How to Bring Your Nutritionist to Tears

I recently received this testimonial from a client, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it. Honestly, I get so emotional every time I read it, I haven’t been able to process it very well! But I finally decided to just share it here. I am so blessed to be able to do this work and make a difference in clients’ lives, and I am so thankful that people like Lori trust me to be a part of their healing process.

When I initially started working with Ellen in May 2014, my secret goal was to lose weight.  We spoke at great lengths about how weight loss should not be a goal.  Choose better health, higher stamina, fewer energy dips during the day – but do not choose weight loss as a goal. 

I already had gastric bypass in 2004 – which means I completely scrambled my insides – just to lose weight.  I lost 165 pounds back then but about 75 of those pounds had crept back on over the years.  We all tell ourselves we are having surgery to be healthier, but many of us don’t change our diet; we just eat less of whatever horrible foods we were eating before.  I have spent my entire life feeling like the extra weight was my problem.  Every other time I’ve had to speak with a nutritionist, they spent a ton of time telling me what not to do.  And when someone tells me not to do something, I want to do it more.  Ellen has given me the information and tools to make my own decisions. 

Not one single doctor or nutritionist has ever gotten to the root of my actual problem:  I was eating low quality foods and most likely not digesting them properly.  As Ellen has told me, I was on the Standard American Diet.  I wouldn’t have known what a healthy meal looked like if it hit me in the face.  Initially, I did the minimum with Ellen.  Yes, I made diet changes (I cut a lot of sugar from my diet).  I started making most of my food at home.  I chose higher quality supplements.  I lost some weight, which I was not so secretly happy about.  But more importantly, thanks to the proper nutrition, I felt more fantastic than I ever had.  I even started to become at peace with my still-naturally large body. 

Then in September of 2015, a new goal was thrown into my lap.  My liver panels shot up and I realized I had to get a little more serious about my health.  Ellen gave me a comprehensive plan to help heal my liver and aid in digestion (as the weight loss surgery had made me unable to properly digest most of my foods, which means I was losing out on important nutrients).  In addition to continuing to eat good foods and only do exercise I actually enjoy, I decided to stop taking my birth control pill.  I had been on the pill for 25 years, so my body never had the chance to learn how to function properly in the hormone department.  I also decided to stop taking an immunosuppressant shot for my psoriasis, which could have been adding to my liver problems. 

In January 2016, I found out that my liver panels are back down to near normal levels – something I have not seen in many years.  In the process, I even lost ten pounds over the holidays.  Again, it was not a goal, but it was a natural result of changing the foods and taking my supplements.  I do not ever count calories (or beat myself up if I eat something that is not so great for me).  I also feel like eating the proper foods helps me feel in control of my life in general.  I have spent many years being a compulsive overeater, which can lead to disordered thinking in other areas of my life.  I don’t want to say that my disordered thoughts and eating have been cured, but I will say that I have had many more calm days by following Ellen’s advice.  I have faced a few tough challenges in the last year, all of which would have normally touched off a binge.  I have not felt like binging through any of those times.  That’s a huge win for me.  Ellen has quite literally saved my life, and I will always appreciate her for that. 

Label Me Confused

I’ve written in the past about why I think it’s so important to buy organic whenever possible (read this!). But, with so many food labels and quality “badges” on food these days, it can be hard to know which labels are meaningful and which are just hype.

Consumer Reports has created a sister site called Greener Choices, and they’ve done a terrific job of explaining what eco-labels on your food really mean. You can search by product, category, or certifier, and easily compare labels using their report cards. Check it out here.

Below is a graphic showing some of the more common eco-label badges you’ll find in stores, and Consumer Reports’ ratings of those badges based on verifiable standards, consistency, transparency, and independence.

Interestingly, there is a movement afoot to ban entirely the use of the word “natural” in labeling. The FDA has no definition or standards for the use of that word at all, and such products can include artificial colors, flavors, synthetics, GMOs, and pesticides. Read more about bogus “natural” greenwashing here.

