Blog Post

Intermittent Fasting: For Health, Weight Control and Feeling Good!

INTERMITTENT FASTING – A NEW (OLD) APPROACH TO INCREDIBLE HEALTH, PROPER WEIGHT AND LONGEVITY!

Hello Everyone!

I’d like to share some information and propose a “new” way of eating, that actually is an old way of eating.

When it comes to eating, I believe we’ve been conned! Over the years we’ve been fed quite a few servings of “baloney” about how many calories one should eat to maintain, lose or gain weight. We’ve also been misled as to the number of meals per day we should eat ranging from 3 squares to 6 small meals (the idea being that it keeps our metabolism up to burn fat). Well, after all the research I’ve done, the idea of eating smaller meals and snacking throughout the day is far from getting/being healthy or even desirous. In fact, it’s actually harmful in the long-run.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste of a good organic meal (and an occasional indulgence) and am very grateful to our Lord for providing delicious, healthy nutrition despite what our government is trying to do to sabotage all of our foods with GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, cross-breeding, hormones, antibiotics, heavy metals, etc. But, eating can sometimes be a real hassle. It takes time to prepare all those meals, to think about preparing all those meals, to actually eat all those meals and, it’s NOT the way we were designed to eat.  In fact,  the “3 meal a day plan”: breakfast, lunch and dinner, is a European creation and extension carried over to America to make the natives “more civilized.” It was invented due to culture, not to our biological necessity.

In addition, we are consuming FAR too many calories than necessary to live and thrive. The current caloric recommendations for height and body-type are very much exaggerated and many studies have been conducted to show that, not only are we overeating in general, we’re eating way too many calories than we actually need and it is killing us!

In many cultures and even in ours a couple of hundred years ago, people only ate when they were hungry and most only ate 1-2x a day or actually skipped a day. Did they waste away? Of course not. Voltaire actually said that our bodies only utilize about 60% of what we consume – the rest is either wasted or stored up as fat. There was also an interesting inscription found that reads, “Humans live on ¼ of what they eat; on the other 3/4s lives their doctor.”

If you do a search on the Internet as to how many calories you need per day, you’ll see a few different formulas, but they are basically the same. However, my personal constitution is one that if I eat too much, I may add a couple of pounds of fat, but more importantly, I simply feel horrible! So, my caloric intake per day ranges from 1,200 to 1,600 calories and I believe I can lower that still.

There is an increasing number of testimonials on the web of bodybuilders, athletes and regular folk who are eating no more than 1,000 -1500 calories a day and feel fantastic! They are lean, muscular and in great health eating nutrient dense foods. There’s even a report of a man who holds a world-record in the deadlift at his body weight of 180lbs, he looks like a body builder, does no steroids and eats only 1000-1500 calories a day, usually in 1 meal/per day.

My personal goal is to eat much better and have my body become much more efficient so I don’t spend as much time in the bathroom!, sleep less, get leaner and put on a few lbs. of muscle.

Here is a brief overview of my plan:

With the exception of Sundays (due to church fellowships, luncheons, etc.), I plan to do intermittent fasting nearly every day (not eating for 16 or more hours), with a window of around 4-8 hours to consume food in 1 – 2 meals a day only.

On M,W,F I’ll have just 2 meals/day – 1 after my walk/sprint workouts on Mondays and Fridays and another meal in the afternoon before 6:00 pm. Wednesdays I’ll eat the same, but that is my strength workout day where I do a TOTAL of 3-5 multi-axis intense exercises just 1x/week. Total calories for the day: 1,200 to 1,600.

On T,Th I’ll do a little bit of light exercising in the morning for neck, abs, glutes and lower back and have just 1 large meal the entire day finishing before 1:30 pm. Total calories: 1,000 – 1,200 (more or less).

So from Tuesday to Wednesday I’ll be fasting for at least 18 hours and workouts will be conducted between 18 and 20 hours in the fasting state which has been proven to increase HgH (human growth hormone) and Testosterone naturally up to 2000% (according to research).

