Easy Hacks to Curb Winter Weight Gain….by Dr. John Douillard

Easy Hacks to Curb Winter Weight Gain

by Dr. John Douillard  (lifespa.com for links to sources of info/studies/research)

As summer winds down, a common question I get from my patients is, “How do I avoid gaining weight during the fall and winter?”
Each fall, our ancestors would greatly increase their fruit, grain, nut, and seed intake. This intake of excess calories would accomplish winter insulation and energy storage—as the famine of winter and early spring was just around the corner.

Hacking this evolutionary tendency in modern days is important for a few reasons.

In general, our modern American population:
Does not need the amount of insulation that our ancestors did.
Does not need to gear up for a winter famine.
Already consumes more calories than we need year-round.
Already has years of excess caloric intake stored as fat.

So, how do we adapt? It’s easier than you think, thanks to these simple hacks!

Eat no more than 3 meals per day, without snacks. When being fed every 2-3 hours, the body is not encouraged to burn any of its stored fat for energy. (1,8)
Why should it bother digging out the fat stores for energy when it is being spoon-fed all day long? When you eat 3 meals a day and have ample time between meals, the body is forced to burn stored fat.

Once fat is restored as your active fuel supply, you will see balanced energy levels, more stable moods, greater mental clarity, better sleep, less cravings and natural weight management.

The keys here are to make each meal count, and try to make lunch the main meal.

Follow these meal time basics:
No snacking between meals.
Only drink water from supper to breakfast each day. For best results, aim for a 13-hour fast each night.
Make supper smaller and earlier (before 6pm).
Make lunch the main meal and relax while eating – no eating on the go or in a hurry.
As you become a better fat burner, you can try skipping supper to make the nighttime weight loss fast even longer.

Ayurvedic Weight-Balancing Fruits

Triphala is an ancient Ayurvedic herbal formula consisting of three fruits: amalaki, bibhitaki and haritaki. These are all-fall harvested fruits that have been shown to support healthy weight loss.
Triphala has been used for thousands of years as an intestinal scrub to clean the villi and support better elimination, healthier digestion and weight loss.
Years ago, I had a patient who came for a follow-up visit around 10 years after I initially saw her. She reported that she had lost 50 pounds by following my instructions to take 2 capsules of triphala after each meal.

Note: The results shared here are not typical or expected for short- to medium-term use of triphala. While supplementing with triphala can help support healthy weight loss, the only tried and true method of losing substantial amounts of weight is changing one’s diet and exercise in accordance with the supervision of a certified health professional.

Fall Roots
 Which Flush

Every fall, while there is an abundance of yummy, in-season, calorie-rich foods to consume, there are also detox and weight loss foods being harvested!
The cleansing roots of spring, such as dandelion, burdock, turmeric, ginger and berberines like Oregon grape, golden seal and barberry, are harvested in both the spring and fall, suggesting that a great time to detox, reset digestion and (if needed) lose weight can be the fall – if we eat the right seasonal foods!
Counteract the winter weight by drinking more dandelion root tea or eating dandelion greens.

Make meals bigger, but cleaner. For example, have a huge, leafy green salad with kale, spinach and dandelion greens, or enjoy a fruit salad for breakfast. Avoid processed and refined foods.
Yes, fruits alone can help you lose weight, as most fruits have weight management properties. The problems typically come when you eat fruits alongside starchy carbs or fats. Eating these together can overshoot the body’s calorie requirements, resulting in stored fat and unwanted weight gain.

Easy At-Home Detox

At the junction of the seasons, Ayurveda recommends a more intensive detox regimen to reset the digestive function, which can get boggy and congested over time especially with over-eating and/or eating foods that are inappropriate to the season, and provide rejuvenation for all of the organs that work so hard to keep us functioning.

Typically, these more intensive detox phases kick your natural daily detox function into a higher gear, encouraging the body to do a better job of cleansing on a regular basis.

An intelligent detox will always seek to open up the detox channels first, to make sure that once toxins are released, they are quickly eliminated through the excretory system lest they be pushed from one fat cell to another, or default back to the liver, which may send it back into the bloodstream. You want to make sure that the cleanse you are doing has a clear plan for where the toxins will end up – and you want that to be outside of your body.

Two more key points to look for in an effective and carefully designed detox program are the goals of blood sugar balancing and the resetting of digestion. Unstable blood sugar can lead to fatigue, irritability, inability to focus, headaches, light-headedness, anxiety and depression. Unstable blood sugar is also the root cause of many common imbalances in the west.

