Curious to hear our take on the recent controversial documentary, What the Health? Confused by the “facts” presented and not sure what to believe? Tune in to hear Ali and Becki debunk the Top 5 Myths presented, discuss research flaws and scare tactics used, as well as give props to a couple of items the film got right!
In this episode, Ali and Becki dive headfirst into the science (or lackthereof) presented in What the Health and weed through the evidence on both sides of the story. As conscious consumers, it is important to take the “too good to be true” claims of this documentary with a grain (or a teaspoon!) of salt and to be our own detectives of how evidence is presented and skewed in favor of the film’s vegan agenda. Learn about our take on the link between processed meat and cancer, whether sugar is the true culprit of diabetes and insulin resistance and whether protein deficiency is possible!
Also in this Episode:
Why Quality Matters
Conventional vs. Sustainable Farming Approaches
Why Nutrition Research Methods are Controversial
Alzheimer’s as Type 3 Diabetes and the Connection to Insulin Resistance
When a Vegan Approach Might be Beneficial or Warranted
Micronutrient Testing at Naturally Nourished
Supplements to Support your Transition
Resources to Support your Real Food Journey
Welcome to the Naturally Nourished podcast, that delivers cutting edge food as medicine solutions for optimum health. Ali Miller is a nutrition expert sought out by the media and America’s top medical institutes for her revolutionary functional medicine interventions. From disease treatment to prevention, every episode will empower you with ways to put yourself back in control of your health. Please note, the topics discussed are for educational purposes only. Now welcome integrative dietitians Ali Miller and her co-host Becki Yoo.
B: Welcome to the Naturally Nourished podcast this is episode 51 and this is Becki here with Ali.
A: Hey everyone.
B: And I am so excited to share today’s episode which is a review on the What the Health? Documentary. We’ve had so many people ask about our thoughts and comments on this and we’ve kind of waited to put it out there but knowing that the phone company has a vegan agenda and compared meat to a terrorist group, I just wanted to jump right in on our thoughts on this.
A: Yeah I think Becki and I were both dragging our heels on reviewing this because it meant we had to watch it first. So we finally have, this is how much we love you all, we both painstakingly went through and watched it and, yeah Becki, I think we just jump in with some of the biggest bullshit misinformation first, I mean, I’m not going to sugarcoat it and let’s then go into some of the connection of the positives that can be seen from this documentary and the connections that we would agree on, the overlap of some of the shock and awe which would apply to the way that we talk about conventional meat production and some of the things that we do agree with. But I think, first, we just go right into the bullshit.
B: Yeah not sugar coating it at all. So we both watched this and had a giant glass of wine in our respective hands, I think, while we were watching it so we’ll just jump in to what we’d consider the top 5 myths that are seen in this documentary and in the end, Ali, I want to provide you an opportunity just to summarize what you actually would recommend eating, what is an optimal diet when all is said and done.
A: Alright sounds good let’s do it.
B: So we’ll start with number 1 and this opens the film, it’s kind of that shock and awe imagery that this film relies so heavily upon. So processed meat causes cancer so there’s this image of a mom serving her kids cigarettes over and over again at the breakfast table and equating tobacco to processed meat.
A: Right so we actually addressed this a little bit in our Break Up with Bacon? podcast. I think that was in the earlier couple episodes, I’m not sure, top 10 episodes I’m pretty sure it’s under episode 10 and when this came out- so the World Health Organization classified processed meat, which does include bacon and sausages, as a Class 1 carcinogen which means it is 100% confirmed to cause cancer. Now the study that was done provided scientific evidence linking both processed meat and tobacco to certain types of cancer and that is strong but what’s important to clarify that they didn’t go into quality of meat, they didn’t look at nitrate free meat. We know that nitrates themselves are carcinogenic compounds and we also didn’t correlate the difference of lung cancer versus the correlation of colon cancer and colon cancer is what’s correlated with processed meat consumption whereas lung cancer is what’s correlated with smoking. So if we’re talking about correlation and causation, first off, that’s a big different thing.
When we’re looking at the research study that was done, this was an observational study so this is going to take into account other lifestyle factors for the individual so if we’re observing people that eat processed meats, we also are going to be looking at people that typically are less active, so not exercising, people that are also eating more fried foods, generally speaking, and also eating a higher carbohydrate diet with less fiber and less antioxidants so this is when we’re observing these types of people and their intake. We’re also not able to extrapolate specifically the consumption as a feeding study would be done, for instance, on processed meats and colon cancer. With that being said, as I was alluding to, the smoking connection, smoking increases your chance of lung cancer by 2500%. Well nitrite containing processed meats at 2 slices a day increases your risk of colon cancer by about 18%. So that’s a pretty dynamic variance and to put them on the same level is really manipulative so, yes, there has been connection of nitrite processed meats and two slices a day, which is a lot of bologna-
B: Ha-ha actually.
