The great, Michael Pollan, wrote the words above in a little book called, “Food Rules”, following his masterpiece, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” - an investigation of how human Omnivores ate, from the first humans to the present. “Food Rules” is short and to the point; page after page contains simple, practical advice that speaks to us from the gut - the place where truth lives and food and thoughts are digested simultaneously.
Although there is lots of information online about the dangers of Sugar, even worse are highly refined vegetable oils that we have been made to believe are safe. Perhaps because they have the word “vegetable” in them, we think they are good for us; nothing could be farther from the truth. When you take a highly sensitive substance, heat it, press it, bleach it and extract it with chemical solvents, refining it so that it can no longer be recognized as the healthy seed it once was, it transforms into a cheap, dangerous version of itself. It is now some sort of “Frankenfood” that oxidizes when heated, creating cascades of free radicals inside the arteries, damaging our mitochondria, enzymes, hormone receptors and DNA. This is the stuff (not cholesterol) that strokes and heart attacks are made of.
“Nature does not make bad fats, factories do…”
-Cate Shanahan, MD
Dr. Cate Shanahan, wrote “Deep Nutrition”, one of my favorite books on nutrition, explaining the four food groups that all cultures, from anywhere on the globe, have eaten for centuries to stay healthy. Whether your ancestors were European, Middle Eastern, Asian, Native American, African or Russian, they all prepared and ate some versions of the following: Fresh food, meat on the bone, fermented and sprouted foods and organ meats.
Dr. Shanahan is also the doctor now feeding the Los Angeles Lakers; rather than filling them up with short lived sugary carbohydrates that break down quickly into glucose, they are eating bone broth, rich in collagen and healthy saturated fats to give them sustained energy and increased muscle mass. These foods are nature’s steroids; their collagen, vitamins and minerals will not only make you strong, they will also make you beautiful!
Dr. Shanahan, along with many other smart and knowledgeable doctors warn against the vegetable oils found in almost every packaged product on the grocery shelf. See for yourself - walk down the middle aisles of any food store and read the labels.
You will find cereals coated with a vegetable oil varnish, crackers, pastries and breads made with cheap oils to preserve their shelf life and salad dressings, mayonnaise and sauces with these oils as their base. Even canned sardines that say they are packed in Olive Oil are most likely packed in a blend of tiny amounts of Olive Oil and cheaper vegetable oils…All to save money.
What Can’t Take the Heat?
When wondering about what to use when cooking and what to keep away from heat, think about these simple definitions (without having to know the chemistry): All liquid oils are unsaturated, mostly come from plants and are liquid at room temperature; fats are generally saturated, mostly come from animals and are solid at room temperatures. Solid fats are safest for use in high heat cooking, while oils are best not used in high heat cooking. Knowing this, you are good to go!
The chart below gives a very complete list of most oils and fats.
Ever wonder why your stomach hurts after you eat a plate of black beans or why it seems hard to digest grains containing gluten? According to some theories, our gut issues began at the start of Agriculture - just a few thousand years ago - when humans began eating things they had never previously consumed. This is the basis of the Paleo diet concept, where believers feel that eating as hunter/gatherers did during the Paleolithic era is the healthiest way for us to eat, even now. But, that leaves out the vegetables, fruit, grains, seeds and nuts that have become important staples in our diets - especially if you are not a meat eater.
Dr. Steven Gundry, a former cardiologist and author of “The Plant Paradox”, walked away from doing pediatric heart surgery when he discovered that he could do more good teaching his patients how to eat. He keeps all his patients away from foods containing a sticky protein called Lectin. Lectins are compounds found in most grains, beans, nuts and seeds that mimic insulin, binding to sugars and preventing the absorption of minerals and vitamins.
Gluten, the protein found in all wheat that gives bread its spongy quality, is also a Lectin. Aside from Celiac sufferers, who should avoid it completely, it is believed that all of us are Gluten sensitive. Gluten eventually pokes holes in the gut lining causing damage that can lead to autoimmune responses from a “leaky gut”. Don’t be fooled by the “Gluten Free” aisles in the supermarket - now a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s nice that the industrial food complex has removed gluten from the refined wheat they use to make cookies and cakes, but don’t forget to look for added sugars, fillers and dangerous vegetable oils in those products. Read the labels and remember that you are still eating junk food - with the gluten removed.
Lectins are just one in a category of “anti-nutrients”, keeping company with other substances known as phytates, saponins and oxalates. All work in similar ways, mimicking compounds that block specific minerals from being absorbed in a kind of chemical warfarePlants are clever - The grains and legumes that we consume are actually their reproductive seeds. Since plants can’t run from danger the way animals can, instead they produce toxic substances that are part of the plant’s defense mechanism against hungry predators - humans, other animals and insects. To a plant, humans are just giant insects!
Why are dogs going "grain free" and not humans?
This is Audrey, my six year old Cockapoo. She looks like a cuddly toy, until she goes to her food bowl where she chews on marrow bones and eagerly consumes the meat I give her. She is driven to eat animals because dogs are carnivores; it makes sense to keep grain products out of their diet and, for that matter, leave it out of cat food as well. All my cats have been fierce hunters, dragging rats into the house that weighed more than they did. It still haunts me to think that my wonderful cat, Fanny, died from diabetic complications, most likely from the grain sourced kibble I fed her. If I’d only known then what I know now…
What to do
It’s no surprise that cultures have been eating legumes and grains for centuries with no problems; they knew how to prepare them. For instance, white rice is healthier than brown rice because in white rice, the hull where the Lectins live are removed. If you are eating white rice, make sure to balance the portion with good fats and protein to dampen the high glycemic load. Eat sourdough bread or sprouted bread, instead of regular refined breads. Fermented foods are lectin free foods, so load up on sauerkraut! Since Lectins are found in the seeds, hulls and skin of the plant, removing them will remove the problem. Your Italian grandmother knew what she was doing when she removed the seeds and skins from the tomatoes and eggplants.
Here’s how to begin:
Chart courtesy of Experience Life.
We are designing a new website with lots of recipes and healthy information.
Here’s a simple recipe to try:
1.) Measure 1 cup of your favorite almond, cashew, pecan or pistachio. In this case we are using almonds. Place in bowl. Make sure to soak and sprout nuts and seeds first.
2.) Add enough water to cover- about 2 cups- soak for 12 hours.
3.) Drain the liquid through a strainer and add soaked nuts to any household blender. I am a big fan of the Vitamix.
4.) Add 3 to 4 cups of water to the blender along with any flavor-enhancing ingredients, if desired (coconut/vanilla are a good combo
5). Blend on high speed until consistency is smooth (about one to two minutes).
5.) Pour liquid through a strainer or cheesecloth, and enjoy!