Military Family, Food, & Fitness Fenestrations

Raising the Bar on Personal Expectation

Archive for Nutrition

New Blog & New Business

We’ve started a new business (nonprofit) which provides fitness training absolutely free to military soldiers, their families, and civilians working in their support called Landstuhl CrossFit and Combatives Facility (LCCF). It is located “on post” of Landstuhl Regional Medical Command in Landstuhl, Germany. I provide short notes on fitness and nutritional subjects, along with daily (M-F) strength training prescriptions we are stealing from Skip and Jodi Miller at my new location: – if you enjoyed posts here, please feel free to become a subscriber!
…eventually, I hope to provide our Landstuhl CrossFit blog subjects in German on this site 🙂 (yes, way in the future, most likely).



Malocclusion, Your Required Reading

I read through Dr. Stephan Guyenet’s Malocclusion Series recently, and it inspired immediate purchase of the Dentistar pacifier, made by Novatex (he emphasizes that has no connection with the company). If you follow my link, you can get a short summary of his research and conclusions at the top of the page – required reading for all parents of kids from prenatal-age to 17-years, as far as I’m concerned. Afterwards, you might just be sufficiently inspired to become a regular reader of Dr. Guyenet. He provides insightful analysis of cutting-edge as well as historical nutritional research, and he refreshingly continues to assess critically his own conclusions (You can count on him NOT to patron “Paleo” and “Primal” dieting without support of sufficient independent research). He advocates avoidance of sugar, industrial seed oils, and refined grains (“It probably has nothing to do with the glycemic index, it’s because they’re empty calories and wheat contains gluten which is immunogenic. Grain fiber needs to be treated properly by soaking and/or fermentation followed cooking to remove lectins, phytic acid, trypsin inhibitors, tannins, etc. Most traditional cultures got rid of a portion of the bran/germ if they could by sifting, straining, and pounding”). “White rice is better than white flour but it’s a one-way ticket to deficiency diseases if you eat too much”, he says (and I can attest definitively that my personal health (N=1) has changed radically just since I started following this advice – I stopped eating grains (bread/pasta, even oatmeal), sugar & sweeteners, as well as industrial seed oils, and I stopped preparing them for my family).

So back to the pacifier conundrum: our son still uses his pacifier while he sleeps, but I think we may try to take it from him on his 3rd birthday (March), as appalling as that sounds. I won’t deny I may get cold feet! We’ve been brainwashing him daily to convince him that pacifiers (“Nuks”) are for babies, and that when he reaches 3 he will truly be a big boy. Of course we will gift him with a highly-desired comfort item on the same day which hopefully he will eventually accept as a substitute. Will it work? It will certainly be painful. What worked for you?

Eating Fat and DISMANTLING the lipid hypothesis

(the lipid hypothesis asserts that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease)
Guess what? There is no compelling scientific evidence demonstrating that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. I’d like to try to get you comfortable with the concept that saturated fats can be prudently integrated into your diet.
Mary Enig, Ph.D. is one of the foremost scientific researchers in dietary fat and health. She asserts that medical research strongly supports the health of diets in which incoming fat is composed of up to 50% saturated fat. From her Principles of Healthy Diets:

Saturated fats, such as butter, meat fats, coconut oil and palm oil… according to conventional nutritional dogma…are to blame for most of our modern diseases–heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, malfunction of cell membranes and even nervous disorders like multiple sclerosis. However, many scientific studies indicate that it is processed liquid vegetable oil–which is laden with free radicals formed during processing–and artificially hardened vegetable oil–called trans fat–that are the culprits in these modern conditions, not natural saturated fats.
Saturated fats do not clog arteries or cause heart disease. In fact, the preferred food for the heart is saturated fat; and saturated fats lower a substance called Lp(a), which is a very accurate marker for proneness to heart disease.

Dr. Eades in The 6-Week Cure adds:

Currently there are no medications to lower Lp(a); the only dietary means of lowering this substance is eating saturated fat.