A: To consume and that increases the change of colon cancer of 18%. Nowhere on the playing field of a 2500 ratio increase of smoking correlated to lung cancer. And when you take into account the frequency of colon cancer compared to frequency of disease risk in a lifetime, that puts daily consumption of processed meat driving your cancer risk to about a 5-6% and that’s also eating daily processed meats that are low quality sources.
B: Right so we’re talking meats with nitrites which are chemical additives, we’re talking meats that are conventionally raised so not the grassfed beef or pasture raised pork which you’ll find in our recipes, we’re talking about those Oscar Meyer and those kind of brands that are really gross.
A: Growth hormones being used too in the processed meats to also endocrine disrupting chemicals. So, yes, there are a lot of things that are negative about processed meats and I think the biggest thing, though, is the correlation of the research data being extrapolated and then compared and it being a huge variance and a big leap to make that connection so I think the numbers alone show that we’re not serving our kids cigarettes by serving them pasture raised pork belly or nitrite free, grassfed pasture raised proteins in their lunches or on the breakfast table.
B: Sure, and, yeah, that whole observational study piece as well, thinking about how nutrition research has done in general, we use a lot of questionnaires, food frequency questionnaires, there’s not a whole lot of accuracy there. So let’s jump in, then, to number 2 myth and I know this was one of your favorite doctors that was interviewed and he said “you can’t- your body can’t turn carbs into fat” so let’s talk about that.
A: What was said, I had to put this in quotes and I feel like my brain softened at this part of the documentary “carbs actually have an inverse relationship with diabetes” was the line. And so what he was saying was that “actually higher carbohydrate foods, like bananas, actually reduce your diabetic risk” and that was also said and then another quote down the line was “sugar is the Trojan horse, it’s the fat in the middle” they were referring to the cookie “sugar is the Trojan horse, it’s the fat in the middle that drives disease” so it was wild, I mean, again and again and again as I nerded out in my Ketogenic Kickstart Ebook that we just put out, I found just gamut of research connecting hyperinsulinemia or elevated insulin levels to hyperglycemia. Insulin chases blood sugar spikes and hyperinsulinemia or an elevation of fasting insulin or insulin, in general, is what drives insulin resistance and insulin resistance drives elevated blood sugar levels and elevated blood sugar levels is diabetes.
So I just can’t even understand how there would be a disconnect here. And the connection that carbohydrates can’t turn into fat, also is a disconnect because carbohydrates are metabolized into glucose, ok? So initially we’ll use that glucose or blood sugar in our peripheral tissues or glands, so the body that thrives on or sues glucose as primary fuel is going to be used in peripheral tissues, glands of need, and then the excess gets stored in the form of glycogen in the muscle and in the liver. So glycogen is our body’s storage of glucose. But the liver can only store about 100 grams of glucose in the form of glycogen and muscle can store maybe 500 and that’s a really muscular person. So when that glycogen store is filled, the excess glucose actually get converted into fat. It is a metabolic process and that’s where that extra sugar goes into packages of body fat and so higher glycemic diet means more insulin and insulin as a pro-inflammatory hormone says more fat storage.
B: So that was just flat out wrong.
A: Yes I would love to see research on that. He’s also the same doctor that did a micronutrient or a blood test on a raw vegan and said all of the numbers were within normal and the panel that was done was a comprehensive blood panel so it looked at nutrients as electrolytes passing through the body – nothing to the sense of actual white blood cell proliferation or tissue storage capacity or amino acid deficiencies or even run her B12 but then he did say “maybe B12 supplementation is helpful” it’s like “get out of here.”
B: So now I know who you’re talking about we don’t name names here but-
B: So conversely let’s just talk about what happens to protein and excess protein in the body.
A: Sure so a higher protein intake tends to lead to actually better blood sugar control. So protein is more thermogenic, meaning that we actually burn more calories with the consumption of protein than any other macronutrient and protein also has been shown to help with satiety and reduced caloric intake in multiple, yes, observational studies, but they’ve actually also done macronutrient studies where they’ve looked at higher fat dies as well compared to the Mediterranean diet, a higher fat diet that was not calorie controlled leading to the best outcomes as far as dysmetabolic syndrome, sustained weight loss, so dysmetabolic syndrome would be an improvement in blood sugar regulation, an improvement in cholesterol and weight loss that was maintained with a higher fat moderate protein not calorie restriction versus a low fat calorie restriction. But here, I’m speaking to protein because that’s what the whole documentary was against, right? So higher protein does help blood sugar control, it blunts glycemic influence. When we digest amino acids or break down protein, the amino acid compounds circulate in our bloodstream and they are typically required for protein synthesis or building blocks. They can also be used for gluconeogenesis so they can actually be used to make blood sugar, if needed, and they can also work to produce ketones, which is our body’s alternative fuel when the body is able to use fat as fuel.
