I promise if you go through your step-by-step program we’re going to build from the basics to the advanced things, but we’re going to go straight into the advanced things on this call, and you have my commitment that I am going to provide as specific of answers as I can, but also, my commitment to you is to go beyond what you’ve experienced, and what we’ve all experienced in the past, when it comes to wellness and especially weight loss.
What I mean by that is, most of the weight loss solutions out there are, eat this, not that, quick tip nonsense and they don’t really teach you what you need to know to be SANE and successful for life, for the long-term. As you know, the big difference about SANE is that it is based on evidence, it is based on science, and it is focused on long-term metabolic healing, and then weight loss, of course, ensures, and it ensues for the rest of your life, to enable the best of your life.
But to do that, we’ve got to learn how to fish, as the old adage goes, rather than to just be given fish. Because, you know, we’ve been given these top ten lists our entire lives and all they have done is confuse us. They feel really good in the moment. It’s a little bit like informational sugar, these quick tips things, they’re seductive. It’s like they’re sweet little nuggets of information, but then we end up with nothing of substance that really fills our belly.
So we want to put substantive things into our bodies, those are our SANE foods, and substantive things in our minds. That is what we’re going to do throughout the SANE program, but especially here on these calls. We’re going to go deep, we’re going to get emotional, we’re going to get into it, we’re going to get excited, and I appreciate you being here.
So, with that said, let’s go ahead and do that. Suzanne has the first question and it says, “Is that how it’s done?” Suzanne, I don’t know what that means, but I am happy to answer if you could go ahead and rephrase. Please feel free to post a deeper question there. Oh, you were saying, is that how it’s done in terms of asking a question? I love it. It’s a question about how to ask a question. Suzanne, yes, you did it perfectly. Thank you, that’s awesome. Now you can see why it’s fun to post those questions live because we’re live, and I don’t know, it’s just going to be crazy, so ask me whatever you want. It’s going to fun.
The first thing I want to get started on is some questions that were sent in beforehand, and please, please, please remember, if you can’t make the calls they are recorded, so even if you can’t make the calls and you want to write some questions down, just post those in your SANE coaching and support groups and say, “Next coaching call to Jonathan, please cover X, Y, Z.” Your SANE-certified coaches will probably be able to answer about 99% of those questions, but for things that are really deep and cutting edge that aren’t anywhere else in the program, of course, we’ll be happy to cover those in those calls.
First question has to do with hemp, chia, and flax, specifically, what role do they play in the diet, or in a SANE lifestyle, not a diet? This individual is saying, “I add them to my morning smoothies for protein and fiber. I’m assuming they are healthy fats.” Love this question. I want to actually separate those three things out because they are unique. Chia and flax are more similar than hemp.
Let’s talk about chia first, because chia is my personal favorite. Chia and flax seeds are categorically different than hemp. Hemp is all right, but I’m going to really focus on chia and flax because those are optimal fats. As you know, hopefully, from the initial phases of the step-by-step program, which again, if you haven’t checked out, that is the backbone of your long-term SANity, so please, please, please, log into the program, click on step-by-step, go through the steps, one per day, or five per week. If you do that for four months, it’s amazing.
Just one step per day or five per week, and what you’re going to notice really early on is that SANE simplifies down after 1300 research studies, into focusing on four basic food groups – non-starchy vegetables first, then nutrient-dense protein, then whole food fats, then low-fructose fruits. I mention those in the volume of food we want to eat, so the volume of food we’re eating is more nonstarchy-vegetables than nutrient-dense protein, for example. Again, that’s in terms of volume size.
Chia and flax are in the whole food fat category, but not only that, you can see this in your seven-day start-up guide in your step-by-step program, but chia and flax have the unique distinction of not only being whole food fats but being optimal whole-food fats, so within each of those categories, non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats and low-fructose fruits, there are nutrient-dense proteins, and then there are optimal nutrient-dense proteins. There are whole food fats, and then there are optimal whole food fats.
For example, with fruits, you’ve heard of super fruits, like acai berry. As Rayna knows from previous calls, we have established here that you can kick some acai with acai berries. The challenge, of course, is where you find acai berries, but nonetheless, acai berries would be an example of an optimal low-fructose fruit in contrast to an orange, which is a fine low-fructose fruit, but it does not have the level of SANity as an acai berry. So when it comes to whole food fats, chia and flax are wonderful examples of optimal whole food fats, or what I sometimes call therapeutic fats. Why are chia and flax so therapeutic and so optimal? They are two of the richest, if not the richest plant-based sources of the uber-therapeutic fat, omega 3.
There is one quick caveat that I want to mention which is very, very important when it comes to omega 3 fatty acid. Omega 3 fatty acid is awesome, more is better, as a general rule of thumb, but we have to keep in mind that there are three different forms, and this is where we’re going to go a little bit advanced, but it’s all good, it’s all good, it’s all good. But gradual. There are three different forms of omega 3 fatty acids. There is alpha-linoleic acid, there is DHA and there is EPA – somewhat complicated, but we can simplify it for you here. The alpha-linoleic acid is the form of omega 3 fatty acid that is found plants. The other two are found in animals, most commonly, fish, some grass-fed meats, but really, you’re looking at things like fatty fish.
Now, chia and flax, you’ll notice if you look at the nutrition facts on chia and flax, you’ll say holy moly, just the raw amount of omega 3 in these seeds is so high, why would I ever eat salmon, or why would I ever eat any kind of fatty seafood? There is so much omega-3 in chia and flax. And there is. The key thing to keep in mind, however, is that the types of omega 3 fatty acid, or alpha-linoleic acid, is very differently synthesized by your body. Specifically, your body has to convert it into the other two forms of omega 3 fatty acids and that is an inefficient process, meaning that just because you eat, for example, 10 grams of alpha-linoleic acid omega 3 fatty acids, it is not the case that your body will be able to utilize all 10 of those grams. Some estimates suggest that only maybe 10-30% of that would actually be utilized by your body after that conversion process.
That’s not to put down chia and flax. I eat chia every single day, literally. I love it, it’s extremely good for you, it’s extremely nutrient dense, it’s extremely high in fiber, it’s extremely helpful for regularity and digestion, all that stuff. But do keep in mind, the one thing I want you to avoid is, I do not want chia and flax to be your only source of omega 3 fats. I do want you to be getting the wonderful seafood. And if you don’t have access to seafood, a high-quality cod-liver oil is a wonderful way.
But, for example, if you are trying to “supplement” your omega 3 intake, I would strongly recommend against taking flax seed oil. Don’t do that. If you’re going to supplement your omega 3 intake, you want to do it with fish oil or an animal-based source of the omega 3 because it is so much more what is called bio-available. That said, chia and flax daily is an absolute must, I would say. It is fantastic, it is wonderfully good for you.
We’re going to get really advanced and tactical now. We’ve talked about omega 3’s, they’re good for you. Cool. Now, advanced science. I prefer chia to flax. A couple of reasons why. Omega 3 fats are poly-unsaturated fats, which are very heat sensitive. This is why you may have heard you never want to cook with a poly-unsaturated fat. You would want to cook or heat a saturated fat like a coconut oil because they have what is called a higher smoke point. If you overheat a fat you can actually turn it into a trans fat because, check it out, cooking is chemistry.