What’s the moral of the story?

Caveat emptor!

Courtesy of Edible Monterey Bay magazine.

Courtesy of Edible Monterey Bay magazine.

Healthy, or Obsessed?

I almost turned into a maniac in Safeway last week.

You see, I buy all my food in one of two places: Whole Foods, or the farmers market. My family has made the choice to buy almost exclusively organic, whenever possible, for both our health and the health of the planet. We buy very few things at all that come in any sort of package, and cook just about everything from scratch. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’s pricier than buying conventional or pre-packaged. Yes, it’s a luxury some people cannot afford. I understand this. But we’ve decided this is our value system, that the quality of what goes in our body is worth the expense and trouble. It’s what I teach, and what I try to live. As I like to say, when it comes to health, you can pay now, or you can pay later. Your choice.

So, anyway. Every couple of months I go to Safeway for a few large items I just can’t get elsewhere. Cat litter. Heavy duty aluminum foil. Trash bags. Bounty. (Because, I love you, Whole Foods, but those paper towels you sell are ridiculous. YOU try cleaning up cat vomit with one of those tree shavings!) And I’m walking around the aisles last week, and I’m appalled.

There’s almost no FOOD in Safeway.

Sure, there are endless aisles of grocery products. Convenience packages. Big brand names. Lots of food-like substances. But all I see is an array of chemicals, additives, preservatives, factory-farmed cruelty, artificial flavors and colorings, and high fructose corn syrup. And it was all I could do to not start running around the aisles screaming, “RUN! GET OUT! Put down the bright yellow American cheese slices and the Squirt soda!  Save yourselves and your children! THIS IS NOT FOOD!!!!!”

Instead, I bought my cat litter, bit my tongue, and left.

You see, a big part of my job is understanding that everyone is in a different place on their journey. I have to honor and respect that, and not try to push people to be somewhere they aren’t ready to be. I strive to focus on living what I preach, being a good role model, and not making anyone feel bad about not being ready to make the same choices I make. I am here as an educator and guide, and I want to be respectful and know that my clients (and hopefully my friends and family) will find their way when they are at the right time.

For myself, I also have to make sure I keep a balanced perspective on things. It’s easy to start to get insulated in my home-cooked world of organic deliciousness, and to start to fear the unknown when it comes to food. I still eat out, and when I do, I choose the healthiest place with the healthiest options I can, and then I make a conscious choice to just let go. Sure, maybe they cooked my food in canola oil. Yes, that salad isn’t organic romaine. I won’t die. Not today, not in ten years, not from some conventionally grown produce. If the bulk of what I eat is healthy, I know I’m doing the best I can for my body and my planet.

There’s a new disorder you may have heard of, called orthorexia nervosa, or orthorexia. It’s defined as an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food, and while it’s not an official clinical diagnosis yet, it’s a real thing and is on the rise. If eating “healthily” causes significant distress or negative consequences in your life, you’ve gone too far. I’ve been asked by clients if their (and my) concern about eating healthy is something they should worry about. Is it, by definition, pathological? And my answer is generally no. Your family and friends may not understand the choices you’re making–why you’re passing on the piece of birthday cake, why you don’t want any of that cream sauce. You’re doing the best you can for you and your health, and if they love you, they need to understand that.

Just don’t go nutty and start screaming in Safeway, okay?

Top 10 Reasons to Buy Local

This list is adapted slightly from one that appeared in a publication of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers ( I thought it was a nice summary of all the benefits received by our health, our environment, and our planet when we buy and eat locally grown food.

1. Better for you.  When fresh fruits and vegetables are locally grown, picked, and processed, the vitamins and minerals they contain are at their peak. Fresh produce loses nutrients quickly, and often spends 7 – 14 days in transit. In that delay before it reaches your table, sugars turn to starches, and plant cells shrink and lose vitality. Fresh local produce is more nutritious.

