Tag Archives: Fat

3 Ways to Rewire Your Brain and End Food Cravings

brainonstress

I’m a food addict. We all are. Our brains are biologically driven to seek and devour high-calorie, fatty foods. The difference is that I have learned how to control those primitive parts of my brain. Anyone can this if they know how. In this article, I will share 3 steps to help you counteract those primitive parts of your brain that have you chasing high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods. But before you can update your brain’s biological software, you’ve got to understand why it developed in the first place.

Calories = Survival

The brain’s desire to binge on rich food is a genetic holdover from the days of hunter-gatherers. Given what scientists know today about our early ancestors, it makes sense that our brains are hardwired to fixate on high-calorie foods. It’s a survival mechanism. Eating as many calories as possible, whenever possible, allowed our ancestors to store excess calories as fat and survive lean times. That approach worked well for 2.4 million years, but today it’s making us sick and fat.

That’s because our brains haven’t evolved as fast as our food environment. The human brain evolved over 2.5 million years. And, with the exception of the last 10,000 years, people only ate animals they could hunt and wild-plants they could gather. Imagine if you could only eat what you caught or picked! The variety of foods hunter-gatherers ate paled in comparison to the 40,000 different food items we can buy in the average big-box grocery store today.(1)

No cinnamon buns for them!

And whereas we have easy access to food 24/7, drive-thru meals were not an option for hunter-gatherers. Not to mention that hunting and gathering was hard work. Early humans expended lots of calories acquiring their food, so they needed to eat high-calorie foods to offset the loss. The average hunter-gatherer got up to 60 percent of his calories from animal foods, such as muscle meat, fat, and organ meat, and the other 40 percent from plants.(2)

That balance between protein and carbohydrates in the diet is where the problem lies, but it’s not what you think. Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap, but they are the single most important nutrient for long-term health and weight loss. But I’m not talking about bagels and donuts. I’m talking about plant foods that more closely resemble what our ancestors ate. Hunter-gatherers ate fruit, tubers, seeds, and nuts. These are whole foods. They are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and disease- and weight-busting colorful phytochemicals. They also take time to digest. Therefore, they raise blood sugar slowly, which balances metabolism and offers a steady stream of energy. Whole foods have all the right information and turn on all the right genes.

But the past 10,000 years saw the advent of both agriculture and industrialization. And, in the blink of an eye (by evolutionary standards), the human diet got turned upside down. Today, 60 percent of our calories come from things that hunter-gatherers wouldn’t even recognize as food. The bulk of those items—cereal grains, sugary drinks, refined oils and dressings—are simple carbohydrates.(3) The primitive brain sees an endless supply of easy energy. Left unchecked, our bodies pay the price. The result is a two-fronted epidemic of obesity and diabetes in our country—what I call “diabesity.”

3 Ways to Reprogram your Brain

Luckily there are ways to rewire the primitive parts of your brain by making good food choices. Here are 3 ways to get started.

1.) Balance blood sugar.

Blood sugar highs and lows drive primitive food cravings. If you get famished between meals, that’s a sign that your blood sugar is crashing. When blood sugar is low, you’ll eat anything. To better balance blood sugar, eat a small meal or snack that includes healthy protein, like seeds or nuts, every 3 to 4 hours.

2.) Eliminate liquid calories and artificial sweeteners.

Early humans didn’t reach for soda or fruit juices when they got thirsty. Sodas are full of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup. Processed fruit juices are awash in sugar. Try sticking with water and green tea. Green tea contains plant chemicals that are good for your health. And, last but not least, don’t succumb to the diet-drink trap. The artificial sweeteners in diet drinks fool the body into thinking it is ingesting sugar, which creates the same insulin spike as regular sugar.

3.) Eat a high-quality protein at breakfast.

Ideally, you’re eating quality protein at every meal, but, if you need to prioritize one meal, choose breakfast. Studies show that waking up to a healthy protein, such as eggs, nuts, seeds, nut butters or a protein shake help people lose weight, reduce cravings and burn calories.

Ultimately, you may not control your genes, but you do control what and how you eat. Since taking control and changing my diet, my brain no longer caves into the cravings and urgings that seduce the reptilian brain. The most powerful tool you have to transform your health is your fork! Use it well and you will thrive.

References:
(1) “What to Eat,” Marion Nestle, p 17
(2) “Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets,” L
Cordain, et al American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2000; 71
(3) “Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets,” L
Cordain, et al American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2000; 71

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

10 Ways To Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats

medusa

According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Food Corporations Turn to Chefs in a Quest for Healthy Flavor,” Big Food companies like PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and even fast food giants like Taco Bell, are changing their ways in response to the increasing public demand for healthier food options. To improve their image as healthy food manufacturers, Big Food corporations have called upon top chefs to help them create healthy menu makeovers, infusing real, fresh, whole food into old recipe favorites.

Why is this happening now? Intense pressure brought on by politicians and their constituents (you and me!) has given these food manufacturers no choice but to respond to the public outcry for healthier food. It’s no longer enough for these companies to earn a profit by selling food that tastes good. People are beginning to use the power of the pocketbook to show these companies that the food they sell must also be nutritious.

That’s because people everywhere are waking up. They are beginning to see the dangers of genetically modified ingredients and all the sugar, salt, and fats hidden in our food supply. From fancy restaurants to fast food chains, chefs are catching on that people want their food to make them feel good, not just while they are eating it but hours, days, and years afterward.

