Life On Purpose

Day 20 : Fat ‘n’ Happy Happy Happy July 18, 2013

As I’ve said before: Fat isn’t making you fat (well, mostly). Today I want to dig deeper and help you understand what good fat is and why it helps you burn fat.

Saturated Fats:

“Provide building blocks for cell membranes, hormones, and hormone-like substances

Act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K

Are required for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, and for mineral absorption

Act as antiviral agents (caprylic acid) Help lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids)

Modulate genetic regulation and help prevent cancer (butyric acid)”

They actually do NOT cause heart disease and will help satiety keeping you more full and reducing your calorie intake.

I know we have discussed this before, but choosing healthy fats and recognizing dangerous fats are one of the biggest steps to preventing disease and losing weight. It is also worth noting that your fat intake directly affects your HDL cholesterol level, which, if too low is linked to depression.

Processed food usually contains the oils and fats that are not good for your health. Eating a whole food (real food) diet will deliver the fats your body needs. Cook with coconut oil and pastured butter (again, Organic Valley brand is widely available). Don’t be afraid of “fatty” meats that were pasture raised. Their fat profiles contain CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which has been linked to better fat burn, steady glucose levels, muscle preservation and increased metabolism. They key to getting the CLAs in your diet is pastured meats and eggs. You will remember from prior posts that this means the animal was raised to roam freely and happily. I jokingly tell my children we have “happy milk” and “happy beef” from “happy cows.” But in all seriousness: it’s true! If you are what you eat, most Americans are fat and depressed….sound familiar? Why? Because the meat they are eating is from animals raised in terrible, cramped conditions too depressing to talk about right now! Also, use avocados as a salad topping, side dish, in guacamole, in sauces…oh I could go on and on about my favorite food! Avocados are truly a superfood and on the clean list too! So organic is not a necessity. Make your dressings with cold pressed EVOO . Season your veggies with pastured butter and sea salt. Your palate and your tummy will thank you!

Today’s challenge: buy EVOO, coconut oil and organic, pastured butter. Also, buy pasture raised, grass fed meats. Throw away the canola and vegetable oil. Stop worrying about your fat intake. Notice your new-found satiety as you consume a higher fat diet.

Healthy Fats:

Olives and Olive oil
Coconuts and coconut oil
Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Raw nuts, such as, almonds or pecans Organic pastured egg yolks
Grass fed meats
Palm oil
Unheated organic nut oils

Unhealthy fats:

Corn-avoid/mostly genetically engineered (more later)

Canola-avoid/mostly genetically engineered

Cottonseed- usually contaminated by pesticides (more later)

Palm kernel-avoid

Soybean-avoid/mostly genetically engineered & contains pesticides

Vegetable-avoid/mostly genetically engineered & contains pesticides

Peanut-okay in moderation/not good for cooking but organic to avoid pesticides & GMO

Margarine-NEVER eat.



Day 18 : Restock July 15, 2013

First of all, congratulations for making it through some of the hardest changes presented so far! If you’re still here with me, you are well on your way to a healthier life. But now your pantry is looking slim-so how do you restock? We’ve talked a lot about what NOT to eat. Now it’s time for establishing a repertoire of whole foods to nourish your body!

Remember what I said before: the bounty of your grocery cart should be from the perimeter of the store.

Buy organic as your budget allows and prioritize your dollars with this tool:
Dirty Dozen/Clean 15
-aim for a colorful variety
-most of your groceries should be produce
-try all different types of greens and rotate them

Whole Grain:
-ingredients will specify “whole (insert whatever grain here)”
-this shouldn’t make up more than 25% of what you eat

Grains to eat:
Quinoa (actually a seed)
Brown Rice

– Any pasture raised and grass fed meat is fine. Shouldn’t be more than 4 ounces or a palm size serving at each meal
-Check out the Farmer’s Market behind Geppetto’s in Morganton Saturdays 8-12 for good meat vendors (produce as well!)
-Fish should be as fresh as possible and wild caught, not farm raised. It will say on the package “wild caught.” Smaller fish have less mercury contamination.
-Ingles on Carbon City rd. has a fairly good selection for a chain grocery store. You can buy organic/antibiotic free chicken, grass fed beef, organic beef and ground bison there. Right now Aldi is carrying grass fed beef and antibiotic free chicken as well.

-Again, I recommend the Organic Valley brand: it is both organic and pastured! See sour cream, cottage cheese, milk, half n half, heavy cream & butter in this brand ALL available at Ingles on Carbon City!
-Whole milk is the least processed, use in moderation/Almond milk is a great alternative but I recommend Silk or Laura Lynn brand because they are carrageenan free.
-Aged, raw cheeses are best-NEVER buy shredded! Always shred your own. Most cheese is naturally white (it’s made from milk!) so avoid orange cheese because its usually highly processed and has something to color it. I suggest only buying at the grocery store because sometimes homemade cheese contains harmful bacteria (meaning if you aren’t sure your source is completely reputable, you probably shouldn’t buy it) and don’t buy raw if you are pregnant.