2. Taste and appearance. Local farmers can grow tastier varieties if they know they’ll be eaten locally and not trucked across the country. Local produce is more delicious because it can be picked at peak ripeness.

3. Supports farm families. When you buy directly from family farmers at farmers markets, your money goes directly to help them continue farming and growing good food. Since 1935, the US has lost 4.7 million farms, and farmers today receive less than 10 cents of the retail food dollar.

4. Preserves genetic diversity. In industrial agriculture, plants are bred for their ability to ripen uniformly, survive packing, and last a long time on the shelf. Small local farms are instead able to grow many different varieties to provide a longer season and the best flavors.

5. Lighter carbon footprint. On average, food travels 1500 – 2500 miles from the farm to plate. In that process, each calorie of food produced requires an average of 10 calories of fossil fuel inputs from travel, refrigeration, and processing. Purchasing locally grown food saves the fuel needed to transport food, reduces air pollution, and combats carbon emissions.

6. Preserves open space. Family farms are well-managed places where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued. Good stewards of the land grow cover crops that prevent erosion and replace nutrients. Farms also are the perfect environment for many species of wildlife. Buying locally grown food helps ensure the survival of these spaces and preserves the agricultural landscape.

7. Builds trust. Many issues and concerns of food safety can be allayed from the assurance that comes from directly speaking with growers at a farmers market.

8. Local economic strength. Buying local food keeps your dollars in the local economy, providing jobs and creating a more vibrant community.

9. Builds community. When you buy directly from a local farmer, you’re keeping the connection between grower and consumer alive, and supporting a local business. Learning who grows your food teaches you about where you live.

10. Investment in our future. By supporting local growers today, we ensure there will be farms in our community tomorrow, and that future generations will have access to nourishing and abundant food.

Multivitamins: A Magic Pill?

I recently was at a networking event and had the opportunity to have a skin scan done using the Pharmanex BioPhoton scanner. This device uses a laser to harmlessly measure your skin levels of carotenoids in about 90 seconds. This gives you a picture of your overall body antioxidant levels, and possibly therefore how protected your DNA is from free radical damage that can lead to cancer. The reading is just on a relative scale–not a measurement of units of anything–and reflects your diet of about a month prior. I held my breath, thinking, “If this comes out poorly, I’m gonna have a lot of explaining to do!”

I was super excited to see my score, as I ACED IT with an off-the-chart 74,000. (Can you tell I’m kind of competitive when it comes to test taking?) The average American scores around 25,000. When Dr. Oz, that paragon of good health, had the device on his show, he scored a 75,000. I’m feeling pretty darn good about all those raw veggies and fruits I eat every day! Here’s a short video of Dr. Oz taking the test:

Of course, the company that does the scans is counting on most people scanning poorly, so they can then recommend and sell their antioxidant supplements to you. I was however very gratified to hear the rep tell people that it is indeed possible to get all the nutrients you need from a well-balanced diet. HOORAY! We also talked to a few people about the fact that if your digestion is compromised, you might have the best diet in the world and not be able to absorb and utilize those nutrients you’re eating. You know, the dreaded “expensive poop.” Not to mention, if your diet is deficient in healthy fats, you won’t be able to absorb and use the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K.

So the question then is, If you know your diet isn’t full of the recommended more than 6 half-cup servings of fruits and veggies every day, and your digestion isn’t a smoothly ticking machine, shouldn’t you just start taking some multivitamins and antioxidant supplements (like Vitamins A, E and C) to cover all your bases?


