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Ep.121: Reset Your Metabolism with Dr. Alan Christianson

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Feb 27, 2019

"Ep.121: Reset Your Metabolism with Dr. Alan Christianson" at Green Smoothie Girl

In this episode we bring back Dr. Alan Christianson. We’ve learned from him before on The Vibe Show pack in Episode 50 where we discussed Thyroid Health. He’s also one of the doctor’s who’s informative video modules are part of The Hormone Health Revolution Video Masterclass at Green Smoothie Girl. And today we get to learn more from this trusted doctor, researcher and amazing influencer about our metabolism and liver. In his new book and challenge “The Metabolism Reset Diet” Dr. C  helps us learn why it’s actually better for our health to ditch dieting, stop counting calories and just start eating more resistant starches. He and is wife Kirin share many delicious recipes, provide real science and research and great support to help you reset your metabolism, to not only lose weight but inches of your waist, naturally and enjoyably. Dr. C teaches how to better care for your liver, reset your metabolism and get your body into a state of truly healthy and happy living.

LINKS AND RESOURCES:

Get the book “The Metabolism Reset Diet”

Sign up for the Metabolism Reset Challenge

Learn more about Dr. C


TRANSCRIPT:

Robyn:                                Hey, Vibe Tribe, Welcome back. I’m your host, Robyn Openshaw and I’m always so happy to get a chance to connect with you. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it when you offer some love for this show with a five star rating on the iTunes APP and some words about anything you’ve learned here that has maybe helped move the needle for you in living a healthier and more informed and happier life. Because nothing less is acceptable around here. The Green Smoothie Girl mission since 2007 is we want to help you raise your vibration .

Today, I’m excited to interview Doctor Alan Christianson. He’s a naturopathic endocrinologist, so his academic background is a naturopathic medical doctor, which is even more extensive education. Then the naturopathic doctors. He’s in Arizona and he focuses on thyroid function, adrenal health and metabolism. He’s also a very good friend of mine and I think we both consider each other mentors in the work that we do as influencers. His wife, Kirin, is also my friend.

And at our Swiss retreats every summer, uh, those who attend, we have really in depth conversations because we eat three meals a day with everyone. And when we’re not eating meals or in our treatments, I sit out on the deck off of the dining room so that people who come know they can come talk to me anytime. And it seems like every year at least one person asks me, this is pretty insider kind of information that I wouldn’t be super comfortable answering publicly, but someone says, okay, who are the influencers you follow the ones that you trust most? And it’s a really great question because they’re asking basically, who can I trust? Because you do this full time research and you know, talk to a lot of different health and wellness experts in your research. So, you know, they want to follow those people too.

And if you listen to my recent three part series about how to develop and use your critical thinking skills in the arena of health and wellness, you probably got the sense that I’ve become sort of jaded about a lot of the information that’s out there. Most of the things that are marketed out there to be helpful for us in our health. Then there’s usually a good nugget or two and or many in the life’s work of any influencer or any book author along with, there’s a lot of strange fads out there, like dumping refined oils in your coffee for instance, or the carnivore diet that’s trending right now.

And I’ll tell you, I always, when I’m asked that question, Alan Christianson. He goes by Dr. C a lot. He is definitely one of the influencers that the influencers follow. He’s very committed to the evidence. He’s not going to go out there and talk about something unless he can prove it in the published literature. And so he’s kind of a walking, talking Pub Med encyclopedia. And he’s one of these people who really seek first to do good in the world, to educate people about topics that matter to our health rather than just selling us on the latest fad and cherry picking data to sell a product or a book.

By the way, the first two weeks of our liver detox retreat in Switzerland for June of this year, which is 2019 they were sold out and I do still have several spaces left in the third week, but I also just heard that they opened two more rooms for us in the first two weeks as well. So if you’re into it, if you’re interested in that, go watch my webinar on the Swiss retreats. I show you photos of the place, I show you the treatments that come with your package of your liver detox, the price, the discounted price for the second week, all that. You can check it out at greensmoothiegirl.com/swissmountainclinic Hope you can come with us.

So back to Dr. C. He’s been actively practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona since 1996. I interviewed him once before on this show. It’s episode 50 where we talk about thyroid disorder. Doctor C is the founding physician of integrative health in Scottsdale. He’s a New York Times bestselling author a few times over. He’s often on national media like Doctor Oz, The Drs., The Today Show. And today we’re talking to him about metabolism. What you need to do to clean up your liver and start burning fat without calorie counting and all these methods that people have used for a lot of years that don’t actually work.

