Episode 58: Sugar In Kombucha And Hormones In Meat – Is Avoidance Necessary?

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Thanks for joining us for episode 58 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. If you want to keep up with our podcasts, subscribe in iTunes and never miss an episode! Remember, please send us your question if you’d like us to answer it on the show!

Today we are answering the following two questions from listeners:

“Is kombucha good or bad? I hear so much good about it, but I’m hesitant because of its sugar content. I was told that the bacteria eat the sugar. Is this true?”

“My doctor told me to stop eating beef and pork due to estrogen content. I can eat chicken and turkey only, organic and preferably pastured. I’m starting to get really bored of the limitations. I’m also worried that the poultry throws off fatty the acid balance in favor of omega 6 while eliminating a potential source of omega 3s in the grass fed beef.”

Most of us have avoided a certain food for one reason or another, either by a health practitioner’s recommendation or of our own accord. Often it’s due to fear surrounding one singular aspect of the food, such as sugar, without regard to the food as a whole. Sometimes the restriction is not necessary or even helpful.

Today we address the concerns with sugar in kombucha and hormones in meat, specifically beef and pork. Are these legitimate reasons to avoid this potentially health promoting food and drink? Listen now to also hear about the importance of being confident in your ability to discern which foods work for you.

Here’s what Laura and Kelsey will be discussing in this episode:

  • Why the sugar content in kombucha should not be a reason to avoid it
  • Reasons to moderate your intake of kombucha
  • How different types of bacteria and yeast in kombucha may not agree with everyone
  • Questions to ask yourself when deciding on any food or drink
  • Consequences of restricting types of meat in your diet
  • How to minimize hormone exposure in the meat you consume
  • How being restrictive and stressing about food choices has an impact on hormone balance
  • Why dietary recommendations from health practicioners may not always be best for your individual needs
  • The importance of critical thinking, questioning, and following intuition when it comes to dietary recommendations
  • Why working with a nutrition practitioner can guide you through a personalized approach to your diet leading to less restriction and more confidence in your decision making about food

Links Discussed:

  • KettleAndFire.com – Use the code AncestralRDs for a 15% discount off your first order of Kettle and Fire bone broth!


Kelsey: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode 58 of the Ancestral RDs. I’m Kelsey Marksteiner and with me as always is Laura Schoenfeld.

Laura: Hey, Kelsey.

Kelsey: Hey, how’s it going?

Laura: Good. I know you have a lot of things happening in your life right now. I feel like I don’t have as much to update people on as you do.

Kelsey: Yes, I know. Well finally found an apartment, which is super exciting.

Laura: Yay, keys in hand!

Kelsey: I know. I was telling Laura last time before we got on the call that we had signed a lease but until you literally have keys in your hand in New York City, it’s like anything can happen. So didn’t want to update until I actually had keys in my hand.

Actually now I am in the apartment. We moved in this past weekend. It was kind of crazy because we had signed the lease, got keys, then we had pretty much less than a week to pack up everything because we hadn’t even started packing since we wanted to really find a place that we were going to move to before we even gave our landlord notice that we were leaving from our current place.

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: Yeah, rough week last week. We would finished working, and then just pack all night, go to bed, wake up, and start the whole process over again. Not a lot of downtime unfortunately.

Laura: Yeah moving is really hard. I’m so glad I haven’t have to do it in a while.

Kelsey: Yeah. But we hired movers.

Laura: Oh good!

Kelsey: So the actual moving part was fairly easy. We only moved like two blocks away. So we still have some stuff at our other place that we need to bring over, but all of the big stuff and most of our stuff is here, which is great.

Laura: Good.

Kelsey: Yeah we’ve got so much outdoor space. So we have a front porch, a back porch, and a backyard area.

Laura: Wow!

Kelsey: With a brick oven.

Laura: Is that a shared space?

Kelsey: No, it’s totally private.

Laura: What?

Kelsey: Yeah. I know.

Laura: That seems like kind of hard to believe.

Kelsey: Yes. Trust me, we’ve been looking for somewhere with outdoor space. I mean usually most people in New York City look for 30 days because they know they need to move by a certain date. For us, we were on a month to month lease so we could like take as much time as we needed to. We had actually decided on a different apartment and then I got a call from this realtor saying that she had this place and she didn’t tell me anything about it. I was just like, I feel like this is fate. Why don’t we just go look at it? And we did, and we immediately decided that we wanted it.

