One of the coolest things about releasing new books (like the one I have coming out in TWO WEEKS!!) is how much free stuff I get to give away.
As I announced early last week, I am releasing a new book on weight loss for women (huzzah!!) on January 1, 2015. That is exactly fifteen days from today, which is awesome.
This book is… well. It’s pretty great.
What I’m trying to do with Weight Loss Unlocked: The Paleo Woman’s Solution – in a nutshell – is bring the same revolutionary ‘women have unique bodies!’ perspective to weight loss that I’ve brought to fasting, carbohydrates, exercising, and all things paleo and women’s health.
The more we understand about womanly stuff like estrogen, progesterone, female metabolism, and the like — the better we can lose weight and maintain healthy weights in the long run. As women. Without messing with our metabolisms…. an unfortunate problem that so many women have to deal with, even on the paleo diet.
But we don’t HAVE to. We are suffering unnecessarily.
You really can use your female body and hormones to work for you rather than against you like it normally happens.
Which is awesome.
I know it sounds crazy. But it’s true.
And I am here to show you the way.
So anyway. The book is coming out and that’s cool. Yet even before I release it officially I am going to be giving away a new and awesome weight loss tool:
The Paleo Woman’s Smoothie Book
21 smoothies for 21 days. Full of nourishing fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Packed with vitamin K, magnesium, and other nutrients its hard to get even on a strict paleo diet. 100% gluten, dairy, nightshade free. Most are nut free. Super awesome for all gut-sensitive and autoimmune and leaky gut types. (AIP woooop!)
Plus its super fun with some of my favorite new experiments… I know, I know, I hate making the time for cooking… but smoothies, they’re not like cooking, right? 🙂 Only kinda sorta? I’ve kind of developed a thing for smoothies. And I make a hell of a Greensicle smoothie, I can tell you that right now.
Or maybe my Maple Bacon smoothie is better. No, it’s the Greensicle one. Damn, I don’t know. You tell me.
Download the FREE smoothie recipes immediately and listen (if you want) to me ramble in a ridiculous video about them here: http://unlocked.paleoforwomen.com/smoothie-book/.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it…. that might be possible!
I’ll be in touch AGAIN about more awesome weight loss tips (did you see my post from yesterday on weight gain and PMS?) and awesome deals on Weight Loss Unlocked: The Paleo Woman’s Solution super, super soon.
Now go grab it for free, and start using it immediately! It’s only available for the next 14 days!
Here: http://unlocked.paleoforwomen.com/smoothie-book/ !
I recently became a bit obsessed with gut flora research via a long story:
I began getting migraines again this winter after eating a lower-potassium diet to help with my electrolyte problem. Low potassium is associated with migraines. It didn’t help that I was visiting my father, who likes to cook with MSG. To help with the migraines, I took Aspirin, which is an NSAID. It worked, so I began taking Aspirin for my regular headaches, and that helped, too. However: NSAID’s are notoriously bad for your gut flora. My skin began breaking out a little bit. This could have been caused by anything (I thought: weight loss, fiber in my diet, increased progesterone, poor sleep, dirty towels… skin is complicated!), but I thought “maybe it’s the NSAIDs depleting my gut flora.”
I went to Whole Foods post haste and got kombucha on tap.
(My favorite brand available both in stores and online is THIS one)
I’m drinking a couple of jars a week.
My skin looks great – I’m not sure if its from the kombucha.
Something I did most definitely notice, however, is that my cravings for food, and particularly sweet food, have somewhat dramatically decreased. After just my first few gulps, I felt a difference. These days I walk around during the day, not even thinking about food, and I stop eating meals without needing willpower, and I wonder: is this how ‘normal’ people feel?
So I asked myself if there was a connection. Could my increased freedom from cravings be a result of kombucha’s notorius bifidobacterium?
Turns out, it most certainly can.
How it works: your gut flora
Gut flora–which are the bacteria that live in your gut and that number in the trillions–are responsible for a whole host of functions in the body. They play a role in digestive comfort, in being constipated or having diarrhea, in immune system health, in depression and anxiety, in insulin resistance, in obesity, and in inflammation. Because these critters are so significant for these issues, they are significant for just about every noncommunicable disease you can imagine.
Gut flora are incredibly important–perhaps the most important aspect of your body–for fighting off disease.
Why are gut bugs so important? Because your gut is the barrier between you and the outside world. Good gut flora help you process nutrients and protect yourself from toxins. When good gut flora populations decrease (as mine may have with my aspirin use), and/or when bad gut flora infiltrate the gut and outnumber the good guys, health problems ensue.
How it works: gut flora and cravings theory #1
One theory for how gut flora influence your gut – and there seems to be reasonable evidence for this – is that your gut flora condition you to continue to feed their own specific populations. Carrot-loving gut bugs beget carrot-loving gut bugs, for example (if a fair bit oversimplified.)
