Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Everything you need to know about achieving hunger control...it's a long one (print it out and read it over and over)

In 1972, I was a fat four-eyed fifth grader with frizzy hair living in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, attending St. Joseph Catholic School. It was a miserable year of my life and the last year of my fat childhood. In sixth grade, I got skinny.  (I'll tell you that story next. The post will be called: "A Fat Four-Eyed Fifth Grader with Frizzy Hair). It was a fluke that I lost all that weight. Circumstances conspired as you'll see when you read my next post. I had no idea how to lose weight back then, and the way I did it is not the way you should do it. I'm not even sure you could do it. It was a complete fluke.

But back then, if I'd read the diet books or consulted a bariatric physician, I would have learned that every diet basically comes down to the same essential premise: EAT YOUR VEGETABLES.

The low-fat diets, of course, say eat lots of vegetables. But even low-carb like Atkins or Paleo say to eat primarily veggies. Paleo allows more fats and meats, but in small quantities. Every reasonable eating plan ever put forth on this earth has, at its root, the same premise: increase the amount of vegetables you eat.

Everybody knows vegetables are good for you, but I didn't fully realize the connection between vegetables and weight loss until I started getting older and dieting in earnest. I remember seeing all those diet books with their list of unlimited or free foods: broccoli, greens, brussel sprouts. Yech. That was my response back then. Besides, I was taking in too many calories from the bad food I was eating. I didn't want to add more food to the mix, especially not food I didn't like. When you finish that big roast beef meal with mashed potatoes and gravy and green bean casserole with fried onions and cream of mushroom soup, you don't sit down and have a big bowl of brussel sprouts for dessert. No. You have rocky road ice cream. Then you're too full for the brussel sprouts you are allowed in unlimited supply. The unlimited vegetables thing? It just never happened.

Oh, my mom cooked lots of vegetables. My dad always had a garden and raised his own grass-fed beef. My mom would cook up a big batch of green beans with bacon and onions. Fried okra or fried squash. Stuffed eggplant. But the veggies were a side. The main course was the meat and the fat-laden starches. Everyone back then used gallons of soybean oil in their cooking--to make a roux for the gumbo, to deep-fry everything, or to stir-fry everything we didn't deep-fry. When my mother cooked a light supper, it was usually scrambled eggs and french fries with tons of processed ketchup. The vegetable in that meal was a few scattered green onions in the scrambled eggs.

I enjoyed vegetable dishes--but my heart chased after other foods. Brisket and babyback ribs and fried chicken. Jambalaya, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, French toast. Much the way my heart overlooked good men who actually liked me and might have treated me well. My heart always chased after the bad boys who would end up hurting me.

Some of us always want what we're not supposed to have. Most of us probably.

As a fluke, I got skinny in the sixth grade, as I already said. But trying to keep my weight under control as I grew older was hard. I was obsessed with food. (Still am clearly) It was either feast or famine, as I developed bulimia, anorexia and a binge eating disorder, all rolled into one. I also exercised compulsively. I tried everything to undo the damage caused by my second- and third-servings of pork roast with rice and gravy and corn maque choux. (You should taste my pork roast. You'd get fat too. And notice there's not a single vegetable in that favorite meal.) I loved pork. I loved breakfast sausage and bacon especially. I didn't have two little sausage links or two strips of bacon with my eggs. I sometimes ate the whole pack by myself. My hunger drove me like a slavemaster. I felt powerless to resist. More. More. More.

I should have weighed 400 pounds, but I was so athletic (always hiking, dancing, riding bikes or horses, working hard outside with my dad, or doing exercises) that I stayed in a somewhat normal weight range for most of my adolescence. I was rarely skinny, but I wasn't obese.

Why did I eat like that? Well, like I told you in yesterday's post, I think it all goes back to my hunger for my mother and for nutrition in my first months of life.

There is a rehab for food addicts that actually is focused on adoption issues. It's that common that adoptees try to fill a hole or soothe that loss with food or other addictive substances. 

Then, growing up, I was molested by several men, and sexual abuse is clearly linked with food disorders.

