Everywhere I go, I hear people say “carbs are evil!”
“I’m cutting carbs to lose weight.”
While some of you may have lost weight on a low-carb diet, I’ve had quite a few people tell me that they lacked energy when they cut out carbs from their diet completely (By the way, this also means very few vegetables because only plants synthesise carbohydrate…)
Yes, maybe you made it through the new year and trimmed down a bit.
…but in all likelihood, you are probably feeling unproductive, spacey, disoriented, and deprived going on a low-carb diet (or ketogenic diet).
If being moody and grumpy isn’t bad enough, you’re probably tired, constipated and feeling gas-y going low-carb.
Of course, some low-carb foodie may end up coming out of the woodwork and accuse me of doing everything wrong, which a criticism I have no interest in refuting or discussing.
I do, however, want to present an alternative view on carbs:
You need carbs to be productive
I’d also want to share with you 3 simple steps to boost your energy level and productivity instantly (you’ve got to scroll down for this one!).
Today, I’ve invited Dr. Pam Popper, an internationally known expert on diet, health and nutrition. Dr. Pam Popper has appeared in numerous documentaries including the critically acclaimed Forks Over Knives; has a weekly spot on the award-winning PBS show Jazzy Vegetarian; and is a New York Times bestselling author. Her most recent book is Food Over Medicine. Dr. Popper is also the founder of The Wellness Forum.
This is part 1 of the series. Stay tuned HERE for the upcoming parts.
Q: Hi, Dr. Pam Popper. Thanks a lot for taking the time to speak with us. I really appreciate your time.
Dr. Pam Popper: Well thank you. It’s always a pleasure. I always get interesting questions and I love telling the story of how all this works.
Q: How did your background lead you to your current work?
Dr. Pam Popper: I did not grow up wanting to be in the healthcare business.
While we know of many people in this field who started in the healthcare business in a traditional way: they had an awakening and said “Gosh, maybe I should pay attention to some other things like diet,” and then they changed their professional approach. That’s not what happened to me.
I had a background in business and practiced terrible habits. My diet was bad; I didn’t exercise at all. My interest in this as a profession started when I was in my late thirties.
I read a book written by John McDougall, made a decision I was going to change my diet, got interested enough in it to pursue education, and that’s what led me to my career.
So fortunately I started the process of getting education and getting into this field with the right ideas in mind. I’ve often said that if the first book I read about diet and health had been written by Dr. Atkins instead of Dr. McDougall, we would certainly be having a different discussion.
Now I’ll tell you one area in which I think that my background did help was that I had a lot of training in sales and marketing. Most health professionals don’t have so much training in that area, and I think that helped.
I think it helped me to grow the company to maybe a bigger size, coming to this business with some background in business, which is not usually the case.
Q: Great. What about your background as a naturopath?
Dr. Pam Popper: That came about accidentally. After I got my PhD in nutrition I did what a lot of people do after that. I said, “Okay, I never want to read another book again, I don’t want to learn anything again, I’m tired, I’m burned out, no more school.” I’ve heard many people say that after doing a PhD.
And so I was sort of in that mind frame and we at the time had a naturopathy school here in Columbus. The gentleman that owned it was old at that time; he was an elderly guy, and he never had a succession plan so unfortunately the school closed five years ago maybe.
Anyway at the time the school was open and I knew this gentleman and he said, “You know, Dr. Pam Popper, you should go to naturopathy school now because if you don’t do it you’re going to love being out of school so much that you never will.” It was actually good advice.
So I went from “I’m never going to do any more school, I’m sick of school,” to “Okay, I’ll go to naturopathy school.” So I decided to do it. Now there was a lot that was good about naturopathy school: the anatomy, biochemistry, and pharmacology.
The problem with naturopathy school is that, and I think this is still the case today, whether you’re looking at classical naturopathy, which is my background– drug-free, surgery-free practice– or you’re looking at naturopathic medicine, which is another branch of naturopathy, there’s a lot of symptom treatment going on, not getting to the cause.
