Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Connection between Eating Disorders, Obesity and Our Food Supply

Great article I found!


The Connection between Eating Disorders, Obesity and Our Food Supply

On the Scale
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This is a guest blog post by Dr. J. Renae Norton
I’ve been treating eating disorders (ED’s) and obesity for nearly 25 years and have always had good outcomes.  My rate of success improved dramatically, however, when I discovered the critical role that processed food plays in causing as well as in preventing recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, (a combination of the two) Binge Eating Disorder (BED,) Emotional Eating and Obesity.
I made this discovery as I researched a new book that began as a rant about the lack of successful treatment in the field of Eating Disorders and obesity.  However, as I gathered more data, the book morphed into an examination of the toxic nature of U.S. foods and the impact they have had on the onset, treatment and relapse rates for both ED’s and Obesity in the U.S.
Like most practitioners, I am aware of the epidemic of obesity, especially among U.S. children. The demographics are also changing for those with eating disorders i.e. we are now seeing anorexia among very young children (5 and 6 year olds) older women (25 and up instead of the 12 to 18 year olds that had been the norm) and men of all ages (rates have gone from 5% to 10% in the last decade.) These are all groups that have been relatively unaffected by ED’s in the past, so the changes are perplexing as well as disturbing.
Another alarming change was a new and more lethal form of Anorexia, unofficially referred to by many of us as Bulimiarexia, made up of individuals who restrict except when they are going to purge what they eat. In my experience, they are more difficult to treat and have more serious complications such as cirrhosis of the liver, osteoporosis, and kidney failure as well as premature hair and tooth loss.  For example, I currently have two women under the age of 25 who have no teeth. One does not have enough jaw bone left for implants. I have seen several other patients with no teeth over the past 2 years, which is a new phenomenon in my practice. Another problem that is showing up with greater and greater frequency is Vitamin D deficiency. This is more serious than it sounds as Vitamin D deficiency is implicated in some of the most serious chronic diseases of our time.
In general, serious medical complications for those suffering from all forms of disordered eating, are rapidly becoming the rule rather than the exception.  This observation is born out by the findings of such groups as the American Council on Science and Health who report that obesity is “the second largest cause of preventable cancer, after cigarette smoking……and that it may exceed smoking as an avoidable cause of cancer ” in the near future.
Even more disturbing, are the complications of obesity for America’s children, who currently have the dubious distinction of being the most obese children in the world (tied with Scotland).  More and more U.S. children suffer from diseases that were once associated with middle age, such as Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart conditions and joint deterioration.  As a result, many are destined to have a lower their life expectancy than their parents. ED’s also take a toll on life expectancy. For example, females between the ages of 15 and 24 who suffer from Anorexia, have the highest mortality rate for that age range. Studies have also shown that the risk for early death is twice as high for Anorexic’s that purge, or Bulimarexics, than for those that do not.  Given that this new form of the disorder is increasingly more common, we can expect the mortality rates to go up even more for this population.
There appears to be a connection between the current epidemic of obesity, the changing demographics of ED’s, and the escalating medical complications in both groups that is not on the radar of most practitioners. This may help to explain why recovery rates are so low for ED’s and obesity. For Anorexia and Bulimia recovery rates across all forms of treatment are only about 50% at best. They drop to 30% for treatment that relies exclusively upon residential care. For those who are obese, or overweight, the failure rate is even higher, in as much as 95% percent of all those who try to lose weight by dieting alone fail. Finally, when one considers that yoyo dieting is a significant risk factor for developing an ED and that approximately 41% of the U.S. population is on a diet at any given time, the outlook is dismal at best for Americans.
