FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Revised January 3, 2015
1) What diet do you recommend?
Nutritional Balancing has its roots in the ancestral diet. Dr. Paul Eck acknowledged the important work of Dr. Weston A. Price, author of the book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. There is some confusion, though, over what it means to eat an ancestral diet. With so much conflicting information out there, it's no wonder people are confused. But healthy eating isn't complicated at all. If our ancestors could figure out how to be healthy (without universities, published research, doctors, nutritionists, etc.), then so can we! On my previous webpage, I have links that will help better describe an ancestral diet. And, on my books page, I have several books and DVD's that will help educate you as well.
2) What can I do to tell whether the nutritional information I'm hearing is valid?
To determine whether the nutritional information you're hearing is valid, you have to look back many generations to see if, in its totality, the diet maintained the health of a society, both physically and mentally. When you hear nutritional information, ask yourself: Following this nutritional information, does it prove that for generations, couples are fertile, babies are healthy, there are no signs of chronic disease or mental disorders, the aging are aging gracefully, and seniors are still productive members of society? In other words, to know whether or not a diet is healthy, you have to examine dietary history. Not short-term. But long-term. Geneticists say that it can take anywhere from 10,000 – 40,000 years for our bodies to adapt to changes in our environment, including diet. My ancestors are from Europe, where populations adapted to eating about 70% of their calories from animal fat. So, now that I realize this very important fact, I can see that I had no business following diets low in animal fats. No wonder I got so sick! In one generation, how could I think that I could adapt to a diet that is diametrically opposed to the diet of my ancestors? That's what's happening to millions of people. People have been conned into believing reducing animal fat in the diet is healthy; yet, our ancestors evolved on diets high in animal fat. When we look around and see how sick we are, it's clear this dramatic change in our diet is not working for us!
3) My head is spinning over all of the different dietary advice out there. What do you recommend I eat?
It's human nature to want to make things complicated. However, I've observed that complicated dietary information can be a major hindrance for many people. Here in North America (and throughout the world) there are millions of sick people who deserve to get well. If dietary information is too complicated, this could be a major turn-off for the vast majority of this very sick population. In keeping with an ancestral diet, our ancestors didn't have to think about what they were eating. Through wisdom, they knew what to eat. They had observed what their parents and grandparents consumed and ate accordingly.
I don't like to make healthy eating complicated. I like to make things as simple as possible so that people can more easily comply with their ancestral diet. In other words, as Dr. Price observed, if we want to be healthy, we should mimic the diets of healthy people. Healthy eating isn't complicated. What makes healthy eating complicated is all the nutritional misinformation that's out there. Keep in mind that a lot of the nutritional information we hear about today is based upon marketing-based science, urban myth, dogma and wishful thinking. Remember that our ancestors knew what to eat through wisdom.
One of the easiest ways to teach the ancestral diet is to ask people to visualize how we ate when we honored the age-old tradition of eating "three square meals." Prior to WWII, we were known as the "land of three squares." Back then, as a general rule, we didn't suffer with animal fat phobia, cholesterol phobia, red meat phobia, chicken skin phobia, gravy phobia, dairy phobia, butter phobia, bacon phobia, egg phobia.....and, we managed to be quite healthy. Upon rising, we ate a "bacon and egg" style breakfast. Approximately, five hours later, we ate a "meat and potato" style lunch and, then approximately five hours later, we ate a "meat and potato" style dinner. Of course, when I say "potato" this can mean an array of cooked vegetables, topped off with a dollop or two of butter. And, when I say "meat," it can be a wide variety of animal foods, including chicken or turkey (with skin), fish, lamb, etc. So, we know that eating three square meals kept us healthy (both mentally and physically). There's no guess work involved. I know that recommending three square meals isn't sexy. It's not new. So, it sounds boring. But we know this eating habit kept us healthy, so I think it would be wise to return to eating this way. Follow my logic here: The goal of Nutritional Balancing is to restore your biochemistry so that it resembles the biochemistry of a healthy individual. We know that when we ate three square meals, we were healthy. So, it seems commonsensical that we mimic the way we ate several decades ago – that is, three square meals (and that means we should be getting about 70% of our calories from animal fat).
4) But didn't our ancestors eat healthier, higher quality animal foods?