Remember high school chemistry class or college chemistry classes? Applying heat to a chemical substance – and I know sometimes it seems weird to think of food as a chemical substance, but it is. You put Tylenol in your body, it does things. You put broccoli in your body, it does things. It’s a composition of stimulus that triggers responses in your body so when you apply heat to food it causes a chemical change and a chemical reaction. When you apply heat to poly-unsaturated fats, it can denature them very quickly. It can actually turn them into trans fats, which we know are very, very bad for us.
Some poly-unsaturated fats, such as omega 3 fats, are so heat-sensitive that – first of all, you can’t eat whole flax seeds. If you eat whole flax seeds your body can’t digest them, they’re just going to come out the other end, so you have to eat milled flax seeds. If you mill flax seeds, all good, but you don’t want to mill flax seeds and leave them at room temperature, because even that level of heat can cause problems. So I would recommend never buying milled flax seeds. If you buy flax, you buy the seed, and then you put it in a blender or a coffee grinder, yourself, to break it down. And then you immediately put it in the freezer or refrigerator.
I recommend keeping all nuts and seeds in the freezer, if at all possible. It’s going to maximize freshness. You can just take out the ones you are going to eat for that week, if you’d like. Keep them in the freezer, keep them cold, keep your nuts cold. No comments needed on that one, didn’t think about it before I said it. But with chia seeds, you don’t have that problem because you can eat the whole seed. The whole seed does digest. And chia has this added benefit of soaking up a lot of water and turning into a gel-like substance, so it’s extremely filling.
And that gel-like substance can really, really help with digestion. And also, when you add it to anything, add it to a breakfast-type cereal, it’s going to add a huge amount of substance, almost a creamy texture, so it is one of my personal favorites. I literally buy oodles and oodles of chia seeds and I’m eating them two to three times per day. I love them. If I’m traveling, I literally go to a grocery store and buy them. That’s how much I eat them. So my personal preference is chia. Flax is also great. If you’re going to do flax, just make sure you don’t buy it pre-milled, mill it yourself, and always keep them cold.
Hemp is different. Hemp is a fine thing to eat. If you like it and you enjoy it and you find a way add it into a SANE-type cereal, good stuff. It is not at the level of chia and flax – my personal thoughts.
Also, this individual said, “I add these to my morning smoothies for protein and fiber.” I like that. My feedback would be, for me, personally, I would make sure that if I was adding flax to a smoothie, I would be adding the whole seed, and then I would make sure I have a really good blender that is actually going to take the seed and break it up. Or I would just focus on chia. I would even do more chia and flax and less hemp, just because chia and flax are so therapeutic. That’s going to be a wonderful source of fiber, it’s going to be a wonderful source of fat.
But I love the way that this question was phrased because it gives us an opportunity to bust a myth that has been told to us for a really long time, and that is the myth that things like chia or flax or beans or eggs – I know, this is going to sound crazy for a second, but stick with me – are a good source of protein. Remember, in the SANE framework, or more generally, mathematically, there are three sources of calories. Alcohol is also a source of calories, but there are three basic macro-nutrients – protein, carbohydrate and fat.
If you look at a food and a food has 100 calories in it, that 100 calories is coming some percentage from protein, some percentage from fat, and some percentage from carbohydrate. If something is a concentrated source of protein, what that means is that it gets more of its calories from protein than from anything else, and that’s a really important distinction.
Here is why that is a really important distinction. This is going to sound a little bit ridiculous, but imagine you were walking along, you met with one of your friends, who said to you, “I heard that you’re going SANE, I heard that a big part of going SANE is eating more vegetables. I’m inspired by you, so I’m going to eat more vegetables. Because of that, I’ve started eating three pieces of carrot cake per day because it’s a good source of vegetables.”
Now, you’d probably look at your friend and you’d say, “You are spot on. That carrot cake has more vegetables in it than, say, pop tarts, but if your goal is to eat more vegetables, carrot cake is not the most concentrated source.” Yes, it is more concentrated than other things, like Twinkies, but it is not objectively a concentrated source of vegetables because there is a lot of other stuff in it, other than vegetables.
For example, an egg, which is pretty much universally called a good source of protein, and this is not a criticism of an egg, but an egg is 64-65% fat. It’s a great source of fat, but it’s not a concentrated source of protein. So if you’re trying to increase your protein intake, and you do that by eating more eggs, yes, you will increase your protein intake, but you will increase your fat intake way more. So it’s a little bit like eating more carrot cake in an effort to increase your vegetable intake.
That doesn’t mean eat less eggs, it mean eat eggs if your goal is to increase your whole-food fat intake, and if your goal is to increase the quality of fats you are taking in, you would increase your chia and you would increase your flax intake. But if your goal is to increase your protein intake, chia and flax are whole-food fats. The reason that is really important is that in this specific case, if we’re making a breakfast smoothie and we’re saying, in my breakfast smoothie, I want to have that 30 grams of protein that I heard about in the step-by-step program because I’m going through the step-by-step program, that’s really important to trigger muscle/protein synthesis to heal my body and to maximize my body’s ability to burn fat.
Now, if you try to get 30 grams of protein into a smoothie by adding chia seeds, you’re going to have to add 2000 calories of chia seeds, because they’re just not concentrated sources of protein. That’s too much chia. You don’t need that much chia. What you would want to do instead is focus on a concentrated source of protein such as egg whites, or a clean whey protein, or a pea protein, or a rice protein, or even a hemp protein, isolated, like a concentrated form, simply for smoothies. Of course, there are other options, I just don’t think you want to put a can of tuna fish in your smoothie. Call me crazy. That is, I actually did that at one point. We can get into that story later, but I would not, necessarily recommend it.
Again, it is really important to focus on our goals, and if our goal is to increase our healthy fat intake, chia and flax are a wonderful, wonderful way to do that. And yes, they are higher in protein than other sources of fat, but they’re not concentrated sources of protein. Again, it’s not a criticism of them, at all. It’s just about saying, for example, does carrot cake, being low in vegetables, make it a bad cake? No, carrot cake is a fantastic cake. Whether or not cake is helpful for our goals is a separate question. So, is carrot cake good at being a cake? Yes. Is it good at being a concentrated source of vegetables? No. So it’s not a criticism of carrot cake, it’s just an establishment of priorities. So that’s chia and flax in a nutshell. There you go, that’s another whole-food fat. Who likes puns? I like puns.
Let me take a quick look at some of the questions that have come in. Laura asks, “Do you crush flax or chia seeds?” Cool, Laura, it looks like maybe I answered your question. You do not need to crush the chia seeds, but definitely do crush the flax seeds. And the chia seeds, I would strongly recommend, give them at minimum, five minutes to set. What’s really cool is, if you’re going to make something with chia seeds, a porridge or a smoothie, something like that – there are, of course, hundreds of recipes on the Ignite website for you – try to make it the night before or even a couple of nights before. Think of it a little bit like gelatin, or Jello, without any sugar, and without any artificial sweeteners or flavorings or things like that. The more time you give it to set, up to a point, it’s going to become more thick and more satiating, and also a bit easier to digest. So if you are going to leverage that gelatinous goodness, hash tag gelatinous goodness, of chia seeds, you do want to let them set for a minimum of five minutes, ideally 15 minutes, longer is better, up to a point – don’t let them sit for 15 days, it’s probably not a good idea – and then, enjoy them afterward. So, boom! That’s chia and flax. Excellent question. Of course, if you have followup questions, please, please, do let me know.
