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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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September 2020 (Vol. 5 Issue 6)

Resetting your metabolism with your diet
About the author: 
Dr Alan Christianson

Resetting your metabolism with your diet image

Dr Alan Christianson has helped countless patients reverse diabetes and autoimmune disease and lose weight by giving their liver a 'transplant', but with diet!

There's a common misconception that you are born with either a great metabolism or a bad one. But it turns out that metabolism is not set in stone. The key to this change is not in white knuckling it while the rest of your friends and family enjoy their lives, or forever eliminating your favorite foods.

The secret that I discovered in my years of clinical practice and research is simply this: clean out your liver so it can burn fat better.

The liver is the heaviest internal organ and the largest gland in your body. It's a powerful machine that acts as a filter to remove toxins, aids in digestion, and regulates hormones and blood sugar.

The liver is responsible for processing everything you ingest, and it also functions as your body's storage pantry. Nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and other substances the liver needs to work at its best) and fuel (from our main calorie sources—fats and carbohydrates) that you don't need today are stored in the pantry for later.

The surplus is essential because you never get exactly what you need each day. A healthy liver stores extra energy and doles it out later when you need it.

When your liver is unhealthy, your body tends to store fuel as fat, especially around your midsection, and you can no longer tap into the nutrients you need to burn fat. This means that no matter which diet you choose—or how hard you try—weight loss is pretty much impossible.

Your liver stores fuel in two forms: glycogen and triglycerides. When it is healthy, it keeps a supply of each fuel, with room to take on more. Triglycerides are the ultimate version of stored fuel. The liver can make them out of anything—carbs, fats, ketones, even alcohol.

Glycogen is more particular. It can be made only out of carbohydrates and contains much less energy. But it has an advantage over triglycerides—the energy stored in glycogen is more readily available. It is easier to burn triglycerides for fuel when you have some glycogen to get the fire started.

When the liver is overloaded with too many triglycerides, there is no more room for glycogen. Without glycogen, it is hard to burn triglycerides for fuel. When a load of new fuel comes in from the last meal and the liver is already clogged, all it can do is jam in even more triglycerides or send the fuel away to get stored as body fat.

This is what creates a slow metabolism: a liver that is too overloaded to be able to store fuel temporarily.

The liver reset
Countless diets have told us to eat this 'good' food and avoid that 'bad' food. Each passing day seems to bring a new wave of 'science' that cancels out all the previous assessments. In fact, fat, carbs and ketones work collectively as fuel. A healthy liver can either store fuel or burn it. An unhealthy liver can only store it.

The good news is that healing your liver takes just weeks—not months or years.

As a doctor specializing in hormonal abnormalities, while working with diabetics, I was exposed to the idea of modified fasting as a means to improve health. I read a study from 2011 in which advanced diabetics became cured by following a 600 calorie, liquid-only diet for eight weeks.1

Blood tests and CT scans showed that these patients' pancreases had completely healed and were able to produce insulin normally again. They no longer needed medication at all. It turned out that once their livers cleared out the old deposits of fat, they became nondiabetic.

This was a huge finding. This new research showed that the pancreas is only part of the picture. The liver also plays a crucial role because it has a remarkable ability to heal. After reading all the related studies I could find, instead of three liquid shakes, I tried two shakes and one reasonable meal with my patients.

The results were tremendous. I tracked people every two weeks and saw that most achieved remission from diabetes well before eight weeks. Our clinic has now logged countless cases of those who became non-diabetic, stopped their medication and continue to remain healthy years later.

Nearly everyone we treated had fatty liver syndrome. When the liver is overburdened by excess sugar, the body stores it as fat. This can trigger a potentially devastating inflammatory response, which has been linked to heart disease and some forms of cancer.

New research suggests that fatty liver is not just a consequence of weight gain; it can also be the cause. So addressing fatty liver syndrome is crucial in the fight to both regain health and lose inches. And the protocol I was sharing with my patients was working miracles.

Besides diabetes, the program cured a high percentage of people from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and autoimmunity. I also noticed that as their liver function improved, weight loss happened naturally, mostly from the waist. Often it was the only step that people needed to regain their health.

