Posts

Physical Activity and Movement Part 6

In this post, we’re going to get into a little bit of science. We’re going to discuss the concept of genetics and epigenetics, and understanding your body’s individual design.

Now the first big concept is something I’ve emphasized throughout the entire series:

Our bodies are designed, meaning genetically adapted, to have daily physical activity and movement as a part of our life.

We thrive when we honor our body’s design, and this is foundational. All of us, regardless of differences in our genetics, are designed for physical activity and movement, and we need to honor this. We will maximize positive genetic expression by maximizing our movement potential and honoring our body’s function.

A sedentary lifestyle dishonors the body’s design and leads to negative genetic expression.

Some studies have suggested that a sedentary lifestyle is equivalent to smoking in regards to the harm to our health and lifespans. This makes sense. If our bodies are designed for movement, and we spend most of our time sitting or lying down, then our bodies will deteriorate, which means our health deteriorates, and we will not feel good.

Every one of us knows this. If you sit at a desk all day, hunched over, by the end of the day, you’ve experienced the neck pain, back pain, numbness or tingling in the arms and fingers, headaches, and many other consequences of this unnatural posture sustained over a long period of time.

Couple running across bridge

We know that in modern industrialized countries, many people get out of bed, and after a brief period of getting themselves organized, sit in a car, then sit at a desk, then back to the car again, followed by a sit on the couch, and then go back to bed. This completely dishonors the body’s design. It’s no wonder so many people are experiencing biomechanical breakdown and diseases of the physical body and are riddled with pain.

Allow me to get up on my soapbox for a moment.

If the root cause of your pain and your physical diseases is an unhealthy pattern of movement, then no medication can restore this for you. No medication can solve the problem. All they can do is give you brief symptom relief, but the underlying problem will progress. You’ll not experience the life you want if this continues. You must adopt this habit if you want to experience your best health.

I won’t go into the details of all the negative impact of sedentary postures, but I think you can picture it in your mind. Picture very quickly sitting at a desk, shoulders rolled forward, head forward, staring into a computer screen for hours. Picture sitting in a car, and then sitting on the couch. And then picture a healthy, upright human body, and picture a body that’s in proper posture, and with proper movement. You’ll know these two things don’t go together.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you’ll have to quit your job. But you will have to become intentional about how you engage your body every day. This is very important.

Genetics

So let’s briefly cover the idea of genetics. Epigenetics is the concept that at any given moment, your DNA is expressing a version of you in response to the messages it has received. It can express a healthy you or a sick you, a lean you or a heavy you, a feel-good you or a not-feeling-good you. This is based on the messages it receives. Your body is constantly taking in messages from your environment and your habits.

Your physical body is taking in messages through actual pressure on mechanoreceptors on your cells. This leads to a change in genetic expression. Your body is literally responding to the physical pressures it’s experiencing throughout the day, and changing its function in accordance with this.

If the root cause of your pain and your physical diseases is an unhealthy pattern of movement, then no medication can restore this for you.

So it’s very important to get these inputs right if you want to genetically express the healthy, feel-good version of you. There’s simply no way around this. That’s what this program is designed to teach you.

Individual Genetics

Then there’s individual genetics. Each one of us has variations in our DNA when compared to others. It’s beyond the scope of this blog to go into all the differences, but just know that there are many. Now, some of these differences have to do with our physical capabilities. While we can all optimize our genetic potential, there are some limitations based on our genetic potential.

Some of us are engineered more towards power, and others towards endurance. There can be a balance of these two, but often, one or the other is predominant. Some of us produce a greater inflammatory response after experiencing the stress of physical activity, and it can take longer for us to recover. Some of us have differences in our connective tissues that affect our mobility or our strength capabilities. The list goes on and on.

Mother and child hiking by a creek

Genetic Blueprint

We all have a genetic blueprint for our physical health. You can actually learn about your genetic blueprint using genetic testing through companies like DNAFit. This will help you better understand your blueprint.

