Glossary

Glossary

Activator X

Dr. Weston Price discovered a fat-soluble substance in dairy fat that was crucial for the optimal utilization of vitamins and minerals. Many years later this substance should be identified as vitamin k2. Price showed Activator X to exhibit dramatic synergy with vitamins A and D, which is why high vitamin butter oil (rich in Activator X) is blended with fermented cod liver oil (rich in vitamins A & D) in the Green Pasture Blue Ice products.

Aerobic vs. anaerobic processes 

Aerobic processes are chemical processes in the body that require oxygen (e.g. long-distance running is an aerobic exercise), while anaerobic processes do not require oxygen (e.g. sprinting and weight-lifting are anaerobic exercises). Aerobic processes are catabolic in nature, while anaerobic processes are anabolic in nature.

Anabolic vs. catabolic processes 

Anabolic processes are constructive processes in which simple substances are converted into more complex compounds in the body. Catabolic processes comprise the breaking down in the body of more complex substances into simpler ones. Anabolic processes are anaerobic (not requiring oxygen), while catabolic processes are aerobic (using oxygen). 

Anti-nutrients

  1. Phytic Acid: All whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds contain phytic acid (most in the outer layer or bran). Phytic acid can combine with important minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc) and block their absorption in the intestinal tract. This may lead to mineral deficiencies and bone loss in the long run. Soaking and sprouting in warm, acidulated water (water to which some whey, buttermilk or lemon juice has been added) activates certain enzymes to break down and neutralize phytic acid.
  2. Enzyme Inhibitors: All whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors. Enzymes are needed to properly break down nutrients, so that the body can absorb them. If those enzymes are inhibited, the food cannot be digested and nutrients cannot be absorbed easily and/or completely. Soaking and sprouting not only neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, but even triggers the production of more beneficial enzymes.
  3. Gluten: Gluten is a protein in grains that is very difficult to digest for the human body. Soaking and sprouting partially breaks down gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins, so that the body can absorb them more easily.

For details about the soaking/fermenting/sprouting process, click here.

Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)

One of the body's Fundamental Homeostatic Control Systems. The ANS is a communication system from the brain to the organs, glands and every cell in the body. It is considered the master regulator of metabolism. It cannot be consciously controlled, but is run by "auto-pilot". It consists of two divisions - the Sympathetic ("fight or flight") and the Parasympathetic ("rest & digest") - whose opposing, yet complementary (push/pull) actions result in metabolic regulation. For example, while the Sympathetic System speeds the heart rate, the Parasympathetic System slows it. Together, these opposing influences regulate the heart rate. 

DHA

DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega 3 fatty acid that is very bioavailable to our body. In its direct form, it is found in algae and fatty fish (that eat the algae). The body can also produce it from the other omega 3 fatty acids ALA and EPA, but the proper conversion is very inefficient (a lot is lost along the way) and depends on many factors, such as the correct functioning of the liver and kidneys. Plants (e.g. flax or walnuts) only contain ALA, which is why you would need to consume very big quantities of those foods in order to cover your DHA needs. Since all plants also contain omega 6, this would result in an overall too high intake of the highly reactive poly-unsaturated fatty acids.

Free Radicals

A free radical is any atom or molecule that is missing an electron in an outer shell and tries to steal it from other atoms/molecules, turning those into free radicals themselves. Over time, cells are unable to repair this free radical damage, resulting in oxidative stress and cell aging. The more oxidative stress, the higher the risk for cancer and heart disease. Free Radicals are countered by antioxidants (certain vitamins & minerals). 

