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1. Read more about The Calton Project > Calton Project – Calton Nutrition
2. Take the micronutrient sufficiency quiz Micronutrient Sufficiency Quiz
3. Jayson's study on micronutrient value of diets (PDF).
4. Obesity article Micronutrient Missing Link
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LIZ WOLFE: There it is. Hey everyone, I'm Liz Wolfe here with Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites, and a few special guests who we'll get to in a moment. Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. Just a reminder the materials and content contained in this podcast are for general health information only, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. So Diane, what's going on with you? I feel like Casey Kasem.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs] I know. Just hanging out in Pittsburgh. I'm back here hanging with the Food Lovers for a couple of weeks. I did this about a month ago, too, working on some stuff for my book project, so we have a lot going on, and a seminar coming up in a couple of weeks at CrossFit Pittsburgh, so if people are in the Pittsburgh area, definitely come check that out on February 4th. And actually this will probably air just a few days before that, so yeah, that's what I'm up to. And I'm excited because we have some really interesting guests today. I've been checking out their book and finding myself kind of nodding along the whole time as I'm reading, like yes, yes. This is all stuff I'm psyched that they're putting out there. A ton of names within our community have already put their stamp of [cuts out 1:16-119] Naked Calories, and I'm pretty sure, you know, Liz, you and I will be just two more kind of excited to share this book with people. What I love about it is that, it's explaining exactly what's going wrong when people are eating and living in a way that depletes their nutrient status and specifically, micronutrient status. So it's sort of the hows and whys of getting these problems reversed, and you know, we often hear about macronutrient ratios and balances, but really, it's micronutrients that are doing a lot of the work within our bodies to create strong tissues, build immunity, keep healthy on a regular basis, so a lot of what this book is about are things that, you know, as practitioners, we are educated on, but don't always get the time to speak about in depth. So let's welcome our guests to the show. We have Mira and Jason Calton, the authors of Naked Calories.
MIRA CALTON: Hi!
JAYSON CALTON: Hello.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Hey guys! Where are you guys today?
MIRA CALTON: Hi! How are you doing today?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Good. Where are you calling from?
MIRA CALTON: We're down here in Florida where it's still actually gorgeous out and we're lucky to have that weather.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Nice vitamin D. [laughs]
JAYSON CALTON: Exactly.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Exactly. So yeah, why don't you tell us and our listeners about who you guys are and how you came to write this book.
MIRA CALTON: Well, I'll start with me. I'm a licensed certified nutritionist now, but it all started because when I turned 30, I found out that I was diagnosed with advanced osteoporosis. So they told me I had the bone density of an 80 year old woman basically right around my 30th birthday.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Wow.
MIRA CALTON: I changed three things. Yeah. It was absolutely devastating. It changed everything in my life. I sold my company in New York, and basically became dependent on my sister down here in Florida, which is what brought me down here. And I didn't want to do any of the things that they had told me to do. I didn't want to get on the medications. They told me that they basically make you stare all-just all these horrible things that I just didn't believe in. And so I started looking for a natural approach to reverse my bone density, and luckily that's what led me on this search for the answer, which lead to micronutrient deficiency, which is how actually I met my husband, Dr. Jason Calton. At the time, I was just looking for a physician or a naturalist diet nutrition, who could help me find the answers, and he had been working with clients for over a decade already in nutrition. And when we sat down, we started looking at these micronutrients, at why I was so deficient, what was I doing to myself? And together we sort of reversed my condition within two years.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Wow, that's amazing. So was it at that point that you guys were like, well, this is information that we need to really bring to other people? What was the motivation behind taking, you know, some of that and turning it into this book?
JAYSON CALTON: Well, you know, I, for years, as Mira said, I had really been kind of, you know, along with some other great people on the frontlines of the diet world, you know, back in the 80s and in the early 90s. And even still today in some arenas, we constantly talk, as you said, about the macronutrients, you know. What diet…what macronutrient manipulations of proteins, carbs, and fats should I follow? Where is that Holy Grail of manipulation, and you know, for a long time, we thought maybe it was 40-30-30 or it was low fat, or it was low car, or whatever it may be. But when I met Mira, she took me aback because everything that we were doing with diet kind of really went down with her condition of osteoporosis, went down to that micronutrient level, you know. It doesn't really matter too much so long as she's sufficient in everything, whether or not she's eating higher amounts of fat or higher amounts of carbs or higher amounts of protein. You know, are we going to be able to reverse this condition, we really had to look at her vitamin D and her calcium and her vitamin K, and all these other micronutrients. So I'm kind of thankful for that opportunity because it allowed us to really focus on kind of you know a topic that's not really talked about a lot in our field, and that's those micronutrients and how important they really are to the overall picture, and overall being able to create this optimal health.
So from at that point, once we reversed her condition, we then said, you know, wait a minute. Maybe there's more conditions out there that are really linked to the micronutrients. You know, of course you are probably aware with the DASH diet, and the DASH diet talks a lot about becoming sufficient in potassium and magnesium and calcium in order to prevent and reverse hypertension or high blood pressure. There's a lot of research out there with chromium, and its connection with diabetes or CoQ10, and its connection to heart disease. So what we did is we went on a 6 year global expedition, and we wanted to travel around the world to get an opportunity to look at and study and live with and eat with remote tribes and semi-remote people as well as urban people to be able to figure out if lifestyle disease and dietary habits were causing disease. And this was a trip very similar to Weston A. Price.