The question is why is this happening? The answer is pretty straight forward, but difficult to believe none-the-less; For the past 40 years, there has been an escalation of substances known for their neuro-toxic, obesogenic, diabetic, carcinogenic and addictive impact added to the American food supply for the simple reason that they increase profits for the food industry. Not coincidentally, this is the same period of time during which the health of Americans began to decline, obesity rates began to rise until they reached epidemic proportions, and ED’s proliferated, showing up in heretofore unaffected demographic groups. These problems are not occurring in other countries where such substances are regulated. The negative impact of toxic food additives on the health of our nation has been significant if one considers the following:
Life Expectancy: United States life expectancy is 42nd in the world
Infant Mortality: In 1960, the U.S. had the 12th lowest infant mortality rate in the world. By 1990 it had dropped to 23rd place, and the most recent study in 2008 estimated that the U.S. is now in 34th place.
Effectiveness of the U.S. Health Care System : We spend more on health care than any other nation in the world ($6,714 per person in 2006) but get less, according to the World Health Organization, which ranked our health care system as 37th in overall performance, and 72nd by overall level of health.
Treatment for Disordered Eating Ignores the Role of Safe Nutrition. In general, treatment fails more often than it succeeds, because it fails to recognize the role that food additives play in damaging the parts of the endocrine system responsible for healthy weight management. The majority of the damage from unnecessary food additives, insecticides and genetically modified (GMO) foods is to the hormones that regulate hunger and fat storage. One such hormone is Leptin.  Research has shown that Leptin, which is found in adipose tissue, is too high or too low among those suffering from Anorexia, too low among those suffering from Bulimia and too high among those who are obese. In order for recovery to take place, Leptin levels must restored to their normal level. Yet the vast majority of practitioners are unaware of Leptin, or the role that it plays in ED’s and Obesity. Food additives have been shown to damage Leptin receptors and signaling mechanisms.  This results in food addictions, food cravings, excessive appetite loss, excessive central fat storage, and food allergies that cause bloating, constipation and/or diahrea.  Disturbed Leptin levels also increase the likelihood of relapse among Bulimic and Anorexic patients and may explain the phenomenon of yoyo dieting.
In general, the “cleaner” (the less processed) the food, the less damage to the endocrine system; likewise, the less damage to the endocrine system, the less likely the individual is to end up with disordered eating.  In terms of recovery, eliminating food additives, carcinogens, obesogens, and GMO’s and incorporating “clean” foods has a dramatic affect on overall health, the quality of the food and therefore the quality of the eating experience. Finally, relapse is much less likely when the Obese or ED patient is eating “clean” foods that are also delicious.
This last piece is critical, since most people with disordered eating assume that eating “healthy” will be a miserable experience.  Nothing could be farther from the truth. Try preparing and eating meals made from real, whole ingredients. With grass fed beef and dairy, as well as organic eggs and produce, you can improve your levels of vitamin D and have healthier bones and teeth; You can protect yourself from heart disease, high blood pressure, and all number of neurological disorders; You can experience decreased levels of anxiety and/or depression and in so doing improve the quality of your life significantly.  In other words, eating clean has been a life-changing experience for many and it could be for you as well.
Dr J Renae NortonDr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, published author and Director of the Norton Center for Eating Disorders  in Hyde Park, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. For the past 10 years she has noticed a connection between the epidemic of childhood obesity, eating disorders, and the increasing complications of both in her clinical work as well as in her research. Visit her website and check out her blog.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sweet Potato Chicken Salad