Dr. Enig in Principles of Healthy Diets continues:

Saturated fats play many important roles in the body chemistry. They strengthen the immune system and are involved in inter-cellular communication, which means they protect us against cancer. They help the receptors on our cell membranes work properly, including receptors for insulin, thereby protecting us against diabetes. The lungs cannot function without saturated fats, which is why children given butter and full-fat milk have much less asthma than children given reduced-fat milk and margarine. Saturated fats are also involved in kidney function and hormone production.
Saturated fats are required for the nervous system to function properly, and over half the fat in the brain is saturated. Saturated fats also help suppress inflammation. Finally, saturated animal fats carry the vital fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2, which we need in large amounts to be healthy.

From The 6-Week Cure

Eating saturated (and other) fats…raises the level of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol.
In middle age, as bone mass begins to decline, an important goal (particularly for women) is to build strong bones. You can’t turn on the television without being told you need calcium for your bones, but do you recall ever hearing that saturated fat is required for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bone?
…Research has shown that when women diet, those eating the greatest percentage of the total fat in their diets as saturated fat lose the most weight.

Dr. Enig in Principles of Healthy Diets closes:

Human beings have been consuming saturated fats from animals products, milk products and the tropical oils for thousands of years; it is the advent of modern processed vegetable oil that is associated with the epidemic of modern degenerative disease, not the consumption of saturated fats.

Please take time to read some of the comments that Tim Ferris (of The 4-Hour Workweek fame) receives, after providing a snippet from The 6-Week Cure on his blog. Dr. Eades answers the first few hundred questions, and their questions may help answer some of yours. Tim’s entry is titled very non-provocatively:
7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated FatDr. Eades is currently working on creating a blogsite specifically for the purpose of answering questions generated by his 6-Week Cure book

Other supporting articles/bloggers/books…there are MANY MORE than these presented below:

• Dr. Uffe Ravnskov The Cholesterol Myths, and other articles written by Dr. Ravnskov:

High cholesterol may protect against infections and atherosclerosis
The benefits of high cholesterol
Questionable role of saturated and polyunsaturated fats in cardio disease
Saturated fat is good for you
Retreat of diet-heart hypothesis
Is atherosclerosis caused by high cholesterol?
Cholesterol lowering trials in CHD: frequency of citation and outcome
Diet-heart idea kept alive by selective citation
Cholesterol references

• My personal favourite overview by Dr. Enig and Sally Fallon

• The Tokelau Island Migrant Study: The Final Word Dr. Stephan Guyenet, but for a great this-is-what-this-guy-is-saying review of Dr. Guyenet’s information, please visit Free the Animal

• Dr. BG’s totally fascinating rundown on cholesterol particle sizes and what they mean to you – this is a must-read

• Fats and Oils, Dr. Kurt G. Harris

• low-cholesterol-certainly-not-healthy by O Primitivo

• Dr. William Davis Heart Scan Blog –not all meats are equal

• “Are Saturated Fats Really All That Bad? 6 July 2009, Dr. Steve Parker,

• Gary Taubes and extensively throughout his book Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health if you have the time to read it. Gary Taubes is an award-winning research scientist, and this book is the result of seven years of research in every science connected with the impact of nutrition on health

• The Case for not restricting saturated fat on a low carbohydrate diet, Professors Jeff S. Volek and Cassandra E Forsythe, Human Performance Lab, Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut

• Dr. Mary Enig & Sally Fallen Morell Eat Fat Lose Fat

• Dr. Mark Hyman exposes uselessness of statins as well as common cholesterol myths and provides list of factors which contribute to your overall cardiovascular risk

• Saturated Fats, what dietary intake?, J Bruce German, Cora J Dillard, University of California for the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

• “Saturated Fat – The misunderstood ingredient“, 4 June 2007, Vreni Gurd, BPHE, HLC 2, CHEK 3, CSEP-CEP, NSCA, ACSM

• This guy could be a little extreme with his personal diet, but he is an amazing researcher & thoroughly picks apart & reanalyzes results from nutritional studies – very interesting reading. Check out some of his posts from August

• And from elite primal athlete Mark Sisson who also believes saturated fat is healthy

Where did we go wrong?

