Diet for a Long Life
Want to live a long, healthy life and achieve a healthy weight in the process? Eat heartily and make sure you get plenty of animal protein and good healthy fats in your diet. It’s true. And that story you’ve been told about cholesterol being bad for you? Forget all about it.
In fact, if you’re over the age of 48, stop worrying about cholesterol levels completely. The people who have told you to stop eating red meat, butter, eggs and other nutritionally vital whole foods are just flat out wrong. So where did this idea come from?
As it turns out, this idea came from research centered on rabbits.
What happened is this: researchers fed large quantities of oxidized and purified cholesterol to rabbits, who not surprisingly, suffered severe damage to their hearts and arteries.
Of course there’s one problem. Rabbits eat grass and plants.
They don’t consume foods with cholesterol and don’t naturally have any mechanism to handle and control cholesterol.
However, we do.
It’s amazing that researchers used rabbits – and this experiment’s evidence – to try to understand a human’s requirement for animal fats and cholesterol and their mechanism of action. So the new low fat diet was born with no scientific evidence that it prevents heart disease or strokes. And this has been a health disaster ever since.
If you just look back to the kinds of diets that our grandparents and great-grandparents ate 60 to 80 years ago, according to medical beliefs, everyone should have been overweight. And you know that’s not true. Even a casual glance at older photographs or old movies shows how much thinner people were in the past compared to where we are now with our high carbohydrate diets mistakenly recommended by medical experts in the interest of avoiding fats. Granted, a big part of that was the availability of food – no surplus of vending machines and snack foods – and the fact that people weren’t generally as sedentary as we’ve become.
But our abundance has come with a severe price. The emphasis our diets have on refined carbs and sugar hasn’t just resulted in people being overweight and out of shape, but being sick and exhausted all of the time, experiencing high blood pressure and the explosion of type 2 diabetes.
It’s not surprising. Without animal proteins and fats, the body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs to survive and thrive. Whole foods and whole fats are what we are supposed to be eating – that’s why people generally feel so hungry when they try to get by on processed, refined, and “lite” diets – they’re facing a huge nutritional deficit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), obesity rates are at least 25 percent or more in 34 states - and in 25 of those the rate is over 30 percent. So far, no statistical reversal of this trend is on the horizon. How could it be, when we’ve been told so often that perfectly healthy, wholesome, life-enhancing foods are the enemy?
There’s a much better way to eat that satisfies our nutritional needs and our taste buds. It centers on real, whole traditional foods that were the mainstay in the early 1900s. The diet of our ancestors a traditional diet (or very similar to a ketogenic diet) was high in all the vitamins and minerals and satisfied our appetite.
But today, because foods are refined, processed and stripped of nutrients, they convert to sugar at a high rate. This causes us to eat more and in turn, secrete more insulin, which then causes the body to produce and store more fat. Therefore, it is not fat that makes you fat; it is carbohydrates that make you fat.
The traditional and ketogenic diets simply replicate much of what humanity ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2 million years. Needless to say, there was not a lot of processing going on. They include a lot of animal protein (which most likely helped our brains grow and adapt), high animal fat, green, leafy plants, and low carbohydrates.
After all, our original diet was approximately 30 percent animal protein, 60 percent animal fat and 10 percent non-starchy carbohydrates primarily from fruits and vegetables, so it makes sense to return to this ratio.
And because of that, giving up refined grain-and-sugar based carbohydrates is an absolute must. Once you make that switch, you’ll stop weight gain, insulin resistance, and inflammation. If you’re used to carbs, letting them go can be tough, no doubt about it. But with discipline and gradually seeing healthy benefits, you’ll be amazed how easy it can be to adopt a new diet. My bottom line: consume no more than 72 grams of carbohydrates daily.
Does all of this sound challenging? It can be. But the results are worth it and it’s an extremely satisfying way to eat. Consider the delicious foods you can enjoy on this diet: grass-fed beef, bison, poultry, butter, whole fat cheese, nuts, whole fat dairy products, vegetables, berries of all kinds, eggs, fish, olive oil, and coconut oil – to name just a few. Believe me, whatever you choose from this diet is definitely going to keep you fueled and healthy much better than the trans-fat and refined grain-and-sugar foods you may have been following in the past.
