Jonathan Bailor & Nell Stephenson: Be Fit, Eat Fat


Jonathan: Hey everyone, Jonathan Bailor here with none other than the Paleoista, Nell Stephenson. Nell, how are you doing?
Nell: Good, how are you?
Jonathan: Good, well I am so happy you came out here to Seattle, we are talking, we are in the kitchen, what is on your mind?
Nell: I’m so happy to be back in Seattle, you know I lived here for a while and it is nice to be back and we had beautiful weather yesterday, and I brought you a gift from California.
Jonathan: Is this a California avocado?
Nell: Yeah!
Jonathan: Well, why did you bring me an avocado?
Nell: It is just my favorite fat.
Jonathan: Your favorite fibrous fat?
Nell: Maybe so, well, actually, I take it back, I would have to say my favorite fats are a tie between that and coconut oil.
Jonathan: And why is that?
Nell: Well, coconut oil is actually only food source of medium-chain triglycerides, and even though people have misconstrued that coconut oil is bad for because it has got saturated fat, it is actually a nice part of the fat picture, so avocados are a great source of the mono-unsaturated fats, and, great by itself, great with some lemon juice mixed in guacamole or coconut oil — another reason why it is good to use is so you have it in your arsenal of cooking because you can heat it at a much higher temperature than olive oil, because olive oil actually starts to oxidize if it is heated above 250, 300 degrees, so, you know —
Jonathan: Lots of goodness!
Nell: Exactly!
Jonathan: I am big fan of coconut oil as well, because those medium-chain triglycerides you talked about, a couple things in addition, there are a lot of this really rich source of fiber in coconuts, helps with the gut flora, bacteria, all kinds of good stuff there. Also, the way that the medium-chain triglycerides are metabolized is different from any other type of long-chain saturated fat so your body actually burns more calories, or as I would say, it is more inefficient at processing medium-chain triglycerides —
Nell: Which means you have to work harder.
Jonathan: Exactly. It is ironic is it not that it was less than a decade ago when coconut oil was turned into this demon because it was so high in unsaturated fat and all the movie theaters stopped using it, there were ads on TV, and now, the science has it to the surface which is great and not only are we not seeing that it is not bad for you, but actually, it is quite good for you.
Nell: Exactly. And like you were saying before, it is really good for the gut and help people that have gone through the process of having a poor diet and they are in the middle of changing to a better diet, maybe they had some stomach issues and that kind of thing, and coconut oil actually helps the gut heal. One thing to note, though, is that it is really important to get fresh coconut products, not canned. A lot of the times you go to the store and you grab a can of coconut milk, if you look at the label, usually they have some stabilizer or additives like guar gum which comes from a bean, xanthan gum which from corn, kerogen which comes from seaweed, which all sound like benign ingredients, but they have been processed so much that they actually a lot of gastric distress in a lot of people, especially people that have any autoimmune conditions, they want to make sure to avoid those, because they are really high in anti-nutrients.
Jonathan: Got you, so that is something where we just want to be very sensitive to what is coming along with it, and also, what are your thoughts on, there is a lot of — so coconut, the whole food coconut, like this is a whole avocado, a whole coconut, and if we were take the meat out of it and the liquid in it, that is all good stuff, that is all whole food, but unfortunately, it seems like our food manufacturers say, “Oh, people like coconuts!” So now, it is going to be coconut water, coconut this, coconut that and even coconut oil which we talked about is great to cook with, if you look at a coconut oil container, some of them will say you should just eat straight coconut oil, whereas it seems that just eating coconut, the whole food, like we are all about whole foods right? So wouldn’t we always prefer the whole food?
Nell: I think so, I mean, there are certain occasions where like if you are cooking something and you need a medium in which to cook at a very high temperature, coconut oil is great, but I agree, ideally you are using whole coconut, granted we are not all in an area — obviously there is no fresh coconut here in Washington. But, if you are in place where you can get fresh coconut, that is the better way to go, and if you are in a place where you can get fresh coconut, a couple of things you can do in a pinch, there is one company called Lets Do Organic which sells dried coconut.
Jonathan: That is exactly what — I purchased that from Amazon.
Nell: Yeah! And it is just coconut, so that is a nice thing to do, you can actually rehydrate it, and depending on what type of consistency you are looking for, you can make a very thin liquid. Or if you wanted to do something that you would use in place of a dairy cream, you could actually use less and it has this really thick, decadent quality to it that you don’t miss, you are not wishing that you had whip cream.