-Buy high quality, organic whole wheat flour. I have cut flour out completely as as a personal nutrition choice and use almond meal or quinoa flour for baking. You can also try coconut flour. Still, these are processed forms of whole foods and shouldn’t be the mainstays of your diet.

***Anything on the interior aisles should be scrutinized carefully for processed and GMO ingredients. Look for the USDA Organic Label pictured below.

-Substitute any oil other than butter with high quality coconut oil. Melt it in a microwave-safe dish for any baking and cooking needs. Here’s my favorite: Coconut Oil
Much cheaper online than in the grocery store!
-Sweeten with pure organic stevia, honey or pure maple syrup when at all possible.
Stevia -much cheaper online as well!
You can also buy powdered stevia.

-If you must use refined sugar in baking, buy organic/GMO-free when your budget allows. Remember, if it has the USDA organic seal it can’t contain GMOs.

Today’s challenge is to restock your fridge and pantry with whole foods!

A couple of little tips:
-Store nuts and flours in the fridge to keep fresh longer
-Meal plan around the produce that needs to be eaten sooner rather than later to avoid waste
-Turn sandwiches into salads. You can put a almost anything on a bed of greens! Store bought bread is usually not going to be nutritious enough to buy unless you fork out $6 per loaf.

As my friend Karen often says, you make your health choices at the grocery store.



Day 10 : What Makes You Fat June 26, 2013

Fat isn’t making you fat. What? That’s right: fat isn’t making you fat. (More on fats later).

Sugar is making you fat. But it doesn’t appear how you think it does. It is a sneaky little thing that you will only catch by label reading. Glance over the labels in your fridge and pantry. Look at items from this list:

Drinks other than water
Granola bars
Prepackaged, flavored oatmeal
Rice cakes
Pudding mix
Jello mix
Peanut butter
Trail mix
Muffin mix
Pancake mix
Pasta sauce
Barbeque sauce

As you begin to look over all the added sugar and high fructose corn syrup in your pantry, you are seeing the silent killer that you never think about.

Think about it this way: God designed our bodies to process sugar with an organ called the pancreas. It releases insulin to process sugar according to the amount of sugar in your blood stream. The pancreas, just like the heart, liver, kidneys and brain, is aging. When a person drinks alcohol in excess on a regular basis, it ages and damages the liver, making it difficult for the organ to function properly. When you consume sugar too often, your pancreas works overtime in the same manner. It doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty. It will give out before you die if you overuse it: this is called Diabetes Type 2 in the medical world. Now don’t get me wrong-it isn’t that simple. Diabetes is a multi-factorial disease and there are other risk factors beside your diet. I’m just going to focus on what you CAN control.

Sugar and Chronic Disease

It’s not just you.

Start by reading labels for specific criteria:

1. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)-it causes blood sugar spikes and it is usually made from GMO/nonorganic corn. It is poison if you ask me. Just don’t buy stuff made with this.

2. Corn syrup- only one notch less dangerous than HFCS. Avoid it.

3. Sugar-this one is inevitable sometimes. Be conscious of how much you consume. Look for these names:

Agave nectar
Brown sugar
Cane crystals
Cane sugar
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
Crystalline fructose
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrates
High-fructose corn syrup
Invert sugar
Malt syrup
Raw sugar

4. Compare brands of like items for the least sugar grams. BUT always choose sugar or fruit juice concentrate sweetened over HFCS (This is now completely off limits. It is killing you. I know the truth hurts.)

5. Sweeteners for your cooking and baking should be whole foods:

Raw honey
100% maple syrup

As a side note, one thing that I do to reduce added sugar in my diet is to buy unsweetened items and sweeten them myself. For example, you can make a bowl of oatmeal, cook with unsweetened almond milk, add protein powder and a tad bit of pure maple syrup, cinnamon and chopped walnuts. Fast, easy and WAY less sugar! Another example is yogurt: I buy plain nonfat Greek yogurt, sweeten with a little honey or maple syrup, add chopped fruit or blueberries, nuts, vanilla and cinnamon. It may take time to gradually reduce how much sweetener you add. Experts say quitting sugar cold turkey is best, but I can honestly say I have had success with reduction in cravings and a palate change by gradually cutting back. Either way: make it happen!

Lets talk starch. The standard American diet (SAD) is full of it. Burgers need buns, the chicken needs a sandwich, meat always goes with potatoes, blah blah blah. How can you eliminate that?

