Healthy Epicurean Featured Book: Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat
Author: Esther Blum is a registered dietitian, holistic nutritionist, and author of Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous, Secrets of Gorgeous, and The Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project.
Voted best nutritionist by Manhattan Magazine, Esther has appeared on the Today Show, FOX-5 News, ABC-TV, and Good Day NY. She is frequently quoted in Time Magazine, The New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, In Style, Martha Stewart Weddings, Bazaar, Self, Fitness, Marie Claire, Cosmo, and last but not least World Wise Beauty!
*See my first interview with Esther discussing her last book ’The Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous Project’ in the ”Gleam’ department of this blog .
Lauroly Opening: I am thrilled to be back at this table with Esther Blum—wait this is not the Charlie Rose show its World Wise Beauty! But truth be told, I believe Esther belongs at Charlie’s table talking about wellness lifestyle for the modern woman. What I am really saying is Esther is smart—I mean really smart, and while her book covers are fun with catchy titles, the content of her books are extremely wise, comprehensive and educational. Didn’t have time to get a degree in nutrition or pour over hundreds of health books like I did most of my life? No worries because Esther’s books are a crash course in integrative nutrition, wellness lifestyle, and more. We can’t possibly know everything and this is why it is wonderful when experts like Esther write books for us.
I have read a lot of health books (not so much diet’ books) and I have never come across a book so comprehensive (without it being dry and boring) and entertaining at the same time. I became savvy about health and wellness through life experience with sick parents and managing my own issues which stemmed ironically from being a bad vegetarian. Good intentions but sloppy execution! Bad carbs (and there are good ones) became my enemy and I believe triggered other annoying conditions which have since been resolved. I am now what they call today a ‘pescetarian‘ for over twenty years. But maybe I am really a ‘cavewoman’!
Some of you will see Paleo and think “oh this is another Atkins protein driven diet book”. It couldn’t be further from the truth—but let’s find out by talking to Esther today and discovering what a Paleo Chic diet really is…
Lauroly Q- Welcome back Esther! There is so much I would love to cover from you new book ‘Cave Women Don’t Get Fat’ but I am going to try to distill from you the big takeaways and let our readers go out and purchase your book. I call it a health book but I guess it is a diet book because you do share step by step ‘protocols’ to get up to speed with your ‘cavewoman’ diet. I know there are many who want to lose weight so why don’t you tell us what the core principles are of the Paleo chic diet are and what the diet is not…
Esther Blum, Author of ‘Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat’
Glad to be back at the “WWB table” with you Laura! The Paleo Chic diet is all about finding your unique carb tolerance. Many women follow a very low-carb diet only to find out that their fat loss efforts stop dead in their tracks. Each of us has our own unique carb tolerance. I like to reset the metabolism by clearing out refined carbohydrates for two weeks and slowly reintroduce 1 starch serving at a time from a sweet potato, spaghetti squash, or winter squash. In doing so, you can figure out how many carbs you can eat and still lose body fat. I try and put the responsibility into my readers’ hands and say, “Figure out what works for you. Here is the litmus test, here is the template; now custom tailor it to YOU and your unique needs.”
My Paleo Chic plan is NOT about counting calories, measuring portions of food, or obsessively exercising. It’s about reconnecting with your body, getting back in touch with your hunger, improving your energy levels, detoxing, and balancing your hormones. You can go back to the land and clear out your metabolic clutter by eating lots of protein (wild Alaskan salmon and wild-caught fish, pastured meats, and eggs)- quality fats (avocado, raw nuts/seeds, coconut, butter, olive oil), fruits & vegetables.
Then gradually add in starch servings (as you can handle them) in the form of roots and tubers, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichokes, and winter squash. Because they are low in sugar and carbs and gluten-free, they do not disrupt the metabolism.
Keep in mind, as we head into perimenopause and menopause, our body’s ability to handle carbohydrates decreases even further, so we have to be mindful of the quality and quantity of carbs we put in our bodies.
Lauroly Q- I mentioned in my opening about my being a ‘bad vegetarian’. An overabundance of the wrong kind of carbs was the problem for me. It takes work to be a good vegetarian and I was business traveling too much to manage it well. But in reality our entire society has experienced the same problem because of processed food manufacturing and the modern fast-food diet particularly high in carbs. A big part of your book focuses on helping us to understand carbs, protein and the importance of the correct ratio of the two in our diets. As you emphasize, the Paleo Chic diet is not about counting calories but it is about understanding how our bodies are designed to function well and thrive if we take care of it. Tell us more about clean eating and why it is so important to get this right…
On the Paleo Chic plan, you’ll eat plenty of protein, fats, fruits, and vegetables from actual food sources. This means you’ll be caring for your body with whole, unadulterated foods that won’t wreck your days with the highs and lows of blood sugar swings and cravings. And it also means you’ll be the mistress of your own domain. Say buh-bye to a body run on junk foods and hello to a lean, curvy body fueled by clean eating!