I found this recipe from Paleo on a Budget! It looks delicious!

Sweet Potato Chicken Salad

• 1.5lb Chicken
• 1 large Onion, sliced thinly
• 1/2 bag frozen green beans (or broccoli - Heather says go for the broccoli not the beans)
• Dried Dill, Rosemary, Basil, Garlic Powder
• 1-2 Sweet Potatoes
• Kerry Gold Butter {or coconut oil - Heather says use coconut oil)
• Good Olive Oil
• Salt + Pepper
• Paleo Mayo
• Sausages {I used 4 “breakfast” sized ones}
• Mustard

How To:
• Crank your oven up to 375 degrees {F}
• Get a baking sheet out, and dice up 1-2 sweet potatoes into bite size cubes {I’d go with 2 the first time, because it’s completely personal choice how much goes in, if you don’t want to use all of it after it’s cooked, save it and use it for breakfast the next morning, or a great post-work out snack!}. Drizzle with Olive Oil, Salt + Pepper, and Bake for 30-40 minutes, until cooked through and crispy.
•While those are going, add some butter {or coconut oil} into a skillet, chop your onions and let those caramelize, remember low and slow is a good idea… no one likes burnty onions! While that’s going, dice up your sausages, add them in the pan, then dice up your chicken into bite sized pieces, add that in. Let them all become bffls… and cook through. I let the chicken  get a little crispy as well {Mr. Not So Paleo loves it that way}, but you can cook it until it’s done to your liking.
• Right before your chicken is done, add in your green beans. Let all that cook.
• Toss it into a bowl, let it cool down {I stuck mine in the freezer for like 10 minutes}. When you’re sweet potatoes are done, add them into the bowl.
• Then add in your mayo { I make my mayo extra tangy… if you don’t, you might want to also add in a splash of lemon juice too}, How much mayo you might ask, as much as you want! Add in two squirts of mustard, salt, pepper, and your herbs and garlic powder.
• Stir it up, taste taste, adjust if needed and Enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Hey followers!
I have been slacking on posting recipes because.... I am in the process of making a paleo wedding cake! yes- you heard it right! WEDDING CAKE! Well, lets get this straight- there will be one small cake and a TON of paleo cupcakes! How am I doing this you ask? I'll let you know AFTER the wedding which is May 20th!

But here is a picture of a trail run- I will have lemon, orange, and chocolate flavors with a vanilla icing for all --- its amazing what coconut milk can do!

However- if you are looking for yummy recipes check out the 2011 section of my blog and you will find many to choose from! If you have not tried the paleo pizza crust- do it NOW! A-mazing!

Feel free to comment and if you are craving a specific treat let me know what it is and I will do my best to make it paleo!!!

Lemon Flavor!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why I Train- AgainFaster

Well hello there. You have absolutely no idea who I am. And why would you? I’m just another one of the thousands of CrossFitters out there who absolutely loves putting myself through pain daily, then feels the need to talk about it incessantly to anyone who will lend a listening ear. Original.

You know what's different about me, though? I objectify myself to the world wide web regularly with stories that have nothing to do with CrossFit or food, yet I still call myself a
Paleo food blogger. I just really like to talk…about everything.

Anywho. I’m here to share my CrossFit experiences with you and maybe lead you on the path to CrossFit happiness. These experiences may include my extreme love/hate relationship with muscle ups, my battle with my ever increasing thigh size, or my painful search for Mr. Right in this CrossFit community of ours. Ok, not exactly painful, but definitely not exciting.
I’m just another one of the billions--yes BILLIONS--of CrossFitters who yearns to make it to the Games. That’s all I want. Seriously. I wake up thinking about my wods, I make dinner thinking about my wods, and I go on dates thinking about my wods. I’m not kidding.
There is an issue though. I’m not extremely strong or extremely fast. And have you checked out those freaks lately? Jesus. My thighs could increase by 5 inches around and I still couldn't even deadlift what those ladies are squatting. Effin' A. But that's why I train. That's why I wod. To become someone. To reach my own personal excellence. That's what CrossFit is all about, being inspired by others and knowing we can push ourselves just like they did. Don't you just love that bubbly inspirational feeling? If you said no, you're a liar.

So every single day is filled with coaching, protein shakes, and wods that make me and my training partners go beastmode. Not in that order. And by the way, I lied about going beastmode because that's not a real thing. Childish thinkers, those men are. Training with these dudes has made me train way harder than I ever have before though. I have dude traps at this point. We like to clean the sh*t out of things regularly. But that's what inspires me. Half naked guys. Ok, I'm kidding...kind of.

So that’s where I’m at in my life. I love CrossFit soooo much that I want to make it to the Games to bake in 100 degree weather, while I sweat so much my eyes burn, all while trying to climb a rope and clean and jerk 155#. Ha. Right. It’s true though. I have never wanted something more in my life. I’m not incredibly competitive, but I am very stubborn.

And this is what this blog is all about. My struggles with CrossFit, my passion for CrossFit, and my love for CrossFit. Ok, that just got way too deep. I honestly just want to talk about how CrossFit HQ should invest in a singles tent next year at Regionals.

But I’m also looking to chat more with the CrossFit ladies out there and start finding out some of the crap we all have to deal with regularly. Let’s be straight here, being a woman in this CrossFit community is pretty effing sweet, but it’s also frustrating.

