Body fat and calorific intake
Evidence is arising to show that body fat is more about storing toxins than energy, thus having a cleaner lifestyle naturaly leads to less weight and more mobility.
None of our closest relatives, store fat storage except for hibernation. In short, why do no other apes get fat, except those in captivity ?
Fat Storage – Why does the body store fat?
Even scientifically, we tend to think of the human being as sort of landing on Earth mysteriously around 20,000 years ago as a complete package: fully formed: hitting the ground running: killing and cooking its way to world dominance. But to gain any real perspective, we must consider the context of time. To suspend our attachment to the human being as a cultured creature, in a world of fashion, finances and fiancés, and start from the premise, and reality, that the human being is an animal that has come through a long (and ongoing) evolution.
Before taking to the plains, and needing to adapt our diets to this new and wholly brutal environment, we lived in the relatively benign tropical forests for over a hundred million years. That is over 500 times longer in the forest than we have been living outside of it. We find it difficult to process orders of magnitude like that, but one can see the degree of influence that will have had by considering spending 500 days in one place, and then a single day in a wholly new place - obviously the previous 500 will still be very present with you. Let alone if you were completely adapted and specialised to live there…
Aside from being pretty benign (IE: virtually no predators), a major characteristic of a rainforest is the super-abundance of nutrients at all times throughout the year, and it is exactly this stable lack of lack that allows such diversity to flourish there. There is no need to store or hoard anything - food is just dripping from the trees all around. A fact that is sorely lacking in the temperate zones of the Earth where most of us now live.
In these temperate zones, this lack of abundance drives all animals to develop a strategy to they survive the long, harsh winter. Some forage under the snow, some eat meat, some stash nuts, and some go to sleep. But all make hay in the autumn months accumulating stores of fat to burn during the lean months. And clearly, our lineage came from that place once, so we have fat cells that can perform this task. But it was a very long time ago.
It was hundreds of millions of years ago in fact, since our evolution took us from these temperate zones, where storing nutrients to survive was a priority. So far back indeed, that our lineage joins that of bears, bison and beavers – and we were a wholly different type of creature.
So, while the fat storage machinery is still there in the background, the system seems to have been adapted to the needs of our more recent environmental requirements - as you would expect, given these timeframes.
Firstly, in the forest, with our rapid brain expansion, it would have been increasingly difficult to find enough Omega oils to form the high-quality substance of brain matter (seeOils article) from a fruit-based diet.
Therefore prior to pregnancy and nursing, there may have been a use for the fat cells to act as a reservoir of Omegas, to then be drawn upon to feed the developing foetal brain. So utterly essential are these to the functioning of this insanely complex, self-orchestrating construction, that the hijacking of an unused system, like the adipose cells, would have been a (excuse me!) no-brainer!
However, moving in the opposite direction unfortunately, more recently we have found new and more vital roles for our fat cells. Something that will keep us alive, but it is not about a lack of nutrients, as much as an abundance of toxins.
And we are at an all time high where toxin management is concerned.
Incidentally, it is a credit to the versatility, vitality and healing qualities of this divine creation that there are any resources left to deal with toxin management. Such is the wonder of the body.
- Unable to adapt so swiftly to the change in diet from fruit & leaves, through cooked grains & meat, and now to industrialised food fractions, our own bowel pumps much toxicity into us.
- An overloaded immune system does a bad job of clearing up fermenting bi-products in the blood.
- The resulting change in pH, allows uninvited microbes to run riot throughout the system, throwing off their own metabolic wastes.
- We live in a swamp of pharmacological, industrial, household and personal ‘hygiene’ products - many of which are designed specifically to kill bacteria, the very definition of pathogenic.
It has been known for a long time that if the body is forced to process more toxic material than it can eliminate, then it must get stored. The individual’s inherited organs, with their relative strengths and weaknesses, will determine which tissues will become saturated first.
This is somewhat complicated by the fact that different toxins have an affinity for different organs; salts in the kidneys to form stones, uric acid in the muscles and tendons, to form tendonitis, etc., metals often windup in the brain, leading to an association between aluminium and Parkinson’s, etc.
Fats and Cats
This is starkly described in the statistical correlation that cat owners are more likely to be the drivers involved in road accidents.
Cats house a parasite that attempts to live in their owners, and their particular metabolic bi-products tend to settle in the brain, lowering its efficiency: Reaction times are compromised, and thus there is a higher incidence of driving accidents are seen. Sorry cat-lovers, there is a flip-side to pets lowering your blood-pressure !
This storage of toxic load is an appropriate response in a system where toxins are unable to be eliminated, and yet too numerous to remain in circulation. They must leave the blood, because if its acid/alkaline balance changes by more than 0.2pH, it is no longer able to support life. And the functional efficiency of whichever organ the toxins are stored in will be compromised.
This means that when toxins start to saturate the system, either from the bowel, the lungs or the skin, our amazing bodies can chose to put them in the brain or the liver, etc. However, this will lower the efficiency of these organs (causing cysts or stones, etc.). But it has another option.
There is one archaic system in the body which is no longer essential: the fat system: Thus it can choose to store toxins in fat cells without decreasing the efficiency of this storage system ; because it is not being used.
Thus, perhaps we accumulate fat in our adipose cells to absorb these toxins. Fat has a great capacity for encapsulating acids, and coincidentally, much of the toxicity in the system get termed acidic.
Also, we find heavy metals moving up the oceanic food chains in the oils & fat stores of fish, meaning that we are not alone in this method.
