As this month nears its end, we've experienced heavy snowfalls and subzero temperatures. On the night of the lecture, the temperature was quickly rising and it was raining steadily. So we were all a little afraid that the lecture either wouldn't take place or would be poorly attended.
But the rain wasn't freezing, the roads were easily passable, and Dr. Kachmann came through. This was even more remarkable considering he has a cold, as everyone could tell by the frog in his throat and the box of tissues on the table next him. And, most pleasantly surprising of all, the hall ended up being filled with dozens of attendees.
"Starvation is not the answer," Dr. Kachmann said near the end of the lecture. "Eat as much as you want as long as you're eating nutrient-dense food." And that's a good summation of what he shared with us.
Okay, so we're supposed to eat nutrient-dense food. Or as Dr. Joel Fuhrman explains:
"Health = nutrients/calories."
But what does that mean?
Dr. Kachmann began with a slide that explained how grains are refined to make white bread, a process that strips the food of nearly every nutrient. All your left with is a simple carbohydrate that makes your blood sugar spike when you eat it. These spikes are usually followed by rapid drops--which result in powerful cravings.
So you eat the wrong foods and you wind up just wanting to eat more. Meanwhile, your nutrient needs continue going unmet.
And it's not just refined grains. Think of all the processed foods in the aisles of the grocery store. Think of the bread in the sandwiches you order at fast food joints. Then there are the fries, the condiments, and oh yeah, the meat (a complicated issue in its own right).
So what are we supposed to eat instead? Well, number one: read the label and see how much sugar is in the food. The less there is, the better. Sugar, like refined carbs, raises the glycemic index, which means it spikes your blood sugar. Not only will you start experiencing hunger pangs within the hour, you'll also be taxing your pancreas by demanding it to produce more insulin. The longer this goes on the more danger you're in of insulin insensitivity and even type II diabetes.
Number two: focus on nutrient-dense foods. Yes, that means the old staples your grandma told you to eat, mainly fruits and vegetables. But it also means legumes (like beans) and complex carbs, like whole grain bread or granola. (Just make sure it's 100% whole grain and that the granola isn't chock full of added sugar.)
If your diet is based primarily on plants, then a little meat won't kill you. Many species of fish in particular can contribute healthy fats to your stores. But most of us have the ratio of plants to meat completely upside-down.
One of the most fascinating elements of Dr. Kachmann's message, though, is that he stresses the role of, well, stress in both overeating and in making poor decisions about what to eat. Let's face it, you have to exercise some will power to resist that donut on the counter (Dr. K recommends keeping them out of the house altogether, admitting he himself can't withstand the temptation). And it's near impossible to muster that will power when you're at your wits end from the crap that's dragging you down at work, from the guff your kids are giving you, or from the frustration you're having with... whatever.
So a key part of every diet is stress management and reduction. Take up a light exercise routine. Listen to music. Build up a group of supportive friends. Get out in nature. Anything you can do to reduce daily anxiety and help you relax will also make it easier for you to make good decisions when you're standing at the refrigerator.
Now, if you weren't able to make it to the lecture because of the weather, we've got you covered. Below is a video from Dr. Kachmann's Access TV show (other episodes of which you can find on youtube). It covers the basics of the non-diet. Hope you enjoy.
And if you haven't signed up for the Kachmann Health Newsletter, head over to the subscription page and type in your email. You'll get early access to the details of the next lecture, along with news about Dr. Kachmann's other appearances and publications.
You can see Dr. Kachmann's Access TV Shows Mondays at 6:30 pm or Wednesdays at 6:00 pm on Comcast channel 57.
You can hear him on the radio at 95.7 WELT on Tuesdays at 12:00 pm and Thursdays at 8:00 am.
You can attend one of his monthly evening lectures at the Kachmann Auditorium in Lutheran Hospital (check Facebook for event details).
Or you can visit him after 9:00 am on Fridays at Three Rivers Pharmacy on North Anthony, where he gives free consultations.