Speaking of artificial sweeteners, there is a question that came up in the support group. Great question. They were asking about something called UMP, which is a form of protein powder from a company called Beverly International that I reference a lot in the book, The Calorie Myth. They were surprised because it has artificial sweeteners in it. There isn’t a huge number of recipes that contain this, but it is discussed in The Calorie Myth book. This member asked, very reasonably, “What’s the deal here? What’s the deal with an ingredient containing artificial sweeteners in a supposedly SANE recipe?” This gives us the opportunity to talk about artificial sweeteners in general, which I really appreciate, and it’s a fantastic question.
Let’s put sweeteners into a couple of different categories. First, from a macro perspective, we have naturally occurring sugars, and then we have added sweeteners. That is a very important distinction, and important for reasons that may be different than you initially expect. Added sweeteners are really getting a lot of light shone on them. In fact, the new nutrition facts labels in the U.S. are starting to require food manufacturers – which of course is an oxymoron, I’m not sure how you manufacture food, but that’s a separate question – it requires them to call out the difference between added sugars and naturally occurring sugars.
For instance, if you were to eat an orange, an orange does contain sugar, but it is not added sugar. It is the sugar that is naturally found within an orange. However, if you were to eat just about any packaged or processed food or pseudo-food, it is going to have sugar added to it. Period. It’s not going to say sugar on the nutrition label, it’s going to say one of 60 or so nicknames that sugar has been given. This could even be concentrated fruit extract. They have found really clever ways to disguise the fact that they’ve taken sugar and added it into something. So added sugar, as a general rule of thumb – not even added sugar — added sweeteners, in general– not good. Not good at all. We don’t want people or companies to be adding sweeteners into our food.
Now, we have to break that down a little bit. We have to dig a little bit deeper. We have to go a little bit below the surface, below the top ten tips, so that we can live this for the rest of our lives. It’s really easy. What some people will do is, they will hear the common mythology, and they will say, “Added sweeteners bad, naturally occurring sweeteners okay. Totally fine, they’re naturally occurring.” Well, see, this is where we have to take it to the next level, so added sweeteners, as a general rule of thumb, not a good idea, whether they are natural, whether they are artificial, not a super good idea.
We can talk about which is better or worse in a second, but what is really important is, it is not the case that just because a sugar is naturally occurring that it is good. The term natural – this is very important, you might want to write this one down. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it will help you each your goals. Let me give you a silly example. It is not natural to be on this call right now. This is an unnatural thing that we’re doing. If our ancestors 1000 years ago were teleported into the future and saw what we were doing, they would think it’s magic, because it is totally unnatural. However, I would posit that what we’re doing right now, which is very unnatural, is actually very helpful for us in furthering our goals.
Furthermore, let’s say after this call – and I would not do this, I’m not going to do this — I went outside and I took a bunch of tobacco and I put it in my mouth and I said, “Hey, it’s all good because tobacco is natural.” And it is. It’s a plant. It’s totally natural. Or, “Hey look, there’s a snake in the grass, and it’s got a rattle on its end. “Hey, snake, you’re natural, so I’m going to pet you, and even if you bite me it’s okay because snake venom is natural.” So, I’ve got my snake venom, and I’ve got my tobacco, and I’m all good because I’m all natural.
That’s a little bit of an extreme example, but it’s only to make the point that just because something is natural it doesn’t mean it’s good for you, it just means it’s natural. And just become something is unnatural, it doesn’t mean it’s bad for you, it just means it’s unnatural. That’s a really important distinction. Sometimes terms can get misused when people are describing things to us. So if someone says something is natural, please hear that as, it’s natural. Please don’t hear it as, it will help you reach your goals, because that’s not the same thing at all. Something can be low-carb, and yes, it is low-carb, but it could be toxic. So something is good if it has objectively been proven through science and through generations of humans to help us reach our goals.
That’s where SANE really takes us to the next level. It looks at things from a deep scientific perspective, not from, “Oh, it’s natural, it’s good for us.” Just because sugars are naturally occurring, it does not mean they will help us reach our goals. In fact, there are more naturally occurring sugars in grape juice, for instance, so all natural grape juice, no sugar added, is going to contain about 50% more sugar than an equivalent amount of Coca-Cola. Think about that for a second. That all-natural grape juice, ounce-for-ounce, has got about 50% more sugar in it than Coca-Cola. Fortunately, or unfortunately, your body does not care where the sugar is coming from.
For instance, you sometimes read that honey is natural so it’s good for you. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t have a little person in it that says, “Oh, but bees made this. It’s not going to spike your insulin levels.” Unfortunately, that’s not the way your body works. Your body says, “Sugar – therefore release insulin, therefore do these metabolic things,” and it doesn’t care where that sugar is coming from. So that’s why it is really important that, for instance, we delineate low-fructose fruits from other fruits. In the same framework, there are two food groups for fruits. There are low-fructose fruits, which are SANE, and then there are other fruits which are not SANE, because they’re getting 80-90% of their calories from sugar.
And yes, they definitely have vitamins in them, but here’s another analogy that might be helpful, if someone saw you drinking a can of coke, and they said to you, “That can of coke is not healthy at all,” and then they took a vitamin pill, dissolved it in the can of coke and said, “Well now look, it’s packed with vitamins and minerals and you drank it” – and of course, it’s the same friend that told you that carrot cake is a good source of vegetables — you would tell your friend that just because they added vitamins and minerals to a sugary beverage, it doesn’t make the sugar not bad for you. The same applies with grape juice, and the same thing applies with anything, even if it’s natural, if it’s very high in naturally occurring sugars. That’s a really, really important distinction.
And of course, that doesn’t mean that if you eat some grapes, which are extremely high in sugar, that you’re immediately going to get diabetes. It doesn’t mean that at all. But what it does mean is that if you had the option to choose a low-fructose fruit instead of a high-sugar or fructose fruit – let’s enjoy our blueberries, let’s enjoy our raspberries, let’s enjoy our citrus fruits, instead of things like grapes and bananas, not because grapes and bananas are toxic and evil, but rather, just because there are SANEr fruits available to us that are lower in naturally occurring sugar and higher in awesome, SANE things like fiber, vitamins and minerals.
So we’ve got added sugars and naturally occurring sugars. We just talked about naturally occurring sugars, now let’s talk about added sugars a little bit more, those things that are added in. There are three categories of added sweeteners. There are natural caloric added sweeteners, things like table sugar. Table sugar is completely natural. It is as natural as honey. Be really careful, because there are things like agave and honey, especially agave – they sell agave in the health food section of grocery stores claiming that it is good for you because it does not trigger a lot of insulin in your body. That is true, and the reason that is true is because agave – step back – high fructose corn syrup, which we all know, alarm bells, high-fructose corn syrup – not good.
High-fructose corn syrup is about 42% fructose. Guess how much fructose is in agave. Agave is about 90% fructose. So if high-fructose corn syrup and agave met in an alley, high-fructose corn syrup would run the other direction. “Agave! Holy moly, you have more than twice as much fructose in you as I do!” The reason agave doesn’t spike your blood sugar is because it’s pure fructose, and fructose is metabolized differently by your body and doesn’t have as much of an impact on insulin, but it does crazy things to your liver.
So please, be careful, when people talk about adding sweeteners and doing that from natural sources, agave and table sugar and honey are all natural sources of added sweetness. I would strongly recommend minimizing those as much as you can in order to further your goals. It will improve mental clarity, it’s going to improve how you feel, how you look, how you behave, how you love, how your are as a person, to the extent that you can minimize added, even natural, added sugars.
