Cumulative Training – effective training for the chronically busy
Most of our fitness goals are fairly simple, reasonable and achievable. Not too many of us need to look like Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool, or Green lantern or X-men….or Blade (that guy must really love to work out).
Nutrition Consultation / Custom Meal Plans / Lifestyle Reset
Nutrition consultation – all consults available via Skype Sessions
We take the same approach to nutrition as we do with our training programs, whether the program is designed for sports performance, weight loss, pre/postnatal fitness, etc., we take into consideration the clients’ entire lifestyle.
Wellness is an evolving state with many moving parts and it serves us better to consider each part when trying to optimize any single piece of the puzzle. This is the approach of functional medicine and while we are not doctors we appreciate this dynamic and try and use it within our own abilities.
What we can help you with –
– Sport Nutrition
– Weight Loss
– Building Muscle
– Digestive Health
– Vegetarian and Vegan Nutrition (for performance and/or for everyday health)
– Hormone Balancing
– Food for Longevity
– Fertility Nutrition
– Nutrition for chronic illness / autoimmune disease (Crohn’s, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.)
– Corporate Wellness
Services & Pricing
60 Minute Consult – INCLUDES –
– lifestyle review and strategic planning for nutrition and wellness goals. Based on a detailed questionnaire to be filled out beforehand in order to maximize the consult time.
* Does not include a detailed written report
Health Optimization Plan – INCLUDES –
– 60 minute consult covering entirety of lifestyle report
– Detailed written review and point plan for approaching nutritional changes
– 45 minute follow up consult to maintain nutrition goals
Comprehensive Nutrition/Fitness/Lifestyle Reset Package – This plan provides long term support to maintain commitment and accountability. INCLUDES –
– 60 minute consult covering entirety of lifestyle report.
– Weekly meal plan (for 1 month)
– Comprehensive Supplementation list to maximize nutrition uptake for health and longevity
– 4 week fitness program that matches your meal plan and fitness goals
– 3x 45 minute follow up consults
How to Regenerate Your Immune System Pt. 2
In part 1 of this series we talked about the role of inflammation in immune function, defined the difference between immune system boosting vs. renewal and looked at how functional medicine approaches gut/immune health and how to treat chronic illness and dysfunction. In keeping with the same idea of system renewal rather than enhancement – In this part of the series I would like to touch upon the benefits of prolonged fasting.
There is a lot of research being done on fasting these days. A lot of which is really dense and complicated and as this pandemic surges on, we are all getting a bit over stimulated with information on health, so I will keep this short and accessible as possible.
Prolonged water fasts (only drinking water) have been performed for centuries as parts of religious ceremony or ritual but beyond that, the ebb and flow of feast and famine has been a struggle common to every species since the very beginning of life. So fasting may seem like a fad right now, but that is only because some of us are privileged enough to live in a time of plenty where fasting is a choice. In this long history of periodic starvation, our genes have developed systems to differentiate between which functions can take advantage of feeding periods and which can take over during dry spells. These are very basic systems that have integrated themselves into every, or theoretically, every living organism on the planet.
At its most basic principle, during times of plenty – when specific proteins and sugars are abundant – certain genes are turned on and the organism goes into “growth” mode, which is important for obvious reasons. While during times of scarcity, the lack of these compounds triggers these genes to “turn off” and the organism goes into clean-up or renewal mode. As you can guess, these systems have survived for billions of years for good reason and both play important roles in survival. It is super interesting stuff but I am no expert and like I said, I want to keep this as succinct as possible. So if you are interested in this subject and how it effects longevity I highly recommend you check out Lifespan by David Sinclair.
When we fast for prolonged periods of time we can trigger the renewal phase. When this happens our body hones in on sick cells and either fixes them or clears them out. At the same time, new cells begin to form to replace old ones. This happens all throughout the body including in the brain and the immune system! Stem cells that have been kept on standby while we have been in “growth” mode are now stimulated to make new cells and literally regenerate old systems. While we can still “thrive”, heal and reproduce during a growth phase, the other side of the coin is that feedback loops are happening, systems can get clogged up and dysfunction and mutations are continuing unchecked by the renewal process that needs the starvation trigger to begin its process.