Multiple studies have shown that supplementing with high doses of antioxidant vitamins can in fact increase your risk of morbidity and mortality from a variety of cancers. However, we know that people who eat large quantities of fruits and vegetables have lower incidences of heart disease and cancer. The difference is, Mother Nature in all her wisdom has packaged antioxidants and other nutrients in perfect little balanced bites of foods. Trying to one-up her by taking imbalanced loads of nutrients in ratios never intended to be ingested upsets the natural order of things. It seems that the large doses in fact impact our immune system function negatively, with undesirable results, rather than shoring it up as we hoped to when we swallowed the pills. This column sums up the issues nicely, if you’d like to know more: 

I do not recommend general broad-spectrum daily multivitamins or supplementation. When I do recommend supplements, it’s because of a measurable deficiency (commonly, i.e., Vitamin D and zinc), or because we are trying to use a therapeutic dose for a set period of time to help the body recover balance and deal with a specific health issue. Popping large dose supplements because “more is better” is definitely not the way to go.

Feed Your Good Bugs, Eat Fermented Foods!

Many of my clients and friends have heard me say, Eat something raw at every meal and something fermented every day.


Besides the fact that fermented foods are phenomenally tasty, they feed the beneficial bacteria that live in our gut. You may have heard a lot of buzz recently about the “microbiome”–this is just fancy talk for the world of bugs, good and bad, that live both on and in us. About 100 trillion bacteria colonize our body, which is more than 10 times the number of cells in your body. Of those bacteria, the majority live in the large intestine. The composition of your gut flora changes depending on diet, lifestyle, and age, but at any given time we are carrying 3 to 4 pounds of bacteria, made up of over 800 species.

The good bacteria in our guts provide protection from infection by bad bacteria, stimulate the immune system, help to digest foods, and synthesize some vitamins, such as K and B12. If fed properly with vegetables and fruits, the good bacteria produce short chain fatty acids, which contribute to the health of the cells of the gut lining and provide you with an extra source of energy. The good bugs also work to correct overgrowth of bad bacteria which cause inflammation. Bad bacteria also cause food cravings, by sending chemical messages to our brains that affect our appetite and mood, making us feel anxious and crave comfort foods like refined carbs and chocolate. A proper balance of good bugs is also thought to promote maintenance of a healthy weight by controlling appetite and cravings.

What we eat determines the kind of bugs we will grow in our gut gardens, as the bacteria follow the food. Probiotic and fermented foods include good bacteria, which aid digestion and help to balance the gut flora in a positive direction. Some great sources of fermented foods include:

Fermented dairy. Be sure that the label says it includes live and active cultures. Avoid any added fruits, as they often are very high in sugar, which is the number one bad-bug-feeding ingredient we want to avoid. Kefir is a tangy yogurt drink you might try. Other sources include buttermilk and aged cheeses. Goat and sheep milk yogurts are often well-tolerated by those who cannot digest cow’s milk–although the fermentation of any milk greatly increases its digestibility. Many people who cannot drink cow’s milk can eat yogurt with no problem. Of course, to support general health, we want all our dairy products to be organic and full fat.

Coconut kefir. Made from coconut water, this tangy fermented drink is brimming with probiotics. Sold in small bottles at Whole Foods and other health stores, you only need about a shotglass-full a day.

Pickled vegetables. These include brined pickles and olives with no added sugars or vinegars (meaning they were naturally allowed to ferment with the addition of just salt and maybe whey), unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickled beets and other vegetables. Beet kvass is a fermented drink made from beet juice, and is a great option.

Fermented soy. This includes foods such as natto and miso, but should be used in small amounts and with caution, as soy can be highly undigestible, and does contain plant estrogens.

Sourdough bread. Ah, bread. I’m talking about the real good stuff here, usually made by artisanal bakers from long-fermented sourdough starter. This is often more tolerable to people who cannot handle wheat gluten digestively.

Kombucha. Technically fermented sweet tea, look for one with the lowest sugar amount possible, meaning it was allowed to fully ferment and “eat” up all the natural sugars.

One word of caution: if you aren’t currently eating any fermented foods, you’ll want to start to slowly introduce them, thinking of them as a condiment or side dish. If your gut balance is off, adding a huge influx of good bacteria can create a bit of a “war” with the bad bugs, leading to digestive upset.

So remember, something raw at every meal, and something fermented every day!

