Cleaning Up The Metabolic Mess
Let’s channel our inner artists a little today.
Draw in your mind’s eye, a big circle. This represents a typical cell in the human body. This big circle separates the inside from the outside of the cell. This circle is called the membrane. It should be porous, and pliable. Meaning it should have the ability to let the good things in as well as usher the waste out. The membrane should keep out the stuff that it is supposed to keep out. All while having a little give to it. In other words it has to be sorta squishy like a slightly underfilled water balloon.
Imagine that circle in 3D. It is now a big sphere. All along this membrane you’ll find gate-keepers called receptors. They are like locks that need a unique key to be opened, therefore allowing things in and out of the cell through a portal. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of bazillions of them. Seriously! There are so many, it’s worse than traffic on the freeways of Atlanta. (Good grief, driving in Atlanta is ridiculous!)
Unlike metro-ATL traffic where you’re pretty free to get on and off the road where you choose as long as you’re in the correct lane, the in/out traffic of a human cell is heavily regulated.
When it comes to these receptors, they will open ONLY when the correct key is used. In other words, when the correct substance enters the receptor, in turn allowing the good stuff into the cell through the portal, or the waste to exit. Depending on that particular receptor’s job.
It is such a specific orchestration of metabolic perfection. Until it gets screwed up.
This screwing up of the system can happen as a result of many, many different problems. Bottom line, when the bad stuff accumulates and cannot get out of the cell and/or the good stuff cannot get into the cell to allow it to work properly, we have a problem.
Remember the body wants to effectively do its job and it will do whatever it has to do to protect our brain, without sacrificing our life-and-death parts. Fat is the most logical place to put all the junk that backs up in the system. In part because it isn’t all that . discriminatory.[Link to 030 blog]
Here’s the deal, an adipose cell (fat) is a terrible bouncer for the body. To entertain myself, I like to create conversations amongst the players in the metabolic game.
Toxin #1: “Hey man, I’m on the list.”
Adipose Cell: “Oh you look nice, come on in.”
Toxin #2: “Hey man…what about me? Can I get in?”
Adipose Cell: “Sure…you’ve got on my favorite color, go on in.”
Seriously! Fat is a terrible door man. It’s like having a golden retriever as a guard dog.
“Can I show you where they keep the good stuff?”
“Will work for treats! And belly rubs!”
I hope this is making sense and curling up the ends of your mouth to boot. I do this for my own entertainment, and if you get a chuckle out of it, that is a bonus in my book.
We can start the healing process, in essence cleaning up the metabolic mess with the following four actions, think of them as moving parts. Like cogs in the machine. Each is helpful on it’s own, but when working in tandem we really get somewhere. Please note, you can start doing every single one of these now. No need to wait for a special occasion, or the first of the month. Put a plan in place and get to work!
Number 1: Cut Down The Body’s Exposure To Glucose
In other words, lower the “carbage” (AKA all things carbs). Glucose is a heavily regulated substance in the body. Your body wants only about one teaspoon of glucose in the blood at any given time. All excess needs to go somewhere and it is toxic at high levels, as mentioned previously. When you eat carbs, whether simple or complex, they all turn to glucose along with some other “-oses”. And glucose signals insulin to rise, in turn ushering glucose into the cells (or anywhere else it can shove it when it needs to). Excess glucose starts a process that damages the cellular membrane, in turn making the cells sick. All cells are fair game. Even your brain cells.
Number 2: Change Your Oils And Fats
Stop eating canola, soybean, any seed oils really. And as for the so-called vegetable oils, you’ll be hard-pressed (pun intended) to find anything that resembles a vegetable in the stuff labeled “vegetable oil”. You’ve got to get rid of these highly processed oils. Do not use them for anything.
Read labels like your life depends on it, because it does.
If you eat processed foods (anything from a box, pouch, bag, found on a shelf) stop buying brands with these junk oils in them. There is work to do here. These oils are in EVERYTHING that has a shelf life. Same for sweeteners. And colors. And flavors. Nothing “natural” about these things, even if it has the word “natural” on the label. It’s just marketing.
If you’re eating the junk oils, the membrane starts to inflame. It becomes rigid and it therefore won’t be able to do its job. Remember we want pliable membranes like an underfilled water balloon to help usher the good stuff in and the waste out of the cell. A pliable membrane is a key factor in this process working at its best.
Number 3: Look To Where You Are Being Exposed To Toxins.
Start with pesticides. Where can you go organic? Pesticides gunk up the receptor sites. Especially the endocrine receptors. Even better than just organic is to look into regeneratively raised food.
These are the four foundational principles of regenerative agriculture:
- Minimize soil disturbance
- Cover the soil at all times
- Livestock grazing management
- Crop diversity (As my main soil man, Will Harris at White Oak Pastures says, “Nature abhors a monoculture.”)
Can you see why I’m such a fan? Allowing nature to do her thang by not trying to force her to bend to our agricultural will is the best way by which to grow real food that nourishes us, our animals and the planet, most notably her soil.
