Hello folks, Dr. Mike Breen here at HealthyTransformations.ca and the Healthy Transformations Program. Just wanted to give you another little video posting or video blog about another concept that is really foundational to understanding the Healthy Transformations Program and particularly how food can be the most powerful tool in restoring the healthfulness in many people, yourselves perhaps, who are suffering from ill health and other kinds of problems. The principle is how is it that inflammation is actually caused by sugar? Well let’s go back to a little bit of a drawing, a little bit of a graph here. What I’m gonna draw is what we call a blood sugar curve and what that is, is if a person was exposed to a single exposure of sugar, it could be a chocolate bar. It could be a can of pop or something like that, and presuming that they hadn’t had any sugar for a long period of time, or what we call a fasting blood glucose test. They’re not done that much anymore, but they used to be quite popular. You’d get a curve that was like this. So blood sugars are on here and this is time across the bottom. So the blood sugars as a consequence of being exposed to a sugar dose here would rise up like this then they would come back down to a lower point. So pretty typical. These are kinds of curves that are in every single physiology text book that every medical doctor, chiropractor, naturopath, osteopath, nurse has ever studied.
How is it that the blood sugars go up? Well that’s just from the absorption of the materials. How is it that in fact it goes down? That’s in response to insulin. So insulin would have a curve, and this is not exactly 100% accurate, but insulin would rise. And as the insulin rises it actually initiates an effect. There’s a time delay here, which would drive the blood sugar back down. And as the blood sugar goes down then the insulin secretion from the pancreas goes down as well and things go back to normal. Now typically this would take somewhere between 90 minutes perhaps or two hours or something like that. Again, when we were looking at these things in our textbooks we saw that this was normal function. And yet, just because the body can do that doesn’t mean that it ought to do that. This is actually a very stressful thing for the body as it turns out. Having blood sugars rise this rapidly, actually and having insulin that is commenced right with that actually drives what’s called the acute inflammatory response.
So when you eat foods and you drive insulin up, inflammatory influences take place. Now the interesting thing is that the acute inflammatory response, and how would you know what that is? Well if you’ve ever been bit by a bee or you’ve got a sliver in your foot, or something like that again, you get soreness and you get redness and you get swelling. That’s an acute inflammatory response, but it happens in our body just the same as it happens outside of our body, and it happens in response to the consumption of food. The interesting point is this, the inflammatory response doesn’t take 90 minutes to two hours to resolve. The inflammatory response goes up and acute inflammatory response will last from 12 to 72 hours. So what’s important about that is that each time we consume a sugar we’re going to produce an acute inflammatory response. If we only ever ate one chocolate bar or one pop and then we didn’t do it for weeks or months on end, then it wouldn’t be a big deal. But the majority of people don’t do that. They’re actually consuming sugars on such a regular basis that in fact we get a curve that looks more like this. A person wakes up. They have something that’s sweet. They wait for a while. They have something else, some cereal. Then they’re having timbits perhaps at work, and then they’re having a big fat sandwich, and this is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the message. What goes along with this are insulin responses that basically mimic the blood sugar levels and then this is an acute inflammatory response followed by another, followed by another, followed by another, and people do this day after day week after week, month after month. They do it throughout their lifetime, and as a consequence you get an inflammatory effect that actually goes on for life. And that’s what produces chronic diseases, that exact phenom. You want to learn more about that sign up for our work shop at the Healthy Transformations Program or get in contact with Christopher Lawrence or myself. We’d be happy to let you know more about it.
Hello folks, Dr. Mike Breen here at healthytransformations.ca. Just another video blog here about some information that is really important to understand as it relates to using food to drive healthfulness in your life and the principle I’m gonna talk about right now is called the glycemic index. The glycemic index has been around for quite a long time, developed in the 1970s, the University of Toronto, Canadian phenomenon which is quite interesting. And the glycemic index is actually a scale that represents the concentration or the density of sugars that are in carbohydrates. So, the glycemic index does not have anything to do with fats nor does it have anything to do with proteins. It’s a scale that measures the sugar concentration in carbohydrates. It’s a scale that goes from 0 to 100. At the top end of the scale, glucose was given the arbitrary number of 100, and so foods are measured in terms of their sugar density relative to this glycemic index. Now, it’s a very confusing thing if you go to these glycemic sites, and there’s lots and lots of them, you can look up a particular food and it’ll give you the number, the glycemic index. But it doesn’t give you any kind of references to the types of foods that are categorized in the glycemic index.
So, let me do this really quickly. If you can imagine a ladder with a bunch of rungs, maybe five rungs, the bottom rung at the bottom of the glycemic index is the category of vegetables. And then the next rung up the ladder is the category of fruits and then the next rung up is the category of legumes. The next rung up from that is the category of grains and the next rung up from that is the category of starches. So generally speaking, there’s overlap that exists between these groups to a certain extent, but for the most part that’s the orientation of the glycemic index. So, the lowest foods on the glycemic index fit into the green leafy vegetables and other forms of vegetables, the non-starchy vegetables. The next group up would be the fruits and as I said the legumes, the grains, and the starches.
