Everyone has their own "Paleo": Target Nutrient Density
by Ginger Sladky
We've just finished our 30 Day Nutrition Challenge at RCFN. We had some amazing transformations, and I will be sharing some of the testimonials from the Challenge in the future. Hopefully one of the biggest takeaways was "our genes are not our destiny" (we should think twice before cutting our breasts off like Angelina Jolie just because we have a BRCA1 gene). Sharing here my post for our Nutrition Challenge group on the subject, and links to free resources available online which supported our 30 Day Challenge. ALL CROSSFIT BOXES should be doing this!!!
Are your Mitochondria getting Proper Nutrients?
Broken/starving mitochondria cause mutations in DNA, according to the Metabolic Origins Theory of cancer. After reading just a small fraction of the research; seeing amazing testimonials, & many with my own eyes, it is so hard to understand why people can NOT think what you feed yourself (& your mitochondria) is critically important to gut, brain, & physical health. Last year, I had a friend from high school reply to an article about obesity which I posted on facebook, ask for advice on her personal obesity, diabetes, and fibromyalgia. She said that both gym membership and walking were not options for her. When I dropped the P-word (paleo) she said she'd heard of it and wasn't interested. Blows my mind, but I guess because my definition of "paleo" is "nutrient dense, minimally processed food that is not inflammatory for YOU". How on earth could someone not be interested in THAT? Well, I guess if they aren't interested, then it is no wonder they are obese, diabetic, and have fibromyalgia.
- https://www.paleo360.de/ (Nico Richter) who supported our Challenge with so many free recipes and informational articles
- https://whole30.com/ who built the original 30 Day Elimination program, and has so many free resources we used
- https://nomnompaleo.com/post/42057515329/the-round-up-30-days-of-whole30-recipes there is no better resource for your 30-Day Nutrition Challenge on the internet!!! (90 days of compliant recipes can be found at this link)
- http://meljoulwan.com/2016/12/28/top-16-whole30-recipes-year/ who is an awesome chef!!!
- https://www.facebook.com/groups/nutrientoptimiser/ which is the BEST FREE RESOURCE for figuring out optimal nutrition
How do you find out what your version of Paleo is? You do a 30-day challenge. I think maybe we need to forget the P-word and find another name if this one has so many negative connotations that come along with it (at least in America - most Germans haven't heard of it). "Whole-foods" includes "whole-grains" generally, and I believe (and research suggests), modern and especially conventionally grown/prepared grains are inflammatory for everyone. They should certainly never share a spot at the base of our food pyramid - politics and money had a big part in that decision.
A regular RCFN member and good friend mentioned last weekend that I had "good genes", which I think alluded to the fact I don't have time to CrossFit very often (I try to CrossFit at least once every week), yet I am able to stay relatively fit and relatively thin. I had to laugh! I don't think anyone would want my genes. I already have autoimmune dysfunction, and have elevated risk for everything everyone in my immediate family suffers from. I had only two siblings - one died from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma at the age of 23, and one was permanently handicapped at age 29 as a result of also having Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (he has to eat through a straw, and lost his arm). Both my mother's side and father's side had Alzheimer's. My father also had cancer, my aunt (his only sister) has Rheumatoid Arthritis, all grandparents had different forms of cancer, my uncle (my mother's only brother) has HIV. We have a comparatively small family; some relatives suffered from infertility. Being relatively thin doesn't come easily to me either: I was chubby before high school (when I started running regularly), and my father used to tell me that it was difficult to tell me apart from the pigs we were raising when we stood side-by-side. My skin was so bad (from eczema brought on by too much sugar, dairy, and gluten) that I almost got kicked out of the United States Army (it is extremely difficult to get kicked out of the US Army, truth be told).