LIZ WOLFE: My favorite guy.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So basically-
MIRA CALTON: Yeah. Well, we were always impressed by what he was saying, and it actually, when we went around and did it ourselves for 6 years was unbelievable. I mean, we were travelling through remote places that had never even heard of these diseases, and they were still living completely the way their ancestors had, and they had no health concerns. So once we did that, we basically said, well, this is crazy. We can reverse my condition, these other people aren't even getting these conditions. We have to write this book. We have to put it in paper, and just tell everybody, this is a pandemic right now of micronutrient deficiency, and if we can reverse it, we can prevent a lot of these diseases. It's a long answer to why we wrote the book, but that's really the truth.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So….no! I think that's great, and you know, Liz was just saying, sometimes people have a hard time telling us apart when we're talking, I guess. Our voices sound similar, but Liz was just saying Weston A. Price is like her favorite guy. The school that she studied at is very focused and centered on Weston A. Price teachings, so amazing. An amazing thing for you guys to do that, in even more modern times now, but obviously there are still tribes living as you said, the way that their ancestors did. So what are some things, you know…we always try and like to get some deeper information out there, but then also kind of boil it back up to okay, what are people doing on a daily basis to affect these things? So what are some of the biggest things that people are doing every day that are depleting their micronutrient status?
MIRA CALTON: Well, we separate it into two different things. The first part is eating poorly. We're eating things that are poor in micronutrients. We have a Rich Food Poor philosophy where we choose things that are rich in micronutrients over those are void or have been depleted. So one, the first part, the first component is those poor dietary habits. Anything that's boxed, bagged, bottled, you know, all those things. High fructose corn syrup. The sugar. All these things-factory farming. Not grass-fed meats. Non-pastured chickens. All of these modern conveniences that are really depriving us and depleting us of these essential micronutrients. So that's the first part, which I had all of those things in New York. Those boxes were checked. I really was not taking care of myself.
The second part is the lifestyle habits, and these are things like the stress, the living in a city that has a lot of smog, which you don't think about, smoking, alcohol, things that you can choose whether or not you do. Even, I mean, your dietary habits. If you choose to be on a specific type of diet, and eat the same foods all the time, you're obviously not going to get some of these micronutrients that you're leaving out of your diet. And exercise. Exercise, although it's a completely healthy, and we suggest everyone should exercise, the more you work out, the more you utilize these micronutrients, and the more you need your punish.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think that's really interesting.
LIZ WOLFE: I have a quick question, Diane.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Go ahead.
LIZ WOLFE: Can I jump in?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Absolutely.
LIZ WOLFE: Now I will find-we will have heard, I think the week before this podcast goes live that I have been completely incommunicado like out of cell phone, internet, and text message range for a little bit, and so I may ask a few questions that you guys have addressed already in your book and stuff like that, but I do want to ask. So when we're talking about these diseases of civilization, like we've talked about, you know, we all kind of recognize Type 2 Diabetes as a disease of civilization, tooth decay, things like that. It did not occur to me that just the conceptualizing that osteoporosis could be a disease of civilization, which is kind of a Weston A. Price term. So is that something that you would agree with? That osteoporosis is kind of disease of civilization?
MIRA CALTON: Absolutely because the things that I was doing to myself, these people, these remote tribes that we go and visit were-would never consider doing. For example, you know, alcohol consumption, you know, that obviously is going to deplete and make it so the stomach lining can't absorb the micronutrients. That's from civilization. You know, what other things-I'm just trying to think. Exercise. For me, it was a lot of stress and a lot of things that, you know, these people, when we go to other cultures, they're 100, they're still working in the field, and they don't have osteoporosis.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Mm-hmm.
LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.
MIRA CALTON: So I would definitely-go ahead.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think you… Oh, no. I think one of the things that you had mentioned too which is pretty common like the people that are listening to this podcast are usually eating like a Paleo or a Primal type of diet, but we do have a more broad spectrum audience. Some people who are really new to this whole approach, which is a pretty nutrient dense diet, but when we're coming from-a lot of people coming from like the low fat, you know, a lot of processed foods, trying not to eat a lot of calories, and you know, what is it about that kind of approach that is really setting people up for failure when it comes to dieting?
JAYSON CALTON: Well, you know, I published a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition that people can read, and what we did is we looked just at that exact question. Because you know, we're always getting clients come in, and whether you know, whatever diet they're following, you're right. It always comes down to two basic premises. If we're trying to lose weight. Eat less and exercise more. And those two things are major major micronutrient depleters. If we're eating less, then obviously, you know, we're getting less micronutrients because food is a component of two basic elements. Our calories, which obviously are composed of the macronutrients: proteins, carbs, and fat, and the micronutrients. And when the micronutrients are stripped away from that calorie, we're left with naked calories. And so, and the same thing happens as Mira mentioned earlier with exercise. You know, we all watch the, you know, Gatorade commercials on television that say you know, after exercise, replenish your electrolytes. But a lot of people don't put two and two together, and think, wow, those electrolytes are micronutrients. And it's not just sodium and potassium in these things. It's also our selenium, and it's calcium, and it's our magnesium, and it's our zinc that are being utilized when we're exercising and sweating. So in the study we looked at the Atkins Diet, we looked at the Best Life Diet, we looked at the DASH Diet, and we also looked at the South Beach Diet. And we just wanted to take a handful of different dietary philosophies, and we looked at the books themselves, and we took the recipes and the daily recommendations as far as menus were concerned directly from their texts, and we looked at the foods down to the last gram. And we calculated whether or not an individual following these diets could become micronutrient sufficient in 27 basic essential micronutrients. And our findings, and our findings are in the book, I won't reveal it for your people, but are pretty eye-opening as far as just how deficient these diets that are put together by some of the top medical and nutritional professionals in the world are, when it comes to being able to become sufficient in our essential micronutrients.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: That's-it's definitely an interesting comparison to draw on. I usually challenge a lot of you know, my readers or even some of my clients to take a minute to start to enter their food into a calculator, not to be nitpicky about weighing and measuring, but so that people can see exactly what you're talking about when you follow a certain diet for a certain period of time. You know, where you get stuck in a funk of eating, you know, the certain foods that you have, make it 10 or 20 foods, and you're ignoring some others. You could very easily just ignore certain micronutrients that, you know, hopefully that over time, we can balance things out. But yeah, I think it is really important to do that, and you know, interestingly, I think the comparison has been done with the Paleo Diet, and obviously a Paleo diet is very different for everyone. But just kind of showing how a lot of the nutrition that comes from it, sometimes even looks like a supplement because people are eating a lot of micronutrients in, you know, a diet rich in grass-fed meats, wild caught fish, vegetables, fruits, that you guys recommend.