So the release of blood sugar or glucose form protein via this process of gluconeogenesis, the production of blood sugar from protein, is a demand-driven process and it’s significantly smoother and slower compared to a carbohydrate blood sugar spike. So we don’t even have to starve the body of sugar with protein consumption. The body can make sugar, but it doesn’t overproduce sugar because eth body doesn’t want it because it’s not a substantial fuel. So research really supports one that is insulin resistant and/or has a pancreas that sluggish and maybe not producing adequate insulin. After we get an excess of insulin, the pancreas kind of slows down the production and starts to go a little low with the insulin and that’s when that blood sugar starts to really pick up. Someone that has insulin resistance, or insulin pancreatic function, or is a diabetic would definitely benefit from a higher protein diet with lower carbohydrates and this is because this would smooth out the blood sugar response, while still feeding the muscle, maintaining metabolism and preventing muscle wasting which causes low metabolism and plateau or weight regain.
B: Right and just to clarify, we’re never advocating for a high, high protein diet. If anything in our ketogenic protocol, it’s high fat moderate protein and low carb.
B: So we’re not really having all of these concerns anyways. Because there are concerns with a higher protein diet.
A: Yeah, I mean, the biggest thing and I think this would be important that we would agree with, that a high protein diet can cause kidney disease which, this is a high protein diet of looking at greater than 1.8 g /kg of body weight and when we’re doing macro distribution for an individual, we’re typically not maxing out beyond a 1.4 unless someone is repairing from traumatic injury or in hospital setting from severe catabolic breakdown. So absolutely when we’re staying within a range of .8-1.2 or .8-1.4, and maintaining optimal hydration, high protein diet is not at risk for kidney dysfunction.
B: Ok so the next thing that really got me was this meat and diabetes versus sugar and diabetes trend, but, again, there was a visual where it was showing fat surrounding the insulin receptor, which, how accurate is that visual?
A: That’s pretty accurate, yeah, but, again, the fat surrounding the insulin receptor comes from inflammatory response. Excess body fat can mechanically block your insulin receptor, yes, and we gain body fat, again, the most efficiently from sugar, so, there’s that.
B: So that would be our myth number 3: meat causes diabetes not sugar and I just really didn’t buy this so I looked into the one study that they cited. So this was a Harvard study and it showed that one serving of processed meat, again, keyword processed meat, raised the risk of diabetes by 51% so that is significant but processed meat and I believe that was relative risk as well. And then we’re looking at, I looked into a 2017 systematic review, so we’re looking at multiple studies versus a single study that said that it raises the risk by only 19%. So relative risk, not absolute risk, like we talked about previously, and it’s looking at processed and conventional meat versus grassfed and unprocessed or nitrite free.
A: And was there any mechanism discussed, Becki, or this was just an observation feeding study as well?
B: Observational and using food frequency questionnaires.
A: Ok. Ok. Interesting so that would be the biggest thing I would look at is are we looking at consumption and causation and what’s the mechanisms because the thing that I can think of as far as a connection of diabetes, which, again, is having too much blood sugar or inadequate insulin response, the biggest connection that I can make is that potentially there’s endocrine disrupting function in the processed meats, so that could play a role with the insulin release, that could play a role with the insulin docking, and that’s all I got. I can’t connect by any way, shape, or form how protein actually as amino acid compounds would play a role with insulin resistance, I have not seen anything up to date in metabolic research.
B: Ok so let’s talk more about protein and let’s make this number 4. And I think we both, we were watching this separately and we both texted each other at the same time “did you just hear this?” So we heard there’s no such thing as a protein deficiency. Why is everyone so worried about the protein?
A: Yeah so, you know, that’s so wild and I think we’ll link in our show notes a blog that I think is 5 symptoms of low protein in the diet. The number 1 being hair loss, I mean, I have so many patients and clients or people that aren’t my patient yet that say “hey I’m losing all this weight and I’m losing my hair” so, yes, we could look into thyroid and, yes, we could look at biotin, but when we lose weight rapidly, and we don’t have ample protein, hair is the first thing to go because it’s the body sparing its vital organs and its other more important tissue and hair is a low priority on the totem pole. So hair loss can be a symptom.
Atrophy, any muscle wasting and myopathies, weakness in the muscle, delayed recovery from injury, all of these are signs of protein deficiency. Low glutamine, which glutamate is an amino acid, L-glutamine is an amino acid, we’re looking at food sensitivities from glutamine deficiency, we’re looking at fatigue and chronic fatigue in general. We’re looking at when we do a micronutrient deficiency test we can see asparagine as well which is another amino acid compound which ties greatly with the immune system, driving autoimmune disease and compromised immune function and then even just delayed growth, especially in the pediatric world we often see growth delay from inadequate protein intake. Now, again, with that being said, breastfed babies are ketogenic so they’re on a fat diet and a moderate protein diet, but they’re during ketones as fuel, not even glucose so that further just states that carbs are less necessary and as we grow and develop, though, protein is and extremely important compound to get for optimal whole body health.
B: Right and looking beyond what we could call protein deficiency, we want to look at individual amino acids so glutamine, you said, can be a deficiency while everything else is, you know, ok and optimal.