There is another category which is artificial sweeteners. For instance, the difference between Coca-Cola and diet Coca-Cola is that Coca-Cola is sweetened, added sweetness with sugar, depending on where you are in the world, or high-fructose corn syrup. To make Diet Coke, they just remove that and add an in an artificial sweetener. Artificial sweetener contains no calories, but it is something that is synthetic. It is created in the laboratory, it does not exist in nature in any way, shape or form. So no calories. These are not good for you, either.
Keep in mind, there is an old saying that poison is in the dose. What that means is that anything can be poisonous if the dose is correct. There are people who have died from over-consuming water. So water, that is essential for life, can become poisonous if the dose is high enough. But usually when we refer to something as a poison, for example, arsenic, the reason we call it a poison is because the dose that could kill us is so low that we call it poisonous. Even though everything could be poisonous we usually don’t call something a poison until it could be dosed so low and still harm us. So whether it is added natural sugars or added artificial sweeteners, the poison or the damage is relative to the dose, so there is no healthy dose of artificial sweeteners, just like there is no healthy dose of added natural sugars.
For instance, all of us are breathing in polluted air. There is nothing we can do about it. There is a huge amount of air pollution. But the question is, is the level of air pollution actually significant enough to do something to us?. That’s the question. Is the level of air pollution high enough to actually impact us?
Getting back to the original question of UMP. UMP – not something that you should be eating every day. It is delicious, it bakes really well. It’s not something we sell in the SANE store. It’s a totally separate company. But it’s just delicious, and it bakes really well, so there are certain recipes that the only way to make them work is to use UMP. You don’t use a huge amount of it, and it has a very small amount of artificial sweeteners in it. The point being, are artificial sweeteners great for you? No. Will eating a little bit of artificial sweeteners meaningfully impact your goals? If you’re in a really challenged state right now, maybe. Maybe for 30 days we need to be very careful. We’ve talked about this in previous recordings, just like if you’re really sick with pneumonia, while you have pneumonia, we need to be very, very careful, but once we get over the pneumonia we can be a little bit more liberal with things.
The same thing can apply here. As you’re just getting started with SANity, if you have a really bad case of metabolic dysregulation, which is the technical term for long-term cause of weight gain and weight loss resistance, then any kind of artificial sweetener, any kind of added sweetener of any form, is probably something we want to try our best to avoid, at least at the beginning.
But then moving forward, just keep in mind, we’re here for progress rather than perfection. So the poison is in the dose. And for things like UMP, for me, personally, and for my goals, based on where I’m at, and I think, for a lot of us if we’re following a SANE framework, we’re eating our 10 plus servings of non-starchy vegetables, three to six services of nutrient-dense protein, two to six servings of whole-food fats, and zero to three servings of low-fructose fruit per day, if we do that, the amount of artificial sweeteners we would ever eat – for instance, if you use UMP to cook with it’s going to be a low dose, and I’m not sure that it will have a meaningful impact on you. Is it good for you? No. Progress rather than perfection.
What’s better, a diet Coke or a regular Coke? Neither one is good for you. My recommendation is that diet Coke is better for you than regular Coke. Granted, that’s a little bit like saying smoking one pack of cigarettes per day is better than smoking two, which it is, but that doesn’t mean smoking one pack of cigarettes per day is good for you. So I would say, if you have to trade a lot of naturally occurring sugar off for a little bit of artificial sweetener, that is a good trade-off, but it’s not a good thing, in general. Just like switching from unfiltered cigarettes to filtered cigarettes is a good thing, but it doesn’t mean that filtered cigarettes are good for you.
But now, this can all become moot because since The Calorie Myth has been published, three to four years ago at this point, there have been some wonderful innovations in finding naturally occurring sweetness that does not have negative impacts on our biology. For example, in birch bark – mmm, birch bark! Who wants some birch bark? What’s for dinner tonight, honey? Birch bark. In birch bark there is a very sweet substance. It’s called xylitol. It’s a sugar alcohol, so it’s a chemical neighbor of sugar, but it does not have the negative impacts on your body as sugar
For example, people don’t eat sugar cane. But you can take sugar cane, or sugar beets, and you extract out sugar. So for example, with birch bark, or even with corn, you can extract out xylitol. So xylitol, or another thing that’s like it, erythritol – these are natural, barely caloric added sweeteners that do not have a negative health impact. Of course, you don’t want to eat cups and cups and cups of these things per day, but they do not, when consumed in normal doses, have a negative health impact. There have even been some studies that show they have some positive benefits. For example, xylitol can help with oral health, which is crazy because when you think of oral health, you don’t necessarily think of sweets. But hey, look at that, you can have your xylitol-sweetened coconut-flour cake, and nourish your teeth at the same time.
So we have natural, caloric, potentially harmful sweeteners. We have artificial sweeteners which are not good for us. But if you’re trying to go from, for example, 100% insane Coca-Cola to diet Coke, to hopefully, putting two strawberries in your blender with a bunch of water and ice cubes and use that as my sweetened beverage. If you want to make that transition, sugar-sweetened, high-fructose corn syrup Coca-Cola, to diet Coca-Cola, to put a couple of strawberries in your blender, party down, that’s what you drink, I think that’s a reasonable transition to make.
And then if you wanted to sweeten that even more, if you have to use added sweeteners, something like a naturally occurring sugar alcohol such as xylitol or erythritol, would be my recommendation. Both, of course, are available in a pure, wonderful, safe format in the SANE store. Xylitol, generally speaking, works better for baking because it reacts to heat more like table sugar does. Erythritol is just objectively SANEr. So if you want to bake, use xylitol, or if you don’t like the way erythritol works, use xylitol. It’s closer to sugar in the way that it reacts, but erythritol is better for you.
Sometimes when people hear this, I’ve heard people say things like, “This sounds a lot like Olestra.” Do you remember Olestra? I don’t even know if it exists anymore, but there was this Olestra – the fat that doesn’t make you fat. There was a synthetic fat that was created. They put it in Pringles, or something along those lines. It was a fat that didn’t get absorbed by your body. It didn’t get absorbed by your body but it caused your digestive system to go crazy. People will sometimes hear me talk about xylitol and erythritol, and they say, “That’s like Olestra.”
Let’s be very clear. Again, xylitol and erythritol are as natural as table sugar. They are extracted from plants. Olestra is a synthetic thing. So they are not comparable things. Xylitol and Erythritol are the SANE way to go if you need to sweeten stuff. Again, keep in mind that helping ourselves to become resensitized to the taste of sweet is very important. So if we’re going to sweeten things, that’s okay, let’s just be conscious of that, because slowly, we would like to decrease our need for continuous sweetness.
That doesn’t mean we don’t ever eat anything sweet, but it’s a little bit like an alcoholic. An alcoholic has such a high tolerance for alcohol, that the only way they can get the effects of alcohol is to drink so much of it that it is harmful. Alcohol, in moderate amounts is not harmful. But if you drink a lot of alcohol, to get the effects of alcohol, you then do have to drink an unhealthy amount of alcohol.
So if you’ve been eating the standard American lifestyle with a lot of processed foods for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years, your brain and your palate have become desensitized to sweetness, in general. So while sweetness is not bad at all, as you can see from your Ignite program there are all sorts of SANE sweet treats we can enjoy, because of what is taking place in your brain and your palate, the amount of sweetness that you need to get the taste of sweet is so high, then that dose will cause metabolic harm, whereas if you were able to go hard core SANE for 30 days, what you will notice are things like certain vegetables will start to taste sweet where they didn’t taste sweet before. The day that you eat a raw almond and you say, “Hmm, I can taste sweetness in an almond,” you’re in a whole different world, because when you become that sensitive to sweet, if you want to sweeten something, the amount of any kind of sweetener that you need to add is so miniscule that this kind of becomes a moot point.