So what is it that you would think…are you guys pretty familiar with what we're doing with the Paleo or Primal type of diet? So if I ask questions that are framed in that way, are you guys okay with that?
JAYSON CALTON: Of course. Yes.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Okay, cool.
JAYSON CALTON: Absolutely.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So what do you think for our listeners then, who are already probably avoiding a lot of sugar-laden foods and processed foods, but they are following this Paleo or Primal template, what do you think that they can do to further optimize their health via their micronutrient status? What are some things that maybe they are missing or just not taking into account?
JAYSON CALTON: Well, you know, first of all, we think that a Paleo diet does a great job at setting the foundation for creating a sufficient state of many of the micronutrients. It's-In Naked Calories, we really try to educate people that you know, it's not as easy as sitting down with a pen and a piece of paper and just calculating the amount of micronutrients that are in your food because we have to look at other factors. And our ultimate goal with Naked Calories is not to tell the reader that they're doing the wrong thing, but instead to really open up their eyes to teach them how to take that next step. Now that we've taken the step to create a diet profile that seems to work for us and that we like eating, let's learn how we can create that micronutrient sufficiency rather than just kind of bury our head in the sand, and just say, well, I'm just going to do the best I can. I think this dietary philosophy will probably, you know, check most of the boxes. Let's not do that. Let's really look at it. And so it comes down to things like oxalic acid, you know, in spinach, for instance. You know, when you look at spinach, and it has 230, you know, milligrams of calcium in a 10 oz bag. Oh, I'm sorry, 281 milligrams in a 10 oz bag. But when it comes down to what we can actually absorb because of that oxalic acid, which binds the calcium, magnesium, and iron, and doesn't allow necessarily our body to absorb it, which is just a natural thing in that food. We only absorb 28 milligrams. So we have to remember to calculate that into the equation. We also have to remember to calculate stress into the equation and all those lifestyle habits that Mira was talking about. So if we're going to maybe end the day with a glass of wine or if we're going to be exercising as we've talked about before, we need to calculate that. What about over the counter medications? Each one of these over the counter medications depletes essential micronutrients. You know, getting to know your pharmacist is a great thing because these pharmacists are a wealth of information as to exactly what side effects many of these over the counter and prescription medications have and one of those major side effects is micronutrient depletion.
So you know, it's really painting a broader picture and saying okay, let's get down to the nitty gritty here. While your basic mathematics may show close to sufficiency range, by the time we add in all these other factors, it probably is going to be a really good idea as an insurance policy to take a well formulated multivitamin on top of even a very well thought out diet, just to make sure we create that micronutrient sufficient state because that's ultimately kind of the first step towards optimal health.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So that was-we did have that question.
LIZ WOLFE: Now…
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I'm sorry. Go ahead.
LIZ WOLFE: Oh that's me, Liz. I wanted to just kind of jump in real quick and kind of looking at this in kind of a triangular way, right? So we've got you know this idea that it's probably a good idea to take a well-formulated multivitamin, and you've got these other two points here that I wanted to kind of see if you all would talk about, which A. is kind of, I think Mira was talking about it, your ability to actually draw in these nutrients based on the health of your digestive system for this second point of the triangle, and then third, the health and the nutrient richness of the soil that our foods are kind of-that our foods are grown in, so those nutrients are more rich in the food. Because I know…I've talked about before. Apparently, you know, if you're growing, you know, vegetables in kind of depleted soil, it's going to look like a vegetable, but it's not going to have all those goodies in it that we think it does.
MIRA CALTON: Absolutely. So let's start with the soil question because that's where the nutrients start. So we're going to look at…the problem with the soil today is that it's just not going to give us what it would have given our parents or our grandparents. It's not producing the same things because farmers have…are trying to produce a lot of crop. But they're not getting paid to have the most nutritious crop. And until we change that, we're just going to get a whole bunch of things that look pretty, but don't taste like anything. And you can tell if a food is rich in micronutrients because it has something really important: flavor! I mean, people keep forgetting that, but a good piece of a fruit is going to taste good. When it just tastes like a big thing of water, it's because there's no micronutrients in it. So even if you just look at an apple, and the adage came for a reason. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Because it used to. But the problem with the apple today, it's nothing like the apple that our grandparents would have eaten. So 80 years ago, for example, calcium in an apple would have been at 13 milligrams. Now it's down half of that. So we've lost 50% of the calcium in the apple. We've lost almost 100%…99% of the potassium in the apple is now gone. And that's because it's not coming from our soil. Iron, almost 100%. Because all these things are being heavily depleted. But we just want to make sure that people, when they look at these numbers from the USDA, not everything is being counted for. So when you're looking at, you know, when people look at these old charts, and they start adding in how much they're getting, just make sure that they take into account that not only is it depleted from the soil, but then it's traveled to your table. So the longer and farther it travels, the more depletion takes place because it's hitting light, it's hitting heat, and it's…and air is the third one. All three of those factors deplete them further of micronutrients. So if you're not buying your food locally, and it's travelling from a great distance, which most of the stuff in the grocery store unfortunately does, it's losing even more micronutrients. So the soil, and then the factory farming, the transportation of all this stuff pretty much is killing the food before it arrives to your table.