What’s happened in our culture is that a significant amount of dietary patterning has lead to the consumption of very high-density carbohydrates, so the starches like potatoes and like rice and the grains which is all forms of bread and pasta. And these kinds of foods represent the bulk of the carbohydrates that are consumed. Then, if we see that in fact these are the high-density sugars, we wonder why in fact we have issues with blood sugar regulation in our culture and the answer is right in front of us. Because the majority of the foods that we eat are very, very high in the glycemic index. So, the Healthy Transformation’s program takes the opposite approach. We shift the consumption to the bottom end of those ladders to the bottom two rows, the vegetables and the fruits. And simply by emphasizing those foods as the primary volume that you consume, you control a whole bunch of stuff, particularly blood sugars. And then secondarily to that, control inflammation by way of reducing insulin production. It’s really quite remarkable. Healthytransformations.ca, look us up. You might be interested in coming to the workshops if they’re available or reaching out to Christopher Lawrence or myself. We’d be happy to meet with you.
Sugar is the enemy. Yes, yes. I know we need a certain amount of carbohydrates in our bodies; however, when it comes to sugar we overconsume.
Health professionals have discovered that many people experience sugar cravings, and this habit has made it impossible for them to stick to a healthy diet.
Cravings are said to be as a result of your brain’s need for a reward and not necessarily your body’s need for food. It’s ok to indulge a little, but over time it tends to become a habit and from there an insatiable craving. The dangers and disadvantages of too much sugar are something I am sure you are well aware of. Hence, there is a need to put a stop to those cravings.
In this article, we take a look at the ten most powerful ways to curb your sugar cravings, they include:
Eat a healthy, filling meal rather than junks
It’s one thing to crave something; it’s another thing to be hungry. Craving is not your body’s message that you need energy; it’s instead the dopamine saying you need a reward. When you crave for junk food when hungry, the best thing to do is to consume a healthy filling meal as soon as possible.
Rather than stock your kitchen with garbage food, stock it with nutritious snacks or pre-made food. Foods rich in proteins such as egg, meat, fish, and leafy greens are ideal for curbing hunger. This may not seem like such a good idea when all you want to do is woof down a sugar-filled snack, but when you consider the side effects, it will help you resist the temptation.
Have a hot or cold bath
This has proven to work wonders for those who crave sugar. The water to be used for bathing shouldn’t be just cold; it must be hot but not so much that it burns the skin. Allow the water glide over your skin and your back, stand in the bath for about ten minutes, and after that step out of the shower. Or do the opposite and make it cold. You will experience a kind of dazed feeling as though you have been in a sauna for far too long or as though you are schoking your body into alertness. Before you are done with your bath, your sugar craving will be gone.
Go for a walk
This is another effective way of dealing with a sugar craving. Go for a brisk walk, and if you can jog or run, then that’s better.
This serves two purposes, first is that it helps you keep a distance from that sugar you are craving, the second is that the exercise releases a feel-good chemical called endorphins which enables you to lose the craving.
Your craving could be caused by dehydration, but by taking at least a glass of water, you not only keep your body hydrated, but you also get to deal with the cravings.
Desist from consuming artificial sweeteners
If what triggers your craving for sugar are artificial sweeteners, then it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Have a support system
While trying to curb or stop your cravings for sugar, its best to have someone who understands what you are going through and is willing to help you scale through. It’s not going to be easy stopping what you love, but with determination and a sound support system, it can be done.
Have enough rest
Getting enough sleep daily is vital for your overall state of health; it also helps you prevent sugar cravings.
If you are aware of the things that trigger your craving for sugar, then its best to avoid it. It may be certain activities like walking past an ice-cream parlor or French fries.
Have a reminder
It is essential that on this journey of trying to curb your sugar craving that you have a list of the reasons you have decided to stop taking sugar. Regularly read the list to be reminded that you have a purpose and goal; this will help you stick to the plan.
By taking multivitamins, you prevent any deficiencies that may occur with sugar withdrawal. If you can take junks now and then without having a relapse then it’s ok, otherwise, avoid it altogether.
Check out part 2 of this podcast from our archives.
A podcast interview with Christopher Lawrence done by Ms. Opium for her podcast Ohmpire. If you would like to learn more about weight and weight loss or experience anti-inflammation or a ketogenic diet, please check out www.healthytransformations.ca.
Transcript for your reading pleasure…
Ms. Opium: Hey everybody welcome back to the Pod Play, we are doing episode 2 of the Gummy whores and back for another visit is Christophertopher Lawrence. Christopher welcome back.
Christopher: Thank you very much.
Ms. Opium: Christopher has had an exciting event happened, since the last time we were together and we are very proud. Christophertopher got married,
Christopher: Yeah I’m sorry I’m off the market.
Ms. Opium: He’s off the market sorry everybody,
Christopher: Actually I’m not sorry, I’m happy to be off the market but I’m sorry for all of you though. I’m just kidding.
Ms. Opium: All of you people out there.