Meals will be nutrient dense and proper combinations with minimum supplementation and no snacking in-between (snacking is death for trying to lose fat).

This type of eating/fasting is ideal to rest the digestive system so that the energy can be used to cleanse the body of toxins. It’s also amazing for fat loss and muscle gain or muscle maintenance.

To dispel the belief that one will starve on so few calories, one only has to look at the history of the POWs in WWII Germany and Japan. Some of these POWs were in camps for 3-4 years subsisting only on a rice ball and/or a piece of bread and water each day. Total calories, probably no more than 300-600 calories/day. Many survived for all those years working all day long in horrible conditions. Yes, many got sick, many died and they all lost significant weight. However, my point is that those who were getting at least some nourishment survived for years and were able to function and work.  Why did the others starve? Some simply gave up, but for many, food was withheld completely and the food that was given was not complete nor was it nutrient-dense. For the most part they were only given simple carbohydrates. Very little protein or fat.  Had they been in better conditions, were given just a couple of hundred calories more per day of protein, fat and healthy carbohydrates, they would not have just survived, most of them would have thrived!

Additionally, given a proper muscle-building stimulus, it’s actually possible to build muscle without stuffing oneself with thousands of calories per day. A study in 1975 published in The American College of Sports Medicine proved that mammalian tissue can grow and respond even when consuming fewer calories that might be considered a “starvation diet” provided that there is a high enough stress load on the muscle to promote hypertrophy and cover all the major muscle groups.

And, one does NOT have to eat meat in order to accomplish this. In fact, there is a higher amino acid content in a variety of vegetables than in animal protein! The world-record dead-lift holder mentioned above is a VEGAN and does not touch meat in any way shape or form. His diet consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and certain grains only.

Notes:

  1. If you are having trouble fasting this long, put 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water and also sparkling water and sip it. It should take away cravings.
  2. You don’t have to be too particular about every meal – because your body will use the fasting time to use that energy to eliminate any toxins you consume rather than using the energy for digestion.
  3. High protein, high fat, low carb, low sugar meal should be consumed after workout.
  4. Eating sugar within 2 hours after a workout will obliterate HgH benefits.

Dr. Mike’s I.F. Blog

Beginning Saturday, July 1st.  Stats: 6 feet tall, small bone structure. Starting weight: 154lbs. Waist 31.75″. Goal for end of year: 160-165lbs. Waist 30-31″. With occasional exceptions, eating 1-2 meals/day. Intermittent fasting between 16-20 hours each day and eating no more than 1000-1600 calories/day. Significantly reduce or eliminate excessive pain and inflammation in neck, low back and joints. Improve digestive health.

Saturday, July 15th; end of week 2. Weight: 157lbs. Waist:  32.5″.  For the most part, I’ve been able to stick with the eating regimen. I feel stronger, but my body composition has not really changed much other than adding a little bit of fat around the waist. I haven’t been eating as perfect as I’d like, but there’s been a lot going on that has increased my stress levels and thus my cortisol levels as well. I will say that I believe my digestion and elimination has improved in the last week and I don’t feel as “snacky”.  I’m on a protocol from my naturopath to address some remaining health issues and after reading a couple of books on the subject, I’ve decided to start on a bio-identical progesterone cream today. It’s going to be a little hard to keep track of things since my wife just had surgery and we’ve got several trips coming up, but I’m going to do the best I can.

Tuesday, July 25th; beginning of week 4. Weight: 156lbs. Waist: 31.75″.

Even after attending a wedding over the weekend and eating out for 2 days, I was able to maintain the intermittent fast schedule for the most part and feel pretty good. Unfortunately, the food at the reception was unhealthy and I had a bit too much causing some intestinal distress, but we’re back home and trying to eat healthy once again (except for the pizza indulgence last night)!

Still on the protocol from our naturopath and noticing a couple of positive benefits. I also discontinued the progesterone cream and am sticking with the regimen and diet I’m currently on.