Fundamental Homeostatic Control Systems (FHC's)

Regulatory systems that direct the thousands of biochemical reactions that take place daily within the body and are the basis for one's Metabolic Type. The two most important FHC's for Metabolic Typing are the Autonomic Nervous System and the Oxidative System

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

A GMO food (plant or animal) has been genetically modified with DNA taken from bacteria, viruses, other plants or animals. The idea behind is to take a favorable characteristic (e.g. resistance to drought or to a certain pesticide or plague) from one species and put it into a species that would not develop this characteristic in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. The ultimate goal is said to be increased yields, so that more people can be fed. However, so far it has not been proven that GMOs do indeed have that effect. It seems more likely that the real reason to push into this direction is – as usual - commercial interest:

  • GMOs are an “invention” that can be patented. Companies can actually claim property rights on those foods/seeds. In the extreme case an organic farmer, whose field has been contaminated with GMO seeds from a field close by, can be sued (and usually destroyed) for not having paid for the right to “use” those seeds (although he never even wanted them).
  • GMO foods are usually made resistant to certain pesticides, which then have to be bought from the producing company (which happens to be the same ones that also develop GMOs).

Those companies talk little about the potential health risks implied in GMO food. GMOs have not been thoroughly tested for safety; it is just assumed that they will not cause any problems in humans or animals that consume them. Still, more than 60 countries around the world, including all European countries, Japan and Australia, restrict or even prohibit the usage of GMOs. In the US on the other hand, they do not even have to be labeled (strong industry influences in governmental institutions).

The best way to make sure you are not eating any GMO food, is by buying only certified organic food, ideally from a farmer you know and trust.

AnchorGlycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load

Carbohydrates contained in foods are converted to glucose (=sugar) in the body and as a consequence make blood sugar levels rise. Depending on the complexity of the carbohydrates (simple or complex), this conversion takes place at different speeds. The effects that different foods have on blood sugar levels can thus vary considerably.

The Glycemic Index describes how quickly carbohydrates make blood sugar rise after eating a certain food. Glucose (pure sugar) is the reference point and has a Glyx of 100. The higher the index, the quicker and stronger the blood sugar reaction caused by the carbohydrates contained in a certain food. 

A practical limitation of the Glycemic Index is that it does not take into account the amount of carbohydrate actually consumed. For example: Carrots have a high glycemic index (92), meaning that they contain simple carbohydrates that cause a rapid and strong blood sugar reaction. However, they only contain about 7g carbohydrates per 100g. On the other hand, agave syrup is advertised as a product with a low glycemic index of only 35, BUT it contains almost 100g carbohydrates per 100g.

A related measure, the Glycemic Load factors this in by multiplying the glycemic index of the food in question by the carbohydrate content of the actual serving. Thus the Glycemic Load of 100g carrots would be 6.5, while the Glycemic Load of 100g agave nectare would be 35. In other words, about 20g of agave syrup have the same effect as 100g of carrots. 

Gluten

Gluten is a "hard-to-digest" protein complex found in many grains, but also in vegetarian "fake-meats". In bread-making, gluten "glues" the dough, making the bread elastic and giving it a chewy texture (and also helping it rise). 

Nowadays, many people are intolerant to gluten and have to avoid it in order to prevent an inflammative auto-immune reaction of their bodies. Symptoms of gluten-intolerance include, but are not limited to bloating, gases and other digestive issues.

Read more about gluten, gluten intolerance and alternatives here.

Grain-fed vs. grass-fed cows

Grain-fed cows are fed cereals, corn and soy, instead of grass. 

"Grass-fed cows". Those cows can actually graze on grass and herbs as nature intended it for them. Grass-fed CAN mean certified organic, but doesn't have to be. Even "grass-fed cows" can receive antibiotics and preventive medical treatment, which would not be allowed in "organic" (but usually there is less need for that due to more extensive farming). 

"Organic" cows. Organic OFTEN means grass-fed, but usually not 100% (grain-supplement).

Read all about grass-fed vs. grain-fed cows / meat here. Read under which conditions eating meat can be sustainable here.

Ketosis vs. ketoacidosis

Benign dietary ketosis (also called keto-adaption) means that the body - and especially the brain - changes from relying on glycogen as its main source of energy to relying on ketones from fat. As long as a person can produce insulin (and be it only in very low amounts), the release of fatty acids and thus the ketone production is mild and well regulated to not flood the body with too many of those (slightly acid) ketones at once.

