Do phytates fight cancer?

Jennie writes:

“I read a book on plant-based diets that which cliams that the phytates in whole grains kill cancer cells. Do whole grains really fight cancer?”

Ironic, isn’t it? In some corners of the nutrition world, the phytates in grains and legumes are reviled as “anti-nutrients.” In other circles, they are heralded as cancer killers.

In fact, both are true. Phytic acid in nuts, whole grains and legumes can bind to minerals like calcium and magnesium and reduce absorption of these minerals.  This effect can be greatly diminished by soaking, sprouting, or cooking these foods. But if you’re not soaking or sprouting your grains, don’t worry.  It’s unlikely to lead to mineral deficiencies.

In fact, the health benefits of phytic acid from whole grains and legumes appear to be much more significant than any downside.  In addition to building strong bones, lowering cholesterol, and removing heavy metals from your body, phytates may help prevent cancer (colon cancer in particular).

It’s worth pointing out that there are a lot of things that kill cancer cells.  But killing cancer cells in a petri dish and impeding the progression of cancer in a living organism are two entirely different things. Phytates are not effective chemotherapy. But they have been found to reduce the effects of actual chemotherapy in cancer patients.

Eating meat without feeling guilty

About ten years ago, I cut way back on the amount of meat I was eating, from 3-4 times a week to 3-4 times a month. I wasn’t worried about my health. And I enjoy a good steak or roasted chicken as much as anyone. I stopped eating meat mostly because I felt guilty about it.

I had concerns about the treatment of the animals I was eating, the environmental impact of large scale livestock operations, the sustainability of it all. I tried to research which farms and brands were raising their animals humanely and responsibly but it ended up being easier just to order (or cook) vegetarian meals instead. Continue reading “Eating meat without feeling guilty” >

How to weigh less in 2018: The DIY plan

All week, I’ve been hearing people talk about how much weight they’ve gained over the holidays and what diet or cleanse they’re planning to start January 1.

Meanwhile, here’s what we’re hearing from the current members of the Weightless program:

“Right before Thanksgiving, I reached the (previously fictional) weight on my driver’s license! And then, to my surprise, was able to maintain it through the holidays. Feeling good!”

“I have actually lost some weight over the holiday. Not…even…trying. LOVE this program.”

“I am amazed at how much the Weightless program has affected my thinking. I am not at all stressed about all the food around me.”

These are word-for-word quotes and there are dozens more where these came from. It literally brings tears to my eyes to read them.

I realize that not everyone can (or will) decide to do the Weightless Program but I want EVERYONE to have this experience! And that’s why we’ve decided to give it away.

On Tuesday evening (Jan 2nd) Brock Armstrong and I are offering a free 1 hour video class in which we’ll walk you through the exact method that our members are using to get these amazing results.

You can do this on your own if you choose. Or, if you decide to join the group that’s launching January 5th, Brock and I will be there with you every step of the way. Either way, we want EVERYONE to have this information.


New Year. Same Old Resolution? Let’s Fix That.

As the year draws to a close, millions are resolving to lose weight in the new year.  Just like they did last year. And the year before that. They’ll start diets and join gyms–and some will even lose a few pounds. Just like they did last year. And the year before that.

But we know how this story ends, don’t we? Next year at this time, it’ll be the same resolution. Maybe it’ll be a new diet or a new gym. But it’ll will almost certainly be the same outcome. They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Let’s give this story a new ending.

The Weightless Program is not a diet or an exercise regimen. It’s a year-long experience that helps you build the mindset, habits, and lifestyle that lead to weighing less.This program has already helped hundreds break the endless cycle of failed and yo-yo dieting and finally achieve permanent weight loss.

For our members, this is the first time in ages that losing weight will NOT be their New Year’s resolution! Imagine how fun and freeing it would be to be able to think about other goals and ambitions!

If losing weight is one of your goals for 2018, let’s make this the last time you make this resolution. Let’s make this the year that you stop dieting and start weighing less. 

Our 2018 group will begin their Weightless Journey on Friday, January 5th. You can learn more about Weightless here.

Why I’m not reading self-help books in 2018

Today, I found myself watching an interview with the author of a new book, one of those personal growth books that promises to change your life. As I listened to the interview, I was thinking: “This author seems really wise and I like her message. I could use this in my life. I should read it.”

And then I realized that I don’t need to read one more book on how to be a more authentic version of myself or make my life work better or achieve my goals.

It’s not that I know everything there is to know about these things.  Far from it. But there comes a point at which reading yet another book or article or blog post or subscribing to yet another podcast or newsletter becomes a substitute for doing the work.

Analysis without action doesn’t produce change

Taking consistent action,  however imperfectly, beats another month (year/decade) perfecting my philosophy and planning my approach. If I want to make more progress toward my goals, I need to quit researching and start putting some of what I already know into action.  And through trial and error, I’ll learn what works for me. 

This is something that we talk about a lot in the Weightless program.  So much of the work we do in this year-long program focuses on mindset and attitudes: how we think about food, eating, and our choices in that regard.  But, as our members quickly discover, insights are only as good as the actions they lead to.  That’s why we spend an equal amount of time on concrete strategies for changing habits.