A: Yes and another one to mention is serine. When we look at an amino acid deficiency test those are the 3 that are most looked at: serine, asparagine, and glutamine and I spoke to the other 2 but serine plays a huge role with memory, it’s phosphorylated in the form of phosphatidyl serine which crosses the brain barrier, the brain blood barrier and has huge research actually experimental research done on phosphatidyl serine helping with repairing cognitive decline, paying a dynamic role with dementia and gaining, memory and so, again, I know I can personally attest and I’ve done so in episode 42, was it? Our recovering vegan episode.
B: Yeah that was my first episode eon the podcast.
A: Yes look at you, you pro. So I can personally attest that I had significant severe brain fog and I felt like a balloon head, and I’m sure serine played a big role in that as far as one of the limiting amino acids in a pure actual biological protein that I was lacking.
B: Yep. Been there done that as well. So let’s jump into, then, number 5 and I just kind of want to collectively comment on some of the inaccurate images so I keep bringing this up, what about the image of a digestive tract of a person versus a bear? Or maybe the giant bowl of brown rice and broccoli showing what 2000 calories of brown rice and broccoli would look like.
A: Ok ok let’s start with that, ok so 2000 calories, and this was because they were talking about broccoli and rice having protein, I mean why would you need to eat animal products because brown rice a whole bowl, 2000 calories worth has 50 grams of protein and broccoli has 30 grams of protein so that’s 80 grams, that’s more than your body would need.” Well I do agree that 80 grams is probably more than your body needs, or a prefect amount for your body pending your body’s’ composition, but, now much volume and how many carbohydrates are in 2000 calories of rice?
We’re talking about 10 cups of rice to yield that 50 grams of protein, and that’s 450 grams of carbs. Yeah. So 450 grams of carbs is out of control, high glycemic crazy going to drive excessive glucose and excessive insulin and excessive body fat storage even as a fat free food, yes, because, again, as your blood sugar spikes to store excess sugar once you’ve filled your glycogen in your liver and muscles the excess sugar gets stored as fat, yes. And 450 grams of carbs is astronomical. This is going to have a role on dysbiosis, or imbalanced gut bacteria, it could drive yeast overgrowth with that excessive sugar activity in the body, and like I mentioned, blood sugar spikes, insulin release, fat storage. And then the amount of broccoli that would be physically impossible to consume, we’re looking at about 36-40 cups of broccoli to get upwards of that 2000 calories worth which is the 30 grams of protein that they’re speaking to so you would literally have to eat as your job. Broccoli for a day to yield the amount of protein that they’re stating that you can get from broccoli. It’s completely misinformation, manipulation of imagery.
B: And I can’t imagine how bloated you would be.
A: Yeah I think- and the gas. I don’t know how many enzymes you’d’ have to take to break down all of that broccoli. And the fact that plants have antinutrients so what are you actually going to absorbing from that and how many of those fibers are going to be blocking that process, for sure?
B: Sound miserable. So getting back to animals that do eat full time, so there was this whole comparison of the GI tract, and I know this had you pulling your hair out, it was an anatomical comparison form what we’re talking about a frugivore- which I had never heard of before-
A: I had to google it.
B: versus an omnivore.
A: Yes so a frugivore, for those of you who don’t feel like googling this is a fruit eating herbivore so this is what they’re comparing a monkey to and that’s a very common vegan agenda fight of “look how strong gorillas are. Gorillas eat vegetation only, right?” I mean, they also do eat ants and stuff but, yeah. So frugivore is a fruit eating herbivore where fruit is the majority of the diet, ok? And they took the frugivore versus the omnivore and looked at the length of the GI tract they highlighted pH. Well it’s interesting because the human gastric pH is about a 1-2 which is super, super acidic, ok? And that is acidic to activate pepsinogen, which is an inactive form of a protein containing enzymes and when the pepsinogen hits the pH of 1-2, it activates into pepsin and is able to cleave and break down proteins into amino acids so herbivore stomach pH is actually around a 6-7. Total different world. So their argument was actually just, it couldn’t be any more inaccurate, when the pH is a 6-7 that is more basic, right? And so when we’re looking at comparison we have a carnivore type pH where our pH is set up to break down protein and what’s interesting is, if a ruminant, a cow, a goat, so animals that eat grasses, ok? Total full-on herbivore, which a cow would be a better example and they didn’t do this because they knew about the 3 compartment stomachs, but that’s the point.
A ruminant has a pH of 6-7 as well and they have 3 stomach compartments so they can actually ferment and break down, they have a total different mechanism for how they can digest those greens and convert them to proteins, which humans do not have and if a ruminant’s pH drops too low like down to a 3, it actually goes into acidosis and it can go into kidney failure, it can have severe bloat and that’s actually why we have to use prophylactic antibiotics with cows that are fed corn and grains, because those foods are much more buffered than grasses and so when cows eat corn to fatten them up because carbohydrates drive fat storage – wow, even the meat industry knows that, right? That’s why they feed cows grains to fatten them up and create more marbellation versus the grassfed meat which is more lean, but when they do that in the diet to create more fat and to fatten up their livestock they have to give prophylactic antibiotic use because of that shift of the pH, the pH becoming too acidic by adding in that grain. So just really interesting and just, not correct at all.