The macro uber point is that if we work on re-establishing a naturally occurring level of sweetness in our lifestyle – you’re never going to go out and buy artificial sweeteners, I hope, please don’t go out and buy artificial sweeteners, but you’re not going to be eating the packaged and processed foods that contain artificial sweeteners. And then, if you’re cooking in your house, you’re cooking for your family, and you do need to add some sort of sweetness to something, the amount of either natural caloric sweeteners that you would need to add, such as sugar or honey or agave, or natural not really caloric sweeteners like xylitol or erythritol is going to be very low. Of course, xylitol and erythritol are always going to be better for you, but in both cases, they are going to be so low that you will probably going to be okay.
So the number one priority is not to try to figure out how we can continue to eat everything – for example, hopefully we can get to a point where something is delicious even if it’s not sweet. That’s true empowerment, that’s true SANity. And being able to savor salty, and fatty, and bitter, and savory, and umami– there are so many other wonderful flavors. And then to complement that with sweetness is beautiful. But look at, for example, a lot of children today, the only flavor they’re going for is sweet. If they’re going to drink something it has to be sweet.
Of course, adults have moved away from that – coffee isn’t necessarily sweet, beer and wine definitely aren’t sweet, so as we get older our palates become more refined, but we can refine our palates even more. When you do that, you can transcend the sugar trap, and then you can enjoy sweetness because you will be so sensitive to it that a dose of whatever form of added sweetener you’re taking in is so low that it won’t harm you. Hopefully that is helpful.
Kate B. says, “Is there a list somewhere that shows you how much fructose is in different kinds of fruits? All the lists I’ve seen just show the amount of total sugar.” Kate, the good news is that the primary form of sugar in all fruits is fructose. Fructose is known as fruit sugar, so you’re probably 95% of the way there, in terms of having a list of the most fructose-filled fruits, if you have a list of the most sugary fruits. The reason for that is, if fructose is the predominant form of sugar in fruits, and you know which fruits contain the most sugar, you’re probably really close to already knowing which fruits contain the most fructose. You could also radically simplify your life, and if you focus on berries and citrus and the fruits that are recommended as part of the low-fructose food group, those are going to protect you no matter what. Hopefully that is helpful.
Suzanne asks, “If we avoid high-fructose fruit, isn’t our body going to spike blood sugar when we do eat some sweet foods?” Suzanne, great question, and the answer is no. The assumption, I think, in your question, which is a good one, is that if we don’t continuously give our body sugar – and Suzanne, please correct me if I’m misunderstanding this totally, and I apologize if I am. Again, Suzanne’s question, which is a great question is, if we avoid high-fructose fruit, isn’t our body going to spike blood sugar when we do eat some sweet foods?
That would be the case if the way our body worked is – and understanding the biology is so important, so I really appreciate you asking this question because it is a really important distinction to make. There are two mental models we could have of the way our body processes sugar. One is that if we don’t eat sugar our body will be like, “Oh, what’s going on?” when you eat it. And it’s going to spike our blood sugar and go crazy, which is a totally reasonable way to think, because when you think about alcohol, for example, if you’ve never drank alcohol before. This is why Suzanne’s question is brilliant, because it’s a reasonable way to see things, and why we’re here is, while something is reasonable, there could be another reasonable explanation that is in line with science. So all good, all good, I’m going to refine it here. So thank you very much.
If you think about the alcohol model of the way your body works, if you drink a little bit of alcohol, and you haven’t drank alcohol in the past, that little bit of alcohol – boom! It’s going to have a huge impact on you. Sugar, interestingly enough, does not work that way. The way your body works with sugar, from a general perspective, is that when you eat sugar your body releases a hormone called insulin to get that sugary into your cells. Sugar can’t go into your cells without the hormone insulin. That’s why type 1 diabetics, specifically, the type you are born with, have to take insulin shots or they will die of starvation, for lack of a better term, because their body cannot get sugar into their cells.
In fact, one of the ways that diabetes was discovered, and then insulin therapy was discovered, was because the urine of diabetic babies was sweet. It smelled sweet, and then someone tasted it, and it was sweet. The reason for that was, the type 1 diabetics were not producing insulin, so sugar didn’t go into their cells, the sugar was excreted out through their urine, thus making their urine sweet.
So when you eat sugar, with the exception of fructose – we can get really deep if you want, let’s go deep – from a general perspective, when you eat sugar your body releases insulin, and when I say sugar, I mean starch. When you eat whole wheat bread it leaves your stomach as sugar. We talked about that in huge detail on the last call, so please watch that if you haven’t seen it yet. Sugar or starch, you eat it, it leaves your stomach as sugar, your body releases insulin.
The amount of insulin that your body releases is a function of two things. The amount of sugar that is in your bloodstream – when we talk about aggression – SANE – Satiety, Aggression, Nutrition, Efficiency – aggression is the rate at which sugar is put into your bloodstream. For instance, while broccoli does have some sugar in it, that sugar goes into your bloodstream really, really slow, plus it is also a very small amount, whereas table sugar goes into your bloodstream really, really fast. Starches break down into sugar and go into your bloodstream really fast.
So the amount of sugar that goes into your bloodstream determines insulin levels, but also, your cells can have different levels of insulin resistance. You may have heard of this in medical publications or news reports, where someone says when you’re pre-diabetic, what that means is you are displaying insulin resistance. And when you are type 2, or adult-onset diabetic, you are very resistant to insulin. What that means is that your body has taken in so much sugar that if your cells start to be bombarded with too much sugar and insulin they have natural safety and shut-off mechanisms to try to regulate – homeostasis.
We talk about natural calorie balance in the step-by-step program, we’re getting into some deep biology here, but if you take in a lot of sugar your body will produce a lot of insulin, and then your cells will become resistant to that insulin, and when your cells become resistant to insulin in your body, it becomes like an arms race. Your cells say, “No more insulin, no more insulin,” but your body keeps producing insulin to get the sugar out of your bloodstream, because if it doesn’t you would die. That’s, for example, why a type 2 diabetic has to take insulin shots because a type 2 diabetic’s body cannot produce enough insulin to get the sugar into their cells so they have to inject themselves with insulin to get the sugar into their cells.
So how does this answer your question? If you don’t eat sugar often, when you do eat it, your body is actually going to trigger – let’s say we have two people, a very concrete example. We have Tom. Tom is pre-diabetic, he is insulin-resistant. He has eaten the standard American diet for 40 years, which is 40-60% processed inSANE stuff, because that’s what he was told to do.
We have Tammy. Tammy is SANE. Tammy is just crushing it. She is 100% SANE. For some reason Tammy drinks a Coca-Cola. Maybe it was a dare, I don’t know. When Tom drinks a Coca-Cola his body is going to release a certain amount of insulin, but that insulin is not going to be able to get the Coca-Cola’s sugar into his cells because they are resistant. So his body is going to release more and more and more insulin. So pre-diabetic Tom, who has eaten a lot of sugar, because he has eaten a lot of sugar, and because his cells are then insensitive to the hormone insulin, is going to produce way more insulin than SANE Tammy, because that sugar is going to hit her bloodstream, her cells are super sensitive to insulin, so her body is going to release just a teeny-tiny bit of it, and it’s going to clear that sugar our of her blood, get it into her cells, potentially her fat cells, as well.
