8 things I wish I knew back then

8 things I wish I knew back then


I wish I knew that “low fat/no fat/0.1% fat” food doesn’t mean “lose fat” 

Fat Free ZoneWe are slowly recovering from an era of “fat (doesn’t matter which kind) makes us fat” way of thinking. 

It all started back in 1977 when the US and UK governments advised us to reduce the fat intake from 40% to 30% with the ambition of reducing coronary heart disease. And we did, but that meant considerable advertising efforts to reinforce the less-fat-is-good-health message. Dieticians, health organizations, consumer groups, health reporters and even cookbook writers (all well-intended missionaries of healthful eating) united their forces to help the cause.[1]

Our food pyramids appeared and according to the USDA, the foundation of a healthy diet is now breads, cereals, and other products made from grains. This is where what most people know about nutrition stops. 

 

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance. It is the illusion oknowledgef knowledge.” Stephen Hawking

I never considered that the food pyramid and the dietary guidelines could be anything less than “pristine” for everyone else.  After all this was designed by “experts”: doctors, biochemists, researchers. Who am I to question their wisdom? It was way too intimidating to ask myself : “What if… this is not right?  What if eating so much bread, and pastry and pasta is not really ‘the way’ to do it?”

The result: a staggering rise in obesity and diabetes. 

 

No fat, no flavour

Since the food tasted like card board the manufacturers had to come up with a solution: they filled the low-fat tasteless foods with either salt or sugar … or better yet HFCS – high fructose corn syrup. Yummy!

I used to buy 0.1% fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, etc. Just because it read this on the front label. Even the  jam or the juice was 0.1% fat. Like really? Well yes. Some things did not even make sense in my foggy head but I was so deeply involved into this process of dieting that I had a hard time stopping and using some logics. Of course my brain could totally tell the difference between full fat milk and 0.1 % milk (I remember it was see-through, literally) so I had to add flavours and sweetness to it.

Low fat

My body, my taste buds urged me to stop this “no flavour” madness yet I never, ever added a drop of cold pressed oil to my salad let alone eat walnuts, almonds or  seeds. They were totally no-no’s.

 

No fat, no satiety

how-to-never-be-hundgryI learned the hard way that: when reducing/eliminating fat from your diet you keep going back to food. And let me give you a hint: I was naive to think that I will replace that fat with fruits and vegetables. So far from the truth. I went to cookies and pies and ice-cream. And pastry. The signal that I got wrong was that my body was asking for concentrated energy sources and not immediate ones. What is the most energy-dense macronutrient ? Fat.

I kept eating without getting the natural signal “Stop I’m full”. So I had to use my willpower to stop. My brain had to engage and gain control over something that should happen instinctively. And that’s no fun. You look around, everybody seems to have enjoyed their meal and they have that spark of pleasure in their eyes while I could eat one more round of everything that everyone had. 

Why? Who gives you the satiety signal? The fat produced hormone -leptin. Remark: never mess with your hormones!

Fit with fat

Did I loose any weight on my low fat diet? Of course not. Unfortunately I did not know that there is such a classification: healthy fats unhealthy fats. First time I saw somebody reading about good fats was in Germany, 7 years ago: a chef lady reading “Fit mit Fett”. “Good luck with that and see you in ten years tripling your body weight”. 

Not all fats are created equal. And I did not need a degree in Chemistry to figure out something like this. I only had to allow my common sense to step in. An that is because the principle that we use when eating is “the black box”: we see what goes in (from an observational stance, not necessarily being mindful about what the ingredients are and how it was made/prepared), we do not care how it processed and we’ll see about what may come out.   

Just because we don’t see live what is going on in our digestive system it doesn’t mean that it works smoothly, with no obstacles and minimal effort. On the long term you get to see who’s the smart one in the story because he gives up. And there you have your acne, allergy, constipation, a triple layer of fat, you name it. 

Healthy Fats

 

Sources of healthy fats include [2]:

Natural plant sources Plant sources –

Cold pressed 

Animal sources
Avocados  Coconut oil Krill oil [7], sardines, mackerel, herring
Raw nuts – walnuts, coconuts, macademia, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, brazil nuts   Olive oil  Organic pastured egg yolks 
Seeds – flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia, pine Seed oils Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Olives    

Sources of unhealthy fats include( these are the ones to be BANNED from our plates, for good): 

  • Oils:
    • Corn, canola(you can watch this 4min video to see the amount of processing it suffers), soy which are genetically engineered and contain a high amount of Omega 6
    • “Without using tons of industrial chemicals, corn oil and soybean oil would be inedible. They are not foods; the are artificial chemical products, ‘food like substances’…” [8]
  • Trans fats or Hydrogenated fats[3]:
    • Margarine 
    • Processed foods: Chips, crackers, pastries, cookies, pizza, cupcakes, fried foods ( Yep that doughnut too), microwave popcorn, frozen foods [4]

It is not the fats found in natural sources (raw, unpasteurised, unprocessed, unfiltered) that I should have avoided altogether but the ones touched by our inventive, brilliant minds. And when humans come into play in terms of food we get disputes, studies, more studies, marketing, conditions and drugs.

When I switched to the “eating healthy fats” mentality (with no shame, guilt or punishment thoughts attached) these were the benefits I got:

  • I went from eating “lab foods” to real foods, the way they were meant to be eaten as a whole – fat included 
  • improved digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E si K (I kept taking Vitamin D supplements yet I could not raise the values in my body)
  • the taste of things skyrocketed – I had some relatives over for lunch and they were simply amazed how good broccoli tasted – I am talking about meat eaters
  • my immune system which was lower than the sea level improved visibly- we are talking lack of Omega 3 fatty acids here or the Omega3:Omega 6 ratio
  • fatty foods increase satiety because they take long to digest; I hear quite often “you know what I do not want a salad, it leaves me hungry, I need something heavier” Do you know why? Because when we want to avoid the unhealthy things like dressings or hormone-fed chicken meat we usually get of bowl of chopped vegetables mixed with leaves with no healthy fats and proteins attached. And there is no Vitamin L inside as well.

It it time we stopped talking “low-fat”. [6

Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar makes you fat. (more details in the 3rd episode of this series)

I wish I knew skin care products are not the way to cure my severe acne.

I wish I knew that “no sugar” candy/soda/gums/cookies does not mean no weight gain. Totally opossite. 

I wish I knew that intense workout would only worsen my adrenal fatigue.

I wish I knew how important sleep really was.

I wish I knew that eating fewer calories in order to lose weight is just a myth. A sad one.

I wish I knew self talk was stopping me from losing weight. 

I wish I knew I was an emotional eater.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html?scp=1&sq=what%20if%20its%20all%20been%20a%20big%20fat%20lie?&st=cse&pagewanted=1

[2] http://drhyman.com/blog/2013/11/26/fat-make-fat/

[3] http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Trans-Fats_UCM_301120_Article.jsp

[4] http://drhyman.com/blog/2013/12/05/never-eat-frankenfats/

[5] https://www.womentowomen.com/healthy-weight/the-truth-about-cholesterol-and-fat/

[6] http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/time-to-stop-talking-about-low-fat-say-hsph-nutrition-experts/

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824152/

[8] William D. Lassek M.D.,  Steven Gaulin – Why Women Need Fat: How “Healthy” Food Makes Us Gain Excess Weight and the Surprising Solution to Losing It Forever , 2011