Which is Healthier?
My clients in Scottsdale, AZ always have the best questions. Lately, I’ve been getting asked about egg whites or egg yolks. Old school trainers and coaches will tell you to eat only the egg white as it is pure and complete protein without all the fat found in the yolk.
Here are a few reasons why they are missing the boat:
First, eating fat does not make you fat. Don’t believe me? Google it. This article is about eggs, so I’ll get into that topic in a later article. Before you try and use a loophole, eating too much of anything can make you fat. Use some common sense before trying to be right.
Second, cholesterol. Avoiding dietary cholesterol can actually raise your body’s cholesterol. Eating dietary cholesterol can lower your cholesterol because your body isn’t freaking out about not having it in circulation. Recent studies have proven that consuming dietary cholesterol does not negatively influence levels in the body. You know what does? Sugar and wheat.
Third, the yolk contains all the nutrients you’re looking for through diet. Vitamin A, B12, and D are found in the yolk along with good omega-3 fats.
The fat in the yolk also slows digestion which is great for blood sugar management and feeling satiated longer. The result, you eat less of the bad stuff like crackers and chips.
There is a reason most people enjoy eating the whole egg, it tastes better! The old saying if it tastes good, it must be good for you DOES apply here. So the next time you fire up the stovetop to fry some egg whites, think about what you’re missing without the yolk. Try it, you just might like it!
My Health Journey
When I sat down to do my usual writing, I knew that I wanted to talk about my health journey for the benefit of others. I’m not sure how to start, so I guess I’ll just get to it. You see, I went through a period in my life where everything sucked. I had fatigue issues, libido issues (not fun by the way), I was gaining body fat, had sleep issues, experienced bloating and I was unmotivated to do anything. As you might have guessed, these are all very bad symptoms for a 35-year-old professional in the health and fitness industry.
Let me rewind a bit. I had just moved from Los Angeles to Phoenix for the love of my life. Before Los Angeles, I had recently left the University of Florida as the strength and conditioning coordinator for basketball, tennis and golf. As you can imagine, like most people, I was stressed and excited at the same time. I couldn’t believe that I found that special young lady, and stressed because I just left a business in Los Angeles to start over knowing no one in Phoenix. Life was great for a while.
My Health Unravels
After about three months in Phoenix, I caught pneumonia. At the same time, I was training for my first physique show. If you don’t know what goes into training for those shows it is strict nutrition and calculated training. Since I was more accustomed to training high level athletes and making sure body fat was appropriate for athletics, I used some old school guidelines to lean myself out to be show ready. Of course, I now know there are better ways. However, at the time this type of preparation was new I and decided to go with a method that has been used for decades.
During this time in my life, sleep started to become an issue. I used supplements to aid in sleep and even turned to over-the-counter drugs. My libido also started to take a hit during this time. As you can imagine, my psyche and girlfriend had some major issues with no sex life. This led to more stress.
As this scenario continued, life only became more difficult. Now my body fat was increasing. For a strength coach, this is one of the worst things that can happen. Getting people in shape is my career. Who wants to work with someone who is out of shape?! More stress.
As if it couldn’t get any worse, now every time I ate I would get bloated and feel horrible. I also started reacting to foods that I have never had an issue with before. Mind you, I was already gluten-free and dairy-free. I became bloated eating healthy, natural, organic food.
All of this lead to becoming unmotivated. Not because I got lazy, I just lost my drive to do anything. My life had turned upside down and my girlfriend and I were on the fritz. More stress.
The Physical Implications of Stress
If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet, I’ll just tell you. Life got stressful. What does stress do to the body? Everything! Stress causes inflammation, which can lead to hormone imbalances, which leads to gut dysfunction leading to more hormone imbalance and eventually a shut down. When the gut shuts down, also known as leaky gut, it no longer protects you from any outside intruders such as bacteria, fungi and parasites. This is a very basic explanation so as not to turn this into a science essay.
