Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Building Blocks

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
Dear friend of Centers for Healing,

I don’t know about you, but as a child I loved playing with blocks. It was always a challenge to see how they could be interconnected in order to build an every more impressive structure on our living room floor.

Body Fuel

Well, on the heels of last’s week’s discussion of carbohydrates, and why they are so important in our diet, it’s now time to have a look at protein. Trust me: you’ll get the “building blocks” reference in short order.

You’ll recall that there are three macronutrients: proteinsfats, and carbohydrates. We’ll let the nutritionists and fitness trainers argue about which of the three is most important. Bottom line: all are essential – in the right proportions – to healthy body function.
That being said, let’s begin our review of macronutrients with protein.   
Basic Organic Chemistry

First, we need to have a quick look at some basic (really basic) organic chemistry.
All organic compounds are made of at least carbon and hydrogen. Additionally, they may be composed of oxygen and nitrogen, and possibly other elements, such as phosphorus, halogen, and various metals.

Amino Acids

It just so happens that amino acids are one of the more important organic compounds, having atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur.

Essential and Non-Essential

Of the 20 or so known amino acids, 9 are called “essential.” This means that we cannot produce them on our own, like plants do. Instead, we have to eat certain foods in order to get these amino acids. And, since the body doesn’t store them (like fat and starch), we need to eat these amino-acid containing foods regularly.

Muscle’s Building Blocks

When I say “need to eat them,” I’m not exaggerating, either. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. And, protein is the building block of muscle . . . all muscle, not just the kind we seek to develop visibly in the gym.

For example, the heart is a muscle. And, unlike the muscles of our arms or legs, important as they are, this muscle – and its constant beating – literally determines whether we live or die.


The work protein does within cells is no less important. Protein catalyzes (i.e., fires-up) nearly all cellular processes within living organisms. Bottom line: no protein, no life.Period.

Eat Your Protein!

Now, there’s plenty of debate over the best sources of protein. Nor is this particular post able to consider the comparative merits of omnivorousvegetarian, and vegan diets. The main thing is that your protein be clean and from high quality sources.

We’ll tackle fat, the remaining macronutrient, in next week’s post. That being said, it’s important to remember that we’re talking about general principles here, not particular(i.e., personal) recommendations. That’s where our Protocol’s nutritional testing comes into play. Everybody has different needs within the guidelines of universal macronutrient necessities.

Always working for your best physical, dental, and emotional health,

Dr. Blanche Grube
Centers for Healing

Monday, December 7, 2015


Dear friend of Centers for Healing, 


Carbs. We hear about them constantly. Too many will make you fat. Too few, and you have no energy and even have trouble thinking. After all, the brain is a notorious “carb hog.” If you drastically reduce your carb intake, you can even get really, really sickketoacidosis. Sounds nasty, right? It should, since it basically means the body is the process of cannibalizing itself, due to lack of available sources of energy.


Carbs 101


In the limited space afforded by a blog post, here are the basics on carbohydrates


To begin, they can be simple or complexSimple carbs are those that have just one or two sugar molecules: monosaccharides and disaccharides. There are five different simple sugars:


• fructose
• galactose
• lactose
• maltose
• sucrose


Fructose is sugar found in fruit. Galactose and lactose are milk sugars. Maltose is found in beer, and sucrose, or table sugar, is what most of us mean when we say “sugar.”


Starch And Insoluble Fiber


The complex carbs, meanwhile, are those have three or more sugar molecules (i.e., polysaccharides). These are starches and fiber, which is either soluble or insoluble(i.e., indigestible). Common natural sources of starch are rice, beans, and tubers (i.e., potatoes). Fiber, meanwhile, is naturally found in fruit, vegetables, beans, and the indigestible parts of grains. Are you beginning to see the natural overlapping of macronutrients?




You may have heard the saying, “A calorie is a calorie.” This is true in a certain sense, in that the body doesn’t really distinguish between simple and complex carbs once they’ve been broken down into glucose for energy. However, the original source of those sugars makes a big difference on their overall impact on the body.


In nature, simple and complex sugars are generally present together in the same sources. Think, for instance, of a stalk of sugarcane. As a grass, it is loaded with fiber. When chewed, it releases a sweet juiceIn its natural state, therefore, it is an unrefined carbohydrate, with both simple and complex characteristics. And, sugar cane harvesters are known to munch on the fresh cane stalks while they’re working, with no damage to their teeth and gums!


Compare that to refined table sugar, derived from that same stalk of sugarcane. The fiber has been discarded entirely, leaving just the crystallized residue of the original juice. This is pure sucrose. When eaten, it is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream, causing the pancreas to secrete excess insulin to balance the level of sugar in the blood. Can you say “diabetes”?


The Good Guys


So, what are the “good carbs”? Regardless of our individual ancestry, here’s my recommendation: each of us should be eating a diet rich in unrefined carbohydrates. This meansvegetables (especially green leafy and cruciferous), legumes, some whole grains – but beware of wheat – andmoderate amounts of fruit. I personally consider a healthy diet one that consists of 85% unrefined carbohydrates. Yes, that leaves just 15% for protein and fat! However, many foods that are rich in unrefined carbohydrates are also high in protein. I’ll speak more about this in next week’s blog post.


Cookies Don’t Grow On Trees


To make even simpler for you to remember: the “bad carbs” are all your cakes, candies, cookies, pastas, pizza, sodas, ice cream and processed breakfast treats like “Pop Tarts”.  All of these will raise our blood sugar very quickly,to be followed just as quickly by a crash in our blood sugar. Then we crave more of the same. The exact opposite is true of unrefined carbs. If you don’t believe me, try eating an apple, skin and all. Then, see whether you crave a second one. 


Hopefully, this hasn’t left your head spinning too badly. Stay with me. Next week, as promised, I’ll tackle the question of protein, followed by a post on fat. Then, I’ll try to tie it all together for you. Nutrition is a fascinating study, and its consequences are too important for us to not know at least the basics.


Until next week, then, take care!


Dr. Blanche