Food in general has to go through quite a thicket of hurdles before its nutrition can actually be used by the body. First, there’s digestion that begins in the mouth, accelerates with the acid in the stomach, and really takes off in the small intestines with digestive enzymes and all those critical bacteria doing their thing, but then the nutrition that the small intestines admits into the body must first pass muster with that filtration system of the body, the liver, before it finally gets admitted to the blood stream and can actually be used by the body. Any inefficiencies in any of these processes along the way and that means the food you think your body will take advantage of — because you did eat it — won’t actually be fully utilized by the body but, to the extent it was not properly “processed,” instead passes right through you with no benefit.
This brings us to what many nutritionist speak about constantly — the all-important ratio between the very valuable Omega 3 fat and the commonly overconsumed Omega 6 fat. Why is this ratio so important, you may ask? It’s important because both fats use the same digestive enzymes in the body, and therefore compete for their use. And there is a finite number of these specific digestive enzymes in the body at any given time, (although the healthier your diet, the greater the number). If the ratio between Omega 3 fat and Omega 6 fat becomes too skewed in favor of Omega 6 fat, then the Omega 6 fat utilizes a disproportionate amount of those limited number of digestive enzymes, and the Omega 3 fat gets left out in the cold, so of speak. So this skewed ratio, which is very common in the SAD diet, produces a huge inefficiency in digestive processes mentioned above relative to the Omega 3 fat you ate versus the Omega 3 fat that the body actually ends up using.
They think the modern contemporary diet can be become as skewed as 1:16 when our caveman ancestors had a diet that was 1:2. Exactly what ratio is the ideal ratio is a controversial subject, but there is no question that the SAD diet is hopeless skewed in favor of Omega 6 fat, and therefore those people who have this skewed ratio in their diet may think they are getting enough Omega 3 fat in their diet, but because of their warped Omega ratio, are in fact not fully utilizing the amount of Omega 3 fat they eat, perhaps to an alarming degree.
And so it is not enough to know how many grams of Omega 3 fat are in your daily diet — you have to also know your ratio.
My Almost-Vegan Diet
High carb, high fiber, high protein, but low fat (except Omega 3); GBOMBS (Joel Fuhrman); plant-based with a small amount of turkey each day for the lysine (thus the “almost”); dairy-free except for the use of Pillars Greek yogurt as almond-milk substitute for cereals (ditto “almost”); no processed foods with the exception of Dave’s bread, cereals (Alpen, Muesli, Grape Nuts), and Pillars, which has live culture, but low fat and no added sugar (unlike most commercial yogurts where they add so much sugar that it’s practically candy). Macros: 50% carb, 30% fat, 20% protein — fat has been trending down and protein trending up, intentionally. Incorporate all high-nutrition foods and void or minimize low-nutrition or downright unhealthy foods. Therefore, say yes to all vegetables and fruit and various fermented foods, and say a big fat no to almost all processed foods. Avoid or minimize saturated fat, salt, and sugar — the 3 demon S’s. Reduce meat consumption to an absolute minimum, especially processed meats (carcinogenic) and red meats in general. No alcohol except red wine for cooking. 19:5 intermittent fasting every day. Learn how to make plant-based dishes that are nevertheless delicious — garlic, onions, tomato paste, lemon juice, and curry powder are your allies.
You’ll live to be 100 but in good health.
I use Cronometer each day, and it will tell me if I’m weak or outright deficient in anything at a very granular level. For instance, it has shown that my diet was weak in lysine, calcium and iodine, and so I’ve take measures to address these shortcomings.
Make your meals as intensely nutritious as possible — as in way over-the-top nutritious — but still be savory. I practice the GBOMBS diet, and Cronometer is indispensable to achieve super duper nutrition. It’s your body…you are in charge of it, no one else.
Super-duper nutrition involves two very different elements — finding the foods that have powerful nutrients and including them; identifying the foods that undermine your health and avoiding them. You have to do both.
Green peas have a super wide range of the micronutrients and all the essential amino acids. They are high in three nutrients which pose a problem for vegans: lysine, leucine, and choline. If you are vegan, you would do well to add them to your daily diet.
Getting a lot of new information from using Cronometer daily. I now know that to just maintain my current weight is 2158 calories per day. My macro ratios looks something like 55% protein, 30% fat (while keeping saturated fat below 10 grams a day — my goal), and 15% protein. My individual amino acids look very good with just 15% protein with the exception of lysine. I’m regularly low in lysine. Not sure what to do about that. As for my vitamins and micronutrients, iodine is an issue and I’m eating seaweed now daily, but choline is another problem. Almost always low in choline despite being super high in just about everything else. I may start taking a choline supplement. As a vegan, don’t want to start eating hard boil eggs to solve this problem.
I have been tracking everything I eat for 7 days now in Cronometer, and it shows that my deficiencies are B12, iodine, and choline. So when they ask a vegan like me where do you get your protein (I get plenty of the essential amino acids and with only a 12% macro for protein), they should instead be asking where do you get your B12, iodine (no fish), and choline (no eggs). I already supplement with a B12 pill and have added either kept or seaweed to my diet for the iodine. Am considering adding a supplement for the choline. I read that choline deficiency can lead to fatty liver, and that choline deficiency is common.
Interesting fact: there are exactly 20 amino acids involved in making proteins in the body, 9 of which must be acquired through food — the so-called “essential” amino acids, but there are hundreds of other amino acids as well.
They now have refined the daily requirements for amino acids down to the individual 9 essential amino acids and how much of each one should take in — and which foods have the greatest amount for each.
Most people have no idea how nutritious they could make their meals. They’ve never taken the trouble to read anything about nutrition.
“Health is the new wealth.”