That's the why. And those kinds of deep emotional issues are difficult to fix. It doesn't happen overnight. So that's why most food addicts focus on trying to control their food intake, rather than try to fix the root of the problem. The emotions seem to have a mind of their own. How can you control something you can't see or even really understand. Who can afford years of Freudian psychoanalysis? A diet book is cheaper.

I am 54 and food has almost killed me at this point, and I've read thousands of diet books and spent years in psychoanalysis. I still haven't fixed the emotions or solved the puzzle of my eating. I have tried everything--from the craziest supplements to the most extreme diets. I've spent lots of time, lots of money and nothing has worked long-term.

The diet books were cheaper than the psychoanalyst, but the two most successful things so far in my journey have been free. God and fasting.

Yes, fasting. The only way I've ever been able to lose weight successfully is to stop eating completely. Once I take that first bite, I'm lost. Like a drunk who takes the first drink. Fasting (nothing but water) is something I came to in my walk with God and it has saved my life. It's the only way I've been able to keep myself from reaching 700 pounds. Occasionally, I fast and lose 50-60 pounds and my diabetes and high-blood pressure go into remission, and it takes me a couple years to gain it all back and re-do the damage. I've done the research. Fasting is actually good for you if it's done right. But it's hard to do. Getting past the first few days (until the hunger leaves you) is excruciating for me. But once the hunger leaves you in a fast, the remaining days are so freeing. To exist without hunger is a dream.

Some people think it's just extreme dieting,but it's not. Starvation (extremely low-calorie dieting) is BAD for you. But fasting is different. If done properly, it's meant to be a life-saving intervention. I'll do a post on fasting soon, because it's been my greatest health discovery...

Until now.

Fasting is good and I believe it is of God. But I knew God wanted me to be free of my enslavement to food. What's the first commandment of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." 

In my life, my food has been an idol that I have placed before God, before my own health, before anything. That's what addictions like this are. Idols. They control us when we should be controlled by our better selves, or the spirit of God within us, leading us to health and life. God wants us to be strong, healthy and at a healthy weight more than we want it for ourselves. He's on our side with this one. So I knew he would lead me to a place where my irrational hunger no longer controlled me.

And finally I have reached that place.

Right now, I am eating healthy every day, I'm not bingeing, I'm losing weight, I'm getting healthier, my blood sugars are good, and I AM NOT HUNGRY.

I am as amazed as you are. I mean, I'm really motivated and really trying, but I have always tried and this has never happened to me. I've never not been hungry. Except when I'm fasting.

What am I doing differently?

I'd like to say it's all the latest supplements I've discovered--and I do believe they are a big part of it. But the real thing making the difference in my opinion? It's this new thing I'm really focusing on doing for the first time in my life.

I am eating my vegetables. I am eating HUGE amounts of vegetables.

Now, don't stop reading. Please. It's not that simple. If you go away now, you will miss the crucial element of this that has kept me (and you) lost for years. And it's not just this. It's just mainly this.

The thought occurred to me a couple months ago that I'd tried every strange diet known to man and every weight-loss supplement on earth. I'd tried everything except eating my vegetables. Even when I was a vegetarian, my plate was filled with more tofu and grains and starches than it ever was vegetables. I'd eat bowls full of tofu scrambler and fried rice and potato casseroles. All blood-sugar elevating foods. My whole life I've eaten massive amounts of non-vegetables and always short-changed myself on the veggies.

After all the years in counseling, OA meetings, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, you name it, I think my eating disorder might have originated in some pretty profound emotional trauma...but I think malnutrition was as much to blame.

How many of you read yesterday's post where I told the story of being adopted and being put on straight cow's milk? I described how I wailed inconsolably--for my mother and for NUTRITION. I was taking in alot of something that really wasn't good for me, and very little (if anything) that was good for me. Commercial cow's milk is not really good for us and especially not as a newborn's sole food source.

Do you see the parallels in my adult life? I've been taking in lots of things that aren't good for me and very little of what is good for me--with an insatiable appetite.

I eat like this because I am malnourished.

With all the food I was taking in, I know I could never convince anyone I was malnourished. But I was.

A couple years ago, I first began to suspect I was malnourished. But I couldn't stop eating all the bad stuff. I was out of control. I was eating fast food and processed food and deli meats and commercial meats and dairy and everything bad you can imagine. But in the midst of that out of control eating, I started researching superfoods. I thought if I focused on ingesting superfoods, I would be sure I was getting all the nutrients I needed, in the midst of my bad eating, so that maybe those nutrients could begin to turn my health around.

