First things first…eating FAT does not make us fat. In fact, it can help you lose weight if eating the right type of fat whilst cutting down other foods. If you are wanting to lose weight, not only is increasing good fats in your diet important (think olive oil, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, avocado, good quality butter, ghee) but severely reducing or cutting out processed foods, sugar and reducing your carbohydrate intake is equally as important. This is primarily the basis of the LCHF diet or the Low Carb, High Fat diet.
Now, it’s important to realise that whenever I use the word DIET, please don’t conjure up restrictive type meal plans. I use the word diet to describe what we choose to put in our mouths which is the very definition of the word….some people might like to call their diet a lifestyle and for some it is. I find that diets change depending on what our body needs at the time so I like to call whatever I am currently eating – my diet!
Also keep in mind that I do NOT advocate one way of eating for everyone. To claim that there is only ‘ONE’ best way to eat for everyone is not my style. What I like to do is research, research, research and then try it on for size. I take the important parts from many schools of thought and bring them together to make them my own. I encourage you to do the same.
Now where were we? Oh yes! Fat!
I couldn’t think of anyone better to interview for this topic than the lovely Christine Cronau, nutritionist and author of The Fat Revolution and The Fat Revolution Cookbook. She is a Brisbane mum of 2 and has become very well known for her amazing books and well researched stance on FAT. I have read her books and find them the best (and tastiest!) reference books on the subject of weight loss and the LCHF diet.
One of the points I bring up in part one, is the fact that eating FAT does not make us fat and in fact, it can help you lose weight if eating the right types whilst cutting down other foods. This is primarily the basis of the LCHF diet or the Low Carb, high fat diet.
Now, it's important to realise that whenever I use the word DIET, please don't conjure up restrictive type meal plans. I use the word diet to describe what we choose to put in our mouths which is the very definition of the word....some people might like to call their diet a lifestyle and for some it is. I find that diets change depending on what our body needs at the time so I like to call whatever I am currently eating - my diet!
Also keep in mind that I do NOT advocate one way of eating for everyone. That is absurd thinking. To claim that there is only one way is not my style. What I like to do is research, research, research and then try it on for size. I take the important parts from many schools of thought and bring them together to make them my own. You may like to do the same.
Now where were we? Oh yes! Fat!
I couldn't think of anyone better to interview for this topic than the lovely Christine Cronau, nutritionist and author of The Fat Revolution and The Fat Revolution Cookbook. She is a Brisbane mum of 2 (like me!) and has become very well known for her amazing books and well researched stance on FAT. I have read her books and find them the best (and tastiest!) reference books on the subject of weight loss and the LCHF diet.
I really want you guys to have a read of The Fat Revolution if you are at all confused by the consumption of fat as this explains everything extremely well in an an easy to understand format. I have asked her to give away a few copies to you guys and she's agreed so YAY for that! We will get to the giveaway further down. In the meantime, let's get to know Christine a little and see what she says about the LCHF diet.
1. Could you tell us a bit about your personal health journey?
Many people take one look at me and automatically assume that I am one of those lucky people who can eat whatever they want and never gain weight. But, in fact, I am quite the opposite. My siblings and I grew up extremely poor, so my diet was almost exclusively carbohydrates. And, like most poor children, I grew up quite skinny and malnourished. But, once I turned 18, I started stacking on the kilos. This is extremely common on high carb diets, which is why it is not uncommon to see photos of obese women in third-world countries holding scrawny, malnourished babies. Once I started gaining weight in my late teens, I was quite shocked, and was embarrassed about my weight. I of course tried all the diets. But, they all failed miserably after a few days. I thought it was just my willpower. But, I have learned since then, it was nothing to do with willpower. I eventually became a low-fat vegetarian, and became “super” healthy. I was extremely careful to combine foods so that I received “adequate” protein. I ate a lot of lentils and other pulses with brown rice and vegetables. My morning breakfast was cereal with soy milk and a banana. My snacks were whole grain rye bread with either avocado or nut butter. I followed conventional health guidelines and practically eliminated butter. According to conventional wisdom, it was the perfect diet. I was able to shed the weight, but instead of my health improving, it declined rapidly, and I was eventually diagnosed with chronic fatigue.
2. What propelled you towards researching and following a LCHF lifestyle/diet?
I was fortunate enough to be directed to the right place. The nutritionist I went to see was more educated than most and pointed me in the right direction. He informed me that it was my “healthy” diet that was doing the damage. Even though I was combining foods, my blood tests showed that I was severely protein-deficient. I was losing calcium from my teeth and bones, and I was in my late 20s. I then changed my diet radically to low carb, high fat (LCHF). I started eating eggs and meat, and plenty of butter and other quality fats. I felt immediate benefit from eating fats again, but it had taken years for my body to get into that state, and it took me a good few years to fully recover. However, most conventional doctors, even if they recognise chronic fatigue as a disorder, think there is no cure. I am extremely grateful that I changed to this lifestyle at a fairly young age, and I saved myself a lifetime of chronic disease and illness, because that is exactly where I was headed. And, just a quick note to address my weight loss on my low-fat diet. Yes, I did lose weight. Why? Those “healthy” whole grains damaged my digestive system, and I became malabsorbed. And, this is extremely common. And, like most other people with leaky gut, I then started developing food allergies. So, the next time someone on a low fat, high carb diet tries to convince you that it is the way to go, have a look at how healthy they are. Are they glowing, or are they showing signs of premature ageing, have shadows under their eyes, and look tired. And, if they have a yellow-grey complexion, their health is in serious trouble.