I can tell you that I’ve done a DNAFit test, and it basically told me what I already know. I’m geared more towards endurance than power, that it takes me longer to recover from activities that intensely engage my muscle groups, and my mobility is relatively limited.

While we can all optimize our genetic potential, there are some limitations based on our genetic potential.

You don’t have to do these DNA tests to understand yourself. You probably have a good sense of your intrinsic capabilities already. However, this is different from what we were often taught in middle school when we were all pushed into a very similar paradigm of physical fitness, including weight lifting routines and sprinting routines.

You can gear your physical activity program towards your genetic blueprint and optimize your results. It’s important to understand these differences. They are real and they impact you. If you had a profile like mine, and you decided CrossFit was the workout for you, you would definitely struggle. I’m not criticizing CrossFit; I’m just using it as an example. I would never be good at CrossFit. I would be excessively breaking my body down on a daily basis, not having adequate recovery times, and trying to maximize an attribute that I’m just not genetically gifted for. That gives me the freedom to know that CrossFit’s not for me, although it’s great for others.

Doctor’s Conclusion

Your genetics will play a major role in determining the best balance of your physical activity program. Think about this and begin to journal a bit about what you think your natural attributes are. This comes from your ancestry. It probably has a lot to do with the lifestyles your ancestors had to live to survive.

I’m Northern European, mostly British Isles. I suspect my Scotch-Irish ancestors spent a lot of time walking up and down hills, digging tubers out of the dirt. I suspect that they spent a lot of time plodding around. And guess what, I’m a good plodder. I can plod up a mountain, and plod many places, but I’m not particularly powerful or fast. I’m just fine with that. I just want to feel good and be healthy. I can be a very healthy plodder.

Your genetics will play a major role in determining the best balance of your physical activity program. Think about this and begin to journal a bit about what you think your natural attributes are.

Think about the areas that are easy for you and the areas that are challenging. Additionally, think about how to honor that. Think about where your ancestors may have come from and how it informs this. It gets you much further down the path of honoring your specific body’s design.

But before we leave this blog, I’ll reiterate that all of us are genetically designed for movement and physical activity. There are just differences in the best programs for each of us.


Please continue to follow along in this series, follow us on Instagram, and like us on Facebook!

Eating Behaviors and the Brain Part 8

Your brain regulates your energy balance and your body weight over a span of time. How this is done is complex, but a major influencer of weight and energy balance is an area of your brain called the lipostat, located in the hypothalamus. This is a non-conscious regulator of body weight and energy balance. That means you do not consciously control how this part of your brain regulates your weight. You cannot just change the setting and get a response the way you do with your thermostat in your home.

Lipostat, Hormones, and Regulation

The job of this area is to make sure you maintain a stable energy balance, and stable weight, over time regardless of external circumstances. This area of the brain will allow you to use stored energy when necessary, and allow you to regain stored energy when circumstances allow this to occur. Generally speaking, your genetics determine this set point for your weight. But it can be changed over time.

When your metabolic rate is lowered in response to cues from your brain, you’ll tend to feel tired, grumpy, brain-foggy, and have a whole host of other symptoms.

One of the influencers is the hormone leptin, which we discussed earlier. Leptin is released by your fat cells, and its job is to tell the brain how much energy we’ve just consumed, and how much excess energy we have stored up as fat. The more body fat we have, the more leptin will be in our blood.

The brain makes decisions based on leptin levels about:

  • Your hunger
  • Daily calorie intake
  • How much nutrients to absorb
  • How much energy to use and store

Then, it cycles back to regulate leptin production in a loop that will help keep your energy and body weight balanced over time. Your brain can increase energy expenditure by making you fidget and sweat. It can also decrease energy expenditure by lowering your metabolic rate. I talk about this in my book, Authentic Health.

When your metabolic rate is lowered in response to cues from your brain, you’ll tend to feel tired, grumpy, brain-foggy, and have a whole host of other symptoms. You think you have low thyroid, and in a way, you do. Your brain has downregulated thyroid function because it’s downregulating your metabolism to save energy. This is a situation we want to avoid. This is why we don’t recommend daily reduced calorie diets over a longer period of time.