When I started this blog a month ago, it was because I'd been doing LOTS of research this past year after my cancer surgery, and I wanted a way to keep track of what I was learning. This blog is more for me than it is for you actually. (Though I do want to build a community of people here so we can share what we learn together.)

So I decided I would try to incorporate--all at the same time--everything I'd been learning. I might not be able to do it for the rest of my life, but my goal was to try, for a limited time, to do everything right. Doing everything right would mean I would have to:
  1. stop eating fast food
  2. avoid exposure to chemicals, plastics, hormones, and anti-biotics (including plastic food storage containers, chlorinated water and anti-bacterial soaps, chemical-laden personal care products like toothpaste and shampoo, GMO-foods, etc.)
  3. eat much smaller amounts of organic grass-fed meats (avoid commercial non-organic meats at all costs due to hormones, antibiotics and processing)
  4. cut out all unhealthy processed vegetable oils (canola, vegetable/soy, peanut, etc.)
  5. increase healthy fats (avocado and its oil, coconut and its oil, grass-fed butter especially raw butter, organic grass-fed lard or tallow, etc.)
  6. cut out all commercial dairy and eat only grass-fed fermented dairy (like grass-fed and organic kefir, cheese and yogurt) or grass-fed butter and ghee
  7. eat vegetables and eat VOLUMES of vegetables
  8. eat only soaked and SPROUTED beans and lentils (and sprouted bean flours)
  9. eat no grains except occasional white rice (use sprouted amaranth, coconut flour, sprouted bean flours and ground flax to replace grains)
  10. avoid all processed foods (that means NO PROCESSED FOODS AT ALL)
  11. minimize all canned foods (even BPA-free) except canned sardines, salmon and oysters
  12. stay away from restaurants until the weight is gone (and if unavoidable, try to eat fish and vegetables or salad)
  13. stay away from all sugar except in the form of organic blackstrap molasses, prunes, figs, very small amounts of raw honey, powdered raw stevia leaf (not the processed white powder stevia, the good stuff is green), and ceylon cinnamon oil (which imparts a sweet taste)...if it gets desperate, use raw organic evaporated cane sugar sprinkled on top of berries before losing control and eating a whole chocolate cake
  14. speaking of chocolate cake, allow treats like that on holidays only but consume dark chocolate in a healthy form (email me at theagelesslife@gmail.com if you want healthy chocolate recipes)
  15. take all the supplements you know are good all at the same time and do it consistently while following all of the above guidelines for eating
  16. walk 45 minutes five days a week, with HIRT, and build upper-body muscle strength through low-weight/high reps weight lifting
Print that list out. It is my Sweet Sixteen List and it is at the core of what is working for me right now. But number 7 is key.

THIS IS WHAT I HAVE LEARNED: It's time to stop chasing after every supplement and diet and just eat our vegetables. The other stuff is important but this is the key factor that will make or break your hunger. You won't be able to follow any of the rest of that until you deal with your hunger. You can't force yourself to give up anything until you get rid of your hunger. At the root of your hunger may be emotional issues, but I have come to believe that malnutrition is the number one factor influencing our hunger. You can't take something away from your hunger until you feed it something different. Hunger only will go away on its own. At least for me. To make it go away, feed it. Feed it vegetables. Tons of them. Until it goes away. Then you are not under the control of your hunger, and you can make more rational choices. That is what I have learned.

And then I learned something else. I learned one of the scientific reasons why my hunger was going away.

Vegetables--especially fructooligosaccharides and inulin-rich foods like onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, bananas, jerusalem artichoke and yacon, together with mucilaginous foods like okra and flax seeds--feed special kinds of bacteria in your large intestine. One of these bacteria is called Clostridium butyricum.

This is important so keep reading. We're at the crux of this whole post right here. This is where you are going to send your hunger packing.

