How much fat should I eat?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   How much fats do you take in a day? From what I gathered from your book, it looks something like: 1 tablespoon flax oil in green smoothie, 2 tablespoons coconut oil on lips and skin, a handful of nut and seeds for snacks in the afternoon.   Am I right?   I am about the same age as you.   Would the above be too much oil in a day?

 

Answer:   That’s an appropriate amount of fat for an active person in her 40’s.   (Some of that 2 Tbsp. of coconut oil may be eaten–I couldn’t put that much on my skin–and I also might use a Tablespoon or less of extra-virgin olive oil for cooking dinner, too.)

 

I might eat a few hundred calories more than the average woman my age whose weight is healthy, just because I also work out hard and am really hungry otherwise0.   I used to put everything I ate into a program called DietPower (about $35 when I bought it at dietpower.com).   By programming in my workouts AND my food, and weighing every day, I was able to establish my EXACT metabolic rate.   I learned that at 5’8″ and 135 lbs., I burn about 1600 calories a day.   (I burn more and can therefore eat more if I run 5 miles, for a 500 calorie expenditure.)

 

I no longer count calories or worry about that at all.   (Also, many whole-food items aren’t in the DietPower database.)   I find that if I don’t eat any processed foods, addictions don’t exist, and I can eat how much I want, within reason.   My friend Michelle says that she overeats anything (and uses oatmeal as an example–something she says she’ll eat four bowls of), but I don’t believe it.    Not if you go OFF refined foods for a short time to eliminate those addictions.   People not eating refined foods simply do not have a tendency to overeat legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.   That’s because they’re natural and don’t distort hormones and the other finely tuned systems in the body to create unnatural cravings.  

 

When you eat only whole foods, you are tuning your body in to its needs.

 

what enzymes do to make food digestible . . . part 2

Howell outlines three types of enzymes we need: digestive enzymes, which digest food, metabolic enzymes, which run every function of our bodies, and food enzymes from raw foods, which start the digestive process.   So what enzymes are involved in digestion?

 

Amylase is the enzyme used to digest carbohydrate, and it is concentrated in saliva.   Protease is the enzyme that digests protein, found in concentration in the stomach.   Lipase digests fats and is manufactured by the pancreas (along with additional amounts of amylase and protease).

 

Exogenous food enzymes (from the outside–raw food or enzyme supplements) are critical because you need your endogenous enzyme activity (manufactured by the pancreas) to be allocated to metabolic processes.   When your body has to produce concentrated digestive enzymes because your food didn’t arrive with its own live enzymes, you’re guilty of forcing your precious enzyme activity to do the labor of digestion while also expecting it to metabolize well.   Results include all the disease effects of using up limited resources in the wrong places.

 

What most of us learned in biology classes when we were young isn’t totally accurate.   That is, we were taught that the 3,000 enzymes discovered (and likely many more undiscovered) are catalysts, the sparks that are needed for every action and reaction in the body.  They are, in fact, catalysts–used in chemical activities (in this case, in living beings).   That doesn’t tell the whole story, because that’s not ALL enzymes are.   They have more, biological, functions beyond the neutral, chemical catalyst role.   They contain proteins, and some contain vitamins.   Plus, they do wear out, and are routinely flushed out by the organs of elimination.   And we make a truly fatal mistake believing that we can waste them indiscriminately.

The Essential GreenSmoothieGirl Library . . . part 3

 

So, three more of my “top shelf” nutrition  books, with the links to pick them up on Amazon if you like:

Dr. Joel Furhman’s Eat to Live contains excellent data about a plant-based diet versus meat and processed foods from a courageous medical doctor willing to recommend vegetarian lifestyle changes instead of drugs and surgeries.   The books contain a limited number of simple recipes at the end.   Possibly because many of Furhman’s patients are cardiac patients, he is preoccupied with “low fat” in Eat to Live, which I think unnecessary and even possibly harmful for  some people, but it’s a small criticism of a great book.