Healthy salad with olive oil

Remember, when I say reduced calorie diet, I’m talking about for those who are eating appropriate calories. If you are consuming excess calories daily, you will need to reduce calorie intake to lose weight. I’m talking about eating in accordance with your energy demands. Long-term low-calorie diets will fail. Your body does not like this. It will regulate against it.

But right eating will restore healthy body weight over time in a natural way.

So if your stored energy, or fat, and leptin remain stable over time, then you’re going to be more easily satisfied during and between meals. You’ll be less hungry. You’ll naturally eat the proper amounts of food, and not eat again until an appropriate time interval. Also, your metabolic rate will stay high, and you’ll have good energy.

If stored energy and leptin drop over time, it’ll send a message to the area of the brain we discussed earlier that the body needs to start preventing starvation. The brain will use several strategies to do this.

It will make you hungry.

Like, really hungry.

Like you can’t control this level of hunger.

Willpower has nothing to do with it. It’s hormonal hunger.

Also, you’ll move around less. You’ll find yourself wanting to just sit around. You’ll think you’re lazy, but you’re not. In addition, your metabolic rate will slow down, as I just discussed.

Person balancing on rock in sunset

So you would think that if your stored energy, or fat, and leptin went up over time, you’d want to eat less. Well, that’s supposed to be true, but it doesn’t seem to always work that way. How much your leptin goes up when you eat will vary from person to person. How your brain responds to leptin also varies from person to person. Our physiologies vary a lot, as do our genetics. In some people, when the leptin rises, their brain will decrease their appetite, and it will increase their energy output. In others, it doesn’t seem to work the same way.

But for most people, most of the time, the leptin feedback loop works well to naturally regulate our energy expenditure and our consumption. Unless we disrupt it.

Doctor’s Conclusion

We’re going to discuss how we disrupt it in the next post. The point of this post was to give you a basic lesson in how your body is regulating its fat storage, and to let you know it’s not directly under your conscious control. Ultimately, your consistent habits over time will influence it, but today, you don’t get to choose. However, the choices you make today will make a difference a week from now, or a month from now. That’s good news.

As I emphasized, you do get to choose to choose. But you have to be willing to wake up and truly choose. Otherwise, your brain is going to continue to run the show, and as you’ll see in our next post, you will continue to struggle because the specific foods you choose to eat can actually change how the brain controls your eating behavior.


Health Shepherds is on a mission to deliver personalized and compassionate healthcare. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Want to ask us a question? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us.

Eating Behaviors and the Brain Part 5

How do we decide what we’re going to eat? There are two primary driving forces behind eating. 1) There is homeostatic eating, which is where we eat so we can get the energy and nutrients our body needs to maintain homeostasis or a normal internal environment. 2) Then, there is hedonic eating, which is where we eat for pleasure or to manage our emotional states.

Hormones and Eating

Almost all of our meals are a mix of both homeostatic and hedonic eating. There are many hormones that influence our appetite. One of them is known as ghrelin. It’s often called the hunger hormone. It will stimulate our appetite. It peaks before meals and falls to lower levels during and immediately after eating, as our body knows we’re now getting the energy and nutrients we need. But this is not the only hormone that influences our eating.

There’s also a hormone involved in satiety, or a feeling of satisfaction, called leptin. Leptin is secreted by our fat cells and helps regulate energy balance. What’s supposed to happen as we gain weight is that leptin levels will rise and tell an area of our brain that we should not eat as much, that we have adequately stored energy in our body. However, for many people, as they continue to gain weight, their leptin levels proceed to rise, but they continue to be very hungry. The brain stops listening to the leptin. This is thought to be due to leptin resistance and is one of the challenges of losing weight if you’ve had chronic obesity.

This is a hormonal issue, and not under your conscious control.

Doctor’s Conclusion

Your hunger and eating are shaped by many factors, including your genetics, social cues, learned behaviors, environmental factors, your circadian rhythms, hormones, stress and emotional states, getting enough sleep, and your physical activity. So you see, it’s very complicated. Science still does not have the secret to hunger and eating, although we’re getting closer. We don’t really understand everything that makes us start eating.