We (the privileged) have virtually eliminated this really cool ability that our bodies have to regenerate by applying a constant feeding state, or more precisely a constant over-feeding state (I am currently snacking on a block of old cheddar and cashew nuts, purely out of pandemic boredom).
intermittent fasting, time restricted eating and calorie restriction does not trigger the renewal system. There seems to be some benefits of all of those eating patterns, some of which I have mentioned in previous blog posts but we need actual starvation for a few days in order to achieve regeneration mode. Some studies suggest 48-72 hours of a water fast to be sufficient, others have used much longer fasts to treat and reverse type 2 diabetes as well as all kinds of chronic illnesses. To the rescue for our gluttonous selves, A prominent researcher named Valter Longo has designed a fasting mimicking protocol that triggers the renewal system while maintaining a minimal calorie intake.
The long list of health benefits this fasting mimicking diet (FMD) allows for is really impressive. Before I list them, it is important to note that the majority of the research has been done on mice but some human studies have show equally impressive results. Here is part of a growing list..
- reduction in cancer cells
- protects against bone mineral loss
- increases lifespan & health span
- triggers stem cell production
- promotes neurogenisis
- regenerates beta cells in type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- protects against chemotoxicity
- remyelintaes neuron sheaths
- lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides
- normalizes several different inflammation markers
- lowers visceral fat stores
In animal studies, FMD has been shown to reverse certain autoimmune diseases , such as MS and type 1 diabetes. This is huge. By limiting their calorie intake for just a few days per month, they are able to mimick fasting enough to stimulate the removal of damaged cell and regeneration of new immune cells. The FMD protocol as used by Longo is a 5 day per month calorie restriction. Depending on the study, the protocol is repeated for 3 months, or once every 3 months or once every 6 months.
Another interesting effect is that fasting increases sensitization of the immune system towards cancerous cells while simultaneously increasing stress resistance of healthy cells. This is what I was talking about in the part 1 – the difference between immune system boosting and renewal is that boosting a broken system would just enhance the body’s tendency to attack healthy cells while feeding broken (cancerous) ones.
Metabolic rates are also increased during the fasting period, which leads to increased fat loss. Studies have also shown that metabolic rate remains increased even after the fasting period has stopped. So even if the mouse returns to the eating pattern (or over-eating pattern) it had prior to the fast, it can still lose more weight. This won’t last forever but it is interesting how quickly the body has begun working to restore healthy body weight and energy transfer.
There is so much more cool information out there on the effects of water fasting and the fasting mimicking diet but I want to get right to what this protocol might look for you if you want to implement it into your life. As suggested by Valter Longo – a 5 day fasting mimicking diet plan could look like this..
- 5 days total per month
- Once every 6 months for the average person
- Once every 3 months for someone who may need more of an effect
- Once per month for someone with metabolic disorder or a serious autoimmune disease – this advice comes from another source.
- 1st day – 1100 calories or 4.5-7 calories per lb. of body weight – 10% protein / 34 % carbohydrates / 56% fats
- day 2-5 – 800 calories or 3-5 calories per lb. of body weight – 9% protein / 47% carbohydrate / 44% fats
The Macronutrient content is very important for this model to be effective so it does take some care in planning the right meals. High protein and high sugar interfere with how those genes we discussed earlier are turned off and on.
It is also important to note that if you tend to eat a diet that is very high in protein, the “growth” system may be over stimulated and prone to mutations. We don’t think of high protein diets as being dangerous but it turns out they just may be. Igf-1 is a growth hormone important in tissue and muscle growth but if over stimulated it can cause inflammation all over the body, specifically in the immune system. We don’t need that much protein (unless you are an athlete or over the age of 60-65) in order to maintain or grow muscle, so it is in our best interest to figure out how much your body needs to maintain a healthy muscle mass and keep it there or below.
It is a pain in the arse to figure out the right macro ratios for a days worth of food when it needs to be so specific AND while wanting to maintain nutrient quality and density. So I have done the work for you and come up with a 5 day plan – though day 2-5 is the same thing. It is really the only way to keep things under control.