Laura: Oh that’s Awesome.

Kelsey: Yeah. It kind of felt like it happened at the right time. But yeah, if anybody has any urban gardening resources or anything like that, I would love to hear from you if you want to leave it in the comments because I’ve got so much space now to grow things and I have a black thumb. I need all the help I can get.

Laura: Yeah. I had my parents come help me kind of landscape my backyard last year and everything is going pretty well except for the grass is having some trouble. I don’t know what I’m doing either. I need their help basically for everything because I really have no idea how to grow anything.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Most of the plants I have just been growing on their own because we have lots of sun and water coming out of the sky. But for whatever reason, the grass hasn’t been doing super well. I thought for a while it was because of my dog using it as a toilet basically.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: But I’ve actually trained him to go to the bathroom on our mulch border.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: So he hasn’t been peeing on the grass in a while and it hasn’t really come back. I’m trying to figure that out. But I don’t know. It might just be time and effort that I haven’t put into it that needs to happen for it to be better.

Kelsey: Yeah. No I don’t have any grass. I have two sort of like planting areas and the rest is concrete for now. I mean I could do something to that to make it not the case. But yeah, we’ll see. I’m sure it could be a little oasis if I put some effort into it.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: But I’m terrified I’m going to kill everything.

Laura: Do you get much sun in the back?

Kelsey: Yeah. It has sun, like full sun basically from noon to maybe 5 or 6.

Laura: Nice.

Kelsey: Yeah. So it’s got a decent amount of full sun, which is great.

Laura: Yeah. Well next time I visit you we’ll have to sit out there instead of on your fire escape.

Kelsey: I know, right. This is going to be a whole different world. Very excited. But yeah.

Laura: That is really exciting. I find it really nice to have the little backyard that I have. That’s something that I chose where I live because…a big reason was because of that. They have a lot of apartment complexes in Raleigh that you can choose from that have like gyms, and a pool, and that kind of stuff, but I really liked the idea of having a little…like I have my little patio, and it was kind of junky from a landscaping perspective when I moved in, but now it looks really nice. At first it felt like a little bit of a waste of time to put all that work into it because it was a rental, but I am working on actually buying the place now.

Kelsey: Nice.

Laura: It makes me feel like I didn’t totally waste time putting all the effort into making it a nice backyard.

Kelsey: I know that’s what I’m sort of worried about, but I’m sure it’s worth it.

Laura: Yeah. I feel like depending on how long you live there, and I know where you live buying something is probably less likely any time soon than where I live.

Kelsey: Yes.

Laura: But it’s one of those things that I think the process of growing stuff and doing gardening in itself is valuable.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Honestly, what took the most work for us was we had to completely…I don’t even know how to describe this. We had to dig up all this literal garbage and also rocks in the backyard to put the grass down.

Kelsey: Oh wow.

Laura: So really the grass was the hardest part. Everything else was pretty easy, just like putting potted plants out.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: A couple of the stuff we had to dig some holes for, but the only one hiccup was my dad accidently put a shovel through a cable in the back.

Kelsey: Oops.

Laura: It was only like two inches below the surface, which it’s really supposed to be more like a foot below the surface.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: And we had to have the cable company come out and fix that. The saddest part was it wasn’t even my cable. It was my neighbor’s cable. My neighbor was like, is your internet out? I’m like no, I don’t know why that would be. So yeah, we called the cable company to fix that.

Kelsey: That’s funny.

Laura: So if you don’t have to do much digging, if most of the things are going to be potted, it’s really not as much work as you think it is. It’s probably more you just have to do some research about what you’re going to grow and what the process would be to get things set up so that they do well.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: I have a bunch of herbs in the back. I mean I don’t know if it’s my climate that makes them grow so easily, but I didn’t do anything to them this year. They had all died over the winter. Then now they all came back and they’re like huge.

Kelsey: Awesome.

Laura: And I didn’t really touch them.

Kelsey: Yeah well a lot of herbs, like I think mint for example is just practically a weed.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: It just grows like crazy. So I’m like okay, I can grow mint. Let’s do that.

Laura: Yeah. That’s how rosemary is down here. We have rosemary bushes all over the place.

Kelsey: Nice.

Laura: Mine is in a pot so hopefully it won’t turn into a massive thing.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Because I actually don’t even use them as often as I should.