But we’ve learned a lot about what causes us to stop eating. There’s more on that in our next post in the series.


There is an uncomplicated and understandable truth about eating and health. We want to make it easy for you. Join us at Health Shepherds, follow us on Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Eating Behaviors and the Brain Part 4

The bottom line is you eat what your brain tells you to eat. This means not what you, the deeper and greater you, actually wants for yourself. That you doesn’t decide what you eat. Your conditioned non-conscious brain tells you what to eat.

If you really wake up the deeper you and get serious about what you want, you can begin to change this. But for now, you’re eating as your non-conscious brain has trained you to eat. This started when you were an embryo and is based on genetics, hormones, and neurotransmitters that have developed as you matured.

Remember this: It’s not you, it’s your brain.

But guess what? You actually get to take charge of your brain. You can take over your brain and direct your thoughts, feelings, and emotions to be consistent with what you really want for yourself. We also emphasize this in our series on desire, willpower, and mindset. It’s very important that you have the right mindset and the right desire and that you’re very intentional about this.

Now more than ever, you must apply intentionality.

Intentionality and Eating

You or someone you know opens a bag of potato chips or cookies. Perhaps the chips are labeled something like “buffalo ranch maple bacon-flavored.” You think, “Disgusting. Who would ever want to eat something like that?” Then you taste one because your friend says, “You’ve just got to try this!”

And the next thing you know, the bag is empty. You ate the entire bag. You’re sitting there wondering, “How did I just do that? Why couldn’t I stop eating?”

Our rational, conscious brain thinks it’s in charge of our eating behavior, that we eat what we want and when we want, and that we can stop eating whenever we choose to. But we have so much less control than that.

This is true for so many different foods. I think everyone can relate to this example. I sure can. You need to understand that the non-conscious aspects of your brain took over.

Our rational, conscious brain thinks it’s in charge of our eating behavior, that we eat what we want and when we want, and that we can stop eating whenever we choose to. But we have so much less control than that.

Behind the decision-making processes of eating behavior are physiological forces in our brain and body that we’ve never even been aware of. Brain physiology involves hormones, neurotransmitters, and electricity. Your eating behavior is based on many different pathways in your brain that established when you were just developing. Your preferences were formed based on reward stimulation before you were at an age of choice.

Friends deciding what to eat.

If you choose to choose according to your desires, then you’re going to have to pay close attention to this blog series. The great news is, you will be able to choose to choose. You can get mastery over this. Leave behind all of the anxiety, shame, guilt, and powerlessness you have felt. You will be able to take charge.

Be patient with yourself and go one step at a time. Deepen your understanding. Practice visualizing your desires for your best health, and what that looks like. Experience this. I promise it’ll pay you back.  

Visit us at Health Shepherds, review our resources, and read our book Authentic Health. We look forward to you joining us on your journey to better living and authentic health.

Eating Behaviors and the Brain Part 3

I want to reiterate one more time our three fundamental eating behaviors that apply to all nutritional approaches. These three pillars are necessary for any eating paradigm. If you violate these pillars, you ultimately will find that you have very little control over eating behavior and often struggle with your weight or chronic diseases.

I also want to remind you that not everyone who is overweight is unhealthy. Many people who have a heavier body-mass are applying the proper fundamental habits of health in their life. They feel good, and their health metrics look good. These individuals are not unhealthy. This is not about weight. This is about health. Good health supports a healthy weight for you. This is an individual issue based on genetics and long-term hormonal changes based on long-term environmental exposures.

In addition, I want to remind you that many people who aren’t classified as overweight are metabolically sick. They’re eating the foods that make us all sick. They may even be overeating them. However, the way their body regulates their weight via genetics and hormones keeps them at a leaner weight. But their biometrics tell the truth: they have insulin resistance, fatty livers, elevated blood pressures, and chronic inflammation. They don’t feel good. They also need to apply these three pillars.