DAY 1 – 1100 calories – good for anyone between the weight of 150-340 lbs. Breakfast – black coffee (has to be black) and a Smoothie
- 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup of frozen blueberries
- 2 cups of spinach
- 3 tbsp of greens powder – I use Genuine Health original greens
- 1/2 cup of carrots
- 1 cup of chopped kale
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
Lunch – 1 avocado and 1 yellow bell pepper – you can mash the avocado or make “guacamole” and use it like a dip for the chopped yellow bell pepper.
Dinner – Salad
- 3 cups arugula or spinach
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1 cup chopped cucumber
- 3/4 cup halved strawberries
- 1/4 of an avocado
- season with lemon or balsamic vinegar and salt/pepper
DAY 2-5 800 calories
Breakfast – black coffee and Smoothie – same as day 1 minus the kale and coconut oil
Lunch – cold pressed juice by DOSE – Yogi – it has to be this particular one – low in sugar // 1 tbsp coconut oil // 1/2 cup of whole almonds
Dinner – 1 cup roasted sweet potato // 1 cup roasted broccoli // 1 tbsp coconut oil. You can spice the vegetables however you like.
That’s it! Before you complain about how small the portions are, remember that you still get to reap the rewards of what would normally take a 3 day water fast. But I do highly recommend trying a long water fast at some point in your life. The 5 day fasting mimicking diet will leave you hungry and there are some good psychological lessons in being hungry and appreciating the food that you do get throughout the day. But I can attest to the spiritual connection with life, food and your surroundings when you go for 72 hours with just water. It is a tough but very rewarding experience.
I wish you all the best in health as we proceed through this covid-19 pandemic. For all of us but especially for those of you with compromised immune systems, it is so important to try and find ways to optimize your health. Autoimmune disease used to be a life sentence but more and more studies are showing that this is not the case. Trying a regular routine of fasting may just be the thing you need to get you on a new path of improved immunity. I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions!
For information on online nutrition / fitness consultations please contact Joey at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Regenerate Your Immune System Pt. 1
Currently, 5 % of the population in Western countries suffer from autoimmune disease. More than ever, as the coronavirus pandemic surges, many of us are looking for ways to maintain a strong immune system. Improving immune function might not keep you from contracting the virus but it very well may be what saves you from suffering from its most sever symtoms. You don’t have to have an autoimmune disease to have a compromised immune system. But those who do are at severe risk from all sorts of infections and illnesses outside of the “one” they are already diagnosed with.
At the core of most chronic illness, specifically those of the autoimmune type, is systemic inflammation. At some point within the intertwining systems of our body, a kink in the chain started a cascading effect miscommunication and misinformtaion which leads the body to attack itself. This usually materialzes in inflammation, pain and disirder of function pretty much anywhee in the body. These diseases can be completely debilitating and may turn into multiple diagnoses as things progress. But, with updated, holistic approaches, people are recovering and reversing many of these disease that were previosuly thought of as a life sentence. The functional medicine approach has been a leading part of this change towards recovery.
Functional medicine seeks to find the root cause of the inflammation rather than just diagnose the symptoms and medicate to decrease those symptoms. This is the problem with our current system – symptoms don’t point to root cause. This misguided correlation of symptom-to-cause also happens with physical ailments. Most of the time, when one of my clients comes in with pain in their knees, ankles, neck, etc., we often have to look at the entire body through different movement patterns to understand what the source of the issue is. If we just treat to source of the NOW obvious symptom of dysfunction then we may blur the pain but another problem will often arise further down the chain. If you have pain in your neck and all your physio or trainer suggests are neck stretches – that is the equivalent of western medicine’s diagnosis and treatment protocol for chronic illness.
For the intended purpose of this series of blog posts, I just want to be clear, we’re not talking about ways to “boost” your immune system. Some supplements and medications are know for suppressing or boosting immune response. These have their uses but when treating root cause autoimmune illness and many other chronic illnesses, cardiovascular disease and even cancers, we are seeking ways to regenrate, renew our immune response to ia healthy functioning capacity, Boosting a broken system leads to disaster. So, I just want to point out a couple approaches in this blog post on how to renew the system without danger of boosting the wrong signals.
The major problem with immuno-suppressive therapy – which is the cornestone of western medicines approach to autoimmune disease – is that by lowering the immune response you lay the ground work for other invaders like viruses, bacterial infection, cancers, mental illness or muscle wasting to barge in and cause havoc.
