If you follow this unique Macro Vegan Program as outlined, you will have great success in reducing your weight and maintaining your weight loss. Most importantly, you will establish a way of eating that will keep you in good health for life.
You may find that a few of the foods I use in this program are new to you. I have incorporated foods from some of the healthiest cultures in the world — I believe in the test of time. You will find a glossary of these foods at the end of this series.
Remember, stay focused on your goal — to reduce weight and improve your health. This is about the quality of your life.
If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?
What are Hormones?
This is an important part of understanding how this program works.
A hormone is a chemical released by a cell or a gland in one part of the body that sends out messages that aﬀect cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of a hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. In essence, a chemical messenger sends a signal from one cell to another. All multicellular organisms produce hormones; for example, plant hormones are called phytohormones.
Cells respond to a hormone when they have a specific receptor for that hormone. The hormone binds to the receptor protein, resulting in the activation of a signal mechanism that ultimately leads to a specific response.
Endocrine hormone molecules are released directly into the bloodstream, whereas exocrine hormones are secreted directly into a duct. From the duct, they flow either into the bloodstream or from cell to cell by diﬀusion in a process known as signaling.
Recently, it has been found that a variety of modern chemical compounds found in the environment have hormone-like eﬀects on both humans and wildlife. These chemicals can interfere with the synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, action, and elimination of natural hormones in the body. These chemicals can also mimic natural processes and affect homeostasis, reproduction, development, and behavior in the same way as hormones produced by the body.
There are many studies linking weight management to hormones.
Macro Vegan will put you in the driver’s seat to take control of your hormones. When you do this, you will control whether fat is stored or eliminated in your body. When we balance all seven hormones (insulin, estrogen, cortisol, leptin, HGH, testosterone, and progesterone), we will experience weight loss easily and keep the weight oﬀ.
Under normal conditions, once hormones do their jobs properly, they are disassembled and removed from the bloodstream. Environmental estrogen that we ingest from the food supply or get from plastics, however, tends to stay in the body and remains active for much longer periods. This promotes estrogen dominance, which makes you gain weight. To stabilize your body’s level of estrogen, you need to reduce its production and assist its break- down and elimination, all of which you can do by eating a whole-food, plant-based diet.
You can gain control over your hormones and improve your body chemistry through the right food choices and exercise. It really is that simple.
The 4 Key Hormones
There are 4 key hormones that can contribute to weight gain. They are as follows:
As you all know, insulin turns food into energy, but if there’s too much insulin in your system, your body will store fat. Insulin rises and falls according to what you eat, particularly carbohydrates. The information in this first tutorial will explain in detail insulin spikes and dips. (Please see “Fat Burning Simplified,” below.)
This condition is called “insulin resistance,” which means your body isn’t moving the food you eat into your muscles. One in two people has insulin resistance if they’re overweight. Exercise drives insulin levels down. That is why it is important that you incorporate my 10-minute workout video into your daily routine, plus any other activities you want; I suggest walking. When you normalize your insulin levels, your body will stop storing fat.
Our bodies require progesterone and estrogen to be balanced as they work in sync with each other. In the right ratio, the two hormones help the body burn fat for energy, act as an antidepressant, assist metabolism, and promote sleep. When your body doesn’t have enough progesterone to keep the estrogen in check, you become estrogen dominant.
The western diet has created a huge health problem known as “estrogen dominance.” This is caused primarily by our diet. An excess of estrogen in our bodies leads to weight gain, cellulite, and some female cancers. It also slows down your thyroid gland (which controls metabolism), and your metabolic rate drops like mad. Estrogen also causes water and salt to be retained in bodily tissues. This activates an enzyme that makes your body store fat. Environmental toxins, stress, nutritional deficiencies, and the estrogen leaching into our food supply have caused this problem.
To avoid estrogen dominance, follow the macro vegan guidelines below:
Remove processed foods and foods rich in sugar; those foods are practically devoid of fiber. Fiber from natural foods (like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) moves estrogen out of the intestines. Without enough dietary fiber, estrogen builds up and increases the hormonal burden on our system. Whole grains, beans, and vegetables are all high in fiber. Boosting your intake of whole grains, plant-based proteins, good fats, colorful fruits and vegetables, green tea, and natural sweeteners like barley malt and rice syrup are helpful ways to avoid estrogen dominance.
Cut back on coﬀee and alcohol, and, particularly in the first 21 days, it is important to completely remove coﬀee and alcohol from your diet. Alcohol impedes the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen, and when the liver fails to break down estrogen, it stays in the body and causes you to store fat.
Estrogen compounds are fed to chickens and cattle to increase meat, egg, and dairy production. These estrogens can then get passed on to us when we eat meat, eggs, poultry, or drink milk.
Microwaving plastic or putting hot beverages into plastic cups will cause Bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogen compound, to be released. The BPA then leaches into the food causing estrogen to be produced.
Cortisol is known for creating “stress fat.” It is made in the adrenal glands and is the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar, muscle function, and the movement of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into and out of the cells.
With stress, cortisol levels rise. When exposed to chronic stress, the body stays bathed in cortisol, leading to higher insulin levels, a voracious appetite, and cravings for sweet and fatty foods.
I will be talking more about the chemistry of self-destructive eating. When you are fit and have good health, spiked cortisol doesn’t cause problems; but for the overweight, unhealthy eater, it causes the metabolism to plummet even further.
Foods that keep cortisol in check include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, mushrooms (especially shitake and maitake), and fruits (especially berries). Exercise keeps cortisol from taking over your body, so I will be stressing the importance of using my 10-minute work- out video daily.
The fat cells in your body produce a hormone called leptin. At adequate levels, leptin works as an appetite suppressant. It tells your brain when it’s time to stop eating. It keeps your metabolism high. When levels are too low, leptin signals your body to store fat. There are ways to assure that you keep high levels of leptin naturally.
Being deficient in zinc results in less leptin, but the foods you will be eating on the Macro Vegan program address this. Seaweed contains abundant amounts of zinc and all other 56 minerals needed by the body for good health. Hijiki sea vegetables, particularly, support hormone function and are a fantastic weight-loss food.
This is Part One of a five-part macro vegan weight loss series.