Three Pillars:

1. Eliminate Nutritional Stressors

Throughout this series, you’ll learn why fast foods, junk foods, processed foods, foods that have been super concentrated in sugar, fat, salt, and other flavors are all causing us health issues. These foods directly trigger inflammation and disease in your body. This has been well established.

These foods only provide high levels of calories but contain minimal nutrients. These foods lack fiber and trigger your reward system in such a powerful way that you cannot stop eating them. You have no willpower when you consume these foods. These foods are the food equivalent of cigarettes. There’s no case to be made that they should be part of our diet.

Man at table eating eggs

When we eat them, we become addicted to them, and we become sick. They make us feel bad. The pleasure we feel from them is false. We have to reject them the same way a smoker has to quit smoking if they want to become well.

You have to engage your higher mind and activate the one part of your brain that gives you some control over eating behavior. Your desire for energy and health has to be greater than the food preferences that you never chose.

I know some think I’m dogmatic about it, but it’s just the truth. If you want to be healthy, these foods have no place in your diet.

But I also want to emphasize you can take your time getting there. Change is hard, and it takes time. Change happens according to strong desire. Just know that I’m not judging you or anyone else. This is a challenging problem and we have to be aware of what these foods are doing to us.

2. Balance Feeding and Fasting

We have many posts that explain what I mean by balancing feeding and fasting, so I’ll not go into it right now. Our bodies are designed to enter the fed state, but they are also designed to spend time in fasting states. This is a very important principle.

3. Mindfulness of Eating

You have to engage your higher mind and activate the one part of your brain that gives you some control over eating behavior. Your desire for energy and health has to be greater than the food preferences that you never chose.

This is a very important piece of the puzzle because once you’re exposed to the foods that trigger your reward system, you will not be able to control your behavior. That’s true for everyone, including me.

Broccollini and cheese and lemon

So you have to apply a mindful approach to nutrition. That means understanding what food is for you, being mindful about the sourcing, taking your time to eat, chewing your food thoroughly—preferably 25 times if possible—and enjoying what food is supposed to do for you.

In conclusion, eliminate nutritional stressors, balance feeding and fasting, and be mindful about eating. It really is that simple.

There is an uncomplicated and understandable truth about eating and health. We want to make it easy for you. Join us at Health Shepherds.

I had a patient come in who is fairly healthy, but trying to lose weight and feel better. She has a few conditions that will improve with lifestyle modifications. In an effort to make positive changes, she recently attended a local structured dietary course that’s been funded partly by grant money. I’m a fan of this program and I consider it valuable to our community. It’s getting individuals involved in the conversation about chronic diseases and lifestyle. However, this individual is now struggling with the idea that a plant-based whole food diet is the best possible diet, and she feels guilty if she does not strictly follow this approach.

Now I know that those who are teaching the course understand that not everyone is able to completely adopt this diet. However, because of the way it is taught, the participants often believe that this is the best possible diet and that straying from it is a step backward in their nutritional approach. They are not really provided with all of the potential benefits that an omnivorous diet may provide. The omnivorous diet I am describing would definitely have a strong foundation of plant-based foods. But it would also include pasture-raised poultry, grass-fed beef, and especially foods such as pasture-raised eggs and wild-caught fish that are rich in essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids and good sources of protein.

Eggs and toast and salad omnivore diet

Diet, Conflict, and What to Eat

My patient was conflicted because she was having trouble adopting this diet for several reasons. One was the time it took to shop and prepare foods which is a skill she has not acquired yet. Two, she was not used to the textures and flavors associated with her new diet. Three, it wasn’t doing a good job of controlling her appetite at the time.

I believe that plant-based whole food diets when properly designed, help control appetite because of the fiber and nutrients contained in these foods. So I like plant-based whole food diets. They are a great option for many people. I have adjusted my own diet in that direction. However, based on my genetic profile and gut microbiome analysis, I don’t tolerate grains or legumes very well. I wish I did. I wish I could enjoy all the health benefits of properly prepared beans, but it’s just not a food that fits with my ancestry and genetic blueprint. So I have to focus my plant-based whole food diet on cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, mushrooms, tubers, and other varieties of vegetables.

