, ideal weight. More than you are eating. How much fat? Copious amounts of healthy fats that we have been talking about these last several posts. Protein has some impact on your insulin levels. For most, this impact is not a big deal, be sure to eat it with fat. Eat more protein. Fat on the other hand. well is basically is a free food. It doesn't impact our insulin levels. Keeps them nice and stable. Eat more fat.  

One more important thing, stable insulin levels leads to effortless weight loss and maintenance. Go eat some fat and protein.

More resources:

A Guide to Insulin

Dr. Cate Her book the "Fat Burn Fix" is fantastic.

Where your mitochondria go, your health goes.

Jenn 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A Trip Back in Time

New Beginnings 

I began my blog in August of 2011. Crazy. I consistently blogged for many years, weekly to multiple times a week. I put together challenges, monthly ones, year long challenges with monthly and weekly smaller challenges to go along with the greater goal of better health. I poured a lot of love into my blog for several years. It never went anywhere, but I did enjoy it. By the end of 2016, I wasn't as consistent and pretty much stopped other than a post here and there. Typing destroys my hand and arm. It causes tremendous bone pain, my arm will scream bloody murder for days to weeks if I type. It wasn't worth the pain I was in to continue typing. I stopped blogging and began using Instargram for a "blog". Went through a divorce. Began working on me, there was hell to heal from.  Recently, from the encouragement of my business coach, I began blogging again a couple of months ago. She kept reminding me how much content, love I had in this blog, I shouldn't let it go away. If nothing else, reuse content, there is so much here. She reminded me of my joy of doing this. I am loving it! Typing still sets my arm to hell. Sometimes I type with one hand, other times I push through and type with both hands, gets the thoughts out better. It is a work in progress, lets be honest.
 
I was browsing old drafts, see what I had began as ideas for posts and never did. I originally began this post in July of 2013. I need to ask myself these questions today, all these years later. 

What are you holding onto that you need to let go of to achieve this goal/dream?
Sometimes the thing we are holding onto the tightest is the thing we need to let go of to fulfill our dreams. This "thing" is what is keeping you from reaching your dreams/goals, new heights, being the person you want to be.
What steps are you willing to take to begin letting go of this controlling fear? This fear that is stopping you from reaching the heights?

Some powerful questions.

Where your mitochondria go, your health goes.
All my love
Jenn

Monday, April 19, 2021

April's Challenge, Fat is the Preferred Energy Source

The color egg yolks should be deep orange

One of the beautiful aspects of Primal living is the switch in the paradigm of the body's preferred source of fuel. It is not carbohydrates it is fat. The body loves to burn fat for fuel. The heart and brain thrive on ketons which are produced by the body when we eat fat and protein. Yes, the brain needs some glucose. The liver is able to create enough of this to supply the brain with it's minimal need for glucose. For most of it's energy source the brain prefers ketons. This energy source is long lasting and there is ample supplies of it on our bodies. This reassures the energy hogging brain it will have all the energy it needs to thrive. It quiets down. Fat is clean burning, long lasting and stable source of energy and nutrients the body needs to function. The fat I am talking about is natural fats, animal fats, butter, full fat dairy, eggs, beef, pork, fish, lard, olive oil, avocadoes, nuts and seeds, foods our ancestors would have recognized and known what they were hundreds of years ago. 

What do I mean by clean burning energy? When the body breaks down nutrients to use an inevitable side effect is oxidative stress, free radicles are created. A part of the process no way around it. Different foods create differing amounts of free radicles. Sugars, carbohydrates, hydrogenated oils, these cause significant amounts of oxidative stress. We need more antioxidants then to clean up these free radicles. However, when we eat protein and healthy fats like I mentioned above, there is significantly less free radicles created in the break down processes. The body is able to more readily clean up after itself when fat is the primary source of fuel. We need less antioxidants to clean up after eating. Instead of putting those precious antioxidants to use cleaning up from our food choices, the body is able to put those to use in other ways protecting us from other damage, chemicals, toxins, stress. 

Another reason we prioritize fat for fuel is the amount of energy availed in fat. It is stable, fat doesn't disturbed our insulin creating peaks and valleys, high and low levels of insulin. This peak and valley in insulin leads to crashes in energy levels. With fat and protein insulin remains stable. Stable insulin relates to higher, consistent energy levels, fewer energy crashes, better mood, greater focus and higher quality sleep. 

For  endurance athletes, you know bonking all to well. When your body is able to burn fat for fuel and you are able to dig into your body's fat stores, you have abundant energy available to you. You become virtually bonk proof.  

Your body has to come back to it's God given natural state of being able to burn fat for fuel. Your mitochondria, the power plants of your cells, where your energy is produced, they have to readapt to burning fat. When you eat sugar and carbs as your energy source, your body changes at a chemical, cellular, physiological level. It has to relearn how to be a fat burner. Once it has gone through this period of time, around 21 days, you are on your way to better health, effortless weight loss or weight maintenance, stable moods, better sleep, mental health improvements and so much more.