Before WII, 90% of the cows were out on grass. Back then, we didn't see as many factory farm systems as we do today. Ideally, we should try and obtain our animal foods from pasture-raised, local sources. But always remember to do the best you can with what you have available.
5) What happens if I have limitations with regards to accessing healthier versions of animal foods?
I ask my clients to do the best they can with what they have. If they can obtain their animal foods from local farms where the animals are out on pasture that would be the gold standard (there are several websites available to help connect consumers with local farmers, including the Weston A. Price Foundation). However, some of my clients are on limited budgets, or have limited access to farm fresh foods. If we scare people off animal foods from factory farms, then some people may feel so guilty about eating these foods, they may only eat plant-based foods (which will cause a lot of health problems). So, please do the best you can with what you have. If all you have access to is the outer periphery of a grocery store, then so be it. Just make sure you buy fattier cuts of meat and never buy anything low fat (that is, unless you have severe digestive distress when you eat more animal fat than you can tolerate – over time, as your biochemistry and digestion improve, you will be able to digest animal fat as well as your ancestors).
6) What about the different oxidation types? If I'm a slow or fast oxidizer, should I modify my diet?
In some people, certain foods can make them feel uncomfortable (fatigue, brain fog, digestive distress, or other symptoms). If this is the case, then one needs to listen to their bodies and adjust their diet accordingly. Keep in mind though, that if the food or foods we're talking about are traditional, ancestral foods, you should eventually be able to tolerate them. In other words, if your ancestors ate them, then you should be able to tolerate them. Rather than blaming the food, it's more important to focus on improving your biochemistry, which will help to improve your digestion. Over time, as your biochemistry improves, so too will your digestion. Then, you will notice that you will be better able to tolerate the foods that made you feel uncomfortable. [NB: If you have severe allergies (peanut, shellfish, etc), I'm not suggesting you eat these foods.]
7) I'm of European descent, so my ancestors would have eaten a lot of animal fat in their diet. Based upon ancestral wisdom, 70% of their calories would have come from animal fat. But when I eat animal fat, it causes me some digestive distress. I want to eat an ancestral diet, but eating this way makes me feel uncomfortable.
When the adrenal glands get weak, this will weaken the digestion. Minerals fall out of balance. Certain minerals are necessary to produce hydrochloric acid. Therefore, as our biochemistry weakens, our ability to produce enough hydrochloric acid in our stomach becomes impaired, and it can feel uncomfortable digesting animal protein. As the chyme (stomach contents) enters the small intestine, it should be fairly acidic. This should signal the release of bile, which is alkaline. In other words, bile should show up on the scene to help neutralize the acidity of the chyme. Today, most people aren't producing enough hydrochloric acid in their stomach, which can impair the release of bile. So, while the biochemistry is healing, it's important to support the acidity of the stomach by taking in things like raw sauerkraut, pickles, apple cider vinegar, and perhaps even some Betaine Hydrochloric acid.
8) How much water should I be drinking?
Please don't over-consume water as this can tax the kidneys. It's a myth that we should be drinking copious quantities of water. An average adult, under normal conditions, should probably only be drinking about four glasses of water per day. Of course, if you're working out in the hot sun, you would drink more than that. Plus, factor in height and weight. So, the amount of water can vary. If you're not thirsty, you may need to carry water around with you during the day to remind yourself to drink. While on the program, you may experience excessive thirst, which should be a temporary condition. If this happens, you need to honor your thirst. But, if the problem persists, be sure to let me know.
9) What kind of water should I be drinking?
Even though I'm a harsh critic of the bottled water industry, I have to recommend a high quality bottled spring water. I see nothing but problems with other sources of water, including filtered water and well water. You'll have to do your research to make sure you're buying water from a legitimate spring source, though. I don't like the plastic, but I understand the importance of having the minerals there in balance, the way nature intended.
10) Do you recommend juicing?
