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Check out what celebrity Kim Snyder has to say about fish oil, green smoothies, and whole food nutrition…..
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Yuri: Hey, Yuri Elkaim here. Welcome to another episode of the Super Nutrition Academy Health Class. In today’s episode we are going to be talking with celebrity nutritionist and awesome all-around girl Kimberly Snyder. She’s a New York Times best-selling author and she’s got two really, really good books, The Beauty Detox Solution and The Beauty Detox Foods, which I’d highly recommend picking up. They’re really good.
In this interview we’re going to be discussing some interesting things about fish-oil, supplements in general. Again, we’re going to be talking about fish oil, as if we haven’t talked enough about it already with this recent research that’s come out with the prostate cancer. What’s cool about this interview with Kim is that she provides a completely different perspective; one that kind of differs from what I would recommend, but nonetheless some really valid points that I think you’ll really appreciate in this episode. We’re going to talk about the importance of whole foods versus processing of supplements and some more awesome stuff. Sit tight, listen all the way to the end, and without any further ado, let’s get into it.
All right, guys, Yuri here with another episode of the Super Nutrition Academy Health Class. With me, I’ve got an amazing nutritionist. If you are unfamiliar with her, you probably know some of the people that she’s worked with, and we’ll get to those in a couple seconds. Let me give you her brief CV here.
Her name is Kimberly Snyder. She is a New York Times best-selling author and a go-to nutritionist for many of the entertainment industry’s top celebs, including Drew Barrymore, Fergie, and Channing Tatum. She’s a recurring nutritional and beauty expert on The Today Show, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Day, LA and has also been profiled in The New York Times, Vogue, InStyle, Elle, you name it, she’s pretty much been in there. And you can find out more about her at KimberlySnyder.net. Without any further ado, welcome to the call, Kim.
Kim: Oh, thank you so much for having me, Yuri. This is exciting.
Yuri: Yeah, it’s great to connect with likeminded individuals who are spreading a terrific message of adding more plant foods, getting back to basics. I remember seeing a segment, I think it was Vince Vaughn, who as on a talk show—I don’t know if it was Conan or Jay Leno—and he was talking about how he was trying to drink these green smoothies that you were making for him. I think that was who it was.
Kim: Yeah, I think he was on David Letterman. Also, a lot of my clients have gone on those shows, which is so great about having these celebrities be a vehicle for spreading this message which we’re all passionate about, which is whole foods, getting back to basics.
A lot of times I do work on a lot of movie sets, and people will call it this green sludge and they’ll see it and some of the actors or directs will kind of make fun of it at first. But then what happens is, they start to see my clients have a lot of energy and their skin starts looking great on camera and they just start exuding this glow, this energy.
One by one all these other people start being curious about it and they start drinking it and it just spreads like wildfire on these sets. And then, in turn, through their social media avenues, these celebrities talking through the press. Again, it’s just been a really great way of spreading our message. And, Yuri, you said Vince on David Letterman, which some people watching that show aren’t necessarily seeking out this health information, and for them to be exposed to it is really fantastic.
Yuri: Totally. And in your experience, with the actors that you’ve been around, are they pretty health-conscious, or are they just eating whatever they want?
Kim: Well, I think that what I see with celebrities isn’t all that different than what I see in the public. What I mean by that is: Everybody’s concerned—well, maybe my clients are maybe more concerned because it involves their jobs—about looking good and feeling good. I’m seeing energy as a really chronic issue across the board, where everybody’s feeling chronically exhausted.
Along those lines, celebrities as well as the general public are exposed to all these little snippets that they hear about in the media or these supplements or these companies who are paying for these studies. They just started to hear, “Oh, I need to be taking this,” and, “I heard about this,” and, “All my friends are taking this supplement.”
I think there’s a lot of misinformation, and that’s not just limited to the celebrities; I think that’s for everybody. I think that people in general have made things more complicated, and it doesn’t need to be that way to maintain superior beauty and health. Again, I think it’s a gift. I didn’t start my career necessarily seeking to be a “celebrity nutritionist.” It was the path, it was the universe, God sort of created that way.
But, again, as I’ve mentioned, it’s been a tremendous vehicle for exposing different people to this work that wouldn’t necessarily have been seeking it out on their own. I always say, you know what, if people start following my program or they start having Glowing Green Smoothies because they just want to look good, it doesn’t matter to me, because what happens is, they start to feel really good, and it just starts to open their consciousness as to other parts of their lifestyle, other parts of their diet. At the end of the day, they’re really benefiting no matter why they were first attracted to it in the first place.