So Welcome back to The Vibe show Dr. C

Dr. Alan C.:                         Hey Robyn, thank you so much for having me. Always jazzed to hang out with you.

Robyn:                                Always fun. I always learn something from you. I usually learn lots of things from you. So you have a new book coming out and it’s going to kind of turn what people think they know about metabolism on its head. All these things that we’ve been taught about how to burn fat. You know, I read your book when the Galley came out. Loved it. I’ve been dumping, um, resistance starch in my green smoothies. I didn’t know what a tiger nut was, but I like put tiger nut flour in my smoothies now and banana flour. I started leaving the peels on the bananas, lots of fun little facts in your book that I love.

But I have read three liver books this year. In the last six months I’ve read three books about the liver, yours being one. You didn’t name your book, the Liver Reset Diet. This is really all about metabolism. Are you really busting up some myths out there and leveraging some much more current research or why?

Dr. Alan C.:                         You know for sure. And honestly there was a big debate about whether it would be the Liver Reset book or not. It could have been, because you’re right, it’s the star of the show. It’s a big deal. It’s an underappreciated and not given enough attention.

Robyn:                                And is that because probably nobody would be interested because people don’t understand the function of the liver, especially when related to the number one thing that most women over 40 are complaining about is why can’t I lose these pounds or this fat?

Dr. Alan C.:                         You know, that’s the thought. And I don’t know if that’s a true thought. The attention that we’ve gotten the liver has been the big focus about this from the consumers as well. So I think it may be something that is more at everyone’s top of mind.

Robyn:                                So the main idea of the book is that the real health threat is not your weight, it’s your waist circumference. Will you talk about that?

Dr. Alan C.:                         For sure. And that’s a function of your liver. They’ve done so much data on just scale weight and we’ve had all these charts and graphs about what you should weigh per your height. And everyone knows they’re goofy and that they just, you know, don’t really apply. And then we have body mass index, which is a function of height and weight. And same problems there. There’s tons of people that are fit and muscular and they’re overweight based upon those guidelines. Or if you’re on the taller or shorter side, they don’t fit very well. And there’s a lot of people that do fit where they should be on those guidelines for their weight, but they’re getting diabetes and they’ve got health complications. And so the single biggest metric that predicts all that stuff is just waist relative to height. It’s a really simple thing.

Robyn:                                And is that because we store fat there?

Dr. Alan C.:                         Well, we store fat in three different ways. And I’ve come to think of this almost like I think of those fountains, that sit in the yard, that have a bowl on top and that fills up, and the next bowl gets water and then it keeps filling down and down. So that’s how we store energy. We first start with the fat under the skin and the subcutaneous fat. Then we put more of our fuel in the visceral fat. And the bizarre thing is that the visceral fat is not dangerous. And inflammation in visceral fat is actually good because that’s what allows the visceral fat to hold onto that fuel and keep it out of your liver. But when the visceral fat can’t grow more cells or larger cells, then that all starts spilling over into the liver and that’s when the harm really comes in.

Robyn:                                Okay. Talk a little bit more about visceral fat. You know that study from, I want to say six or eight years ago, that a lot of thin people, people who look thin have organs marbled with fat. Is that related?

Dr. Alan C.:                         And you brought up the perfect distinction. So there’s the visceral fat and then there’s the organ fat. And that’s the next step. So when it’s overflowing from the visceral fat, it builds up inside the organs. Visceral fat is around the organs and for sure the more that there is wherever, it’s harmful. But the real damage when it’s building up inside the organs, like the liver and the pancreas. And that’s the stuff that has the biggest effect upon the waist circumference around the belly button.

You know the liver has more mitochondrial density than any other cell. And when its cells get too full from just excess fuel, then their mitochondria are pushed down and squeeze and their nuclei are squeezed and they can’t carry out the important detox and regulatory reactions they should be busy with.

Robyn:                                I just stuck a magazine in my purse. I’m getting organized to go on a pretty long business trip and I always try to, all the things I’ve been meaning to read, I stick it in my bag getting ready to go for this trip tomorrow. And one of the magazines that I stuck in my bag was “The Death of the BMI”. I was like, oh I want to go read about that. Right. What’s the deal with the BMI? It was the gold standard for a long time. And now you and others are saying this is not useful.