Dangerous ketoacidosis: When a person cannot produce any insulin (like a type-1-diabetic, an insulin-dependent type-2-diabetic who does not inject enough insulin or during alcoholic binges), this regulation mechanism fails and the body is flooded with uncontrolled, big amounts of ketones at once, which holds the risk that they build up in the bloodstream and acidify the blood to a dangerous level. This condition can be noticed in a typical fruity breath (acetone), nausea, hyperventilation, dehydration and lowering of blood pressure. It is usually treatened with insulin to regulate the release of ketones.

As long as you are not type-1-diabetic (or a late-stage insulin-dependent-type-2-diabetic), you do not need to worry whatsoever about ketosis resulting from low carb consumption - especially since a low carb diet is the best way to actually prevent type-2-diabetes.

Macro- and micronutrients

Macro-nutrients describe the three big groups of chemical compounds that our food consists of and that provide energy to our bodies: Proteins, fats and carbohydrates.  The macro-nutrient ratio (= relative quantities of proteins, fats and carbohydrates) ideal for fficient energy production and good health, varies between Metabolic Types as well as from meal to meal.

Micro-nutrients are substances needed in smaller quantities as compared to macro-nutrients, but that nonetheless are crucial for supporting metabolic functions, e.g. vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients...

Metabolic Type

Inherited strengths, weaknesses and patterns in metabolism that define metabolic individuality and unique requirements for nutrition and lifestyle. Read more about the different Metabolic Types here.

Metabolism

Metabolism is “the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms”*.

It functions like a large company:

The “employees” (enzymes, hormones, vitamins, minerals) of the different “departments” (organs, cells) need to communicate with each other in order to supply, produce or transform energy or materials derived from the essential “fuels”: food, air, water and sunlight.

A few “executives” (fundamental homeostatic controls) on the top direct and control that everything is running smoothly.

There are many factors that influence our “company”, such as mental and psychological aspects, sleep, stress, exposure to fresh air and sun, exercise, our social life… and - very important - what we eat and drink every day. All those factors can enhance or block the communication between the “departments”, create a favorable or unfavorable “working environment”, provide the right or the wrong “materials” for the next production step, etc. They are also connected with each other, meaning that changing something on the nutritional level for example might suddenly provide the right or the wrong “working materials” or “working environment”, which allows to solve a physical blockade or a psychological problem and vice versa.

While Metabolic Typing focuses on the very influential aspect of nutrition in a first place, the other aspects might enhance or limit the success of your measures and thus will be taken into account as well.

Oxidative Stress

There are many normal metabolic processes that involve oxygen and the creation of chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen. However, oxidative stress is created when the body is flooded with additional reactive molecules (e.g. free radicals from pollution, stress, sun burn, excessive exercise...) and is no longer able to detoxify adequately or to repair the resulting cell damage. Oxidative stress is associated with cell aging, cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants (certain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, e.g. vitamin c, e or selenium) help to reduce oxidative stress. 

 Oxidative System

One of the body's Fundamental Homeostatic Control Systems. It describes the rate at which nutrients are converted into energy within all of your body's cells. Some people are Fast Oxidizers - they tend to burn carbohydrates (too) quickly, resulting in a high burst of energy, followed by a major energy low. A diet high in carbohydrates only worsens the problem, but increased amounts of fats and proteins help balance their chemistries and normalize energy production. Slow Oxidizers are also deficient in energy production, but for the exact opposite reason as Fast Oxidizers. Slow Oxidizers are (too) slow at protein combustion, resulting in very low, sluggish energy, that doesn't burn up fast enough. Slow Oxidizers do well on higher carb intakes with less protein and fat. 

