April 22, 2009
Ben: Welcome to the www.bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast. Your free audio exposure to cutting edge fitness, nutrition and wellness information. My name is Ben Greenfield and I’m an exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer and nutritionist. Each week I’ll be bringing you information that goes outside run of the mill exercise and diet advice. So whether you’re an Ironman triathlete or you’re just trying to lose a few pounds, enjoy this week’s podcast episode from www.bengreenfieldfitness.com.
Ben: Hey podcast listeners. I don’t know what happened this week. Maybe it was a change in weather, all the listeners to my show went crazy with the weird rock techno music that I play in the background. Or something just snapped because my mail bag is chock full of questions and today is going to be spent addressing some of those questions and I love it because there are some really interesting ones. We’re going to talk about the best type of cooking oils and I’m going to provide you with some interesting advice that you probably didn’t know about fats and cooking oils. Real practical advice on what to do if you’re trying to lose weight and your spouse doesn’t eat healthy. How to gain weight without gaining fat. That was an interesting question. A way to increase your daily caloric intake if your energy levels are low and you just want to experiment to see if you are getting enough calories. We’re also going to touch on food combination diets. But before we get on to any of that, let’s go ahead and go over this week’s special announcements. By the way, this podcast is going to change quite a bit. Both our format is going to change as well as some of the ways that we lay out the content. So you might want to really enjoy this podcast because it’ll be the last time you listen to it in this format. On the bright side, it’s only going to get better.
Ben: Remember if you have a question for the Listener Q and A, you can email me [email protected]. You can Skype me, if you have the free Skype video audio conferencing software, which I think is awesome – let’s me make a call to anybody in the country for free – my user name is “pacificfit” or you can call toll free. We have a toll free number set up for your questions. It’s 18772099439. Our first question this week comes from Listener James.
James asks: Just wondering about healthy oils. If you cook or heat oils such as olive oil, canola oil, flax seed oil, does this spoil their healthy attributes?
Ben answers: So, basically when you’re looking at whether or not oils are going to be unhealthy or in other words degrade and become kind of unstable at high temperatures, you want to look at the general stability of the oils, the stability of the fat. And I think most of you out there have probably heard of monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and then saturated fats. The whole idea behind that is that mono which refers to one – that means that there’s only one unsaturated point on that fat molecule, and by unsaturated what that means is that’s a point that doesn’t have a hydrogen attached to it. And then polyunsaturated fats have more than one place that don’t have a hydrogen attached. And then saturated fats are basically, they don’t have any open points. They’re completely saturated with hydrogen. Well, the idea that a monounsaturated healthy fat is going to become unstable and basically produce free radicals at high temperatures is not necessarily true, especially when compared to polyunsaturated fats. Now it is true when you obsessively heat something like an olive oil or a grape seed oil or a flax seed oil or any of these healthier monounsaturated oils, what does happen is you can evaporate a lot of the alcohols and a lot of the esters that are inside that oil and that can basically just destroy the taste, destroy the fragrance. So, I don’t recommend that you use a highly fragrant tasty oil like extra virgin olive oil when you’re cooking with a monounsaturated oil. But you should be more worried about consuming food that’s been cooked in the polyunsaturated oils, because the higher number of places that are not saturated in oil, the less healthy it is. And a lot of these polyunsaturated oils like soybean oil, cotton seed oil, corn oil, saffron oil – is that they’re far more prone to free radical production when they’re exposed to heat or exposed to light. And this free radical production, when you consume it, it can contribute to an inflammatory condition within your body and this has been associated with things like heart disease, diabetes or other what would be considered chronic, degenerative diseases. So, by now you’re probably scratching your head thinking well if polyunsaturated is the most prone to free radical production or to becoming damaged when cooked at higher temperatures, and monounsaturated is less prone to that but technically you could get a little bit of that with monounsaturated oils, then saturated oils must not have much production of free radicals at all. And this is true. Saturated fats – saturated oils – things like palm oil, coconut oil or yes butter are some of the healthiest oils to cook with because they’re more stable and they’re less inflammatory than the polyunsaturated oils. So, what I recommend you have around your house is you’ve basically got your monounsaturated oils like your olive oil that you would use for your salads or for some low heat cooking – vegetables, stir fry, things of that nature. But then higher fat cooking – for instance – searing meats, things of that nature – you should actually have butter around the house and I’m actually a big fan of coconut oil as well, like an extra virgin coconut oil for cooking. And saturated fats are actually good for you in moderation. They have a very high number of what are called medium chain triglycerides. And those are actually lacking in a lot of people’s diets and they’re a great source of energy for your body to help keep your appetite satiated. There have even been studies that suggest that they may help improve the metabolism. And boric acid – one of the components of the saturated fats has actually been suggested to help the immune system. So there’s quite a few benefits to the consumption of saturated fats. It just needs to be in moderation because it is true that they are very calorically dense. So, in my house we keep it pretty simple. We have usually a grape seed oil or an extra virgin olive oil that we use for cooking. I personally supplement with an Omega 3 flax seed oil and then we also have butter that we’ll use for some high temperature cooking.