I’ve altered my workout schedule slightly – Rather than doing just 5 core exercises, I felt the need to include just a few isolation exercises for my biceps, triceps, forearms and calves. I may alternate this, but am still sticking with a short, intense workout of around 8 exercises just 1 day a week. If I don’t feel recovered enough after 7 days, I may extend the rest to 9 or 10.  The best gains I ever made were back in 2004-2005 when I did a H.I.T. (high intensity training) routine doing 10 exercises to muscular failure every 4 days.

 

 

The author at age 47ish after 6 months or more on the H.I.T. workout program.

 

 

 

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017; middle of week 6: Weight: 157lbs. Waist: 32.0″.

We’ve had a lot going on lately and finally have finished our “concert touring” schedule. My wife and I are part of our church choir and have been gearing up for a couple of back to back performances. Last week we had a 2.5 hour rehearsal on Thursday, then a performance on Friday evening and one at a remote destination the following day. We also sang at church the next Sunday. So it was 4 days in a row of heavy duty singing and it wiped us out! We’re not as young as we used to.  We were actually invited to perform again, but turned it down. We’ve got to pace ourselves, especially since practice for our Christmas concert is about to start!  Anyway, it was difficult to stay on my fasting schedule, but I was able to remain 70-75% committed.

I decided to have more nutrition in liquid form for ease of digestion and to make sure I get enough nutrients (greens protein and wild plant/herbs). Hopefully beginning this week, I’ll get my eating regimen back on track.

Workouts are going very well. I’m enjoying them more and getting stronger. I’m working out with resistance 2x/week instead of one: (legs/shoulders on Monday, chest/back/arms on Friday). My full body workouts were taking too long for one session. Still doing around 8-10 total sets per week. If progress halts, I’ll either reduce the sets or spread my workouts further apart for increased recovery.

I’m trying to workout at 18-20 hours of fasting to elevate natural growth hormone.  On Wednesdays I do pushups & walk and do a few 8-10 second sprints for the same reason. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I do a few exercises at home for neck, abs, glutes and lower back. If I can stay disciplined, I think the rewards will come.

 

Monday, August 14th, 2017; beginning of week 7: Weight: 158lbs. Waist: 31.75″.

I didn’t want to wait until later to update the blog since I’ve noticed some changes over the last few days (good and bad).  After watching a documentary last week entitled: “What the Health” I was more inclined to head towards veganism or at the very least: Ovo/lacto pescatarian! (Allowing a small amount of fish, eggs and butter and/or cheese occasionally).

For various reasons, I think that a mostly vegetarian diet is healthy. I don’t know that I could live the completely vegan lifestyle (no meat of any kind, no dairy of any kind), but I believe I could do very well only eating wild caught Alaskan salmon once in a while and possible a small amount of butter (from grass-fed cows) very occasionally. I also think eating an egg or two (from pasture-raised chickens) infrequently would do me well. So let’s say I’m striving for being an 85-90% vegan! 🙂    And, I have to allow for a very infrequent organic hot chocolate and ice cream!

Regarding the documentary I mentioned, Dr. Mercola wrote a rebuke of the documentary, but I personally believe he missed the point to espouse his own presuppositions. I wrote some counter arguments to his article and have posted his article and my responses below (in red).

Anyway, in the last week, I’ve gained a little bit more muscle, lost a little bit more fat and have increased my strength quite a bit. I’m still following intermittent fasting, but on some days I may feel a little weaker and rather than working out between the 18 and 20 hour fasting window, I may have something to eat the night before and work out after having fasted 12-14 hours. I still find my workouts are much better if I work out hungry!  All this while still consuming only between 1000-1500 calories per day.

After having eaten meat (from meals that were made for us) nearly every day for a few weeks, I haven’t eaten any meat at all in the last 5 days and only had about a tablespoon of butter while eating a lot of greens. I’m finding that, although my strength is up, I feel like I’m detoxing pretty heavily which includes intestinal distress, dizziness and just not feeling very well. This tends to happen when I make drastic changes to my diet, especially very health ones! With my MTHFR mutation, I don’t detox very well and have to be careful to go slowly. I may have some fish tomorrow and maybe something not as healthy just to ease the detox a bit. Eventually though, I believe the detox symptoms will start to ease up and I should start feeling better. The body simply has to respond positively when you feed it excellent foods!