No. Juicing is a fad and has no historical precedence. Please don't juice for the following reasons: 1) It is a highly concentrated source of sugar and, as such, can dysregulate your blood sugar. 2) Plant-based foods tend to be high in copper and low in zinc, therefore, concentrated plant juices could disrupt the Zn:Cu ratio. Man evolved on animal foods, which tend to be high in zinc and low in copper -- closer to the correct ratio. 3) Plant-based foods tend to be high in potassium and low in sodium, therefore concentrated plant juices could disrupt the Na:K ratio. Man evolved on animal foods, which tend to be high in sodium and low in potassium -- closer to the correct ratio. 4) Plant-based foods can be high in anti-nutrients; veggies like cabbage, dark greens and spinach contain anti-nutrients, therefore in order to break down the anti-nutrients, these foods should be cooked or lacto-fermented prior to consumption. 5) And finally, juicing is a lot of work for a very tired person.
11) Should vegetables be cooked or raw?
I'm a recovering raw food vegan and used to believe that raw vegetables were healthier for us than cooked. I had to learn the hard way that this is simply not true. Contrary to popular belief, raw vegetables can be very hard on our digestion. You see, plant foods contain anti-nutrients, which can be very hard on our digestion and interfere with our ability to absorb minerals or protein. Humans can fight off their enemies (we can yell, scream, punch, etc. to ward off our enemies). To protect themselves from their enemies, plants contain anti-nutrients, which can disrupt our digestion. It's best to cook or lacto-ferment vegetables in order to break down these anti-nutrients. Cooking or lacto-fermenting vegetables can also increase the value of certain nutrients.
12) What about carrot juice? Isn't it a good source of calcium?
Unfortunately, it's also a high source of sugar. Animal foods, including meat and raw dairy products, are a much better source of calcium, plus, they have the added benefit of regulating blood sugar (rather than spiking your blood sugar).
13) If I'm constipated, should I be taking any medicinal fiber?
Taking something indigestible to help your digestion is illogical. The birth of the high fiber diet came to be back in the 1800s, but hit its peak in the 1970s. The date of the rise in popularity in taking medicinal fiber is an interesting factor. You see, in the 1970s, the low fat lie hit its peak. Since we need healthy bile to form stool and to trigger peristalsis (for healthy elimination), reducing animal fat (which by default means reducing dietary cholesterol) will interfere with healthy elimination. In other words, reducing animal fat in the diet leads to constipation. Constipation isn't caused by a fiber deficiency. In fact, our guts are designed for relatively large amounts of animal fat (70%), moderate amounts of protein (20%) and small amounts of plant-based foods (10%). For more information about the myths surrounding medicinal fiber or high fiber diets, be sure to read the book, Fiber Menace.
14) To help regulate my blood sugar, how many carbs should I be eating in a day?
When our ancestors ate "three square meals" per day, the bulk of their calories (70%) came from animal fat, and 20% of their calories came from protein. Only about 10% of their calories came from carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables and grains). Please avoid juicing as it is a highly concentrated source of sugar. Limit your carbohydrate (fruits, vegetables and grains) consumption to no more than 72 grams per day. To get an idea of how many carbs you may be eating in a day, there are several websites that can help you calculate. Dr. Wolfgang Lutz wrote the book, Life Without Bread. For 40 years, he saw tremendous results in his patients if they ate about 72 grams of carbs per day. His dietary recommendations resemble what our healthy ancestors would have consumed.
Each serving represents about 12 grams (times 6 = 72):
1) 1 slice of bread (sourdough....loaded with butter!)
2) 2/3 cup of peas (cooked, loaded with butter!)
3) 1/2 a medium potato (loaded with butter and high fat sour cream!)
4) 1 cup broccoli (cooked, loaded with butter!)
5) 1 medium apple
6) 2 T dried beans
For more dietary information, on my previous webpage, I have a page with all sorts of menu and meal ideas, including a free cookbook from the Weston A. Price Foundation. Also, be sure to watch Sally Fallon's nutrition seminars on YouTube. They're quite lengthy but extremely valuable. Here is the video by an MD, Andreas Eenfeldt, MD, discussing the importance of animal fat.
15) Should I be avoiding pork?
I'm very familiar with all of the criticisms over eating pork. However, my ancestors consumed pork, and they happened to be very healthy. Ideally, you should buy your pork from local farmers who pasture-raise their pigs.
16) Do all of your clients make their own bone broth?
I hope so. Normally, they drink about 2 cups of bone broth per day. It's one of the most healing foods for the gut. For centuries, man has used homemade bone broth to help heal digestive disorders. On my previous webpage, I have links with recipes on how to make bone broth.