The benefits of burning fat for fuel are endless, You have more bang for your buck when eating fat, there is a lot of energy in fat. It helps keep stable insulin levels leading to increased energy and more stable moods. It tastes amazing! How could eating a steak dripping in butter not be one of those most amazing things to eat?! 

Where your mitochondria goes your health goes. 

All my best

Jen


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

April's Challenge, Eliminating the Not so Good


To continue from lasts week's post in regards to eliminating hydrogenated oils, I believe this is an important graph and article attached describing the chemical process rape seed goes through to become canola oil. It isn't pretty. I know for me, if something has to go through this many steps to become "edible" it isn't something I am putting in my body.

The article is a bit lengthy, but worth the read. 

The Great Con-ola

Where your mitochondria go, your health goes.

All my best,

Jenn

Friday, April 9, 2021

The Long Hard Road to Recovery

 


My ever faithful workout buddy, Otto

I believe a hard aspect for any of us as athletes, those who workout and train often, coming back from an injury or being sick is never easy for us. We always want it to happen faster than it is going to. Become frustrated quite easily, which, truly makes it all far more difficult and agonizing than it has to be. It is humbling. We want to push and do what we were doing before and when it doesn't happen at our speed, first workouts back, frustration begins to set in. All true for me anyway.

Giving our bodies the time and space they need for full recovery is difficult. There is a balance between taking the next step, being able to fully recover, heal, and pushing to hard to quickly, re-injuring or re-lapsing, we prolong the recovery processes. We forget just because we are feeling better does not in any way mean our bodies are truly recovered. 

I have been on a journey of recovery from having the virus. I was lucky. No, I didn't luck out with some mild case. Mine was more moderate. My immune system had a good fight. It definitely hit my lungs, which is normal for me. When I was a teen, my poor lung took a beating. Every time I got sick, or my allergies would kick in during the winter months, it went to my lungs, accompanied by an angry cough. Chest x-rays yearly to check for pneumonia, spots on my lungs, anything to point to my rough cough. Thankfully, every time, it was negative for anything, just a nasty cough. Inhalers and steroids later and months it would calm down. As an adult, I consistently feel like I am suffocating. I feel like I have an elephant sitting on my chest and a boa constrictor wrapped around my lunges. Breathing is difficult for me. That the virus went to my lungs would be expected. With all of this, my case was mild. No where near anything I fought in my younger years. Good mild case of a virus for my body to become stronger.

Yes, not being able to breath makes CrossFitting difficult. I swear I am suffocating through workouts. Part of why I do CrossFit and train hard, strengthen my lungs.

Because my body did fight an upper repertory virus my lungs were mildly impacted. As I was beginning my workouts and walking, my lungs were on fire. My first walks with Otto were slow and short. My endurance was gone, felt like it anyway. It sucked. I would go for a short walk and be wiped out. I took things slowly not pushing my body hard, giving my body the space and time it needed to heal and recover. When I felt a little stronger, I added more length to our walk. As my endurance and lunges healed, I added the hills, the mountain, more distance. 

I have slowly been working on regaining strength as I recover. My first work out I did, body weight squats, reverse rows, lunges, plank, my lungs burned. It hurt. I did a set, rested, tried another, waited, I cannot even remember if I decided to do a third set or not. I might have called it at two. It was frustratingly humbling. I have a better understanding of those who are beginning a workout regime for the first time. It is not easy. 

I had to remind myself, I am recovering, rebuilding my lungs and body. It is going to take time. I do not want long term damage just because I am impatient and want it now. I need to trust the process. Work slowly. My body is doing far more important things, rebuilding. It doesn't need to be pushed hard in workouts. As I felt stronger, I did a little more. Recovered. Rebuild. Add a little more. I know it will be in  no time I am fully back. It is the greater understanding of recovery, coming back, giving myself grace and trusting my brilliant body. Remembering my future, not only this moment but thinking long term.  

Several months out, I feel amazing. I am stronger and healthier than I was before getting sick. Allowing my immune system to fight the virus was one of the best things for me. My body needed the opportunity to fight a virus, rid itself of cells that needed to go, breakdown, get lots of extra sleep, take life easy, slow down, have a stronger immune system and rebuild itself. My immune system fought, like a champ and it came out victorious. 

I am back to full workouts, even sprinting again. I feel amazing!
Thank you to my brilliant body.
Were your mitochondria go your health goes.
Love you guys
Jen


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

April's Challenge, Decrease Hydronated Oils


 Welcome to week two of April's challenge focusing on fats.