 

John Robbins’ The Food Revolution (as well as his earlier work Diet for a New America), a pivotal book with a compassionate voice for the Earth, the animals we abuse raising them for food, and the people of the planet.   The son of Baskin Robbins’ founder, John abandoned his destiny to teach people instead about the virtues of a plant-based diet, and you will be forever changed by reading his book that comprehensively documents why we should eat lower on the food chain.   The author is precise with data, and he covers all the data points comprehensively, from cancer and heart disease risk, to genetically modified foods, to global warming, to animal cruelty.

 

Mike Anderson’s The Rave Diet & Lifestyle is fun and fairly quick to read, because it pulls no punches.   It’s hard hitting and unapologetic in its promotion of the plant-based diet.   It’s jam-packed with information (that duplicates Robbins, Fuhrman, and Campbell), well written, and contains lots of easy recipes at the end.   My only slight quibble with Anderson (and Fuhrman) is that I don’t think people in normal weight ranges need to be afraid of fats, the kind found in nuts, seeds, and unprocessed oils.

Good, Better, Best . . . Part III

I have more stuff to say (and photos to blog) about traveling and eating right, but by request, I interrupt:

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl, will you please continue the good, better, best discussion, specifically covering pasta, seasonings, nut butters, and fats?

Pasta: white-flour pasta doesn’t belong in the kitchen of a health-conscious cook. The more coarsely you grind your wheat, the more nutritious it is, since the blood sugar uptake is slower. Good: whole-wheat pasta Better: whole-spelt or -kamut pasta (ancient, unhybridized grains) Best: homemade pasta made from ground whole grains, soaked 8-24 hours in advance (too time-consuming for me, but some like to do this)

Nut butters: grocery-store peanut butter has trans fats and sugar added. Good: organic, natural peanut butter Better: roasted almond butter Best: unsalted, homemade raw almond butter made from soaked, raw, dehydrated almonds (I put them through the Champion Juicer with the blank plate on)

Fats: almost everything sold in the grocery store is refined, high-heat treated and rancid. Good: extra-virgin olive oil, other unrefined oils (mostly found in health-food stores) Better: virgin/organic coconut oil, refrigerated flax oil, unrefined grapeseed oil Best: whole foods high in good fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds

Seasonings: many in the grocery store have MSG added even if you don’t see it on the label, as well as sugar and refined salt, and other  chemicals. Good: unrefined sea salt (50+ trace minerals, still actually very slightly refined) Better: Original Himalayan Crystal Salt (84 trace minerals), Mrs. Dash Best: Kelp, herbs like basil, thyme, oregano, salt-free and chemical-free organic seasonings like anything by Spice Hunter at your health-food store

flax seed uses

Flax seed uses are featured prominently in my recipe collections, especially the dehydrated/crunchy snacks and breakfasts–as well as the good fats and whole-grain  chapters of 12 Steps.   Here’s a recipe my family likes that also features another food you know to be antioxidant-rich, blueberries. And coconut oil increases the absorption of EFAs in the flax by as much as 100 percent.   Enjoy!

 

Blueberry Flax Muffins

These are lightly sweetened, but if you are transitioning from refined baking products, you may wish to add another ½ cup of Sucanat.   The muffins will rise more and be lighter and more digestible if you soak the grains overnight as described in the instructions.

3 cups warm water

4 cups whole-wheat flour (finely ground soft white wheat is best)

2 eggs

½ cup yogurt or kefir (or whey)

1 cup Sucanat

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 Tbsp. aluminum-free baking powder (reduce by half if you soak grains overnight)

1/2 cup flax seed, freshly ground

1 tsp. sea salt

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Combine water, flours, flax, and yogurt.   Let sit, covered, overnight or all day (optional step to eliminate phytates and increase digestibility of wheat proteins).   Add all remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.   Gently fold in blueberries.   Bake in lined or greased muffin tins, 2/3 full, for 23-25 minutes at 400 degrees.   Makes about 3 dozen muffins.