 

‘What the Health’ — Where This Vegan PR Film Went Wrong

Story at-a-glance

  • The documentary, “What the Health,” ignores accumulated evidence against sugar in a misguided effort to promote vegan ideology
  • According to the film, the focus on sugar as a contributor to obesity, diabetes and ill health has steered people away from the real culprits, which they claim are meat and animal fat
  • While a high-vegetable diet is certainly beneficial, the low-fat, unrestricted-carb recommendations are not. Low-carb, high-fat diets have proven superior for controlling insulin resistance, which is the hallmark of obesity and metabolic dysfunction

I might have to watch the documentary again, but I don’t know that they were necessarily promoting sugar over fats. The majority of M.D.s who talk about nutrition are very ignorant about it or they have a particular agenda. In this case, while there’s definitely a bent towards veganism and avoiding meats, my thought is that they were simply opinions from some health care providers who are obviously misinformed regarding the absolutely negative health benefits from consuming too much sugar and not enough dietary fats.

By Dr. Mercola

According to the sugar industry, sugar is harmless and may even be an important part of a healthy diet. Industry recommendations suggest getting 25 percent of your daily calories from sugar. This, despite research1 showing people who get 25 percent or more of their calories from sugar triple their risk of death from heart disease compared to those who get 7 percent or less of their calories from the sweet stuff.  The evidence is overwhelming in support of this.

The sugar industry promotes the myth that saturated fat is to blame for weight gain and ill health, not sugar, along with the thoroughly debunked energy balance theory. Fortunately, some great books have now been written exposing the history and extent of the cover-ups. Two examples are science journalist Gary Taubes’ book, “The Case Against Sugar,” and Marion Nestle’s “Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning).”  That fats are to blame for ill health is a dead horse that continues to get beaten over and over. The information is incorrect, very antiquated and continues to be promoted despite the contrary evidence which shows how uneducated medical doctors are in this area OR are purposely ignoring/skewing the evidence. 

Which brings us to the topic of today’s article: The documentary “What the Health,”2 which is currently one of the most viewed documentaries on Netflix. Sadly, this film nonchalantly ignores the accumulated evidence against sugar in a misguided effort to promote vegan ideology.

What the Health?

Funded through an Indiegogo campaign,3 this film is supposed to “expose collusion and corruption in government and big business” that is keeping us sick. In reality, it’s a call to veganism, but some of the arguments are so flawed, it might as well be considered a freebie to the sugar industry.  I think the evidence speaks for itself regarding corporate sponsorship.

While I agree in principle with recommendations to avoid all processed foods and meats raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), there are nuances with regard to meat consumption that I believe are vitally important if you’re interested in optimal health.

According to the film, the focus on sugar as a contributor to obesity, diabetes and ill health has steered people away from the real culprits, which they claim are meat and animal fat. Again, while I often warn against excessive consumption of animal protein, important details are overlooked in this film. Worse, the suggestion that sugar isn’t a problem is counterproductive to the point of rendering the film useless and laughable in terms of helping people take control of their health and well-being.

As far as I can tell, most if not all of the medical experts4,5,6,7,8,9 featured in the film are vegans and promote veganism to their patients, although they’re not introduced as such. The directors, Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, and the executive producer Joaquin Phoenix are also vegan. As a result, the film presents a profoundly unbalanced view of what makes for an optimal diet. Some of the views presented are so demonstrably wrong, I found it difficult to watch.  Anyone who has presuppositions or believes in a particular way of health, eating, working out, etc., will no doubt accumulate evidence for and promote their particular presuppositions regardless of whether it’s a paleo diet, no carb diet, blood type diet, etc. There’s some validity in almost all, but they are not necessarily the end-all be-all of diets.