Mindy asks: I read somewhere through your website about combination foods to get the best digestion. (Mindy’s probably asking about the library of articles we have over at www.pacificfit.net. A lot of articles I wrote over the past four years are on there. What she refers to is either eating fruit by itself or eating mostly carb or mostly protein meals.) So my questions are your Shape21 book doesn’t seem to follow these guidelines so what is the best way? I personally am finding it difficult to follow and understand the seven to eight guidelines that you listed. I’d love for you to talk more about it and give examples of combinations of foods that do work.
Ben answers: Well Mindy, the whole idea behind food combining is that eating certain foods in certain combinations can allow you to more fully digest those foods and so for example, when you eat a carbohydrate, that takes a certain type of enzyme to allow it to digest. And when you eat a protein, that takes a certain type of enzyme to help it digest and it’s possible that some of these enzymes might interfere with each other if they’re released at the same time. Like if you eat a lot of proteins and carbohydrates both at the same time. And then food that is not digested because of the interference of these enzymes could sit in your GI tract or sit in your system and cause things like weight gain or constipation, indigestion, gas, bloating, fatigue, things of that nature. So there’s a lot of different food combining diets out there that basically lay out a bunch of rules about different foods that should or should not be eaten together to allow you to not get that basically bickering or infighting between the enzymes in your stomach. Well, I wrote that article – I think that was three or four years ago when I wrote that article and it was more of a review of the food combination diet more than necessarily being my endorsement of actually having that diet as part of your lifestyle, but after I wrote the article I did have some people actually try out some of the guidelines I’d written out or go out and find out more about food combining. They found that it did help them to digest their foods just a little bit easier. Now there’s no scientific evidence to suggest, that I’m aware of, that a food combining diet is for example going to help you lose weight or going to completely take away food indigestion or bloating. But if you want to think about it in very simplistic terms, the least complex environment from a chemical perspective that you put in your stomach – the more streamlined the digestive process might be. So yeah, for example, if I were to eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning rather than doing what I actually do and eat a bowl of oatmeal with a little bit of egg and yoghurt and almond butter and some banana – I might be able to digest that oatmeal just a little bit quicker. And someone who might have a sensitive stomach, they might not get that indigestion or bloating that they get with meals. But the problem with food combining diets is that there is a ton of rules that you actually have to follow and so it might actually not work for everyone. But it could give a substantial number of people who have gastric intolerance, digestive problems, bloating, gas, things of that nature a way to just use themselves as a case study and see if following some food combining rules actually help them out at all. So rather than go over all of the different rules in this podcast, what I want to do is give you a resource that you can turn to that’s a nice little food combining chart that lays it out pretty well in an understandable format. There’s a lot of these charts on the internet and some of them go into greater detail than others, but I’m putting a link after your question in the Shownotes to this podcast to a chart that is one that you can print and hang on your refrigerator and it’s basically a picture of each different type of food group from proteins to starches to vegetables to fruits and so to just give you a few examples, so listeners can visualize this in their heads – it says proteins combined with salads, do not use with sugars and starches. Starches, combine with salads, do not use with proteins and fruits. Melons, best eaten alone. Vegetables combine well with most foods. Sweet fruits best combined with celery and lettuce. Acid fruits and sub-acid fruits are compared and you’re told which vegetables go best with sub-acid fruits, which vegetables go best with acid fruits. And then there’s kind of a detailed list that really kind of introduces you to food combining. If it’s something that you want to try out, if you struggle with indigestion, etc. you can check it out. I’ll put a link to the PDF in the Shownotes to the podcast right after your question and hopefully that will help you understand food combining a little bit more and you can print it out, hang it on your refrigerator and good luck memorizing all the rules. It can be a little bit tough with food combining.