17) I hear that it's important to keep the body in an alkaline pH, so should I be eating a lot of alkaline foods, like cucumbers, spinach, green food supplements, etc.?
I used to believe that theory as well. However, eating too many alkaline foods can lead to a condition called alkalosis. I notice that when people eat a lot of alkaline foods, they tend to be very sick. My ancestors are from Europe; they ate a lot of "acidic" foods.....and they were very, very healthy. When your minerals are balanced, ultimately this is what will keep your body in the correct pH. Our ancestors knew what to eat in order to keep their minerals in balance. Unfortunately, today, we've lost this nutritional wisdom.
18) How do you adapt Nutritional Balancing so that it corresponds with an ancestral diet?
People can always follow ARL's dietary guidelines for slow or fast oxidizers; however, I prefer that people adhere to an ancestral diet. If you are a slow oxidizer, your report will suggest reducing animal fat in the diet. In the history of mankind, humans haven't followed a diet low in animal fat. In fact, one of the reasons why we're so sick today is because over the last few decades, we've reduced our consumption of animal foods in our diet, especially animal fat. Back in the 1970s, the low fat lie hit its peak. I bought into this food fad "hook line and sinker." Then, in the 1980s, people (especially women) started collapsing with conditions like chronic fatigue, depression, fibromyalgia and the like.
Animal fat is the best fuel for the adrenal glands. Plus, it contains dietary cholesterol, which is necessary to produce healthy bile. Without adequate amounts of dietary cholesterol, bile will get thick and sluggish (like toothpaste) and will be more prone to stoning. Since two of the main things I address to help the body heal are the adrenal glands and bile flow, it seems illogical to me to reduce animal fat in the diet. An exception to this rule would be in individuals who have a lot of digestive distress when they eat more animal fat than they can handle. Since most of us have been following diets low in animal fat, our digestion has "gone to sleep." Essentially, our digestive system has forgotten how to digest animal fat. So, if one feels a lot of discomfort when they start introducing more animal fat in the diet, they may need to gradually add these foods in their diet. Over time, however, the discomfort dissipates. In other words, eventually, as their biochemistry improves, they can digest these traditional foods just as well as their ancestors.
19) Can I eat dairy products while doing Nutritional Balancing? What if I'm lactose intolerant?
The dairy products people are eating today are not of the same quality of the past. If one is of European descent, their ancestors had lots of time (thousands of years) to adapt to eating high quality dairy. Dairy animals would have been from pasture-raised sources and the milk wouldn't have been pasteurized or homogenized. In essence, the higher quality, farm fresh raw dairy would have been easier to digest. But since the rise of the low fat lie, the dairy industry has further damaged their products by reducing the fat content in their foods (the dairy industry knows that the more they can separate their product, the more money they make....hence the rise of low fat dairy products over the last several decades – in other words low fat dairy products came to be for profit, not for our health!). We need the fat (and dietary cholesterol) to support our digestion. We also need the fat to assimilate the minerals and protein.
Historically, we knew that eating lean or low fat meats made us sick. We would get tummy aches from eating lean meats, for example. So, when we were hunter gatherers, if we killed a lean animal, we would feed the lean meat to the dogs or eat it after spreading it with rendered fat from a previous meal. For millennia, man has appreciated the value of animal fat. In fact, in cultures around the world, animal fat is considered a sacred food. Today, however, because of the wrongful demonization of fat, most people believe that animal fat has joined the dark side.
Unbeknownst to millions of people, animal fat actually has many important attributes. Not only is animal fat crucial for healthy digestion, it is the most important fuel for our adrenal glands. Before WWII, we would have consumed 70% of our calories from animal fat. Without the influence of very clever and deceitful propaganda, we consistently ate adequate amounts of animal fat at breakfast, lunch and dinner. In other words, we ate "three square meals." We knew, through ancestral wisdom, the value of eating in this manner. Eating enough animal fat consistently through the day not only balances our blood sugar, it also fuels the brain, and supports healthy adrenal function. If we eat enough animal fat consistently through the day, this helps to keep our blood sugar level. If we skip meals, wait too long in between meals, or eat too many carbohydrate-based foods, this can dysregulate our blood sugar.