Christopher: All of you who clearly knocking down my door.
Ms. Opium: Here you go. So we are going to pick up from where we ended the last time. When we ended last session we were talking about self-control, so I’m just going to go right into the next question that I have. Can you in your own way define the difference between diet versus lifestyle?
Christopher: So here’s how I see it. Diet is something that you do for a definitive amount of time. I guess it depends on the context of the word, so here I’m going to get a little bit chatty but I see it in the context that we are talking it’s for a definitive amount of time. Where lifestyle is like I don’t really question, this is what I do. This is the way I eat for the rest of my life. The other context of diet is just in its simplest form which is this is my diet; these are my food choices not as in diet losing weight. But as in this is my diet as in my food choices, so I don’t know if that makes sense.
Ms. Opium: It does absolutely.
Christopher: Yeah I think it’s more about making a lifestyle choice..
Ms. Opium: Okay now my next question. Lifestyle and diet changes over the past half a century compared to what they’re like today.
Christopher: Oh wow so I’ll do my best with this. Just over 40 years ago there was a guy named Hansel Keys, and he was funded by an organization called the Sugar Research Foundation or it might be the Sugar Research Council I think is what it was. He did a study that was basically saying sugar is not unhealthy for you, in fact it might healthy for you, He studied many countries I think it was over maybe 40, maybe 30 and his criteria was that fat makes you fat, and therefore there’s no problem with sugar. So what he published was punch lines from only 7 countries that he felt met his criteria, but it was bad science. It was bad science. So from that we got 40 years of low fat, reduce your fat, low fat products in grocery store. Then what did we do? We increased our carbohydrate consumption, also what happens with the flavour of food when you take fat out of it.
Ms. Opium: There’s nothing left.
Christopher: There’s no flavour, so what did we do to compensate for flavour?
Ms. Opium: Yeah sugar.
Christopher: We added sugar, so now its coming to light with good science and good research that fat in fact is required for the body. The USDA I believe it was US Department of Agriculture, every 5 years they do a study where they take multiple studies on food and food consumption, and everything and anything you can imagine.
They look at all the studies that have happened in the last 5 years, and they compare and even beyond, and they compare them to each other. They say what is the best science and what are the most common themes. Just last year or the year before the USDA removed the upper limit on fat completely. So the 3 previous studies or previous years I can’t remember which, it was and you can find this report, it’s actually not hard to find. I’ll have to tell you to Google but it’s actually over 500 page report, where they’ve gone and done all this research. Basically what they’ve done is they said, and they only look at pure reviewed journals by credible sources. They look at fundings, who’s funded this by pharmaceuticals, was it funded by food manufacturers, or is this a third party sort of independent study. So they look at all of this stuff. They’ve been increasing the percentage of daily fat intake over the last 3 or 4 years, and then last year they came out and said there is no upper limit. There is no maximum amount of fat that you can eat, that we would consider unhealthy, and they do not differentiate between saturated and non-saturated fats. Basically what they’re saying is the impact is so minimal compared to everything else that’s happening in our bodies, because of sugar and inflammation, that you should just start consuming fat period.
Ms. Opium: Wow.
Christopher: That’s what they said. So here’s a really interesting fact that you can take back, or your listeners can take with them. Hang on I lost my thought, that’s okay it will come back to me I promise. It always comes back I just need to give it a minute, but there’s a really interesting fact in there and I can’t remember what it was, so you have to keep listening.
Ms. Opium: Stay tuned more on fact.
Christopher: For more on fat.
Ms. Opium: Okay that is really interesting.
Christopher: They basically remove the upper limit on fat. Oh it was about heart disease that’s what it was. So here’s what we say, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, means that we need to reduce cholesterol, i.e. lower your fat consumption. They’re not finding a credible correlation between I shouldn’t say zero, but basically they’re not finding a direct correlation between consumption of fat and cardiovascular disease, and they found the same with salt. So yes salt in excess certainly, but actually salt is not your enemy either, it’s okay. Salt is not as concerning as sugar is, not even by a long shot. If you can get your high glycaemia carbs down, that is how you’ll prevent inflammation, how you’ll prevent heart disease or other types of inflammation. It’s not just these.
Ms. Opium: Wow that’s crazy.
Christopher: It is crazy. So 4 years of bad science and science build up science. So you get one study and it’s like oh here’s new, so all other science after that has to reference the original study, until somebody can prove otherwise and now they’ve taken the time. They’re like actually this doesn’t make sense. And exercise when you talk about the last half century of exercise as it relates to weight loss. There is zero or virtually zero correlation between exercise and weight loss.
Ms. Opium: Really?
Christopher: Really. So we kill ourselves at the gym, exercise is still good. It’s incredible, it’s required, its part of two things. Range of motion and strength, those are the things that we lose. So we want to keep our range of motion, something like yoga, swimming, something that uses your whole body, i.e. obstacle course racing and strength, I do obstacle course racing because you get a bit of both. I use my body in different ways and I require strength, so that one gets both for me. But those are the two things that you need to exercise for, exercise is good even just simple walking. I think sometimes people go way out of their way to kill themselves. I have a personal rule by the way. I do not work out unless it’s fun, if I’m not having fun I don’t do it anymore.
