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With spring upon us, this is the time to reset our ability to burn fat. Each season and its harvest has an important role in maintaining good health. Winter stores fat, proteins, vitamins and minerals to rebuild and insulate. Spring, as illustrated by its low fat harvest and austere menu, naturally forces us to burn stored fat cells for energy. This triggers fat cell detoxification, which is a requirement for weight loss. But wait, the benefits of fat burning far outweigh our weight loss obsession. Being a good fat burner does not depend on whether you are fat or skinny. We have lost our ability to burn fat as a culture, and that is a real problem. Let me explain why we all need to reset our fat burners. The benefits of fat burning are huge and go way beyond weight loss!
- Fat is a calm fuel that burns slow and keeps the mood stable.
- Fat burning neutralizes the toxic acids that are caused by stress.
- Fat cells are where we store toxic heavy metals, fat soluble chemicals, pesticides, preservatives and environmental pollutants like estrogenic plastics. When we burn our fat cells, we continually detox.
- Fat burning stimulates lymph drainage.
- Fat is a long-lasting fuel that builds endurance, stamina and reduces cravings.
- Fat burning allows deep sleep through the night.
Top 10 Tips
TIP 1: GRAPEFRUIT Grapefruit is one of nature’s fat metabolizers. They are coming into season right now, so don’t miss them. Remember the old grapefruit diets, where you ate nothing but grapefruits? That diet had merit but it was too extreme. I suggest eating just 1 or 2 a day. They are great for breakfast as a “fast breaking” food. Grapefruits support the momentum of burning fat that is established by having an early supper and no snacks through the night. This effect will continue through the morning as the grapefruit forces a metabolism that burns fat, stabilizes energy and balances blood sugar. Add raw honey for best results (see why below).
TIP 2: RAW HONEY Honey is another natural fat metabolizer according to Ayurveda. Unlike most sweets that create highs and lows in blood sugar, honey, according to Ayurveda, supports energy and normalizes cravings by forcing fat metabolism and detox. This effect is due to the fact that honey is predominately fructose and burns slower than glucose. It should be taken only in small quantities, and only by those with very stable and healthy blood sugar levels. For this to work, however, the honey must be RAW, which means not cooked, not pasteurized and not heated. Raw honey also scrubs toxins (ama) off the intestinal wall and fat cells. If honey is heated for any length of time or cooked (such as in muffins, bread or desserts) it will not burn fat or detoxify toxic fat cells. In fact, if cooked, the honey actually becomes ama, a toxic hardened material basically comprised of undigested food. In my book The 3-Season Diet, I tell the story about beekeepers that sprayed diluted honey on the hives to calm the bees before managing their hives. According to this report, when the beekeepers used cooked honey to spray the hives, all the bees where dead within 20 minutes. If raw honey was used, on the other hand, the bees were fine and docile.
TIP 3: WATER Water is a critical tool for encouraging better fat metabolism. A study showed that drinking 500ml of water (a bit more than 16 ounces) increased thermogenesis (heat production) by 24 percent. (1) This increase of metabolic activity before a meal will support more efficient digestion and fat metabolism. In Ayurveda, it is recommended to drink 1-2 glasses of water 15-20 minutes before each meal. The water allows the stomach to be hydrated so it is more willing to robustly produce the hydrochloric acid (HCL) needed to digest a big meal. HCL ensures that what enters the stomach is properly broken down and absorbed in the small intestine. If the stomach is dry or dehydrated, it won’t produce enough HCL for optimal digestion because that much-needed acid would end up burning the stomach lining. In a future newsletter I will explain why lack of digestive acids is actually the major cause of indigestion and heart burn. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice in your water before a meal for an extra fat burning boost (see why below).
TIP 4: TREAT GLUTEN INTOLERANCE – RATHER THAN AVOIDING GLUTEN High insulin levels caused by poor diet and eating habits tell the body to store fat. Low insulin levels are one of the major factors associated with weight loss. Breads are usually public enemies for losing weight because of the hard-to-digest gluten content and their impact on insulin levels. Many get results by avoiding breads and gluten altogether to lose weight. This strategy treats the symptoms of gluten intolerance, but it is essential to find out why the gluten is not digested in the first place. I have reported on this in detail in many of my newsletters. Good news! Some grains do have surprising benefits when it comes to weight loss. Sourdough and rye bread have been reported to balance insulin levels. (2) The sourdough culture helps to break down the hard-to-digest gluten protein. TIP: Toasting breads helps lower the impact of gluten on the digestive villi by making it easier to digest.