Collin Cross; Ph.D. – 3/1/2016
How we eat and cook?
Sometimes people ask us what, and how, we eat to have had such a major impact on ourselves and our health issues. The diet we advocate is similar to what is shown in this picture. It changes from week-to-week and seasonally as we work to rotate food groups, especially regarding the plant foods such as fruits and vegetables. The animal foods also naturally cycle through the season as the color and nutrient density of the pastured meat, eggs and dairy changes. Please refer to the picture above to see just the foods we are eating this week. To the greatest degree possible, all our food comes from local 100% pastured and sustainable organic farming practices. We personally feel it best to inspect the farms if possible, in order to ensure we are buying the nutrients we think we are with no added adulterants! We must live in the food chain to be optimally healthy.
For cooking, we work to rely solely on saturated sources of fat, drawn from either pastured animal products, or true fruit and vegetable oils. Fruit/Vegetable oils include those using medium chain triglycerides, or mono-unsaturated oils, while animal oils are either lard, butter or clarified butter. We cook meat with all the bone and fat in. We boil the marrow from the bones, and consume it in soup stock. We trim excess fat from the meat, but otherwise leave the droppings and gelatin intact and eat as gravy, broth, or in the meal. The body stores nutrients as locally as possible, so eating the fat, organs (we don’t like organs), and bone gelatin / collagen provides a large degree of nutrient density, which is used by the body to fuel the immune and regulatory systems. Only when these system are in balance, and we have no nutrient constraints, can optimal health emerge.
How we supplement?
We supplement our diet very mildy. Generally we work only with a varied selection of high quality natural sea salts, fermented cod liver oil in small quantities, high quality magnesium from our own supply, and a small, but steady supply of vitamin K2-MK4. We work to derive all else from natural sources. If a person eats properly, we can thrive with little supplementation.
What kind of diet is this?
Our diet is similar to a combination of an all real food diet, a low-carb diet, and a Paleo diet. The diet, is a long-term-sustainable nutrient rich and anti-inflammatory diet. This sort of diet is generally called a “traditional real food” diet. However, we additionally place a severe restriction on any foods that come from the family of seeds, consisting of Grains, Nuts, Beans and Seed Oils. Why, because these are the foods that destroy our guts, and erode our health over time. While it is impossible to live in the modern world and not eat these foods sometimes, we work hard to avoid them as best as we can. We also work to avoid nearly all sorts of process foods, except for very special occasions. We do this because all plant foods contain unique and problematical toxins, but the seed family is the worst of all. In our opinion, their negative aspects far outweigh their generally poor nutrient quality for nearly all people.
Learn to rotate foods to reduce inflammatory damage (moderation and variety)
Each type of a food inflicts a unique combination of cellular damage onto our bodies tissue cells. However, much like the recovery from exercise, our bodies will repair the damage as rapidly as it is able and will work to be ready for the next time. In order to be optimally healthy we have to understand this process and do two things.
- We should strive to provide the body with enough micronutrients to take us out of repair “triage”, a theory of cellular repair put forward by Joyce McCann and Bruce Ames, wherein the body prioritizes all its needed repair activities based on their relative impact on survival. We understand this theory to be very true!
- We should work to reduce the damage being inflicted on the body by foods.
While process foods are nearly always toxic and inflammatory, natural plant foods are much more complicated and varied. We really should understand the properties and uses of each type individually. While plants and fruits contain critical nutrients that our bodies can’t work well without, the act of eating them often inflicts various types of damage onto our cells, especially those of the gut. The mechanisms by which this happens are numerous. Oxidative damage to specific cells is one such, but there are too many more to discuss here. The chemical specifics of the mechanisms do not matter anyway. The important point is that the body is then forced to spend valuable cellular resources to counteract these ongoing damage processes. Over time, if the body intakes fewer micronutrients than it needs to spend, then a rationing process will inevitably begin. This is when we enter the “triage” stage of life.
The “competitive rates” theory of non-communicable disease
During nutritional triage (otherwise known as deficiency status), the body must apply resources where it needs them most. If there are not enough of a given nutrient to go around, the least priority items utilizing that particular nutrient, or set of nutrients, must be shutdown at the genetic level. Problems begin to come as this process persists over a period of decades. Eventually, if gut-inflaming toxic foods are eaten for long enough, and too few nutrients are taken in, then the body must start cannibalizing itself to protect the lining of the gut. Why? Because if we can’t eat, we will die!
If we propose that the lining of the gut is a very high priority item for certain individuals, possibly at the top of the list even, then this would mean that the body will have to go to the skeleton, cardiovascular system, endocrine, or even the brain/nervous system to fill its highest priority resource needs. Which particular sub-system was cannibalized first, would likely then depend upon a particular individuals genetics, lifestyle and diet? In other words, the local or average behavior of the person over time. This behavior then, which might be fairly set in some individuals, but much more varied in others, would have a powerful impact on the manifestation of disease. A very interesting theory to be sure. The effective statistical distribution of genetics and lifestyles might well explain large portions of the manifestation of non-communicable disease as we age? We don’t know about for everyone else, but for our family and friends, when we put this theory to the test, we became huge believers within 4 months time!
Learn to let your body have time to repair!
By eating too frequently from particular plant foods, we prevent the body from ever catching up on its repair processes, especially the damage caused by the seed group! If we eat too many toxic foods and don’t give our body the time and resources it needs to accomplish its repair tasks, we set ourselves up for a sure failure of health. If we eat too many bad foods and not enough micronutrients, then our cellular repair list fills up with tasks faster than we can complete them. Much like a friendly, but overworked and under budgeted maintenance staff in an old laboratory I happen to know of! Each year, they might have gotten a little farther behind with maintenance? If so, eventually the building will need an expensive and total overhaul, or be sold to a new owner looking for a fixer-upper.
It is much the same in the body. Borrowing from a concept in exercise physiology called “oxygen debt”, we call the process of accumulating cellular maintenance tasks faster than they can be filled a “repair debt”. We should always seek to rotate foods so as to give our body and its enzymes time to pay their repair debts before eating of them again. This helps to ensure that the body is in balance in terms of its supply and demand relations surrounding the inventories of available micronutrients. The good news is that beefing up our micro-nutrient stores (pun intended!!), speeds up the rate at which our immune system can work its repair processes. This is always a good thing! Unfortunately, different foods have different repair debt potentials for each person based on their health status, age, and genetics, so even if things go faster, over time, we still need to figure out how long to wait to recover from various foods. This is the very definition of moderation,which is another question I get asked a lot.
Only by re-gaining sensitivity over the specific impacts of foods on their body can one learn how different foods affect us specifically, and what level of repair debts the foods we enjoy inflict upon our body. For instance, I now know, after 2 years of variations and isolation, that when I eat Kidney beans, my stomach bloats and my neurology is short circuited within a few hours, worse than nearly any other food. This is especially true if they are not prepared properly, which is nearly always the case in commercial preparations such as restaurants and process food sources. I can know this for sure because kidney beans, especially, induce, in me and others I can observe, a set of symptoms very similar to that of a moderate magnesium deficiency. One example symptom is induced restless leg, for up to 3 days. That is only one example. There are many other evident but unknown ingredients in the foods of the seed family, and in process foods in general, that have a similar effect. Only by eliminating these inflammatory foods and allowing the damage, to our gut and tissues to heal, can we regain sensitivity over the foods we eat. When we have accomplished this, then experimenting with the selective re-addition of specific foods over time, can truly and effectively teach us how different foods affect us as individuals.
The diet we advocate and practice has provided many amazing testimonials. We hope to begin sharing some of these later this year. Stay tuned! ….Genesis BioHealth.