Metabolic Typing

Mixed salad leaves with candied bacon, crouton...

What is “Metabolic Typing”?

Honestly, this is just a fancy way of categorizing the way we eat.  Ever wonder why there seems to be so many different diets out there that people SWEAR by.  There are vegans.  There are paleo people.  There are starch eaters.  There are low-carbers.  They all think that their way is best.  Are they all right?  Are they all wrong?  What is going on here?  Enter Metabolic Typing.

METABOLIC TYPING:  In my own words, metabolic typing is a dietary theory that leaves room for differences in genetics, ancestry, climate, age, and location.  We come from different areas of the planet.  Our ancestors ate different things.  Humans have traveled the world and filled the globe.  We are all human, yes?  Yes, but we all come from different places.  We are in different phases of life and do different activities.  Trying to fit EVERYBODY into the same box just seems a little arrogant and crazy right?  Ultimately, there are infinite numbers of metabolic types because we are ALL different and unique.  For the sake of sanity, most people break down the types into three main categories.  Let’s take a quick peak and give a few tips on how to succeed as each one.  Keep in mind that your metabolic type can and often does change with the seasons, age, activity levels, and so forth.  Listening to your body and eating real food is always a good guide.

PROTEIN TYPE:  This is the realm of the “modern paleo” diet trend.  Lot’s of meat and fat.  Regardless of what vegetarians or “vegans” tell you, some of our genes require meat and fat to do well.  How much?  It depends on the person.  Protein types are usually people who feel best having some sort of animal protein a few times a day.  They usually crave dark meat, rich meats, eggs, butter, fat, full fat cheese, etc.  Nuts are often sought after as a snack.  This person is usually inclined towards strength-training and doesn’t do quite as well with cardio exercise.  They need a bit more sleep than most to feel good.  What gets this type into trouble?  Overeating.  Especially on crappy food.  These include all pasteurized dairy products, grilled or heavy cooked protein foods, fried eggs, too much bacon or preserved meats, roasted nuts, etc.  How to balance this type?  Focus on QUALITY over QUANTITY first.  Get yourself good quality, grass-fed meats, fish, fats, and eggs.  If you kilter towards animal foods, go with raw cod liver oil, raw butter, raw or lightly cooked eggs, rare fish and other meats, bone marrow, etc.  If you kilter towards plant foods (most don’t), go for the avocados, olives, coconuts, raw nuts, etc.  Another pitfall for this type is eating too many carbs or sugar.  They will usually crash if eating a lot of sugar by itself.  An example would be drinking a LARGE glass of orange juice first thing in the morning without anything else in your stomach.  People naturally slide more towards the protein type on the scale in the winter months.

MIXED TYPE:  Ah, the mixed type.  These are the “middle-of-the-road” people.  They are usually the least picky of eaters.  They can get by on pretty much everything as long as it is fresh, real food.  Cravings will shift often.  Sometimes we want some juicy rare lamb.  Sometimes we want a big bowl of vegetables or some fresh juice.  Maybe I didn’t want any fat for lunch, but boy does it sound good at dinnertime.  Mixed types are exactly how we sound.  Everything in moderation right?  The best foods for you?  Fresh fruits and vegetables as they feel right.  Some fresh juice in the morning maybe.  Moderate amounts of animal foods.  You may find a super heavy breakfast will weigh you down.  For example, a mixed type usually will do better with a lighter breakfast, as opposed to a big plate of eggs and sausage links.  The mix between preferences for animal and plant foods usually is mixed as well.  Sometimes animal fat does the trick.  Sometimes plant fat hits the spot.  Keep a wide variety of foods around and choose what feels best at the time.  This type usually likes some bodyweight exercise as well as cardio.  Problems?  It is easy to go off-balance.  Sometimes we eat too much protein and fat and get bogged down.  Sometimes we eat like the carb type and get jittery or anxious.  This all has to do with learning your own bodies preferences.  As usual, things change with the seasons and activity levels.

CARB TYPE:  The carb type eh?  This is usually where vegetarians lie on the scale.  Personally, I believe that most people need SOME high-quality animal products to be healthy long-term.  There are few people who do well in a cold climate on a carb diet.  My guess?  Most CARBS and heavy sugar fruits grow in tropical climates.  Some of us evolved in those regions.  Others evolved in colder regions.  So what are the characteristics of the carb-type?  A little hyper.  Quick to move.  Quick to think.  Usually favors cardio exercise.  These people often get cold easily in the winter, but LOVE the summer months.  Sometimes they are mixed types in disguise.  (If I eat a ton of sugar I will be very FAST for a while also.)  The difference?  This type of thing sustains the carb-type during the day.  What are the best foods for carb types?  Primarily fruits and vegetables.  Relatively little meat and fat here.  These types usually prefer plant sources for the bulk of their protein and fat.  Maybe a few eggs or some white fish or chicken here and there.  An example of a BAD meal for the carb-type would be a giant breakfast with a lot of rich meat, butter, bacon, or fatty fish.  Being a carb-type is NOT an excuse to go eat a bunch of “junk-food.”  Just as the protein type has to be wary of bad fats and overcooked proteins, the carb-type needs to watch it with the processed starches and sugars.  Things like potato and corn chips.  Granola.  Cereals.  Sweets.  “Healthy junk.”  Gluten, processed foods, and sugar are best avoided by everyone.