The Magical Formula for Eating Like a Wellness Rockstar

A recent survey conducted by the National Cancer Institute asked Americans about their diet from the previous day. Only 9% had consumed three or more servings of vegetables or two or more servings of fruit. One in nine had no fruits or vegetables at all. In the United States, 46% of every food dollar is spent on meals and snacks away from home. The typical American consumes about 140 pounds of sugar a year. Clearly, our focus is not on healthy eating!

The decision to get rid of chronic health problems, prevent disease, and improve the quality of your life begins with changing your food choices. Real food provides your body with the fuel it needs to optimally function, as well as the raw materials to begin to detoxify and heal.

A balanced, properly prepared whole foods diet can be a powerful form of resetting the body. Too often, we don’t make the connection between what we eat and some of the symptoms we suffer. Of course, there’s much more to living a healthy balanced life than simply the food we eat. However, it’s a great start! Here are some very basic principles to help you make your food work for and not against you.

The Magical Guideline for Eating Like a Nutrition Rockstar:

Aim for 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat. All day, every day.

About half the food on your plate should be carbohydrates—vegetables, healthy grains. Add a good portion of protein at every meal. Then, add some fat. It’s that simple!

Some more details…

CARBOHYDRATES (aka anything that comes from plants):

  • Vegetables: Eat huge amounts—you cannot overdo it here—especially lots of leafy greens. Go for rich color and variety. Eat something raw at every meal and all the colors of the rainbow.
  • Fruit: Eat moderate amounts of fresh fruit.
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates: The average American gets 50% of their calories from refined carbohydrates. Refined carbs (i.e. white bread, white rice, pasta, instant oatmeal) are grains that have had the fiber, vitamin E, B vitamins, bran and germ removed—all the nutrients, which stresses your digestive and endocrine system. Eating refined carbs also uses up precious vitamins and minerals to process them. Instead, try brown rice, whole grain oats, quinoa, amaranth, and millet.
  • Sweeteners: Minimal, very occasional. Less is best. If you must, opt for real sugar or maple syrup over anything artificial (NutraSweet, Sweet and Low…)
  • Avoid refined sugar. Refined sugar increases insulin and adrenal hormone production, depletes vitamins and minerals, feeds yeast and other “bad” organisms in the gut, leads to mood and energy swings, increases cravings, disrupts sleep, and increases pain and inflammation.


  • Pastured, organic, grass-fed meats, poultry, and eggs are excellent, healthy sources of protein.
  • Dairy products should be unsweetened organic whole milk-based only (no low fat, no sugar/fruit added).
  • Consider healthy sources of vegan protein as well: hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds, nuts, beans and legumes, and spirulina.


  • For the past 60 years, Americans have been on low-fat and/or poor quality fat diets. We are a society extremely deficient in healthy fatty acids. On top of that, the fats and oils many of us have been using are refined, unstable and dangerous to consume, as the processing methods these fats are exposed to make them toxic to our bodies.
  • The research from decades ago that suggested that fat consumption was responsible for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity has now been debunked as flawed and false. Problems arise when we eat unhealthy fats, such as hydrogenated oils.
  • Fats benefit our health and wellbeing in so many ways: they satisfy our appetite, they are the building blocks of healthy hormones, they enhance mineral absorption, they provide a long-burning source of energy, they are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes, and they aid in the formation of anti-inflammatory substances in the body.
  • Good fats are vital for every aspect of health: nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado. Avoid “vegetable oil” or “canola oil”—no oils in clear bottles on the grocery shelves.

LIQUIDS: Drink good quality water throughout the day. As a general guideline, drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day.  You can add fresh citrus or mint for flavor. No sodas, juice, vitamin water, or sweetened drinks. You need water to keep your cells hydrated and protected, to eliminate waste and ensure the health of your mucus membranes. Adequate hydration will improve a number of health problems including sinusitis, constipation, inflammation, allergies, fatigue, joint pain, headaches, and many others.