LIZ WOLFE: Nice. Yeah, I like that. [laughs] I mean, I don't like where it's going, but…
MIRA CALTON: It's getting bad for you, right? But if you look at it, I tell people, like look at the salad, and basically say, if it came out of a bag of salad, you know, pretty much you might as well eat the bag because you're not really getting any nutrients. [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Well, so that's…
MIRA CALTON: You're always going to find some that are left in there, but it's really…
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah.
MIRA CALTON: important to make sure that you're trying to source the best quality of food because it's your money that's going into it. So don't waste your money on something that really isn't the best that you can buy.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Right, and that's kind of the flip side of okay, so the first step is to stop eating and doing the things that are depleting us, and then the next step really is to make sure that the foods that we are eating are not just sort of a like a carrier of water, and a lack of nutrition, and I think….this is kind of another question I had with regards to the whole micronutrients status of maybe a person, like what their status is in their body, but also of their food. I'm wondering what do you think those who are dealing with like weight loss resistance essentially, meaning, you know, doing quote unquote everything right, but are really still struggling to lose large amounts of body fat, you know, what should they know about micronutrients that are critical to their success and maybe with this whole issue of absorption, what they may not be absorbing for different reasons and kind of how can they maybe work with a practitioner to find what's happening there?
JAYSON CALTON: Right, well, again, I'll talk about another article that we published because you're hitting kind of them right on…right on the head of the nail here. In the Journal of the American Association of Integrative Medicine, I published a study asking could micronutrient deficiency be the missing link in the fight against obesity. And there's a couple of us nutritional theorists out there who are starting to kind of connect the dots to…between, I should say, obesity and micronutrient deficiency. You know, for a long time, in this country, and I suppose still many physicians and nutritionists today are still trying to beat into our heads that obesity is because these people are just overeating and they just don't know how to eat, and if they just knew how to eat, we wouldn't have a problem with obesity in this country, and you know, that's a hard argument when year after year after year, you know, college-educated people who are running major corporations, even physicians, doctors, nutritionists themselves are continuously becoming overweight and obese, and so we have to…it begs the question why are we eating these foods in the way that so many of us are. And we bring up the point, what if it's because our bodies need a certain amount of essential micronutrients to function correctly, and as we talked about, essential micronutrients historically have been kind of connected to calories in our food. This is the only place where we can get them other than vitamin D from the sun. So if the micronutrients really are being stripped from the calories, and we are eating naked calories, then it would stand to reason that individuals whose…who genetically kind of more in tune with their body would continuously eat copious amounts of food trying to satisfy that essential micronutrient that needs to be satisfied, but since it's not in the food anymore, they find themselves overeating. Now that's kind of simplistic in form, but I think if we delve into that, we'll start to see that there's probably a very good chance that this is going to be at the basis of why so many people are eating so many calories.
MIRA CALTON: just one simple…a couple of simple examples are…I was a sugaraholic. I mean, I remember, you know, before we figured this all out, gummy fish I thought were like the best thing that ever, you know, hit a table. And I just used to love eating sugary food, but what I found out was, that a craving for sugar is like any other food craving. It has to do with micronutrient deficiencies. So basically, when you're calcium deficient, you start craving a lot of sweet things. So if you could say that even one micronutrient deficiency can lead to eating certain foods, you could see how somebody who really is deficient in a lot of them across the board is just going to start overeating to a greater extent, and they've proven over and over again that certain deficiencies, like a vitamin D deficiency on average causes the woman on average to be 16 pounds heavier. So if we know that they're so intrinsically linked, we really have to look at that as being very important to somebody who's trying to lose weight.
JAYSON CALTON: Right, I mean, this is one of the major reasons why we did that study on those diets because we wanted to find out if perhaps over the last 20 or 30 years in this country, we've been dieting ourselves right into the obesity and overweight epidemics.
LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So then from your take, there may or may not be, you know, one or two specific micronutrients that overarching are contributing to, you know, obesity but more so, depending on the individual and what their situation is, obviously some people may be dealing with sugar cravings, some may not. And you know, all who are dealing with either obesity or even just like I was talking about, weight loss resistant. They need to kind of figure out what it is that they're maybe deficient in, so is this something that people can sort of…and this is a question from one of our listeners…is it something that people can observe, you know, in their daily life? Okay, these are signs and symptoms of a calcium deficiency. Or these are signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency. So if I'm experiencing that, and I'm also having trouble losing weight, that's maybe something I should figure out how to increase my absorption, whether it's through food and other supplementation, or, you know, how can they figure out what they're deficient in? Is it, you know, do they have to do blood work? Should it be like an organic acid urine test panel, that kind of thing….what's kind of the best way for people to figure this out?
JAYSON CALTON: Well, you know, it's…that's a great question, and once you hear it, and once you kind of look at the problem, the mind starts to swim almost immediately, and starts to think, Oh my gosh, so is it iron? Is it calcium? Is it magnesium? How am I supposed to know? Should I have my blood work done? How many pills am I going to have to take? What foods am I going to have to do? You know, maybe my depression or my sleeping patterns are because of my micronutrient deficiencies, and it becomes very overwhelming very fast. And there's a lot of different techniques to dealing with this. A lot of people like to go and say, go to their doctor and say, test me for D, and then they start taking D, and then they say, test me for iron, and then they start taking iron, and it becomes a game of balance. But we don't want people to look at it like that. You know, it really is a broad spectrum. It's really…that's why we use the term “micronutrient sufficiency.” So instead of trying to figure out which one I'm deficient in, and what would I have to take more of, you know, because that can become a very dangerous game, too. For instance, if you're deficient in iron, and we start taking iron pills, don't forget there's micronutrient interactions or what we term “micronutrient competitions” that exist between different vitamins and minerals, and iron competes with over ten different essential micronutrients, meaning that it could actually block the absorption of these other micronutrients if taken at the same time.
