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GAPS Healthy Fats Real Food

Why a High-Protein Diet Won’t Make You Healthier

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Due to the insistence of conventional health communities that fats and cholesterol should be avoided, high-protein diets have been all the rage for a number of years.

The Atkins Diet was popular for many years and received much press and attention since it came out in the late 1950s. Many people claimed to lose a lot of weight on this diet. Depending on who you asked, this diet was heralded by some as a low-fat diet, high-protein diet and by others as a high fat diet.

This quote by Dr. Atkins himself describes the diet:

“Those of you who read my first book, Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution, know what diet to follow — there was only one. Millions of dieters simply called it the Atkins Diet. It was a very low carbohydrate reducing diet (not a high-fat diet, as many of my nonreading critics asserted).”

The South Beach Diet came out during the 2000s and it affected more dieters than just about any diet during that decade. The major flaw with most of these types of diets was they didn’t emphasize something of great importance: healthy fats – which are so critical for health. As a result, many people who followed the Atkins Diet gained the weight back after losing it.

It may seem counter-intuitive that eating fat and cholesterol can be good for health, but this myth about fat and cholesterol being bad for us has no grounded science behind it.

You can see clear evidence of bad science being used everywhere. A good example is the USDA Dietary Guideline recommendations such as MyPlate, featuring a diagram of 5 food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. But fat is nowhere to be found.

And yet, fat is one of the most critical foods we could eat for health since it’s one of our best sources of Vitamins A, D, E, and K2 – essential fat soluble vitamins, Omega 3s, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and other important nutrients like folate, B12, iron, and zinc.

Fat and cholesterol are essential for a wide range of bodily functions:

  • Necessary for the production of hormones in the body.
  • Brain and nervous system function (a majority of our brains are composed of fat)
  • The foundation of cell integrity
  • Digestion and normalization of blood sugar levels
  • Regulation of body temperature
  • Protecting internal organs from damage
  • Providing energy
  • Maintaining proper weight and metabolism levels

Dr. Weston A. Price learned in his world travels by visiting 14 various countries that all healthy populations who were free of disease consumed much more of these nutrients from animal foods – sometimes up to TEN times the amount we currently consume in our modern culture.

Truth be told, avoiding fat and cholesterol is disastrous for health.  A number of medical doctors are now admitting this openly to the public.

When you stop and think about our modern health guidelines which recommend avoiding fat – have these really helped our population become healthier or lose weight? Not at all. According to recent reports, in fact, we are continuing to get fatter and sicker with each passing year.

What’s wrong with lean meats?

Lean meats are very hard-to-digest. Since they lack fat-soluble vitamins such as A and D, they end up becoming putrified in our digestive systems and cause chronic pathogenic bacteria in our guts which spreads to all parts of our bodies. This leads to many other health issues including weight problems, auto-immune disease, food allergies, bone and joint issues, and others.

Even a lot of grassfed meats tend to be short on fat.  If you are coming off a low-fat diet you will probably need some help getting your digestion back in order to be able to handle fats. Starting out slowly with well-cooked meats, poultry, fish, and other animal fats in broths and soups, with vegetables and plenty of healthy fats like butter or ghee, lard, or tallow. These are very healing and can help you to be able to to properly digest your food.

So eat your meats with plenty of fat:

  • olive oil
  • butter
  • ghee
  • coconut oil
  • fat drippings from lard (pork fat), schmaltz (chicken fat) or tallow (beef fat or suet)

and also with gelatin-rich broths or cooked in broth made from the bones of animals and birds on pasture.

The GAPS protocol by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride may be a good healing and detox if you have digestive issues and want to heal so you can properly digest foods again. You may also need digestive enzymes or hydrochloric acid. The best brand of enzymes I’ve found is Enzyme Formulations, and you need a practitioner to obtain them. Houston Enzymes are also a quality product that I’ve heard many good things about from clients and others. They have customer support to help you determine which are right for you.

What’s wrong with protein powders?

Protein powders are a popular food product that many people buy because they don’t have time to prepare something real. Slick marketing and labeling has convinced consumers these are healthy products to consume. But, these powders are processed through high heat temperatures which denatures the protein. Processing actually turns those substances into something harmful – a free-glutamate (think MSG).

