GMO, Glyphosphate, Gluten, Gobbledygook?

As a health expert and personal trainer, I get questions about the latest nutrition related buzzwords all the time. Are genetically modified foods bad? What is gluten, and is it bad for my gut? Is glyophosphate (Round Up) toxic to my microbiome? Is Dairy the Devil?

Well, as a total nerd, and educator, my first gut reaction is to break into song and dance about different scientific studies, the chemical compositions of our cells and these substances, and even point them in directions for more information. Fortunately, I'm usually able to stop the show, and simply answer the client with this: you're asking the wrong questions. 

The real question is this: how does eating food make you feel?  For example, I love to eat Lavash (a type of bread, i.e. gluten), topped with a good quality cultured yogurt (i.e. dairy). Gluten and dairy are terrible, right? For some reason, I can eat literally pounds of the stuff and be fine. But a tortilla/bun from any fast food place? Cheap white bread? Top that off with processed cheese? Within minutes (no joke) I gain an inch on my stomach, and become so bloated with gas that I clear rooms. For years, I gave up all non vegetable carbs and dairy, because science told me it was bad, and I missed them so much. But only after I asked myself the question of how does this specific food, I can now eat what I love!

Becoming aware of how your body reacts to specific foods is the key to leading a happy healthy life. It sounds like a lot of work, and at first it is; tracking all your food, different apps and sensors to get the data, tracking how food effects sleep and mood, etc. But the long term effects are so worth it. Sure, at first you'll have to give up some foods you may like. But once you realize how they make you feel, you'll not want them much. Think of the freedom of being able to eat anything you want, AND feel great doing it. 

How can you tell? One easy way is this: we don't have gas and bloating when we eat well. Farts come from the bad bacteria in our gut getting what they want. Another way is to download any heart rate variability app on your smartphone (I personally use StressCheck by Azumio for Android). The variation of the space between each beat of our heart can tell us just how stressed food (or lack of sleep) can make us. Lastly, food should be energizing and vitalizing for us. If you feel lethargic and don't want to move after a meal, you may have eaten something wrong, or simply way too much.  

Reconnecting with your body is the most basic, and most important step to conquering weight-loss, muscle growth, heart problems, joint pain, and even the bedroom.  Don't wait for studies and conflicting science to tell you how to eat and live your life. Take the time to say hi to your body again. I promise, it's worth it!

 

Butcher Box and the Grass-Fed Revolution

As a consumer, it’s easy to be overwhelmed when it comes to labels on our food. Personally, I’ve invested many hundreds of hours into learning all the different buzz words, and even I have trouble when actually standing in the super market trying to pick up a good cut of meat. Grain free, grass fed, no hormones added, vegetarian fed, USDA organic, free range, cage-free, omega-3 fortified? What does all that even mean?

Grass-fed vs conventional factory meat:

When a cow is force fed corn and other grains, inflammation runs rampant through their bodies. Their immune systems are compromised, which the farmers must combat with high levels of antibiotics, and their natural hormone levels decrease, which means hormone boosters to keep the cow healthy.

What does that mean to us as the consumer? Well, when we eat the meat from a factory cow, we’re consuming all the added antibiotics, hormones, and inflammation. You may not notice the effects from one amazing steak, but over time this leads to weight gain, digestion issues, and faulty hormone levels. (Even the World Health Organization now confirms this can also lead to an increased risk of cancer).

But because grass-fed cows are not treated with any added antibiotics or hormones, and are raised as much ‘happier’ cows, we as consumers suffer much less from these negative health effects. In fact, compared to their factory raised cousins, meat from grass-fed cows has less bad fats, more antioxidants, and 2-5x the levels of omega-3’s (the heart healthy omega). Grass-fed beef can even have up to twice the levels of CLA, which can help with muscle growth, reduced risk of heart disease, and lower the risk of cancer.

Up till recently, the only way to ensure the quality of your beef, a consumer would have to carve precious time out of their schedule to go to a farmer’s market, and make friends with their local farmers. Or worse, spend a small fortune on premium cuts of grass-fed beef, sometimes costing three times the factory equivalent.

Enter Mike Salguero’s startup Butcher Box. After a monumental Kickstarter campaign, Butcher Box is now offering free shipping on a box of hand picked, fully grass-fed beef right to your door on a monthly basis. Each Butcher Box will contain 15-20 meals worth of hand picked beef from the highest quality available each month. Mike and his team also help consumers by including delicious recipes to make cooking easy and hassle free. Each box is also packaged with a calculated amount of dry ice to ensure maximum freshness, even if it sits at your door for up to 24 hours.  

That’s right. No guess work. No reading endless food labels. No having to make best friends with the farmer. No insane price hikes. Easy, convenient, healthy, delicious grass-fed beef direct to us, the consumer.