My Attempts to Pick Up the Pieces
At this point, I used all the knowledge I had at the time to try and fix myself. I did strict Paleo, used so many supplements my cabinets looked like a drugstore and even took a break from working out. Nothing worked. I went to my doctor; he drew blood and said everything looked fine and normal. Really? I have all of these symptoms and nothing is wrong with me?? His solution was Viagra. All these symptoms were to be reduced down to a single sex drug. On a side note, the Viagra worked but it was only a mask for the actual issue. It was not a solution or an answer.
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition
I spoke to a close colleague and friend about my situation. He suggested I get educated in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN). This way of thinking is very new in the Western world. It looks at internal malfunctions that are causing the symptoms. This means that FDN practitioners basically use symptoms as guidelines and not just things to treat. FDN doesn’t treat symptoms; they use them as clues to treat the malfunction. Makes sense to me!
After learning about FDN, I decided to get certified as a practitioner. As part of the certification, you need to treat yourself. Perfect, two for one. Through this process, I found that I was in Stage 3 adrenal fatigue. Wow, I knew I was bad but that is really bad. This means that my adrenal glands were so stressed out that they couldn’t even produce enough cortisol to deal with life. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. It balances both blood sugar and circadian rhythm. This imbalance of cortisol can affect the gut lining by redirecting other hormones to deal with other problems. This is basically bad. I found out that I wasn’t producing much melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for both sleep control and gut lining! Of course, this contributed to sleep issues.
Here comes the good news. My mentor showed me that it is possible to correct these issues. I followed up my testing with a simple spit test to look for candida. I failed the test miserably! That means that my body had a major candida overgrowth. Everyone has some candida as the body needs it. However, when stress gets out of control it starts a cascade of events that promote candida growth. Hard to say which came first, but I couldn’t get better if the internal malfunction (candida) blocked the pathways to healing.
After learning this new information, I started a candida diet and also used the appropriate supplements instead of guessing which ones to take. And then I waited. Within a few days, I was already feeling better. Two weeks later I was like a new man! My symptoms were gone and I was feeling like myself. I was able to start working out again, I was sleeping better and yes, libido had returned! I continued this treatment for three months. The length of time varies per person. However, the minimum is three months.
Answers At Last
Unfortunately, my symptoms had lasted over a year before I got help and started feeling better. I lost the girlfriend, some business and also myself. The solution was so simple, but so foreign that no one knew how to help me. I am guessing that I am not the only one who has had a similar story. I imagine there are many people dealing with a similar situation right now and no one has been able to help them.
The point of me sharing this story is not to promote myself, or the services I can offer to others. I am sharing this because I want others to know that even the healthiest of people can get bogged down and affected by both life and stress. It affects everyone no matter how healthy you are. I’ve worked with many people who have come to me after they’ve tried everything: new diets, different trainers and doctors. No one helped them. In fact, from what I’ve heard, most people get accused of not following the diet or workout.
Most people who want change follow the plans because they are sick of the way they look, feel and perform. Through lifestyle changes suggested by professionals in their fields, they still find no success. So frustrating! Trust me, I know because I was there with you! With all of my knowledge, I couldn’t even help myself.
If you or someone you know can relate to this story, please let me know. Don’t give up yet! You are not crazy or helpless. Contact me today to fix the malfunction and also fix your life. There is hope.
Start Your Day off Right
When clients come to me, the most common cause of them seeking professional help is to lose weight and to look better. They are looking for ways to increase both self-esteem and feel better naked!
Before we start training, adding supplements or modifying their entire diet I ask them about breakfast:
- Do you eat?
- What do you eat?
- When do you eat?
Why eat breakfast at all? Most people are too busy or not hungry in the morning. Why do something that doesn’t appeal to you, right? Wrong.