Even with people who have a genetic predisposition for autoimmunity, a trigger is usually required for it to start.
In functional medicine, the idea is to figure out the Why, Where and How.
There is a protocol comonly used to treat chronic illness by healing the gut and immune response . It is called the 5 R’s. –
Even before starting with the 5 Rs, extensive testing is usually done to look for markers of inflamation, unwanted metabolites, hormone imbalances, parasite or yeast overgrowth, muscle enzymes, microbiome diversity/profile, heavy metal toxicity, etc.. Again, you need to know the where and the why, not just the what. In keeping with our focus on immune function and renewal, lets pass over the other areas and look at what the 5 Rs mean for healing the gut.
Remove – might mean starting an elimination diet to take out any underlying alergens like gluten, dairy, soy, as well as any potential parasite or yeast overgrowth.
Replace – would be a program to begin adding nutrients, fiber, enzymes, prebiotics, etc., that may have been missing from your diet that will help optimize function. This is often done in phases or cycles. Overloading a system, even if it is with “good” compounds can have a negative effect. Yams, sweet potatoes and greens are a good source of easy to digest fibrous and nutritious foods. Tonights dinner is a sweet potato and organic, grass fed beef shepherds pie with garlic onion, dandeion root and artichoke hearts (all of which are great prebiotic foods)!
Re-inoculate – this involves introducing a probiotic regimen, predominently through fermented foods but also with supplementation. Now is a good time to learn how to make your own kimchi or sauerkraut! It will take up some time and help you repopultae your gut with good bacteria!
Repair – could also be a second phase of “replace” now implementing a program including nutrients that are anti-inflammatory and other compounds that are missing from the diet such as glutamine, fish oil, polyphenols, and certain vitamins. In the next parts I will get into details about other healing foods and supplements you can look for. Berries, beans, nuts and many spices are chalk full of polyphenols. As is coffee!
Restore – when your immune system has been all wonky for months or years, other systems have also been taxed, incuding the nervous system. In fact the nervouse systems original reaction to things like stress, anxiety or trauma may have been the original trigger. We need to find new ways to restore balance to a system that has been working over time and now may be fatigued or just not working at all. This is where, meditation, sleep optimization, exercise, self love and finding purpose play a deep role in healing.
Our microbiome is regulated by what we eat. If we disrupt the balance for long enough then issues arise, inflammation occurs and the permeability of our intestines can lead to an invasion on the rest of our body’s systems by compounds that should never have entered it. If you think about the sheer quantities of processed foods that do damage to our guts you can see why 6 out of 10 Americans have chronic illness. Then on top of the processed foods and sugar, if you add all the antibiotics, acid blockers, anti-inflammatory medications and other toxins we have a catastrophic amount of disruption of the gut microbiome.
We can follow the 5 Rs without the testing, though I highly recommend finding a functional health practicioner to guide you through some of them. You can also start your own investigation by ordering your own microbiome testing and genetic testing kits. Both of which will give you some ideas as to what foods to avoid and what to add. It is pertinent to note that you don’t need to follow a spceific order of the Rs. Just remember that too much change all at once won’t lend much insight into what is working, nor will it make things easier to maintain. For longevity sake, do a couple things at a time. take note, then add some more. Any change in lifestyle should be done at a pace that is sustainable.
An interesting thing to keep in mind though is that studies in brain chemistry have shown that diets high in processed foods (sugar) interfere with the brains ability for decision making. It has been shown that the communication between the prefrontal cortex (decision making, consequences of behaviour) and the amygdala (impulsive behaviour, fight or flight) is basically shutdown. So the “grown up” in the room has little to no control over the impulsive reactions our “candy fiendish child” has towards foods. So,hopefully, when balance is restored we will have more control over our decisions when it comes to foodas our brain chemisty normalizes.
By optimizing your biome and healing your gut you can literally renew your body’s ability to process foods safely and respond to any compounds without throwing the whole system out of balance. Instead of sa ystemic inflammaotry response, your body will do what it was designed to do, whcih is to deal with one small problem at a time, with efficiency and ease.