Estelle Hawley, PhD, Grace Carden, BS, The Art and Science of Nutrition, The CV Mosby Company, St. Louis, 1944, page 309
When we put ourselves on a blood sugar roller coaster ride (hypoglycemia), the adrenal glands have to "turn on" as a back-up system to help regulate our blood sugar. In our Fast New World, we're already over-taxing our adrenals. Now, we add insult to injury by using our adrenal glands far too often to help regulate our blood sugar. Eventually, this blood sugar roller coaster ride adds a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on our adrenals.
Over the last several decades, we've been reducing our consumption of animal foods and replacing these foods with more plant-based foods (keep in mind that plant-based foods are easier to produce, easier to ship, have better shelf life and are more profitable than animal foods – hence, the aggressive marketing of more of these foods in our diet from entities like Health Canada, the USDA and diet gurus). This transition in our diet has dysregulated our nervous system and caused considerable damage to our biochemistries.
20) What else is it about animal fat that makes it important for the nervous system?
In my book, Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic, I go into more detail about how and why animal fats are key to good mental health. Here is an excerpt from my book: "Animal foods provide us with other brain-healthy nutrients such as cholesterol and arachidonic acid (AA). AA, along with vitamins A and D, are converted as needed to the endocannabinoids, which are molecules within the central nervous system that support the production of adequate dopamine (to help you feel motivated) and curb the excess production of the stress hormone cortisol. In doing so, they help prevent anxiety and depression while supporting the motivation to achieve your goals." Invariably, when my nutrition students start consuming more animal fat in their diet, they report back to me that they feel happier, more stable, etc. Some of them have trouble digesting the fat at first so, to help with their digestion, they make sure they consume things like raw sauerkraut, pickles, apple cider vinegar, lemon water, etc.
21) I've heard that we should avoid foods like sauerkraut, pickles and vinegar. Is this true?
Since we're trying to mimic the diets of healthy people, we should imitate their dietary habits as closely as possible – and that includes eating lacto-fermented foods. On my previous webpage, I have a link summarizing the characteristics of a healthy diet based upon Dr. Price's work. One of the characteristics of a healthy diet includes eating lacto-fermented foods. I remember doing the anti-candida diet in the late 80s. Back then, we were told to avoid foods like sauerkraut, pickles and vinegar because they allegedly "feed" the candida. What I didn't realize is that, at the time, the doctors who were popularizing the anti-candida diet got tired of women complaining about being bloated after eating these foods, so they just told their patients to stop eating them. When we start eating foods that help recolonize friendly organisms in our gut, a "war" can go on. The friendly organisms go into battle to try and overpower the bad. So, yes, things can get uncomfortable as you try to regulate your gut flora. You may experience bloating, gas, diarrhea, etc. If these foods cause you discomfort, start slowly. But, because they're so medicinal, I don't think it's wise to avoid these foods. In fact, in both of my books, I write about the value of lacto-fermented foods. And, on my books page, I list some books that provide lots of delicious recipes for lacto-fermented foods.
From my book, Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic: "Fermented foods have the following benefits:
• Fermentation increases the vitamin and amino acid content of the food.
• The health-promoting microorganisms that are formed during lacto-fermentation produce beneficial enzymes that help digest the food.
• Substances in fermented foods have been found to increase resistance to intestinal infections, stimulate the immune system and possibly protect against cancer.
• The lactic acid bacteria found in fermented dairy products are also known to release compounds that may help prevent infections and tumors.
22) I’ve read that I should avoid eating fermented foods (including sauerkraut) because they contain aldehydes. Is this true?
The largest source of acetaldehyde to the general population is through alcohol consumption (acetaldehyde is formed during the production of alcohol). Alcoholic beverages contain some of the highest concentrations of acetaldehyde. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has updated the classification of alcohol to a Group I human carcinogen.
Depending upon the type of alcoholic beverages, and their batch, acetaldehyde content can vary. For example, beer may contain up to 63 ppm. Wine may contain up to 290 ppm. Fortiﬁed wines may contain up to 800ppm. Spirits may contain up to 1159 ppm.
