Wellness expert Eric Berg dishes up the skinny on resistant fat
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BN: What is the connection between toxins and weight?
EB: Body fat is where most toxins accumulate-including pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and heavy metals. As you lose weight, these toxins are released and can make you feel tired and sluggish, or give you dark circles under your eyes or bad breath. If the toxins aren’t eliminated properly, the body holds on to fat tissue as a protective mechanism, so no matter how hard you exercise, fat doesn’t budge from resistive areas such as the belly or hips.
The problem can be solved by eating more vegetables, especially cruciferous ones such as kale (see recipes at left). These contain fiber and enzymes that break down toxins and unblock the fat-burning process. Plus, one study found that eating 3 cups of cruciferous vegetables per week decreased the incidence of breast and prostate cancers by 48 percent, so there are additional benefits.
BN: What are the three biggest weight-loss mistakes?
EB: First, most people don’t know that even a little bit of sugar or refined carbohydrates will trigger the hormone insulin, which blocks other hormones from burning fat. For some people, a glass of wine or juice in the evening can nullify a perfect day of food and exercise. However, a piece of fruit is not likely to do the same damage because the fiber in whole fruit counteracts the effect of its natural sugar content.
Second, substituting packaged, processed diet foods for freshly prepared lean protein and fresh vegetables doesn’t work. Although low in calories, packaged meals often lack nutrients and contain toxic food additives. And third, too many of us don’t regularly get at least seven hours of sleep, and fat is burned during the night.
BN: How do supplements fit in?
EB: Our soil is so deficient in nutrients that it takes six apples today to provide the same benefit that one apple did in 1965. We’d need 7-10 cups of vegetables daily to get enough potassium, which eliminates cravings, improves sleep, and reduces stress. Supplements fill in all the little gaps in our diet, but it’s important to take plant-based minerals and food-based vitamins, rather than synthetic ones.
“Buttery” Raw Kale
4 cups raw kale, stems trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ clove garlic, minced, optional
Black pepper, optional
Massage raw kale leaves with olive oil and lemon juice until they become tender and develop a buttery texture. Sprinkle with sea salt, and season with garlic and black pepper, if desired. Enjoy as a side dish or salad.
PER SERVING: 131 CAL; 4 G PROT; 8 G TOTAL FAT (1 G SAT FAT); 14 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 58 MG SOD; 3 G FIBER; <1 G SUGARS
½ cup raw kale, stems trimmed
¼ cup frozen berries
1 ripe banana
Blend all ingredients with 2 cups water for 2 minutes, or until creamy.
PER SERVING: 69 CAL; 1 G PROT; <1 G TOTAL FAT (<1 G SAT FAT); 17 G CARB; 0 MG CHOL; 8 MG SOD; 2 G FIBER; 9 G SUGARS