Kelsey: Yeah I know. I’m excited to have fresh herbs. I have to figure out the brick oven because I think that could be awesome, but I have no idea what I’m doing with that either. But we’ll see.

Laura: Well you’ll figure it out. Hopefully you don’t have any disasters.

Kelsey: I know, burn down the neighborhood.

Laura: I would not be okay with doing that. I’m a little bit fire phobic. I’d have to have my significant other deal with it.

Kelsey: Yeah, right.

Laura: Actually speaking of significant others, you have another excited thing coming.

Kelsey: I know. I’m like all updates. Yeah, tomorrow I am getting married!

Laura: Yay!

Kelsey: Which is crazy!

Laura: Does that mean this is the last time we’re going to call you Kelsey Marksteiner?

Kelsey: I don’t know. My website was supposed to be done a long time ago and there’s been some hiccups with it, with the new one with the new name and branding and everything. I’m not sure when that will be done. So probably until that’s done at least professionally I’ll still go by Marksteiner just because it matches up with everything that you can find about me online.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: But hopefully that will be done soon-ish, we’ll see.

Laura: Yeah. Well that’s one thing about having your name changed is you’ve already done all this stuff with the name Marksteiner and it’s like switching over. I don’t know what the strategy would be for people to connect your old name to your new name.

Kelsey: Yeah. I’ve done a little research on it. I think usually people just put like, it would be Kelsey (Marksteiner) Kinney for a while so that when people are googling you, they find both. Then as people sort of get to know you as the other one, then that’s fine. Then eventually as long as you have access to everything, you can change the last name on all those older posts so that finally once people sort of know you as the new name, then you can change everything else. Then when people Google that they’ll find your old stuff as well.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: We’ll see.

Laura: I’ll have to see. I mean because I’m going to be creating a new website, and mine’s also been taking longer than expected. But mine is going to be just my name and it’s going to be LauraSchoenfeldRD.com.

I mean I don’t know when I’ll be married, but I assume eventually I will be married and change my last name. But I don’t know if I would change my professional last name just because of all the stuff I’ve done with my current last name.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: It just seems like a lot of work to try to rebrand your actual name.

Kelsey: Yeah. I know it took me a while to decide on that, but I got a lot of feedback from people. I mean even though it feels like I’ve done so much at this point, it still is very early on in my career and people were kind of like, oh, Kelsey Kinney, that such a nice ring to it.

Laura: Yeah, it does.

Kelsey: You should use that. So I was like okay. Maybe I should just do it and get it over with. It’s a lot of work, but whatever.

Laura: I feel like luckily you don’t have such a massive presence that it’s like totally not worth changing it. I feel like you could get away with changing it. It’s kind of like how I feel like I could get away with changing my brand right now because I don’t have that many people following. So it’s like it wouldn’t be that hard.

Although I will say I couldn’t get mine just LauraSchoenfeld.com because somebody else owns it even though they have not website there, which really makes me mad.

Kelsey: Oh, so annoying.

Laura: Yeah. So I’m like hmmm, maybe if I do get married anytime soon I’ll just use my new name because maybe that URL will be available.

Kelsey: Right. There you go. You don’t have to tack on the RD.

Laura: That could be a thought. So anyway. Well that’s really exciting. I’m really happy for you and your fiancé. It’s really cool. You’ll have to tell me when we’re going to start calling Kelsey Kinney.

Kelsey: I will.

Laura: I’m going to probably forget since it’s been like four years of us working together.

Kelsey: I know. You’re going to have to write it down every time you have to say it so you remember it.

Laura: I know. To be fair though, it does roll off the tongue easily.

Kelsey: It does.

Laura: So it’s not too hard.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Well, cool.

Kelsey: Well anyway, let’s jump into our question for today. But first here’s a word from our sponsor.

Laura: Alright. So we have maybe two questions today. We’re going to start with one and see how long it takes us. If we do get to the second one, the second one is probably pretty short so we might be able to tack it on at the end. But the first question that we’re going to answer today is this:

“Is kombucha good or bad? I hear so much good about it, but I’m hesitant because of its sugar content. I was told that the bacteria eat the sugar. Is this true?”

Kelsey: Alright. Good question. I am a big fan of pretty much any fermented food. I think they’re a great choice for a lot of people. There are definitely some people who have issues with fermented foods, but those people typically know it. They probably have tried some fermented foods and they know that it doesn’t sit well with them at least for now.