• Men’s Health is one of many sites that researched the history of saturated-fat-fear

• A more extensive read: “The Oiling of America” by Dr. Mary Enig, and Sally Fallon

• Plus, I recommend again Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Healthby Gary Taubes for 447 pages of enlightenment, and The Cholesterol Myths by Dr. Uffe Ravnskov.

Finally, as “sss” mentions in this post’s comments below, don’t forget that it’s not just “saturated fat isn’t bad”, it is that “carbs are the crux” of the health/obesity crisis. Please read my “Real Food” and “Limit or Avoid” posts for more information and references.

For health’s sake, limit or avoid:

1. The following oils contain dangerous levels of Omega-6 eicosanoids, which in a nutshell participate in inflammatory processes and blood clotting (…make you fat & lead to cancer, heart disease, immune system dysfunction, sterility, learning disabilities, growth problems and osteoporosis)
industrial vegetable oils (corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, and sunflower oil), and everything that contains them. They all contain over 50% omega-6 and safflower (used liberally in German restaurants) contains almost 80% omega-6. This rules out most processed foods, especially mayonnaise, grocery store salad dressings, and fried foods. Avoid all processed foods containing hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated fats and polyunsaturated oils. We aren’t meant to eat those foods and they derail our metabolism on a fundamental level. (Info direct from Dr. Guyenet’s website)

peanut oil contains 48% oleic acid, 18% saturated fat and 34% omega-6 linoleic acid. Like olive oil, peanut oil is relatively stable and, therefore, appropriate for stir-frys at moderate temperatures on occasion, but too much omega-6 to be used regularly.

Sesame Oil contains 42% oleic acid, 15% saturated fat, and 43% omega-6 linoleic acid. Sesame oil is similar in composition to peanut oil. It can be used for frying because it contains unique antioxidants that are not destroyed by heat. Limit consumption due to excessive omega-6.

Canola Oil contains 5% saturated fat, 57% oleic acid, 23% omega-6 and 10%-15% omega-3. Multiple studies have indicated Canola oil presents serious health dangers. It has a high sulphur content and goes rancid easily. Baked goods made with canola oil develop mold very quickly. During the deodorizing process, the omega-3 fatty acids of processed canola oil are transformed into trans fatty acids, similar to those in margarine and possibly more dangerous (Personal communication, Mary G Enig, PhD). A recent study indicates that “heart healthy” canola oil actually creates a deficiency of vitamin E, a vitamin required for a healthy cardiovascular system (Sauer, F D, et al, Nutr Res, 1997, 17:2:259-269) Other studies indicate that even low-erucic-acid canola oil causes heart lesions, particularly when the diet is low in saturated fat (Kramer, J K G, et al, Lipids, 1982, 17:372-382; Trenholm, H L, Can Inst Food Sci Technol J, 1979, 12:189-193)
Above info direct from The Skinny on Fats by Dr. Enig and Sally Fallon

2. Limit Grains. Severely limit wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, spelt, quinoa, amaranth, oatmeal, and other cereals, as well as their flours or meals. Don’t eat pastas made from any of these grains. Avoid rancid and improperly prepared seeds, nuts and grains found in granolas, quick rise breads and extruded breakfast cereals, as they block mineral absorption and cause intestinal distress (Yes this is why cereal, granola, and Pillsbury crescent rolls make you fart). Since we share the exact same genes as our prehistoric ancestors, is it really so hard to believe that our bodies have a difficult time digesting grains?
From Stephan’s Whole Health Source, Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease – Dr. Guyenet is a brilliant neurobiologist. He shows most Americans have a genetic predisposition to having some level of gluten-insensitivity.

From Dr. Mercola’s Blog: Dangers of Alloxan and Chlorine Gas — Little Known Secrets about Bleached Flour

From Dr. Cordain’s Paleo Diet Site: It is certainly true that hunter-gatherers studied during modern times did not have as great an average lifespan as those values found in fully westernized, industrial nations. However, most deaths in hunter-gatherer societies were related to the accidents and trauma of a life spent living outdoors without modern medical care, as opposed to the chronic degenerative diseases that afflict modern societies. In most hunter-gatherer populations today, approximately 10-20% of the population is 60 years of age or older. These elderly people have been shown to be generally free of the signs and symptoms of chronic disease (obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels) that universally afflict the elderly in western societies. When these people adopt western diets, their health declines and they begin to exhibit signs and symptoms of “diseases of civilization.”