Acetaldehyde content in a given food can vary widely depending upon variables such as its variety (i.e., Golden Delicious or Granny Smith), how it was produced or how ripe it is. A semi-ripe banana, for example, could have an acetaldehyde content anywhere between 10.13-16.36 ppm. Yogurt may have an acetaldehyde content between 23-55 ppm. A mild kefir may contain approximately 1.48 ppm.
The following is a general list of foods and drinks that contain acetaldehyde:
• fruits and fruit juice (0.2-230 ppm)
• vegetables (0.2-400 ppm)
• dairy products (0.001-76 ppm)
• bread (4.2-9.9 ppm)
• tea and soft drinks (0.2-0.6 ppm)
Many foods contain acetaldehyde, but this is no reason why we should avoid eating them. Especially when it comes to consuming healing traditional foods such as raw sauerkraut, kefir or yogurt. The following chart shows the average acetaldehyde content in some foods:
While it’s true that fermented foods contain acetaldehyde, it doesn’t mean that they should be avoided. Acetaldehyde is a key ingredient many healthy traditional foods like yogurt, cheese, butter and buttermilk. Aldehydes have germicidal properties and, as such, have powerful bactericidal and fungicidal potential. As we've seen in the previous Q&A, fermented foods have many health benefits. According to Charles Standford Porter, MD, "I believe that all lactic acid products, buttermilk, sour milk, clabber milk, koumiss, Leben, kefir and yogurt, are invaluable in the treatment of the sick and their use is deservedly increasing. . . . In certain medical circles . . . there is no particular profit in prescribing these simple foods as there is in dispensing medicines." Milk Diet as a Remedy for Chronic Disease, originally published in 1905
As mentioned, I wouldn’t be concerned about the acetaldehyde content in whole, natural, traditional foods including kefir, yogurt and sauerkraut; however, I would be concerned about overconsuming alcohol, which tends to have very high levels of acetaldehyde.
There are plenty of other sources of acetaldehyde that I would try to avoid. Aside from alcohol, other sources may include, Candida sp. (yeast) overgrowth, coffee, breathing air contaminated with acetaldehyde from cigarette and other smoke (refineries, wood burning, trash, coal, forest fires), coffee bean roasters, smog (factory emissions, exhaust from on-road motor vehicles and other transportation sources such as trains, ships, farm and utility equipment), synthetic fragrances (air fresheners, scented candles, cleaning products, cologne or perfume), industrially processed foods (additives) and many commercially manufactured materials.
23) I thought that animal fat and dietary cholesterol were bad for our health and that a diet low in animal fat and dietary cholesterol is good for our health....
Nothing could be further from the truth. In the history of mankind, we didn't eat diets low in animal fat. Otherwise, our brains wouldn't have developed. In recent history, since we've been reducing our consumption of animal fat in our diet, our brains are actually shrinking in size. Not only that, we're sicker, fatter and more depressed than ever before. Because of the wrongful demonization of animal fat, it's hard for people to imagine just how much animal fat we used to eat. But before WWII, most of us were still getting about 70% of our calories from animal fat. After WWII, the wrongful demonization of animal fat began and our consumption of fatty animal foods declined. This radical change in our diet is what has led to a dramatic decline in our health.
The last ice age only just ended 12,500 years ago, and we didn't have greenhouses back then. The refrigerated train wasn't invented until the latter part of the 1800s. The refrigerated truck wasn't invented until the 1940s. How is it possible for us to have consumed large amounts of plant-based foods? Imagine the General Store in the TV series, Little House on the Prairie. How much food was in the store? Not much. Why? Back in the 1800s, most of us lived on farms. We produced our own beef, dairy, chicken, eggs, pork, etc.....The focus of our diet was on these foods, and, we were much, much healthier then than we are now. Of course, we consumed some carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables and grains), but not as much as we're eating today.
24) Why do you recommend cod liver oil over fish oil?
Over the last 100 years, we've seen the damaging health effects of over-consuming omega 6 fats. As such, there could be damaging health effects from over-consuming omega 3 fats. Our ancestors consumed omega 3 fats within the foods – not isolated in a concentrated supplement – therefore, it would have been difficult for us to over-consume the omega 3s. In addition, omega 3s work best when saturated fats are present (in food, in their natural state).