Yuri: Absolutely. Before we get into discussing some of the recent news that’s really kind of taking this world by storm with respect to fish oil, what got you into doing what you’re doing now?
I think most people that teach health and kind of really try to promote it have gone through their own challenges and struggles. I know that I have. Did you go through a similar struggle? I know that you had some weight issues earlier on. Was that the main impetus for you to do what you’re doing now?
Kim: Well, I was always excited and interested in science. At one point I actually was going to be premed and I had a science scholarship to enter college and I had this whole plan laid out. I was really passionate about biology and anatomy always, but one summer I interned at a hospital, and it was just a very clear moment for me, saying, wow, I do not want to work here. I don’t want to do this. It’s just an energy drain. I felt, I was just so turned off.
Then my path veered. Naturally, when you have something in you, it’s always there; you can’t really suppress your calling, your interest, your passion. As you mentioned, at the end of college, I’d gained almost 25, 30 pounds, and my skin was completely broken out, my hair was a mess, so I definitely had personal struggles.
And then after college my first job was in Sidney, it was in Australia. I started working with this nutritionist. I was like, wow. This whole world opened up to me, and I was able to see, wow, I can take my love of science and the body and work in this way, which is about rejuvenating the body through food and it’s hopeful and it’s preventative and it’s not just about drugs and surgery and being in hospitals.
That was the impetus to go back to that, I guess that passion that never really went away. Then I started my path and ended up backpacking around the world for three years. I consider that a large part of my education, being able to study in India for months and China for months and Africa for many months. Really seeing how all these people around the world are able to maintain great levels of health and have low incidences of degenerative disease and prevent aging in many different ways without the so-called advanced supplementation and technology that we have here in the Western world. It’s been a very interesting journey.
Yuri: That’s great. It’s good that that premed thing didn’t work out.
Kim: It worked out in its own way.
Yuri: You obviously are probably aware of the recent study that came out with respect to fish oil, showing that it increases the risk of prostate cancer in men quite significantly. Obviously it sparked huge controversy, especially among men. From your perspective, even without getting into the study necessarily, why do people believe they need to take fish oil, and what would be the purpose of doing so?
Kim: Yes, let’s take a step back before we look at the study itself, because when an average person comes to see me or just in general, when people come in to my shop when I’m in there—I have a smoothie and juice shop—and they bring up what they’re doing with their health, it seems that the mentality of a lot of people is that fish oil is a basic supplement that everybody should take. Of course, these companies that are churning out the fish oil by the millions are very happy that people feel that way, and that’s something that just keeps getting promoted.
But just like anything in relation to nutrition, it’s important to see the big picture. The big picture relates to the idea of these essential fatty acids. There are omega-3s and there are omega-6s. The omega-6s are important too; it’s not that they’re bad, per se. They help promote immune response; they play a part in blood lipid profiles and metabolic function.
But what we’re seeing now is that due to the processed diet that most people eat, we’re having way too many omega-6s in general. Omega-6s are not only in nuts and seeds and whole grains, but they’re in vegetable oils. The average person may think, Well, I don’t have that much vegetable oil, but if you look at any cracker, chip, processed food, frozen waffles, all these foods, you’ll see some of these vegetable oils included.
That’s the first thing; we do need omega-6s but people are getting a lot without necessarily trying at all. And then omega-3s are also important. They help to reduce and regulate inflammation; they help with healthy cell membranes; they help to regulate prostaglandin production. They are important and they are contained—yes, they are in fish, but they’re also in some plant-based sources such as chia seeds and flaxseeds and walnuts.
The first thing here is, again, the Western approach is “let me take something” instead of necessarily getting to the root, which is: Why is there a problem in the first place? What can I do with my overall diet?
The root is the EFA, the essential fatty ratio, between the omega-6s and the omega-3s should be something like, there’s a little bit of contention, but it can be 2:1 or 3:1 or as high as 4:1, but what we’re seeing in the Western world especially is a ratio that’s 17:1, 20:1, sometimes 30:1. There’re way too many omega-6s.
Then, again, the Western approach is “let me take something.” Let me take the fish oil, which is the omega-3s, because I actually have—and people don’t realize—I’m taking so many omega-6s in my diet that I need to take something to try and create this ratio. Where, if we looked at the diet and we reduced some of the processed foods and we were able to create a natural ratio in the first place, then we’d be much better off.