So it's a complicated web, in all reality, but the simple, easy answer, and really and truly, having dealt with, you know, been lucky enough to deal with thousands of clients over the last 20 years, the answer we believe, and we've laid out in Naked Calories is instead, first, eat the most micronutrient rich foods you can. Make good choices in your foods. No supplement is going to do better for you than food, so we are absolutely Food First people. We do not believe you can just go out and buy a good multivitamin and say, you know, who cares about the diet. It doesn't work that way. There's things that we don't even know exist in food, and the ways that they work, we are just beginning to understand them in nutrition. We're really in our infancy there. But the next thing then would be to look at my dietary or my lifestyle habits. You know, personally, am I a person who drinks wine on a daily, or, you know, multiple times during the week? Am I a person who exercise a lot? Am I a person who drinks a lot of coffee or is stressed out at work? And so we evaluate that. And then lastly, add to that. It's a three step program. Add to that a good multivitamin as an insurance policy, and with doing that, you're almost assured to be micronutrient sufficient across the board.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I think you made a really good point, too, about the food first. And this is one of the reasons why, you know, as practitioners, a lot of clients will come to us and you know, they're taking a lot of different supplements, and what you said, we don't always know how much of that supplement they're absorbing. We don't know how much that's potentially getting in the way of some other issues that they're having, and when we're eating these things in food, if you're looking for more iron, and you're not eating iron-rich foods, or if you're not eating, you know, animal forms of iron in your food.
JAYSON CALTON: Right.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Well, you know, when you do get it in the food, it comes with all the complementary nutrients needed for its absorption, and you know, for the processes in the body to happen right to absorb it without being the same type of situation where it's just isolated in a pill form. So I think that's something that, you know, a lot of people just don't think about or forget or sort of take for granted in our food, and I like that this is also another sort of big checkmark in the column for why food quality matters so much. You know, a lot of times, we're trying to get people to just step away from, you know, bread and processed foods, and that's a big deal. But then, you know, we have trouble sometimes selling, you know, the last few people on food quality because there's some cost issues. But when we look at, you know, it's not spending as much on supplements possibly, and obviously not maybe getting into a lot of prescription medications when people do change their food, you know, it's worth it, right? You know, they're getting so much more quality and nutritional value. They're getting essentially supplementation as they might think of it in their local, organic, grass-fed, you know, food and meat and produce. So I think Liz has another question for you guys.
LIZ WOLFE: I do. I wanted to…you mentioned a little bit about chromium earlier, and something that I'm curious about as, you know, a micromineral, is what kind of…I don't know. What can you say about chromium? I actually started taking a,..some Brewer's Yeast from sugar beets to…'cause I had heard that there is some kind of effect potentially on the skin. I had heard about the glucose tolerance factor, and interestingly enough, a couple of my clients who I've put on kind of a high quality chromium-based supplement have actually come back with really improved blood work. So I wanted to see if you guys could comment on chromium at all.
JAYSON CALTON: Sure. I mean, chromium is a interesting micronutrient. There's a couple different forms of chromium, so right off the bat, you know, there's chromium picolinate, which is probably the typical one found in a supplement. And then we have something called chromium polynicotinate, and I probably would recommend the polynicotinate, and that's because the polynicotinate is bound to niacin, and that's the natural form that you want to…that the body can utilize it in. So when we're…when we are going to supplement with chromium, I think it's important to utilize that particular form. Also chromium is just tied intrinsically to diabetes. You know, it's going to help with our blood sugar levels and we can get chromium through food as well. But we see a lot of really good changes in blood chemistry from our clients who make sure that they just get the hundred and twenty micrograms, which is just the RDI of chromium, either through their diet or through their supplement.
I mean, obviously, the meat…lean meats are great for chromium. Broccoli is really high in chromium. Cheese, nuts, you know all these foods, you can find chromium in high quantity. You have to watch out for your medications because there are certain medications like diuretics and beta blockers that can actually block chromium, or deplete it as well.
MIRA CALTON: Also just…that's one of the nutrients that's actually an indicator of stabilized weight over a long period. So if somebody is deficient in chromium, they're likely to yo-yo a lot, whereas sufficiency actually is shown to be one of the things that keeps the weight off once you lose it.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: That's really interesting. It's actually one of the things in my Sugar Detox program that I have people just kind of become aware of because chromium is, you know, known for helping people who are dealing with a lot of sugar cravings and issues like that, so yeah, that's a really interesting one.
The other thing I wanted to ask you guys about, and I'd seen a new clip that you had done recently about improving immunity, you know, it's winter. It's cold and flu season, and I've had a bunch of people saying, you know, they're trying keep up with their diet and keep things really clean, but then they get hit with a cold or flu, and they're just struggling. So what can you tell people about…?
MIRA CALTON: I can't even tell you the last time I got a cold. [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: you know, I got hit..
MIRA CALTON: It really is… you have to catch a cold.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: I know. I feel like it happens to me only if I just haven't slept well, maybe I'm traveling a lot, and then I'm around just, you know, I was at the gym and maybe 20 people were sick that week. And I knew, you know, I hadn't slept well that week and my immunity is always, you know, always lower if I just haven't slept well.
MIRA CALTON: Right.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: But I think a lot of people don't-they're not really in tune with that, but yeah, what can you tell people just about what to look out for with increasing immunity because people are always asking what to do once they're suck, and I just usually tell them to keep doing what they know to do with bone broth and nutrient dense foods, but you know, then I like to make sure they know, okay, how are you working on building immunity so that as you said, you don't get sick. And also recognizing, and this is something that I love that you mentioned, because I teach about this, too, that like 70 to 80% of our immune system is in our gut. So what can we do to build immunity, to build gut health, and looking at that from a micronutrient status?