Dr. Alan C.:                         It’s not useful. And we look at BMI and we look at whether or not people have long life spans, whether they get diabetes and heart disease. And you know, BMI is not meaningless, but it’s just not the best predictor any longer. The one that was looked at after it was waist to hip ratio and that gives some degree of improvement. But the marker now that’s by far the best predictor of all that is, waist to height ratio. And that one it’s just that simple. It’s inches around the belly button in the morning at rest.

So any listeners, all you do is wake up and you know, use the bathroom. And we often put a lot of work into holding our tummies in, so in this context you want to just relax and then measure the inches around the belly button and compare that against the height. And it’s also simple in terms of the math. You want to be well under half in terms of your waist circumference compared to your height. When you’re half or above, that’s the red flag. And the sad thing is that diets have all been incentivized towards weight loss. And most people when they embark upon weight loss, they don’t improve their waist to height ratio. They just lose a lot of muscle mass along the way.

Robyn:                                Okay. So walk us through an example just so people can actually go do this.

Dr. Alan C.:                         Here’s an example. So say a gal is, let’s make up some numbers for easy mouth. Say she’s five feet tall, so that would be 60 inches. So half of 60 inches is 30 inches. So if her circumference around her belly button was 30 inches, that would be unsafe. That would be a risk range. You want to be further below that. If she was 32 that would be unsafe. You know a guy who’s six feet tall, so what? 72 inches. So his number is 36 so the more leeway he’s got between his waist and 36 the better off he is. But if he’s 36 or above, that’s a risk factor.

Robyn:                                Okay. So that’s a good way to get a good baseline if you’re listening to this. And then you have a challenge coming up and we will link to it at greensmoothiegirl.com/drc that’s greensmoothiegirl.com/drc for Doctor C.

In this challenge, what are we doing? How long does it take us? What kind of support are you taking people through? It’s free, right?

Dr. Alan C.:                         It’s free. So the book itself walks people through a 28 day process. The challenge is the first week of that. But it’s a lot of guidance. You know, there’s recipes, there’s, you know, shopping lists. We talk about getting clear support and guidance on the whole thing. So it, it walks you through it step by step. And the idea with that is, you know, jump in and try it out. And if you feel like it makes sense, you learn more of the concepts behind that and if you’ve seen some momentum after that timeframe, then it’s probably worth embarking upon the 28 so that the results can last for you.

Robyn:                                So you can kind of take a little slice, see how you’re feeling doing this for a week, kind of have your eyes open to what cleaning up your liver does for your metabolism. The book itself is called “The Metabolism Reset Diet”. Uh, Dr. C is a previous multiple time, New York Times Bestseller. I love your style of writing. It’s very conversational. I feel like I’m sitting at the counter in my kitchen chatting with you and you’re answering my questions and no shaming.

You talk about over fat, I had not heard that word before. What is over fat?

Dr. Alan C.:                         Yeah, so it’s a term that, I don’t like the sound of it, it sounds derogatory, but it’s used in research and it’s meant to encompass all the people that are just carrying excessive body fat. Even those that are not heavy. So if you add in, so obese and overweight, are terms that are defined based upon body mass index, you know, obese is more than 30 and overweight is more than 25. So if you add those categories along with those who are at a good scale weight but have too little lean body mass, then that whole collective group together is called the over fat. And the stats on that are that, it’s probably about 80 to 92% of the population based upon age and gender. So it’s the bulk of us.

Robyn:                                80 to 92% of us are over fat?

Dr. Alan C.:                         Correct.

Robyn:                                Goodness. That number just keeps going up. And so the main way to tell if people are at risk for being over fat, is this waist to height ratio?

Dr. Alan C.:                         Exactly. It’s the simplest tool. And yeah, you want to be, well under half.

Robyn:                                Okay. One thing I really liked that you talked about in the book and it was really quite comforting because you were like, if you have a really healthy liver then you’re not going to have to be obsessive about what you eat. You really should be able to kind of have a big dinner now and then and your liver can handle that if you have metabolic flexibility. Will you talk about that concept?