In Part 2 I will go into some more detail on some information I have recently posted about fasting and Immune system renewal. Then I hope to get into the very potent role that mushrooms can play in the regeneration process as well.
Stay Home, Stay Stay Strong!
30 Day Fasting Challenge
Okay so this is how the fasting protocol is going to work for the 30 day challenge.
We are going to work on a 5 day on 2 day off schedule. 3 of the 5 fasting days will be a minimum of 12 hours of fasting and the 2 other days will be a minimum of 16 hours. To maximize the probability of following this regimen we will do an overnight fast, so once you finish your dinner your fast will begin.
The weekends will be our off days, though you can feel free to switch this up to whatever schedule makes more sense for you. The only thing I do suggest is to pick a pattern and stick to it for the 30 days. The schedule I am going to follow is below…
- 12 hour fast on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- 16 hour fast on Tuesday and Thursday
- The weekends I will probablu still do 12 hours as this is what I have been doing for a long time. If you feel like fasting on the weekends as well, I say go for it, there is nothing wrong with doing it 7 out of 7!
- On the very last day we will do a 24 hour fast. If any of you feel adventurous we can do a 48 hour fast instead!
What if you are on medications that need to be taken with food?
- If your medication is time sensitive – you need to take it first thing in the morning, then what you can try is eating breakfast and lunch and then fasting through dinner.
- If the medication you take simply needs to be taken on a daily basis but is less time sensitive then you can try taking it with your first meal of the day. You can adjust your dinner to a slightly earlier time so that you can swing 12 hoours or so of fasting and just stick to that. There is still benefits to a 12 hour daily fast.
What about supplements?
- Vitamins A, E, D and K are fat soluble vitamins and will most likely not be absorbed well if taken with water on an empty stomach so I would wait until you eat something with some fat in it so as not to waste the supplement.
- Studies have shown that the addition of antioxidants, antibiotics, and other compounds that don’t necessarily “break” a fast do interfere with some of the benefits of fasting. The stress put on your body during a fast is the what induces your bodies healing reactions. So as a general rule I would limit what you add to your fast as it probably will act as a crutch and eliminate the worthwile benefits of fasting.
What will break the fast?
- Amino acids or protein powders
- Artificial sweeteners
- Certain teas – black and green tea are safe (without any sweetener)
- Anything with calories
Black Coffee and Tea do have some calories but it is so minimal that many experst believe that the effect is negligable. If anything it may reduce autophagy but it has not been shown to reduce weight loss, ketosis, growth hormone and metabolic benefits of fasting. They may even enhance them.
When in doubt, just drink water!
I will add some information and links to studies on all the benefits of fasting as we go through the challenge! But for now here are some of the more commonly known benefits –
- weight loss
- Increased gut microbiome diversity
- reduced inflammation
- improved metabolsim
- higher cognitive response
- spiritual connection
We will be starting on MOnday January 13th!! If you have any questions please inquire at email@example.com or just join the discussion as we post on our socail media platforms
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FB – bfitstudiomontreal
Super Nutrient Bone Broth
Bone broth has been a tried and true source of healing nutrients for thousands of years. The tradition is to use the inedible parts of the animal to make a broth usually inluings the feet, skin, bones, ligaments, tendons and marrow. There are some outstanding benefits of bone broth. These benefits change slightly depending on the source of the bones you use but what you are getting is collagen, amino acids and minerals.
Some of the benefits include:
- Improved digestive function – The collagen in bone broth is the single best source of the proteins needed to repair the gut lining. abone broth has been used to help treat IBS, Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis and acid reflux. The compounds in bone broth will help in closing the tiny gaps in what we call leaky gut syndrome, a disorder that has massive implications with autoimmune disorders.
- Reduced allergic reactions – The gelatin in collagen has been shown to reduce peoples; sensitivities to other foods like dairy and gluten.
- Boosts immune system – By healing the gut, the collagen, gelatin and speicific amino acids provide a healing effect on the immune system, reducing symtoms from asthma and a number of autoimmune disorders. Bone broth also increase the beneficial bacteria in the gut which plays a central role in good digestion and immune system balance.