Really, this news shouldn’t make the headlines. This is common sense! Paying for food that makes us sick is as crazy as shooting ourselves in the foot. It just doesn’t make sense.

Big Food is finally getting the message and getting on board.

But remember, no processed or fast food option will ever be better than a healthy home-cooked meal. The best way to ensure you are eating the highest quality, most nutritious food possible is to prepare your own food in your own kitchen. We are all chefs. You don’t have to be trained at Le Cordon Bleu to know your way around a kitchen. You just need a little knowledge, some imagination, and a sense of adventure.

A desire for real food is a fundamental part of our basic biological blueprint. Given the chance, our taste receptors will naturally gravitate toward the inherent sweetness found in vegetables, fruits, and even nuts and seeds.

So, how do you reprogram your taste buds to ditch the cravings for sugar, salt, and fats? You can start by eating real, fresh, whole foods. Avoid fake, commercialized foods that come in convenience packages or are made in a lab.

Here are 10 more tips to get you excited about ditching the sugar, salt, and fats:

  1. Sauté or roast your veggies to bring out their natural sweetness. Properly searing your chicken or meat brings out the inherent sweetness by way of the Maillard reaction. This is a fancy name for what happens when you create that nice, brown crust on your meat. Want more cooking tips like this? Check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  2. Play with herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, and oregano to add flavor and phytonutrients! Finish a meal by adding fresh herbs before plating or serving. This last-minute addition kicks the flavor up a notch!
  3. Healthy fats found in avocado, coconut, and tahini not only increase the flavor of your meal, they also add that creamy, luscious texture found in many rich foods. See for yourself just how healthy and tasty desserts can be by trying my Dark Chocolate Silk Pudding from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  4. Try creating a savory, umami (Japanese for “delicious”) flavor. Add moderate amounts of tamari, umeboshi plum paste, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, dried mushroom, or sea vegetables to your next stew, soup, sauce, or stir-fry.
  5. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and even cayenne or chipotle pepper powder are all extremely flavorful additions to a meal. Spices like these excite your taste buds and grab your attention. This is helpful, because, as studies show, when we are focused on actually tasting our food rather than mindlessly gobbling it up, we actually need less food to feel satisfied.
  6. Befriend some kitchen must-haves like real vanilla extract or vanilla bean or coconut butter. Or use common, every-day foods like lemons in some creative ways. For example, use lemon zest to add real zing to any meal!
  7. For the most flavor, eat seasonally and locally. Canned or packaged foods or foods that have traveled great distances in the back of a truck just can’t compare to the succulence of a fresh piece of locally grown fruit.
  8. Check your hydration. Digestion starts in your mouth with your saliva, which helps us taste all the magnificent flavor in food. If you are dehydrated and not producing enough saliva, you won’t really be able to enjoy your food.
  9. Check your medications. Believe it or not, most medications interfere with the body’s ability to taste and smell. Some of them can even create an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. Wondering how you might decrease the number of pills you take? Learn more about functional medicine.
  10. Got nutrition? Nutrient deficiency is an important cause of improper taste perception. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can markedly impair your ability to smell and taste food. Most Americans have several nutrient deficiencies, but there is one in particular that can especially keep you from enjoying your next meal: zinc. Try adding foods like oysters, pecans, sunflower seeds, and lentils to increase your daily intake of this important mineral. Try the recipe for Hearty Lentil Soup from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. If you are deficient, you might also need to take a zinc supplement. Work with one of my nutrition coaches to ensure your nutrition status is up to par.

* * *

For more ways to use your kitchen to take back your health, check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. Get tips and tricks for making healthy and tasty meals. Learn what foods you should eat to boost your metabolism, balance your blood sugar, and lose weight. Try more than 175 tasty recipes that appeal to a variety of budgets, taste preferences, health goals, and lifestyles.

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

Got Proof? The Lack of Evidence for Milk’s Benefits

Got milk?There is no biological requirement for cow’s milk. It is nature’s perfect food but only if you are a calf. The evidence of its benefits is overstated, and the evidence of its harm to human populations is increasing.

The white mustached celebrities paid by the Dairy Council promote the wonders of milk in their “Got Milk” ads. Scientists are increasingly asking, “Got Proof?” Our government still hasn’t caught on, in part because of the huge dairy lobby driving nutrition guidelines. When I once lamented to Senator Harkin that all we wanted to do was to make science into policy, he cocked his head and with a wry smile and said, “that would make too much sense.”

And the media is also influenced heavily by advertising dollars. Once, when I was on Martha Stewart’s television show, the dairy lobby sponsored the episode, and her trainer was forced to mouth the talking points of the Dairy Council touting milk as a fabulous sports drink. Studies may show some benefit, but studies funded by the food industry show positive benefits eight times more than independently funded studies.

In a new editorial by two of the nation’s leading nutrition scientists from Harvard, Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Walter Willett, in JAMA Pediatrics, our old assumptions about milk are being called into question. Perhaps it doesn’t help you grow strong bones, and it may increase the risk of cancer and promote weight gain.