MIRA CALTON: Well, I'll tell you. I eat yogurt every single morning. We get natural, raw yogurt from a farmer here in town, and it is just filled with those probiotics, with those live active cultures. And they have actually proven that if you have probiotics regularly, you actually increase your immunity, and those people in studies who did it regularly reduce their sickness and their sick days that they had to take by 33%. So it does work. And we just want to make sure that also when someone starts to feel like they're getting sick, like you know, somebody's getting the shivers or something, don't go to the store, like we said, and buy an over the counter medication. You are doing yourself a complete disservice as all you're doing is taking out those exact same nutrients that are going to keep you healthy. You're actually depleting them every single time you take it. So say you take aspirin. That's going to actually steal the vitamin C and zinc, two essential immunity building micronutrients. So you just want to be careful. Antibiotics deplete 9 essential micronutrients. So that's the worst thing you can do. You want to eat things on a consistent basis that are going to keep your gut clean, like those probiotics, and then you want to pick some things that are also going to have other great immune resources and that's beef, for Paleos, beef is fantastic because it has high levels of zinc.
You want to add some?
JAYSON CALTON: Sure, yeah. I mean, it's important that we look at zinc. I mean, we see some of these over the counter medications that use zinc as an ingredient, and you know, they've done the studies, and they said that if you do take this, then you can lower the amount of time that you might have a cold. Well, you know, the time to be worrying about micronutrients sufficiency is not after you have the cold, it's always before. And so again, when we come back to the overall message of Naked Calories is to create a micronutrient sufficient state through a realistic and sustainable lifestyle, which is very important to understand. Again, that's why our three steps are so easy to follow and simple because what's the point of creating sufficiency if it's not realistic and it's not sustainable. We're just going to fall back into our old habits, we're going to become deficient again, and then we're going to be susceptible to colds, flus, and other chronic illnesses and disease.
So you know, zinc is important because it helps to build white blood cells, and white blood cells, you know, are like our little military in there. They go and they fight the bacteria and they fight the virus, and so it's important to be sufficient in that nutrient as well. Beta-carotene helps to fight T-cells and makes what's known as natural killer cells in the body, so that helps with immunity. But really, I mean, we could go down the list and almost every single micronutrient obviously has its role in our overall immune system. I mean, if we're weak in one of the micronutrients, that creates that weak link. And the old adage is true, you're only as strong as your weakest link. And with micronutrients, it's the same way. So again, focusing and trying to like super infuse vitamin C, you know, it's…while I don't necessarily think there's too much wrong with vitamin C because it doesn't really compete with very many nutrients…actually I don't think it competes with any others, so that's a pretty safe one if you're going to take higher levels. But at the same time, that's not the answer to the question…to the equation. The overall, it's becoming just sufficient in those micronutrients, not trying to mega dose.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: And so is this where, you know, two of the big things that I focus on in when I teach seminars are blood sugar regulation and not eating foods that will put us on a roller coaster, and then, you know, as a byproduct, which you guys teach about, you know, will deplete micronutrient status obviously, you know, foods that are high in carbohydrates without being high in nutrients, which are usually refined foods. So I teach about that, but also the second component that I think is pretty critical which is gut health overall. And I think Mira touched on this with the whole probiotic, the content in yogurt, and I know, you know, Liz and I frequently talk about things like raw kombucha, or raw sauerkraut primarily to help with that, too. And I think all of those different foods will contribute different probiotics to help, you know, even out what's happening. But do you guys feel that you know, keeping that gut lining and your gut health in check is really sort of like paramount to getting your micronutrient status where it needs to be? Because once you are eating this diet that's rich in micronutrients, you know, not much will happen if you're not actually absorbing it.
JAYSON CALTON: Absolutely. That's such a good point. I mean, you know, we can talk about micronutrient sufficiency til we're blue in the face, but if our gut can't absorb those micronutrients, then, you know, we've lost the battle before we've even begun. So I think that, you know, it's probably the point that really needs to be driven home more often than it is. Our gut health is very important, and we must make sure that we are able to absorb those micronutrients through the gut. Otherwise, like you said, it isn't going to do us any good to take them in.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So what do you guys have in terms of what, you know, what people are doing that may be impairing their ability to digest and absorb food, and what kind of advice do you have? I know, I obviously I have my own list of advice on that, but do you guys usually recommend for keeping that gut lining, you know, intact and working properly?
MIRA CALTON: Well, probiotics, fermented foods…it really depends on what kind of a diet they're following. We always try to look first at what kind of a diet the individual's following, and then try to find some that's going to fit into their diet profile. That's sort of how we work, so, you know, fermented foods, if you're doing the Paleo, if you're low fat person, they're probably going to do it, probably a non fat yogurt, but I mean, the cool thing is that, and study after study, I mean, there's so many different strains of these probiotics that are in these foods that they actually test them on these different virus strains. And really unless you're doing almost all of them, you're not going to kill all of them. Because they said across the board that they only…they attack specific things. So the more of them that you can take in, the more different methods that you can use in your own life, the healthier your gut's going to be.
JAYSON CALTON: Yeah, I mean, a strong..
LIZ WOLFE: Yeah…go ahead, sorry.