From this experience, I created a 28-day program that offers healthy amounts of protein, fiber, micronutrients and phytonutrients that support liver function. The program provides the right amount of fuel from carbohydrates and fat to prevent nutrient deficiencies while still prompting the liver to use its own supplies of stored fuel.

After just four weeks, you will be able to eat reasonably healthily and maintain your weight without any special effort. Most people find they can be less restrictive with food than they were before and still reap the benefits of a well-functioning liver.

After liver function improves, people notice additional benefits like fewer food cravings, steady energy levels, less fluid retention and better digestion.Resetting your metabolism will help you get rid of high triglyceride levels by eating simple foods in the right ratios, at the right times of the day.

The daily schedule is: one smoothie for breakfast, a second smoothie for lunch, one hearty dinner and snacks as needed. It's that simple.

Foods that keep the metabolism working
Vegetables: beets, cabbage, dandelion greens and shiitake mushrooms
Good fats: pumpkin seeds, pistachios and almonds
Carbs with resistant starch: winter squash, boiled potatoes and haricot (navy) beans
Lean proteins: salmon, clams, tempeh and poultry
Culinary spices: turmeric, garlic, basil and ginger
A combo of cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage in conjunction with apiaceous vegetables like carrots, parsley and parsnips
Other great liver-cleansers: papaya, garlic, onions, radishes, grapes and soy products

10-Minute Grilled Salmon Bowl
Prep time: 35 minutes (includes cooking the brown rice)
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves one for dinner

Fish that is cooked too long can take on a rubbery texture. The secret to cooking this salmon is to undercook it slightly. This way, it can continue to 'cook' as it rests off the heat awaiting assembly in the bowl.

• Avocado oil cooking spray
• 1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 4- to 6-oz (100- to 170-g) salmon fillet
• ½ to ¾ cup cooked brown rice, warm
• Salt and pepper

Optional toppings
• Sliced radish
• Fresh baby spinach
• Sliced cucumber
• Sliced carrot
• Sliced spring onions
• Sprouts
• ¹⁄³ avocado, sliced

1) Lightly coat a frying pan with the avocado oil cooking spray and place the pan over medium heat.
2) Combine the mustard, lemon juice and garlic in a bowl and spread the paste on the salmon fillet.
3) Place the salmon in the pan skin-side up and cook for 3 to 7 minutes (depending on thickness), then turn over, adding a bit more cooking spray to the pan if necessary, and cook an additional 2 to 5 minutes, or until firm and nearly cooked through.
4) Place the warm rice in the serving bowl and top with the salmon. Add as many optional toppings as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy.

Vegan version
Instead of salmon, consider using Quorn brand meatless and soy-free chicken cutlets or organic non-GMO extra-firm tofu. You also have the option to drink an extra serving of protein powder with dinner instead.

Frozen 'Cocoa'
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes two servings for breakfast or lunch

Roasted carob makes a great caffeine-free stand-in for cocoa powder during this reset.

• ½ cup old-fashioned (gluten-free) rolled oats
• 1 cup purified water
• 1 cup ice cubes
• Resistant starch supplement (1 serving) or RS food (¼ cup green banana flour, ½ cup aquafaba)
• Sweetener to taste (stevia, lo han)
• 2 Tbsp toasted carob powder
• 2 servings of pea protein powder
• ½ frozen banana (organic if using the peel)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

1) Add the oats to the blender and blend for 1 minute.
2) Add the remaining ingredients and blend for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth.
3) Serve cold, using a large-diameter glass or steel straw to drink.

Carrot Spice 'Cake'
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes two servings for breakfast or lunch

This recipe is a family favorite.

• 1 cup purified water
• 1 cup ice cubes
• RS food (¼ cup green banana flour, ½ cup aquafaba or other, see box below)
• Sweetener to taste (stevia, lo han)
• ½ frozen banana (organic if using the peel)
• 2 servings of pea protein powder or other protein base
• ½ cup shredded carrot or baby carrots, chopped into 1- or 2-inch (2-5-cm) chunks
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
• ¹⁄8 tsp ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
• 1 Tbsp dried currants or raisins (optional)

1 Place all the ingredients except the currants in a blender and blend for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth.
2 Add the currants and pulse just a few times to mix them in.
3 Serve cold, using a large-diameter glass or steel straw to drink.


1 Diabetologia, 2011; 54: 2506-14

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