A detox is the perfect time to balance the blood sugar through the elimination of empty-calorie foods and proper timing of meals throughout the day. This fall, try our 4-day Short Home Cleanse or our 2-week Colorado Cleanse to kick start fat-burning and lose some stubborn pounds.
Example (4-Day Short Home Cleanse Protocol):
Every morning for 4 days, take increasing doses of melted ghee (clarified butter) blended into a small amount (1/4 cup) of warm milk.
Eat a non-fat diet for these 4 days. For best results, eat a traditional Indian rice and bean dish called “kitchari” as your meals (a deliciously spiced mung bean, brown rice, and vegetable stew). On the evening of day 4, drink a cup of smooth move, senna tea or another gentle laxative to flush your intestines.

Re-Connect with the Natural Light/Dark Cycles


As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, our bodies are designed to produce more melatonin and sleep more.
Melatonin, which is produced by the pineal gland during the dark cycles, not only puts us to sleep, but it can also support healthy weight loss.
To our misfortune, studies show that modern humans are more disconnected to the light/dark cycles than ever before.  Chronodisruption, due to excessive exposure to artificial light at night and other factors, blocks the adequate production of melatonin that we so greatly depend on for healthy sleep cycles. We also tend to produce less melatonin as we age.

Studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder found that reducing the exposure to artificial light at night can re-establish normal levels of melatonin production and reset the body’s natural circadian clock – in just one weekend!
Perhaps one of the best ways to curb winter weight is to avoid late nights in front of the smartphone, computer and/or TV this fall and winter.
The longer you are up after the sun goes down, the more the body is convinced that you are in an endless summer. The “Endless Summer Effect” triggers the genetic clock to start eating more in preparation for the perceived winter famine to come.

Ways to Increase Melatonin Naturally

Exercise Outside and Get More Sun

One way to help the body lose weight and balance its natural rhythms is to get more daylight. The first morning sunlight instantly blocks any lingering melatonin production during the day, making room for more calorie-burning energy.
The LESS melatonin you make during the day, the MORE you make at night. Nighttime melatonin helps you lose weight and daytime melatonin production helps you gain it.
The CU study mentioned above also found that healthy residents of Boulder were producing daytime melatonin and having energy crashes during the day. (5)
With shorter days, it becomes difficult to find time to exercise, which can add to the fall/winter weight gain woes.
It turns out that shorts bursts of exercise can be as effective as longer duration exercise. I recommend trying my 12-Minute Workout:
Warm up for 2 minutes with a walk or slow jog, breathing deeply through the nose.
Do four 30 second to 1-minute fast-twitch muscle activation surges, breathing deeply through the nose. This could be jumping jacks, stair step-ups, shadow boxing or sprinting outside. Follow each surge with a 1-minute rest period, breathing deeply through the nose.
Cool down for 2 minutes with a walk or slow jog, once again, breathing deeply through the nose.
Repeat this every day, outside whenever possible, during the fall and winter.

Vitamin D and Weight Loss


Optimal levels of vitamin D have been shown to support healthy weight loss.
Our ancestors got their fall and winter vitamin D from organ meats, fish, fish liver and eggs.
Many foods are “enriched” with vitamin D, but with vitamin D2 instead of D3. Vitamin D2 is called ergocalciferol and is a synthetic form of vitamin D. It is not as effective as natural vitamin D3.

Today, getting adequate levels of vitamin D may require supplementation. Experts at the Vitamin D Council suggest getting vitamin D3 levels checked annually and maintaining levels higher than the current recognized FDA standards.
For optimal health, they suggest keeping levels between 50-80 ng/mL.
I suggest using an easy-to-digest form of vitamin D made from sheep lanolin, rather than the often difficult-to-digest fish oil form of vitamin D3.

Real-Food Ideas & Tips For Simple Lifestyles

We all have friends or family who are on a serious budget. And most of us know what an emotional/mental/physical roller-coaster the addiction to packaged foods can bring, which itself can perpetuate sad, depleted situations….

Here are some ideas I’ve come up with for those with minimal money and in living situations with minimal kitchen space/tools…even situations without refrigeration, such as living in a car.

There are many more ideas out there, and I look forward to hearing from anyone who would like to add any ideas to this list, to help humanity in establishing better health and happiness.