Ms. Opium: Yeah that’s a good rule.
Christopher: Yeah why not, any exercise is better than nothing.
Ms. Opium: It’s true.
Christopher: So I do things that are fun for me.
Ms. Opium: And I’m a freak of walking, I have to get my steps every day.
Christopher: Yeah good and that’s it takes right. The one thing we say about exercise a lot is consistency will trump time and intensity every time. So what I mean by that is when you look at the longevity of your life, 10 minutes of deliberate act of walking, sort of getting your arms moving, walking every day is better than say two or three times at the gym of intense workouts, every 6 weeks and then you stop for 8. Consistency trumps time and intensity any day, in terms of longevity of life or anti-aging.
Ms. Opium: There’s a happy thought for everybody who hates working out.
Christopher: Yeah that’s right totally, exactly.
Ms. Opium: Okay so next question. In today’s society how do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?
Christopher: I’ll narrow your question down a little. I think what I’m hearing in there is that there’s an implication that it’s difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Ms. Opium: Yes it is with all of the pretty pictures, fancy ads, watching this, watching that, everything at your fingertips.
Christopher: Yeah totally right culturally we are really not set up for it. I think it comes back to habits and planning, having the habit of planning. I know this sounds really strange but willpower doesn’t last a long time, and so we use a lot of education to reinforce cause you want to reinforce the knowledge, so that’s the first thing. If you don’t know then you need to know. The second thing is don’t rely on will power because it doesn’t last very long.
Ms. Opium: That’s true.
Christopher: Especially when we get close to the end of the day. So by the time you get to the end of the day you’ve used up your sort of decision making power, so it’s no surprise that people… we have a visitor here.
Ms. Opium: Whoffington Post is joining us.
Christopher: Whoffington post is here in the studio and he is dying to get out. There he is Mr. Whoffington himself. Yeah and lots of […]. So what were we saying I just start to focus on the dog.
Ms. Opium: We are talking about will power, end of the day.
Christopher: Yes. So I think one of the biggest things, so education is a key piece I think. Then the second piece is awareness, so being aware of your habits. What do you currently do, almost to the minutia. Like I know when I walk in the house at the end of the day. I know for a fact if I do not have a meal prepared, when I walk in that door, or if I cannot prepare something in five minutes or less, I’m going to go to consume something. So for me it’s no longer junk, but I might like eat a whole bunch of nuts or something. When really all I need is the meal itself. So I do a couple things to plan and this would be the third thing, is to pre planning. So I do my planning when I’m in my optimal state which is usually in the morning, usually at the beginning of the week and you’ll notice this, I’m not the only one. Usually by the end of the day we start to be a little more forgiving with our choices, by the end of the week Friday comes and it’s like oh I’m just going to eat whatever I want. So what I say is plan it and do that when you’re in your optimal state. So early in the day and at the beginning of the week, as best as you can. So in the morning I will sit down and if I haven’t plan at eth beginning in of the week, I’ll say okay I know I’m getting close to the week or I’m getting tired or whatever. So then I’ll say okay what I need is to know is exactly what we’ll eat tonight. So what’s in my fridge right now that I can put together in 5 or 10 minutes or less, and if I see oh it’s going to be a busy week I’ll cooking in advance, so I don’t have to think about it. I can just throw it in the pan or microwave if you have a microwave, and heat it up and then you don’t have to make a choice, the decision was already made. So its sounds kind of boring and un-motivating, uninspiring, but the truth is its really empowering when you get to the end pf the week and you say wow that worked. That’s when the motivation sort of hits you again; you’re like wow I made good choices this week.
Ms. Opium: Awesome. I don’t do that I don’t.
Christopher: Do the preplanning. Choices. I’m sure you make some good choices in your life.
Ms. Opium: Whoffington Post I did. Okay this is a personal question, what are your top 5 evil foods?
Christopher: Zesty cheese Doritos right out of the gate, not even Nacho cheese Zesty cheese Doritos. They are fluorescent orange, there’s not a colour in nature that is represented by the colour of this. When I consume those although it’s been a long time, last time I did I actually got sick to my stomach like literally, like I think I eat too many. I’ll go to Costco and get the family size bag and I’ll just eat until I’m sick of them, usually a day and a half and then I’m done, like the bag is done. So zesty cheese Doritos is number 1, chips is number 2, and then probably chocolate is number 3. Some people are savour your sweet, I like to balance it out, I’ve had a lot of savoury. I should top this off with a chocolate bar or three. And then we’re probably getting it so those 3 and we’re probably now getting into more sort of carb heavy takeout meals. So pizza is probably one, and then Chinese food would be the other. Pizza is high glycaemic but Chinese food is basically everything coated in sugar.
Ms. Opium: It’s true.
Christopher: I should know we say that. There’s options right, they do have like stir fried vegetables and stuff where they don’t put sugar in and that kind of thing.