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Plus, protein powders almost always contain a bunch of synthetic nutrients, stabilizers, preservatives, and other things you can’t even pronounce or comprehend what they are. Even the supposedly high-quality whey protein powders that are healthy, containing organic grassfed whey from healthy cows, like this one – Whole Whey Natural from Metaorganics

  • Whey protein concentrate from grassfed cows’ raw milk (pesticide free, no added hormones)
  • Fibersol (what?)
  • Arabinogalactin extract (what?)
  • Nonfat milk powder (no thanks, I’ll take real full fats that aren’t oxidized)
  • Lecithin (soy, no thanks)
  • Medium chain triglycerides (which you can get from real coconut oil)
  • Natural flavors (MSG)
  • Guar gum (MSG)
  • Lohan (what the heck is that?)

Okay, whole whey protein from grass fed cows’ milk, that’s the only thing I’d even consider consuming on this list.    But I could get that from having a smoothie with yogurt and kefir in it, or drinking a glass of milk, or eating some cheese.

Even if you knew what the other ingredients were, do you need to be consuming them? Probably not. So everything else? I’d avoid like the plague and just eat real food.

This product is a great example of how just because something is labeled organic or even grassfed, does not make it healthy to consume.

But aren’t plant protein powders better?

There are other protein powder products not sourced from animals using proteins from plants, grains, and seeds. No matter how the labels might describe them as being low-temperature processed or non-denatured, these products are still as unnatural as can be, and we should not rely on grains or plants in those amounts as a good source of protein. Our ancestors never did this. Again, there is no fat present in these products as the proteins are isolated and compounded many times above what would occur in nature.

Vegetables, grains, seeds, and legumes contain phytic acid – an anti-nutrient that can leach minerals from the stores in your body – usually the bones. To neutralize these components, sprouting/soaking, fermentation, cooking, and serving with healthy fats is required. When those techniques are applied, your body can use the nutrients in those foods. But eating in raw form, or in the case of grains simply cooked, or highly processed and compounded many times as protein powders is not a smart way to consume these foods.

You’re better off eating a nice pile of chopped up broccoli and carrots, cooked in a pan with butter, salt, garlic, and some seasoning than you are to consume plant protein powders. You’ll absorb the nutrients in the plants better since you’ll be eating it with a wonderful, healthy fat with fat-soluble vitamins (A&D), and it will actually taste good.

Protein and fat work together

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with protein – provided it’s a natural source of protein and it’s also accompanied by some type of natural fat such as in meats or animal products. Even some other foods such as grains, vegetables, legumes, and nuts contain a small amount of protein (although not much except for in the case of nuts). But the point is, those foods with small amounts of protein don’t have much naturally-occurring fat.

That’s why it’s important to traditionally prepare grains, seeds, legumes, and vegetables – either through fermentation or soaking/sprouting and/or cooking to neutralize phytic acid, and eat with healthy animal fats. Those fat-soluble nutrients help us to absorb the nutrients in those foods.

The lack of fat in high-protein foods like industrially-produced lean meats and processed foods like protein powders is a problem because they lack vital, fat-soluble nutrients. In this case, Vitamin A.  The body stores Vitamin A in the liver. If you keep eating high-protein foods with no fat, you will soon deplete Vitamin A stores in the body.  This leads to many chronic issues including:

  • bone issues and osteoporosis from loss of calcium
  • Heart or kidney disease
  • Thyroid and hormonal imbalances
  • Auto-immune disease such as fibroymyalgia (chronic fatigue) or more serious issues including diabetes

All of these issues sum up much of what is wrong with our population’s modern health profile – some of the most common diseases people have, and they are on the increase. As a coincidence, many people avoid fat, count calories, and cling to nutrient-deficient diets.  Quite an interesting connection, isn’t it?

What’s wrong with modern diets?

The Standard American Diet is sorely depleted of nutrient-dense foods. Besides chemicals and toxins in our diets from processed foods that make up so much of what we eat, three ingredients that have remained a constant in our everyday eating habits are white flour, sugar, and vegetable oils.

Dr. Weston A. Price discovered that fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 were present in the diets of healthy populations he studied all over the world. Modern diets are lacking in these nutrients, including Vitamin A, a nutrient we can get from foods such as cod liver oil, liver, butter, cream, fish, and fish eggs.