1. My favorite go-to lunch is to make a protein salad. I use leftover meat from dinner or eggs and mix them up with greens and tomatoes and avocados. You can vary this easily according to what you have on hand and what your tastes are. You can even do bean salad or tuna salad (use plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo).

2. If you get high quality meat and season it with herbs and some sea salt, you will discover flavor you haven’t ever experienced. I’m talking about a burger that can sit on a big bed of greens and be absolutely mouth-watering! Don’t knock it till you try it!

3. You might want to give the 21 Day Sugar Detox a go:


4. Put more veggies on your plate: they nourish and satisfy. More on basics of real food prep coming soon.

5. Stop buying bread, bagels, crackers, etc. Just don’t bring it in your house and, guess what? You won’t eat it! The upside to this: when you go out to eat (hopefully not more than once a week, otherwise you’ll need to implement these principles when you eat out too) you can really enjoy the high carb treats without guilt knowing how hard you’ve worked at home.

Your meals should be based upon high quality protein, veggies and high quality (truly-label must say “whole grain” before each grain ingredient) whole grains (that’s still debatable). Sugar is killing you and making you fat. Time to go back to your picture, measurements and goals. This is where the rubber meets the road and you will maximize your potential: quit the sugar!


Day 5 : Consider the Source June 20, 2013

Not all meats and dairy products are created equal. The pound of beef you buy at the average grocery store is NOT the same in nutritional quality as the pound bought at the farm. The cheapest milk in the jug at the grocery store is NOT the same in nutritional quality as the organic, pasture raised half gallon. The dozen eggs you picked up on sale ( or even from your neighbor) are NOT the same in nutritional quality as the pastured dozen bought at the farm or farmer’s market. Why?

Think about the life of a caged animal. If you lived life confined to a tiny bit of light exercise once a day (at best) and otherwise were sedentary, living in a tiny box, how would your body be composed? Mostly fat, right?

more on grass fed meat & dairy

The fat profile of factory farmed pigs, cows and chickens is unnaturally high in saturated fat and unnaturally low in healthy fats (which are CRUCIAL to preventing disease and maintaining healthy weight). I’m a walking example of healthy fat intake. I eat butter, beef, pork, eggs and drink/consume dairy as well. I am a healthy weight. Fad diets that deprive you of necessary nutrients usually aren’t satisfying and will leave you feeling hungry a lot of the time. Steer clear of these. They are not a long term way to health!

To understand what you buy, familiarize yourself with these terms:
1. Organic:
Traditional Pesticide-Free
GMO Free
Antibiotic free
Added hormone free
Synthetic fertilizer free
Generally supports sustainable farming
2. GMO:
Genetically modified organisms, meaning products engineered by altering their genetics. Long term health effects of GMOs are not fully known yet. more on GMOs
3. Pasture-Raised
This indicates that the animal used for the product was raised on pastures most of its life. Will have a much healthier fat profile than traditional varieties.
4. Grass Fed
This means the animal’s diet was mainly grass/hay as opposed to corn or other vegetables that are usually GMO and pesticide-laden.

I prioritize organic, pasture raised meats and dairy because we face three potential sources of contamination
-the animal’s diet: pesticide-contaminated feed
-the animal’s lifestyle: sedentary versus pastured
-the animal’s health: antibiotics and hormones

Whatever the animal consumes, you will consume!

Here’s how to know you are buying quality meat and dairy:
*When you buy from a farm or local farmer’s and ask these questions:
-what do you feed your animals?
You hope they say they are pastured or foraging (aka grass fed) If they say corn or a “mash” then it’s not worth the price you’d likely pay here.
-are they pastured the majority of the time? And what do they eat in the winter? (hopefully mostly hay)
Again, if not, probably not worth the price you’ll pay.
-do you treat with antibiotics or hormones?

*At the grocery store:
I have only had luck with beef and dairy at the grocery store. Depends on where you live. You are looking for key words here:
Pasture Raised or Grass Fed
Free Range (for poultry/eggs)

I am a huge fan of the Organic Valley brand for milk, creamer, butter and sour cream. It’s a widely available, organic and pasture raised source of dairy that supports small farms.

If you live in Burke County, I highly recommend Rock House Farm. They are local and use all organic feed and pasture all their animals. I buy pork, beef, chicken and eggs there.

I will post on organic produce and other organic products another day. For today, I challenge you to think about how you can make buying wholesome meat and dairy a priority. The health benefits far outweigh the cost. For our family, we have prioritized this in our budget by eating out less. I also incorporate bean and eggs into my weekly dinner rotation to decrease our meat bill. I use unsweetened almond milk in place of cow’s milk a lot of the time to save money. How will you make the switch? The less factory farmed meat and dairy you consume, the more results you will see in your body.