Ms. Opium: Don’t they?
Christopher: It depends where you go, it depends where you go.
Ms. Opium: Yeah.
Christopher: I don’t want to paint the entire Chinese food industry with one brush. There are some healthy because there are places out there that are coming very conscious. Look this is what the majority wants but we want to cater to people, who wants Asian style food but have a sort of conscious eating.
Ms. Opium: That’s very true. Do you feel there is a benefit to food journaling?
Christopher: Yes usually, but actually I want to go back. What are your top 5?
Ms. Opium: Oh lord.
Christopher: Is it gummies?
Ms. Opium: Depending on the day so it would be gummies, liquorish, chocolate, chocolate covered jujus.
Christopher: You can’t just have like chocolate with the juju at the same time in your mouth; it has to be chocolate covered jujus. I agree it’s a different food category.
Ms. Opium: Totally has to be cold in the front of the fridge, and then I guess chips would be my 5th one.
Christopher: Chips eh.
Ms. Opium: Yeah, yeah.
Christopher: You really like the sweet stuff.
Ms. Opium: Oh yeah, it’s bad, it’s really bad. See just talking about it it’s like mm.
Christopher: I’m thinking about it now. And also remember its destroying your body, and will give you early onsite dementia.
Ms. Opium: You know what I’ve been trying to put it that way, so that I don’t stock up and have the chocolate in the freezer and all that kind of stuff just because I know it’s bad.
Christopher: Yes totally and for the other things are sweet but more healthful.
Ms. Opium: Cherries at this time of year.
Christopher: Yes and actually I think I […] frozen cherries.
Ms. Opium: Can you?
Christopher: Yeah you can. I think we get ours from Costco and I like them, because I pop one in my mouth and it’s almost like when they’re thawed just a little bit and the ice on it. They have like moisture some of the moisture start to flake off, and when I put it in my mouth it’s almost like having the texture of candy coated. Like ice and sugar or something.
Ms. Opium: Interesting.
Christopher: I mean cherries would still be higher glycaemic but it’s certainly better than a juju or chocolate bar, and if you throw in a couple nuts with it then you’re balancing it out a little bit.
Ms. Opium: Oh yeah see there I go. I can throw some chocolate covered peanuts in.
Christopher: Yeah totally, nut chocolate covered peanuts. Peanuts are not a nut, they’re legume.
Ms. Opium: Oh right yeah. They’re bad for you aren’t they?
Christopher: Peanuts are funny because they’re not a nut it’s a legume, but when you look at your fats peanuts go I can’t explain this well, but I know they’re sort of two streams that fat goes down, and peanuts go down the bad one.
Ms. Opium: Interesting. What about pistachios? I don’t ever see pistachios on the list of?
Christopher: That’s a good question I eat pistachios.
Ms. Opium: I love them.
Christopher: Yeah me too and cashews too I like. The sweeter nuts right.
Ms. Opium: Of course.
Christopher: And then Brazil nuts, I eat them but I don’t particularly enjoy them.
Ms. Opium: Those are what I go for […]. The chip craving if I have to eat, I go for those.
Christopher: Yeah the saltes.
Ms. Opium: Okay back to this is really good, back to the food journaling.
Christopher: Right. Yes here’s what I think is helpful. I think food journaling is helpful for some people. I think some people where there is sort of pre-existing history of food tracking, maybe due to anorexia or bulimia and that kind of thing. Sometimes food journaling can exasperate or re-introduce that history, not for everybody but for some people. So I would say if you have a history of that you’re certainly going to check with somebody.
Outside of that I think food journaling is an incredible idea, from the perspective that one it brings awareness, two when you plan and then you track how you’re doing on that plan so I’m going to eat this today, and then you go back and say here’s how I did. Food journaling can be a simple as I had my 2 meals and my 3 snacks, or however you choose to consume food throughout your day. Food journaling I think can be very beneficial but we also know that there’s something to the tracking piece that seems to sort of evoke this internal accountability. And I think sometimes you have to refresh it and I know it sounds funny, it can be really big and it can be simple but you might just be like, oh I’m on like a 2 week kick of increasing my greens. I’m not a big fan of challenges if they don’t, like what are you doing it for, but if it’s to sort of refresh. A simple as it sounds sometimes when I go through my food journaling phases, and I will go on and off with them but when I go through mine sometimes, new stationery makes all the difference because I’m motivated to use the stationery.
Ms. Opium: Yeah it’s true.
Christopher: I like different colours and different pens and stuff. It doesn’t work for everybody and maybe it seems cheesy but listen if I can actually fake myself to doing it because I already have the habit of new fancy fun stationery. The utilization of that is by tracking food, then I’m actually creating a food habit based off of stationery in my new stationary habit. So I’m trying to fake myself into creating something new. I find it very helpful I love new stationery.
Ms. Opium: I do too, can’t keep me out of staples.
Christopher: I know, staples is almost boring to me now I’ve seen so much of it. I want like…
Ms. Opium: Something new?