 Whether it’s a muscle up, or a back handed comment about our thigh size, or some uncomfortable looks while we sport spandex shorts in the dead of winter, we all deal with different issues and love knowing that others are going through it too.
So what are you dealing with? Are you having trouble sticking with your diet? Addicted to almond butter? Me too. Are you wondering where the best place is to buy spandex? Or do you just want to find out how others improved their pull ups? That’s what I’m here for. To answer questions and get the CrossFit community of women to come together to support each other.

What are your thoughts? - Heather

How could I NOT post this?

Paleo Women are Phat

Posted on by
Paleo Women are Phat
Disclaimer: this is not a post meant to be saying that lean women aren’t healthy or fertile. I just don’t like the fact that intelligent women who aren’t lean, but are also quite healthy, are afraid to educate others about nutrition because they don’t ‘look Paleo enough’. If you choose to pursue your ideal body type, then right on! Just please don’t judge other women for not having the same goals, genetics, or life circumstances for achieving the same physical appearance. Thanks for reading! :)

This post has been a long time coming, so excuse the rant.
I think the Paleo community needs to take a step back and reevaluate our priorities as far as health and fitness go – specifically for women. I was horrified to see this comment posted by an anonymous internet user on Nom Nom Paleo’s blog post during our trip to Austin for PaleoFX:
“One question, and I know this will likely come out wrong and I may even regret going there, but I have to put it out there: I can’t help but notice that, while the men all are lean and mean, most of the female Paleo figureheads aren’t, well, quite so lean.What do you think? Am I way off the mark? If not, why do you think this is?”
So me being the excessively opinionated, doesn’t-take-sh*t-from-anyone type of person I am, I decided I had to respond:
“Maybe because women aren’t designed to be lean. Otherwise why would they lose the ability to ovulate when they drop below a certain body fat percentage? I’m pretty sure fertility is a pretty significant measure of health in a woman. Your comment is extremely ignorant.”
Ok, so maybe I got a little too sassy with that response. But seriously, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and that post just put me over the edge.
I don’t consider myself to be ‘lean’ whatsoever. Sure, I work out a fair amount and eat extremely nutrient -dense food, but I’m currently a size 8 and probably about 10-15 pounds heavier than my (completely superficial) ‘ideal body weight’. For a long time, it really bothered me that I was constantly struggling with that last 10+ pounds. I’d lose it, maintain for a bit, and then something stressful would happen and I’d just gain it all right back. Totally frustrating, and very disheartening. It really made me very self-conscious about the way I look, considering I purport to have a high level of nutrition knowledge.
These kind of “why aren’t Paleo women lean” comments are extremely hurtful to people like me who work really hard to not only be adequately nourished, but also spend more time reading and writing about nutrition than we spend working out or weighing and measuring our food. Not everyone has the time it takes to dedicate oneself to achieving a ridiculous level of fitness. And yes, for most women, getting a six pack generally takes an extreme level of dedication to restrictive eating and consistent intense exercise.
Is that a 14 pack? Can't say I've ever seen a woman in real life who looks like this...
The sad part, though, is that this extreme level of criticism about women’s bodies has been enough to stress me out about attending events like PaleoFX or becoming more prominent in the Paleo community, because I’m concerned people are going to judge me for how I look. As much as I was excited to attend PaleoFX, I was also really nervous that people would see that I wasn’t in perfect physical shape and therefore discredit the knowledge I have regarding nutrition and health. It was something that made me extremely self-conscious as I was preparing for my trip. And I’m not the only one who feels this way either; Diane and Liz discussed this issue on their most recent Balanced Bites podcast. Despite the fact that Liz is one of the most gorgeous women I’ve ever met, she still feels like she doesn’t fit people’s expectations for the way a ‘Paleo’ woman is supposed to look.
So, does it bother anyone else that women like me and Liz have anxiety attending events like PaleoFX because we’re worried about people judging us for our body size?