She was very conflicted because she felt like this was the diet she needed to follow, but she was really having trouble, and it was affecting her overall feeling of wellbeing every day. It was causing her to excessively ruminate about eating. So we stopped and we looked at her specific issues and how we could help her succeed.

The Diet + Health Connection

She does not have, at this point, any evidence of diabetes or insulin resistance, so I don’t think that carbohydrate tolerance is an issue for her. My patient does need to lose a little weight and is at risk of metabolic syndrome in the future, but does not have it at this time. She would like to feel better and lose some weight, but we have time to help her adjust to an individualized approach to eating that will support her goals for her health.

Her past preferences were traditionally a meat and potato diet. She has historically eaten a lot of processed starches and prefers these foods. We examined food textures and flavors, and a way of incorporating more plant-based whole foods into her diet based on her specific tolerances, and her ability to prepare those foods in a way that is nutritious for her. We discussed the role that processed foods play in weight gain and chronic diseases. The importance of consuming nutrients for her to feel good and emphasis on the sources of her foods over the specific macronutrients, or whether the foods were plant or animal-based, was discussed.

Hand reaching for yellow and red peppers

Obstacles, Challenges, and Solutions

Now, one of her challenges is that she has difficulty chewing. She has issues with her jaw and teeth, and the increased need for chewing associated with her new diet was uncomfortable for her. I suggested continuing to increase her plant-based whole food consumption, but also adding a food based supplement to provide nutrients while reducing the volume of food she needs to eat. I like Dr. Cowan’s Garden Products. His team grows their own vegetables in nutrient-rich soil free of any additives or chemicals, properly cooks the ones that need to be cooked, and then reduces them to powders that retain the nutrients and some of the fiber from the original plants. There’s a whole variety of various plant-based powders, that when added to other foods, will give you the nutrient density of those plant-based foods, and a little bit of the fiber.

We were able to reduce her intake of kale by having her braise it and take kale powder. This eliminated her need to chew it. We were able to find similar solutions for other types of produce – it just required some creativity to find solutions. This was a relief to her, and she’s now a fan of these types of products.

Grilled salmon on top of fresh salad

Next, we examined her desire to eat animal-based foods. We discussed continuing to include these foods but focusing on reducing the portions she consumed, and perhaps, not having animal protein at every meal. We slowly tilted her diet towards wild-caught fish and pasture-raised eggs, and then showed her some ways of putting this together with plant-based whole foods plus some of Dr. Cowan’s powders. This set her up to prepare really delicious meals that would satisfy her, and also give her the nutrients she needs.

Open to Change

She became excited about this approach and felt it was something she could do in a sustainable manner. We had to help her get past some incorrect beliefs about food, such as eggs containing too much cholesterol. When I explained to her the nutrient density of the egg white and yolk, she was able to add eggs back to her diet and feel good about it.

We’re going to follow up and discuss her success and the next steps she should take to evolve her diet. She may end up on a plant-based whole food diet. It could be the best diet for her, and it could be something she could follow. But she didn’t need to get there right away. We just needed to get more plant-based whole foods into her diet for the nutrient value, and then find ways to source the other foods that are satisfying to her.

Ultimately, the first step this patient needed to take was to become mindful of eating and intentional about the sources of her food. Those are 2 of the 3 pillars of healthy eating we emphasize in our resources that apply to any healthy eating paradigm.

I would point to works like Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan M.D. and the works from organizations like the Weston-Price Foundation to better understand ancestral diets and the roles animal products can play in human health.

Fresh chicken fajitas

Doctor’s Summary

I’m a big believer that the best diet for you is a diet that is sustainable, pleasurable, and honors your ancestry and your genetics.

All diets that support good health have common elements and they’re well explained in my book, Authentic Health. They eliminate fake foods, processed foods, and added sugars. These diets restore a high-value relationship to food as a source of nutrients and life for you. They eliminate nutrient deficiencies, control hunger, and catalyze physical activity. These diets all balance feeding and fasting. They have the same principles.

