Sunday, March 11, 2012

Obesity - How About Some Nutritional Truth?

I'm in classes again to get a Master Herbalist degree.  Learning so much new stuff that it sure keeps my brain going!  In one of my books, a chapter was so chocked full of information on obesity I just had to write about it.  (Even if you aren't obese, this is worth knowing about!  If you know someone who is battling weight, pass this along.)  This is a complicated issue.  There are many factors that can cause over-weight situations.  It is not "just" eating too much, but inflammation from eating the wrong things.  I'll address just a few of the issues in this post.

Ever wonder why some people just cannot stop eating?  Besides all the psychological factors, and there probably are some, one reason is their body may NOT be absorbing all it needs to function so it is sending signals to "keep going til we get what we need".  That could be a LOT of cheeseburgers and pizza and fries.  The nutritional value in fast food and processed is next to nothing.  Therein lies a HUGE problem.  You can (and some do!) eat a ton of it for virtually nothing.
People who keep eating and eating are actually starving ---- nutritionally.  Our bodies simply do not need quantities of food - the body needs quality.  It is easily satisfied with  real foods, and not in any ginormous quantity either!  People with huge appetites are often compulsive eaters because they are searching for the missing nutrients by over-eating.  People needing Potassium or Sodium will eat a tremendous amount of food in order to get these electrolytes. 

Some people may be highly allergic to the foods they are eating, and therefore the body rejects the nutrients in the food they eat, rather than absorb them.  Let me give you an example of that right out of the textbook.  A person allergic to wheat would not absorb the B-Complex vitamins that it contains and after eating it, he/she may still feel hungry because he/she hasn't gotten any nutrients out of the food just eaten.  Having an allegery to a food doesn't mean you necessarily get hives, rashes, or stomach aches.  The body, in its infinite wisdom, may be trying to process the allergen as best it can, even if it means converting it to fat, via cellular inflammation.
There are reasons.  There are always reasons.  It is not just a matter of self-control that causes obesity.

One of the worst things for someone with a weight problem is to go on a strict diet without finding out FIRST what they are deficient in or allergic to.  This is critical.   Something is going on here - fix it the right way!  For instance, there is a lot of mis-information on sodium.  People often go on a no-sodium diet thinking they will retain fluid and blow up if they eat food with salt.  It could be too, that these same people eat copious amounts of fast or processed foods not realizing the huge sodium content in them! 

While excessive amounts of sodium can impact negatively, (ie. raise blood pressure), our bodies NEED a certain amount of sodium.  If you are depleted of sodium, most of what you eat will be an allergenic and the body will bloat because of that!  Having your sodium levels checked is no little matter.  You could actually be deficient in it.  The "good" salt to eat is ONLY Himalayan pink salt or gray sea salt. ( I should do a blog on salts one day because you really do not want to eat the "regular" table salt - note to self or somebody remind me!)

See the fine lines here?  Balance is so critical.  When our  cellular systems are in balance there is NO problem, no disease, no symptom.  It is worth your while to learn more about this - especially if you do have a weight problem. 

Now herbally-speaking there are a few that can help as appetite suppressants.  One herb is Fennel which contains Sodium, Potassium and Sulfur.  The Sulfur in Fennel helps to break down fat, while the Sodium and Pottasium provide the nutrients needed by the body to satisfy the appetite.  Again, when you give the body what is needs, it will no longer be hungry.  Amazing but true!

Another very good herb is Bee Pollen, which is very low in calories compared to the power house of nutrients is contributes to the body.  Also the herb Alfalfa which is rich in Potassium and Sodium.  Alfalfa and Bee Pollen are particularly good for weight loss since they are both very rich in Potassium and some people tend to be lower in Potassium than Sodium.

In my studies I learned that many people are born with a lack of Potassium which will cause an allergy to milk and cheese.  A lack of Potassium will also cause an aversion to greens which contain Sodium and other important minerals.  The body will function properly when the Potassium and Sodium levels are in proper balance.  Both of these are responsible for maintaining proper fluid balance within the body's cells.  Potassium controls more of the internal fluids of the cells while Sodium controls more of the surrounding or external fluid of the cells.  Potassium regulates the heart muscle action and arterial blood pressure.  You NEED this!  I need this.  Every living person needs this!

Many people also have enzyme imbalance and are not digesting their food properly to extract enough nutrients from the foods they are eating.  This is why it is critical to correct all allergies, and once they are abated, the stomach will begin to function better.

It appears that many people with weight problems can be lacking in hydrochloric acid so there are products on the market such as KLB-6, which contains Kelp, and has a lot of minerals and Iodine to activate the thyroid, Lecithin, which helps to break down fat, and Vitamin B-6 which feeds the Pituitary gland to also help in losing weight.