It is bad enough that the dairy industry recently petitioned the FDA to sneak artificial sweeteners into chocolate milk. They want their “shake and eat it, too” by pushing milkshake-like flavored milk drinks into schools as a “healthier” option, even though they have 30 grams of sugar per cup. By cutting the sugar and adding artificial sweeteners to low fat or non-fat milk drinks, the idea is that they would be healthier. Except for the fact that recent studies have found that one diet drink a week increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 33 percent and a large diet drink increases the risk by 66 percent.

What about low fat milk or non-fat milk? These are the healthier options, right? Wrong.

Ludwig and Willett note that there is scant evidence that fat makes you fat, despite this commonly held mistaken belief. Reducing fat in milk reduces its ability to satisfy the appetite (which fat does) and can promote overeating and hunger. Often, the fat in the diet is replaced with sugar and refined carbohydrates, which clearly has been shown to promote obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Studies show that reducing fat in the diet, which parallels an increase in starch and refined carbohydrates in the diet, not only increases hunger but also may actually slow metabolism. In one study, Dr. Ludwig found that those who ate a low fat, higher glycemic diet burned 300 calories less a day that those who ate an identical calorie diet that was higher in fat and lower in glycemic load. For those who ate the higher fat, lower glycemic diet, that’s like exercising an extra hour a day without doing anything!

More concerning still is that, in studies of kids and adults, those who consumed low fat milk products gained more weight than those who ate the full fat whole milk products. They seemed to increase their overall intake of food because it just wasn’t as satisfying as the real thing. In fact, those who drank the most milk overall gained the most weight. It makes logical sense. Milk is designed to quickly turn a little calf into a big cow and contains over sixty different hormones, most designed to boost growth.

But shouldn’t we stick to low fat milk to reduce our intake of saturated fat? The fact is that, while your LDL or bad cholesterol goes down by reducing saturated fat in the diet, the protective cholesterol, HDL, actually goes up by eating saturated fat improving the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol, which is the most important marker of your risk of heart disease. Switching out saturated fat for carbohydrates actually increased the risk of heart attack in a 12-year study of 53,544 adults. In fact, the whole story of the evil of saturated fats is in great debate. The evidence for linkage to heart disease turns out to be pretty weak indeed.

If you ate only whole foods, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains (not whole grain flour), you might be better off overall (although a recent scientific review of saturated fat dismissed the very notion that is it bad for you). But sadly, that is not what most Americans do when they switch to low fat.

The sad thing is that many schools and “healthy” beverage guidelines encourage the idea that flavored milk is better than soda and that getting kids to drink more milk by any means is a good idea. This is dangerously misguided.

There are 27 grams of sugar in 8 ounces of Coca Cola and a whopping 30 grams of sugar in 8 ounces of Nestlé Chocolate Milk. Sugar is sugar and drives obesity and diabetes. It is not a good way to get kids to drink milk.

But that begs the bigger question. Do kids need milk? Is milk necessary for healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis? The data are clear, but our government polices don’t reflect the science.

Dairy and milk products do not promote healthy bones. In a large meta-analysis, milk did not reduce risk of fractures. Other studies have shown it can increase fracture rates. And the countries with the lowest milk consumption have the lowest risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Calcium is not all it’s cracked up to be. Studies show that higher calcium intakes are actually associated with higher risk of fracture.

Milk may not grow strong bones, but it does seem to grow cancer cells. Milk increases the hormone called IGF-1 or insulin-like growth factor, one that is like Miracle-Gro for cancer cells. Dairy products have been linked to prostate cancer. And cows are milked while pregnant (yes, even organic cows), filling milk with loads of reproductive and potentially cancer-causing hormones.

There are other problems with milk, too. It increases the risk of type 1 diabetes. Dairy is a well-known cause of acne. And of course, dairy causes millions around the world (75 percent of the population) to suffer digestive distress because of lactose intolerance. It causes intestinal bleeding in 40 percent of infants leading to iron deficiency. Allergy, asthma, and eczema all may be triggered by dairy consumption.

The US Department of Agriculture’s new My Plate initiative recommends three cups a day of milk for everyone! If you are two to nine years old, you get away with only two to two and a half cups. And the “key consumer message” is to switch to 1% or non-fat versions.

There is absolutely no biological requirement for milk, and the evidence for low fat milk is lacking, along with the bone benefits. The dairy lobby has its tentacles deep in the US Department of Agriculture. One scientist friend who advises the government on food policy confided to me that when he protested that there was no evidence for the government’s recommendations that we all drink three glasses of milk a day and that, in fact, it may be harmful, he was patronized with a “yes, we know, but the dairy lobby makes it difficult to make science into policy.”

Let’s just forget the science and spend taxpayer’s dollars to promote foods that we know are harmful, because money runs politics. To heck with the health of our citizens.

Bottom line: Milk is not nature’s perfect food unless you are a calf and should not be consumed in large quantities by most people, because it can promote weight gain, cancer, and even cause osteoporosis. Write to your congressmen to encourage them to support changes to our food and farm bill policies that shape our nutritional guidelines and make them evidence based. The answer to the question, “Got Proof?” Heck no!

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Do you think we need to drink milk to be healthy?

Do you agree that getting kids to drink more milk is a good idea?

Have you recently cut dairy from your diet, and if so, do you feel better?

What are some good dairy alternatives that you’ve discovered?

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

Are You Fat Enough?

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 1.07.36 PMIt’s time to change the way you think about fat. For the past 30 years well-meaning diet gurus have preached that eating fat makes you fat. I’m here to tell you that fat, in and of itself, is not what is making you fat.