Dr. Alan C.:                         You know for sure. I think all of us have examples of friends that don’t do very many things right, but seem to luck out in terms of their weight or their energy, And that’s it. None of us ever get exactly the amount of fuel we need from our diets in a given day. And our liver’s able to sort out that difference, because right now we’re using energy but we’re not consuming it. And it’s because our liver stored some for us that’s letting us access later on.

But the problem is that the liver can lose that metabolic flexibility. And something that should be a two way street. You know, we should consume food and convert that to fuel stores from that fuel in the liver and then later on release that for energy. But it can become a one way street to where we’re storing, but we’re not releasing effectively. And so when you regain metabolic flexibility, you should reach a point at where if you do 80 to 90% of things right, and on track, your body can sort out the rest of that. So that’s the goal is getting it to where you’ve got that just natural, spontaneous, healthy metabolism back again.

Robyn:                                And so is that how the liver can sort of block the ability to lose fat or is there more to it?

Dr. Alan C.:                         Well, that’s the overview of it. I think about it in terms of like, imagine you want to burn a camp fire to stay warm at night. So the best thing is to burn big solid logs because they burn for a long time and give a lot of heat gradually. But you need kindling to get them going. You can’t just drop a match on a log and expect a big campfire. So your liver has, uh, both glycogen, which is the kindling and then triglycerides, which are like the big logs. And you can make triglycerides out of any kind of fuel. It can be carbs or fats are ketones. You know, it’s harmful, but alcohol can make triglycerides too.

But, uh, glycogen, you only make out of good carbohydrates, even those that have glucose are the only source of that. When your liver has a nice ratio of glycogen and triglyceride, yeah, you can store fuel and you can burn fuel. But what happens is that it’s easier to make triglycerides and they can crowd everything else out. So we get this big pile of logs and imagine you got like, you know, damp logs and nothing to really burn them with. And that’s the state that happens where your body can’t effectively burn fat anymore because there’s nothing to help light it.

Robyn:                                So it seems to me that if most people have a really backed up liver, then this ketogenic diet that’s so popular is maybe just the worst possible idea. And obviously I’m leading the witness here. I’m sort of inserting my own opinion. And just a side note, I pulled out a quote that Dr. C had given me a long time ago. I think it was literally a quote from our interview in the thyroid episode, which is episode 50 on The Vibe Show. And as you know, I’ve been on a tear about this for a year. My readers are probably really tired of hearing me talk about the Ketogenic Diet, but I just want them to know what they’re exactly doing when they overeat fat and why I don’t think it’s serving us well.

Anyways, your quote was one of them that I included in probably the longest blog post ever published in 13 years called “22 Health Experts Debunk The Ketogenic Diet” that tens of thousands of people have read. You actually talked about how you’re not even in ketosis eating super high fats that you actually need carbs. Can you talk a little bit more about that? What were the details of that?

Dr. Alan C.:                         Well, the funny thing is people think that ketosis or, or that going Ketogenic is how you burn fat. And it’s the exact opposite. You know, from the most basic readings of biochemistry when your body cannot burn fat, that’s when you’re making high amounts of ketones. So there’s a process called Beta oxidation and that’s how you burn fat and make fuel out of it. And when Beta oxidation can’t run anymore, then your body starts turning fat into ketones. But ketones are just another kind of fuel. And if they’re not able to be burned properly, then they just get stored as more triglycerides inside the liver.

So all you’re doing, it’s like, imagine that your gas tank is overflowing and you’re still running the pump. Well, if you grab diesel instead of unleaded, it’s going to keep on overflowing. And that’s the same thing with the ketones. In fact, in that analogy, you don’t want to put diesel in your regular engine, that’s kind of what ketones are. So there’s clear harm that occurs. The liver is the only organ that has no use for ketones. It can turn fat into Ketones, but it cannot burn ketones. So the whole thing about the logs getting damp that makes the logs even damper and the fat that’s trapped inside of it as even less chance of getting utilized.

Robyn:                                Oh yeah, nobody is saying that. You know, there’s so many marketers that are kind of taking little weird slices of data that don’t account for the big picture that you’ve kind of given us a more big picture view there who are telling people that eating lots of fats and starving your body of carbohydrates is somehow good for us. There’s other fads out there and I’ve said that you’re sort of a walking Pub Med encyclopedia. And it’s just one of my favorite things about you is that you have just recall of so much published evidence in a variety of areas.