You can change your mind without changing your behavior. You can also change your behavior without changing your mind. It’s only when you manage to change both that you’re on the road to lasting success.

Our next group starts on January 5th. If you weigh more than you’d like to, and you’re ready to stop analyzing and start solving the problem, we would love to have you with us. Learn more here.




Do you have the right nutrition goals for 2018?

As 2017 winds down, a lot of us are starting to think about our goals and resolutions for the coming year.  What are yours? Are you planning to “eat clean in 2018”? Give up sugar? Work out more? Eat out less? (Or maybe just eat less?)

How are this year’s goals different from last year’s?

If you find yourself re-making the same resolutions year after year, the problem may not be with you. It might be the goals.

Here are two of the most common reasons we fail to achieve our goals:

Too Vague

Eating clean certainly sounds like a good idea. The problem is that no-one really knows what it means. Similarly, goals like ‘working out more’ or ‘eating out less’ tend to falter because they are too vague.  More or less than what?

Choosing goals that are specific and measurable, such as ‘getting to the gym 3 times a week,’ or will greatly increase your chances of notching a win.

Too Extreme

At the other end of the spectrum are those take-no-prisoners goals like completely eliminating sugar from your diet. Or, going from never exercising to getting up every morning at 5am to work out for 60 minutes before work.

Nothing vague or unmeasurable about these! But setting goals that are unrealistic or unattainable (for you right now) can also set you up for failure. The first time you oversleep and miss your workout, you may be tempted to bail on the whole enterprise.

Choosing the Right Goals

I’ve found that the goals most likely to be acheived tend to have the following attributes:

Incremental:  If you actually cooked dinner a grand total of four times in 2017,  resolving to cook every meal from scratch in 2018 is probably not an achievable goal. How about resolving to cook two meals a week? (Cook extra so that you have leftovers!)

Sustainable: I once decided that doing 45-minutes of yoga every morning would make my life better.  And no doubt it would if I lived on Mars, where every day is 24 hours and 40 minutes long. Here on Earth, it turns out that I can only fit yoga in 3 times a week (which is way better than zero times.)   If achieving your goal requires more time, money, or energy than you have–or can make–available, the odds of long term success aren’t good. Try to choose goals that don’t require bending the time/space continuum.

Try to choose goals that don't require bending the time/space continuum. Click To Tweet

Aligned with your values:  Behavior change is always challenging. But changing your behavior because someone else thinks you should is nigh unto impossible.  When considering which goals you might like to set for yourself in 2018, think about why each one is important to you and choose the one(s) that bring you closer to who and how you want to be in the world. Those are the goals that are worth pursuing.

Setting and achieving meaningful goals is a big part of what we do in the Weightless Program, a year-long group coaching program focused on behavior change and sustainable weight loss. The next group begins right after New Year’s. Click here to learn more.






Probiotic Tea: Is this for real?

Josh writes:

Tea with probiotcsThis Thanksgiving, my grandmother had a lemon ginger tea from Bigelow, which had probiotics in it. I was surprised to see a dry tea that did not need refrigeration but still claimed to have probiotic properties. The tea was delicious. Even if the probiotic element might be questionable, would it be harmful to consume the tea anyway?


A. Probiotics are hot these days and adding some to your product is a sure way to increase sales. But does tea made from these tea bags contain any beneficial bacteria?

Actually, it does! Bigelow has selected a special strain of probiotic known as Bacillus coagulans. This particular strain is highly tolerant to heat as well as extremes in pH balance. As a result, it can survive both boiling water and stomach acid!

OK, so the bugs actually make it to your gut. But do they do anything for you once they get there? Possibly, yes.

Consuming bacillus coagulans on a daily basis may have positive effects on digestive function, including reduced gas and bloating after meals. (Ginger’s not bad at this, either.)  The probiotics might also have modest anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties–although these have not been linked to any specific health outcomes such as a reduced risk of colds.

The tea is certainly safe to consume and the probiotics might add some modest benefits above and beyond the herbs. Enjoy it in good health!

This super easy hack could save you major calories

Can it really be this simple?

Researchers at the University of Surrey fed two groups of study subjects an identical pasta dish. Although the amount of food was the same, it was presented to one group as a “snack” and to the other as a “meal.”  The snackers ate standing up, using plastic utensils. The meal-eaters sat down at a table set with ceramic dishes and silverware.

A little bit later, both groups were given some additional foods to sample. Those who had merely “snacked” on the pasta dish consumed far more calories than those who felt that they’d just eaten a meal.

Doesn’t that ring true?

When we call something a snack, we tend to discount it.  It doesn’t register in quite the same way in our mental tally of how much we’ve eaten. We may not even feel as full afterward.  (Which just goes to show how much of our sensation of ‘hunger’ is actually in our heads!)

Try this: Instead of just grabbing a snack, consciously make it a meal. Even if it’s just a few bites or you don’t have much time, be sure to signal to your brain and senses that you’re satisfying your need for food.  Sit down. Put it on a plate. Mentally re-label those snacks as mini-meals and see if they don’t feel a little more satisfying.