The big deal that people make about the fish oils is that we know these omega-3s and omega-6s are essential, but what isn’t considered essential are DHA and EPA, which are forms of these omega-3s. The body—there’s a lot of research I’ve done on this—there are varying amounts to which a particular person’s body can convert the ALA, which is the omega-3 fatty acids, in to DHA and in to EPA. In the fish oil there’s what’s called preformed DHA and EPA, so it means when you’re taking the fish oil, people say it’s great because I’m getting all these preformed forms of the omega-3s.
But, again, going back to the big picture, one of the reasons that people aren’t able to convert efficiently in to DHA and in to EPA is because of this imbalanced ratio in the first place. It means, again, if we were to reduce the foods, reduce the vegetable oils, create more of that 2:1, 4:1 ratio, even, versus the 30:1, our bodies would be able to convert when we have things like chia seeds and, again, flax and walnuts. It would be able to convert it efficiently from the plant foods.
And we’ll talk about, I’ll just mention quickly, there is, especially when someone’s pregnant or nursing, especially if you have concerns about heart health, there are plant-based sources, there are algae-based sources of DHA and EPA that you can take if you’re concerned that maybe you’re not converting to the same level. We could talk about that in a minute when we get back to the fish oil. So, that’s kind of the big picture, and then maybe, Yuri, we’ll get into why I think fish oil is such a big problem in the first place.
Yuri: So, let’s go there. Why do you think fish oil’s a big problem, other than the stuff you just talked about?
Kim: Right, okay. Like we mentioned, I think that it’s this go-to supplement that people spend all this money on because it’s kind of accepted, if you will, in our society that it’s one of the basic supplements that everybody needs. Now you’ve addressed you need to balance your overall diet to help reduce inflammation overall and to create that healthy balance.
Now, fish oil is derived from a lot of these, especially fish that are coming from very toxic waters, some of these fatty fishes and things like tuna and salmon, even halibut. We’ll talk about the study again now, but the source of the fish itself is coming from contaminated waters, and the fish are like little filters which are taking all these little toxins through their body and basically compounding them as you go higher up in the food chain.
When people are taking these fish-oil pills, there’re different studies, there’re different things out there, but you can see that a lot of the fish oil’s actually rancid, it has a fishy smell, it’s processed. Fish oil isn’t a whole food anymore. We’re sourcing from these toxic fish and we’re concentrating it into something that we’re taking because our diet is already balanced.
Now, there is “purified” fish oil. There are certain companies that test for mercury and they test for dioxin and some of the toxins that we’re commonly seeing in the fish, but I don’t know how sustainable that is. Our waterways, a lot of these fish are in trouble. We know we’re overfishing a lot of the waterways.
Yes, there may be purified fish oil, but I say why not go to the primary source? Again, as I mentioned, if you are concerned, there are algae-based DHA and EPA supplements that can be taken in conjunction with—I’m a huge fan of chia seeds, by the way—eating chia seeds every day or walnuts. You don’t need to go up the food chain to take these fish-oil pills which may or may not be contaminated or rancid in the first place.
Yuri: Are you not a fan of smaller fish like anchovies or sardines, even, eaten in their whole form, not even in fish-oil form?
Kim: A lot of my clients choose to keep some of those foods in their diet. Everybody has a particular diet that they want to follow. I’m not someone who’s all or nothing. I personally do not eat those smaller fish. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to get in your diet at all to achieve complete nutrition.
Again, I’d rather go to the primary source. I’m a big fan of things like spirulina, which is part of my diet. I put them in smoothies, I do consume chia seeds every day, or I put ground flaxseed on my salads. I don’t think that those smaller fish are a necessary component of a balanced diet, although some people choose to keep it in their diet.
Yuri: Cool, good stuff. With respect to the recent study that came out showing that fish oil is linked to prostate cancer in men, obviously, there’re some issues with the study, but what’s your take on the new study? What do you think about it?
Kim: Let’s just mention, too, Yuri, that this study wasn’t like, “Oh, there’s a little increase.” It was 43 percent of an increased level of prostate cancer overall noted for men that take fish-oil supplements. Forty-three percent, that’s major. And within that, it was 71 percent of the most aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Again, to me, is it shocking?
I think, as I’ve always said, we need to go back to basics. We need to go back to whole foods instead of trying to correct all these imbalances that we’re seeing today with all these different supplements and pills. If you read some of the literature surrounding this study, there’re things with, like we talked about contamination issues in the fish itself, which could be linked to this, and I have found other studies.