But talk a little about the bigger issue. What about calorie restriction? What about the intermittent fasting big craze going on right now? Just talk about diets in general and what the problem is. I mean, I think that there’s a short term reinforcer there, people go on any of these diets and then they lose weight and they become so committed to it. Talk a little bit about that.

Dr. Alan C.:                         Yeah, so that’s, the pitfall, is that it’s easy to have various ways that you can drop a few pounds on the scale, but if your liver is not getting healthier, you’re getting set up to have your weight come back and then some and then go back even higher afterward. And calories, you know, they’re not all the same. There’s so many. There’s about 17 categories of fibers that I’ve written about, and if we’re getting a good variety of healthy plant foods from all the food categories of plant foods, we can often be in great shape on our fibers. But so many diets are cutting out all these big food categories. You know, legumes or whole grains or whatnot. They’re restricting all these food categories and we become just deficient in these essential fibers and become less able to detoxify and burn our fuel properly. So that’s the pitfall is that with scale weight loss, there may be such dramatic loss of lean body weight and such compromise to the gut flora that people are just set up to regain more than they lost.

Intermittent fasting, it’s pretty fascinating. It’s been studied so thoroughly. And it turns out that some people for a while spontaneously eat less if they do intermittent fasting or time restricted feeding if they choose narrow windows of time in which they eat. But the extent to which they have scale weight loss is just exactly the extent to which they eat less food. There’s nothing magic about the timing of that. If they had eaten the food over a longer time window in the same amount, they would have seen the same results from that.

And the pitfall is that for many people that have had struggles with cravings or even those that have had eating disorders, playing with the timing too much can also be just a difficulty for them. And then if there’s also on a regular basis, ongoing gaps between food and there’s also that compromise to liver function. You know, out and out, fasting by itself, there’s so many benefits in terms of psychology, a spiritual practice, but those that have had compromised liver functions, there is a risk of under nourishing the liver of supplying to few essential nutrients for it while it’s being asked to process a lot of ways that were stored in the fat tissue.

Robyn:                                So you really talk about fuel instead of calories, which I’m glad. That whole calorie thing is like, I think it’s, you know, helpful to the processed food industry to put some kind of valuation on package labels, but it’s not super useful to people. So anything more you want to say about calories? I just feel like, especially women, we’re so programmed to think in calories and it’s not serving us well.

Dr. Alan C.:                         Well there’s constituents to food like resistance starch you mentioned or the types of fibers. And the resistance starch especially, you don’t see the benefit of that when you’re just tracking calories. And it does have a caloric input. But the benefits it has to gut health, cancer risks, metabolism and breakdown of organ fat are just immeasurable. So if you incentivize the wrong things, then yeah, you can see the weight loss but it bounces right back again. So that’s, that’s why I focus more upon just getting a good mixture of quality plant foods and good proportions of them.

Robyn:                                Yeah. I remember when the China study released 11 or 12 years ago by Colin Campbell, Oxford Cornell project called in more academic circles. And one of the statistically significant findings of that really longitudinal study was that people who are eating mostly plants, the group of people who ate 95% plant foods, so you know, not very much meat and not processed foods, they were able to eat 200 calories a day more than the other group who’s eating more like Americans do, and stay lean. And this is one of the first seasons of data I encountered where I thought, hmm, this whole a calorie is a calorie is a calorie thing isn’t quite right. There’s like 6,500 people studied for a couple of decades.

I wonder if you can talk more about the role of resistant starch because I think you’re going to be part of really bringing that concept onto the stage and seeking out those foods. And what do they do for us? I mean throwing in the organic banana, you don’t want to do this with a sprayed banana, right, but I throw a half of a banana or banana into my smoothie now and I just, I don’t peel it and it’s so amazing to me, I thought it would have that weird gross taste. I don’t taste it at all, which you had promised me in the book. So talk about resistant starch and how it may actually cause us to absorb less than all of the calories if we must think in calories. What does it mean for us?

Dr. Alan C.:                         There’s so many scenarios in which we know that we’re healthier the more stable our blood sugar is. And blood sugar can bounce up and down for a lot of reasons. The old idea was that blood sugar would move around a lot if we ate carbohydrates. Now we know that the body’s blood sugar is also tied into how much glucose the liver releases. So resistant starch is unique amongst foods because it’s not absorbed in the small intestine. It doesn’t interact with insulin or glucagon. It really goes first to the good bacteria in the colon. But unlike fiber, they don’t eat all of it. They eat about half of it, and they generate a lot of good short chain fats out of it, which repairs the bowel lining. And then they give us some fuel afterward. You know, we burn some of those substrates.