I have a client taking Kelp and Super Lecithin who is making wonderful progress.  This is a person who could barely exercise at all and had to start out with leg lifts and arm lifts in a chair!  The diet consists of lots of oatmeal with berries, apples and celery for snacks, and meals of baked chicken with veggies, rice and beans with a salsa sauce, steak and lentil salads, sweet potatoes (roasted w/olive oil) or bananas for deserts --- I can't give it all here but suffice to say this person is NOT going hungry or complaining, and is now walking  every day with a pedometer.  I provide new recipes every two weeks and motivation check-ins weekly.

Progress is exciting even though at times it seems slow.  This is the SAFE and lasting way for this person to shed the weight, learning a whole new lifestyle with food and exercise.  It is not extreme or fast, but each pound off is a celebration because we know it won't go back on again.  We checked for deficiencies and allergies right from the get-go, so the path is clear.

There is more information on amino acids and other factors that I didn't write about.  Many things to address with obesity, but I've highlighted here the more common issues.  Each person is as different as a snowflake, which is why I don't believe in one-diet-fits-all.  It so does not.  And calorie restriction is ridiculous if you aren't getting the nutrients you need but just eliminate food willy-nilly.  What works for one person, could make another sick and horribly out of balance.  (This is a huge reason not ALL the people of Jenny Craig, or other "programs" are successful - duh - we are all different.)

If you know nothing else, know this - YOU ARE SPECIAL!

( Never undertake any kind of diet without first checking with a health professional. If you go on some diet by yourself and begin to feel ill, it could be your deficiencies are becoming worse, not better. You should know what they are before eliminating or adjusting your food intake.  I am not a doctor but I do work WITH doctors to provide the nutritional information .)


  1. This is just what I am finding...I gained weight at Weight Watchers - tons of it and lost nothing when I was working as a counselor at the hospital and working with the Optifast program...

    And wow do I have problems with inflammation

    Good job here - excellent.
    I just had 4 days of migraines after 17 years of none...I think it was the cashews - or peanut butter on my apples? Trying to figure out what to eat is such a lonely process and I am beginning to skip meals because I just don't want to try anything else.

  2. I should be paying you my 100 dollars today and not my Dr. or Naturopath....well the Dr. is $188

  3. Hi Patricia,
    Funny you should mention Weight Watchers - we know a couple that have both been on it for a year - don't think they've lost a pound! Yet they continue on....duh. Nuts can trigger migraines in some people. Have you had that reaction before? How about walnuts? They seem to fly under the radar for headaches.
    Just finished intensive research on coconut oil. Have you tried that yet? Blog is coming in a few wks. Don't NOT eat - try just veggies, quinoa and maybe apples and berries? Do you have a naturopath who does MRT to see what you need?

  4. Such a valuable blog. Our bodies do need better quality of food. It's a process, as we discover what works and doesn't work for our individual bodies. How exciting about your Master Herbalist degree! Sounds wonderful, SuZen

    1. Hi Kathy,
      The MH program sure IS exciting but wow, a lot of work and study. It's a two year program that I'm trying to do in less time. Hmm, then there is the need for sleep wrecking the whole plan! :)

  5. Obesity is, indeed, a complicated issue -- with so many factors to take into consideration.

    Thank you for this wonderful, information-packed post.

    1. Hi Laurie, Yes indeed, complicated. But you have probably experiences as I have working with people that once they learn about the quality issue, and get over their lazy eating behaviors (quick processed foods and fast foods) that half the battle is won.

  6. This is a very HELPFUL post. I will use the information for myself and pass it on to my life partner...He struggles with weight, but he's good about not doing yo-yo diets. Thank you for sharing this information:~)

  7. Hi Sara,
    So glad you found this helpful - makes my day, kiddo!

  8. Hi Susan,

    What a value packed post. I like what you said about salt and choosing the right one. I've recently started using Himalayan salt and like the fact I'm getting the extra minerals.

    I've also read how toxins in our bodies can affect our ability to lose weight. What's your take on that?

    With regard to Weight Watchers. I have a friend who wasn't losing on the diet until they switched to the "filling foods", which are basically unprocessed foods. After reading what you said about us overeating because we're lacking nutrients, it makes sense how they'd be losing weight on unprocessed foods vs chemically processed ones.

    Keep up the great work. You ROCK!

    1. Hi Barb,
      Toxins will absolutely affect the weight loss program - any of them you happen to be on! If you are eating chemicals the body doesn't know what to do with, it cannot process them. Eating whole natural, unprocessed foods - maybe throwing in some chelation nutrients like chlorella too - will help detox and that helps to get into the fat elimination. It's a process for sure, but staying away from ANYthing processed is key!

  9. A bunch of great news in this, Susan. Deficiencies. All of us different. Some may be eating too much yet starving for nutrients.

    Never heard of Himalayan pink salt, will check it out.

    Have fun on your Master Herbalist curse. Sounds awesome!!