Instead, it’s eating too much of the wrong types of fat. After all, all fats are not created equal. But, if you are like 90 percent of Americans, you are eating the wrong type of fat most of the time. It’s time for an oil change!

What is Fat?

Fat is one of the body’s most basic building blocks. The average person is between 15 to 30 percent fat! (Men should be 10-20% fat and women should be 20-30% fat). Of all of the types of fats in our diets, the body only REALLY needs two – omega-3 and omega-6. Our bodies manufacture all the other fats we need.

What is an omega fat? The omega numbers (in this case 3 and 6) refer to where the hydrogen atom joins the fat molecule. Remember, the name is just basic chemistry lingo. What is important to understand is the impact of different types of fat on the body.

The higher quality the fat, the better your body will function. That’s because the body uses fat you eat to build cell walls. You have more than 100 trillion cells in your body, and every single one of them should be constructed of high-quality fat.

How do you know if your cells are getting the fats they need? Your body sends signals when it’s not getting enough good fats. It’s up to you to recognize the warning signs:

  • Dry, itchy, scaling or flaking skin
  • Soft, cracked, or brittle nails
  • Hard earwax
  • Tiny bumps on the backs of your arms or torso
  • Achy, stiff joints’
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • Cancer

Why does the type of fat matter? Building your body from the inside out is just like building a house. You can frame the house with the cheapest stuff you can find or you can invest in quality materials that are going to be energy-efficient and last a long time.

Recognizing Which Fats to Eat and Which to Avoid

Most processed foods are made with poor-quality omega-6 fats from refined processed vegetable oils because they are abundant and cheap. Plus, fat makes food taste good and improves its texture. Take a look at the ingredients of your favorite packaged food.

If the list includes oils made from corn, soy, cottonseed or safflower you are getting a sub-par fat. When the body puts these cheap fats to work, the cell walls also become sub-par. That means instead of being flexible and responsive to inter-cellular communication, cell walls are stiff and rigid. The more rigid the walls, the slower the cell functions and the more vulnerable it is to inflammation.

To ensure your body has the fats it needs to construct high-quality cell walls, you need to eat more omega-3 fats. For starters, cell walls made from omega-3 fats are flexible allowing cells to respond more quickly to messages.

Secondly, these “good” fats help the body churn out prostaglandins, hormones that cool off inflammation. The best places to find omega-3 fats include small cold-water fish – such as wild salmon, sardines and herring, organic flax and hemp seed oils, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and sea vegetables.

Your body is designed to run on high-quality fats. Scientists suspect that early humans ate almost equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. Hunter-gatherer humans got their omega-6 fats from seeds and nuts. And their omega 3’s came from eating wild game and fish and foraging for wild plants.

But, as people began to refine oils from plants, the ratio became skewed more toward omega-6. As a result of fats being out of balance in the modern diet, our bodies are more vulnerable to diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

When the human diet contained a balanced number of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, heart disease was almost nonexistent. Cardiovascular disease is now the number one cause of death in the world.

Body Boon

The more omega-3 fats you eat, the easier your body cools itself. A cool body is a less inflamed body. And inflammation is at the root of nearly every chronic disease, especially those impacting the brain and the heart.

Of all the body parts dependent on high-quality fat, the brain is uniquely vulnerable. That’s because it is made up of 60 percent fat, the biggest portion of which is an omega-3 fat called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Your brain needs DHA to spark communication between cells. Easy access to high-quality fat boosts cognition, happiness, learning, and memory. In contrast, studies link a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, and even violence.

After the brain, it’s the heart that will thank you for eating more omega-3s. The heart is a direct beneficiary of omega-3 fats. They tamp down cholesterol by reducing levels of bad fats (triglycerides). Meanwhile, they raise levels of good fats (HDL) in the blood. Part of their magic is that omega-3 fats make blood more slippery, which reduces the likelihood of artery disease.

Beyond the heart and brain, eating the right fat also helps you shed fat. Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which better regulate blood sugar. Without proper blood sugar control, the body socks away fat for a rainy day. Ironically, it’s not eating fat that makes you gain weight it’s eating the WRONG types of fat.

How to Know Your Stats on Fats

The great thing about modern medicine is having tests, which can alert us to any imbalances in the body. One test in particular I recommend  is not only really useful, but is also super simple! I work with a lab called Omega Quant, which has excellent testing protocols using evidence-based scientific research on fatty acids. I love this test because you only need a quick blood spot to get detailed results and you do it all from the privacy of your own home! The main result generated in the report will be your Omega-3 index.

In a show I did with Dr. Oz on omega-3 fats, we tested his audience – over 80% of the audience were deficient in omega-3 fats and had many of the symptoms and diseases associated with this deficiency.

I did my own test – and thankfully my omega-3 index is fantastic – that’s because I have had insider information for years on what to eat and what supplements to take.  See my report here.

There are other fatty acid percentages and ratios given in the report, which set this company apart from others on the market. However, I mostly care about three results which are important to monitor for maintaining health and preventing chronic disease. Generally, it is essential to know:

  1. Your omega-3 fatty acid index
  2. Your ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids
  3. Your level of trans fatty acids

My nutrition coaching team will send your results to you with personalized feedback as well as instructions to improve your ratios. I have personally trained them to look for functional levels in order to provide you with the absolute best care to optimize your health.