Sugar Versus Fat — The Devil’s in the Details

For example, Dr. Neal Barnard, adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, claims that diabetes is not caused by a high-carb, high-sugar diet. In his view, diabetes is caused by fat buildup caused by a meat-based diet. To treat diabetes, Barnard recommends a low-fat vegetarian diet, free of any and all animal products, without any restrictions on carbohydrates.10   Obviously a very incorrect assertion.

While a high-vegetable diet is certainly beneficial, the low-fat, unrestricted-carb recommendation is upside-down and backward. Time and again, low-carb, high-fat diets have proven superior for controlling insulin resistance, which is the hallmark of obesity and metabolic dysfunction. Yet the film completely ignores the low-carb approach. You cannot condemn a particular way of eating without reviewing all the possibilities of that diet. Unfortunately, most unhealthy vegans are under the assumption that as long as they don’t eat meat and/or dairy, they are healthy. While there are many vegans, including completely vegan bodybuilders who are extremely healthy and look great, they are that way due to being very careful about the type and amounts of carbohydrates they put in their bodies. Most are knowledgeable and eat healthy grains in moderation and do not eat processed carbs. They get the bulk of their nutrition from nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and some healthy grains. This is NOT the case with many vegans. Many eat processed grains, and get their carbs from breads, pastas, desserts, etc.  most of which are not organic and overconsumed at the expense of good nutrition.

According to Barnard, the sugar in the cookie is what lures you in, but it’s the butter in the cookie that makes you fat. I believe it must be pointed out that unless you’re baking homemade cookies, cookies are not made with butter. Most cookies sold in grocery stores are made with processed vegetable oils, harmful fats that indeed damage your health and contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and chronic ill health. But to vilify ALL fats is a fatal error. True and I definitely don’t support the views of the doctors on this subject in the documentary.

Animal fats from organic, grass fed animals fall into the category of healthy fats, while processed vegetable oils are in the harmful category. Since most cookies are made with vegetable oil, as opposed to real butter, the fat in cookies is indeed part of the problem. But this harmful fat cannot be compared to saturated animal fat such as real butter from organic, grass fed animals, which has many important health benefits.  I think an important observation from the film is being ignored in Dr. Mercola’s article. It is almost impossible for even organic, grass-fed animals to be completely hormone/pesticide/herbicide/antibiotic-free. The grasses the animals eat are contaminated by polluted rainwater fall-out and a contaminated water table that feeds the plants from the ground. The majority of pasture-raised animals are still give a certain amount of anti-biotics to keep them free of disease and some still continue to be grain-fed supplemented. Certainly, grass-fed meat and pasture-raised animals are the better choice, yet they are not entirely contaminate free. In addition, our teeth and digestive systems are much better suited for plant protein consumption. In addition to being alkaline, the right combination of fruits and vegetables supply complete amino acids/proteins as well as supplying all the vitamins and minerals necessary in addition to healthy fats and carbs. Case in point: where do the animals eaten get their complete nutrition from? From plants, grasses and leaves. Bulls, cows, gorillas, elephants – all vegans and are strong, muscular and healthy. Also, meat in of itself is very acidic and does not contribute to a healthy alkaline state in the body.

That all being said, if one is to eat meat, it should be the healthiest one can find and should be eaten at most a few times a month IMHO. I know many people who are under the false assumption that in order to get their protein requirements, they eat meat every day or even at every meal! A common question asked of my healthy, vegetarian (going on 31 years) wife is, “But what about protein?” We laugh to ourselves almost every time we hear it. Plants and fruits are complete and better sources of protein than animal products.  

You also cannot overlook the influence of the sugar in the cookie. When it comes to processed foods in general, the combination of sugar and harmful vegetable oils is a lethal combination.

Why Does Sugar Get a Free Pass?

Dr. Garth Davis, a weight loss surgeon and author of “Proteinaholic,”11 is another vegan doctor who ignores the overwhelming evidence against sugar. “Sugar is not great,” he says, but it “does not cause inflammation … The focus on sugar has taken the focus off meat, dairy [and] eggs …” He goes so far as to say, “carbs cannot make you fat, in and of themselves.”