So those are the types guys and girls.  As a general guideline, you will slide more towards a protein type in the winter and when you are doing strength training, or are under stress.  You will usually slide towards the carb type in the summer months, doing a lot of mental-activity, and doing more cardio exercise.  Don’t “LOCK” yourself into any one category.  We change just as the seasons change.  Let your body be your guide.  Metabolic typing can be a good system to help you figure out where you are on the scale and adjust accordingly.  Happy hunting =)


-JOE

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“Comfort Food” MY ASS

Macaroni and cheese is an American comfort food

Ok, I admit it.  I have a small beef with “comfort food.”  I am not talking about real comforting, nourishing foods.  I am talking about the junk food that we have grown to label “comfort food.”  Don’t think that emotions don’t play into this as well.  Let’s look at some qualities of what most of us have come to think of as comfort food.  Soft, mushy, usually warm (except ice cream), starchy, fatty, etc.  Basically heavy, easily digestible, high-calorie fare.  Is that the whole story though?  More and more I begin to think there is a whole other side to this issue.  Are we simply eating for nourishment or is it more as a buffer?  What about the emotional side?  When did we eat comfort food?  Birthdays.  Christmas.  Thanksgiving.  Hopefully happy times right?  Cake, pies, cheesy potatoes, cookies, meatloaf, etc.  It is pretty hard to take a break right?  Let’s look at some traditional “nourishing foods” that serve the same purpose in the body.

FATS:  Raw butter, raw or lightly cooked egg yolks, coconuts/oil, olives/oil, animal fats, raw nuts, bone marrow.  These fats have been used for thousands of years.  They are rich.  They taste great.  They nourish the body.

CARBS:  Carbs are many people’s favorite “comfort foods.”  At least we like to think that is the case most of the time.  Is it really the carbs though?  Or is the “gunky stuff.”  The breads, the pasta, the cereals, lasagna, fried rice, etc.  Ask yourself which it is?  Nature has provided us with plenty of carbohydrates to choose from.  Root vegetables are particularly useful.  Parsnips, rutabagas, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.  Fruit can also be great.  I am not one for “whole grains” but unprocessed and properly prepared grains are a hell of a lot better than the processed stuff. 

PROTEINS:  Protein is often included in comfort food as well.  Favorites may include burgers with fries, fried chicken wings, meats on pizzas, cheese, fried steaks, and ribs.  I can’t lie; ribs are pretty damn TASTY.  So what are some good proteins?  Lightly cooked animal proteins would include egg whites, wild caught fish, and free range poultry and ruminant animals.  Healthy cooking options include crock-pots, baking, steaming, etc.  Frying or high-heat grilling is not recommended.

Now that we have taken a look at things, I will ask the question again.  Do we like the nourishment or do we use these things as a buffer?  I will tell people to eat as much REAL FOOD as they want.  Let’s compare a few nourishing meals versus fake food comfort.

PROCESSED COMFORT:  Most of us don’t have to think too hard on this one.  Pizzas, pastas, anything with pasteurized dairy, burgers with fries, cakes, donuts, cereals, pastries, latte’s, anything fried, etc.

NOURISHING COMFORT:  Most of us have not been introduced to these foods in the modern world.  Steamed sweet potatoes and broccoli with coconut oil.  Parsnips and peas with raw butter.  Lightly cooked eggs and avocado omelet with veggies.  Crock-pot meals with chicken or lamb mixed with vegetables and olive oil as a topping.  There are plenty of healthy treats as well.

So there you have it.  Give yourself a test.  Is it the calories and nourishment you are after?  Or does “comfort food” serve some other function in your life?  Looking at what types of comfort food it is hard to give up can tell you a lot about your internal state.  Do you crave fried fats and foods?  Or maybe for you it is the sugar.  What are you buffering against? It is great to reminisce about high school or times in childhood but we need to learn to separate the “good times” from the food that is associated with it.  After eating real food for a while, most cravings usually start disappearing if they are related to true nourishment.  Our modern culture has skewed what food we think we need to function.  So having said that, COMFORT FOOD MY ASS.