Since our modern diet is so empty of omega-3 fats and the traditional sources such as wild fish are increasingly contaminated with toxins, especially mercury, I recommend using omega-3 fat supplements. But I only recommend the highest quality, best absorbed purified and tested forms to get all the benefits without the risks.

When you do the Omega Quant Test my nutritionists will provide you with personalized nutrition advice to optimize your blood levels of these important fats. Learning more about what is going on right in your very own body could not be any simpler! And, it is actually really fascinating to watch and see how your diet and lifestyle directly impact your results.

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

A Mom to Her Young Daughter: You are not ugly. God doesn’t do ugly.

We'll Forsake Our Ages and Pretend We Are ChildrenMy first grader and I were snuggling at bedtime when she confessed:

“Mommy, I don’t like my face.”

She told me she thinks she’s ugly, that she hates her body, “The girls at school don’t want me in their group because my face doesn’t look pretty like their faces.”

Ummmm… Whhaaaaaaat?

She’s too young for self image issues. I was 12 before I started feeling insecure about my body, which is sad enough, but to be feeling this way at age 6?

How does a mother respond to that? Give a pep talk? Borrow a library book about self-esteem? Make a call to the school psychologist? And after I do all that, then what?

Carrying the burden of an unhealthy self image is like being an addict. You know it’s wrong, but no one can convince you of subscribing to another way of functioning until you’re ready. You’ve got to beat yourself up long enough to learn that accepting garbage into your life makes you feel like, well, like garbage – until finally you explode, “Okay, okay enough already! I want better for myself! I’m ready to make a change! Help me!!!”

My 6 year old is not ready for change because she doesn’t realize there’s a problem. Poor self image is her normal.

She doesn’t understand where her feelings are coming from. And honestly, I don’t either. A challenge from a past life? A side-effect of American culture? A chemical imbalance? I just don’t know. But ugly is her truth.

I can’t force her to believe that physical attractiveness is unimportant. No lecture can convince her that she was born perfect and complete. She needs to learn those things on her own. But she chose me as her mother for a reason – and I happened to be equipped with some pretty helpful tools with which she can empower herself and start fixing the bits she doesn’t know are broken.

To start, I talked to her about challenges, a familiar topic in my household and in my writing. I explained that we’re all born with a set of challenges, and it’s our job in life to figure out how to work through them. Challenges are sneaky. They feel like they’re real, but actually they’re more like a series of magic tricks. Smoke and mirrors. Divine booby traps set up to see if we can figure our ways past them and learn a lesson in the process. If challenges didn’t exist, life would be so boring that we wouldn’t exist either. So we deal with them – even welcome them – so we can continue to learn about love and life on this amazing planet.

Some challenges we can embrace and some challenges we can balance. The challenge that my baby girl is facing is one that requires a little of both of these actions. She needs to work on embracing, or lovingly accepting, her body just the way it is and balancing the way she feels about herself, inside and out, so that she can feel happy when she’s playing with other kids.

This idea is sort of lofty so we broke it down, talking about the divineness and perfection of her soul energy and decided together that she looks exactly the way the universe designed her to look. God doesn’t do ugly, only perfect. And there’s no arguing with God.

We also enlisted the support of my 6 year old’s personal hero – her big sister. Self esteem is cultivated safely at home, the perfect training ground for the outside world. We talk a lot about the power of our family and the strength that we emote through the way we love each other. Big sister agrees to help set the pace (as best she can) to help little sister with her challenge. She can help to provide safe harbor for her little sister by showing her kindness, affection, and forgiveness.

In Buddhism it is believed that a beautiful face is a gift from a previous lifetime of demonstrating kindness. But whether or not you believe in past lives, we can probably all agree that kindness and love manifest physically in people. We say things like, “I don’t know what it is. There’s just something about that person.” Or maybe you’ve heard the saying that by the time we’re 50 we get the face that we deserve. It’s rooted in the same idea – kindness IS beauty.

Insecurity isn’t about physical appearance. It’s about a deficiency in love and my family has no shortage of love to give my little girl.

So for another layer of healing, we coupled our breathing and meditation practice with Wayne Dyer’s “I Am” statements to program her brain with affirmations at bedtime saying, “I am loving. I am loved. I am compassionate. I am bright. I am kind. I am helpful. I am caring. I am good.” And she marinates in those words while she sleeps.

Notice that I do not use the affirmation, “I am beautiful.” I decided deliberately not to use that word because her current definition of beauty is solely external. Instead we focus on intangibles.

I’d like to tell you that we did this and it worked and my daughter is now a confident, carefree young girl. But that’s not the case. We keep bestowing our love while practicing our breathing and affirmations, and she continues to feel unsure about the meaning of beauty and her place in the social spectrum. I’m confident, however, that with time and mindful commitment, the momentum will shift and she will start to feel the peace that comes with finding balance and acceptance of her life as it is, just like her Mommy did.

How Diet Soda Makes You Fat – and Other Food and Diet Industry Secrets (Part 2)

2vkzxh11Click here for part 1.

Being Overweight Is Not Your Fault

The food industry would have us believe that controlling our weight is about personal responsibility. Tell that to a 200 pound five-year-old with diabetes and liver failure. Our taste buds have been hijacked by the food and diet industry. We are programmed to like sweet, salt, and fat tastes.