So it’s about half the caloric input of just you know, carbohydrate or protein and about a quarter of the caloric input from fat. But what’s really exciting is that when we ingest it, it sets us up for about seven to nine hours to where that exact meal is absorbed completely steadily for seven to nine hours. And then for a full 24 hours each time we eat afterward, we have less of a swing of our blood sugar and insulin than we would otherwise. So it’s like just the perfect inoculation against blood sugar fluctuations.

Robyn:                                So eating more resistant starch, especially in the form of whole foods is going to be helpful for our gut health our microbiome, our resistance to illness, our liver health. Is that right?

Dr. Alan C.:                         Yeah, leaky gut, colorectal cancer risk, cardiovascular disease risk, diabetes and visceral fat growth. Uh, these have all been well documented. You know, they’ve even tried, for example, Australia had really high rates of colorectal cancer and also precancerous polyps and they tried just fortifying simple fiber cellulose, like a Metamucil type product. And they watched the changes in cell growth amongst a large number of consumers and saw that there wasn’t really a big benefit. And they repeated the same study by fortifying with resistance starch and they saw radical changes and just a real drop in the precancerous cell formation. So it’s being looked at in public health circles far and wide for a lot of reasons like that.

Robyn:                                Okay. So what foods are highest in resistant starch?

Dr. Alan C.:                         You know, they’re all plant foods. And in terms of plant families, legumes as a category, all contain good amounts of that. So any types of beans that you consume, beans and peas are going to be high in resistant starch. The superstars happen to be the white beans, so just white beans themselves. But also navy, northern, and Cannellini, they’re the highest amongst the legume categories. Now the highest common food, highest common source is going to be boiled potatoes. And sweet potatoes are awesome foods, they’re just a different plant family that tend not to have as much. So regular white potatoes. To be really precise, the russets are lower in that, so it’s more so the ones that have a bit more of amylose content to them. So like, like the yellow potatoes are typically the best, Golden potatoes are higher in that and also ones that have purple or red flesh have it as well. But yeah, light red or purple colored potatoes are great.

And when they’re cooked at high temperatures, a lot of it is lost. So if they’re baked or obviously if fried, a lot of their innate resistant starch is broken down. Now if they’re cooked at low temperatures like boiled and then the refrigerated, they make a secondary kind called RS3 starch, through something called retro granulation. So that gives them a double dose of that. And you talked about bananas. So we have bananas and plantains are the other categories that have that. And then the skins of bananas have a ton. And you think about this, you know, like apples and potatoes about the value of consuming the skin. It’s the same story for bananas, you know the magnesium, potassium, the B6, all the good parts of banana are much higher concentrated in the skin than they are in the fruit.

Robyn:                                Well, bananas get a bad rap. And people who are just talking about sugars as if all sugars are the same, say that they are too high in sugar, don’t eat them. They’re terrible for you. And I think you just said potatoes are good for us.

Dr. Alan C.:                         For sure. And they’ve had so many studies on things. Even specific studies on just fruit and fatty liver, because it’s been talked about that fructose is a trigger for fatty liver disease and liver problems. And in the context it can be, but there have been specific studies on populations and their fruit intake. And the more fruit intake people have of just whole unprocessed natural fruits, the less apt they are to have fatty liver, an liver congestion.

You know, fructose is a problem when mice are given their full days allotment of mouse chow and they’re given an extra 20% fructose purified on top of that. But what they’ve shown is that in that exact same circumstance, you can take mice that are given their full supply of mouse chow and now you can add on maybe even just 5% extra saturated fat and that’s even more damaging than the processed fructose is. So yeah, there’s nothing innately bad about fructose bound in fruit by any means.

Robyn:                                So interesting. Tell us a little bit about what you have people eating in your 28 days on The Metabolism Reset Diet. What kinds of foods are they eating?