On the other hand, it's very difficult to obtain adequate amounts of the fat-soluble activators, vitamins A and D, in our food today (because of factory farming and our phobia over eating animal fat, we're not consuming enough of these very important vitamins). Hence, the importance of cod liver oil. In nature or when pasture-raised, animals would contain higher amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A and D are called fat-soluble activators because they help us absorb the minerals in the food. So, yet another reason why I encourage my clients to consume more animal fat in the diet (even if they have to increase their consumption gradually). Since animal fat contains the fat-soluble activators that help us absorb minerals, and because Nutritional Balancing involves balancing minerals in our bodies, I think it's important to get adequate amounts of animal fat in the diet. Again, some people may feel uncomfortable consuming animal fats at first, but over time as their biochemistry improves, they can digest them as well as their ancestors. To find out more information about which cod liver oil to buy, read this article.
25) Do you recommend protein powders?
No. I do caution people on protein powders for several reasons: 1) Protein powders are a waste product. 2) They can be contaminated with heavy metals. 3) In nature, protein exists with fat. So, I don't think that isolating protein from fat is a good idea. 4) They are too high in naturally occurring aspartic acid (aspartame) and glutamic acid (MSG) -- which can increase one's chance of developing brain tumors (see Dr. Russell Blaylock's book, Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills). I make my smoothies with farm fresh yogurt or kefir, 3 raw eggs (pasture-raised), coconut milk, and a small amount of fruit and maple syrup. Yum!
26) Is it okay to eat organ meats on the diet?
Since we're trying to mimic our ancestral diet, I think it's wise to include organ meats in the diet. Our grandmothers used to tell us to eat liver once a week. In other words, our ancestors understood the importance of organ meats in our diets. When we were hunter gatherers, we would first eat the organ meats of our prey (because we knew the organ meats were the most nutrient-dense part of the animal), then we would consume the muscle meats. Try and find organ meats from farmers who pasture-raise their animals.
27) I've been doing Nutritional Balancing for several months now, and still feel very sick. How much longer will it take for me before I feel better?
It's not uncommon for people to feel sick several months into the program. As the supplements stir up the heavy metals, people normally feel much worse at first. And, this can last for months. In fact, if people don't feel worse first, then I would suspect that something is wrong. For Nutritional Balancing to work, it's very important to remain very compliant and patient. Here is an interview I've done about the Five Prongs of Nutritional Balancing. Click here for another interview I've done about adrenal burnout and Nutritional Balancing. Click here for another interview I've done about adrenal burnout, nutrition, mood disorders and addiction. Click here to read my article, "Nutritional Balancing: Your Missing Link to Restored Health?"
28) I've heard a lot about the neurotoxicty of fried foods, like corn chips, potato chips, crackers or French fries. Am I allowed to indulge in these foods?
In the presence of high heat, foods that contain an amino acid and sugar can produce acrylamide, a known neurotoxin and suspected carcinogen in humans. Laboratory studies in animals have shown that exposure to acrylamide can induce cancer, genetic damage in sperm, and adverse effects on reproduction and development. Historically, when we cooked these kinds of foods, we would have been much better able to detoxify agents like acrylamide. Today, though, our detoxification abilities have diminished, so we have to be careful over consuming excessive amounts of, in particular, starchy fried foods. That said, you could still eat these kinds of foods in small amounts and on an occasional basis (just make sure they're cooked in animal fats, like butter, lard or tallow). Please keep in mind that in an 8 ounce glass of water, the federal limit for acrylamide in drinking water is .5 parts per billion, or about .12 micrograms. However, a 6 ounce serving of French fries may contain approximately 60 micrograms of acrylamide. To find out how much acrylamide you may be consuming in a day, click here.
29) Do you recommend following the Blood Type Diet?
No. I don't recommend the Blood Type Diet. It just doesn't make any sense to me. To know whether the dietary advice is valid, you have to look back to see if it holds weight in history. Historically, mothers wouldn't have made a few different meals for their families. She would have prepared one meal for the whole family. When one's biochemistry goes out of balance, certain foods can feel uncomfortable in one's belly. This doesn't mean that there's something wrong with the food; rather, it means that one needs to repair one's biochemistry and strengthen one's digestion. Both go hand-in-hand. [By the way, dogs have different blood types.]