So gut flora from particular foods may make you continue to crave those particular foods. This is great if you eat a lot of natural, healthy foods. This is less good news if you eat a lot of processed foods. The more processed foods you eat, the more bad bacteria will reproduce. They will hijack your cravings, and you’ll crave even more of the same old bad food.
If you are a processed food / sugar junkie, it may be hard to switch your diet, but being sure to include good, natural, healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, animal products and fermented may help you crave those more and more. Read my book, Sexy By Nature or Weight Loss Unlocked for my advice on the healthiest diet.
How it works: gut flora and cravings theory #2
The second theory, which is not exclusive but complementary to the first, is that good gut bacteria like bifidobacterium (these are the famous good guys) cause the body to produce satiation hormones.
Glucuagon-like-peptide-1 is one such satiation hormone. It increases in the “colonal mucus” (sexy, right?) of rats fed oligofructose, a laboratory carbohydrate that resembles the carbohydrates found in many fruits and vegetables. PYY and ghrelin, two other satiation hormones, may also increase in response to oligofructose. Rats that consume oligofructose spontaneously eat less, cease creating fat cells, increase insulin sensitivity, and improved glucose tolerance.
As for humans…we already know that probiotics help with obesity. This happens via biochemical modulation of fat metabolism. Yet it also appears to probably happen via increased satiation and spontaneously reduced food intake.
The more bifidobacteria and other good gut flora you have, the more satiation hormones they will create in response to a meal.
A good probiotic supplement can help with this if you aren’t always able to include raw fermented foods. This is my favorite supplement. And here is my favorite book on fermented foods, if you’re interested in giving it a try!
Moral of the story
There are a lot of different physical and psychological components of food cravings.
For one – you need to eat food. I talk way too much to women who want to reduce food cravings but are eating 1200 calories a day. So be sure you eat when you are hungry all of the time, probably at least 1800 calories a day (though this varies widely), before you address any other issues.
Second, emotional issues should be dealt with. Is food your mother? Your addiction? Your stress-relief? Your boredom? Your celebration? Or do you eat because you spend so much willpower trying not to eat that you end up overeating in the end? Psychological issues with food are also supremely important.
Third, you may consider physiological approaches. Sometimes the issue cannot be resolved psychologically because there’s an underlying problem. Amino acid therapy — boosting serotonin and dopamine levels by consuming precursors 5HTP and tyrosine — can help regulate appetite if your serotonin and dopamine levels are low.
Gut bugs can also help, as we’ve seen. (They can also boost your serotonin levels! Two birds with one stone!)
Consume fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, or grass-fed yogurt or kefir. If those are not available to you, consider a probiotic supplement that contains at least bifidobacterium, as well as other varieties.
You can also try a probiotic supplement. I prefer whole foods since they provide they provide a high degree of variability of bacterial species. Nonetheless probiotics have been shown to improve weight loss and support mental health in studies, so if you go this route (like this option or this one) you can also benefit.
You can also support your gut flora population not only by eating the bugs themselves – which is what you do with the fermented foods – but by consuming their preferred foods. Gut flora love to eat fibrous fruits and veggies, particularly those which contain inulin. These are greens, summer squash, onions, garlic, leeks… and jerusalem artichokes are also a particularly good source. This article demonstrates just how effective this strategy is.
Kombucha (linked to my favorite brand on Amazon) is really helping me. I can’t say if it will help you. Really, I cannot. We all have different bodies and we all have our own unique cures. But I love how much more stable my blood sugar feels and my meals are. I no longer feel so much like I must eat a sweet with every meal. I love my gut bugs very, very much. For this reason, as well as for so many others.
As a woman who has never made more than $12,000 / year, it’s not very easy for me to get my hands on grass fed beef. In recent months that limitation has been further complicated by the fact that I’ve been living in Detroit, Michigan, and just about no one here eats grass fed animals, not even people who shop at Whole Foods.
There is one farmer’s market downtown every Sunday, and I believe they have one or two grass fed stands.
In any case, this means it was an enormous (enormous!) delight, benefit, and pleasure, to be contacted by the incredibly gracious Tx Organics in early March and asked to participate in a grass fed taste test.
Check ’em out @ http://txbarorganics.com
Hell yes, I said.
So a dry-ice packed box arrived for me overnight, shipped from California (!). Two sirloins and two packs of ground beef. Talk about service. (!)
The true intention of the taste test (which is being conducted by some other paleo advocates) is to test grass fed beef from the Pacific Northwest – directly from the Tx Organics farm – against grass fed beef from around other parts of the country. Since I told Tx I hadn’t been able to get my hands on a grass fed animal in quite some time, they were eight million kinds of gracious and sent the animals along anyway, saying I could just compare the grass to the grain fed.
Since I am a n00b, and all.