Christopher: Yeah totally. We need more funky green stationeries to be like that, they’re kind of like gone downhill since […] or don’t. That’s my personal opinion, great stationery means you stay away from the stupid cheesy jokes, you start to look like San Francisco. You remember that store from the 80’s and 90’s? You need to put that aside.
Ms. Opium: Let’s go back to stationery.
Christopher: Go back to awesome stationery; oh my God it’s amazing.
Ms. Opium: You mentioned the word habit and this isn’t in my list of questions, but now I have to ask it because I have another podcast series called “Two Bitches on a Bench”,
Christopher: I’ve heard part of it actually.
Ms. Opium: Oh, oh.
Christopher: I loved it.
Ms. Opium: There was one session we were talking about habits, and the question came up isn’t everything a habit.
Ms. Opium: Isn’t everything a habit?
Christopher: everything is a habit.
Ms. Opium: Yeah.
Christopher: Yeah everything or nearly everything is a habit. The way you walk, the way you talk, how you eat, how you chose to eat, how you drive, even the way you think is all habitual.
Ms. Opium: So you can break a habit?
Christopher: No. You cannot break a habit no. So here’s what we understand. There’s a great book and I might have mentioned this last time, it’s called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. It’s totally worth a read he’s also got one called “Smarter, Better, Faster” I think. I think that was my 23:18, also that’s one of these elite athletes doing that kind of thing and elite corporations that kind of thing. But the power of habit is worth everybody reading. So you cannot change a habit, however cause once that nero plasticity is in there like once that nero pathway is in there, it is the way it is however you can change what you do with it. So can I give you sort of the anatomy of habit as according to Charles Duhigg?
So let’s give credit where credit is due, its Charles Duhigg stuff. So here’s what we have, think of it as a loop and in this loop you have 2 which is the trigger, this is the thing. So for me it’s like I see the bag of zesty cheese Doritos, sometimes just seeing it is enough of a trigger. Sometimes its stress, sometimes it’s the time of day, sometimes I’m craving social interaction, so that’s the queue. Could be an emotion, doesn’t matter, any kind of queue. Smell, sight, touch, taste, or emotional feeling, where you are, who you’re with can be a queue. You hear about this all the time with people who are like, it’s like I don’t smoke unless I’m drinking. You hear that and it’s like, well then drinking is the queue. Or it’s like I don’t drink unless I’m with these people, those people are the queue. So you have a trigger, the trigger leads to the behaviour. So you come down a circle a little bit at least to the routine, so its queue routine reward. Queue is first, routine is second in the loop, and routine is the behaviour, the action that you take. So with the zesty cheese Doritos I go I grab the bag, I take the counter I pay for it and I usually open it as soon as I get in my car.
Ms. Opium: Yeah.
Christopher: I have the first chip and then the pay off, so that’s the last thing in the loop. So you have the pay off or the reward. So queue, routine, reward, according to Charles Duhigg’s work, and the reward is the pay off. It’s the thing you get from doing this behaviour, so I eat the chip and aww I feel better somehow, and if that reaction is strong enough it goes back to the queue. So what that means is that because I have that sensation with it, the second that I see those chips again or I get stressed again, I’m going to know that I can get that pay off.
Ms. Opium: Right.
Christopher: So the stronger the reward the more likely the queue is to lock in. where the craving comes in is between the reward and the queue, that’s where cravings start. So if the reward is strong enough you form a craving, and that loops back to the queue. So here’s the thing, the queue is pretty much in there for life. So when I see zesty cheese Doritos there will always be an instance, in time I may not even notice it. Just like driving I don’t really notice how I drive, I’m just driving. Like most people on earth unless you’re a brand new driver, or maybe you’ve been in a car accident, or a near miss. Then all of a sudden you become aware of your driving again. There’s a clue to that in terms of how we change a habit okay, so it all comes back to that example. So that will always happen but the queue will never change.
If what I’m looking for when I go to get zest chees Doritos is relaxation, or maybe I’m looking for a sensation, or maybe I’m looking for a break, or I’m looking for socialization because we use food for weird things, that will never change either. I still need that pay off. So for me to go for a run instead of eating zesty chees Doritos, probably won’t do it because if what I’m looking for is relaxation, a run isn’t going to do it and this is what people think they should do. It’s like oh I’ll just do this instead, you can. You should replace the behaviour, the routine part, that’s the piece you can change. But what you change it with has to give you the same reward that eating the chip did.
Ms. Opium: Interesting.
Christopher: Okay. So that’s the piece you can change, is the behaviour piece. Make sense?
Ms. Opium: Yes.
Christopher: So like here’s ways that we can put in interventions, like the driving. If you’re a new driver it’s not habit, you’re aware of everything that you’re doing right.
Ms. Opium: Yeah.
Christopher: Let’s say you’re a seasoned driver but you get into an accident, or you have a near miss, doesn’t it make you more aware of what you’re doing?
Ms. Opium: Yeah.