B: And then we would need those 3 stomachs for that 36-40 cups of broccoli we talked about, right?
A: Absolutely. For sure.
B: So that’s our top 5 myths form What the Health? Debunked. So now I want to just go into rapid fire mode because there were so many statements and images, so what I’ll do is I’ll make a statement and, Ali, you get only 3 sentences to counter it. So the first one is Alzheimer’s isn’t real it’s just Mad Cow Disease.
A: Ok. So confirmation of Alzheimer’s truly does require brain tissue at autopsy and we’re looking for amyloid angiopathy. Beta amyloid plaque and these tarter-like formations, we’re calling type 3 diabetes and type 3 diabetes plaque from beta amyloid paired with tangles, drive Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. So there is something such as Alzheimer’s disease we also look at things like Tao proteins in the brain, but we’re seeing a strong correlation to elevated blood sugar, elevated hemoglobin A1c 3 month blood sugar average, and a strong trend to cognitive decline and diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s with that autopsy and looking back at their blood sugar regulation as a big driving cause. Second point, sorry this is my 5th sentence, second point is that nutrients from animal proteins are essential in cognitive regulation or prevention of cognitive decline. I mentioned serine earlier which is an amino acid, also I would bring up cysteine. Cysteine and choline, which are found in egg yolks is the highest form, as secondary form, are very essential compounds that, with fatty acids, prevent oxidative damage and there has been actual experimental research study done on choline and cysteine and many Americans have a deficiency of both of those antioxidants and metabolites.
B: Ok so that was about 12 sentences so I’ll give you a break. So this next one: best intervention for Crohn’s ulcerative colitis so those inflammatory bowel disease and MS, the best intervention was a vegetarian diet.
A: Yeah so there’s no information for that, there has been feeding studies on a specific carbohydrate diet for inflammatory bowel disease, the specific carbohydrate diet actually pulls out all grains and fermentable carbohydrates because that’s what feeds dysbiosis or bacterial overgrowth and we have seen in clinical research that a low carbohydrate diet helps with driving remission of inflammatory bowel disease. Also Dr. Terry Wahls is doing awesome work with Multiple Sclerosis and neurological pathologies using a high fat moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet approach we have her a stage 3 of the Wahls warriors is a ketogenic diet that has carbohydrates less than 30 grams.
B: So just no data to back this one up at all. Moving on. The visual of the human cancer cells and how, if you were to drip the blood of someone eating vegan on a carpet of cancer cells, it clears off all the cancer in eating 2 weeks of eating vegan.
A: What the hell? I got nothing. I cannot even counter than because that’s out of control crazy talk. Especially the- they showed someone getting off of 10 medications in 2 weeks. Just silence, just like mike drop because, I’m sorry, with functional medicine you can do a lot of things but that is malpractice and dangerous and just, the body doesn’t transform that quickly with any approach.
B: Yep. No comment. So we also heard about this Dr. McDougal and some research that was done in the 1940s on how a diet of sugar, apples, and white rice was able to cure and reverse symptoms of disease, cure cancer, etc.
A: So you looked into this one, right? Tell me what was found, Becki. Because I think that my brain was mushy at this point, I was like “I just can’t I have to close my laptop because the dripping of the vegan blood on cancer carpet cells” curing cancer was just too much for me at this point.
B: So I couldn’t find the actual study in the mid 1940s but there’s a lot of continuation in his work, I think It’s called Kempner Diet as well that uses mostly white rice to cure disease. And there was some research around kidney disease, so going on a low protein diet for kidney disease I don’t know if they go to complete reversal but this, again, was looking at just spontaneous reversal is what was claimed from this study for all different diseases. So halting and curing autoimmune disease with this sugar, apple, and rice diet from rheumatoid arthritis to type 1 diabetes to ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s to MS and it was kind of, again, this just spontaneous cures, we’re not sure what the mechanism is but-
A: Interesting. And there wasn’t information about how long they were fed these foods or-
A: Ok. Interesting.
B; very curious.
A: Let’s move onto B12 being the healthiest source of, what was it? What was the statement?
B: So “B12 should come from a supplement or fortified foods, it should not come from animal foods.” So we know animal foods are a source of B12 in the diet and what was being said in What the Health? Was we should be getting this as a supplemental form from fortified foods. Not animal foods.
A: Because they just felt like they needed to address it. It kind of sounds like that doctor we were referencing earlier. So what’s going on with bioavailability, right? So obviously something in its form from a whole food typically speaking, is going to be more bioavailable and then there’s this whole argument that animal products are more bioavailable because they do the work for us, but when we’re fortifying foods, are we talking about, especially in the case of B12 which could be a methyl donor and many people have MTHFR or methylation issues, genetically speaking, we definitely want to steer clear of cyanocobalamin which is the cheap, synthetic form of B12 which is in a lot of meal replacement shakes and a lot of vegan products and nut milks as a fortified form of the nutrient. And cyanocobalamin can build up as cyanide in people that can’t use is and actually be toxic. Also taking that a step further, if we’re not getting that methylated form or if we’re taking a supplement form of B12 and we have a COMT, other genetic variant, we can overdrive methylation pathways and get a buildup of catecholamines driving anxiety, depression, and panic attack. So supplementation is the secondary and B12 specifically, because if its role in the methyl world, is one that you want to supplement with strategically as far as whether it’s a hydroxyl, an adenosyl, a methyl donor, and definitely regardless, avoiding the cyanocobalamin form.