And those slick combinations of sugar, fat and salt in junk and processed food have hijacked our taste buds, our brain chemistry, and our metabolism. These foods are biologically addictive. We are held hostage by the food industry and we blame ourselves.

This is food terrorism! The biggest threat to our lives is not Al Qaeda but Coca-Cola (and the other food industry giants)!

How does food addiction happen?

New research shows that industrial food full of processed sugars, fats, salt, and chemicals are powerfully addictive.

And sugar is the worst culprit.

One animal study found that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

When rats were given the choice between mainline cocaine right into their veins or sweetened water (in fact, they used an artificial sweetener), they found that sugar was eight times more addictive than cocaine. Even the rats already addicted to cocaine switched over to diet drinks!

And what’s even more interesting is that while cocaine and heroin activate only one spot for pleasure in the brain, sugar lights up the brain like a pinball machine!

If these foods are addictive and drive overeating, then the whole idea of moderation just doesn’t work. Hey, just have that one line of cocaine or that one hit of heroin.

We can’t stop eating, but we can stop eating junk and sugar!

So we have to take back our taste buds, take back our brain chemistry, and take back our bodies from the food and diet industry.

How do we do that?

Bottom Line: By eating real food – chicken, fish, veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, and a little whole grains will reset your taste buds and your brain chemistry automatically.

Exercise Your Way to Weight Loss

The food industry and diet industry push exercise. Even Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity initiative focuses on exercise in its name, “Let’s Move”. But it should be really called “Let’s Eat Real Food.”

Here’s why. Sugar sweetened drinks make up about 15 percent of our calorie intake every day.

But you have to walk 4.5 miles to burn off one 20-ounce soda, which contains 15 teaspoons of sugar.

You have to run four miles a day for one week to burn off one super-size meal. If you have one super-size meal everyday you would have to run a marathon every day!

You can’t exercise your way out of bad diet – except if your run a marathon every day.

Drinking 32 ounces of Gatorade after a workout is a dumb idea, unless you run around like Kobe Bryant on the basketball court for 48 minutes. There are better ways to replenish your energy and electrolytes than colored sugar water with a few minerals sprinkled in.

To paraphrase my friend Bill Clinton, “It’s the food stupid!”

Bottom Line: Exercise is critical to long-term health and weight loss, but you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.

Thankfully science is shedding light on the ideas that keep us fat and sick. Unfortunately, scientists don’t have billion dollar marketing budgets. But we as a community of thinking people wanting real information can speak out, can spread the word and turn the tide of obesity and chronic disease together. Share this article with your community and friends.

Get started today! Get your copy of The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook today. When you purchase this book from this link you will gain access to these exclusive Dr. Hyman bonuses:

  • 1-Week Gluten-Free Meal Plan – Maps out a full week of breakfasts, lunches and dinners PLUS all new recipes for these.
  • Access to Dr. Hyman’s Kitchen Videos – Including cooking demos, Fridge and Pantry makeover, supermarket shopping tips and more. Over 60 minutes of footage.
  • You will be invited to a live online presentation hosted by Dr. Hyman on March 27th, 2013.

Click here to learn more.

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below – but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

 

Originally published on Dr. Hyman’s website.

Image sourced: Natural Running Center

5 Questionable Quotes on Sex, Weight and Beauty from Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries

abercrombie-fitch1Ask your grandparents if they’ve heard of a company called “Abercrombie & Fitch” and they are bound to say something about a hunting and fishing retailer. Pull away the current steamy, semi-pornographic ads and teeny bopper vibe, and you’ll find that A&F was actually once the “Greatest Sporting Store in the World,” according to the company logo. Their Madison Avenue building contained not only retail areas but also a shooting range and golf school, which might suggest that an over-the-top commitment to both fitness and excess were always present in the company’s culture. Abercrombie shifted its focus to apparel in the late 1980’s and has since been the source of much controversy.

A&F’s CEO Mike Jeffries has taken things to a whole new level, though, by publicly coming out against those he believes “don’t belong [in our clothes]” – essentially anyone without a “washboard stomach.” Who does belong in Abercrombie clothing, according to Jeffries? Apparently, an “attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends.”

Here are 5 highly questionable statements from the second highest paid fashion CEO:

  1. “We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”
  2. “People said we were cynical, that we were sexualizing little girls. But you know what? I still think those are cute underwear for little girls. And I think anybody who gets on a bandwagon about thongs for little girls is crazy. Just crazy! There’s so much craziness about sex in this country. It’s nuts! I can see getting upset about letting your girl hang out with a bunch of old pervs, but why would you let your girl hang out with a bunch of old pervs?”
  3. “Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”
  4. “I don’t think we were in any sense guilty of racism, but I think we just didn’t work hard enough as a company to create more balance and diversity. And we have, and I think that’s made us a better company. We have minority recruiters. And if you go into our stores you see great-looking kids of all races.”
  5. “Listen, do we go too far sometimes? Absolutely. But we push the envelope, and we try to be funny, and we try to stay authentic and relevant to our target customer. I really don’t care what anyone other than our target customer thinks.”

