We are all hoping for a speedy resolution to this pandemic. Unfortunately, it seems more realistic that we will be dealing with this virus for at least another year until a vaccine or treatment is developed. As quarantines are lifted and people begin to move around again, it is highly likely that a great number of us will be exposed to the virus at some point in the future. We all want a quick fix; with some immediate protection from this pandemic sweeping the globe. But as it seems, governments, health care systems, and the pharmaceutical industry have failed to provide a prevention, leaving us with these equally flimsy and cumbersome safety methods such as masks, hand washing, shelter in place, and social distancing. But is this really the best way to deal with this situation from an individual standpoint? I don’t think so. From an evolutionary or Darwinian perspective, we would want our bodies to be fit and strong enough to overcome a virus exposure, rather than relying on a weak strategy of avoidance and cleanliness which may be impossible to maintain over the course of a year or more. I believe the best way to avoid the serious complications caused by this virus is to make your body less reactive to its harmful effects. It may turn out that the best possible defense could be in having a body and immune system that can absorb a COVID-19 infection without triggering the associated serious complications such as pneumonia, respiratory failure, and organ damage that are the real downfall of people who struggle after getting infected.
As someone who doesn’t carry health insurance, I make it a top priority to avoid the health care system in general, especially hospitals. During the time of a pandemic, it is becoming apparent that hospitals are one of the most dangerous and infectious places to be. So, how to avoid the hospital and not live in fear of contracting the virus? Get your body in shape so that it doesn’t over-react to the initial infection. What do I mean by getting your body in shape? I’m not talking about ‘six-pack abs’. I’m referring to the proper functioning of your organs and tissues at the cellular level.
Why are some people showing hardly any symptoms after infection while others die? Our natural human fear is that a pandemic will have a random distribution of disastrous health outcomes – a crapshoot, where a roll of the dice predicts our individual fate. This is not the case for COVID-19. People with underlying health problems are getting much sicker and have the highest rate of death.
These underlying health issues, or so-called “comorbidity factors,” such as diabetes, hypertension, and other cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases being most common — otherwise known, when clustered together, as metabolic syndrome or metabolic disorder — are turning out to be the real killers of this pandemic. Metabolic dysfunction, simply put, means that the cells of our body are not able to carry out their normal functions, such as energy production and waste disposal, with proper efficiency. This leaves a person more susceptible to infections, diseases, and excessive damage from various environmental factors.
The bad news is that 88% of Americans have some degree of metabolic disorder. The good news is that, as individuals, we have a great amount of control over our own metabolic processes. One of the great tragedies of the last few decades has been the government guidelines regarding dietary advice. By encouraging the consumption of seed oils and processed carbohydrates while vilifying the consumption of saturated fats and animal meat, this thinking has caused a nationwide disaster of our health including our immune systems, and ultimately proved to be the main cause of these horrendous and highly avoidable metabolic diseases. Genetic disposition to becoming a victim of these diseases is much less of a factor than is commonly believed. You have much more control over the cellular functioning of your body than your government or doctor or media source would have you believe.
So, let’s get to the meat of the problem!
What are the best ways to avoid these diseases and get your body metabolically healthy? What lifestyle and dietary choices are going to make the biggest impact for improved health outcomes?
Here are the top four ways:
- Lose weight
- Decrease triglycerides
- Increase insulin sensitivity
- Lower inflammation
How to do this?
#1 Stop eating all seed and vegetable oils, even small amounts.
These PUFA (poly unsaturated fatty acids) oils have been proven to be a major contributing cause to diabetes and inflammation. It takes 90 days to clear these oils out of your cells.
Avoid these oils: canola, soy, corn, peanut, rapeseed, etc.
Almost every meal that you will be served in a restaurant will contain these oils. Take advantage of this quarantine to avoid harmful restaurant oils and use healthy fats in your home cooking. Do not fear animal or saturated fat. Stick with butter, ghee, tallow, suet, and trimmings from healthy meat. By healthy meat, I mean pastured or grass fed animals. If you eat grain fed animals (found in 99% of restaurants), you will be consuming vegetable oils by default because these animals are being fed corn and soy.
If you are going to consume olive, avocado oil, or coconut oil, try to avoid cooking with them, especially at high heat.
#2 Stop eating unnecessary carbohydrates.
Without getting into a diatribe about keto diets and the toxins contained in plant foods, it is a good idea to lower your overall intake of carbs. This will help control blood sugar spikes, and slowly, over the course of a few weeks, decrease your insulin resistance. Again, if you think your insulin response is functioning properly, remember that in 88% of us it is not. So if you are overweight, or eat a poorly constructed diet, you are most likely insulin resistant to some degree. Reducing carbs can be extremely difficult for some of us to do, so I suggest concentrating on the most egregious offenders first: sugars, refined carbs, and grains. If you are successful with this, try cutting out most fruit and other hidden sources of sugars. The more that you restrict carbohydrates in your diet, the better your body will become at burning fat, allowing you to lose weight and feel more satiated between meals.
#3 Eat adequate protein from pastured or grass fed animals. A good target is 1 gram of protein per every pound of lean muscle mass. The older we get, the more protein intake we need to conserve muscle mass and maintain metabolic health.
#4 Do not eat high amounts of fats combined with carbohydrates. This is the fastest way to gain weight, increasing dangerous visceral body fat and triglyceride levels. French fries and ice cream are typical culprits.
#5 Consider intermittent fasting, otherwise known as time restricted eating. Fasting has been proven to have amazing health benefits, but it is mentally and physically challenging to attempt. Try to eat later breakfasts and earlier dinners without snacking before bed. Fasting allows the cells to take a break from digestion and energy production, allowing them to clean house and remove toxins. Aim for at least 12 hours of zero calorie consumption between dinner and morning coffee or food.
#6 Avoid dairy products unless it contains A2 casein. The most common cow dairy products contain A1 casein, which is highly inflammatory to most of us. This means avoiding most cow dairy products and switching to goat. Don’t be afraid of goat products! I put goat milk in my morning coffee and eat a variety of delicious goat cheeses and kefir. Try coconut yogurt as a substitute for regular yogurt.
#7 If possible, add these nutrient rich foods to your diet: Pastured or grass fed animals, including organ meats and fatty parts. Pastured eggs. Collagen powder – try mixed with bone broth. Bone marrow. Healthy seafood such as wild salmon, sardines and shellfish.
#8 Although this will sound controversial, consider reducing or eliminating many seeds, nuts, grains, legumes, and other vegetables and plant foods from your diet. Many auto immune diseases can be triggered from various plant sources. For more info on this, please read the Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry and the best diet book ever written: The Carnivore code by Dr. Paul Saladino.
#9 Other activities to improve health, cellular and circulatory function:
- Lots of low level physical movement throughout the day – walking, swimming, biking, yoga, gardening, etc.
- Find or purchase a sauna. Heat exposure has incredible health benefits. I have a one-person portable sauna that I bought for a few hundred bucks. It sits in my living room and I use it daily for a good sweat.
- Lift weights. Gaining muscle tissue will increase metabolic efficiency.
- Maximize sleep. Try meditation or calming breathing exercises.
- Take advantage of warmer weather to expose your skin to sunlight and raise vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is absolutely crucial for the proper functioning of many metabolic processes. Most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, and food based sources may not provide adequate bio-availability. Direct sun exposure is essential.
Please contact me anytime if you have questions about the information I have written, or if you are interested in engaging my health coaching services to delve deeper into your own particular health concerns.
Please stay healthy, happy, and strong!
Rob Norberg – Head Pilot, Mission Lodge