I knew paleo fx was coming, so I hurried up and cooked the selections ASAP. First up was the ground beef taste test. In the morning I made conventional ground beef, and in the evening I made the good stuff.
No fancy sauces. Just the beef, salt, pepper, and my frying pan.
(I swear I didn’t try to make this look unappetizing… just beef in a pan that happens to look like plain old grocery beef in a pan. I figure there’s no point to dressing it up in fancy food photos for a taste test. I’m not trying to sell you a recipe. Or anything, come to think of it.)
The good stuff:
Another photo I’m not trying to dress up at all. The visual difference? The first meat was definitely grey-ish, while the grass fed alternative has a richer, warmer color. It’s also a very different texture – no pink slime here! – but that is quite possibly due to variations in fat content and in grinding and packing techniques. Nonetheless I can tell you absolutely right now which one has a more palatable and enjoyable texture.
What’s the taste difference?
More than I can possibly say!
In the Tx Organics ground beef, I noticed right away a certain buttery flavor. I don’t know how to describe it better than that. It’s rich and tastes to me what I think a cow should taste like… literally. It tastes like a cow looks.
This is compared to my typical grain fed stuff, which is a little coppery in that bloody kind of way–and I like that, don’t get me wrong–but which lacks pretty much any kind of other natural flavoring. There’s no complexity, and none of that cow-ness that I just don’t have the words for. Sweet, buttery, cow-ness.
The textures were quite different, too. The Tx Organics was soft and sort of melted in my mouth, and the grain fed is rough and dry. The grain was in the grey color spectrum, whereas the grassfed had a richer red-orange-brown color to it. Note that my cooking methods were the same for both and both selections of ground beef were between 85 and 92 percent lean, I’d guess.
So that was it for the ground beef. But the sirloins?
I rested a grain fed and a grass fed cut of meat with some simple salt and pepper.
Rested, thrown in hot pan. Whoopah!
I threw them in the pan. I got from them the exact same taste differences as I did with the ground beef: something coppery and delightful about my grain fed cow–it is still a cow, after all–but something complex and rich and buttery in the grass fed.
Moreover, the color of the Organics steak was vibrantly red and alive, the fat a buttery yellow color rather than pasty white (which means the steak is higher in vitamin A), the steak was thick and dense, the fat made an incredibly rich and sweet au jus, and the steak eight million kinds of softer than the floppy, dull looking grain fed.
More “not prettied” photography. Not selling you a recipe. Showing you my delightful experience… which was inhaled in all of about 14 seconds.
Was all the difference I interpreted a placebo? Did I convince myself the grass fed was better because I wanted it to be?
Well, it’s possible. I guess next time I’ll have to do it with blindfolds. But I don’t think so.
Why might I have been subject to a placebo effect?
Because the other difference between grain and grass fed beef is enormous. It’s for your (and others’!) health.
Here are the benefits of grass fed over grain fed cows:
-So far as we can tell, all beef contains the same amount of omega 6 fat, more or less, but grass fed cows contain more omega 3. Depending on the breed of cow, grass-fed beef contains between 2 and 5 times more omega-3s than grain-fed beef. Says this study, the average ratio of n-6:n-3 in grass fed beef is 1.53:1. In grain fed beef, this ratio jumps all up to 7.65:1. So, that’s a pretty hefty difference. On the other hand, this really isn’t an awesome source of omega 3s regardless, so don’t solely rely on it for healthy omega balance.
-Grass fed beef contains more stearic acid (the healthiest kind of saturated fat that is more or less proved to not raise blood cholesterol levels) than grain fed beef.
-CLA – conjugated linoleic acid – is an incredibly healthy fat that is 2-3 times more concentrated in grass fed than grain fed cows. CLA might be protective against heart disease and cancer and is a potent anti-oxidant that can boost brain function and weight loss. Grass fed beef is arguably the best source of CLA.
-Grass fed beef has a lot of antioxidants, including vitamin A and E, and also glutathione, which is critical for your body’s detox abilities.
-Zinc, iron, phosphorous, and other electrolytes like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, are all more naturally concentrated in grass fed beef.
So there you have it. Better tasting. Better for you. Better for the animals. Better for the planet (more on which in another post).
And an enormous thank you to Tx Bar Organics for making this possible — both in my own kitchen as well as out in the world at large. It hasn’t been easy getting the grass-fed movement up and running — these heroic ranchers are fighting a steeply uphill battle — so I have nothing but world’s of gratitude and respect for them and am going to start digging deep into my pockets to vote for health with my dollar.
Head over to Tx to check out their shipping programs — you can get a big discount if you order in bulk! Amazing!
Click here for the farm, and to see some beautiful photos and videos of cows and cuts in pasture, like the few featured below!
New York Strip
Thank you Tx Organics!!!
Tx Organics Grass fed Beef and pasture in California