So, perhaps the storage of fat in the body is not about calories at all, but about toxin management.
Obviously we cannot discuss fats without mentioning calories. And despite 100 years of this method of calibrating food not working for people it still has almost religious following. But putting things back in their native context is often useful, so let’s recognise it as the physics argument it is, with little to do with biology.
We are told in physics classes that if you put more material into a pipe than you take out, then it must expand. IE; if calories are taken in but not burnt off, they will be stored. A wonderfully simple truth for dealing with pipes, but does little to describe the complex processes of the body. That reductionist extrapolation from physics to biology is the premise behind the calorie argument, and it makes billions for those on the right side of it.
The Hay diet, which popularised appropriate food combining in the 80s as a weight-loss system punched a few well-deserved holes in the calorie and fat storage argument.
When certain foods are combined inappropriately, (see mucus article) the digestive system has much more work to do, and consequently runs slower. Initially, this is noticed as needing less food, and has been the global strategy for avoiding hunger for millennia - thus almost all traditional foods are based around difficult combinations. However, it does tend to ferment foods, change the bacteria inhabiting the bowel, and lead to health that needs management through medicines.
Conversely, combining foods appropriately, a higher intake of food is required in order to avoid hunger, but suddenly weight is not gained through fat even though many more calories are consumed. Food combining remains one of the most popular and effective weight loss systems to date.
Also, any calorie watcher will tell you that we can eat a bushel of apples without putting on a gram, but if you eat a single doughnut that weight will remain in the form of fat. The doughnut’s sugars are in held in a format that our systems are unable to deal with – namely refined, free-floating, water-soluble sucrose, bound up in denatured grass-seed meal (wheat flour), instead of the intra-cellular, slow-release fructose that we existed on for millions of years. This new mix will ferment and produce toxins which will then have to be stored somewhere unless the bowel can eliminate it.
Full On Feelings
On the whole, we are taught to be terrified of emotions, labelling most as unacceptable, unpleasant, and inconvenient, and the stronger the emotional event, the greater the likelihood that it will just get blanked altogether.
We have our historical reasons for this, and these traits get handed down from one generation to the next in how we react to, judge and describe our children's expression. Ever asked you child "what's wrong?" when they are crying? And we ask "what happened?" instead of "how do you feel?" inducing importance upon the story rather than the experience.
Emotions are as much a part of us as our thoughts, sensations, and desires, but unless we judge them as pleasant and acceptable, they get dis-integrated from our consciousness. Of course they're still a part of us; eating away from beyond the veil. And the more disembodied we make them, the more they stimulate our actions and drive reactions in ways ever harder to pin down. The mind likes to think that it makes choices and decision based upon reason, but on the whole, the agenda is satisfying to a much more core initiative.
Eating disorders almost always have a large emotional component; some trauma left unprocessed, which the food helps us to avoid. Notice than no-one ’comfort eats’ on lettuce leaves, it is always heavy foods that tax the energy system, leaving no energy to look into the discomfort that needed comforting. Such broken children we are, and we take our food stories with us wherever we go ; raw or otherwise.
And so, as our emotional world retreats from the outside, we need louder and louder stimulus to get through to us.
Thus our world is becoming ever-more bombarding, in order to stimulate our senses, and we, in turn, become more desensitised against this bombarding onslaught.
Sedation is the most common coping strategy, whether it be alcohol - our culture’s chosen biological sedative, or endless TV; anything to distract us from what we might stink about if silence should prevail for a moment.
It is clear that fat plays a role in this; a protective boundary; a physical ‘buffer’ against the heartless world.
If the world is seen as a painful place, then the fragile, vulnerable child inside us will need protection from that, and it makes more of your decisions than you give it credit for.
Pound for Pounds
After 15 years of working with folks to lose weight and gain vitality through my detox retreats in UK, this is my personal, intuited explanation of why some people (mostly women – classically more emotionally alive) simply cannot lose those last stubborn pounds. Until somehow they enter a lifestyle avalanche, and suddenly a different person is staring at them in the mirror.
There are more physiological explanations for this through the links between long-held emotion and bowel pockets (see Bowel article), etc., but these are only explanations, and it is the same part of the brain that requires those, as suppresses the emotions.
The real truth of the matter is not to be found in a scientific map. The mystery should not be lost in the maze of our pseudo-understandings. The body requires an experience, not an explanation.
Whichever map you follow, the best policy is to navigate away from our own (and other’s) oppressive judgements, and set a more relaxed route towards the heart of our existence, where your own expressions harmonise with expression of the rest of the universe – perfectly.
But to bring this to mind often enough requires a quiet space (or life), a contemplative mood, and a real intention to face and heal one’s deepest fears.
This is not an intellectual pursuit, and will require different reactions to old stimuli, and different strategies to meet one’s needs.
This may mean that one’s new choices lead to a new lifestyle, which in turn lead to a new circle of friends, that hopefully don’t require the same volume or frequency of sedatives.
And this comes full circle to a phenomenon known to anyone attempting a serious direction-change in life, especially if its a long-term high-raw diet. More than just your food changes. Your entire life comes with you…
You’re walking lighter upon the earth. Towards lightness. Towards the light.
The retreats we run catapult people onto this new journey, stripping away years of destructive routines, food addictions, and negative thought patterns.
In a magical combination of profound relaxation - from the fasting (see fasting page), having nothing to do - from the retreat environment (see programme page), being emotionally held - by Kate's sessions (see Kate's page) sessions, having your relationship with food examined - through the talks (see nutritional talks page), and your own journey alongside people of all walks of life.