JAYSON CALTON: No, I was going to say a strong, diverse gut bacteria is really really good. I mean, there's so many different, you know, again, when we go back to what we, you know, travelling around the world and really looking at these different cultures, we found so many different cultures eating different foods, and then of course, eating seasonally, so if we're eating, you know, seasonally, let's say in the winter, we're going to have a different gut bacteria. That gut bacteria's going to be very different because that bacteria isn't going to feed off sugar, like perhaps somebody who eats a lot of carbohydrates or whose diet is based on carbohydrates. You know, somebody who's eating mostly meats and fats, like you would in the winter in a natural, remote area, that gut bacteria's going to be a different gut bacteria. But there's always going to be remnant. And as they go through the seasons, and as their foods change, obviously, as their seasons change, that gut bacteria's very strong, you know, that's a weak link in our society because we do tend to eat the same things. You know, we get a diet philosophy in our head, and then we say, well, that's the gospel, and off we go and we eat that every day for the rest of our lives. Or at least we kind of plan to. And that sometimes doesn't provide the most diverse gut bacteria possible.
LIZ WOLFE: I do love that point. This is Liz talking here. I love the point about having that diverse gut bacteria. One of the things that Diane and I had talked about a couple of weeks ago was the idea of your probiotic…you're well served if the quality of your probiotic reflects your environment. So what I mean by that is, making your own kombucha or making your own sauerkraut, like Diane does. Bringing in kind of those different just components from your surroundings is going to create kind of a probiotic strain that's appropriate for you and your environment and where you are. Not to say that something you buy at the store or something that you have shipped in isn't fantastic, but I think it's great to have that local idea in mind with everything from food all the way down to probiotics. I think that's really cool.
MIRA CALTON: It was interesting when we were in India once. We were travelling and everybody gets what they call “Delhi belly.” I mean it's…most everyone is going to get sick at some point. And of course we had packed with us all of our, you know, our tools. We have our probiotics and our guts will be fine. Of course, we get there, and we're not fine. And we find a local nutritional guy that came to us to see. We were lucky enough. And he gave us a little jar and told us to drink. Now you're really taking…you have to have a lot of faith to do this, but it was really quite amazing. He basically said that anything we would have would not be appropriate for the gut bacteria that we would need being there because the foods were so different. And it's a perfect example of just, you know, you have to take it from your own environment.
LIZ WOLFE: Mm-hmm.
JAYSON CALTON: Right. So it was interesting that, in that the instance which Mira's talking about is…I was actually the one who basically was suffering, and of course, I suffered for as long as I could, and I'm not going to take medication if I can help it, so we did go a natural path, and we looked for an individual who was going to help us naturally. And he said basically I'm going to do is I'm going to introduce a gut bacteria, a very strong gut bacteria into you through drinking a liquid, and it would be strong enough to be able to fight off the problem that was happening in my gut. And literally, I can tell you amazingly, and though it may sound strange, it was almost immediate from the time that I drank it to the time I started feeling better. And we've been back to India since, and we have never had a problem since then, And so, and we cured that food poisoning or that “Delhi belly” as they call it, just by adding a strong gut bacteria to our, you know, just by drinking it.
MIRA CALTON: The same is true of people who have allergies. They often say if you just take some tea with a local honey because that being just local, it's not the same as going to the grocery store and you pour some honey in a cup of tea, it has to be from the bees in that area, and that's another thing, you know, that people use a lot as a curing method, but again it all comes down to what you're eating and where you live and what season you're in.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: So on top of this whole topic of traveling abroad and experiencing some difficulty, I think it's pretty common that people come back from travel abroad and have issues with gut infections or different pathogens that they've been encountered or that they encountered, and they come back with just a different health status than when they left. And a lot of times they don't experience the side effects or the effects of that pathogen for many many months or even a year later, and you know, I'll even see this in some clients where I try and get back to when their problem started, and then we talk about, you know, have you traveled abroad in the last however long. They tell me when they traveled, and you know, as it turns out, that sort of was the precipitating factor. So I'm curious, Jayson, how often you see that in your practice of, you know, where basically, you know, travel abroad or different types of gut pathogens are really at the root of some of the problems that might bring people to you.
JAYSON CALTON: Well, I wouldn't say it's a common thing. You know, for what…maybe it's that most Americans don't really travel abroad a whole lot or perhaps it's because most of my clients come to me when they already have chronic diseases or health conditions that, you know, we basically look at more with the micronutrient and with a macronutrient manipulation. I haven't really come across a whole lot of that with my clients as far as, you know, their condition coming from a pathogen that they picked up maybe years ago….who was it?
MIRA CALTON: [xxx]
JAYSON CALTON: Oh, yes, I have had one client, yes. I actually have had one client, and that was actually…it changed his life completely. But for him, it took him on a path where he got off alcohol correctly…altogether. He started eating well, and it really kind of shocked him into the reality that, you know, that he really needed to start looking at his diet. So in that aspect it was good. But other than that, I haven't really found a lot of it.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: It's just an interesting thing, too, because I think potentially the groups of people that we're all encountering, you know, can be pretty diversified based on, you know, geography, wherever we're located or you know, the types of diets that they're already eating, and you know, for the most part, people who come to me are either already eating a Paleo diet or mostly, you know, and so I don't actually get a lot of people who unfortunately are eating, you know, refined foods, which those are my favorite because then I can help them even more with just their diet and lifestyle. But yeah, we get a lot of kind of complex, quote unquote doing everything right issues and just needing to kind of dig a little bit deeper, so…we have just a couple more minutes, so what else do you guys want to tell people just about you know, what you think is important for them to take away, and you know, maybe some things again from sort of this Paleo perspective, if there's anything you think that would be important for people to take note of or just about your book in general, and of course where they can find it.