In addition to what you put in your body, let’s look at what you put on your body. What is in your beauty and personal care products? A simple way to determine what is okay and what is wreaking havoc is to download the EWG’s Healthy Living app (EWG = Environmental Working Group, a US-based nonprofit) and scan your products. Every single thing you put on your skin, hair, teeth, nails, etc. … scan it. And sort it by rating. You may be floored as to how “dirty” your personal care and beauty products really are. I am always recommending non-toxic, environmentally friendly products in my ecosystem. I even make a few myself and show you how to do it in the Unraveling Together community.
Another way we’re exposed to ungodly amounts of toxins is from our food and drink. Consider the following: how is it packaged (think single-use plastic)? How is it processed (how many words have no vowels and numbers with commas, think chemicals)? How will you prepare the food? Never microwave in plastic. NEVER!! From the pan to the serving and storing dishes, everything that touches your food and drink matters.
Of note is the fact that what is done to your food prior to it being packaged does NOT make it to the label. Think about that fact…if something is chemicalized to death to extract what you’ll be ingesting, think “vegetable oil”, those extractive chemicals never make their way to the label. Ever seen “hexane” on a Nutrition Facts label. No? Me neither. And by the way, hexane is a solvent made from refining crude oil, just like the gasoline you put in your car. Here’s some intel on that process straight from the Council’s mouth. [LINK: Canola Council of Canada: How canola seed becomes oil and meal products.]
Do you drink out of single-use plastic water bottles (the noisy, squishy plastic)? Is there a thin lining in your canned foods? For example, canned tomato products are sold in BPA plastic-lined cans so the tomatoes won’t react with the metal.
Bottom line, these plastics compete with the metabolic keys. Remember the receptor locks on your cellular membranes? These plastics compete with the keys and cause the cell to become sick. Another word for this is endocrine disruptor. They’ll cause that cell to turn toxic and your body will store the toxic fallout in your fat. That is how the body walls off the life and death organs from toxins. It stores toxins in our fat.
Number 4: Avoid Frankenfood
Which is basically most anything that has been processed. In other words,if your food is sold in a form that it was not grown in (mashed, grated, shredded, chopped, juiced, cut, sliced, etc.), something was done to your food after it was picked or slaughtered. In other words, it was processed. Now not ALL processing is bad. Just the stuff done in a lab or most factories. Being an informed consumer will help you distinguish the good from the bad. Here’s a perfect place for one of my favorite Dr. Sam-isms,
If you can leave some item you buy on a shelf somewhere in your kitchen for weeks, months, heck years, there’s some chemical added to it. It has no business being eaten. Just stop it.
If your food can’t spoil, there’s no food in your food. Period. Real food goes bad. Processed food can resist the rot for way longer than what is natural. Remember that conversation around the McDonald’s hamburger that showed no signs of decay after years? I do. I never eat that stuff!
The C. R. A. P. in our processed foods gunks up these receptor sites wreaking havoc on the cell, in turn making it sick. Sick cells equate to an ill “you”.
C = chemicals your grandparents wouldn’t have in their own kitchen
R = refined sugar and grains
A = artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, etc.
P = processed in any way.
If it has a label on it, it is suspect. Choose food that was on the plant, not made in one. And choose foods that were swimming, walking, slithering, or flying in the not too distant past to boot. Meat should rot if it’s been meat (no longer alive) for awhile.
Quickie Review Of Our Four “Cogs” In Project: The Tidying Up Of Our Metabolic Mess
In review, here are the 4 moving cogs in the machine:
- Number 1: Cut Down The Body’s Exposure To Glucose. You know the deal. Look to your carbs for this one. Breads, grains, sweets, alcohol, franken-fruit (modern fruit is off the charts, sweeeet!), pasta, etc.
- Number 2: Change Your Oils And Fats.
- Number 3: Look To Where You Are Being Exposed To Toxins.
- Number 4: Avoid Frankenfood. In other words stop eating C.R.A.P.
This is how you start to heal your cells. It’s a process; it’s a lengthy process. It is NOT an overnight thing by any stretch of the imagination. And you cannot substitute any of these steps with a detox program that you buy from your neighbor.
Just as toxins accumulate causing a negative, their removal adds up to create a positive effect on the overall system that is YOU/HQ.
When your cells are healing and that tipping point starts to correct itself, your body is now free to flip it’s fuel switch in order to burn that fat instead of using it as a toxic waste dump.
AND, drumroll please…when you go low enough on the sugar/carb continuum, you force your metabolic engine to burn fat in lieu of the sugars/carbs that were once so readily available. It’s a brilliant biohack.
Your body is designed to burn fat.
In fact, it wants to burn fat. But as stated earlier, your body has to be able to release that fat because it no longer needs to cling to it as a buffer between life and death stuff (your brain, heart, lungs…) and the amassing toxic waste dump.
This is why we start here, cleaning up the metabolic mess! If you don’t clean up the environment you cannot truly rebuild your metabolism.
Next we’ll talk about some other ways you can stack the metabolic deck in your favor in midlife. Remember we’re not going for skinny, we’re going for longevity and feeling fan-freaking-tastic!
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