Don’t get attached to one philosophy. Please see our Precision Nutrition document file, where there are ample documents with plenty of evidence-based studies that demonstrate these principles are effective and sustainable. Don’t let anybody convince you that you have to follow one specific diet.

Please visit us at Health Shepherds, review our resources, and let them sink into your mind and find the strategy that works for you. If you need more help with this, contact our office and schedule an appointment, or again, read the book, Authentic Health, or look at some of our additional materials.

Part 2 of our “What is the Best Diet For Me?” blog series. Check back here often so you don’t miss an installment, or subscribe to our newsletter!


In our last post, we considered food not just as a source of sustenance, but a source of information for our bodies, a blueprint for the body to know how to process what we eat. But what, how much, and how frequently we eat aren’t the only signals we need to consider for optimal health.

Our genetics play a huge part in how the body processes food.

Health is not only about our percentage of body fat. One person could be their healthiest self with very lean musculature, while the next person could be their healthiest with a percentage of subcutaneous fat. The key words are optimal health.

This is genetics as they relate to nutrition.

Think of the body like a car.

Some cars take unleaded fuel, while some take diesel fuel. They won’t run well (if at all) on the other type of fuel, so other things break down if you try to put the wrong type of gas in the tank. If your body is genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, then a plan like the ketogenic diet is not for you. That diet is low-carb, high-fat, and many of the healthier fats, like butter or coconut oil, are high in cholesterol.

Ancestry has a lot to do with your best dietary needs.

Ancestry

Our DNA is determined by our ancestry, but it is also influenced by our environmental exposures and our diet. When we eat in a manner closely related to our ancestors, we tend to experience our best health and energy. Our bodies are programmed within our very cells for those food choices to click. It’s when highly processed foods are introduced into our diets that we begin to experience a detrimental impact, be that fatigue, weight gain, or the development of chronic diseases.

what is the best diet for me based on body type?

Body Type

We’ve all heard someone in our lives refer to themselves as “big boned,” and maybe they’re speaking of the pounds they’d like to lose in a tongue-in-cheek way, but they very well could have a larger skeletal frame. Some people are destined to keep a higher percentage of body fat because it’s programmed into their genetics.

Someone else could be trying to gain weight if their body type is leaner than they’d like. It’s no different than someone genetically predisposed to being tall.

What matters is that when your body is purring along at optimal capacity—with plenty of energy, clear thoughts, and good sleep and stress reduction—you’re the healthiest you can be. Perhaps that means your outward appearance matches what society says is the ideal body image, but it might not.

That’s not to say you’re failing; it means your genetics are your own and no one else’s.

Any attempt to defy that predisposition could tilt your needle out of the optimal health range and into feeling increased fatigue, slower energy boost, and opens you up to the potential of chronic illness.

best diet for me based on genetics

The Foods That Nourish You

These days, there are labs we can turn to for a clear genetic blueprint for how we should eat. Two of these are DNAFit and Stratagene, and they can help you understand how to shape your approach to food based on your genetics. Your genes say a lot about what nutrients you need, what supplements you could benefit from, and which foods you should avoid.

Not everyone has the money for these detailed assessments, however. Don’t fret. It’s quite possible, through mindfulness of your reactions to foods, that you can determine which foods make you feel like a superhero, and which ones drag you down.

For example, if you decide to on a plant-based wholefood diet, but quickly discover it makes you feel worse, you could have a genetic sensitivity to plant lectins, and despite the diet being wholesome and nutritious, those particular nutrients are not kind to your system.

A good rule of thumb for any healthy approach to eating is to avoid fake foods, highly processed carbohydrates, and refined sugars.

But you’ll become aware rather quickly which foods improve your energy and weight, and which you do not tolerate well.

Consider journaling not only the foods you eat and their macronutrient content—carbs, proteins, and fats—but how you feel in the hours after eating. By doing so, you’ll see in black and white exactly which nutritional elements your body runs well on and which nutrients bog you down.


Check out our free 9-Week Nutrition Program based on Dr. Gus Vickery’s book, Authentic Health.