Christopher: You’re like oh I may increase my following distance. I’m going to be really careful about the people around me. I’m not driving for myself anymore, I’m driving for all of them, and it snaps you back to reality. That’s what we can do with these things. So sometimes we do it in a gentle approach where we take a phase approach, or sometime we do something really extreme. Like the next time you go to buy chocolate covered jujus. You might stand at the teller and say, I’m about to pay for chocolate covered jujus really loud and I’m saying it out loud to embarrass myself because the pain of doing this every single time is going to make me not want to do it, so I apologise for the interruption. How often are you going to want to buy chocolate covered jujus, if that’s what you have to do?
Ms. Opium: Never.
Christopher: Probable never. So if you could even make a deal with somebody that that’s what you’re going to do, and they’re going to hold you accountable and it probably has to be for a long time like a year, maybe more. And you make that deal with somebody where it’s like and it requires honesty. I mean if you’re going to lie to them, you’re lying to yourself; there is no point you have to know. But you can make that deal with somebody and I wouldn’t make it with family, or your best friend. You got to make it with somebody where it’s going to feel like if I lie to them or don’t tell them, it’s going to be a big deal.
You know it’s interesting you probably wouldn’t do it, or you do something like you cut a check to somebody who you want to be accountable to. Like for you what would be the dollar value that would be reasonable, that would be worth for you to not eat jujus anymore? These are just tactics, we’re talking tactics now.
Ms. Opium: Probably a couple hundred dollars.
Christopher: So let’s say a $1000 then. We are talking about your health and you probably spent more than $1000 on crap food. And maybe you spent more than a $1000 on health related stuff in your life that maybe if you didn’t eat the junk, you wouldn’t have needed to do in the first place, would that be fair to say?
Ms. Opium: Oh Absolutely.
Christopher: Yeah. And not because you’re you but because you’re human in North America and this is what we do.
Ms. Opium: You know me.
Christopher: Yeah totally I know a little bit. So if you were to cut a check and you were to sign it, and we were to make it out to charity like the KKK.
Ms. Opium: Oh.
Christopher: And you were to give that check to somebody to hold for you in a safe, somewhere safe, maybe even a safety deposit box and you had to be accountable to them, not even yelling in the grocery store, but to not buying chocolate covered jujus. Maybe there’s even people around you that are going to report it if they know, and you set yourself up for success where your boss, your co-worker, you told them all. I’ve done this, I’ve given a $10,000 check to the KKK which is sitting in a safe, and your job is to call this person. Should you see me with any of these then I need to self-report, and then if it happens that person sends the check in.
Ms. Opium: Yikes.
Christopher: You get a tax receipt.
Ms. Opium: Embarrassing tax receipt.
Christopher: Right like that’s the point. It’s so painful for you to do that now, that you’ll probably never do it again in your life.
Ms. Opium: Yeah wow.
Christopher: You see what I’m saying?
Ms. Opium: Yeah.
Christopher: And you need to do it long enough that you establish the habit.
Ms. Opium: Right.
Christopher: Get you establish the habit so probably not 6 weeks, cause we know you could do 6 weeks, probably close to a year, maybe 2, maybe 5.
Ms. Opium: Maybe 5.
Christopher: Right and then you get your check back.
Ms. Opium: Yeah oh Lord! Yikes maybe I will do that.
Christopher: Maybe right. You got to get serious if you really want to change it. Now that’s an extreme example but how extreme is it this whole sugary addiction thing. This whole addiction whatever we want to call that, how extreme is that?
And how badly do you want to change. Because here’s the thing that we know about people, if they want to change they will find a way. So sometimes not always, sometimes an immediate pain is one of the best ways of motivating ourselves.
Ms. Opium: Interesting.
Christopher: Yeah and then a big reward maybe at the end too.
Ms. Opium: I might have to think about that, that’s interesting. My next question was about physical activity but you already answered theat.
Ms. Opium: So great. Next question is we are getting into ketogenic now. What does the ketogenic model means to you?
Christopher: I want to be really careful because this has become a fad now, so I’m really glad that it’s become known in society, let me first say that. Let me also say there is an incredible amount of social media and media extremism, for ketogenic diet where people are consuming way too much period. So let me tell you what I understand it to mean, and I would call it keto lighter or moderate keto. If you eat this way you will reduce inflammation, and if you have weight to lose you’re going to lose weight.
So the way I understand it is that you reduce the consumption of carbohydrates, so in layman’s terms it’s about putting your body in ketosis and you can test this with ketone strips. You can get them from any drug store, you can see if you’re in ketosis okay. You don’t want too much though, if the strip turns dark purple or black or whatever, you’re using it too fast. You kind of want it to be in the middle. The idea behind this is that you have a higher fat consumption, moderate protein consumption, and then low carbohydrate consumption. So when I say low carbohydrate consumption I’m not talking like Atkins, Atkins was on to something. He was high protein and low carb, and again it was executed very poorly. But people walked around thinking that they could consume bacon for a meal, that’s not what we are talking about here, and even with bacons you got to be careful because the second you get like a maple flavoured or this flavour, there’s probably sugar in it. Most bacon actually has sugar, go look at the ingredients.