*carrot stix/celery/snap peas/jicama/red bell pepper w/nut butter/hummus/avocado
*cold salads at TJ’s: tabouli, chicken salad, egg salad, etc.
*make simple salad dressings to drizzle on raw or steamed veggies
*Ezekiel bread or real sourdough with olive oil/avocado/hummus/nut butter
*sunflower seeds (shelled & roasted from TJ’s just $2)
*raw almonds/walnuts/pecans/brazil nuts
*avocado w/sea salt
*banana & natural peanut butter/almond butter

BEST SNACK BARS:
17-20 grams sugars: Lara bar
13 grams sugars: Rx bar
11 grams sugars: Luna bar
5 grams sugars: Kind bar & Power Crunch bar
0 grams sugars: Think & Think Thin bar

OTHER HELPFUL TIPS:

Try not to eat out of containers…Put a serving in a bowl instead, so you don’t eat your way all the way to the bottom of a bag of chips, etc.

Dilute soda and juice with filtered water.

Sugar is hiding in many packaged foods: ketchup, coffee creamer, flavored yogurt, breads…

 

EASY HEALTHY RECIPES:

Overnight Oats are simple to make and ready to go when you are. To prep, soak old-fashioned oats in any kind of milk in the refrigerator. You can eat them hot or cold—and add your favorite toppings, like fruit or chopped nuts…A tasty and healthy way to have breakfast with just 5 minutes effort!
1 clean jar with lid
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup milk (oat milk/almond milk works great!)
2Tbsp nuts and/or seeds
1tsp cinnamon
1-2tsp your favorite sweetener (honey/maple syrup/sucanat/etc)
⅔Tbsp chia seeds
some diced fruit
berries (fresh or frozen)
Throw everything in a jar, screw the lid on top, shake, and put in the fridge. The next morning add a dash of milk and enjoy

Sweet Potato Toast is an easy afternoon bite. Just cut quarter-inch-thick slices of sweet potato, toast them flat in a toaster or toaster oven for five minutes (to get a browned base), and add a topping of your choice…avocado/egg/cheese/almond butter/etc.

Medical Medium says nightshades DON’T cause inflammation after all!

Well, I must now apologize for teaching people for 12 years that tomato, potato, eggplant, and peppers increase inflammation, and thusly pain, in the body. Anthony William the “Medical Medium” has beautifully debunked this limiting belief for me, after reading his book (which he says was inspired from spirit), called “Life-Changing Foods”.

What I had read multiple times from various books, articles, and websites, is that these nightshade fruits/veggies contain an alkaloid called solanine, which exacerbates inflammation in the body. So, I’d been recommending that people with arthritis, chronic neck/back pain, MS, etc. eliminate these foods to see if their pain level decreased, as my pervious whole-food-healing sources said they likely would.

But what Anthony channels is that only the leaves and stems of the nightshade family plants contain solanine and are toxic. Once the fruits/veggies of these plants are ripe though, they don’t contain any solanine at all. And, in fact, these ripe fruits/veggies are actually very helpful and nutritious for the body.

He cautions to avoid unripe nightshades such as green bell peppers and unripe green tomatoes, as they can be an irritant, except with varieties like green zebra tomatoes which are a green color when ripe.

He says, “In the rare case when someone eats a juicy, ripe tomato on its own, or a plain steamed potato, and experiences the onset of symptoms, it’s practically guaranteed that she or he has symptoms when eating other types of healthy fruits and vegetables too. It’s a sign that she or he is dealing with an elevated pathogenic load – the fruits and vegetables causing a detox reaction.”

Chinese medicine teaches that nightshade fruits/veggies are very yin (as opposed to yang) in the energetic effect they impart. They cause energy to rise and expand in the body, leading to “spacey”, ungrounded/unfocussed mental states, which can actually balance out the tension from stress or activities which take great concentration. Macrobiotics, the nutrition aspect of Chinese medicine, recommends cooking nightshade fruits/veggies with miso, seaweeds, or salt, and also parsley to offset their overly expansive effect.

My Solar Nutrition guru Hugo would say that nightshades have the most beneficial effect on the body when they’re eaten vine ripe and in season. So, I try to avoid the store-bought pale tomatoes most of the year, as well as the green bell peppers. Once you have a super sweet, tangy, sun-warmed heirloom tomato from a summertime farmer’s market, there’s no going back!

Anthony William says that the real problem with nightshades in our modern foods, is the other foods they are often prepared with. For example, ketchup is laden with high fructose corn syrup. French fries are fried in refined vegetable oil and coated with refined salt.