Most bacteria in the clostridia family cause things like botulism and c-diff. Not this baby. This is the white sheep in a family of black sheep. This little bug lives in the lining of your large intestine and cutting-edge research shows that it has an important role in communicating with your immune-system. Of millions, this one might be one of the most important bacteria you could have proliferating in your gut. It battles the bad clostridia and can kick butt. Clostridium butyricum also produces butyric acid, or butyrate, which is that amazing stuff that stops you from being hungry and makes you lose weight. Basically, you feed the friendly little clostridium butyricum what it likes--onions, okra, garlic, asparagus, bananas (especially green ones) and flax seeds--and it makes this butyrate that feeds your body and makes you not hungry and makes you lose weight.

Lots of people think they can just go take butyrate supplements, but most of the butyrate never reaches your large intestine which is where you need it.

Here is the most important sentence in this whole blog. I'll put in bold for you.

If I'm understanding it right, the key to killing your hunger is to feed it butyrate in your large intestine, and the only way to get butyrate into your large intestine is to have lots of little clostridium butyricum and feed them lots of onions, garlic, asparagus, okra and green banana, so they make you lots of butyrate.

Now I'm not a scientist, and I might be wrong about some of the details of all of this, but that's basically the gist I'm getting from the research I'm doing. And it coincides with what I've been experiencing. When I decided to EAT MY VEGETABLES finally, I just so happened to eat lots of onion, okra, garlic, asparagus, etc. and my hunger eventually started disappearing.

There are two things going on here:
  1. I'm finally dealing with my malnutrition issues by eating lots of vegetables; and 
  2. my gut is making lots of butyrate because I'm eating lots of the right vegetables
Those are the two things that have assuaged my hunger.

But it's not that simple. When eating vegetables (especially if you are older, overweight or sick), there are things you need to do alongside eating vegetables:
  • you are probably enzyme deficient from not eating veggies in the past and because enzyme production diminishes as we age, so take enzymes (I'll do a post soon on this because not just any enzyme will do the trick for you)
  • your gut bacteria is probably diminished and you need to get more (and the right kind) in there, but it's not as simple as just popping a probiotic (I'll do a post on this too)
  • you need to eat healthy fats with your veggies because all those fat-soluble vitamins will not be absorbed without fat (duh) so living on steamed broccoli is not the answer
  • some vegetables need to be eaten raw or lightly steamed, while others like spinach need to be boiled (and the water thrown away) to reduce kidney-damaging oxylates...so you really need to KNOW YOUR VEGETABLES
The final issue is this. It is hard to start eating veggies primarily when you are accustomed to eating them as a side dish or not at all. What do you eat? Salad is not satisfying enough to do long-term for most of us. So you need a whole new batch of veggie-recipes. Or a new way of looking at old recipes. Plus, all that cooking is hard to do when you're busy and if you've basically been living on tv dinners and fast food. Huge transition. Not as easy as it sounds.

But I'm figuring it out and this blog is about sharing what I'm learning.

When I used to wake up in the morning, I'd think about what I wanted to eat that day. Now I specifically ask myself: "Okay, what vegetables is today's main meal going to center around?"

I might do okra stirfried with onion and shrimp as my main meal, and I use two 12-oz family-sized packs of cut okra with 10 shrimp. Did you hear me right? I said I use two family-sized packs of cut okra. Just for me. That's alot of okra. But by the time I'm done eating all that okra, I am so full and I'm not thinking about chocolate cake or brisket. When I first started trying to follow this EAT MY VEGETABLES thing religiously, sometimes I had to do three packs to keep myself from falling off the wagon and going back to my bad eating. When I'm really wanting to binge, okra and shrimp with onions and Cajun seasoning, well, that really does it for me. 

You're going to have to find what does it for you when it comes to veggies. What veggie dish can you binge on instead of bingeing on something else. You might think you're not a big eater because you eat 1 processed breaded chicken patty, half a baked potato with margarine and fat-free sour cream, and 2 stalks of broccoli and drink 1-2 glasses of sweet tea or coke with it and have just one donut for dessert. But your body is starving and being loaded with hormones and chemicals and high-fructose corn syrup in that meal. If you counted the calories in that meal compared to my 2-3 heaping plates of okra and shrimp, my calorie count would be way lower than yours. And I'm eating like a pig. And my little chlostrida are feasting and churning out all kinds of butyrate. Your small breaded chicken patty has more calories in it than my whole shrimp and okra meal,which by the way is about 315 calories.