In terms of which ones are better than others, I don’t think there’s necessarily one that’s like the best fermented food. They all serve the same purpose. So kombucha is great. I mean there’s nothing wrong with it. I do hear the same comment from a lot, or I see it in a lot of places where they’re talking about how it’s got sugar, sugar is bad, and that’s a reason maybe to not drink as much of it for example.

Now I semi disagree with that, and I tell you why I say semi.

Laura: I might say I fully, but I’ll hear the semi for you.

Kelsey: Yeah. Maybe you’ll agree once I explain that. The reason why I say semi is because there is sugar in kombucha. The bacteria do eat the sugar in order to produce…the reason why it bubbles for example is because the bacteria is eating sugar and they’re producing gas as a result. So the amount of sugar that ends up in there is pretty negligible unless the company that…if you’re buying it from the store, if they are adding extra sugar later on in the process for example to make it a little bit sweeter, or they don’t let it ferment to the point where most of the sugar is gone to, again, keep it a little bit sweeter. But you can just leave out, like not keep it in the refrigerator for a day or something. Obviously make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t explode all over your kitchen, but that would help to kind of eat up any remaining sugar in there.

But also, I mean sugar is not a huge deal anyway. So I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If you’re just buying some kombucha at the store, I mean I wouldn’t say you have to leave it on your counter for 24 hours to make sure all that sugar is gone.

But the reason I say semi is, that I semi agree with this statement, is that most people I don’t think need to chug a bottle of kombucha. There’s no real reason to drink an entire 16 ounce bottle of kombucha in one sitting. When you think about fermented foods, a lot traditional cultures really use fermented foods more like condiments. So they’re just like an additional piece of the meal and it’s a pretty small serving most times.

Drinking 16 ounces of a fermented beverage is probably quite a lot in a sitting. And a lot of people can handle that so it’s fine, but some people can’t. They may be a little bit of stomach upset at least in the beginning of doing that. There’s really no reason to do it other than to I guess spend a lot of money if you’re buying it each time. If you’re making it, I mean why not, and you tolerate it, sure go ahead. But in general, there’s no real benefit of having so much in one sitting.

Laura: I mean I think I agree with all that. I definitely wanted to point out the fact that the sugar question kind of drives me nuts that people are so afraid of sugar.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I’m not saying this person shouldn’t be asking this question. I just mean that the fact that people have been taught to be so, so afraid of sugar that it’s a little bit ridiculous. I’ve seen people say well I can’t use normal ketchup because there’s sugar in it. I’m like literally like there’s two grams of sugar in the ketchup. Like just calm down. So it kind of frustrates me how, I don’t know, there’s always like the evil food de’jour and right now I feel like sugar is the big one.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Actually I haven’t listened to this or read Chris’ work on this yet. But Chris Masterjohn has been talking about sugar recently and kind of saying how it’s really not that big of a deal and people need to relax about it.

Kelsey: Yeah, interesting.

Laura: It’s not like I’m saying like go just and chow down on sugar at every meal or add tablespoons of sugar to your coffee or whatever. But I honestly don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I think people tend to give it way more, I don’t want to say power, but people are just like oh I’m a sugar monster, like I can’t not eat sugar.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: It’s like have you ever tried to just have a little bit, and just enjoy it, and not freak out and think that you’re like killing yourself or giving yourself cancer by having sugar? That’s something that as far as this question is concerned, even it does have like 15 grams of sugar in it, what is that, a tablespoon?

Kelsey: Right. This shows you how much I care about sugar. I don’t know how many grams are in a kombucha because I don’t pay attention. I just drink it.

Laura: Usually it’s less than 10, but the Pure Doctors, or no not Pure Doctor. What is it? There’s like this one type of kombucha that’s like a soda.

Kelsey: Yeah, the soda one. I know what you’re talking about. I can’t remember what it’s called either.

Laura: Well, anyway that one’s a little higher because it’s supposed to taste like root beer and that kind of stuff, which it’s really good.

But yeah, so I’m going to actually look up one tablespoon of sugar. I thought it was 15 grams in a tablespoon.

Kelsey: I think you’re right.

Laura: Or it’s 12.6 grams.

Kelsey: 12?