-JOE

Are Low-Carb Diets Healthy?

 

Meat!

 

You hear all about this today.  Low-carb this and low-carb that.  What is all the fuss about?  Are low carb diets really healthy?

This depends on a few factors.

1. What does low carb even mean?  For some people this means cutting out grains and beans and that is it.  For others it is seriously restricting fruits and veggies.  I have even seen some people go on pure meat/fat diets.  So what level are we talking about here?

2. Does it work for YOUR body?  Not for some celebrity or health-guru, but for you.

Ok, so before I get started, I would like to clarify something.  “We are ALL different.”  We have different health levels, different activity levels, live in different areas, have different genetics, and different emotions.  Given that, we all need different foods, imagine that.  So please don’t judge what you should do off of somebody else.  Some people have excellent guidelines but you need to let your own body be your ultimate guide.

So about cutting out processed carbs, grains, sugars, candy, donuts, etc.  This will be cutting a lot of “carbs” out of your diet so yes, that is a good thing.  This does not mean you are eating a “Low-carb” diet.  It simply means you are cutting out all of the junk.  This alone will greatly help your health.  I would recommend this as a first step as anyone experimenting with a low-carb approach.  It happens to be that most junk food is carbs.  Don’t fall for the gluten-free “healthy” junk food.  Packaged dead food and sugar is still junk even if it doesn’t have gluten.  Stick with fruits and vegetables.  If you want some good high carb veggies and fruit; sweet potatoes, potatoes, quinoa, bananas, squash, acorn, winter, butternut, spaghetti squash, papaya, plantains, etc.

Ok, so I can eat bananas all day and get insane amounts of sugar and carbs without eating grains.  Is this healthy?  Not for me.  I would get sugar buzzes like none other and get very hungry without protein and fat.  I also live in a climate that gets somewhat cold in the winter.

Here is the bottom line. “You shouldn’t be eating anything that your body doesn’t need or want.”

As a general rule, the more strength-training you will be doing; the more protein/fat you will need.  If you are doing less, you may not need as much.

If you are eating fresh, living foods and your body is craving them, it is probably a sign to GO FOR IT.  If you feel better cutting out the starchy vegetables and tropical fruits then do it.  But don’t buy into this low-carb thing.  The same exact thing applies to the opposite side of the spectrum where people hardly eat any protein or fat.  Here is the thing.  You can’t eat low-carb and low-fat at the same time.  You just need to find that sweet-spot that your body likes.  Think of it as properly fueling your car.  You have 3 macronutrient ratios.  What can you digest?  Maybe your liver is bogged up and your fat processing is down.  Your body may want more carbs until that gets up and running again.  Personally, in the summer I do best on primarily fruits and vegetables, some plant fats, some animal protein/fats.  In the winter, my fruit intake will drop a bit and my animal proteins/fats will go up a bit.  My plant fats will go down a bit.  Your body is smart.  Let it be your guide. If you feel best eating “low-carb” then go for it.  Just don’t starve yourself of something you really want just because somebody said so.  I have seen people who eat LOW-CARB for a long time and are craving carbs that feel AMAZING after finally giving in and eating a big bowl of fruit.  Likewise, I have seen VEGANS cave and eat some juicy eggs or sardines that feel AMAZING afterwards.  You will learn quickly (or not so quickly in my case) that no matter what you are eating or how you are eating, SOMEBODY will have something bad to say about it.  Don’t be one of these people.  Lions don’t need somebody telling them the science behind why they need meat.  Neither to gorillas need somebody telling them to eat leaves and bugs.  We are the same.  Just don’t let your taste buds be tricked.  Don’t eat the junk, sugar, pasteurized dairy products, chemical laced food, etc.  These all override our normal judgements on what to eat.  Eat fresh, organic, real food.  Your senses should guide you.

-Joe

What’s the BEEF with FAT?

Olive oil from Imperia in Liguria, Italy.

 

What is the beef with fat?  It has been demonized in our culture as synonymous with “being fat.”  If you don’t want to be overweight and obese then the answer is to eat a low-fat diet high in grains, starches, and fruit right? ERRR wrong.  The human body burns food for fuel.  Proteins act basically as body builders.  They help build the physical structures to your body but they do not provide much fuel.  Fat and carbohydrates are the primary fuel sources.  Which your body prefers depends primarily on your genetics, age, and location.  Some people use a mixture of the two.  Good fats are not the evil weight gaining things to stay away from that we have been told they are.

Now of course; stay away from BAD fats.  These are man-made or man-altered products that are not natural at all.  These would include things like pasteurized dairy products, high-heated vegetable oils, fried foods, roasted nuts, greasy burgers/fries, pizzas, etc.  These will help clog up your liver and system in general.