Ms. Opium: I guess yeah.
Christopher: It does most does, even if it’s not maple flavoured. It’s amazing how they…
Ms. Opium: It’s how they cure it right?
Christopher: Yeah totally. So sometimes in the curing it’s like okay lets be real here, how much sugar is actually in it by the time, cause there’s a lot of fat. So that’s the idea is that you want to have more fat, moderate protein, low carb. Protein does still provide a glycaemic reaction.
So what we are trying to do is keep your blood sugar levels and your insulin levels even as possible. We do not have to resort to extremism, so this would be like having a palm sized piece of protein on your plate, and lots of greens. When I say reducing carbohydrate what I’m really talking about is reducing high glycaemic carbohydrates. Most people will never eat as much greens or vegetables as they need to in their diet. Our program as you know we focus on the 160 grams of leafy greens, high quality leafy greens, a lot iceberg but things like spinach or other mixed greens. Go and measure 160 grams of leafy greens and then add 5-7 servings, about a cup worth of other vegetables, not potatoes not carrots, but things like broccoli or cauliflower, things like that because potatoes are starch and so high glycaemic, and carrots are pretty close to being classified as one. They’re doing a lot of work with carrots right now, so you want to focus on cucumbers things like that. You want to put those things in and look at how big your bowl is and that’s how many you need to eat every day. So even though its quote and quote low carbohydrate, most people are actually still if they do it a ketogenic diet properly, they’re actually consuming more in terms of chewing more carbohydrates, than they did before in terms of chewing because greens don’t weigh very much. Most people we find have a hard time even consuming that amount of greens and vegetables.
Ms. Opium: It is a lot.
Christopher: It is a lot right. But we know that people who have primarily plant based diets, so this doesn’t necessarily mean vegetarianism or veganism, but people who have primarily plant based diets actually have longer lives, and more healthy lives and less inflammations. So we are talking low glycaemic, even fruit and vegetables the stuff.
Oh you usually have 6-7 servings of fruit a day, it’s like well not if you’re eating keto. Fruit is still a good choice because there’s nutritional value, but if you want to go keto fruit anything that’s high starch, high glycaemic will pull you out of ketosis. So you even want to limit the amount of fruit that you’re having, it’s not bad for you and you can get everything you need from vegetables anyway. So high, high vegetables which are low glycaemic vegetables. Did you know by the way white bread has a glycaemic index of 100, and Russet potato has high glycaemic index of 120 or 150?
Ms. Opium: What!
Christopher: Yeah. So some potatoes are worse than white bread for you.
Ms. Opium: Wow.
Christopher: I know yes. In terms of glycaemic index potatoes still have some nutritional value, but if you can get it in other places you don’t require the potato. Isn’t that […]?
Ms. Opium: Yeah that is, it’s like oh […].
Christopher: Did I answer your question?
Ms. Opium: Yes you did.
Christopher: Hopefully effectively.
Ms. Opium: Yeah you did. So just before we have to wind this up because you were kind of leading into, can you talk to us a little bit about your program?
Christopher: Sure yeah. So the program that I run I run it with Dr. Mike […]. He’s got over 30 years of nutritional experience, he’s a doctor of chiropractic medicine. What people mistake is that chiropractic is just about spine and spine health. It’s actually about the whole body and the functionality of the body. So they get a lot of nutritional stuff and Mikes been doing this for a long time, and so Mike focuses on the food science and I focus on behavioural science. Our program is 12 months long which people think is absolutely nuts to have it at 12 months.
The reason why its 12 months is because we know that we can get people to lose weight. It doesn’t matter if you use Weight Watchers or Dr. Bernstein’s, it does not matter. Anybody can lose weight that we know, what doesn’t happen though is that they keep it off. If you look at scientific research it’s close to like 95-98% of people who lose weight, will put it back on. That’s in clinical studies, in real life it’s probably like 70 of 80% of the people who lose weight will put it back on. So our program is 12 months long so that we can continue to focus on habits and habit change because it’s a lifelong thing. There are some people who want more, and actually our very first group said that they wanted additional support, so we do have a follow up program of people who want access to that as well. But the first step is really getting in there; we meet twice a month for an entire year for 90 minutes.
Ms. Opium: Oh Lord.
Christopher: Yeah it’s a big commitment, but you know your health is a big commitment and if you want it change, why not change permanently. We usually get people who are at the end of their journey, 2 people who have tried 2, or 3, or 4 things. We very rarely get people who come in and say this is my first time losing weight, trying to lose weight. Usually they’ve tried multiple times, multiple programs, different things and they just can’t sustain it, and so what we focus on is correcting eating and establishing behaviours that lock that.
Ms. Opium: Interesting.
Ms. Opium: Great okay well thank you for sharing, and thank you for joining me for a second podcast.
Christopher: Thank you.
Ms. Opium: It was exciting.
Ms. Opium: And I’d love to have you back again and we can talk about another subject. I’ve got some ideas in my head.
Christopher: I would love to.
Ms. Opium: Excellent. Well thank you again and thanks listeners.