Laura: So it’s definitely more than what maybe somebody would be eating if they were just eating whole foods. But it’s not that big of a deal and if you just having it once and a while as a treat, like that’s how I approach kombucha as once in a while if I feel like having one. Like for example, I went to Whole Foods last night for grocery shopping and they had one of these root beer kombuchas left on the shelf. I’m like okay, I’m getting that. I just got it, and I drank it on the way home, and there was no drama.

And it’s just like I feel like if people…if they make sugar out to be this evil bad thing, that whenever they do have it they’re either going to feel horrible amount of guilt about it, or they’re going to binge because they’re like well I’ve screwed up so I might as well just have a ton of sugar.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I’m not saying there’s not a benefit to cutting back or doing a short term sugar avoidance if you feel like you’re really just having a hard time with the moderation side of things. But I feel like that perspective that no sugar should ever be consumed no matter what your health is like, no matter what your activity is like, no matter if you’re able to enjoy it in moderation, I just don’t think it’s a good way to approach health and nutrition, and it’s really just not even helpful.

Kelsey: Yeah. It just makes you crazy about it.

Laura: Right.

Kelsey: And it makes it hard to eat out. And again, we’ve talked about this many times before, but that really inhibits your social life a lot of times. And who’s to say which one is worse? I mean personally I think that messing up your social interactions and your relationships is probably worse than eating a little bit of sugar.

Laura: Oh, I would 100% say that. There was an article that I posted on my Facebook page that was talking about how lack of social support is just as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, having high blood pressure, being obese, not exercising.

Kelsey: Wow!

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: There you go, it’s definitely worse than a little bit of sugar.

Laura: Yeah. So literally just as bad as smoking if you don’t have good social connections. We’re not saying you have to eat sugar to have social connections. Obviously that’s not the point. But the point is that people are so afraid of eating things that are not 100% Paleo, or Whole 30, or whatever restrictive type of approach that they’re doing. It’s just the payoff, like the return on investment for the amount of fear and anxiety around it is just not that good. So yeah, that’s one thing about this question that I wanted to point out is being something that people shouldn’t be worried about so much.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Like I said, if you’re avoiding sugar for a short period of time, then yeah you don’t want to be having something that has a tablespoon worth of sugar in it. Or it might be half a tablespoon in some of the other bottles.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I honestly don’t think that’s the biggest issue with kombucha if somebody’s not going to want to drink it.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: The main things that I see as the problem with kombucha, either drinking a lot of it, or for some people it really doesn’t work. Sometimes the specific types of bacteria and yeast in kombucha can actually cause people to have some pretty significant reactions from a gut perspective. This isn’t even necessarily people that are sick or that have gut issues in general.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I have a friend who’s pretty healthy. She doesn’t have any health problems as far as I’m aware. She doesn’t have gut problems. The one time she tried a kombucha, she had like basically diarrhea for a whole day.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: I mean that’s something that maybe she drank too much of it. I don’t know. I just think sometimes people just don’t react well to it.

Kelsey: Yeah. I agree.

Laura: And if it’s causing gut symptoms, then you really shouldn’t be drinking it.

Another thing that kombucha could contain is alcohol. Alcohol is one of those things that again, totally fine to have alcohol, not saying that alcohol is something that everyone should be avoiding. But if you do have a gut issue, sometimes having alcohol can actually cause a greater movement of toxins from the gut into the bloodstream because alcohol basically can act as a solvent getting things into the bloodstream. So if you have a really bad gut issue, you probably don’t want to be having stuff that has alcohol in it right now. And of course if you have any sort of issue with alcoholism or anything like that, then having kombucha is possibly not a good idea for you.

Kelsey: Mm hmm. It depends on how sensitive you are especially from a gut perspective. Obviously I work with a lot of digestive issues clients and I really don’t have any set stance on alcohol to be honest because some people really notice negative effects when they drink alcohol and other people even with significant gut issues honestly don’t.

While it’s probably better for them not to be drinking alcohol when they have a gut issue, I also don’t want to restrict them so much, again, that there becomes this fear and anxiety around food and drinks, and things like that. And especially for younger clients too, I have a lot of clients that either are in college or are a little bit older that that’s a big part of their social life as well and I really try to keep that in mind. So as long as they’re not getting horrible symptoms from it, I’ll say, yeah okay, maybe one or two drinks like once a week at least for this amount of time we can do that unless you start to notice a worsening in symptoms or anything like that.