Our next question is a call in question from Listener Monica.
Monica asks: I’m trying to lose some weight and eat healthy and everything but my husband has no problem losing weight and his metabolism is so high he pretty much eats anything he wants. So my problem is I try to make dinner but I can’t make dinners that are different foods because I don’t have enough time. If you have any suggestions to help me out with this, that would be awesome. Thanks.
Ben answers: I actually run into this quite a bit with my clients who are trying to change their lifestyles but don’t have support of family lives at home. I have developed some meals and some techniques that actually help you out a little bit when you’re trying to make a meal that you could make for your husband that would be tasty and full of calories and have that heart stopping nutritional tastiness to it while still allowing yourself to shed a few pounds. So here are a few examples. The first is hamburgers. And even though it’s not way more healthy than ground beef – I think sometimes it’s blown out of proportion how much healthier it is than ground beef – you can use ground turkey instead of hamburger and basically you take yours and you just top it with grilled onion, tomato, ketchup, mustard and maybe a slice of fat free cheese. And for him, you would maybe try and push him to the right direction by giving him a whole wheat English muffin to eat his hamburger on, rather than a regular bun but you eat yours basically with no bun, where you just slap it between two large pieces of lettuce. You can serve this with corn, especially as we’re getting to the summertime. You can slather his with a wedge of cheese or some butter and you can simply lightly salt yours. You can also squeeze some lemon on there. That goes pretty well. And if you want to do dessert with this one, actually fresh cherries are pretty good with the hamburgers and the corn. They mix together well. Pizza – even if you order pizza or you make it at home, basically you eat only one slice but you pile a large salad on top of that pizza. He can eat however much pizza he wants but basically you take one pizza, you eat it with a fork and knife and you put a salad on top of it. Pizza is actually pretty good with something like the mixed greens from even a place like Costco, like the big box of mixed greens. You can take a handful of that, throw it on top of the pizza. A little bit of olive oil and vinaigrette can go well with that as well. But it’ll fill up your stomach. That extra fiber can keep you from eating too much pizza. Chicken or shrimp stir fry with brown rice. The way this works is you can get the bag of the frozen stir fry or use fresh vegetables and you sauté that with chicken or shrimp and you eat it with just a little bit of teriyaki sauce and a little bit of brown rice or wild rice. You bring the teriyaki sauce out to the table and you let him throw as much of that he wants on there. You can also stir fry some extra chicken or some extra shrimp on the side. Let him again use as much of that as he wants and that way you’re still getting just healthy vegetables with a little bit of lean meat and he can add as much flavor as he’d like. You can also – if he’s not into brown rice or the wild rice – you can cook up some white rice or some yakisoba noodles for him. Remember the whole idea here is that I realize this is encouraging your spouse to eat healthy. But it is just enabling you – putting you in a situation where you can at least cope at home. A taco or burrito night works pretty well where you take out all sorts of meat, beans, rice, variations of cheese or sour cream or veggies. You can add some whole wheat tortillas or some taco shells as opposed to the white tortillas or taco shells and he’s basically free to pick whatever he wants and pile it on as many shells or wraps as he wants. But you can just do a bed of lettuce with a little bit of meats, some veggies, a little bit of cheese, a little bit of salsa, some tomatoes and then just use a yoghurt instead of a sour cream so you’re having a very healthy, lean taco salad and he’s having tacos. Seasoned chicken breast. Basically you just salt and pepper chicken breast, a little bit of light seasoning to your flavor and you put it over a bed of brown rice and some vegetables. But for your husband, you can add a nice creamy calorie filled tasty cream of mushroom soup topping. You simply heat cream of mushroom soup on the side and it tastes pretty good over chicken. Whole grain spaghetti with tomato sauce – basically use whole wheat or gluten free pasta and you serve that similar to the pizza. Just a little portion with some sauce and your salad served over the top. You eat it with a fork and knife. And you bring out a bunch of parmagian cheese, the sauce, the meatballs if you have them and your husband can go to town on the spaghetti. You have basically a small amount of spaghetti with a little bit of salad served over it. And then the last thing that works pretty well if you want to try and just start to push him in the right direction is just start to make it a habit with every dinner to serve just a little salad on the side with dinner. Even if your main course is a salad. For him, just a little bit of salad on the side just to start to push him toward the vegetables. But those are some ideas of foods and dinners that you can do that still enable you to eat healthy and your husband to have that big huge calorie filled tasty meal that he wants. So the next question comes from Listener Charles, and this is kind of a long one.
