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 =)



It’s OK to eat when your hungry!


English: Veggie burger eating competition, Slo...


This seems strange to a lot of people.  We are constantly bombarded with portion controls and “diet plans.”  Eating when we are hungry seems strange and odd.  But I’m here to tell you that you truly can.  Animals in the wild do just fine eating when they are hungry.  But is there a catch?  Ok, you caught me.  There is a catch.  This only works when we are eating REAL FOOD!  I will give you an example.  We sometimes make homemade “walnut butter” here.  The recipe is on a previous post.  Basically it is raw dehydrated walnuts, coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt.  AMAZING.  Needless to say, because of the sugar and salt it doesn’t last long.  Salt is a necessary nutrient for a lot of people but can also be the reason why we overeat.  Sugar is the same way.  The funny thing is that when we just make walnuts by themselves without sugar or salt, they end up sitting on the shelf for a while.  So what is going on here?  I personally believe that a lot of the things that we think we “crave” are simply cravings for things that go with them.  It is no coincidence they add sugar, salt, fried fats, etc to most junk foods.  They are ADDICTING and our bodies have no natural shut-off switch for these foods.  Most people I know enjoy eating so let’s look at a few simple steps that will allow you to eat naturally when you are hungry without sweating about it.


1.  Focus on “elemental nutrition” first.  Make sure you are getting enough fresh air, clean water, sunlight, grounding, loving relationships, etc.  These are what our bodies are designed to get most of their nourishment from anyway.  Food is a supplement.


2.  Focus on REAL FOOD.  Get real olives, raw coconut oil, real eggs not fried, non-pasteurized milk, fresh fruits, vegetables, etc.  Limit the sugars, fried stuff, and seasonings.


3.  Focus on SUPER-FOODS.  I honestly believe that 95% of the time our bodies are craving nutrition and not calories.  Sometimes it’s calories but not often.  Add things like calf or bison liver, fresh cod-liver oil, varieties of fruits/veggies.  All of these things have amazing amounts of vitamins/minerals that our bodies require.


4.  Listen to your body.  Keep your house/apartment stocked with the GOOD STUFF.  Other than that, I believe trusting your body is usually the right course of action.  Don’t overcook or high cook meats as they are hard to digest.  


5.  Simpler meals.  Fewer food combinations.  Try not to mix and match everything together.  Basic rules?  Eat fruit by itself on an empty stomach.  Don’t mix meat and starch together.  Avoid too much liquids when eating meals unless it’s a soup.


That is basically it.  Our bodies are designed to have shut-off switches.  You are not going to overeat on broccoli.  This process will not happen overnight.  Ultimately we have cravings for things that are not good for us.  When we have been eating junk a lot of our lives it takes a while to reverse.  And if you have a craving for the GOOD STUFF then eat it!  People are too afraid of all this heresy you hear online.  Someone is going to have something bad to say about any food you may possibly think of eating.  This is true of fruits, meats, eggs, fats, vegetables, etc.  A lion in the wild eats a ton of raw red meat and he is fine.  Some of us are genetically inclined to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Some are inclined to eat more meat and fat.  Some do best with animal fat, some with plant fat.  This all shifts as you get healthier.  Ayurveda seems like a fairly good method of seeing what you will fare best with on a regular basis.  There are other methods like blood-typing, zone, paleo, etc.  Of course if you have a serious “health challenge” other considerations may be required.  Ultimately you are an individual.  So EAT what you want when you feel it is right.  Don’t eat when sick or when food sounds unappealing.  We should trust our bodies more =)




Food Intolerance and Food Allergies: Part 2

Allergy Free Zucchini Bread

1.  Sensitivity to Criticism.  When you are always “defending” yourself and your opinions, state of mind, beliefs, etc, you are constantly in a state of DEFENSE against your environment.  This is a reason why some people react more strongly to these bad foods than others.
2.  Eating the same food over and over and over again.  Our bodies like variety.  Switch it up.  Don’t eat almonds every day.  Try some walnuts or brazil nuts instead.  Eggs are something that a lot of us eat every single day.  Hell, I would love to eat eggs every day; but I don’t.  Rotating your foods is a great way to avoid developing intolerances.
3.  When in doubt, cut it out.  You can always add it back in to see if it’s a problem.  Some people don’t realize foods are causing them a problem because they have eaten them for their WHOLE LIFE.  There is a simple at-home test you can do to see if you are reacting to foods.  Take your pulse on an empty stomach before eating a meal.  Eat a decent amount of the “suspected food.”  Eat it by itself.  Then take your pulse again.  If your pulse goes up by more than 4-5 points, there is a good likelihood you are reacting to that food.  Cut it out for a few weeks and try again.
So that is my opinion on this whole subject.  When cutting out foods that humans are not designed to consume and eating a well-balanced, well varied diet; these things often DISAPPEAR.  Now wouldn’t that be nice?

Coffee and energy drinks VS Real Energy

English: XL energy drink


Caffeine, Taurine, Sugar, Syrup, Lattes, espresso.  What?  Americans love their coffee.  We love our energy drinks (and now shots.)  We love anything that will keep us stimulated and awake when we are really tired underneath.  People use these on an almost daily basis to get that energy boost when they “need” it.  Now don’t get me wrong, the occasional cup of coffee is not going to hurt you.  It’s the use of it that really bothers me.  If you are using stimulants to keep yourself working or playing or exercising when you should be resting, that is a problem.  The problem is that you are not really using YOUR energy.  You are forcing your body to take from its reserves.  This entails tapping into your adrenal glands.  Sugar, table salt, and too much caffeine are some of the worst offenders.  I will mention the adrenal glands in a bit more detail in a later post, but for short, they are small glands that help your body deal with stress.  This includes anything from getting in a fight, giving a speech, running for your life, suppressed emotions, being in a bad relationship, and anything else going on in your body.  When you are very low on normal energy the body starts using backup.  This is an amazing adaptation we have acquired through evolution.  It allows us to always have that extra battery to power through something if our lives depend on it.  The problem is that these mega energy drinks, weightlifting supplements, and Starbucks coffees are kicking these little glands into gear almost 24/7.  As you can imagine, this only really works for so long.  Eventually, your body gets tired of the abuse and your adrenal glands tire out.  This is a big problem.  The adrenal glands help every system in your body to work better.  Without proper functioning, you leave the door open for chronic or worsening health problems and lower and lower base levels of energy.  So what do we do about it?


Normally, if we are following the basic rules of a healthy diet and lifestyle, these things will not affect us as much.  The basics are eating quality food, getting good sleep, breathing clean air, getting adequate sunlight, mild exercise, and clean water intake.  Emotional basics might include making time for a spiritual practice, church groups, counseling, etc.

A big one here is nutrition.  Your body has countless functions that it performs on a daily basis.  A lot of these functions either can’t happen or happen very slowly without nutrition.  You need certain vitamins and minerals in certain amounts to function normally.  So make sure the diet has a wide variety of whole foods so that your body can do what it wants to.

Sleep is another big one.  How many people are out working too hard, running around with friends all night, or exercising too hard without putting the time in in the bedroom.  Sleeping is when your body heals and recharges itself the most.  Also, eating before bed is a terrible idea as your system will be trying to digest whatever you ate instead of regenerating.

So what is the lesson here?  We have an abundant supply of energy (a lot of it free) in our environment.  If we can learn to tap into this energy we will not need to rely on manmade things to give us the illusion of energy.