Laura: Right. I mean at the end of the day it’s all about a person’s individual experience.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: If they can have some and not have any problems, then that’s fine. The other thing that’s possibly an issue that I see with anyone who’s got histamine sensitivity or histamine intolerance, sometimes kombucha can trigger that kind of reaction.

Honestly, there’s a handful of reasons why somebody might avoid kombucha, but the main thing that people have to think about is how do you feel when you’re drinking it? If you don’t feel good when you’re drinking kombucha, even if you don’t know why it’s happening, just don’t drink it.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Then if you do feel fine drinking it, then go for it and maybe that means you only have it once a week or something, or maybe it means you drink it every day. I mean I don’t think it’s something people have to be having all the time for good health.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: I honestly feel like there’s a little bit of this health halo around it that’s kind of not necessary.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: But it’s enjoyable, it’s potentially helpful as far as giving beneficial gut bacteria, and if it makes you feel good and you enjoy it, then just go for it. And if it fits your budget, because I know it can get a little bit expensive if you’re not making it yourself.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: This can kind of go for any food or drink, or anything sort of decision your making. Does it make you feel good? Is it in your budget? Does it not cause any reactions, or weird symptoms, or something? If you can kind of like check all those boxes, then go for it.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: I think sometimes people can get a little bit in the weeds about oh is this good for me? Is this bad for me? Should I be drinking it all the time? Should I never drink it? It’s like, I don’t know, I think enjoy it when you do. If you don’t enjoy it because you’re on the toilet in an hour because you had it, then yeah, don’t drink it.

Kelsey: Yeah. I understand the thing about sugar given how our society, or at least the Paleo community at this point, tends to talk about sugar. I understand that fear, but really do not worry about it unless for a specific reason like a practitioner has told you for the next 30 days we’re trying to take out any amount of additional sugar possible. Then that would be an easy thing to probably take out for those 30 days just because it’s got a little bit of sugar in there.

Laura: Right.

Kelsey: But for any other reason, if you’re just worried about sugar, I really don’t think that amount of sugar is going to be problematic for pretty much anybody.

Laura: Like we were saying before, there’s definitely times to do sugar avoidance. I think for a lot of people it’s just because they’ve gotten used to a certain level of sugar in their diet.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: And they’ve just developed this sweet tooth that they need more sugar to get that same reward. So if you take it out for a period of time, you can try it again and see okay I really don’t need this much, or I can do dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. So you can affect your taste preferences by taking it out for a while, but I’d say there’s not that many people, especially anyone who’s generally in good health, that really needs to really avoid sugar like the plague.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: And then there may be a couple of specific populations that shouldn’t be having added sugars. So maybe if somebody has uncontrolled diabetes, or if they’re going through cancer treatment, or something that’s a lot more severe than just like I just think sugar is bad for you, you know?

Kelsey: Right, yeah.

Laura: It’s definitely not a once size fits all recommendation, but it does frustrate me a little bit when people are so afraid of sugar that they, like I said, that ketchup example.

Kelsey: It’s a perfect example. It’s ridiculous.

Laura: I know it’s so silly, it’s so silly. Yeah it doesn’t mean you have to have Heintz ketchup, but also don’t freak out if you have a little ketchup.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: It’s not going to kill you.

Kelsey: No, it’ really won’t guys. It’s okay.

Laura: Cool. Well I think that covers that question. Should we slide in that second one that we wanted to talk about?

Kelsey: Yeah. I think this will be a pretty easy one so it can do it fairly quickly here.

Laura: Yeah, nice and short. Alright, so here’s the question:

“My doctor told me to stop eating beef and pork due to estrogen content. I can eat chicken and turkey only, organic and preferably pastured. I’m starting to get really bored of the limitations. I’m also worried that the poultry throws off fatty the acid balance in favor of omega 6 while eliminating a potential source of omega 3s in the grass fed beef.”

Kelsey: I love this question because this person knows what’s up. Their explanation at the end of this, like bored of limitations and then the fatty acid balance, those are the things that I’m thinking as well.

Yeah I mean, again, I don’t know this person’s issues, they’re background, and their doctor is recommending this so I don’t want to like necessarily say 100% go against your doctor here. But my gut reaction to this question is definitely that there’s no reason estrogen wise to be avoiding beef and pork especially if you’re getting quality sources of both these things, which it sounds like this person is given that they’re saying grass fed beef at the end of this question for the omega 3s.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: It sounds like they’d be eating quality meat for the beef and the pork. Honestly, I really can’t think of a reason not to do that.