We have an abundance of lean protein foods in our diets because conventional medical information tells us to eliminate fat and cholesterol. Lean meats are NOT natural in any sense of the word, and the majority of them are produced on CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) where animals do not receive a natural diet nor live in a natural environment. This makes the meat and fat content of these foods off-balance and not healthy for our bodies. For example, due to the way they are produced, CAFO meats are too high in Omega 6s, and the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3s is about 15:1 or wider. Grassfed meats are the correct balance at approximately 3:1.

For thousands and thousands of years, healthy meat and poultry was eaten by people around the world with fat, skin, bones, and everything else that goes with animal foods. Those were not separated out, they were considered essential and necessary for maintaining good health.

Instead of processed foods or protein powders that have isolated, high amounts of denatured protein and lack other important co-factors and nutrients, eat healthy foods with saturated fats and real nutrients like egg yolks from pastured hens, raw yogurt, milk, or other dairy food, coconut oil, mashed up avocadoes to soups, broths, stews, and or smoothies. Eat fatty cuts of grassfed meats, pork, lamb, poultry and game meats with plenty of butter, olive oil, or other animal fat and with or cooked in bone broths. Cook your vegetables and braise your meats in butter, lard, tallow, or ghee. For desert, have a big bowl of home-made full-fat raw yogurt with fruit, nuts, and cinnamon.

Here’s a recipe for home-made whey on the Radiant Life site, which is an excellent natural source of real protein. You can also easily make a home-made protein powder such as the recipe featured in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

These foods are delicious and good for you, and will bring back flavor to the bland, boring processed foods you’ve been eating that aren’t healthy. Instead of high-protein and low-fat, make your meals high-protein and high fat too.

Want more information?

The importance of dietary fats

What’s the real scoop on red meat and higher mortality rates?

Which is better for your health – polyunsaturated or saturated fats?

Dr. Sinatra and others speaking out – cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease

Green Living Healthy Living Healthy Meat Real Food

Deceptions in the Food Industry: Lean Meats

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Continuing on with Deceptions in the Food Industry series, last week I talked about the term “natural” on food labels and how misleading it is. This week I’m covering the myths about “lean meats” touted by so many conventional health experts.

Modern, developed societies have cultivated a fear and avoidance of fatty animal products. Doctors tell us to avoid red meat unless it is lean because of the inherent health risks of eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol in our diets. Ironically, we need both saturated fat and cholesterol for nearly every function in our bodies.

And here’s where I won’t argue: toxic, chemical-laden meats sold in most U.S. grocery stores and even from some farmers direct-to-customer would no doubt contribute to disease. Toxic chemicals, additives, hormones, and antibiotics used in the ommercial meat industry also cause the following: endocrine (hormonal) disruption, parasites, yeast overgrowth, reproductive issues, immune system suppression, digestive issues, mal-absorption of nutrients, and other problems.

These types of meat are also too high in Omega 6 fatty acids due to the way animals are raised on feedlots and fed grains, soy, corn, and other inappropriate substances. Consuming this type of meat contributes to an inflammatory state in the body. The result is weight gain and increase the development of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, stroke, and many other diseases. This is because cattle are ruminants and are designed to consume and digest grass. When they eat grain, corn, and soy, their digestive tracts become acidic and they develop disease.

Why are we told to eat these overly-lean meats?

Health fallacies

Since the early 1900s, mainstream medicine has railed on meats and animal products. We are told to avoid these foods because consuming them will be bad for our hearts and increase our cholesterol levels. But dietary cholesterol levels don’t correlate with cholesterol build-up in our bodies. Cholesterol is produced in response to inflammation in the body.

Ancel Keys, researcher from the University of Minnesota, did a study which pushed his Lipid Theory to the forefront of medical rhetoric about cardiovascular health. His studies, which were actually conducted in 22 countries, only included data from 7 of those countries that supported his theory that consuming animal fat was the primary culprit in the development of heart disease – both at the population and individual level.  Read this excellent rebuttal of Ancel Keys research from Denise Minger.

Industry-driven information

The enormous industry of agribusiness – or mainstream farming which controls at least 90 percent of our food supply – has powerful influence over lobbyists, special interest groups, and the government. In fact, you’ll find that many people who have held or currently hold powerful positions in agribusiness have close ties to government entities such as the FDA and the USDA – where laws are enforced in conjunction with our food supply.