B: Right. So that being said, PSA, if you are vegan, yes, absolutely supplement with B12. And use a methyl cobalamin form.
A: And if you have mental health concerns, you can need to second guess, play with other versions and go look down the rabbit hole further into genetics and such.
B: Ok so now let’s just talk generally speaking, about the environmental arguments that were made against a protein-rich or animal protein diet.
A: Sure and I think that there’s some elements of that that are true, especially when we’re talking about a conventional model. When we’re talking about confined animal factory operations, we do see a lot of run off of sewage and sludge and contamination in our ground water and antibiotic resistance, all of these things I am not for to be very clear. I am not for that and I have spoken with, in my Optimal Eating courses, and also podcast episodes, that when conventional protein is the only option, I will skip eating protein at that meal so if I’m’ traveling in an airport, bring my grassfed collagen sticks and I add those to a green tea at Starbucks and I’ll eat a Greek salad even though it’s going to probably taste like crap but I’ll eat a Greek salad with olives and omit the animal protein and ad the collagen in there. But what we’re talking about, what type of course they don’t address, and no vegan literature does, if what if animals can actually improve our ecosystem? And we see this to be very true with sustainable farming methods. Actually sustainable, small scale farm production require the use of animals to work with providing nitrogen as an acid to the soil, so actually their poop is used in compost and then actually redrives nitrogen balance in the soil and these biological compounds like the chickens follow the droppings, they scratch them into ground, they eat the grubs, they’re actually eating grubs, scratch the compost into the soil and they’re turning the soil in that sense, which increases fertilization. So there’s definitely a sustainable method where there is the grazing cows that clean the fields, they do release their poop, the poop is scratched in and used to compost matter and then that makes more viable nutritionally dense soil for the plant growth and the rotation of crops.
B: And we get way more into this in our recovery from Veganism podcast, so I’ll link that in the show notes and we go into environmental argument as well as animal rights arguments.
B: so I’ll ink that in our show notes. So I’ve got another one – you mentioned babies being in ketosis so in the documentary, there was a statement that babies are on a low diet so protein isn’t really needed in the diet.
A: Right I think they allude dot babies being on a high carb, which is inaccurate so human breastmilk has protein, breastfed babies, as I mentioned, are in ketosis so they’re in a high fat, very low carbohydrate, they’re using ketones as fuel over glucose, so they’re consuming a high saturated fat, biological animal based – from a mammal, a Mama- they are consuming a high saturated fat, high cholesterol, mind you, biological compound. And that’s because cholesterol is one of the healthiest brain foods as is fat. And breastmilk is higher in fat and cholesterol than cow’s milk for sure so it’s interesting that these amazing vegan success stories are looking at these short snippets of time stamped, when we’re looking 1 year out, 5 years out, 10 years out, how that influences amino acid deficiency and cognitive decline, those are the types of things that aren’t discussed and, again, I think that argument of saying that babies are on a low protein diet, well babies are on a high saturated fat and cholesterol fat diet and they didn’t want to mention that. Those are things you can only get from animal products, remember.
B: Right. So moving on, cheese is probably one of the most single disease driving foods that you can eat.
A: Yes so I think they said it’s highly processed, high in saturated fat, and a lot of salt. And then they said something about “organic dairy was looked at had just as much saturated fat, cholesterol and galactose” which is milk sugar as conventional, well duh, I don’t think organic dairy ever claims to have a different composition in that sense and I think that’s a silly thing, organic dairy is just going to be free of the recumbent growth hormone and it’s also going to be insuring that the cow was fed an organic diet or grains and grasses pending on if it’s a grassfed milk product, or not. And interestingly enough, so those are benefits there as far as reducing endocrine disruption so we’re not getting the hormone scramblers in the organic form of dairy, we are getting cholesterol, saturated fat which I would argue are potentially a good thing for the brain and the body needs this.