Sugar doesn’t cause inflammation? Carbs are incapable of making you fat? I’m at a loss to explain how any rational unbiased health professional  could still hold, let alone promote these views unless they have some hidden agenda or ulterior motive. The medical literature is filled with evidence showing processed sugar is one of the most inflammatory foods there is.12 It’s not the only one, but to give it a free pass is profoundly ignorant considering the evidence.  They’re simply ignorant or are working for the sugar companies!

Excessive sugar clearly promotes insulin resistance, and insulin resistance is the fire that feeds chronic inflammation. Insulin resistance also promotes obesity, and fiber-free carbohydrates clearly are the primary culprit when it comes to packing on pounds, with processed fructose being readily converted to body fat.  I think the point has been made.

Is Eating Meat a Healthy Choice?

An estimated 16 million Americans are vegans, which is typically considered a healthy and environmentally sound choice. However, there are drawbacks of strict veganism that need careful consideration. Mara Kahn’s book, “Vegan Betrayal: Love, Lies, and Hunger in a Plants-Only World,” reveals many oft-ignored facts about this strictly plant-based diet. Part of the confusion is that many vegans appear quite healthy in the earlier stages.

This isn’t so surprising when you consider the fact that many switch from processed foods to a mostly raw plant-based diet. The influx of live foods will undoubtedly improve your health. In the long term, however, the absence of all animal-based foods can take a toll, as certain nutrients cannot be obtained from the plant kingdom. This is simply not true. If it were, animals would die from malnutrition. Also, before the fall Adam and Eve most likely were vegetarians/vegans. Carnosine, carnitine, taurine, vitamin B12 and long-chained omega-3 fats are just a few examples. As noted by Dr. Steven Gundry, author of “The Plant Paradox,” in which he explains the detrimental health impacts of plant-based lectins, his vegan patients tend to be some of the unhealthiest of all. The reason for this is because most vegans are not vegetable eaters but rather grain- and bean-eaters, and grains and beans are very high in inflammatory lectins — plant proteins that cause harm through molecular mimicry. I’m surprised that a doctor with the background of Dr. Mercola would make such a statement. All the elements in the beginning of this paragraph can be found in plant-based foods. Carnosine, while in its whole dipeptide form is only found in meat, both of its constituents are found in a wide variety of plant foods. Carnitine can be found in nuts and seeds, Taurine is found in sea algae, plankton, kelp, some seeds, beans and nuts, Vitamin B12 precursors are found in some fruits and vegetables as well as seaweeds, nori, wakame, soy beans, and beer. Also, consuming fermented foods produces B12 in the body. Long-chained omega-3 fats are found in MANY plant-based foods such as: leafy greens, some beans and cabbages. However, it’s not a bad idea to supplement with these if one is not sure they are getting an adequate supply from the foods they are eating. As mentioned, many vegans eat too many of the wrong carbohydrates. One must eat smart when going vegan.

Surprisingly, lectins such as wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), found in wheat and galactans, found in beans, even promote fat storage — despite their source being the plant kingdom. Even more surprising, considering the heart health claims allowed for whole wheat, WGA is one of the most efficient ways to induce heart disease in experimental animals.13

As chairman of cardiothoracic surgery at Loma Linda University School of Medicine — a Seventh Day Adventist institution — Gundry also ate a vegetarian diet for about 15 years, and had “never been sicker” in his life. Despite running 30 miles a week and spending an hour in the gym each day, he was severely overweight, had high blood pressure and prediabetes.

Does this mean it’s impossible to be healthy on a vegan diet? Absolutely not. But it does mean vegans need to be more mindful of how to avoid the complications associated with an all-plant diet, especially if it’s weighted toward grains and legumes loaded with autoimmune-stimulating lectins. Absolutely agree and that’s where many vegans fail. But this does not support the view that veganism is unhealthy or that those who eat meat and/or dairy are healthier!

Ethical Protein

There’s evidence showing animal proteins contribute to aging, and vegan Seventh Day Adventists are among the longest living humans on the planet. However, if you’re going to live on plants alone, you need to figure out how you’re going to obtain animal-based nutrients. In my view, there’s strong support for including small amounts of healthy animal protein in your diet.