Laura: Yeah I mean if somebody’s really concerned, first of all like you said, make sure they’re getting the right quality.

Sorry, my dog is here and he’s literally chasing his tail. I’m like can you chill out for just a minute?

So if you want to minimize any sort exposure to hormones with the meat that you’re eating, then yeah, eating grass fed, organic, that kind of stuff is definitely going to helpful.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Also, if you’re really worried, you can always just choose leaner cuts of the meat that you’re eating. Because really if there’s going to be estrogen in the meat, which again the question is would that even be something to worry about if it’s grass fed, if you are getting leaner cuts you’re not going to be getting the fat content that would be storing that extra estrogen.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I feel like if you’re eating grass fed beef and eating lower fat containing grass fed beef, there’s really no reason to worry about it. Like you were saying with the limitations and the boredom, I mean that’s a big issue. I mean if you’re eating chicken and turkey only for all your meat, that can get boring really fast.

Kelsey: Yeah, and especially if you’re having a serving of meat at each meal, man, I would be really bored with those things for sure.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: I have clients that because of at least right now the sensitivities that they have, they will only be able to eat chicken and turkey for now and we’re constantly trying to move them towards other things. But I have to say that I would never restrict somebody off other choices of meat for something like estrogen content, which like you said, you just chose the leaner cuts if you’re really worried about it. That still gives you plenty of options.

Laura: Right. Honestly, this may sound a little weird, but knowing what I know about how stress affects hormone imbalances, if you’re super stressed about diet and you’re overly restrictive, and you’re just feeling a lot of anxiety about the food that you’re eating, that in itself can cause your estrogen to go up.

I just feel like this is another example of things where people tend to get overly worried about certain foods. Obviously this person asking the question is thinking about this critically and clearly is wondering whether or not this is even a good idea for her to be doing, which is great. That’s the first step is questioning the recommendations.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: And again, like you said, we’re not saying don’t listen to your doctor. But sometimes I feel like people say stuff about diet that is just not accurate. Even if they’re a doctor, it’s like they’re not necessarily giving you 100% accurate information.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: You just want to do your research and make sure that if you are going to be following a certain type of restriction, that you have evidence for doing that. Either they say that they’ve had clients that after removing this they saw changes in the hormonal profile, or there’re actual research supporting it, because there’s not always going to be 100 randomized controlled trials showing the benefits of some kind of dietary restriction.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: A lot of times you really do have to just go on clinical experience for some of this stuff. But the person that’s making the recommendations really should have a very clear explanation as to why you’re doing that elimination, and again, giving you options as far as like well okay, so just avoid CAFO type meat that’s coming from the normal grocery store, don’t eat things that are super high fat, maybe limit it to 3 times a week if you’re going to say maybe not to eat as much of the red meat.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Also, they mention beef and pork, but lamb is another red meat option that I don’t think should have very many hormones in it.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Especially because it’s a younger animal. I just think it’s really important to have as much variety in your diet as possible and if there’s some kind restriction that a.) doesn’t have a lot of evidence to support it, and b.) doesn’t necessarily have to be as restricted as the recommending practitioner is saying, it’s just something that it can really cause a lot of stress and just frustration in a person’s life if they feel like I can only eat chicken and turkey for the rest of my life.

Kelsey: Yeah, for sure. This is not to bash doctors at all. They’re great. But I will say that a lot of times because…and this sounds like maybe a more functional medicine type of doctor, but even within that group of doctors, they still typically have less time with their clients than they probably need a lot of the times.

What that tends to do is either they don’t give their clients much direction in terms of diet, or they just give these blanket restrictions or blanket type of diets and just say oh go low FODMAP or don’t eat beef and pork just because it’s easier and it’s faster. A lot of the times that level of restriction is not quite necessary, but it’s just easier for them to say that, and the patient gets the idea really quickly, there’s no back and forth about well what about this particular FODMAP?

So I do think that that is the benefit of working with someone who is trained in nutrition specifically because we’re not so focused on…I mean granted I do a lot of the functional medicine stuff in my own practice, but typically my patients are also working with a doctor to kind of do that stuff as well.

Laura: Right.