One was studying men in Norway, where the fish consumption is one of the highest levels in the world, and there’s a really high rate of prostate cancer in men in Norway. We’ve seen a link in other studies related to this. And there’s also the idea that omega-3 fatty acids, you look even an apple or all these different compounds, there are thousands of compounds in it, haven’t really been identified in a lab because they’re so complex and they’re so inherent in the genius of nature.
So, even with omega-3 fatty acids, instead of just taking them in a whole form or having the algae or having the chia seeds, now we’re trying to supplement it. There’s a danger in doing that because we’re not having something natural anymore. These really high levels in omega-3s can, we don’t know what that does to the body because it’s not in a natural form anymore.
There’re people I meet and they’ve been taking fish-oil pills for 20 years or more, and, again, supplements—I say this in a general sense, but I just think it’s really important that people see this side—it’s not the same as real food, and there’re a lot of dangers in all these different supplements people are taking. I think this study is a great—and, of course, like with any study, there’s going to be controversy and there’s going to be points that people will point to contention, but I think that it’s just such a great discussion point to bring this to the forefront of the media for us to all discuss: Do we need these fish-oil pills? Why is everybody taking them in the first place? And what is the root of the imbalance, these things we’ve just discussed?
Yuri: Yeah, it’s definitely confusing for the average person because you see hundreds, if not thousands, of studies showing the benefits for omega-3s and fish oil for heart disease, brain health, all that other stuff, and then you see this study that comes out with prostate cancer, and it’s like what am I supposed to do?
How do you overcome the skepticism of some people that say that, and some research has shown this, that the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is compromised and very inefficient in most human beings. Ideally, we want to correct the imbalance and get rid of the omega-6s.
Yuri: What are some practical steps? You talked about…what are some things that people should avoid, very simply, and then obviously some alternatives that you talked about that would be some good replacements?
Kim: Sure. I think that, again, it’s confusing, and I think that it doesn’t need to be. I think that if we were to tap into the media every day, there’re studies that come out every single day, and people can cherry-pick the results, something that T Colin Campbell, the China study, always talks about.
Look who’s funding the study, look who can benefit from it. It’s confusing but here’s the bottom line: Look at the root of your diet, balance it overall, and go to the whole primary source. The first thing I tell people is: Avoid vegetable oil because this is throwing your EFA ratio out of whack, which has an effect, which may—and I’ll say this, not in a definitive sentence, but a lot of researchers believe that imbalanced EFA ratio can have a detrimental effect on our conversion of ALA into the EPA and DHA.
So, we need to reduce vegetable oil. In my books, my recipes, I think people in general use way too much oil. We don’t need it as much as you think. Even healthy oil, even olive oil, which isn’t a whole food, by the way. That’s another discussion. You don’t find olive oil in nature, but you find olives.
I think when we keep having these processed versions of foods, it can really affect our system. But I say here, turn down the heat in general, use vegetable broth, bake. Obviously, we need to avoid processed foods, but there are a lot of great brands out there, even one that my clients like, Mary’s Gone Crackers; they’re gluten-free crackers. These commercial brands, Guiltless Gourmet; there are brands out there that say “no added oils.”
I think it’s important to start looking at ingredient lists and becoming really vigilant of all these safflower, all these different vegetable oils that are in everything and just start sticking to more whole foods. We can have crunchy celery or jicama with the hummus, the guacamole. It doesn’t need to be all these chips all the time. Look where you can cut it out.
And then I’m a big proponent, like I keep talking about because I think it’s so amazing. The perfect whole food found in nature is chia seeds. Get chia seeds in your diet.
Prehydrate them first. Soak them in water; soak them in almond milk; and then put them in smoothies. You can make, I have an easy recipe for chia seed delight, which I make a batch for my clients that lasts them a couple days. They have it on set, they have it when they’re hungry. It helps prevent snacking of the less-favorable foods. It’s important to plan ahead and do that.
And then the other thing, like I said, because there is a concern of conversion, there’re many different brands out there that are an algae-based source of DHA, and now we’re seeing brands that have DHA and EPA together. Again, you’re going to the primary source. The algae hasn’t been consumed by the fish, even the small fish, and processed through their bodies.