Here is my brother last week on TV showing how living with a feeding tube can be optimized - he is awesome!! https://www.wvlt.tv/content/misc/Living-with-a-feeding-tube-513157771.html
But I found out around a decade ago that I don't need to be resigned to my genes, and neither do our children. Being aware of your genes can really help with designing optimal fuel for your body, as well as identify problems in methylation that prevent efficient detoxification. But this is the miracle of epigenetics! Genes have loaded my gun, but I can control the environment to prevent the trigger from ever being pulled. I control my environment currently through maximizing nutrient-dense foods including quality sources of protein, and trying to get adequate sleep, as well as plenty of sunshine (or vitD in the winter), and I do intermittent fasting to allow my body plenty of rest and recovery. That's my "secret". Definitely not my genes. So now you know :)
I am ApoE4 heterozygous according to my genetic profile report which wasn't a surprise to me, due to Alzheimer's proliferation on both sides of my family. It explains the fact I don't do well at all on a high-carbohydrate diet (ApoE4s get the worst response), get insulin response from dairy, and have more elevated cholesterol readings. I may have mentioned previously that ApoE4 gene produces less insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE). IDE has a dual role of degrading both amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's and insulin in the blood. As long as there's insulin the the blood, IDE goes after it, leaving amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's to accumulate. High carbohydrate consumption as an ApoE4 = MASSIVE brain fog/cognitive issues. Some researchers speculate that ApoE4 mutation evolved in environments that didn't provide much opportunity to consume carbohydrates, so people with that gene consuming a lot of carbohydrates are at higher risk of Alzheimer's development. At the same time, even though your risk of getting Alzheimer's as an ApoE4 is higher, the majority of Alzheimer's cases are not ApoE4. The number one biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s is systemic hyperinsulinemia.
Especially around 2013 when Angelina Jolie announced she was having both breasts as well as ovaries removed in order to reduce her risk of cancer, people (including doctors, researchers, and well-respected medical organizations) have looked at the BRCA1 gene as a virtual guarantee of breast cancer diagnosis. Again, looking at the research on the subject, correlates with breast cancer tend to be insulin related. Why does no one ever mention the evolutionary ADVANTAGES that come with BRCA1 genotypes? Did you know that women with BRCA1 genotype tend to have lower rates of infection and increased fertility with greater probability of healthy offspring? Pretty critical to talk about, in my opinion.
Doesn't it make sense that *widespread* gene mutations would come with some benefits along with risks, because otherwise (evolutionarily speaking), how did those gene mutations get so prolific in the first place?
In this experiment, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3941741/ Thomas Seyfried's group showed that when cancer cell nuclei (containing mutated DNA) were transplanted into cells with healthy mitochondria, the daughter cells were normal and NOT CANCEROUS. And when nuclei from healthy, non-cancerous cells (with normal, non-mutated DNA) were transplanted into cells that contained damaged mitochondria, the daughter cells WERE CANCEROUS.
Mutated DNA did not result in cancer, but damaged mitochondria did.
Back in 2014 we had the pleasure of hosting now Dr. Vilmos Fux while he was still a student, and he spoke about Real Food and Funktionelle Medizin. He spoke to us about genetically healthy populations who got sick after adopting Western diets. Doesn't this call to mind what happened in Thomas Seyfried's center cell experiment? It's not the DNA but the environment that it is swimming in.
In Amy Berger's cancer series, she posits:
"is it a “disease” when someone’s arteries harden like glass and their blood resembles molasses after a lifetime of heavy consumption of refined carbohydrates? Is it a “disease” when someone’s blood vessels look like someone took a cheese grater to them, after a lifetime of consuming vegetable oils, which might be loaded with damaged fats? Is it an “illness” when someone’s adrenal glands call it quits on producing cortisol after a few years of chasing after kids, working full-time, rising at the crack of dawn to do intense workouts six days a week on a low-calorie diet, and spending the rest of one’s time worrying about money, the past, the present, the future, and a million other things that do not need to be worried about? Is it a medical condition when a guy who’s stressed out, eating garbage, and burning the candle at both ends can’t get it up? [have an erection] In my opinion, no. These are the natural, logical outcomes of the situations that brought them about. Totally and completely predictable. And so, too, with cancer... Cancer is the logical response to an energy crisis inside cells, primarily due to mitochondrial dysfunction."
In asking ourselves at the end of 30 days whether we're any closer to optimal health, we have to ask ourselves how healthy we've made our mitochondria & the cytoplasmic environment they are swimming in. We do not need to resign ourselves to our DNA.
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