And I've been doing this for a few weeks--consistently, steadily--and my hunger is finally leaving me. For the first time in my life.

I used to love my mom's fresh green beans with small red potatoes and onions and garlic. Sometimes I make up a huge pot and just eat on that for days, with very little else. I put nitrite-free turkey bacon in it so I am not too troubled by my meat cravings. Nothing says satiety like a bacon flavor.

I don't even try to fix real meals like I used to. I focus on what veggies I'm going to eat (with what fat and meat will enhance it). In addition to the veggies, throughout the day, I'll have a few nuts, an occasional piece of fruit, and every few days I'll do a bean dish (with lots of veggies in it). Sometimes when the meat-eater in me can't take it anymore, I'll do organic chicken or a grass-fed steak or hamburger steak from a source I trust and I'll surround it with lots of veggies and foods with high-antioxidant value. When I can't resist having a starch, I'll make a veggie dish with rice.

And on special occasions, I'll allow myself healthy versions of old recipes I love--like chicken gumbo using gluten-free flour and a healthy oil for my roux. I try to never use refined oils of any kind but for a roux, I use refined so they don't carry a taste. Refined avocado oil makes a fine roux, as does grass-fed butter. Everybody I know uses soy oil. Bad, bad, bad. Stop it. Some people are using flour-only roux that has no oil, but wheat in flour is bad, bad, bad. If somebody would start making a powdered roux with gluten-free flour, they'd make a fortune. (I gotta go talk to somebody about that).

There was a lot of info in this post. You might want to print it out. Or keep coming back and reading it over and over. In this one post on the blog is the key to kicking hunger to the curb. Don't think you can live the rest of your life like this? Do it for a little while. Lose the weight. Get healthy again. Then figure out what you can and cannot live without. And give yourself what you need. But don't start adding the bad stuff back in until you've gotten healthy and lost the weight. Once you're healthy and at a healthy size, occasional bad things won't kill us. But right now, they're killing us.

Get your gut healthy with enzymes, probiotics and fermented foods. Feed those little chlostridia tons of the right veggies so they manufacture butyrate to cut your hunger. Make sure to eat healthy fats with all those veggies. And read the Sweet Sixteen List every day to remind yourself about what you need to do. We'll talk about all the things on that list as we go. Work out the details. But today, we've got the big picture before us and we're on our way to the other side.

I'm doing a post soon on resistant starch foods, which maybe can help boost your chlostridia's production of butyrate. The jury is still out on that. Most people on the resistant starch bandwagon use Bob's Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch (1-4 tbsp. in a glass of water first thing in the morning) or green banana or plaintain flour. It works miraculously for some, not for others. Why? Probably because either some people don't have many healthy chlostridia, or because it's being done alone without doing all the other healthy stuff in concert with it. So if you're feeding your chlostridia lots of resistant starch but drinking chlorinated water and using anti-bacterial soap and eating GMO-foods--all of which are killing your good intestinal bacteria, including chlostridia--it's hard to see the effect you're looking for.

My hunger is retreating with all the veggies and healthy things I've been doing. Let's see what the resistant starch does when added to the mix. I'm thinking I'm going to try adding some unmodified potato starch and green bananas in addition to all the other healthy stuff I'm doing to see if I can increase my hunger reduction. I'll keep you posted.

Below is a screen capture from my computer with the Bob's Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch. That price on jet.com is unheard of and you can get it at that price with the 15% off you get on your first three jet.com orders. No I'm not getting paid for promoting this. You can't be an affiliate or get referral bonuses for jet.com just like you can't for Amazon. But when I find a price this cheap (with free shipping) how can I not share it with you? If you want to try eating more veggies and adding the potato starch to your routine, let me know how it goes. When the whole idea of resistant starch first came out, it was a miracle health-boosting weight-loss wonder. Now they're seeing it doesn't work for alot of people. But if you get your gut healthy and do it alongside those special clostridia-feeding veggies, it might work. We'll find out together. 

Our new mantra: feed the chlostridia.

I'm still looking for better ways than this to feed the chlostridia. I just penned a few notes to try to get in touch with Mr. Heisenbug (ever read that blog?) to see what he thinks. I'll let you know if I hear back from him.

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