Is this what we want, for intelligent women to be afraid of getting involved in leadership roles because they don’t feel like they’re lean enough to fit the part? I think it’s really ridiculous that people would espouse a diet based on evolutionary biology, and yet not understand why the women who follow the diet would have a visible level of body fat. Considering how many female athletes and body builders don’t menstruate and are therefore unable to bear children, we’ve got to realize that the notion of a woman having a six pack is probably not biologically appropriate. And isn’t the whole point of this Ancestral diet to support optimum levels of health, vitality, and ultimately fertility?
Ancient fertility art. No six-pack here!
I don’t care if a woman has a certain body fat percentage goal that she’s working towards, as long as she realizes the sacrifice in fertility she may be making. And I’m aware that certain women have the genetic propensity to be very lean and muscular. That said, I think people in the Paleo community need to start acknowledging the fact that a woman who is healthy and fit for pregnancy is ultimately going to have a decent amount of body fat, which ideally should be around 26-28%. That’s a decent amount of junk in the trunk.
I’m not usually one to show pictures to demonstrate ‘what a woman should look like’, but I know we all like throwing around Marilyn Monroe as a prototype for the ideal. Well, judging from these pictures, would any of you say that Marilyn is ‘lean and mean’?
Back squat perhaps? Get it, girl!
Fortunately, I’ve noticed that when I bring this topic up to the more intellectually evolved men in the Ancestral health movement, they seem to agree that women are generally most attractive when they’re ‘festively plump’. At PaleoFX I had a pretty long conversation about this with George from Civilized Caveman, and I was shocked (and impressed) that he was adamant about women looking better when they have a decent level of body fat to speak of. Truthfully, from my own experience, I always had the feeling most men have this idea that a woman is only sexy when she has flat abs and thin, toned thighs, but it’s great that there are reasonable men out there that understand and appreciate what a woman is biologically designed to look like.
My final point in all of this is that regardless of what a woman looks like, I think we all need to take a step back and think about what is worth pursuing in our lives. I think its really easy to get distracted by chasing a certain level of attractiveness, but at some point we need to realize that there is so much more to life than looking amazing. And I personally am trying my best to move past being self conscious about the way I look, and realizing that I have more to offer the world than a ‘perfect’ body.
To emphasize that point, here is a list of all the things I would give up having a perfect body to have in my life, inspired by my favorite ‘Ancestralized’ women:
  • Having the ability to understand complicated nutritional biochemistry (while still looking 20 years younger than she actually is) like my mom, Pamela Schoenfeld.
  • Being courageous enough to be bold about demonstrating an awe-inspiring level of passion for public health and nutrition, like Adele Hite.
  • Having a wonderful husband who not only is a good man, but absolutely adores me, like Liz Wolfe.
  • Being strong enough to crank out a muscle-up, like Diane Sanfilippo.
  • Being able to make anyone laugh with an infectious sense of humor, like Nom Nom Paleo.
  • Having the knowledge and ability required to run my own sustainable, organic farm, like Diana Rodgers.
  • Being able to raise beautiful children, in spite of former life set-backs, like Stacy Toth.
  • Having cooking skills worth writing a cookbook about, like Hayley Mason.
  • Being able to take down any know-it-all scientist (or vegan) using science based epidemiological logic, like Denise Minger.
All I’m trying to say, ladies, is that there is so much more we have to offer the world than our looks, or our bodies. I’m still struggling to get past my own self-consciousness regarding my less-than-perfect appearance, but I hope all the women out there reading this post will join me in working towards valuing our brains, our strength, and our loving friends and family much more than we value our physique.
And for the general Paleo community, let’s take our intellectual capabilities up a notch when deciding what we think women are supposed to look like. If you respect nature and evolutionary biology, you should respect the fact that women are designed to have a certain level of body fat, and it’s 100% acceptable for the female Paleo figureheads to not look like Sports Illustrated bikini models.
I look forward to hearing comments from you all regarding this serious issue in the Paleo community!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cauliflower Popcorn

This is as paleo as it gets ya'll! Thanks Sweet Freedom for the recipe!

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 20 grams olive oil
  • 12 grams nutritional yeast (or to taste) doubting this is paleo but 'ay why not try it?
  • 2 tsp cumin (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
  • a few pinches of sea salt (to taste)
  • you could totally add a dab of honey and cinnamon to make this "sweet corn"