 Rancid fats

Rancid fats are oxidized fats, meaning that they have started to decompose and to create more and more toxins / free radicals that can cause oxidative stress to the body. Fats go rancid through exposure to air, heat and light, so per definition, all refined oils are rancid the moment you buy them (since they have been exposed to a lot of heat, air and light during processing). The more unsaturated a fatty acid, the more sensitive it is to oxidation, meaning that poly-unsaturated fats (e.g. walnuts or flaxseed and their oils) are more sensitive than mono-unsaturated fats (e.g. olives and olive oil) and those are more sensitive than saturated fats (e.g. lard/tallow, ghee, butter, coconut oil, palm kernel oil). As a rule of thumb, the more liquid a fat is at room temperature, the more unsaturated fats it contains (except for margarine which is often made from liquid oils that have been hydrogenated to make them solid, a process that creates harmful trans fats). In order to avoid that oils, nuts & seeds or grains turn rancid too quickly, they naturally contain anti-oxidants (especially vitamin e). However, you should always buy those products in small quantities, store them cool and consume as quick as possible. Buy oils in dark bottles and never use them for cooking, but only for cold preparations.

 Raw Food Quality

"Raw" means that a food has not been heated >42°C at any point during harvesting, processing and/or processing. As a quality criterium, the term is usually used when talking about milk, cheese, honey, nuts, seeds and their oils, grains or dried fruits (but can of course apply to all kinds of food). It implies a gentle way of handling and/or processing the food, preserving as many of the valuable nutrients as possible and avoiding denaturing or destruction of sensitive proteins, fatty acids, enzymes, minerals, vitamins.... For example, poly-unsaturated fats found abundantly in nuts, seeds and oils easily oxidize when being heated, which makes them rancid and become toxic. If milk that is pasteurized (= heated up to 100°C), important enzymes needed for lactose digestion are destroyed. If grains are treated with high heat and high pressure to transform them into breakfast flakes, proteins get denatured. Not all foods can or should be consumed raw (e.g. raw potatoes or green beens are toxic). Heating makes many foods more digestible or even enhances the nutritional profile. However, in the examples mentioned above, "raw" is an important quality criterium.

Real Food

Food can be labeled organic, but that doesn’t make it automatically Real Food.

  • Has only one ingredient: itself, e.g. apple, carrot, avocado, meat, egg, milk, rice, bean…
  • Is whole, meaning that all parts are consumed (e.g. whole milk instead of skimmed milk, the whole fruit instead of the juice, whole grains instead of refined grains)
  • Is organic (or of an equivalent quality from a farmer you trust), preferably from associations such as demeter, applying stricter rules than “standard” organic labels.
  • Has not been processed in the following ways: refined, (artificially) flavored, colored, sweetened, pasteurized, homogenized, fried, bleached, dehydrated, denatured, deodorized, hydrogenated, extruded…
  • Traditional, artisanal processing is ok as long as it further enhances a food's nutritional value (e.g. by fermenting milk to yogurt or cheese, fermenting flour to sourdough bread). However, it can also decrease its nutritional value (e.g. certain meat preparations, charcuterie) by mixing too many ingredients, heating, smoking etc, so that those products should be consumed only occasionally.
  • Truly nourishes the body. No junk food disguised in an organic packaging.
  • Exists as such in nature and has been consumed by human beings for a long time. Not particularly true for potato chips, cookies, sodas, instant soups, granolas, fake meat…
  • Could be grown in your own garden (assumed weather conditions were ideal) or prepared in your own kitchen from ingredients grown in your own garden.

Trans fats

Trans fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acids, that are chemically arranged in a way that does not exist as such in nature. Hence the body cannot recognize / use them and they might end up disturbing certain metabolic functions / processes, potentially contributing to all sorts of degenerative diseases. Trans fats are created in the process of fat hydrogenation (= process to make normally liquid vegetable oils solid). This industrial process is used to produce processed foods, such as margarine, shortening, cookies and many more. As soon as you read "(partially) hydrogenated vegetable oils" on the label, you know that the product contains trans fats (which are probably also rancid on top). Eating Real Food and avoiding industrially processed food is the best way to avoid these artificially created trans fats.