30) Should I be getting 70% of my calories from vegetation (ie: mostly vegetables)?
We didn't evolve on a diet high in carbohydrates (foods like fruits, vegetables and grains, or vegetation). The ice age only ended 12,500 years ago. So, how could we have consumed a lot of vegetation? Over our recent history, as we've increased our consumption of carbohydrates, we've become sicker, fatter and more depressed than ever before in the history of mankind. Since following this high carbohydrate fad diet our brains our actually shrinking.
Let's calculate what a diet consisting of 70% vegetation (mostly from vegetables) would mean: If an average adult consumes about 2100 calories per day and their goal is to take in 70% of his/her calories from vegetation that would mean that they would consume 1470 calories from vegetation. One cup of mixed vegetables could contain about 32 calories. This would mean an individual would be consuming approximately 46 cups of mixed vegetables per day (46 X 32 = 1472 calories). One cup of mixed vegetables could also contain about 7 grams of carbohydrates (sugar). If you were to eat about 46 cups of vegetables per day, you would be consuming about 322 grams of carbohydrates per day [46 X 7 = 322]!!!
The government food guide recommends between 200-300 grams of carbohydrates per day (a recipe to create diabetes, obesity and a host of other health problems). Since we're not designed to consume a lot of carbohydrates, this amount of sugar in our diets would be very destabilizing for our blood sugar and would therefore tax our adrenal glands.
Additionally, please keep in mind that our digestive systems are not designed for a lot of fibrous foods. In fact, high fiber diets are shown to aggravate malabsorption (Donaldson, 1984; Dutta and Hlasko, 1985).
Now, if your dinner plate is taken up by a fatty piece of meat, fish or chicken and it is surrounded by a few kinds of cooked vegetables (which may take up 70% of your plate), that's fine. In that case, in terms of space, vegetables can take up over half of your plate. But because vegetation has fewer calories than fatty animal foods, it wouldn't represent 70% of your daily intake of calories. Fatty animal foods are much more energy dense than plant foods. Among its very important roles, fatty animal foods are the best fuel to stabilize hormones, fuel your adrenal glands and support cell membranes.
31) I've been told that I should be getting 7% (or less) of my calories from saturated fat. Is this true?
That's a dangerously low amount of saturated fat in the diet (unprecedented in human history). For a few decades now, we've reduced our consumption of saturated fat in the diet and just look at how sick we are. If an average adult consumes about 2,100 calories per day, 7% would mean you'd be consuming about 140 calories (or 16 grams) from saturated fat. One tablespoon of butter contains approximately 100 calories. Therefore, you'd only be able to eat 1.5 tbsp of butter per day. That's it! In many cultures around the world, butter is considered a sacred food. A healing food. Throughout human history, animal fat has been revered. When we were hunter/gatherers, we didn't eat lean meat (we fed it to the dogs). We enjoyed fatty meat. Animal fat helps us to assimilate other important nutrients, namely minerals and protein. The animal fat also triggers the release of bile (so without the animal fat, bile essentially "goes to sleep"). Not only is saturated fat essential for human health, fatty animal foods enhance the flavor of any meal. As long as you're not experiencing gallbladder pain, enjoy plenty of animal fat in your diet. If you're experiencing gallbladder pain, gradually increase your intake of animal fat and make sure to regularly consume foods like lemon water, raw sauerkraut, pickles and apple cider vinegar (diluted in water), which will help to thin the bile.
32) I understand that sugar consumption should be kept to a minimum, but if I do eat sugar, what sources are best?
I recommend local sources of sugar such as honey (ideally, raw, unfiltered and unrefined) and maple syrup. With any luck, your sources will be local . . . in which case you'd be supporting your local farmers. Other potential sources of sugars might include Rapadura, molasses or Sucanat. Because it's usually heavily refined, I'm not a huge fan of stevia. You can grow stevia yourself. That way, it would be a more natural source. Be sure to avoid synthetic sugars including aspartame. Aspartame is metabolized to methanol which breaks down into formic acid. Formic acid is ant poison. For information about the neurotoxicity of artificial flavorings such as aspatame (aspartic acid) and MSG (glutamic acid), be sure to read the book Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills, by Dr. Russell Blaylock.
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