3. Many nutritionists are jumping on the fat is good for you bandwagon finally. Why do you think you were ahead of your time in this regard?
I was lucky enough to have a friend who told me what she knew. Many people feel awkward about sharing something controversial, but it really does save lives. My friend is a GP, although she is raising children at the moment rather than practicing. I mentioned something to her about avoiding fat, and she simply mentioned to me that she had been doing some research about Weston Price (a dentist back in the early 1900s who noticed changes in our teeth and health with our change of diet) who suggested we should be eating more saturated fat, and that we may not be getting enough. Well, I was shocked, I had taken great care to eliminate as much saturated as I could from my diet. I listened to what she said, and I looked into it a little, but I rejected the idea. I thought this couldn’t possibly be right, because every health book, every health web site, and every conventional recommendation I had ever seen said otherwise. But, once the seed was planted, I kept coming back to it, and the more research I did, the more it made sense. When you think about it, our ancestors couldn’t possibly have eaten the way that is recommended today. I spent the next 10 years researching, and what I found was shocking. And, I now feel obligated to share what I know.
4. What is the hardest part about this diet/lifestyle?
Giving up raisin toast
Generally, I don’t find this lifestyle difficult, in fact I find it easier than what I was doing previously. As a low-fat vegetarian, you have to work quite hard to come up with tasty meals. I find that much easier with LCHF.
5. What is your best tip for people following a LCHF diet/lifestyle?
Make sure you eat enough fat! Most people hear the term ‘high fat’ and think that they are eating tons of fat (because they are compared to a low fat diet), but could drastically increase their fat intake. Often, they don’t really get it until they see me eating a meal This is one of the reasons I developed my new member program on my website. Members can enter their height and ideal weight and then have their ideal protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake calculated for them. And, most are shocked by the fat intake.
For more information, here is the link: www.christinecronau.com/why-become-a-member
6. What is another area that you would like to see a shift in thinking in mainstream health?
Basically, most advice we get from conventional health organisations is upside down or backwards. There are so many aspects. For example, just like our fat phobia caused us to eliminate essential nutrients from our diet, sun phobia has caused extreme vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is essential for good health, including heart health, healthy cells, hormones, immune system, digestion and more. Australia is one country we should not have vitamin D deficiency, yet the majority of Australians are vitamin D deficient. What few people know is that as our sun exposure has gone down, instances of skin cancer and melanoma have gone up. Does that make sense? Unfortunately, our change in diet increases risk of cancer, including skin cancer. Vegetable oils especially damage our cell membranes, and also interfere with our ability to heal UVA damage. The Fat Revolution goes into more detail about the real causes of skin cancer and the safe way to get the sun we need.
7. If you weren’t a nutritionist and author, what would you like to be?
Hmm, I have no idea! I have had a few different careers. I was a technical author for 15 years, which involved translating technical data into easy-to-read documents, a background which has been invaluable for reading scientific studies and then writing about them. I then became a property investor, and now I am a nutritionist, author and speaker. I certainly find this the most rewarding, and I enjoy making a real difference to people’s lives. And, I of course I enjoy my other long-term career as mother of my two beautiful children, Zac and Anna.
8. Tell us something people might not know about you?
I love working from home because I am much happier not dressing up—I am most comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt—or PJs.
9. Favourite quote?
“The diet-heart idea is the greatest scientific deception of our times.” Dr George Mann, Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry.
10. What is something you would say to someone unsure about embarking on the LCHF lifestyle/diet?
Take it one step at a time, go easy on yourself, and remember that it may take a while to correct hormone imbalances, adrenal stress, thyroid imbalance etc from years of a low fat, high carb diet. Most people see results right away, but for others, they need to give their body time to heal and readjust before they start seeing results with weight loss. The vilification of fat was the biggest health mistake in history. But, I feel a change coming. More people are now aware of the dangers of low fat diets, and are again embracing fat. I believe 2014 will be instrumental in this change as more people spread this message. And, the success stories keep flooding in. Not just stories about weight loss, but also significant health improvements; everything from acne and Alzheimer’s to Hashimotos. LCHF is probably the best thing you could ever do for your health.
Health and happiness
See why I wanted Christine to talk to you guys on this subject? She knows her stuff. She’s been on the journey personally and she is passionate about health and getting the message out there. This way may work for you, it may not! But it makes a lot of sense to me especially if losing weight is something you have tried and tried with no success. Why not give this a go?
I hope you have found this interview and blog helpful, I really hope the message of good fats helping us lead slimmer, healthier and more satisfied lives gets out there more and more because goodness knows there is some repair to do on this subject!
Spread the word (and the butter!)
Yours in health,