Proteins every day
Proteins are our original energy and power foods and they are absolutely necessary to maintain a strong body. I’d like to share my favorite food sources for great protein, and why they should definitely be a part of your diet. Remember that animal protein is rich in readily-absorbable amino acids, which are the building blocks of the body and mind.
· Grass-fed beef
An abundance of healthy fats
The fear of fat has led to an epidemic of diseases that have occurred primarily because we have reversed the ratio of our food groups from high animal proteins/animal fats and low carbohydrates, to high refined carbohydrates and sugar and little or no healthy animal protein and animal fats. In fact, many Americans probably consume around 60 to 70 percent of their meals as carbohydrates (mostly refined and processed), and 20 to 30 percent unhealthy fats (omega-6 from vegetable oils, shortening and margarine) and only 10 percent from protein.
Those highly processed foods that advertise as being non-fat, low fat and two-percent fat actually contain hydrogenated fats and trans-fatty acids -- the real contributors to cancer and heart disease. The omega-6 fatty acid group found in soybean, corn, safflower, canola and other unhealthy oils greatly exceeds the ratio of the much healthier, natural omega-3 fatty acids, and they are not balanced by other fatty acids in any way that is truly healthy.
The processed fats known as “trans fats” are especially dangerous. These processed fats have been changed – hydrogenated – to make fully or “partially hydrogenated” trans-fat. Hydrogenation is a chemical process in which hydrogen atoms are added to a liquid vegetable fat to change it to a solid – margarine being a prime example. Thank goodness we’re getting smarter about trans fats and making progress in eliminating them from foods.
In Denmark, where it has been illegal for foods to contain more than two percent trans-fats since 2004, deaths from heart disease have dropped by 20 percent. This seems to make sense when you consider that 2006 review found that with a two percent increase of calories consumed as trans-fat, the incidence of coronary heart disease increased by 23 percent.
Additionally, trans-fats can raise total cholesterol levels and deplete good cholesterol (HDL), which helps protect against heart disease. By contrast – and probably a surprise for many – saturated fats do not deplete HDL – in fact, they may even increase it.
Science appears to be catching up to the idea that fats and animal proteins aren’t bad for you. In the meantime, I’d suggest you adjust your diet accordingly, and enjoy the benefits and taste of real food.
Must-Have Fats in Your Diet:
· Cream and Butter
· Raw milk from goats or cows – but skip processed milk
· Coconut oil
· Olive oil
· Sesame Oil
· Avocado Oil
Nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables
Choose colorful fruits and vegetables because that indicates they have high antioxidant value. Berries, for example, have compounds called anthocyanins – a type of flavonoid, which provide extremely potent antioxidant activity, protecting cells from the harmful effects of oxidation and the inflammation that often follows.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, because they provide so many valuable nutrients. Getting the amount you need really isn’t as difficult as you may think. After all, a serving of grapes, blueberries, and carrots is just one cup, and even one small apple counts as a serving.
Must-have fruits and vegetables:
· Spinach and other greens
· Cruciferous family: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
· Sweet Potatoes (sparingly)
Begin Eating the Traditional Diet!
As you start switching over to a traditional or ketogenic diet, remember to plan your meals. It’ll stop you from being tempted to go to fast food or processed options that are laden with nitrates, sodium, and trans-fatty acids. There is no reason you can’t feel fantastic. Just remember healthy fats do not cause weight gain, excessive carbohydrates cause weight gain. And in the United States, most of the carbs we eat are so refined that they do us no good at all nutritionally – they only spike our blood sugar levels and add unhealthy weight.
· Stop sugar cravings and weight gain
· Eliminate “brain fog” and fatigue
· Prevent or reverse diabetes
· Reduce inflammation and joint pain
· Slow progression of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases
· Stop oxidative stress and damage to the cells
After just a short time, you’ll notice a difference. I can guarantee you that you’ll have more energy, a trimmer body, a better waistline, and feel more vibrant and healthy overall.