Charles asks: For a long time now, I’ve been battling an eating disorder, anorexia and over exercise. I’ve been through a lot of treatment in the past and am currently still meeting with my support team. Things are going well. I may not look too underweight but I’m not the weight doctors would like me to be. My body fat is around 3%. I’m currently at 147 lbs. My goal is to get up to 165 lbs. The nutritionist and doctors have set a goal weight for me of about 172 lbs since I’m just about 6 feet tall. I was wondering if you had any advice on what type of program I could do to help me gain healthy weight, not fat and still maintain the level of conditioning I have now meaning not to get slower as well as to build more muscle to improve my bike and swim. I’m afraid if I gain weight, it will just be all fat and hurt my performance. I’ve been told that once I fuel my body correctly, I will see a lot of improvement.
Ben answers: Great question Charles and yeah, it is true that what your nutritionist and your doctors are telling you just from a performance standpoint – if we leave out basic health – is if you don’t have enough power or enough force or enough muscle in any sport, it’s going to hurt you a bit. And even in an endurance sport like triathlon or cycling or running, you can weigh too little. Because when you weigh too little, what happens is your body essentially begins cannibalizing itself. You lose the ability to produce a muscular contraction, the ability to produce force. And that’s pretty deleterious to performance. But yeah, it is tough to actually put on weight, to pile on weight and have it not be fat. This is why bodybuilders traditionally kind of old school style bodybuilders – people have gotten smarter since the days of the 70s and 80s bodybuilding in terms of nutrition – but they would basically have cycles where they just put on a whole bunch of fat, as much weight as they could and then they’d tone it up and lean it up and they’d just basically go through that cycle, which is not healthy for the body. The body should be able to put on weight but not have the weight that it puts on be purely fat or mostly fat. And so, what I do with my clients who actually need to gain muscle but don’t want themselves to become unhealthy in the process is we do what’s called nutrition periodization. What this means is that you take a typical training week and you lay out a nutrition program that puts your body in a state where it can gain weight but have that weight not be fat-related weight because it’s based on your training, on your exercise. So, the way that you do this is you take your hardest exercise day of the week and this would for example be a day where you’re going to for your long bike ride or your run and maybe a swim beforehand. For triathletes it might be anywhere from a three up to a five or six hour workout. And this is your refeeding day. Meaning this is the day that you get your cheat foods, that you eat quite a few calories, that you eat well over and above your resting metabolic rate or the total number of calories that you’re burning through the day. It’s literally a large, large calorie intake day. Now what happens is the large amount of exercise that you’re doing on that day really keeps you fairly insulin sensitive and keeps a lot of those extra calories that you’re piling in from getting converted to fat. And it’s also very effective from a recovery standpoint because the high number of calories on the difficult training day can keep you from depleting your body’s storage carbohydrate or muscle glycogen levels. So you have this one refeeding day of the week. Now in addition, you want to take every single exercise session the rest of the week and make sure that for about two hours prior to that exercise session, during the exercise session and for about a one hour window after, those are the only times when you focus on weight gain. So the rest of the day apart from the exercise session, you’re not focused on eating as many calories as you can to put on muscle, because what’s going to happen is when you’re in a rested state or outside of exercise, your body is going to have a little bit harder time assimilating those nutrients for energy or for muscle building. So you take your workout during the day and basically you’ve got that window – pre, during and post workout – where you’re going to overfuel. And as far as how much overfueling you would need to be doing, you’re generally going to need to be overfueling by at least 500 calories a day to start to pile on muscle. You just need to make sure that the calories that you’re putting in are coming at the same time as or just before or just