From Going Against the Grains: A growing body of research has emerged which focuses on the relationship between agrarian or grain-based diets and diseases of affluence, and how increased susceptibility for obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in agrarian societies can be linked to the absence of genetic adaptations to the consumption of grains in our species as a whole. These genetic aberrations can be further broken down, to varying degrees of intensity, in demographically distinct human populations who have had between 1 and 500 generations of biological time to adjust to their consumption. The greater the distance in space and time a human subgroup has spent from grain consumption, the less likely that group will have the genes necessary to handle the metabolism of grains effectively….thorough analyses of the data gleaned from the world’s historically studied hunters and gatherers show that 73% of them obtained 50% or more of their subsistence from hunted and fished animal foods (Plio-Pleistocene Hominin Diets for Modern Humans, pg. 367). Perhaps the strongest case can be made for a grain free diet by looking a certain genetic defects all humans share in their genotype:

1. Humans share several distinctive genetic traits with felines:
a) enlarged brain size and reduced gut size, in response to an animal based diet (Please check out Dr. Eades’s recent post on this subject).
b) the inability to synthesize taurine, an amino acid found in high levels in animal foods
c) the inability to convert 18 carbon omega 3 fatty acids found in grains and seeds, e.g. alpha linolenic acid, into the metabolically essential 20 and 22 carbon fatty acids like EPA/DHA found in animal flesh, e.g. wild fish.

2. Humans are incapable of deactivating the leptin-blocking lectin found in grains, which makes them prone to obesity. The exact gene sequence that deactivates this lectin is found in genetically diverse species such as rodents and birds; a homology, no doubt, which exists because both species have had many thousands of years more time than humans to adjust to grain consumption.

3. Limit other dense starchy, vegetables or legumes including dried beans, peas, and potatoes

4. Do not eat commercially processed foods: such as cookies, cakes, pies, crackers, TV dinners, soft drinks, packaged sauce mixes, candy, and other sources of concentrated simple sugars –Read labels! Avoid artificial food additives, especially MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and aspartame, which are neurotoxins. Most soups, sauce and broth mixes and most commercial condiments contain MSG, even if not indicated on the label.

How To Follow a Low-Carb or “Paleo” Lifestyle

1. Eat Whole, unprocessed foods – shop on the margins of the Commissary – produce, meats, frozen vegetables & meats – skip the processed meats I HAVE GREAT FAST AND EASY RECIPES!

2. Eat beef, buffalo, lamb, game, organ meats, poultry and eggs (all from pasture-fed animals when possible – you can do it by buying German food…one of these days we will have to have a field trip…). Eat the skin of chicken and all the melt-in-your-mouth fat found on other meats. Meat is health food (another Dr. Eades blog)

3. Eat wild fish (not farm-raised) and shellfish.

4. Eat eggs – the whole egg. Buy organic or at least free-range (they taste MUCH better outside the commissary, plus refrigeration destroys nutrients – I will post more later..)

5. Eat Fat:
For Cooking
• Butter
• Tallow and suet from beef and lamb
• Lard from pigs
• Chicken, goose and duck fat
• Coconut, palm and palm kernel oils
For Salads
• Extra virgin olive oil (also OK for cooking at moderate temperatures). EVOO is the safest vegetable oil you can use, but the longer chain fatty acids are more likely to contribute to the buildup of body fat than the short- and medium-chain fatty acids found in butter, coconut oil or palm kernel oil.
• Expeller-expressed flax oil (in small amounts)
For Fat-Soluble Vitamins: Omega-3: get it from seafood, small doses of flax, or small doses of fish liver oil such as cod liver oil (many kinds of cod liver oil are preferable to lower quality fish oils which do not provide fat-soluble vitamins, can cause an overdose of unsaturated fatty acids and usually come from farmed fish).
6. Eat mostly vegetables containing lower amounts of starch: asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celeriac, green beans, greens, lettuces, mushrooms, onion, peppers, squashes, and tomatoes

7. Eat Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are packed with protein and essential fatty acids, nuts and seeds also contain the amino arginine, which stimulates the pituitary gland at the base of the brain to release growth hormone (see Memo 1 for benefits of growth hormone)!!