Why Eating Breakfast is Essential
One study looked at 10,000 participants from adolescents to people in their twenties and found that skipping breakfast proved to increase fat mass and also lead to poor lunch choices. Another reputable source, the Mayo Clinic, says that skipping breakfast can lead to a higher chance of obesity because of the increased insulin response to hunger. When insulin is secreted into the blood stream, fat is directed to stay put and be stored while carbohydrates are used for energy. Without getting too scientific this means that instead of using fat as your main source of energy you are using carbohydrates. This may be a problem if you are looking to increase lean body mass.
What Not to Do
So you get up and have a cup of coffee and a bagel for breakfast. Come on! The high dosage of caffeine increases your cortisol levels and has a catabolic effect on muscle tissue. Meaning, you are putting your body into a state of losing muscle! Unless you are going to workout within an hour of having caffeine, I highly recommend you cut it out or switch to green tea which has been shown to have a positive effect on increasing fat metabolism. Oh, and the bagel just shoots your insulin levels straight to the sky. You might as well be eating sugar right out of the jar. Again, you are both increasing insulin and burning sugars instead of fat for energy.
The Right Way to Start the Day
So what do you eat to get the day going and set yourself up to get lean? Focus on low-glycemic foods such as proteins and fats. Proteins such as eggs, chicken, and steak are great examples of foods that charge the body and keep you satiated. You also want to include nuts such as walnuts, cashews, and almonds. These are good fats that will help to slow digestion of food which keeps your blood sugar low or from spiking. I highly recommend the meat and nut diet to lose weight and set yourself up for success for the rest of the day.
Dr. David Jenkins is one of the pioneers of the glycemic index. He also published a study in the Diabetes Care journal. This study found that eating a higher protein and fat breakfast improved total cholesterol and LDL levels. A rotating list of ideas can be found here.
It is easier than you think to get lean and feel better about yourself. Start with breakfast and go from there. It won’t hurt you to try this for a month. Especially if what you are doing now isn’t working!
Thank you for the replys and questions! The winning question is, “[What are some] fairly low-cost supplement and vitamin plans for a lady like me? I’m a woman on a budget!”
Supplements can be expensive and if you are on a budget, you need to choose the biggest bang for the buck!
The number one supplement that you need to get is a digestive enzyme that contains Bentaine HCl and Pepsin. Due to our busy lives (stress), environmental pollution and improper diets and/or source of food, over 90% of the population does not produce enough acid in the stomach to digest food. This causes problems such as disruptive sleep patterns, malnutrition, and even skin rashes.
A digestive enzyme supplement, such as NOW Super Enzymes, helps to digest food and supplements ingested into the stomach. If you cannot digest your food properly, then spending money on supplements will be a waste.
I use Charles Poliquin’s Biosignature method of determining how many pills to consume. You take up to 7 pills during a meal. During this process, you will be looking for a warm feeling in your belly, like you just drank hot tea. Here is how the process works:
You will always take the dosage halfway through the meal.
Take 1 pill half way through your breakfast and then finish breakfast.
If you feel nothing, take 2 pills at lunch.
If you feel nothing, take 3 at dinner and so on until you feel warmth in your belly or up to 7 pills.
Once you feel the warmth, say at 6 pills, you know that you should be taking 5 pills with meals. Most people end up taking 5-7 pills because we are so deficient in producing HCl.
The second most important supplement will be a rotation between Omega-3 and a 3-6-9 fish oil. Fish oils have been shown to decrease body fat, decrease inflammation and improve mental status.
The last supplement I would recommend is a good multi-vitamin. Even if you eat healthy and organic, stress and environment take such a toll on our bodies that it is advantageous to supplement with other vitamins and minerals for optimal functioning… unless your doctor has told you otherwise. Ladies, due to your monthly cycle, you should look for vitamins that contain some level of iron (speak with your doctor for personal needs). I would also recommend a multi-vitamin that needs to be taken several times a day because our bodies cannot absorb a day’s worth of vitamins in a single pill.
Thanks for the questions, keep them coming and stay healthy!
Photograph by: Matt Pendleton Photography Fitness Model: Steffi Sorenson