Remember: Always choose the best quality products possible. When possible, choose Certified Organic.

Avoid processed foods, fast foods, chemically treated foods, and industrially prepared foods. Pay attention to the quality of the ingredients that go in your mouth. Eat foods as close to Nature as possible.  Shop, plan, and cook for yourself. Avoid packages. Just eat real food. (There is no pasta tree!)

Pay attention to how the food you eat makes you feel. If you’re getting bloated, headaches, energy crashes in the afternoon, think back to what you’ve eaten all day. Did you have enough protein and fat at breakfast? Look for patterns. Focus on the foods that make you feel good. This is a balanced way to eat that shouldn’t make you feel deprived, but rather should make you feel physically and emotionally healthy and vibrant–like a wellness rockstar! Occasional parties and splurges are a part of life, so enjoy. But you may find that you feel so healthy eating like this, the splurges just aren’t worth the physical after-effects!

But How Do You Get Your Protein?!

“But how do you get your protein?!”

Vegetarians and vegans hear this question ALL too often. The fact is, there are lots of great sources of dietary protein that don’t require the consumption of animals or dairy products.

Now, having said that, I just want to go on record that I generally don’t recommend a vegan diet. It’s extremely hard as a pure vegan to eat a fully balanced diet, especially as most people are far too busy to put in the effort required to make sure they are checking all the nutritional boxes along the way. (Note: I didn’t say impossible, just extremely hard. Save the hate mail, please!) We see a lot of nutritional deficiencies, fatty acid deficiencies, and blood sugar handling problems develop over time in people following vegan diets. Vegetarians–those who do eat eggs and dairy–are generally more successful at balancing their macro- and micro-nutrients.

Having said THAT, I *DO* believe that vegan sources of protein are something everyone should incorporate into a healthy balanced diet. Following are some of my favorites.

Peas: One cup of green peas has as much protein as a glass of milk. Add peas to pesto—peas, basil or cilantro, oil, pine nuts, cheese or nutritional yeast.

Quinoa: Technically a seed, not a grain, quinoa has 8g of protein per cup cooked. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 of the amino acids considered essential for life (and which must be eaten, as the body cannot manufacture them). Therefore, it is considered a “perfect food.” Sadly, some sustainability issues are arising, as countries that grow quinoa are becoming monocultures in order to feed our demands for it.  Serve as a hot cereal, use as a base for pasta-salad type of recipes, or make as a side dish with added herbs and spices.

Buckwheat: with 6 g of protein per cooked cup, this food comes from a plant similar to rhubarb and is not a grain at all. Buckwheat soba noodles, buckwheat flour for baking and pancakes, and buckwheat kasha groats as a side dish are just some of the ways to incorporate this.

Nuts and nut butters: Nuts contain lots of protein as well as healthy fat. Buy raw organic for best health benefits (not roasted), and butters that are just nuts and salt, with no added oils or sugars. Nuts are high in calories, but are a great part of a balanced diet.

Beans: two cups of kidney beans have 25 g of protein. And you don’t have to buy dried and soak overnight—canned organic beans are perfectly fine. And if you’re not worried about sodium (which most healthy people don’t need to be), you don’t even have to rinse them! Beans combined with brown rice are a perfect protein, together providing all 9 essential amino acids. Don’t forget about chickpeas, lentils, and all the other wonderful legumes out there.

Tofu and tempeh: Recommended with a bunch of caveats. First, organic ONLY—conventional soy is full of horrible toxins and is entirely GMO. I’m not flexible on this one. Second, soy contains compounds that make its proteins very hard on your body to digest, which leads to gastric upset in lots of people, as well as hidden stressors on your liver and pancreas. Fermenting soy, such as in tempeh or miso, removes much but not all of these compounds. There are also concerns about the estrogenic properties of soy and what it does to the body’s hormone balance. Organic soy should be treated as an occasional treat—if you can digest it—and not be an everyday staple of your diet.