As just one example, Michael R. Taylor, the Deputy Commissioner for Foods for the FDA, is a former legal representative with law firm King & Spaulding, which represented Monsanto – the corporate bio-terrorist responsible for propagating dangerous GMOs throughout the planet under the guise of “feeding the world” as a response to world hunger and growing population issues.

One of the latest occurrences of a former agribusiness mover being granted access to powerful government office is President Obama’s appointment of  Dr. Islam Siddiqui as chief negotiator in agriculture for the U.S. trade representative.The appointment of Siddiqui occurred without the approval of Congress and also in opposition to grave concerns voiced by citizens, organic producers, and small farm advocates.

In Siddiqui’s former position, he was undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs of organic labeling standards for the USDA. Under these same regulations, irradiation of foods and genetically modified (GMO) crops are permitted under the label of “organic.”  His efforts also included concerted efforts to persuade the European Union to use GMO crops and hormone-treated beef in the food supply.

The appointment of such individuals is nothing new to our government structure. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan appointed numerous livestock industry insiders to high-ranking USDA positions.  It is no surprise that various executives from companies like ConAgra, Monsanto, and others continue to occupy those same types of positions today. It certainly doesn’t make much financial sense to health and pharmaceutical industries when the populations they provide goods/services to are healthy and don’t need them.

Commercial meat contains toxins that harm health

Besides being lower in nutrition, containing antibiotics, hormones, genetically-modified substances, preservatives and other harmful chemicals, much of “lean meat” and also poultry sold in the U.S. commercial industry is likely to be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, according to research published in the scientific journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases (April 2011).

These reports have been occurring for years. If you have been keeping up on reports from mainstream news, you’ll see that recalls of commercial meat products happen over, and over, and over again. Even more horrifying is the incidence of MRSA found in conventional various pork samples in the fall of last year, and yet no recall occurred at all.

Health benefits of real meat raised on pasture

In the historical past, populations eating indigenous diets highly-regarde animal products and in particular, whole, healthy fats. When Dr. Weston A. Price traveled around the world to learn why his patients had dental caries, degenerative bone disease and other health problems, he discovered that those communities eating large amounts of traditional foods including fats from healthy birds and animals had the lowest rates of all types of disease in on the planet.

Animal fat from healthy animals and birds raised on pasture contains abundant and critical nutrients for health. Nutrients from fats are easily absorbed into the body, unlike those found in plants, legumes, grains, nuts, and other foods marketed by the mainstream food and health industries.

Grassfed meats are becoming more visible in the food market these days, and with good reason. Mainstream health information discusses the importance of grassfed meats being “leaner”, containing less fat and less calories. But this is not why grassfed meats are healthier. Some grassfed meat contains less total quantity of fat, but these fats pack a nutrient-dense punch. Unlike toxic, greasy conventional meats, these fats contain more Omega 3s, conjugated linoleic acid, which reduce the risk of developing disease such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Omega 3s also support brain health.

From Eat Wild:

  • Meat from grassfed animals contains 2 to 4 times more Omega 3 essential fatty acids than meat from feedlot, grain-fed animals. These essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body and are important for many functions. As well as brain health, Omega 3s support heart, circulation, and arterial function. Those who include Omega 3-rich foods in their diet have lower incidence of ADD, hyperactivity, depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Animals raised on pasture exclusively produce meat which contains 3 to 5 times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than their conventional counterparts. “CLA may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer. In laboratory animals, a very small percentage of CLA—a mere 0.1 percent of total calories—greatly reduced tumor growth.”
  • Grassfed beef is 4 times higher in Vitamin E than feedlot cattle. Vitamin E is associated with lower risk of heart disease and cancer.

Which will you choose – conventional “lean” meat or sustainable, pasture-raised meats?

Grassfed and sustainable meat and meat products are the obvious choice for both taste and flavor in animal products. When we support local, mindful farmers who produce healthy products, we support our health and the environment.

If you have tried eating meat and animal products and find that you still have issues with digestion and absorption, there is likely a digestive issue which needs addressing. A great way to get in the nutrient-dense foods you need for your body and heal your digestion is traditional food-based protocol like Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

More information

Tender Grassfed Meat
American Grassfed Beef

The Grassfed Meat Challenge: Busting Myths About Meat

Amazing Benefits of Grassfed Meat Mother Earth News
Cholesterol and Why Statin Drugs Are Harmful
1 in 4 Meat Packages Tainted With Pathogenic Bacteria