8. Eat mostly fruits containing less sugar (remember the Glycemic Index): berries, melon, peaches, grapes, apples, oranges, kiwi (Info from Dr. Eades’s book The 6-Week Cure , & The Skinny on Fats by Dr. Enig & Sally Fallon)

9. Supplement with Vitamin D3 (research study from Boston Univ School of Medicine). Don’t think you are getting D3 in your milk — I will do a post on Dairy, Vitamin D, and Calcium at a later time, as well as the necessity of daily supplementation of Vitamin D3. It is well known that Vitamin D enhances the absorption of Calcium. What you might not know is that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that FAT is needed to absorb Vitamin D — it is worthless digested with skim milk. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin bound to the milk protein and absorbed in the intestine. When fat is removed from milk this chain of dependence is broken, and digestion of calcium is also limited.

In a nutshell back to CrossFit’s recommendation for healthy living: Eat Meats, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds, Some Fruit, Little Starch, No Sugar.

Eat Real Food

Great low-carb diet explanation from Dr. Eades: Let’s look at what happens when we cut carbohydrates in the diet. First, we don’t get enough carbs to replenish our blood sugar, so the body has to convert protein to glucose to make up the difference. The signal for this to happen comes from a rising level of glucagon, a hormone made in and released by the pancreas. In order for glucagon to do its job, the level of insulin in the blood has to go down, which it does. A low level of insulin and a high level of glucagon send a signal to the fat cells telling them to release their fat. [This is absolutely a healthy process – chronic elevation of insulin leads to disease according to vast volumes of scientific research including Dr. Cordain’s: Compensatory hyperinsulinemia stemming from peripheral insulin resistance is a well recognized metabolic disturbance that is at the root cause of diseases and maladies of Syndrome X (hypertension, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, coronary artery disease, obesity, abnormal glucose tolerance). Abnormalities of fibrinolysis and hyperuricaemia also appear to be members of the cluster of illnesses comprising Syndrome X. Insulin is a well established growth promoting hormone, and recent evidence indicates that hyperinsulinemia causes a shift in a number of endocrine pathways that may favor unregulated tissue growth leading to additional illnesses.] You can think of this hormonal process as you opening the doors to the fat cells so that fat can easily get out. The body burns this fat for energy. As the body burns more, the fat cells release more. When the fat cells dump their fat, they become smaller. When your fat cells or adipose tissue becomes smaller, you become smaller. And you lose weight if you have fat to lose.

What sometimes goes wrong when you are trying to lose (& need to lose) weight: If you are not losing, this could be why: Although the lowered insulin and elevated glucagon open the doors to the fat cells allowing fat to come out to be burned, the fat comes out only if it’s needed. If you are meeting all your body’s energy needs with the food you eat, the body doesn’t need the fat in the fat cells. On a low-carb diet your body burns fat for energy. But it doesn’t care where this fat comes from; it can come from the diet or it can come from the fat cells or it can come from both. If you are consuming enough fat to meet all your body’s requirements, your body won’t go after the fat in the fat cells no matter how severely you restrict your carbs. You will burn dietary fat only and no body fat. And you won’t lose weight.

If you are working hard to keep your carbs at or below 50 grams per day, your insulin levels will be low and your glucagon high. The doors of your fat cells will be open and fat can easily come out to be burned. But if you’re often throwing back a few ounces of high caloric foods like cheese or nuts (or both), you’re going to be providing your body with enough fat to meet all its energy needs with some left over. And your weight loss will come to a screeching halt.

The low-carb diet is a wonderful, healthful way to lose weight quickly, but you do have to watch your calories as well to a certain extent. If you’re plugging along losing away, keep doing what you’re doing. But if you quit losing, take a look at your high caloric food consumption like cheese and/or nuts. Cut those out, and it is almost a guarantee that your weight loss will pick up again.