- Improves skin health – Collagen improves the strength, elasticity and smooth appearnace of skin. Providing your body with a steady amount of collagen will keep your skin looking youthful longer. It has also been seen to reduce cellulite.
- Balanced hormones and cellular function – Bone broth is a fantastic source of many minerls that act on cellular function, and as anitoxidants for reduced inflammation and have anti-aging effects.
- Improves cognition – Glycine and other amino acids in collagen help in the production of chemicals and gormones that improve sleep, memory, task performnace and reduce mood disorders like anxiety.
My Super Nutrient Bone Broth Recipe
You can combine bones from different sources to get different types of collagen
- 1-2 Whole chicken remains
- 3 onions peeled and quartered
- 4 garlic cloves smashed
- 3 organic carrots halved
- 3 organic cellery stalks
- 3 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
- 3 fresh sprigs of thyme
- 3 tsp of freshly ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp black pepper (helps with the bioavailabilty of the turmeric)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 small chunks of ginger
- 5-10 organic kale leaves
- 3 tbsp grass fed butter
- enough water to cover everything – I just fill my slow cooker. I add water occasionaly keeping it full to the tippy top.
The kale, turmeric, ginger, grass fed butter and apple cider vinegar add a truck load of micronutrients that aren’t usually in bone broth. Obvioulsy you can add whatever else you like but this is a decent mix of classic and nutrient dense ingredients.
I usually slow cook my broth for 36-48 hours to get the most ut of it. Then I drain the liquid into glass jars and freeze them, thawing one overnight so that I can heat it up and drink it in the morning.
I take a capsule of highly bioavailable curcumin from the company RevGenetics and crack it into each cup of broth I drink. The capsules are 277x more bioavailable than consuming the spice on its own.
Alright, there ya go. Super simple, delicious and one of the best ways you can heal your gut!
Is a Vegan Diet Universally better? Part 2
First of all, thank you to everyone who read Part 1 of this series and for engaging in the discussion. i understand how close to the heart the decision to follow a vegan diet can rest. But I also feel that the emotion attached to a subject does not mean we shouldn’t dive into the important research that people are doing to help us make these important decisions. Indeed, it usually means it is doubly worth making sure we don’t spread bias based on feelings. Diet is not and should not be a faith based decision, we are talking about the health and lives of ourselves, our families, animals and the entire planet.
Much of what has clouded the discusiion is that the research has either been incomplete, the results have been muddied/taken out of context or that the experimental designs have been poorly constructed so that the results stated are not reliable or significant. This has happened from both sides but what we see in the movie Game Changers is another claim that a vegan diet will decrease illnesses like cancer and heart disease and increase lifespan.
Trying to decipher whether a specific food or group of foods is harmful or beneficial is very difficult. Defining and controling all of the outside factors that may also have an impact on the results , like exercise, smoking, alcohol intake, hereditary predispositions, other foods, etc., can make or break the reliability of the study. One common issue with the majority of research pointing at meat as a culprit for illness or increased mortaility is that it lumps all meat eaters into one category. Disregarding the quality of the animal product and the rest of the individuals’ lifestyle confounds any information you may be getting from them. And while you can definitley find vegans with unhealthy lifestyles, the people who tend to choose plant based nutrition are for the most part, a health conscious group.
We can take any number of incredibly healthy, active omnivores who eat clean, organic sources of animal products and then stand them next to an obese, sedentary omnivore who tends to eat burgers, bacon, sausages and pizza. Now ask anyone if they think there will be a difference in their blood work, hormone levels and projected lifespan. You will be hard pressed to find someone who would say that they should be lumped together in the same caetgory. Yet this is what has been done for almost all of the current literature.