He says to instead try the nightshades in healthy ways, such as; red bell pepper sticks with homemade hummus, baked potato with salsa and avocado, steamed eggplant drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, and vine ripe tomato stuffed with tahini sauce.

From my personal experience in helping people heal and thrive with whole food cooking, I’ve seen that each person is unique, with unique biochemistry, and that everyone’s needs change here and there throughout their lives. So, the need for quieting the mind and tuning in to your present needs, and how you feel after eating certain types of foods, will be an ongoing practice. I truly hope it is a graceful and joyful journey toward better and better vitality for you!

Eating Disorders…The Deeper Emotional Causes and A Great Resource For Help

Disordered eating is much more common than you may realize, but resources for help get better all the time as psychology reveals its emotional roots. In reading the book, Eating In The Light Of The Moon, by Anita Johnston PhD, I remembered my childhood friend’s extended problem with bulimia, and, I realized that I have my own emotional issues around controlling my food.

I remember that my friend was always the tallest girl in our class throughout grade school, and unfortunately, she was also the chubbiest. Being the “Big Girl” couldn’t have been easy for her, and her shyness, and low self-esteem showed. In 5th grade, she came down with a bad virus, and she was out of school for about 3 weeks. It was astonishing when she returned to school a thin version of her former self. She’d lost what looked like about 30 pounds!

She was elated about her new shape. From that point on, she’d bring a lunch to school but she’d only eat the apple in it. She wanted to stay slim and healthy, like her Mom. I remember that she’d never overeat anymore when we’d hang out after school and on weekends. She was on the skinny train, and she was going to stay on it. 

What surprised me shortly after this point, was when she said that her Mom had told her it was okay to make herself throw up once in a while if ever she overate or felt too full. “OMG, WHAT?!?!”, I remember thinking. And so began 8-10 years of an off and on bulimic roller coaster for her. She saw it as normal, but she hid it from everyone. I actually tried it several times myself, but I didn’t get addicted to it, and so my weight didn’t fluctuate like hers did. She’d go through phases of stopping vomiting, overeating, gaining weight, and then the cycle would start all over again. 

I don’t actually know what helped her to get off the roller coaster, because we drifted apart after high school. But I still wish, before she’d become malnourished, that I’d been able to hand her the book I just finished reading. 

The subtitle of this excellent book is: how women can transform their relationships with food through myths, metaphors, and storytelling. It’s rich with stories from ancient times as well as Anita’s own stories, so it’s actually fun to read. I found myself at the end of the book, well before I’d anticipated I’d finish it. 

This book is valuable because through stories, truths are symbolic instead of literal, so they’re easy to apply personally. These symbolic truths help us to connect to our inner world of emotional needs, our deepest beliefs, our natural rhythms, to the rhythms of Mother Earth, and to the power of our intuitive wisdom. Anita Johnston helps us uncover our true feelings and needs, both from our recent experience AND from our childhood, from which we may have distracted ourselves with our patterns of controlling our food. 

Halfway through this book, I realized that over the course of the past 20 years in developing my own expertise in healing with whole food nutrition and cooking, and in exercising great discipline with food nearly 100% of the time, was my unfounded childhood belief that I needed to have control over something.

This book was invaluable to me, it was a fun and quick read, and now I pass it on to you, because you never know who’s life it might save.   

The Truth About Cholesterol and Statin Drugs

We’ve all been told to stay away from saturated fats, and to embrace unsaturated fats like vegetable oils. But there are now more and more scientific studies that point to cholesterol NOT being the cause of heart disease…not nearly as much as trans fats in the diet and/or a high glycemic diet.

There ARE healthy vegetable oils like good quality virgin (unrefined) olive & sesame oils, and these oils should not be used with high heat in cooking. You see, even these healthy, unrefined vegetable oils develop trans fats with heat or pressure, which is why the processed food industry can claim “zero grams trans fats” when using these oils. But after these oils are made into cookies, crackers, and chips, trans fats ARE formed!

Processed/refined vegetable oils such as canola, corn soybean, “vegetable” oils not only develop trans fats with the heat or pressure of processing, but they oxidize and decrease your body’s stores of valuable omega-3 fats, increasing inflammation. When used for cooking they form long-chain trans fatty acids, which act like a sticky matrix in the arteries, which good saturated fats adhere to. This is why consuming refined vegetable oils raise your risk for cardiovascular disease, especially when combined with saturated fats.