Dr. Alan C.:                         Yeah, great question. I put a lot of thought into this because, I’m trying to build up one kind of fuel in the liver the glycogen and trying to deplete the other kind of fuel, the extra triglycerides. So it’s not, you can’t just do a matter of just starvation or dropping food. So I focused heavily upon plant derived clean sources of protein because I want to sustain a lot of liver reactions that require essential amino acids. And the other thought about it being plant protein is that, when someone does have a rapid liberation of stored fat, they can also have various wastes from that fat or they could have uric acid compounds move into their circulation and there can be a risk or things like gout attacks or gallbladder issues, especially if someone has liver problems. But using more high alkaline plant based proteins, that’s less of a concern than it would be if it were predominantly an animal protein that was being consumed.

Robyn:                                I just remembered that that was another thing that really struck me and I even like went to your references and looked it up. You talked about if people are going to eat protein from a bag of protein that someone manufactured, there’s some evidence of which ones are better and which ones are worse. Will you talk a little bit about that?

Dr. Alan C.:                         For sure. You know there’s been a lot of attention about protein, um, equivalency ratios and that’s relevant, but plant proteins do badly by that metric when that’s the only one used. And a simple thing is for the protein quality, you just need a little bit more to compensate for that. So plant proteins have the advantage of being more PH neutral and not to have issues with the gout formation or the gallbladder risk. There’s also so much evidence about just questions about any possible negatives about protein and those have never come up with plant protein as far as their long term health effects. So I rely pretty heavily upon that.

I also pulled in a lot of food groups, you mentioned resistance starch. There’s a group of vegetables that haven’t been talked about much, they’re called apiaceae. And that includes things like carrots and parsnips and parsley. They’ve got some unique properties on helping the endoplasmic reticulum of the liver cells, so they were used quite a bit in it as well. But yeah, good variety of plant foods and plant proteins.

Robyn:                                Yeah, we interviewed Doctor John McDougall, and that guy has some really controversial positions that he takes but has been for many, many years pointing out, Hey, all these old cultures that were warriors and that just, you know, beat everybody, were eating lots and lots and lots of starchy vegetables. And he’s kind of like, let’s don’t be down on starchy vegetables including potatoes. And he was talking about potatoes and corn and rice.

You know, a few minutes ago you mentioned, first thing you said when I asked you what are the foods that contain a lot of resistant starch is you brought up the foods full of lectins. You brought up legumes. And there’s a dude who has a book out there that has been on the New York Times list for something like a year and he’s got people out there, you know exactly who I’m talking about, got people believing that eating legumes will kill them. They’re the bad guy. Will you talk about that? You’re saying legumes are good for us.

Dr. Alan C.:                         Well, they’re bad for you if someone is selling a blocker that will take away the harmful effects of them.

Robyn:                                He’s talking about that I sent him a text message of this author who is out there telling people that eating legumes is the root of their health problem and then he sells a lectin blocker supplement, and were laughing about it.

Dr. Alan C.:                         It’s a funny thing. The term Lectin has been so misunderstood. You know lectins, so if you go down to a cellular level, no one has name tags, no one really knows who’s from where, but almost imagine like, like ships, how they have flags, right? So I know what a skull and crossbones that’s, that’s a pirate ship. And apparently, if I had any naval experience, I don’t, I’d know a lot of other flags, you know which ships are which. But at a molecular level, those are called glycoproteins and they’re just protein carbohydrate combos that allow for cell surface signaling. And they’re all in a larger family of immune compounds called lectins. And it’s funny, they’re talked about in the context of certain foods, there’s not a cell on planet earth that is free of lectins. So whether you’re consuming animals or plants, you know, that’s all there really is on the menu and they all have lectins.

And the take home message is you don’t want to eat a cup of raw, uncooked dried kidney beans. The frequency of that being a menace to public health is pretty much zero. Like we know that. A part from that, the risk from lectins is exactly zero. And sadly, some of the foods that have been talked about as being high lectin foods, they’re the best documented foods for cutting our risk of chronic disease. And legumes, you know, there’s no food category that has a bigger impact upon mortality gram per gram then legumes do, even vegetables. There have been studies showing that uh, per gram legumes have four times the impact of vegetables on lowering mortality risk. So yeah, they’re super good foods.