Jonathan: And it is, I’ve noticed too you said that decadent quality, this might just be me, but there is something about — so, avocado is delicious, we have talked about monounsaturated fat, very tasty, but I have found that chocolate is an example of this, coconut is another one where, sometimes, if I have had a really rough day and I am just, and need to do emotional eating. There is something about saturated fats, so there is something about cocoa, there is something about coconut that hits the spot like nothing else does, I can eat avocados till I am blue in the face and I could be full, but I will not feel the same satisfaction as when I really enjoy a healthy, fibrous, saturated fat. And I don’t know if that has to do with bacon and egg yolks, it just seems like there is just something about saturated fats that are uniquely satisfying.
Nell: Interesting. You know, I haven’t found that specific response with myself but just with healthy fats in general makes — adding that to every meal including snacks, makes a huge difference in making me feel more satisfied, so, so many people have been, I mean we have sixty percent of our population is overweight or obese, so many people who are watching probably are at least dabbling in dieting at least here and there, and the unfortunate thing is most of them have an end point, and one of the big reasons is because they are always really restrictive, and they do things like the old school mentality of low-fat or fat-free, so you have someone who is trying to lose weight and they are having maybe a boiled chicken breast and celery sticks, and yeah, those are healthy choices but they are really boring there is nothing satisfying about it. But if you take that meal and add some nice delicious fat, first of all, eating fat at every meal helps you absorb a lot of vitamins and minerals that otherwise you will not be processing correctly and it just gives you that satisfied feeling. So I think that a lot of people don’t realize that if you go really low-fat or the fat-free, you are doing yourself a big disservice, because you are actually going to make your body continue along this insulin reaction rather than a glucagon reaction, which is the opposite, so you want to get up in the morning and have a nice source of protein and fat and vegetables as a breakfast because that, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you set the stage for very even, balanced blood sugar and fat burning metabolism rather than if you get up and you have the best of intentions and you start with a bagel and jam, your insulin just spikes and then dips and all day you have this roller coaster-y thing and, yeah, you might only have eaten a low number of calories, but it is not about the number of calories, it is about the where the calories are coming from, and are they balanced?
Jonathan: And that is one of the things that obviously you are, one of the leaders in the Paleo movement, you are the Paleoista-
Nell: Thank you!
Jonathan: And one of the things that I love about Paleo and I think the reason it works so well for so many people when it is actually Paleo is that focus on food quality, it is not a diet and when you say, my personal belief is that, just like you could not tell a person, “If you want to lose weight, just don’t sleep for the rest of your life,” or “Just don’t go to the bathroom as often,” like it is not — people need to be satisfied, people need to eat and when you live a Paleo lifestyle or a SANE lifestyle, things like the taste of sweet, the taste of salty, the taste of fatty, the taste of meats, all of the four tastes we crave as people we can enjoy to the fullest extent, that is some of the challenge with certain diets is they just say, “None of this, none of that,” and when those are tastes, if you think you think you can never eat something sweet again or you can never eat something fatty again, or you can never eat something that tastes like bread, it is not bread, you and I both don’t like grains, but at least has that taste and that mouth feel, that is no good. But we are just finding higher quality ways to experience all of those things.
Nell: Exactly, and that thing is it is a really simple model: if you put good food and good things in your body, you are going to get the good result, there is no way that if you take someone that is eating a poor diet and are not exercising and you clean their diet up, even if it is in stages and baby steps, and get them moving, that person is going feel better and they are going to lose weight, and whatever symptoms they may have, health conditions from mild to severe start improving, it is just going to happen and if you just think about how unfortunate it is that so many people are just putting things in their body and they do not even understand what they are, things in wrappers with words that they cannot identify as being food. I once heard this interview with a nutritionist a long time ago and he said, “it is very simple, I used to tell all my clients to never eat any foods that begin with an x and end with an eighty,” it is something you would have in a chemistry experiment, you are eating something and you do not know what it is? That is something that, a little kid who is learning to crawl might pick something up and put it in their mouth because they are one years old and just learning, but that is what adults are doing, they are doing the same thing it is just, there is a big disconnect.
Jonathan: And what you have said about, it will — cleaning up your diet is what — more nutrient-dense whole foods, eating so many of them that you are too full for these processed chemicals will — it cannot not benefit you, and, what really gets me excited is not only will it benefit you, but it is delicious, it is sustainable, and because it is delicious and sustainable, if you can take something that has been proven to work, not only clinically, but over the past couple hundred thousand years, if you can take that and it is enjoyable and therefore sustainable, you are there, right? That is what we are all after, so the question we have to ask ourselves is, is this enjoyable, is it sustainable, and eating whole sweet but high-quality, savory but high-quality foods, absolutely sustainable. I love it, what are you going to bring me next?
Nell: I have to see what I have in my arsenal of surprises that I have to sneak through in the airport.
Jonathan: I love it. Everyone, Nell Stephenson – Paleoista, we will be back with more goodness, thanks Nell.
Nell: Thanks for having me.