Personally, I stay away from most cookies, crackers, and chips, because they’re usually made with canola, corn, soybean, palm, or vegetable oils. And I especially avoid them if they’re made with hydrogenated oils (like shortening and margarine), as these are the highest in trans fats. I also steer clear of foods cooked with vegetable oils at restaurants, especially the fried foods.

1 in 4 Americans over the age of 45 are on statin drugs to lower their cholesterol, but as you can see now, cholesterol is not the issue. These drugs have been shown to only end up lowering cholesterol a small amount, and most importantly, they impair the body’s ability to make Co enzyme Q10, a fat soluble antioxidant which protects our cells from oxidation. They also impair your body’s production of both vitamin K2 and ketone bodies. If you want to stay on a statin drug, you’ll want to consider supplementing CoQ10, or the more absorbable form of it called Ubiquinol, as well as vitamin K2.

Statin drugs benefit just 1 percent of the population. This means that out of 100 people treated with the drugs, one person will have one less heart attack. This doesn’t sound so impressive, so statin supporters use a different statistic called “relative risk”, so with this statistical sleight of hand, statins suddenly become beneficial for 30 to 50 percent of the population.

While saturated fats do increase cholesterol, cholesterol is a very important component of our bodies because a major building block of our brain and nervous system is cholesterol, and cholesterol also feeds our glands which secrete important hormones. Most importantly, if your body doesn’t get any dietary cholesterol, your liver will begin to over-produce it.

So, it’s important to know which fats actually contribute to heart disease, and which ones don’t, which fats to use for cooking, and which fats to steer clear of in packaged foods, so I listed them for you at the bottom of this post.

Sources:

1) Dr. Weston A. Price: Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/modern-diseases/dangers-of-statin-drugs-what-you-havent-been-told-about-popular-cholesterol-lowering-medicines/

2) Dr. John Douillard: The Scary Facts About Vegetable Oils
https://lifespa.com/scary-facts-polyunsaturated-vegetable-oils/

3) Dr. Joseph Mercola: 5 Great Reasons Why You Should Not Take Statins
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/02/10/5-reasons-why-you-should-not-take-statins.aspx
Story at-a-glance: There is evidence showing that statins may actually make your heart health worse and only appear effective due to statistical deception / Statins deplete your body of CoQ10, inhibit synthesis of vitamin K2, and reduce the production of ketone bodies / Statins increase your risk of serious diseases including cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, musculoskeletal disorders and cataracts

Tips On How to Protect Your Heart Health, by Dr. Mercola

Reduce excess weight by eliminating excess sugars in your diet. It is vitally important to eliminate gluten-containing grains and sugars, especially fructose.

Consume a good portion of your food raw.

Make sure you are getting plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Research suggests that as little as 500 mg of krill per day may improve your total cholesterol and triglycerides and will likely increase your HDL cholesterol.

Replace harmful vegetable oils and synthetic trans fats with healthy fats, such as olive oil, butter and coconut oil (remember olive oil should be used cold only; use coconut oil for cooking and baking).

Include fermented foods in your daily diet. These will not only optimize your intestinal microflora, which will boost your overall immunity, but will also introduce beneficial bacteria into your mouth.

Poor oral health is another powerful indicator of increased heart disease risk.

Optimize your vitamin D levels, ideally through appropriate sun exposure as this will allow your body to also create vitamin D sulfate — another factor that may play a crucial role in preventing the formation of arterial plaque.

Exercise regularly. Make sure you incorporate high-intensity interval exercises, which also optimize your human growth hormone (HGH) production.

Stop smoking and drinking alcohol excessively.

Be sure to get plenty of high-quality, restorative sleep and practice stress-management techniques.

GOOD SATURATED FATS for cooking

Coconut, Palm, Butter, Ghee, Lard, Tallow, Chicken Fat, Lamb Fat, Duck Fat, Full Fat Dairy (preferably raw dairy products), Eggs, Meat, Seafood

GOOD UNSATURATED FATS for cold uses (salad dressing, etc)

Olive Oil, Sesame Oil, Nut Oils, Flaxseed Oil, Avocado, Nuts & Seeds

BAD SATURATED FATS

Hydrogenated Oils, Shortening, Margarine, “buttery spreads”

BAD UNSATURATED FATS

Canola Oil (Rapeseed), Corn Oil, Vegetable Oil, Soybean Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Safflower Oil, Rice Bran Oil
NOTE: “high oleic sunflower oil” and “high oleic safflower oil” are less damaging

Sources:

www.westonaprice.org

www.mercola.com

www.lifespa.com