Of course if you’re a fan of the Esselstyns, McDougalls, and Barnards, and the folks that I’m sure we’ll talk about tonight, they’re all about getting to the cause of disease, which is always in part diet, if not entirely diet, and fixing it rather than just using different types of substances to suppress symptoms.
So in my example I always use to illustrate: a medical doctor will prescribe a cox-2 inhibitor for arthritis pain, the naturopath prescribes glucosamine. But you’re talking about symptom suppression in either case, which is not really solving the problem.
Editor’s Note: This part (Dr. Popper’s background) has been shortened. For the full version, please stay tuned for the podcast, which will be released in shortly.
How to Boost Your Energy 24/7
Q: You’ve written a lot on say, food versus mood, you’ve talked a little bit about that in your videos, as well as productivity and energy. I remember reading that in one of the interviews you conducted is that you lacked energy before you transformed your lifestyle and diet. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Dr. Pam Popper: I think one of the most common complaints is I don’t have any energy. And it starts at an early age, I’ve noticed these days. We have many people who come to our hot yoga studio for example, a 25-year-old who can barely get though a 90-minute class. And I can do two classes and I’m almost 60.
I’m not falling asleep, I don’t know where you are, but it’s after 9:00 PM here, and I’m just getting started with the evening shift.
Anyway, I think it’s an important issue. It is interesting to people maybe more than other things that might motivate them to change.
Everybody would like to be able get more done, to be able to participate in more things.
So the way that you eat directly affects this because carbohydrate is the energy source of the body. It’s the body’s preferred energy source.
3 Simple Steps to Boost Energy Instantly and Improve Productivity
Q: The Paleo and the low-carb diet doesn’t help? How can we boost energy then?
Dr. Pam Popper:
Yeah, they’re all saying eat protein, eat fat, it’s better for you. It’s really not.
And the body has to work very, very hard to have enough energy to operate on all day long.
I always give the analogy, if I take my car to the gas station tomorrow and I put 50% water and 50% gas in the car, well, we just might be able to keep the car operating but it sure isn’t going to operate really well under those circumstances.
#1: Get Your Diet Right
And that’s what a lot of people are doing with the foods. So the first step in this thing, you have to get the food right.
It’s a high-carbohydrate diet that we teach people to eat. It’s the one that I eat, and it will result in more energy.
#2: Stay Hydrated
The second thing is you have to get hydrated. There are some very good studies, because athletes in particular are a good little group to study for this.
It doesn’t take much lowering of water levels in the body to start to affect those cognitive functions and energy levels and athletic capacity and that sort of thing.
And most people just don’t drink enough water. Some people don’t drink any at all, and coffee is not a substitute, and neither are juices and soft drinks and a lot of the other stuff that people drink. So you have to get hydrated if you expect your body to operate well.
And then the third thing is we are built to move. Human beings are by nature built to move. And so you have to exercise if you want to have energy. And so interestingly enough one of the things that people will say is “Well, I don’t have any energy to exercise so how can you expect me to exercise?”
Well, if you exercise you’ll get energy. And it goes to the point that we all think that motivation precedes action, and sometimes it actually follows action.
So if I can show you that if you eat well, drink enough water and exercise, you feel better and will have more energy, you’re more likely to do those things again.
So the hardest thing is getting somebody started. But once you show them that cause and effect relationship they’re going to want the energy and they’ll become more dedicated to the exercise portion.
The food and water is a whole lot easier to get people to do than the exercise.
This is it for Part 1 of this series. In Part 2 of the series we’ll be exploring:
- If a high-fat, high protein is the best way to health
- The dangers of eating too much protein
- Why changing your diet can boost your productivity and mood
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Dr. Pam Popper’s new magazine, the first magazine of its type with a focus on medical journalism for both consumers and providers, is available now. In this publication, Dr. Popper will provide straight-forward analysis of institutions, associations, government agencies, and others, along with the information they provide about health and medical care. No advertising or fluff – just the straight story. Just send an email to carterw [at] wellnessforum [dot] com or visit their website for more details.