Kelsey: So we focus more on the food side of that, but I can help with the functional medicine stuff. We have the time to go through okay, this particular FODMAP, or just don’t eat the fatty cuts of these meats but you can still eat them. It just makes it a lot more personalized and that means less restrictive a lot of times.

Laura: Definitely. Yeah, it’s like you said, it’s not like we’re saying all doctors are clueless about nutrition or something like that.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: It’s just a combination of not enough time to explain things or get into the details of individualization. Or just that’s not their focus, so that’s not what they’re doing research on, that’s what they’re studying or really diving into super deep when it comes to their education. So they may see some kind of article that says avoid red meat if you have estrogen dominance or something, and there’s maybe no actual evidence to support that. But they’re just oh, I’ll just tell my patient that.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I mean I would say take all recommendations with a grain of salt because you’re going to be the expert in your own diet and if you feel like something’s not right for you, then don’t question that. Explore it, maybe talk to the practitioner that you’re working with about your concerns. But don’t just say well my doctor told me to do this and I’m not going to question it even though it feels kind of weird and I don’t understand why I’m doing it.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Just feel confident in taking control of your own health and if something isn’t sitting right with you, especially when it comes to a diet recommendation, you need to listen to that intuition and not just follow someone’s guidelines because they told you to do it.

Kelsey: Yeah and I definitely like you’re advice about talking to the practitioner about that concern because I wouldn’t say just to ignore it.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: Yeah. I definitely think your doctor should be aware of what you’re doing, and in light of that I would say that a conversation probably makes the most sense. Just go to them and say hey, I’m feeling really limited. Honestly the limitation and the restriction feels like it’s doing more bad than it’s doing good. Can we talk about maybe some options for beef and pork that within the context of estrogen are lower estrogen that I can have at least sometimes to mix it up a little bit.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: Chances are, I mean hopefully, they would at least be open to having that conversation with you.

Laura: I’d say most good practitioners will. If they don’t, then again, maybe you need a second opinion or maybe you need to make decisions that you feel are the right ones for you.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Cool. I think that answers those two questions. Generally I mean it seems like every time we talk we’re like do what’s best for you. But honestly, it’s just one of things that I feel like there’s so much of this one size fits all, good and bad food list making people just so confused about this stuff. I think it’s always important to remind people that there’s always wiggle room and there’s always room for individuality when it comes to your choices.

Whenever when I work with clients, my goal is always to get them to the point where they feel confident about the decisions they make whether that’s I’m not going to drink kombucha because it doesn’t make me feel good even if someone says it’s the most amazing thing ever.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Or I’m going to eat some red meat even though my doctor said it’s going to cause estrogen dominance and I’m just going to have it a couple times a week. I’ll do a leaner cut of grass fed and it’ll be fine. So just being able to be really confident in your ability to make those decisions and not be under this constant fear of making mistakes in your diet.

Kelsey: Yeah, you don’t want to feel not confident with what you’re doing in any aspect of life. And if you need a little guidance to get you to that point, which is what obviously what Laura do with our clients, I mean you should feel like that’s fine to get that help.

Laura: I mean just thinking about the coaching that I get with my strength and conditioning coach. Yeah I know how to work out and I can go work out by myself if I want to, but I just like having the confidence of having someone else guide me through it. So it’s not like I’m completely clueless,  or that I can’t make decisions for myself, or that if I go to the gym I’m just like I don’t know what to do here.

It’s just nice to have a little guidance, and feedback, and ability to ask these kind of questions, and brainstorm about okay, how does this work for you? Or even just going through the process of identifying the right choices because sometimes people just don’t know how to trust their own intuition about things.

Kelsey: Mm hmm. Yeah and I think with food specifically because there’s so much information out there that people just tend to get information overload. That sort of overwhelm and confusion about what is the right thing for me personally is huge. And if that is sort of taking over the way that you think about food, I think it’s really well worth it to see someone about that.

Laura: Definitely.

Kelsey: Because you don’t want to feel that way.

Laura: Definitely.

Kelsey: No.

Laura: Absolutely not. It’s not a good way to live.

Great. Well, we’ve really enjoyed having everyone here today. Kelsey’s got a big weekend, so we’ll all be super excited for her when she’s back next week. But anyway, thanks for joining us and we will see you guys here next time.

Kelsey: Alright. Take care, Laura.

Laura: You too, Kelsey.


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