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Iv’e been waxing eloquent on personal development the last few Wellness Wednesdays. Thats just been what has been on my mind lately. This is mostly due to several events in my life that have made me reckon with my own insecurities and challenges. How can I expect to teach these concepts to clients if I don’t work through them myself?
This week I’m feeling a little more practical. I’m giving a talk this Saturday at Spirals of Joy in Chelan, WA. I will be giving a brief overview in a half an hour on how to restructure your habits towards lifelong health. As a result of the narrow time frame I have narrowed health down to the bare basics that everyone could implement and benefit from.
I want to talk about nutrition in this weeks newsletter. While it is fantastic to get into the right mindset for personal growth and accepting the challenge of taking charge of your health, there are still the details of how this is done. Nutrition, at the most basic level, can be boiled down to a single concept : blood glucose control.
This may be the most important concept in all of health. Our blood sugar and how we control it can affect virtually every aspect of our health. Trying to lose weight? I guarantee limiting blood sugar spikes will greatly benefit you. Feeling fatigued? Quit riding the carbohydrate energy rollercoaster. Want to bring down inflammation? Delay and possibly reverse chronic disease? Put on lean muscle mass without a whole bunch of fat? You know where I’m going.
This is because our species physiology is designed to thrive under an environment where our blood sugar is more steady than not. The SAD (standard american diet) is a disaster, in large part because of this factor. “Healthy” whole grains, breads of all sorts, cereal, large amounts of out of season fruit, processed sugar, sweetened beverages (yes that organic soda with organic cane sugar), these foods all have massive deleterious effects on our health. This is because they trigger large blood glucose spikes and therefore large insulin spikes.
When we are constantly triggering a release of insulin, chronic storage and growth happens. This is because insulin is a growth hormone that is released by primarily carbohydrate rich foods. If we have not emptied our muscle glycogen through intense exercise, (stored carbohydrate, glucose) the glucose in the blood has no where to go except into fat for storage. This is just how it works. Do this enough over time and you’ll wake up one day 20 pounds heavier than you’d like to be. Sound familiar? This is because conventional wisdom and nutritional advice demonizes the exact foods that are critical to human health, fats and proteins from animals.
Not only does this chronic elevation of insulin/blood sugar lead to weight gain, it also leads to damage of the arteries and lays the stage for heart disease. We lose the ability to properly respond to insulin over time and become diabetic. Excess growth from a high sugar diet stimulates excess growth of malfunctioning cells, leading various cancers. Our gut microbiome gets imbalanced, leading to further issues and autoimmune disease. This all contributes to a shorter healthy lifespan and speeds up the approach of your disease span portion of life.
Moral of the story? Instead of thinking about “should I eat less animals” or “should I be eating for my blood type”, just follow what has sustained our health for eons. We have never had access to the foods most people are basing their entire diets around. Follow our species appropriate diet. Eat plants and animals. Focus on proteins from eggs, meat, fish, and get fats like butter, ghee, and tallow from humanely raised animals. Make these the center of your diet and surround them with healthy , unprocessed vegetables. Eat some berries and stay away from out of season, conventionally grown fruits. Historically we would only eat fruit during the time of year it was in season. This was typically summer, where we needed the extra carbohydrate due to increased activity.
The net affect of this is that your blood sugar will be normalized, and your body will be able to burn its own stored energy (fat) for fuel. Inflammation will decrease. Digestion will improve, organ function will improve, and energy will increase. I promise it will be one of the best decisions you can make for your health.
Have a great week everyone,
Elliot and Beth
Elliot Steele is a Primal Health Coach based in Chelan WA. He strives to empower those looking to regain their health after a lifetime of misinformed practices. This is the essence of Steele Back Your Health, to truly learn how to be healthy with sustainable habits. Check out the coaching and blog page for more info!