Most Americans eat far more protein than required for optimal health, and this excess can trigger ill health by activating the mTOR pathway, which plays an important role in cancer and aging. Replacing carbs with protein is an unwise choice, as high-protein diets tend to have poor health outcomes in the long term. Net carbs need to be replaced with healthy fat, and protein needs to be restricted to what your body needs for growth and repair, which is actually far less than you might think. Absolutely agree.

Estimates suggest you only need about one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. I believe it’s even less than that; more in the range of .25 to .35 grams per pound of lean body mass. Quality is also a determining factor when it comes to the benefits and drawbacks of animal protein. Meat, dairy and eggs from CAFOs are best avoided altogether. Organically-raised, pastured or grass fed animals, on the other hand, offer superior nutrition — and as just mentioned, you don’t need very much.  I don’t agree that organic, grass fed meat offers “superior nutrition”; however it is much better than Confined Animal Feeding Operations which are barbaric at the least and health-destroying at the most.

Moreover, surveys show people convert to veganism primarily for ethical reasons, but veganism is not the only ethical diet out there. In fact, organic grass fed animals serve a very important role in regenerative agriculture.

Such animals not only contribute to environmental regeneration and ecological balance, but they’re also a very ethical choice in terms of eating, as they’re not abused or maltreated. They live their life as nature intended, roaming freely, eating a species-appropriate diet that supports their health and well-being. And then, at the species-appropriate time, they are humanely slaughtered for food. I don’t condemn this way of raising and eating meat. We, as a people, simply eat too much of it and eat the wrong types of CAFO meats. Estimates are in the 80-90% range!

What’s Wrong With CAFO Beef?

There are many troubling practices in mainstream beef production, where animals are raised in CAFOs. For starters, feed additives have a number of problematic aspects, and can contaminate both the food and the environment. Antibiotics are routinely given to factory farmed animals to prevent disease and promote rapid growth, and this is a major driving factor behind antibiotic-resistant disease. Very rarely are antibiotics administered to organic grass fed animals.

Moreover, there’s a great deal of research taking place all over the world to determine the best ways to regenerate the environment, and cattle are a key ingredient. According to Richard Teague, Ph.D., who’s been researching the impacts of cattle grazing for decades, careful management of the animals’ movements is essential. Densely congregated animals that are moved frequently is optimal.

The goal is to mimic the environmental impact that would be had by herds of wild animals. When you do that, it has dramatically positive impacts for the soil health, the water, the production of the water, and even for climate change. Most people believe that grazing is a negative, but that’s not true. Grazing is actually essential to balanced ecosystem functioning.

It stimulates plant growth, and helps press the seeds into the ground. The cattle also deposit urine and dung onto the land, which act as fertilizer. In this way, grazing herds accelerate the building of fertile topsoil. They also affect the water cycle because for every one percentage of organic matter in topsoil, 27,000 additional gallons of water is maintained in that water per acre.

Researchers have even found that when you have an intact ecosystem, which includes grazing animals, the soil microbes process large amounts of methane. According to Nicolette Hahn Niman, an environmental lawyer, sustainable rancher and author, Australian researchers found the total methane emitted from cattle in a well-managed system was fully offset by the soil microbes.

Is Eating Fish, Dairy and Eggs Safe and Healthy?

While the film starts out with a valid premise — the idea that processed meats are bad for your health, as the film progresses, more and more foods are tossed into the proverbial dustbin, until the entire animal food spectrum is covered.

According to this film, anything that comes from the animal kingdom promotes obesity, diabetes and chronic ill health. Not a single animal food gets a qualitative or quantitative pass. Personally, I believe most food groups have their problems these days. The key is to understand how quality and quantity influences your health.

Clearly, most fish are  contaminated with toxins these days, but if you choose wisely, the benefits of fish can still outweigh the hazards. To avoid environmental toxins, select wild-caught fish that are low on the food chain (farmed fish actually contain higher levels of toxins than most wild-caught fish). To get the most nutritional benefits, choose cold water, fatty fish such as sardines, anchovies and herring. These are high in long-chained omega-3 fats, which are actually structural elements that make up your cells.