I am talking about the GOOD fats today.  This doesn’t matter if you are a vegetarian or a carnivore.  Here are some options for both categories.  Personally, i feel best with some of both depending on how I am feeling.

VEGETABLE FATS: Avocados, Raw soaked nuts and seeds, Olives/cold pressed olive oil, Coconuts/cold pressed coconut oil.

ANIMAL FATS: egg yolks (preferably free range and raw or lightly cooked), fatty fish (sardines, salmon), cod liver oil, bone marrow, bone broth (chicken stock, beef stock), Lightly cooked meats.  Raw dairy (kefir, butter, milk, cream) goes here if it is a food that works well with you.  Some swear by it.  Others swear against it.  Most cultures have used animal fats for thousands of years.

When it comes to fats, cooking seems to be the enemy here.  Don’t fry your food.  Try to eat your fats as lightly cooked as safe and possible.  Think things like crock-pots, steamers, etc, instead of frying pans.

So these good quality foods will help you stay satisfied and not so hungry.  Our bodies need some high-quality fat to function correctly.  In general, living in colder climates seems to require more fat.  Listen to your own body and let it guide you as to what it wants.  As for the carbs, I don’t see anything wrong with them either.  The problem is that carbs appear to be the easiest macronutrient to overindulge in.  Potatoes, pasta, bread, etc.  Carbohydrates are a valid fuel source for the body and humans have been eating them for a long time.  The problem is OVEREATING them.  It’s like putting too much fuel into the gas tank.  There is leftovers for most people.  This translates to excess weight and a clogging up of the system.  Exercise will help this a little bit but the real answer is to stop eating so much of the heavy starches.  Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables.  Cut back on the pastas, cereals, granolas, breads, potatoes, etc.  There is nothing wrong with some potatoes every now and then for most people but mix in some good broccoli or other green veggie and some healthy fat to balance it out.  So please, don’t have a beef with fat.  It is not the enemy.  Eat a well-balanced diet that feels right to you.  I believe that if you are eating mainly whole foods, then your body will tell you what it does and doesn’t want.  Eat some mono-meals (1 food at a time) here and there to really get a feel for how that food sits with you.  Above all, listen to your body and don’t be afraid of any food that nature has made and people have been eating for a very long time.

-Joe

 

FAT?

Will eat for food

 

We are a country obsessed with FAT right?  Over half of our population is overweight or obese.  We are told to eat “low-fat” foods because they will help us to lose weight right?  This is not necessarily good advice.  Fat is not the bad guy in the food that we have made it out to be.  Good fat that is.  Think of foods like avocados, lightly cooked meats, raw nuts, eggs, raw dairy (if tolerated), raw butter, olive/coconut oils, fatty fish, etc.  These are perfectly normal foods that humans have been eating for a very long time.  What are bad fats?  These usually include everything manmade (funny how that works?).  These would include any high-heated vegetable oils (canola, safflower, soybean, corn, etc).  This also includes any kind of pasteurized dairy products.  Any kinds of fried foods would also fit in this category.  The fats off of factory-farmed animals is also not great.  So i would say this is the first problem.  We are eating these new-fangled fats that are bodies have not evolved with and do not process well if at all.  So if we are not supposed to eat fats, how else do we gain weight?  There are so many people on “low-fat” diets that have huge weight problems.  This doesn’t make any sense right?  The big answer: Excess processed carbohydrates and sugars

We are obsessed with carbohydrates and sugars in this country.  Think of things like soda pop, pop tarts, candies, pastries, pizzas, donuts, cereals, pastas, sandwiches, granolas, sugar-loaded coffees.  The list is more or less endless.  These grain-based carbohydrates are supposed to be the base of our diet right?  The human body can only process so much energy at one time.  If you eat more carbohydrates than your energy requirements, they will be stored as fat.  Either that, or they will just clog up your system in the long run.  This is an unfortunate survival mechanism.  A long time ago, I’m sure it served a purpose.  It was normal to want to put on a few extra pounds in case of famines or times when you couldn’t get food for awhile.  Most people here are extremely overfed.  It is harder to overeat on proteins and good fats.  And where carbohydrates in nature come with a lot of dense fiber to fill you up, the ones we consume have been stripped of that fiber making it easy to consume massive amounts of food we don’t need.

So to finish up, we need to shift the way we think.  If you are trying to lose weight or wonder why the “food pyramid” doesn’t work so well, try cutting out the processed carbohydrates, sugars, and bad fats from your diet.  Your body really doesn’t want these things, i promise.  Switch them out for more carbs from fresh fruits and vegetables and get your good fat from the aforementioned lists.

-Joe