Get to know how good you can feel when your cortisol, leptin, estrogen, and progesterone levels are in sync. You won’t realize how bad you felt until you see how good you can actually feel, every day of your life. Every client who comes to me says, “I eat so healthy, but I don’t understand why I’m not losing weight.” Your diet may indeed be healthy, but either it’s no longer working for you or it’s not the right regimen your body needs to achieve desired results. You can’t expect any results from exercising for an hour every day if you eat poorly. That’s asking your body to do something it’s just not capable of doing.
Here’s your Cavewoman Mantra: Every bite of food you eat either puts you in a fat-burning state or a fat-storing state. Which one would you prefer?
Lauroly Q- I think of our body like a symphony orchestra with a large ensemble of instrumental players all working together to play a beautiful piece of music. Others might compare our bodies to a car because it too relies on ‘many parts’ working together to run efficiently and is also reliant upon fuel. What I love about your book is you cover the whole body system and all the ‘players’ that collaborate and work together in our body. When we talk about nutrition and diet, we have to understand chemistry, one of the key ‘players’ in our body’s system. This is a big subject in itself but you cover it so ‘efficiently” and well in your book. Let’s talk about stress, insulin, hormones and how they all interact with each other.
When it comes to our bodies, hormones can be a girl’s best friend or her worst enemy. Left unchecked, things can get pretty unbalanced and drive our bodies haywire. But if you manage your hormones properly, they will give you the gift of health, a gorgeous body, and a damn good life. Hormones are biochemical messengers produced by the endocrine organs that control bodily functions like growth, sexual development and reproduction, weight control, fat burning, muscle development, stress, and sleep. The biochemistry of hormones can get a bit complicated, so let me give you the takeaway of what you need to know today in order to see changes in your body. If you don’t watch what you’re eating and control your stress, you will not see changes in your body. It’s that simple. So make sure you’re eating plenty of protein, quality fats, and fibrous vegetables and fruits at every meal.
Exercise smarter and manage your stress. Chronic stress that leaves the stress hormone cortisol pumping through our veins will only help our bodies pack on belly fat and catabolize our muscle tissue. So stress management is crucial. Left unchecked, cortisol also eats up our memory, weakens our bones, interferes with our sleep, and fries out our immune system. So keep it simple, ladies—eat, move, relax, sleep, repeat.
Once you balance out your blood sugar and chillax, then the needle can move with your body shifts. An overstressed body has lower thyroid function and tired adrenals; a balanced body is happy, lean, and energized.
Lauroly Q- Chillax—I love it! Besides all the complex chemistry going on naturally in our own bodies we also have chemicals injected into our chemistry unknowingly. What I really like in your book “Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat” is how you cover modern lifestyle– from household products, to cosmetics, to technology. The fact is there’s so much coming at us in our modern lifestyle that we need to be living in a bubble to avoid them! What are a few important things we can do today to combat the potentially damaging chemicals we are exposed to?
- Eat fewer canned foods. Opt for fresh or frozen meats, vegetables, and fruits. Chicken and tuna are available in BPA-free pouches. Get rid of your nonstick cookware and opt for chemically inert cookware. Stock your kitchen with enamel-coated cast iron, stainless steel, glass, clay, or an old-fashioned cast iron pots, pans, and baking dishes.
- Use glass and aluminum storage containers and drinking bottles. Steer clear of plastic dinnerware, drinking bottles, and storage containers with the number 3 or 7 on the bottom, which may leach BPA. Instead look for the numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6, which are unlikely to contain BPA.
- Filter your drinking water through a pitcher with a carbon filter or install one on your faucets. The gold standard for water filters is a reverse osmosis filter, but a PUR or Brita are still very helpful.
- Use organic skincare, makeup, and deodorant to decrease your exposure to hormonal disruptors and toxins. Dab yourself with essential oils instead of perfumes.
Lauroly Closing: Thank you so much for joining us again at World Wise Beauty Esther. You can tell I am a big fan of your work! Anytime I see an expert who is very wise, relates well to people and can entertain my antennas go up way high. ‘Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat’ is a must read for anyone interested in being their ‘best gorgeously healthy’ selves.
I encourage all my readers to go ahead and get in touch with your ‘inner cavewoman’ which means essentially “eat to live’. You can tweak many of the suggestions you find in her book to fit your individual biology as well as your lifestyle. For more on Esther Blum sign up for her FREE tips on Living Gorgeously at www.livinggorgeous.com. While you’re there, be sure to visit her online store for some amazing swag! You can also follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LivingGorgeous and on Twitter @Esther Blum. And keep your eyes peeled for her upcoming 8-week online Paleo Chic Project, which launches on May 13, as well as her monthly membership program, Club Gorgeous.
Note: World Wise Beauty believes in bio-individuality and respecting an individuals values when it comes to their health. It is up to each of us to find the best diets for our own health and our own values. I like to present options and the best experts available in wellness culture to help you do that. The goal at WWB is to be wise and comfortable in our own skin. Always be your own guru when it comes to your health!