Cholesterol, remember, is in every cell membrane of our body, so it actually helps to be a barrier to defend our cells against foreign invaders, inflammatory, compounds, toxic chemicals so cholesterol has a pretty important role in our body I would say and that’s why our body produces it at a pretty high rate. It’s a survival mechanism. So just silly, and taking this a step further when we’re talking about cheese, raw cheese are also going to provide us with vitamin K2 form the bacteria, also a form of, of course, B12, probiotics so I think that that debunks things and then one more thing with dairy that loves to be driven with these types of documentaries is the whole blood and pus thing and I think that that is something that’s disgusting as well. I don’t think anyone is excited about the consumption of blood or pus and this is seen with mastitis so, yes, in a conventional dairy farm setting where cows are just being overmilked and the poor thing, and I don’t consume conventional dairy for this reason and I really don’t consume a lot of dairy period but I do consume local, low heat processed non homogenized grassfed dairy and/or raw milk if I have access to it. And the difference is raw dairy farmers can’t allow blood and pus in their milk because they’re not pasteurizing it so they actually are taking a lot of care of the udders of their cows, they’re actually rotating and not just chronically having then hooked up to milking devices. They also use things like Calendula salves and applications that we would use as breastfeeding mama’s for nipple health to prevent blood and pus and any woman who has had mastitis knows that’s exactly what’s happening. So it’s from overproduction from buildup or blockage, it’s also a reason why antibiotics would be used which would be another reason – that would be the argument of organic versus non organic dairy or local versus conventional dairy. Not a variance in cholesterol, or carb or saturated fats, that’s not going to change but the quality and the fact that you don’t get blood and pus would and that’s kind of a big deal I would advocate against blood and pus dairy as well.
B: Yep so we’re on the same page but the argument that they’re – they’re taking it that step further where it’s getting spun in all directions.
A: And acting like there’s not a safe alternative.
B: So what about this one the casomorphin protein found in dairy work on brain receptors like those for heroin.
A: Yeah so casomorphin is relaxing, that’s why it helps to put babies to sleep. It is a larger compound that can cross the blood brain barrier so it can, and also the gut blood barrier, so it can cause a little bit of GI distress, and this is why I recommend using my DigestAid Enzyme which has something in it called DPP4 which breaks gliadin, the inflammatory compound in gluten and the casomorphin protein itself, so making that less inflammatory and then beyond consumption of ghee or grassfed whey which would be casein free.
B: Ok so what about the chicken being the number 1 source of sodium in the diet? And this was a chicken that was injected with sodium. I don’t know if- we don’t need to say any more about that.
A: Right and, I mean, beyond that, are you telling me that a vegetarian bouillon cube or your ramen noodle pack is lower sodium than even a conventional sodium injected breast?
B: So yes. Chicken that’s injected with sodium contains high sodium.
A: Don’t ingest chicken that’s been injected with sodium guys.
B: Let’s not inject it with anything. Let’s take it a step further. Ok so that was fun. So now let’s give a little bit of credit to this film for –
A: Begrudgingly so.
B: Yes. So what are the redeeming factors about the mission or concept or what are the parts that we agree with?
A: So I love the whole pill to fix an ill thing in fact, I think we have a similar comment or line within that on our website and I like the idea that disease being destiny is not necessarily so and the idea of they talked a little bit on this concept of the epigenome or that your environment and your diet can influence your genetic expression so I absolutely agree with that and I agree that in our country there is a huge connection of pharmaceutical industry dollars spent that plays a great manipulation on disease criteria for diagnostics, as well as misinformation that could potentially perpetuate disease rate so we’re talking about a 1.5 trillion dollar industry for diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease alone. And so there are a lot of lobbyists and sponsorship and funding that can skew research. Interestingly enough of the things that we alluded to in their documentary, so they kind of stepped on their own foot in that sense. So this is exactly how the coconut oil got skewed.
The coconut oil study and this was a couple of months ago, when the American Heart Association who gets funded by Coca Cola, gets funded by General Mills and there’s a whole gamut of different processed high sugary foods, the American Heart Association noted that coconut oil was unhealthy and it got this huge kickback in the health food industry and their only correlation was that it had saturated fats and saturated fats were unhealthy and saturated fats raised LDL. Did not talk about how coconut oil has been shown in actual experimental studies to raise your HDL as well and that the lipoprotein particle size of the LDL has favorable improvements, making that we make more large buoyant than small dense, which actually reduces our risk for cardiovascular disease.
So I think the documentary brings to light that your lobbyists have a great marketing interest in recommendations of the diet in America is true. And then I think really looking at who’s funding your studies that you’re doing. And the other element of people taking 12-16 drugs and medications that may have contraindications and maybe they haven’t adequately been treated and highlighting this kind of sick care model and emphasizing that lifestyle and diet can be helpful, I think that’s great too but, again, their delivery of this message was super inaccurate and misleading that in 2 weeks a vegan diet could reverse disease and could shift for off of 12-16 different drugs. That’s just dangerous misinformation.
B: Yep it sounds like malpractice to me. Ok so what other elements of the film were you on board with?
A: So they said something about farm raised fish, conventionally raised on genetically modified corn and antibiotics being problematic. They also mentioned the hormonal influence on the fish, I agree with that and I am a huge proponent against farm raised fish for this reason and that is a concern. We’re even seeing issues with the salmon, wild salmon, population as farm raised salmon breaks through nets to the wild population and is creating these asexual beings that now the fish organelle is being manipulated based on these endocrine disrupting hormones in the feed and, yeah, that is very concerning but you can’t make that argument with wild caught means any way, shape or form.