That is a really interesting distinction that, actually, I never thought about until you raised this question, Suzanne, so I really appreciate it. Whereas alcohol, if you don’t drink it, when you do drink it, it can have a bigger impact on your body, with sugar, if you don’t eat it, and then you do eat it, it will actually have a smaller impact on your body because your cells won’t be resistant to it. So the amount of the hormone insulin that will need to be created to get it into your cells will be much lower. Boom! That was a whole lot of science right there. Cheers, for just epic science. Thank you for sticking with me. We didn’t have anyone leave the call during that science tirade. Woo-hoo!
Let’s see what other kinds of questions we have coming in here. Ekaterina. What’s up, Ekaterina, and I apologize if I’m mispronouncing your name. “I have seen sugar in whey protein. What do you think about that?” Ah, yes, excellent question. Naturally occurring sugar is in lots of things. Pretty much the only things that don’t have naturally occurring sugar – things like meat and fish don’t have naturally occurring sugar in them. They probably have trace amounts. Things like dairy – Ekaterina, this is a great question, thank you. This is awesome.
We talked about fructose – fruit sugar. In milk or dairy products of any kind – goat’s milk, cow’s milk, camel’s milk. I actually went to a conference and they were serving camel’s milk. It tasted just like cow’s milk, interestingly enough. The predominant sugar found in dairy products is lactose, and that is why people who have lactose intolerance because they do not produce the enzyme lactase, cannot digest lactose, so when they eat it they get all kinds of digestive problems. The primary sugar found in dairy is lactose.
Whey protein is a milk derivative. If you look at milk, it is made up of predominantly two forms of protein – whey and casein. When you hear the old nursery rhyme, “Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey,” that whey is the same whey that is found in whey protein. Whey protein is just powdered down. So Little Miss Muffet was getting buff. That little spider sat down beside her was like, “I’d better get out of here because this is a strong, powerful, SANE female.” She shouldn’t be called Little Miss Muffet, she should be called SANE and trim, strong Miss Muffet. But that’s not as catchy. Anyway, a strong, SANE Miss Muffet stood on her tuffet, because standing is good for us, eating her curds and whey protein.
Whey is a form of protein found in milk. When they make whey protein, what they’re doing is, depending on whether it’s whey protein concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate – we can get into that distinction if you want. The whey protein we recommend, I recommend, the research recommends for most people in most circumstances is whey protein concentrate because there is no chemical alteration, it is just taking the milk and putting it through a straining process to isolate out the whey. In doing that you’re going to remove most, but not all, of the lactose, so you will find, for example, that a 12-ounce glass of milk is going to contain 12 grams of sugar, on average, and about 8 grams of protein.
However, when you take that and you filter it down to whey protein, the ratio of sugar to protein changes dramatically. You can even see this in things like Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is dairy, but the ratio of protein to sugar changes dramatically. It is much higher in protein than it is in sugar. Unsweetened Greek yogurt is a wonderfully SANE source of daily. Whey protein just takes that to the next level, and while whey protein does have some naturally occurring sugar in it, it is going to be those trace amounts of lactose.
What you will normally see is that in a serving of whey protein, for example, the clean whey protein that is available in the SANE store, I believe a serving has 24-ish grams of protein in it, and 4 or fewer grams of sugar, or even fewer than that. There is an 8-to-1 protein-to-sugar ratio, whereas in milk there is more sugar than protein. There are 12 grams of sugar to 8 grams of protein, whereas in whey protein there is 24 grams of protein to 3 grams of sugar. Again, that is such a low amount of sugar – it’s not okay because it’s natural sugar, it’s okay because it’s such a low amount.
Remember, sugar isn’t evil. We’re not saying sugar should be avoided at all costs because if that were true, there is a bunch of vegetables we couldn’t eat, because vegetables have trace amounts of sugar in them, as well. Sugar, when consumed in natural amounts from natural sources – and then, of course, I know you might be thinking, well, okay, apples are natural. They are, but unfortunately, what has happened to apples over the past 40 years is way different than the apples we used to eat 50-60 years ago. They seem natural, but they’re kind of unnatural, unfortunately. We could talk about apples, we could talk about lots of stuff. That’s why these calls are 90 minutes, and that’s why we’re going to have more of them.
In short, the little bit of lactose you’re going to find in whey protein is just fine – whey protein concentrate. And if you are super sensitive to lactose and you really want to eat whey protein, you can eat a whey protein isolate or hydrolysate, which actually has all the lactose taken out. Excellent question, thank you so much.
Vera asks, “If you are insulin-resistant and have ineffective insulin, why inject more insulin? How does that make the body use the insulin?” Vera, excellent question, because you have identified one of the most heart-breaking things about the diabetes epidemic. This is really important because, hopefully, you know, for me, personally, beloved family members dying from diabetic complications hits very near and dear to my heart. And I am willing to bet that every single person on this call, or who is watching this call, is, themselves, or loves someone, who is, or will be, affected by diabetes, because one in every four of us is diabetic or pre-diabetic. And that’s just people who are diagnosed. A lot of us aren’t diagnosed yet. That’s just the unfortunate byproduct of the misinformation we’ve been given.
However, what is really heart-breaking about this is, the way that the standard of care – let me be very specific – the standard of care that doctors are legally obligated to provide – you can look this up online, it is a very interesting thing. It’s called Standard of Care. If you go to see a doctor and they don’t provide you with standard of care, that’s a problem. There are established standards that are determined by medical boards, and so on and so forth.
Standard of Care for adult-onset diabetes is, this individual’s cells have become so resistant to insulin that their body can’t produce enough insulin to get the sugar in their cells, so that sugar has to go somewhere or the person will die – literally. Diabetes can be a fatal disease, as my beloved late grandfather can attest to. However, standard of care is to say, the sugar in the blood has to go somewhere. If we jam more insulin into the body we can jam it into the cells, and the person won’t die right now, which is good. If there is a surplus of sugar circulating in the blood, and your choice is death or force it into your cells, well, we’re going to force it into your cells.
There is one other unfortunate byproduct of this, and that is, guess which cells are the last to become insulin-resistant? This is deep, actually, right here. Please pay attention if you’re not paying attention already. Your fat cells, essentially, never become insulin-resistant. They are the way your body protects you from needing an infinite amount of insulin. So your non-fat cells can become insulin-resistant, but your fat cells can’t.
So what happens is, when you become pre-diabetic, your non-fat cells that need energy to function can’t get energy into them, but your fat cells are like, “Hey, come over here.” When you are insulin-resistant and you eat sugar, you can’t get the sugar into the cells that need it to give you energy because they’re resistant to it, so that door is closed, but your fat cells door is open so the insulin says, “Let’s go put it in the fat cells.”
So you get this vicious cycle where an individual is eating and eating and eating, but it’s called internal starvation because the cells that need the energy can’t get it. Their fat cells which just store energy can get it. The only way to get any energy into the cells that need it is to take in excessive amounts of insulin, but taking in all that insulin also increases fat storage. So you’re exactly right. To prevent insulin-resistance and diabetes from killing you in the short-term, one of the sources of the problem – we need to be very precise with our language here – is excess production of insulin, and that is being addressed by putting in even more insulin.
Insulin is not bad. If you don’t have insulin, you have type 1 diabetes, and that can kill you, too, so insulin is a fine thing. What is not fine is the huge amount of starch and sugar. Your body is not going to be releasing all that insulin unless we’re eating, unless we’re given, unless we’re told that starch and sugar are not bad for us, and in certain cases – remember that Food Guide Pyramid, six to 11 servings of starch, the foundation of a healthy diet? There is your insulin-resistance right there.