One of the big headline grabbers in the last few years was The World Health Organization’s (WHO) report on the association between red meat consumption and cancer. This was an observational study, meaning that the researchers collect data, via questionnaires or interviews and then make inferences based on what they read or heard. In this study there was no, or very little controling of any other variables. You can not make statistically significant conclusions based on observational data. What you can do, is develop a hypothesis to study further using more technical, experimental methodolgy. The WHO reported an 18% increased risk of collorectal cancer for those who ate red meat, more specifically processed met. As far as observational studies go, an 18% increase of risk is so small that it can be chalked up to chance. We tend to look for massive correlations (100-3000%) of behavior and outcome to develop a working hypothesis towards causation. 18% doesn’t cut it. That said, it is perfectly fine to develop a hypothesis and then use double blind, variable controled experiments to further analyze. Instead this was printed worldwide and spread like wildfire as gospel. I read the results through a Harvard medical article and saw that same article posted by a number of friends and nutritionists that same week. No one goes back to look at the study and see if was properly formulated and statistically significant. The same will go for studies that are funded by the milk and dairy industry and so all of this muddied, contarary information gets harder and harder to wade through. So we just ingest the headlines and make snap decisions on what everyone seems to be agreeing upon. Whoever is more consistent or loudest wins.
It is no wonder that when you take someone off of a typical North American diet and give them more vegetables and fruits that the incidence of heart disease, cancer and diabetes drops. The research is pointing towards the obvious. But the healthy user bias is skewing where the focus should be – which is quality of food, and lifestyle rather than just animal products vs plants. We all know or presume to know the difference in quality from wild caught venison steak and factory farmed burgers or hormone injected chickens. We also know or should know the difference in quality between organic broccoli and processed veggie burgers. Unfortunately the clickbait headlines and representation of veganism in books and documentaries gloss over what is really happening in the science and tend to use vegan as an umbrella term for healthy. This is a disservice to the public who won’t take the time to investigate further. I spend days and days researching this stuff because i need to in order to best inform my clients but trying to find reliable sources of information and then unpacking it all is really tedious work. I don’t blame anyone for not doing it.
Back to the correlation of meat and cancer – A meta analysis released just after thw WHO report calculated a 10% risk of colorectal cancer with the intake of processed meat. This is just about half of what the previous observational study reported. But the main problem is that there was a no dose response, meaning that across all studies, it didn’t matter how much meat was eaten by the groups who had the highets intake, the response was the same. So one study could have a much higher average intake for their specific high meat consumption group than another and it didn’t change the rate of colorectal cancer. What this suggests is that another variable was responsible for the correlation.
Two more large observational studies comparing an omnivore diet with a vegan diet showed no difference in incidence of cancer when controlled for vegetable intake, smoking, alcohol intake, activity level and socio-economic status. The authors suggested that you can eat as much meat as you like as long as you increase fruit and vegetable intake. Once you do this, or elimintae other variables, the correlation to developing cancer disappears (Appleby et al., Mirshahi et al.).
But other studies show that vegans and vegeatraian live longer than Omnivores, so what about those?
The biggest and most recent of such studies are the 2 Seventh Day Adventist Studies taking place in the US taking data from over 100,000 Adventists to compare to the typical American, omnivore diet. The results were impressive, reporting as much as a 9.5 year longer life expectnacy for vegan adventists. It found fewer deaths from ischemic heart disease, cardiovascular disease and all cause of mortality. The vegans weighed 30 lbs less on average, rated lower on the body mass index scale and had less incidence of insulin resistance (SDA Health Study 2).
Seventh Day Adventists are an intereting cohort because part of their belief system incorporates a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and excludes tabacco smoking, alcohol, most or all animal products and sometimes even coffee, tea and sodas that include caffeine. They represent a fairly large population that has been vegetarian or vegan for many years and it has allowed for interesting insight into the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. But the unfortunate reality is that the kind of bias I mentioned above of comparing healthy, active vegans to the the general population of meat eaters is present in this study as well. We know right off the bat that these particular vegans are more likely to not smoke or drink alcohol or sugary sodas and we know that they are generally quite active. We can not say the same for the meat eater group of this study and so the difference found in overall lifespan, and deaths from cardiovascular and heart disease could be coming from any number of other variables. It is important to mention that The SDA health study 2 did more to control for variables such as smoking and BMI, but still did not cover all possible oustide vactors and so the authors themselves cautioned as to what generalizations could be made for the public. Yet this is not the message you will find from souces such as Harvard Health, Healthline, Huffington Post and many more.