In the full interview, you’ll also find Jeffries’ thoughts on looking “butch,” why pants should sit as low on the hip as possible, how big a male mannequin’s “package” should be, and why to avoid “looking like an old guy.” Judge for yourself…

 

Photo credit: Abercrombie & Fitch

How Diet Soda Makes You Fat – and Other Food and Diet Industry Secrets (Part 1)

Project 50 #43 Refreshing

How do you lose weight? Substitute diet drinks for sugary drinks. Eat low fat foods. Just eat less of the bad foods – it’s all about the calories. We are told, “Just have more willpower”. These ideas are false.

They are food and diet industry propaganda that make and keep us fat and sick. Lies by the food industry combined with bad government policy based on food industry lobbying are the major cause of our obesity and diabetes epidemic.

Now over 35 percent of Americans are obese, and almost 70 percent are overweight. This is not an accident but the result of careful marketing and money in politics.

We are told it is all about making better choices. If we all took more personal responsibility we could stop this obesity and diabetes epidemic. We have been told there are no good or bad foods, that the key to weight loss is moderation.

And, of course, if we all just exercised more all of us would lose weight. These ideas hold us hostage.

WHAT THE FOOD AND DIET INDUSTRY DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW

Diet Soda and Diet Drinks Make You Fat and Cause Type 2 Diabetes

Diet soda makes people fat? Really? How does that happen?

If losing weight were all about the calories, then consuming diet drinks would seem like a good idea. That’s certainly what Coca-Cola wants us to believe in their new ad highlighting their efforts to fight obesity. They proudly promote the fact that they have 180 low or no calorie drinks and that they cut sugared drinks in schools by 90 percent.

Is that a good thing? In fact, it may be worse than having us all drink regular Coke (and the other food giants making diet drinks also push the same propaganda).

A new 14-year study of 66,118 women (supported by many other previous studies) found that the opposite seems to be true. Diet drinks may be worse than sugar-sweetened drinks, which are worse than fruit juices (but only fresh-squeezed fruit juices).

The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered some frightening facts that should make us all swear off diet drinks and products.

  1. Diet sodas raised the risk of diabetes more than sugar-sweetened sodas!
  2. Women who drank one 12-ounce diet soda had a 33 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes and women who drank one 20-ounce soda had a 66 percent increased risk.
  3. Women who drank diet sodas drank twice as much as those who drank sugar- sweetened sodas because artificial sweeteners are more addictive and are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar.
  4. The average diet soda drinker consumes 3 diet drinks a day.

You might say that people who are overweight and just about to get diabetes drink more diet soda, but they scientifically controlled for body weight. And they found the artificial sweeteners increased diabetes independent of body weight!

This and other research shows how diet sodas make people fat and sick. And that diet drinks may be even worse than regular sugar sweetened sodas!!

How does that happen?

  • Artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar activating our genetically programmed preference for sweet taste more than any other substance.
  • They trick your metabolism into thinking sugar is on its way. This causes your body to pump out insulin, the fat storage hormone, which lays down more belly fat.
  • It also confuses and slows your metabolism down, so you burn less calories every day.
  • It makes you hungrier and crave even more sugar and starchy carbs like bread and pasta.
  • In animal studies, the rats that consumed artificial sweeteners ate more, their metabolism slowed, and they put on 14 percent more body fat in just two weeks – EVEN eating less calories.
  • In population studies there was a 200 percent increased risk of obesity in diet soda drinkers.

I love Taylor Swift, I met her last summer. She is a wonderful person with great integrity. I don’t think she knows about this research and I hope someone shares it with her so she can save millions of children and fans from drinking Diet Coke because she endorses it.

Bottom line: There is no free ride. Diet drinks are not good substitutes for sugar-sweetened drinks. They increase cravings, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes. And they are addictive.

Eating Fat Does Not Make You Fat

The diet and food industry has brainwashed us to eat fat-free foods, which seems like common sense. Eating fats makes you fat. Right? But the science tells us otherwise, not ALL calories are created equal. And even though fat has more calories per gram (9 calories versus 4 calories or carbs and protein), eating fat can help you lose weight.

This low-fat idea was based on bad science. Our government told us in the 1970’s to go on a low-fat diet and to eat 8-11 servings of rice, bread, and pasta a day.  And unfortunately we listened. This was the beginning of our obesity and diabetes epidemic. The food industry happily created a flood of fat-free foods.

But the science has proven that eating fat doesn’t make you fat – SUGAR does. And it is sugar NOT fat that raises your cholesterol despite what people and most doctors still believe.

A 20-ounce soda is fat-free but that doesn’t make it a health food. If cookies were fat-free, then you can eat the whole bag, right?

But the fat is replaced with flour and sugar, and the result we now have is one in two adults with diabesity – that’s pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, and almost one in four teenagers with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

We did a 10-day sugar-free detox with our online community and 600 people lost more than 4,000 pounds in 10 days!!

So why does eating fat free make you fat and diabetic?

In a recent Harvard study, Dr. David Ludwig found that in two groups eating EXACTLY the same calories, the group that had the low-fat diet (which means higher in sugars and starches) burned 300 calories LESS per day. Their metabolism was slower than the group eating the higher fat and higher protein diet.

If you ate the higher fat, higher protein diet (of exactly the same calories) it is the equivalent of running for ONE hour a day. In other words, if you just swap out sugars and starches for good quality fats and protein it will be like you added an hour of free exercise a day to your life without any change in calorie intake!

Bottom Line: The key point here is that all calories are NOT the same. Swap out sugar and starch for good fats such as nuts, avocados, olive oil, and grass-fed animal products or wild fish. Be a “qualitarian”. Focus on quality, on real food and the rest takes care of itself.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article next week!