The long-term solution to giving ourselves the ability to maintain blood sugar balance naturally and healthfully is not to inject insulin, it is to minimize the need for insulin, in the first place, to natural levels by going SANE – eating non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole-food fats, in that order. By doing that, you are going to provide your body with all the energy it needs from whole-food healthy fats, plenty of vitamins and minerals from your non-starchy vegetables, and then essential proteins and amino acids from the nutrient-dense proteins. That will allow the cells in your body, your brain, your digestive system and your hormones, to heal.
This is just one of so many examples. The reason it sticks into my mind is because it was published on the Huffington Post. You’ve probably heard the story. It’s a really well-known story. Christina is a vegetarian, and she was type 2 diabetic. Period. And in three months her primary care physician said, “Hey, you don’t need to use insulin shots anymore. You’re good.” So there you go. How do you make yourself sensitive to insulin? You don’t make your cells sensitive to insulin by flooding them with more insulin, you make your cells more sensitive to insulin by allowing your body to heal itself through a SANE lifestyle. So excellent question. Excellent, excellent question.
Viva M. says, “What’s with stevia?” Great question. Stevia, going back to the sweeteners, I love this. Thank you so much. These questions are awesome by the way, this is great. Stevia is actually in a category all its own because stevia is an herb. Think of stevia like you would think of cinnamon. For instance, if you try to make a cake and sweeten it with stevia, you would use a teeny tiny amount. It’s not like, let’s add a cup of stevia to this. It does not work that way. A similar thing is luo han guo. These are herbs or fruit extracts that are natural.
For stevia, specifically, think of it again, like cinnamon, it’s an herb that has a sweet taste. For example, sugar is a substance that actually changes the texture and density of baked goods. Stevia is not that, just like cinnamon doesn’t really change the texture or density. You generally don’t need to add more liquid to a recipe because you added cinnamon to it, for example, it’s just a small amount. Stevia is the same way. Stevia is an herb that can add a sweetness to things, but it is a very different sweetness. If you are used to sugar and honey and high-fructose corn syrup, and you try stevia, you’re going to say, “No.”
I would definitely say that stevia is the SANEst, because it’s not really a sweetener, it’s an herb which kind of resembles sweetness, so it’s the SANEst option. But it does not bake like, does not act like, is not used in the same volume as sugar or as things like erythritol and xylitol. It is the SANEst thing out there. Stevia and luo-han guo are fantastic. But be careful, Truvia is not stevia. The things that you are going to find at a conventional grocery store – if you buy stevia, the ingredients are stevia, that’s it. Just like if you buy cinnamon, the ingredients are cinnamon. So if you buy actual stevia, the ingredients are stevia. Things like Truvia aren’t stevia. They are other sweeteners plus stevia. So just be careful about that, but stevia is good stuff.
Suzanne asks, “So we don’t have to say goodbye forever to honey?” Suzanne, you don’t have to say goodbye forever to anything. And I mean that in all seriousness. SANE is a function of your goals. It is absolutely a function of your goals. So for some people, if eating honey in some quantities is a higher priority goal than losing body fat percentage at a certain rate, that’s all good. It’s all about your goals. For some people, that might be the right trade-off. Is honey SANE? It’s not. Does that mean it will kill you if you eat a tablespoon of it? No, absolutely not.
Just like if you smoke one cigarette per week – let’s be very clear, the vast majority of people who smoke at all, don’t get lung cancer. That doesn’t mean we should smoke. To the extent that you smoke, it radically increases your likelihood of getting lung cancer. To the extent that we eat starches and sweets, it radically increases our likelihood of getting diabetes, becoming obese, Alzheimer’s, coronary disease – all these types of things.
So, if you’re in a restaurant, prior to smoking being banned everywhere and there was secondhand smoke, would you run out because you knew that a little bit of smoke would immediately give you lung cancer? No, absolutely not. But might you say, “Wow, that’s a really smoky restaurant, I don’t want to go back there again?” Absolutely.
It’s the same with honey. You do not need to say goodbye to honey or anything else for the rest of your life, you just need to evaluate your goals and where you are and make the trade-offs that best work for you. Hopefully, that makes sense.
Vera says, “Does goat milk also have lactose?” Yes, it does. The answer is yes to that one. We could have a lightning round where you just ask yes/no questions and we can see how many of them I can answer.
Stephanie asks, “Jonathan, can you comment on the effect of taking SSRIs on someone’s SANE journey?” Absolutely, Stephanie, and we can also point to some resources within the Ignite program that are going to go into more detail on this, because this is a huge issue. Anywhere from one-in-three, to one-in-five Americans are on, or will be on SSRIs at some point in time in their life, and they have a huge impact on our metabolism – a huge impact, just like being on insulin therapy has a huge impact on our metabolism.
A couple of resources – just search, using the magnifying glass on your Ignite website for SSRIs. Search for terms like anxiety, depression, things along those lines. You are going to find an interview, for example, that I did with one of the premier researchers in the world on this. Her name is Dr. Elizabeth Brondolo. We go into great detail on the impact of SSRIs on a SANE journey. The high level is that being on SSRIs raises your set point. Period. Does that mean you should go off your SSRIs? Absolutely not. Having horrible anxiety and depression will derail your lower case SANity and upper case SANity completely.
So what we need to do is give our body and our brain the time and the love and the compassion and the raw material it needs to heal itself. What a lot of people find, and we’ve especially seen this in children, is that with proper nutrition we can see radical improvements in neurological behavior, from attention, to anxiety, to depression.
Of course, if a crisis happens in our lives, there is no amount of broccoli, and there is no amount of omega 3 fatty acids, that are going to make that hurt go away. But we need to give ourselves permission not to make that worse because we need to be patient without ourselves, we need to be loving with ourselves. This hits home, because there are many members of my family – I have direct, very deep, and heartbreaking experience with this. SSRIs have a very meaningful impact on your SANity, and we always talk about the long-term, we always talk about patience, we talk about letting the body have time to heal. That is just turned up if you are on SSRIs.
So, I really just need you to know how important long-term healing is, because if you are taking SSRIs, it’s just going to take longer – not in a bad way, but I’m just trying to be transparent with you. I’m trying to tell you what the science shows. That doesn’t mean you should get discouraged. It does mean that you’ve been blessed with the opportunity to finally get the scientific truth, and if you give yourself permission to do this, and to judge your results on six-month intervals, what you are going to find is that if you give it a year or two years, which I know sounds like an eternity, but if it takes one year, or two years, to change the way your brain and your body works for the rest of your life – getting a bachelor’s degree takes four years. I think a lot of people have experienced that and it may not have a huge impact on their life.
If we’re SANE and loving to ourselves, and we get into the support group, and we give social support, in six months, one year, two years, you will fundamentally – if you want to try, go get an FMRI scan, they will scan your brain, go SANE for a year, and get another FMRI scan, and you will literally see a structural difference in your brain, because it will heal itself.
So please do a little bit more research on the site and know that no matter what, it’s about focusing on the long-term and giving yourself the love and permission and information you need to be successful for the rest of your life, to live that best of your life, and that myself and every member of your SANE family and your SANE-certified coach are going to be there for you. Okay? So, very, very important.