after you’re exercising, and then you have that giant refeeding day as well. That will allow you to successfully put on muscle assuming that you’re exercising and not have to worry so much about fat. I don’t know if you’re doing a weightlifting or resistance training program right now. But I would highly encourage you to add that in as well, because it can help you to put on a little bit of extra weight and again have that weight be force producing muscle. I have one resource that’s out there on the web for triathletes who want to lift weights for resistance training. It’s called www.thestrongtriathlete.com. And if you exercise strongtriathlete.com, there are some weightlifting routines on there that you can implement into your program. Now the final question today comes from one of the triathletes that I coach online. What she asks is – she wrote me an email that I wanted to include in this podcast because I know a lot of people who listen to this podcast are triathletes or cyclists and they probably experience this as well.
Listener asks: I just wanted to let you know that my bike ride last week was great but I had quite a feeling of hunger about 3 1/2 or 4 hrs into the ride where I felt almost as if I was getting faint. I took in one more GU and that helped a little. There was no bloating which was good but that empty feeling made me feel weird. Also, I have been generally very hungry lately and I’m still taking my supplements. Thoughts?
Ben answers: Now, what I told her was first of all we increase the caloric intake by about 50 to 70 calories an hour. We had based her caloric intake off the fact that she had come into my lab and done a metabolic test. We were going out off about 40% of the total number of calories that she was burning but that obviously wasn’t enough for her as she got a little bit farther into the ride. So generally I’ll increase that by about 50 to 75 calorie increments until we find that magic window. So that was pretty easy to do but as far as the general feeling of hunger, there are some tricks that I use to actually just easily get a little bit of extra calories into the body. I have two foods that are my two favorite foods for increasing caloric intake from a healthy perspective. One is almond butter and one is quinoa. Now almond butter is very appetite satiating. It’s quick, it’s convenient, it doesn’t take much to increase the number of calories that you take in. And so, if I’m struggling with waking up at night because I’m so hungry or really struggling with energy levels during workouts, I’ll add in about a tablespoon of almond butter at some point during the day, typically in the morning or in the early afternoon. The other thing that I’ll add is something called quinoa and it’s one of the more complete whole grains on the planet. It’s basically a whole grain that’s very, very high in protein. Again it allows you to add calories without bringing in a huge amount of additional carbohydrate and I’ll throw in just about anywhere from 200 to 300 calories of quinoa with either lunch or dinner to just give me a little bit extra energy levels. And so, that’s what we do with hers. We introduce a little bit of almond butter, a little bit of quinoa just to satisfy her body’s craving for a bit more energy during her longer training days. And those are this week’s questions. Now, normally I would have an interview at this point in the podcast, but based off of the number of questions I received this week, I decided not to do the interview. However, I have an upcoming interview with a natural sports nutrition doctor. He’s an established doctor down in California and we’re going to be interviewing him about human performance, both for athletes and for people who are just working out or exercising. He’s an expert on bioidentical testosterone and urine testing for hormones. He knows quite a bit about sports related arthritis, sports nutrition, wellness. He’s an expert on fat loss especially in regards to taking something called HCG for fat loss and we’ll be talking more about that as well as how thyroid levels affect the body so this will be a really fantastic interview. His name is Dr. Roby Mitchell aka Dr. Fitt and we’ll be interviewing him and featuring him on this podcast next week. So listen in to that and remember, subscribe to the newsletter, there’s some very cool stuff coming out next week. Whoever’s subscribed to the newsletter is going to get it about 48 hours before everyone else. So the podcast will also change next week, look forward to that and until next time, this is Ben Greenfield signing out from www.bengreenfieldfitness.com.
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net