The same thing goes for dairy and eggs. Quality and quantity are key considerations. CAFO milk and eggs have few redeeming qualities and are best avoided. Organic, pastured and grass fed milk and eggs, on the other hand, have a number of benefits. Cholesterol, for example, far from being a villain, plays a key role in regulating protein pathways involved in cell signaling and is needed within your cell membranes.  Cholesterol has already been shown to be much less of a culprit than information. Many runners, triathletes and “healthy” people have died while having very low cholesterol levels.  

Your body is composed of trillions of cells that need to communicate with each other. Cholesterol is one of the molecules that allow these communications to take place. For example, cholesterol is the precursor to bile acids, so without sufficient amounts of cholesterol, your digestive system can be adversely affected.

It also plays an essential role in your brain, which contains about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body. It is critical for synapse formation, i.e., the connections between your neurons, which allow you to think, learn new things, and form memories.

‘What the Health’ Falls Short By Regurgitating Old Health Fallacies

“What the Health” is a success in terms of promoting veganism. Sadly, it relies on outworn myths to deliver its hidden message and ulterior motivations. While the filmmakers and featured experts are all vegan, this is not expressed, leaving the average viewer to conclude that simply by following the trail of evidence, the filmmaker eventually reached the conclusion that a strict plant-based diet is the sanest, safest, healthiest alternative.

In reality, the film was undoubtedly created with the intention to promote the vegan lifestyle right from the start. That’s fine, as this is the U.S. and there are still First Amendment freedom of speech privileges.  I didn’t see the film necessarily demonizing animal foods and making veganism as the only option is primary goal. For me, it was more about exposing the incredible influence lobbyists have in promoting their goods and getting backing from the very medical organizations that are promoting unhealthy food choices. The corruption is so widespread and the misinformation so pervasive, it’s difficult for anyone who doesn’t do their due diligence to make smart choices.

What disturbs me is that they chose to promote the dangerous position that sugar and net carbs have no bearing on health, and that it’s all about animal foods — meats, saturated fats and cholesterol. In summary, the film presents a flat out wrong picture of what’s causing obesity, diabetes and related diseases. This is an absolute travesty, as it’s taken decades to turn the tide against these fallacies.

Your body is designed to have the metabolic flexibility to use both fat and glucose for fuel — not just one or the other. The reason conventional dietary advice has failed so miserably is because eating a high-carb diet for a long period of time results in the loss of this metabolic flexibility, making you unable to effectively burn fat for fuel.

None of this is addressed in this film, which instead reverts back to demonizing all dietary fats while giving sugar, of all things, a free pass. Additionally, the dangers of lectins from many “healthy” plants is completely ignored.  I didn’t see that the “film” demonizes all dietary fats while promoting sugar. I found that was simply the opinion of a few of the interviewees.

Eat Your Veggies, But Beware of False Sugar Claims

I’m not opposed to vegetarianism. I eat very small amounts of animal protein; mostly fish. Occasionally, I’ll have some organic American grass fed certified meat. But meats are not a cornerstone staple in my diet, and I believe most people could benefit from lowering their meat consumption. I don’t believe it should be entirely excluded, however, because animal foods do contain very valuable nutrients your body needs for optimal health. Organic pastured eggs and raw butter are another source of incredibly healthy nutrients.

If ethics and animal welfare are your concerns, I would encourage you to investigate and educate yourself on humanely-raised animal foods. Yes, the animal will die in the end, but there’s a tremendous difference between the life of an animal raised in a CAFO and one raised on pasture that is allowed to live a full, healthy and stress-free life. There’s also a big difference in the way they’re slaughtered.

At the end of the day, it is ultimately your responsibility to choose for yourself and your children between the life of an animal somewhere — even if only a few rodents caught in a harvester — or your own health. A balance must be struck between optimizing your health and causing the least amount of unnecessary suffering.

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I will update this blog every week or two. Stay tuned!

 

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