Robyn:                                Yeah. That’s part of my frustration with this book becoming so popular and people avoiding lectins is that there’s hundreds and hundreds of published studies on the power of this food class. They make you full, you can really fill up on a plant based dish, has all the resistance starch. It has a lot of micro nutrients, all the fiber, soluble fiber, insoluble fiber. It’s been a huge part of my getting my health back after I was sick in my twenties. And so I’m glad to hear you say that, I mean it’s a major feature of the Mediterranean Diet, which we all know is the most well studied diet that apparently leads to the best outcomes.

You know all the Blue Zone diets are high in legumes.

Robyn:                                Yeah, all five of them, high in legumes and high in resistant starch foods too. So you’re really onto something here. I love this work that you’re bringing out. We’ll put the links to the challenge as well as to the book in the show notes. But again, if you want to join the seven day challenge, which is kind of a slice of the 28 day program in the book. The book is “The Metabolism Reset Diet”. The challenge we are setting up at greensmoothiegirl.com/drc Which is d r c.

Tell a little bit about why people don’t feel good when they’re dieting and just give that high level and you can go deep if you want, of why this is not working for us and why we have to clean up the liver instead.

Dr. Alan C.:                         Yeah, so the pitfall is that when you’re just lowering your food intake, your body is breaking down a lot of toxic fat at first, and if your liver doesn’t have the nutrients, the fibers, the plant proteins that it needs to function well, then all that stuff that got loosened up, it goes deeper into your system and your body converts it in ways that makes it even more toxic. And that’s where so much of the side effects come in from the headaches, the skin symptoms, the cravings. It’s your body trying to get out of that state and trying to push all that toxic tissue back in the fat. And cravings will create more fat growth to where your body can sweep that stuff under the rug again and get it out because it literally is harmful and toxic.

The term has been called re-toxification, so when we pull out some waste from our body and start to break it down, but we can’t eliminate it, what we end up making his way worse than the toxin was all by itself. That’s the pitfall and the trick about supporting the liver is just the opposite. You can make it to where when the fat has liberated it’s toxicants and they’re out of the body, you can break it down. You don’t have to make more places to sweep things under the rug. You don’t need more storage tissue anymore.

Robyn:                                I was looking at your recipes. They look really delicious. I will point out some of our readers have said, Robyn, you’re plant based, there’s meat in these recipes. And just so everyone knows, there are vegetarian and vegan meals in the menu plan and they are adapted to that. And so if you’re vegan, listening to this, I still think there’s a lot of value in this program and in cleaning up your liver. And guess what? Lots of vegetarians and vegans are eating way too little in terms of resistance starch and getting the whole food package that synergistically helps us so much.

I got a little side question though. These are delicious recipes. Are you like the chef or is Kirin helping you with these? Cause I’m just imagining her making up these recipes.

Dr. Alan C.:                         Yeah, she did the bulk of these. She’s really awesome in the kitchen. You’ve seen her in action before.

Robyn:                                She’s like the consummate homemaker. She’s like a throwback. Not only, does she dress, all of this retro, just Super Glam 50 stuff, she likes to buy her clothes at, um, this is way off topic I know, but it’s really interesting. Doctor C’s wife is absolutely gorgeous. She’s like beauty pageant mom and she’s a redhead, Alan’s a redhead, both their kids are redheads. So I love them because my family is gingers too. But yeah, I figured she had a big hand in this and I know she’s out there just so excited about your book releasing and I had a feeling that she had a big hand in it.

So I’m really excited for your new work to come forward. I’ve been talking to you about your development of it for a long time. I know there’s a lot of heart and soul in it. Is there anything we missed that you really want to talk about that’s in this new work?

Dr. Alan C.:                         You know, the part that excites me the most about this is that people have the opportunity to retire from living life as a chronic dieter. You know, it’s not just about how do we pull the scale down for a few more weeks. It’s about how do you transform your body in ways to where it will work for you and you’ll stay naturally thin and healthy again. And again, you can do things, you always want to eat well for sure and be conscious and you know, listen to Robyn’s advice about keeping your environment clean and consuming lots of great smoothies and things. And when you’re doing the right things, 90% of the time, 80% of the time, your body can manage the rest. So that’s a state you can come back to it again.

Robyn:                                Well thank you so much for sharing your amazing wisdom. Our other episode with Dr. C if you want to learn more from him, is episode 50 here on The Vibe show. Really excited for your book launch. Good luck with everything. And thanks for being with us, Doctor Alan Christianson.

Dr. Alan C.:                         Thank you so much, Robyn.

 

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