Fortunately, there are a number of other studies that have compared the lifespans of vegans and/or vegetarians vs omnivores with healthier lifestyles. The results from all of the these studies show an equally improved lifespan for both vegans/vegetarians and omnivores compared to the general population and no difference in lifespan between the two groups themselves. One of the studies chose the omnivore group from those who shopped at health food stores or read healthy lifestyle magazines would in general be more health conscious meat eaters. The other studies used similar tactics, by finding vegetarians who subscribed to health magazines and then asking them to invite family members who at meat. This is making a pretty big assunption that the meat eaters do indeed lead healthy lifestyles and yet all of these studies had similar results to the one mentioned above. One even showed a 10% inrease in mortaility for the vegan/vegetarian group but the authors suggestted that the outcome was related more to other lifestyle habits such as activity level, smoking and alcohol intake (Chang-Claude et al.). Without controling for all of these factors it will not be enough to make any significant conclusions but at least things are moving in the right direction.
There is no question that including more fruits and vegetables to your diet is a healthy choice (though some carnivore dieters would disagree). What I think we should question is whether it is healthier to exclude animal products from our diet. As per the science on protein quality and quantitiy from Part ! and from the review of the studies we have comparing vegan and omnivore lifespan, so far, I believe it is pointing towards no, especially for those of us who want to thrive rather than merely meet the recommended daily allowance of nutrients.
Part 3 will review the research on saturated fats and the very odd claims from the Game Changers film that cloudy blood from a meat burrito equals unhealthy blood.
Is a Vegan Diet Universally Better? Part 1
The short answer is no, it is not universal. Some people do very well on it and others do not. I want to get into the reasons why – the science that both supports it and says otherwise so that we can all make a more informed decision on how to fuel our bodies. But regardless, It is both okay to choose it as a way to eat and it is also okay to not. On a small enough scale, all eating is “murder.”
I am not anti-vegan and I am not anti-carnivore but if you read any of my articles you will find a common theme in my beliefs, which is that I don’t think optimal health (be that for humans, animals or the planet at lage) exists in any ‘all or nothing’ scenario. Every single ecosystem is dependen on the cycle of life and death and I do believe that removing ourselves from this equation is detrimental to the health of the whole. I also believe that abusing our sources of food – be it plants or animals is doing more damage than is necessary. But I don’t want to use this post to address environmental impact or better farming practices or animal rights. All I want is to add to the dialogue about human health and how we can optimize it through nutrition. What this means as far as some basic tenets we should all be aware of so that we , as individuals can make better decisions for ourselves and then maybe we can all discuss the grander scale issues with a better idea as to what we can compromise on for everyone and everything to survive and thrive.
Want to Stay Young? – Seek Struggle
In my opinion, If you want to grow old but maintain an agile, stable and strong body, youthful skin and a sharp mind; you have to struggle a little bit. or “make an effort.” In a way its about creating stress, but just the right amount.
I Always Have Time For You
I don’t write about this often, not out of shame or fear but mainly because I am not a professional in this area. There are a lot of people spewing advice about mental health that have no place doing so. Maybe it does some people good but I am all too aware of how it can also do harm. So, just for the record, the following is not advice, it is simply me waving a flag or shining a light for anyone out in the dark looking for a beacon. While this imay be posted to the public, it is really meant for the people around me. This is a personal post.
SELF DEFENSE WORKSHOP with Joey Reid
COME JOIN US AT OUR NEXT EVENT!
SELF DEFENSE WORKSHOP (LEVEL 1) with B-Fit Founder, JOEY REID
Mr. Reid, a kung-fu Instructor of 21 years and martial arts practitioner of 31 years, has taken his experience in various martial arts and developed a functional system of self defense techniques and philosophy. Using a blend of the simplest but most effective techniques, his workshops and classes are meant to instill courage, humility and compassion while training a set of physical reflexes that are crucial for survival.
The function of this seminar is to teach the most effective means of defending against some of the more common types of attacks. This is a basics level seminar and so it is open to everyone, you do not need to have any background in martial arts nor do you need to have a high level of fitness. All ages are welcome.
Some of what you will be learning in this seminar:
Love & Inclusion: Good for Our Brains and Overall Health
So this is not exactly a post about fitness and nutrition but I went down a rabbit hole this week and this is what has come out of it…
There is a Hindu saying – The world is as we are. The world around us is a reflection of how we think of ourselves and how we behave. Hatred is not borne from a loving heart.