Leafy greens: Greens don’t contain as much protein as nuts or beans, but a good amount is present, plus all the healthy antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Greens should be a large part of a balanced diet, whether you’re a carnivore or not.

Hemp: Hemp seeds or hearts have 10 g of protein in 2 tablespoons. They’re also packed full of minerals, and a rare vegan source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Great to add to yogurt, oatmeal, salads, smoothies, baked goods, or in the form of milk as a dairy-free milk substitute.

Chia seeds: Almost 5 g of protein in 2 tablespoons.  Full of fiber, minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Again, great in yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods.But also, when added to liquid they release a gelatinous coating that is great for creating vegan puddings. My favorite is to add ¼ cup of chia seeds to 1 cup of full fat coconut milk (from a can) and ¼ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut, plus a teaspoon of vanilla. Stir well and refrigerate, and in a couple of hours you have a delicious coconut pudding that is full of protein.

Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, and poppy are all full of healthy protein and fats. I never eat a salad without at least three of these guys on top!

Spirulina algae: 4 g of protein per tablespoon. Sprinkle it on popcorn, add it to smoothies, bake it into energy bars. This dark green powerhouse is full of amino acids and minerals, and is very easy to digest.

One vegan protein I do not recommend: seitan. Made from wheat gluten, seitan is a concentrated hit of the inflammatory proteins that cause so many people problems. Even if you don’t think you have a wheat sensitivity, wheat creates inflammation throughout our bodies, from our joints to our bellies to our brains. While a little bit of organic wheat is ok sometimes, seitan is an enormous quantity of wheat gluten, which I don’t think is a good idea for anyone to ingest.

Healthy Yummy Satisfying FAT

My last post talked about why fat doesn’t make you fat. (Sugar does!) Just to recap why we need fat, our bodies are made to run off of long-burning healthy dietary fats. Fat plays a ton of role in our bodies, including serving as an energy source, making up the membrane wall of every healthy cell, being necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), serving as the building blocks for our sex hormones, promoting the healing process, making us feel satisfied and full, and making our food taste good.

So, what is fat?

Fats, or lipids, are found in most foods. (Even kale has fat in it!) Fats are classified by the length of the molecule (short, medium, or long chain), and their bond saturation with hydrogen (saturated, unsaturated). Within the family of unsaturated fats, we find the healthy Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. There are even two fatty acids (the building blocks of fats) that are considered “essential”, which means they are necessary to sustain life, but our bodies cannot make them and so they must be ingested.

That’s a lot of chemistry!

Here’s what you need to know. Incorporate good sources of fat into your diet! Choose a variety every day, as each source of fat is comprised of different types of molecules and different beneficial fatty acids. Good choices include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Raw, cold-pressed oils from nuts and seeds (Note: These oils are in dark containers and refrigerated. Avoid the oils in clear plastic bottles on the grocery store shelf.)
  • Cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • Saturated fats from healthy sources, such as organic grass fed beef
  • Butter and other raw dairy fats
  • Raw, organic coconut oil
  • Avocados

Fats to avoid:

  • Hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated fats and oils
  • Highly processed vegetable oils (corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, canola)
  • Trans fatty acids (from hydrogenated oils)
  • Fried foods

These fats are all dangerous as they cause inflammation at the cellular level. Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases, and heart disease in particular. Although for years we believed that unsaturated oils such as canola were actually good for the heart, we now know they cause inflammation and disease, and are to be avoided.

Here’s the bottom line: You don’t have to limit healthy fat in your diet. Because fat is so satisfying, it’s very hard to eat too much of it.  So what does that look like on your plate? About one-third of your plate should be some kind of protein, including animal (meats) and vegetable (beans) sources. And most of the rest should be vegetables of all kinds. Healthy fats, like avocados, coconut oil, and butter can be used liberally. Limit grains and fruits, and always avoid processed, packaged, denatured foods.