Category Archives: EAT

How Hormones Affect Body Fat Regulation

Below is a list of just some of the hormones that affect body fat regulation and metabolism.  I hope this gives you a clearer idea of the wonderful complexity of our human system without making you feel overwhelmed.  Remember, even though understanding the role of hormones is important, it all comes back to actionable steps - like the ones I have listed out on the EAT page.


 

Insulin: (“the bank teller”) - Think of insulin like a bank teller that only accepts  it puts money in the bank (i.e. energy into the cells), but doesn’t release any back into circulation.  When insulin is high, it’s partner hormone glucagon is unable to release energy from the cells into the bloodstream.

Leptin: (“the weather reporter”) - Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells in the body. It acts on receptors in the hypothalamus of the brain, where it inhibits appetite.  In essence, it tells the brain how much fat the body is storing for energy.  However, through a condition called leptin resistance, it’s possible that this forecast is inaccurate and that the body will continue to store body fat well beyond what is necessary.  Think of if a weather reporter told you it was freezing outside – you’d bundle up!  But when you stepped outside, you realized it was 60 degrees and sunny, but it’s too late to turn back to change clothes.  Your body can work in the same way if it thinks we are low on essential body fat!

Cortisol: (“the emergency responder”) - Also known as the “stress hormone”, cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands to help the body recover from a fight or flight stress response.  When you get stressed out, cortisol is there to help.  However, chronically elevated levels of cortisol promotes insulin resistance and elevates leptin levels.  This has led to cortisol getting a bad rap, when in actuality it is an essential hormone to our survival – we just want to make sure it’s not overworking itself.

Glucagon: (“the ATM”) - Glucagon is a hormone secreted from the alpha cells of the pancreas in response to the demand for energy.  It lets the energy out of cells that insulin has stored.  When your body gets low on energy (or cash in this example), you can go to the ATM and withdraw more.  This keeps your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day.

Pregnancy Posts: Natural/Paleo Friendly PreNatals and Supplements

This is a guest post from Valerie, aka FreeFit Gal and soon to be FreeFit Mom!

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Today, I wanted to share with you how I used supplements throughout my pregnancy while being on a paleo/primal diet and what my personal experience was with them.  I know when I first became pregnant, I had a lot of questions, so hopefully I can give you some clues from my own research that will help you with your decision-making process.

At a little over 6 weeks, nausea & food aversions started kicking in. Luckily, those didn’t last long (only until about 12 weeks), but this list should be helpful to you whether the dreaded morning sickness strikes or not. I originally had hopes that because of being paleo/primal for almost 4 years, I wouldn’t have such issues, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. While I tried to eat the biggest range of nutrient dense foods at those early stages, it wasn’t always possible for me to get the amount of nutrition in that I felt my baby needed.

This eased up quite a bit, and I was even able to do a Whole30 in January, which was the end of my 2nd trimester. Outside of the Whole30, I’ve enjoyed some treats, but have focused on eating 3 colorful, healthy, varied meals per day. Below are the supplements I used, and during what timeframe of pregnancy they were most useful. Continue reading

A Cooking & Grocery Shopping Strategy for the Whole30

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Hey everyone! I’m Matt’s wife, AKA FreeFitGal, and I’m writing this post because a number of our friends & family are starting a Whole30 in January 2014, so I wanted to offer them the advice that I wish I knew going into my first Whole30. For most people, the most daunting thing about a Whole30 is all of the cooking. I’m going to lay out our cooking strategy below, and hope you can use it as a starting point for deciding how to make cooking work for you on the Whole30.

*Before we start, I want to say that Matt and I don’t always eat ‘breakfast foods’ for breakfast. In fact, I would say that 95% of mornings Matt eats leftovers from dinner for breakfast. Since that might be too ‘advanced’ (aka crazy) for most people on a 1st Whole30, I’m going to lay out this plan with actual breakfast foods for breakfast, but know that there are other options if you have a flexible mindset.

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Limited Cooking Days

A common complaint we hear from friends new to Paleo is that after somewhere around 5-14 days, they are so tired of cooking, cleaning up their kitchen, and planning meals that they’re ready to never cook again. I totally understand, and I agree that is not a sustainable system. Instead, Matt and I cook on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday night, in big enough batches to have meals for the rest of the week. Since our time is more flexible on the weekends, we don’t always have leftovers enough for every weekend meal, but we have more time to cook each meal, so it’s not a problem.  We try to do all of the prep for the different dishes we’re making at the same time, get things cooking at the same time, stir/mind each meal during relatively the same time period (depending on how long things take to cook), and then put all the leftovers away and clean. You’d have to do this every night, for every meal if you didn’t cook in batches, so a lot of time and effort is saved this way.

*This plan requires Tupperware. A huge amount of Tupperware. Like, if you know someone hosting a Tupperware party, they are about to be very happy they invited you. We invested in about 3 of these Pyrex sets over time, and they serve us well. I like portioning things out into individual servings on the day I cook rather than when I’m running around in the morning.

handy-portions Continue reading

Episode 4 – All About Supplements (Part II) – The Human Animal Podcast

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In this week’s episode of The Human Animal Podcast, Jake and I finish our discussion of supplements, including:

  • Digestive Enzymes
  • Multi-Vitamins
  • Recovery Drinks
  • BCAAs
  • Metabolic Boosters
  • Testosterone Enhancers

…and more!

We hope you are enjoying the show – we’ve got some guests lined up for the upcoming weeks and are really excited about where this is all going.  :)

Check out the podcast below, or subscribe to us on iTunes.

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Surviving the (Current) Zombie Apocalypse

In the previous post of this series, I revealed why we are already in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.  Enough of the madness!  It’s time to arm yourself with strategies to survive and thrive in the modern world.

1.  Avoid Mindless Eating

This is a great tool I got from my good friend and fellow coach Nate Miller.  Before each meal, try practicing this mindfulness routine -

  • Why am I eating?
  • Is it making me healthy, or is it making me sick?
  • Is it worth it?

OWN your decisions, and begin to understand your motivations for those decisions.  Brain de-zombified!

2.  Remove Environmental Toxins

We need to think about our food as a part of our environment.  Our environment modifies our genes, our phenotype, and can exacerbate autoimmune and other inflammatory conditions.  Your mission – eliminate grains, legumes, sugar, dairy, and alcohol for 4 weeks.  Add them back and see how you look, feel, and perform.  Health de-zombified!

3.  Reset Your Biorhythms Continue reading