JAYSON CALTON: Well, they can find Naked Calories at, you know, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, online pretty much everywhere. Books A Million as well as on our website. And they can come and learn a lot about what we talked about today on the website. It's Calton…C-A-L-T-O-N Nutrition.com. You know, I think the biggest message we really want to have people come away is with Naked Calories is the micronutrient sufficiency message, you know. Start looking at that. Add that to kind of your arsenal when you're trying to create, you know, an optimal health situation. Really take some time to delve in to just how micronutrient sufficient or deficient you might be. We've got a great, very easy, it's a free 50 question quiz on our website where people can come on and they can just answer, like I said, about 50 questions, and it will give them a good snapshot of where they are as far as being micronutrient sufficient or deficient, and we'll help them understand how much this may be affecting them. And again, it's not, you know, it's a not a bloodworm, it's not a scientific thing, but it really does help the client kind of say, well, you know, I've got a lot of factors in my life that may be affecting me or you know, what I'm doing really pretty well, and I'm right on track for where I want to be. So that's why we created that.
MIRA CALTON: I guess I just want to add that, you said a lot of people have that difficult time with that step of spending more money on these better foods, correct?
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, some people are, you know, they kind of want to hem and haw over that, yeah that last detail.
MIRA CALTON: Like, a lot of people stop…don't think about what makes the grass-fed beef better than the, you know, corn-fed beef being fed stale candy bars. So I guess what we would try to say to them is maybe this book, for those people, give them that last reason. Give them the information that they need to see. Why exactly is grass-fed better? Because people are getting the sense now that, you know, raw, unpasteurized is better than you know, pasteurized, and all these different phrases that people are hearing, but no one's really putting the reason…the finger on why. And it's the micronutrient levels. So maybe this will be a great resource, you know, for people who are still struggling with that idea of why is it important for me to make these changes. I've already changed my, you know, my macronutrient ratio. But, you know, with over 90% of Americans deficient, you're probably in that bunch, people, so it's a really good idea to make those last changes.
JAYSON CALTON: Yeah, and I'd like to say, too, exactly what Mira said. You know, what makes it when somebody says “a food is healthier,” what they're really saying is a food is filled more…a food is…has more micronutrients. That's what healthier really means. When we say wild caught fish over factory farm, we're saying that fish has more of those essential micro…it doesn't have more protein. It doesn't have more fat. It doesn't have more…you know, it has more omega-3, right. And it has more of those essential micronutrients. The same thing as an apple. If it's organic, it's not going to have pesticides, and a lot of studies do show that although not across the board, organic foods can have and do have often times higher micronutrient values.
And another thing is, too, for anybody who thinks that it's not worth the money, or that it's too expensive, if they really looked at their cart. Maybe not so much your listeners because they sound like they're doing very well with their diet, but for the average American, if they were to take out the soda, and they were to take out the chips, and they were to take out the boxed, bagged, canned, and bottled foods out of their carts, they would find that they could easily afford to buy the wild caught and the grass-fed butters and beefs and organically grown and local vegetables, and still have money to spare if they got rid of all that junk food.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Yeah, I absolutely think that that's kind of the right track. I mean, people buy a box of cereal. I'm so out of touch with that sometimes that when I go back into a grocery store and look at the price of things, I'm like, “cereal's 5 dollars for a box?” I mean, you could get a pound of grass-fed beef and the nutrition that you get from that is just, I mean, it's huge. And I think, you know, to the point that you're making. When you're eating foods that even with the same number of calories are more dense in micronutrients, the satiety and just sort of the level of nutrition that your body gets from that food is so much higher that feeling satisfied, you know, begins at the cellular level, right? Like that's the end user of our food are our cells. And so, if we're eating foods that are rich in micronutrients, even if they're the same number of macronutrients, like what you said about the wild caught fish, for example, that, you know, more nutrient dense piece of fish will actually satisfy your body and your appetite better than a piece of fish that wasn't, you know, raised the right way, so I think that's kind of a good thing to pass on.
MIRA CALTON: You know, when we buy our pastured chickens now, and first of all, they look gorgeous, and then you cook it in the oven, and you actually, you know, cut off the piece that you used to eat, the size, and then you actually start eating it, you're so much more satisfied, and you don't even need to eat as much. So your bills actually go down because there really is a lot, like you said. First of all, my mom said the funniest thing. I gave her some pastured chicken the other day, and she goes, “it's so chicken-y.” [laughs]
DIANE SANFILIPPO: [laughs]
LIZ WOLFE: [laughs]
MIRA CALTON: Well, what did you expect it to taste like? But the thing is you really don't need as much because you have all that flavor. Like I said, flavor is micronutrients. So you do. You save money on the quantity that you have to buy. Like you were saying it, it really is such a more satisfying way to eat.
JAYSON CALTON: Yeah, and there really is nothing more you can do for yourself. There's nothing better you do can do for yourself than to invest in quality food. I mean, our health is directly linked to the food that we eat. And if we're not going…if we're not willing to spend, you know, in least an equal amount of food that we would, you know, for the Standard American Diet, and maybe, and I'd say, invest more. When we went to Europe and all throughout the world, they spend a lot more of their overall income on their food.
MIRA CALTON: And more time getting it.
JAYSON CALTON: And more time getting it, and more time eating it, and enjoying it. You know, picking up something at a fast food place and throwing it down your throat in five minutes while you're doing five other things and multitasking is not the path to optimal health. You know, invest in your food, and build a new relationship with your food because ultimately, you know, the dividends that you're going to receive from eating correctly are going to be the highest returns you could imagine. You're going to get optimal health out of that.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show today. And we'll put links up to where people can grab your book and to your website in the notes to the podcast. And that will be available…
MIRA CALTON: And we're doing a city [xxx] all around the country, so if people go to the website and go to our media Upcoming Appearances, we'd love for people to come to us and say hello!
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Oh cool. Awesome. So we'll make sure to link up to that so people can find you, meet you in person, and get a copy of your book signed up. So cool.
MIRA CALTON: Awesome. Thank you.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Thank you so much.
JAYSON CALTON: We..thank you!
DIANE SANFILIPPO: All right, have a good day.
JAYSON CALTON: Bye.
DIANE SANFILIPPO: Bye bye.