Last week we talked about increasing healthy fats, butter, egg yolks, lard, animal fats in general, coconut oil, avocados. These healthy fats wont make you fat, especially when eaten with low carb lifestyle and high animal protein. These fats provide the body with vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals, energy for the body. Stability to insulin levels, stable insulin leads to the body being able to burn stored body fat for energy. Go eat your fats!  

For the challenge this week, I want to focus on hydrogenated oils. We want to eliminate these oils as much as possible. What are hydrogenated oils? These are fats high in omega 6 fatty acids, type of fat. They are heated to very high temperatures, processed with chemicals, leading to denaturing of the fat, this leads to health problems. These fats include soy, canola, corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, vegetable oils.

These oils are one of the leading causes of metabolic decline, your cells not functioning properly, increasing inflammation in the body, interfere with your mitochondria, your power houses, energy sources in your cells. When these are damaged, your health declines. Hydrogenated oils lead to obesity. Inflamed, painful, sore, arthritic joints. Gut health issues. Brain, cognitive decline. Negatively impact your thyroid. Impact the expression of your genetics. Hydrogenated oils damage every cell in your body. These are truly an oil we want to eliminate from our eating. 

This could be a challenge, especially if you are used to eating processed, pre-packaged foods, or eating out, because they are loaded with hydrogenated oils. Deciding to fully eliminate these foods from your current way of eating, sounds fantastic, but probably isn't going to set you up for success. One fail swoop of a diet change is not normally sustainable for the long term. Taking it slowly and creating a healthier lifestyle is a better approach for a life time of health, not a  crash diet. Choose one of your meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner and decide to eat whole foods at this meal. Once you have this down, move onto another one. This is a journey and it can take time. If you are already well into your journey of healthy eating, maybe fully eliminating these oils is the next step for you. Where ever you are, take the next step!

Where you will find hydrogenated oils? When reading a food label, look for hydrogenated oil on the ingredient list. Even if on the front, it says no hydrogenated or trans fats, be sure to read the ingredients. Here in the US, food manufacturers are allowed to put so much in and still call it "free" from these deadly oils. Read the ingredient label! This will basically keep you buying single ingredient items, real food.

Other places to watch out for trans fats, another form of hydrogenated oils, is liquid oils at room temperature being cooked. Oils such as olive, flax, walnut, even avocado are fantastic for our health and should be eaten, I recommend not cooking them. Heating these oils changes them into trans fats.

By eliminating hydrogenated/trans fats from your diet, you will be protecting your heart, decreasing inflammation in your body, which is at the root of every disease, take off inches from your mid section, plus you will not be eating processed food and instead be eating highly nutrient rich dense foods that will nourish your body.

Where your mitochondria goes, your health goes. 
Many blessings to you on this journey to health,
Jenn



Friday, April 2, 2021

Welcome to April! Let's Eat More Fat!!!

 


Welcome to April! Can you believe it?! For our challenge this month, we are going to focus on healthy fats, the reasons these are important, why we need them, health benefits, why they aren't the enemy we have been told.

Let's begin!

Some benefits of healthy fats:
Very important vitamins and miners, A, D, K2 and omega-3's
Help with hormone synthesis, if we do not have enough healthy fat, we cannot make our hormones.
If we don't eat cholesterol, our livers will make it, it is that important for our health, our liver makes cholesterol 
Help in our weight lose or weight gain efforts, stabilizing insulin levels. 
Makes food tasty yummy
Help our bodies to uptake the water soluble vitamins.
Help our hair, nails and skin be healthy.
Help to protect our hearts.
Help protect our brains, which is mainly cholesterol.
Preferred source of energy for the body and our organs. 

This is an extremely short list, but I think you understand the idea. Anywho, how long of a list do you need anyway when someone is giving you permission to eat healthy fats, like butter?! Not long.

What determines a healthy fat, to me:
It has to be natural.
Not going through lengthy chemical processes to be able to eat it.
No hydrogenated,  chemical transfats, these are processed omega 6's, vegetable oils.
From animals that are pastured raised, eating what God intended them to eat, as much as possible.

Foods we want to increase:
Obviously butter!
Full fat heavy cream
If you can find it, whole raw milk
Whole eggs
Organ meats
Coconut oil and milk
Nuts and seeds
Bone broths
Not only the lean meat, go for fattier cuts
Cold pressed olive oil
Code liver oil
Ghee, tallow, lard, bacon

Now, I am not saying go over board and only eat fat. In my eating plan, I strive for somewhere between 50-65% coming from healthy sources of fat, a ball park range. It seems for most people, this is a good range. This will help you feel full and satisfied as well as give you good stable energy, and nutrients your body needs to thrive.

For this weeks challenge:
Incorporate more healthy fats into your daily diet.

Here's to a great challenge increasing fat!
All my best to you loves
Jen