Another thing that I agreed with was the antibiotic resistance and fecal bacteria and the role of, again, the blood and pus. All of the things against the confined animal fat farming operations, I’m on board with which is why I recommend specifically having pasture raised, grassfed, local produced proteins. I also agreed with dairy consumption driving eczema and acne and, in fact, when I’m dealing with dermatitis, dairy is the first thing I’ll take out once I’ve brought their insulin down and their blood sugar regulated too, is actually first go on a macro control of bringing down the blood sugar because the first thing I’ve seen correlated is typically dysbiosis which is why most dermatologists are going to prescribe a low dose antibiotic. So actually working with the gut microbiome with probiotics and reducing excessive sugars, but yes I do agree it could have a role with dermatitis. I also agree, shockingly enough, with the fact that inflammation causes disease. I just disagree with what causes inflammation.
B: Right. So nothing mind blowing there. We’ve been saying this stuff all along it’s just the level they took those arguments to and how it was spun.
A: For sure. For sure.
B: Ok so what’s the important takeaway here?
A: Eat real food. Eat quality sources. Eat plants in varied forms and combinations. I am, remember, pro plants. In no way shape or form anti vegetables or fruits. Eat locally, grassfed, pasture raised sourced proteins, wild caught fish to support your body and the environment.
B: And then why do listeners want to consider animal protein consumption or how does it support the body, let’s just reiterate this real quick?
A: Yes so biological proteins, meaning from an animal protein, are going to have more bioavailable compounds meaning that we can actually absorb and use the nutrients that they provide. So I talked about this in the Recovering Vegan episode, EPA DHA the active components of omega 3 fatty acids when we consume flax and active EPA DHA requires liver and kidney conversions of desaturase and elongase to activate that EPA and DHA which are necessary for anti-inflammatory and cognitive benefits. Choline I mentioned which is highest in the egg yolks and meats, which tie to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. CLAs only made by ruminants conjugated linoleic acids, this is in grassfed butters, grassfed whey, grassfed dairy. These have insulin sensitivity responses so they help with prevention of diabetes in an animal product and they also help with boosting lean body mass, and metabolism and with loss. We look at the influence of collagen and gelatin as being gut restorers, helping with connective tissues, helping with hair, skin and nails and then I think the last thing to touch on is there are antinutrients or limiting agents in our plant forms of nutrients, so even when we’re talking about spinach being a high form of iron, remember this is in a ferric form- it needs acid to become ferrous and even since the heme biological fro or iron that’s found in meat or salmon is significantly higher.
It’s so funny because I have a lot of Mama’s when their baby is tested as anemic when they do their first capillary test and that’s- breastmilk does reduce iron at 8 months and especially if you’re doing more of a paleo led weaning, babies can go a little low iron. But the interesting thing is that they’ll read “oh I heard chickpeas are a great source of iron” and the it’s like “yes but there’s a lot of antinutrients in chickpeas and what about giving your baby liver which also has choline and B12, other red blood cell building compounds” so just kind of interesting there. Going back to biologic is typically the most nourishing.
B: So quality protein sources have their place and for many people, they’re going to be an essential element of their diet. And beyond that we can eat sustainably for the environment and at the same time heal our bodies by reducing carbs, reducing inflammation, and increasing clean protein and fat.
A: I love that, perfect summary, Becki.
B: And then the other aspect I think we would agree on is that food as medicine has a place and that diet can influence health.
A: Yes I absolutely- food as medicine has its place, diet can influence your health, be mindful of the funding behind research studies, and the lobbyists and the positioning within what we trust to be the disciples of how we practice in healthcare, these organizations like Susan G. Cohen or the American Heart Association how they can be polluted by lobbyists I think that’s another big thing to be mindful of. And connecting food as medicine, going back to what is a whole food what is a single ingredient and how our body has evolved to use these to use our system. So I think we’ve seen some amazing clinical results in our practice at our Naturally Nourished clinic with reductions of medications, improvements of symptoms, I’ve had successful MS warriors go from wheelchairs into walking with a walker into walking without assistance, but this is over the process of 3-9 plus months and requires a lot of work on an individualized basis. There’s no one magic diet approach by just removing animal products, you are not necessarily going to heal your body.
B: So yeah if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
A: Yes and in order to really get resolution from chronic illness or disease, we typically have to do some advanced testing like a micronutrient panel and layer on a customized tailored approach, individualized for that person of what their body needs and then tie that together with what diet feels back, how their system digests, the whole process. Their stress levels – you name it. So no one stop solution. I hope you guys had as much fun as we did listening to this as we did watching it, and I’m going to go have a grassfed burger for lunch-
B: Sounds great. Put some bacon on there.
A: Avocado too and leafy greens thanks for listening guy as always, if you have questions put them in the AskAli bar at the bottom of the podcast and stay connected with Alimillerrd on Instagram and Facebook and thank you for listening and joining in the food as medicine journey with me.
Thank you for listening to the Naturally Nourished Podcast. Visit our blog at Alimillerrd.com for recipes, wellness tips, and food as medicine meal plans. Connect with Ali at Becki at AliMillerRD on InstaGram or Twitter and Facebook. Until next time, stay nourished and be well.