Laura asks, “How long will it take to get my body’s ability to handle sugar reset to normal again? Like a year or six months of staying really super SANE?” Laura, I don’t want to do you a dis-service. I don’t know your detailed medical history, so I’m going to give general answers here. There is strong clinical research showing that within a year – I can’t be any more specific than that because I don’t know the unique circumstance – there is oodles of clinical research that has shown that if an individual has significant blood sugar problems and they go SANE for six months – holy moly, I’m not saying that it’s going to be totally gone after six months, but we’re talking – wow! That is a big, gigantic, measurable difference.
If this is something you are struggling with, I’m sure you probably know your A1C numbers, your doctor knows your A1C numbers, you go SANE for six months, that number is going to be spinning around in the right direction. So measure it on six-month intervals. If you go super super SANE, you can see results in a month. Get your A1C levels measured by your doctor, go super SANE for 90 days, go back to the doctor, and you’re going to smile. It’s just science. So that’s good news, for sure.
Suzanne asks, “I read a good book on depression and 1000 mg of EPA helping with depression. Is there any truth to this?” Absolutely, Suzanne. Absolutely. Food is medicine. You can actually get a prescription written – one of my family members had this exact thing happen. You can get a prescription written for omega 3 fats, for pharmaceutical grade omega-3 fats. “A calorie is a calorie.” Can you even believe people still tell us that? That prescription for omega 3 fats has calories in it, but those calories are treated so differently by your body. Absolutely.
Actually, that gets back to Stephanie’s question. One of the biggest things that we can do to help our mood, our focus, our mental or cognitive function, our memory, and also anxiety and depression, has to do with whole food fats. Of course, our non-starchy vegetables, that chlorophyll, those essential vitamins and minerals, that is critical, critical, critical. I think we all know that, but what we might not know is just how powerful, for example, omega-3 fats are on our neurological function and on anxiety, and on depression.
And other whole food fats. For example, there is a reason while our heirloom cacao powder that we sell in the SANE store is called mood-boosting cocoa powder. Pure, heirloom cacao – not a Hershey’s chocolate bar, not at all the same. That’s the whole carrot cake issue. Carrot cake is to carrots what a Hershey’s chocolate bar is to SANE mood-boosting heirloom cacao powder. Cacao, or cocoa, non-Dutched, pure, raw, is one of the most neurologically active substances.
There is a reason why there have been surveys done which have found that a good percentage of women prefer chocolate to sex. Now, that might be saying something about their partners, I don’t know, but the point is that, not chocolate, but cacao, or cocoa, is so neurologically active, the amount of dopamine and serotonin, these mood-boosting substances that it is going to release in your brain is huge. So, mood-boosting cocao powder, cocoa powder in general, just make sure it is un-Dutched, super-therapeutic fat, omega-3s, absolutely, those are wonderful things that we can do for our lifestyle.
Holy moly, can you believe that we have four minutes left? I have a list of questions that have been written in and I haven’t even gotten to them. But you know what? That’s okay, because I am loving this, because you have taken the time to be here live, and I so appreciate that. We’ve had an epic conversation for 90 minutes, man, that is awesome. But we do have only four minutes left, so let me see if I have anything that I wanted to just make sure that no matter what I covered. I didn’t get to a lot of stuff, so definitely tune in next week, and if you can’t tune in next week watch for the recording.
I did have one thing that was suggested by your SANE-certified coaches, and it’s a brilliant idea, so I want to start doing it, and if I forget, please add comments as we get to the last 10-15 minutes of each call to remind me. If it’s cool with you, I want to give a to-do, or homework assignment, or a challenge – whatever you want to call it, whatever gets you motivated. I’m going to give it to you here, and then my request for you is that – these are all going to be small, they’re all going to be things that I know you can do. They’re not going to require a huge amount of time or a huge amount of money, and they’re going to meaningfully help you, but I need you to trust me, and I need you to trust your SANE-certified coaches that you have to do it, and then you have to post in the coaching and support group on how it’s going. The first thing is to post saying, “I’m going to do this. I’m making a commitment. I’m going to do it.” The second thing is to tell us how it’s going before the next call. So you’re going to do that in the coaching and support group.
This week’s homework – this is not what I originally planned, but it has to do with what we’ve talked about here today – this week’s homework is, I want you to figure out how – you don’t actually have to do it, you just have to figure out how to do it, and I’m coming up with this on the spot because of all the great questions that came in here, so I might need to polish this one up a little bit. I want you to figure out a way – we talked about therapeutic fats a lot. We talked them at the beginning of the call, we talked about them at the end of the call.
The therapeutic fats that I want us to focus on are fatty forms of seafood, so think salmon, any form of fatty seafood. Salmon is the most delicious one that most people have access to. If you can’t do salmon, cod liver oil, or any kind of fish oil. I would strongly recommend not doing the capsules because the quality is a little debatable. Let’s really try to focus on whole food. So can we make a commitment to get in, daily, a serving of these therapeutic – you could do more, I would strongly recommend that you do more, but I want this to be something we can all do this week.
Each day this week, one serving – read the package what a serving is, it’s totally fine – one serving per day of something that is rich in either cocoa – so you’re either going to take pure un-Dutched cocoa, mood boosting cocoa powder from the SANE store, or if you want to get it somewhere else, totally fine, just make sure it’s pure, un-Dutched cocoa powder – one serving of that per day, or a serving of chia seeds, or a serving of flax seeds, or a serving of salmon. Pick one of those four things. I think we can all do that.
So you’ve got chia, you’ve got flax, you’ve got salmon. Don’t make a salmon shake, that’s not going to work out too well, but the chia or the flax are super easy for shakes. The cocoa powder is also great for shakes. A lot of people like to put it in their coffee. Just make sure you blend it up. It can be delicious just added to things. One serving of either chia, flax, salmon or pure un-Dutched cocoa powder per day this week. That is the challenge, that is a SANE challenge, to see how we can look at our optimal whole food fats, we can be very intentional about using food as medicine, and also, it’s going to help to focus on the myriad benefits way beyond weight loss.
Because I’ll tell you what. When you heal your body, and you heal your brain, it is going to naturally reset your weight to a healthy point. A healthy body pursues a healthy weight, just like an unhealthy body is sometimes pursuing, like we saw in the diabetic example, it is almost pursuing excess fat because it’s trying to protect itself in a disease state. So as we heal our body and mind with therapeutic fats, with vegetables, with nutrient-dense proteins, we see transformative effects. And this challenge for this week is going to help us to not only experience those effects, but to focus our minds on – this is about so much more than weight loss! This is about transformation at a fundamental cellular and neurological level.
That’s my challenge to you. I’m going to hold myself accountable to it, as well. Hopefully, it’s fun, and I want to see everyone posting about it in the support group and the coaching group. Please, if you don’t, I’m going to look really foolish because people are going to watch this and they’re going to go look in the support group and they’re going to say, “No one listens to Jonathan. Who’s this guy?” So please do it, if for no other reason to not make me look bad. So, I’m putting myself out there, I’m putting my credibility in your hands. So, jump over there, talk about how you’re enjoying your therapeutic fats – chia, flax, cocoa or fatty seafood.
Thank you to the SANE-certified coaches for making this suggestion. Please help me to stay accountable to actually doing this because sometimes I get carried away. We’re already over on time. I want to thank everybody for joining. It’s been a fabulous week. I’m going to send out an email later tonight or tomorrow. You can get access to the recording. We’re going to be back next week. Go into the support group. Thank you so much, this has been awesome, and I will chat with you soon. See you later.