Originally published on Dr. Hyman’s website.

Photo credit: Flickr

Down with Fat-Shaming: 8 of the Worst Ads for Self-Esteem (Slideshow)

The tragic statistics about body image and eating disorders apparently haven’t been drilled into our brains enough for us to definitively take a stand against fat-shaming. With Dove‘s recent beauty campaign, Israel’s recent ban on underweight models, and endless discourse on bodies, plastic surgery, and celebrity diets, it is troubling but certainly eye-opening to see the kind of body-negative messaging that fills our public sphere.

Here are 5 of the most offensive fat-shaming ads out there. In posting these, our intent is not to perpetuate these messages but rather to inspire the kind of fire that will ultimately lead us to say NO once and for all to these ads and everything they stand for.

What kind of ads would you like to see promoting health and body-positivity? Tell us your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!

Teaching Our Children About Body Image (And don’t forget the boys!)

By Dani Klein Modisett

How timely that “body image,” is the topic for “Perfectly Imperfect Parents” on The Chopra Well this week because a new story of mine, “ The White Food Disorder,” is part of a book launching next week called THE CASSOULET SAVED OUR MARRIAGE: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat.

In it I reveal how happy I was when I found out I was having a boy during each of my pregnancies. Not because I don’t love little girls, I do, although the Princess thing scares me, but because what frightened me more was passing down my body obsession and eating disordered history to daughters who might have sprung from my loins. Wait, men have the loins; I have a womb – that, in fact, my children lived in for nine plus months during which I spent not an insignificant amount of time wondering A) if I was gaining too much weight, B) if I would ever have arms again that weren’t the circumference of small dogs, and C) if eating two boxes of Pepperidge Farm anything was too much after a half pound hamburger.

I’m no Freud, but I was pretty sure that exposing a fetus to these thoughts did not bode well for the future of a little girl. With boys I thought I’d be safe. Boys eat and run and eat some more. Boys don’t ask if they look fat in their jeans, right? But long before Dr. Cara straightened me out on the misconception that boys don’t have body image issues, I was faced with a different truth in our house. The aforementioned “White Food Disorder.“

Although it has nothing to do with their body image yet, my sons’ fear of eating any food that isn’t white is disturbing and was an initial wake up call that food and body image issues are not gender specific. I won’t go in to further detail here about the White Food Disorder, (but feel free to pre-order the book by clicking on the link) suffice it to say, the only green items the boys ate until last year were holiday M&M’s. But we’ve made headway now with Spanikopita and blueberries. Parenting is nothing if not a series of small victories.

Regarding this episode on body image, I am surprisingly a woman of few words this week. It’s unexpected because with a former model for a mother, I eat body image issues for breakfast. And I have been for almost 25 years. My mother was on a diet my entire life, and she tortured me and my older sister about our bodies. Somewhere around 1976, my mother put my sister on a liquid protein diet until her hair fell out. According to my mother at the time, she looked “terrific.” Fat phobia ruled our household.

It didn’t help that when I left my parents’ home I became an actress. Everything you’ve heard about the lifestyle of actresses is true. During my first few years in LA, when I ate (which was rare), I inhaled steamed vegetables, popcorn or frozen yogurt (the 8 calorie per ounce kind). I weighed myself multiple times a day. No matter how small the number on the scale was, or the pant size, or the belt holes, I knew if I were only more disciplined it could be smaller. A friend couldn’t help but notice I had a problem and suggested I get help. Which I did.

Playing with lightI wish I could tell you I have completely outgrown this preoccupation, but why lie? I still have concerns about my body size some days, but I think they fall more in the range of normal now. Although I still can’t be alone with popcorn. Fortunately, my size no longer determines my employment. As I age, I find I am much more concerned, and grateful for, the strength and health of my body. Because the humble truth about my thicker-than-I’d-like torso is that it housed my children, and despite the fall out from that, my body also brings me a lot of joy. Not the same high as being a size 2 after being told “You have such a pretty face,” for much of my adolescence, but it’s a very cool body nevertheless.

Which must be why my big “tip,” at the end of my reserved contribution to this show is “There is hope!” While my highly educated and thoughtful co-hosts give you very important facts and statistics and suggestions, I think my mind was engaged in it’s own flashback to my early life imprisoned by a terrible, sometimes paralyzing negative body image and how that is not the case today. Today I can work on a set with the very lithe Dr. Cara and still come out of my dressing room. I don’t think I could have done that in my 20’s. I would have expended so much energy comparing my body to hers and “feeling fat,” that I would have been too distracted to work. But, alas, there I am in my chair, talking and nodding my head. It’s not that I don’t notice that Cara has zero percent body fat, it’s just that it doesn’t matter. She’s her and I’m me and it’s all good.

This seems to be the key to raising a child with a healthy body image. To help them eat well, get exercise (an hour EVERY DAY, according to Dr. Cara!) and once that is in the works, teaching them acceptance. Dark, fair, tall, short neck, long arms, small hands, big feet, whatever it is, this is the body you have been given. If you take care of it, it will allow you to dance and laugh and have sex (when you’re older and not in my house, dear).

Some days it will be bigger and some days it will be smaller, but enjoy it because in the truest definition of the word, your body is awesome.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t miss next week’s episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents”!

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