We know all animal protein is, to an extent, acid-forming. So, going to the primary source if you do want to supplement with the EPA and the DHA, which isn’t a horrible idea. That might be a good idea for you to get off the fish-oil pills and switch over.
Yuri: Cool, definitely. I have a lot of our followers who’ve asked us for algae supplements and algae alternatives. It definitely is an area of interest for a lot of people, so that’s very cool.
What other lifestyle changes do you recommend for, maybe not necessarily rebalancing omega-6 and omega-3 because we’ve discussed that now, but in general, for general health and vitality? Other than the obvious of getting active.
Kim: Yeah, anyone that’s familiar with my program or if you go on my Web site or look at my books, one of the things that is a huge crux to The Beauty Detox lifestyle is the Glowing Green Smoothie. This is something that I recommend across the board for men and women alike. It’s something that you can easily make at home. You drink it at the beginning of the day.
What I have found across the board is by having this—and it’s basically a mix of certain green vegetables, certain fruits. There’s citrus in it, there’s fresh lemon juice, which helps your body to absorb the nonheme iron from the greens. It’s this complete food that is giving you, again, we talk about, Yuri, beyond the supplements, just this perfect mix of natural chlorophyll and thousands of different antioxidants, yet to be identified as well, antioxidants and minerals and nutrients and enzymes. And it’s a whole food.
We were talking about nature; the spinach is found with the fiber and the juice intact. I explain this to people every day. There are no calories in the fiber, but the fiber helps to regulate blood sugar levels; it helps to stabilize the system; it cleans you out. In just one 16-ounce glass of the Glowing Green Smoothie, you’re getting over 14 grams of fiber, which is more than some people even get in a full day. It can double your fiber intake.
I think that proper digestion, which is one of the cruxes of my program, improper digestion is one of the root causes of so many maladies of the modern day and so many issues with aging and skin problems and hair problems and all kinds of things. So, have your Glowing Green Smoothie; the recipe’s on my Web site. Check it out.
You can make it at home; it stores well. Don’t take anything out, don’t add anything. It’s just the whole food. I also think simple things, starting the day with hot water with lemon instead of reaching for that coffee, giving yourself that vitamin C, the enzymes in the lemon.
The reason I talk about these two things first is because I have found with working with all my clients, when people start to implement these powerful changes, simple changes but powerful, in the beginning of the day, they tend to feel so much better that they make better choices later. It just starts to create the ripple effect of establishing good habits that you can build on. Then you go, “Maybe I’ll have a salad at lunch instead of that fried chicken sandwich,” or whatever they were having. It starts to build and build. Start the day on a good note every day. Make the effort and then you can build on that over time.
Yuri: Nice. Just before we finish off, what is your definition of health?
Kim: Well, I say, you’re putting me on the spot, Yuri.
Yuri: Out of left field.
Kim: I believe one of the quotes, because I’m known so much for the beauty aspect, so I always say outer beauty is a reflection of outer health. The first thing I’d say is: Beauty and health are synonymous. I don’t define beauty in a superficial way, simply like, “Oh, she’s got nice hair,” but rather you look better when you’re healthier on the inside.
With health, I would say to me, health is really a function of your body being able to function at its highest natural potential. That means your digestive system is functioning at its optimal peak. You’re assimilating all the nutrients that you’re taking in; you are excreting all the waste.
To me, it’s like your body is functioning at its natural highest potential. It’s not necessarily I’m taking all this stuff, but rather is it assimilating and utilizing—I always say you’re not just what you eat; you are what you assimilate, what you digest. You can spend thousands and thousands of dollars every month on organic food and supplements, but if your body is compromised, it’s not absorbing and assimilating any of it. It’s useless, isn’t it?
Yuri: It is.
Kim: Again, it’s hard to give that in a short answer, but that’s why I focus so much on optimizing digestion. I talk about beauty-food pairing, eating light to heavy, taking digestive enzymes, the right kinds of probiotics. There’re so many things we can do in this modern, polluted world to really optimize the way our bodies digest and function.
Yuri: Nice, awesome. That’s great information. Thank you so much, Kim. Once again, everyone, you can check out Kim’s stuff at KimberlySnyder.net. She’s got some excellent stuff there. You can probably also pick up her books The Beauty Detox Foods and The Beauty Detox Solution is it?
Kim: Yes, yes.
Yuri: On Amazon and pretty much any bookstore as well. They’re awesome. Great recipes, great information, and obviously going in to more detail as to some of the stuff Kim has mentioned in this interview.
With that, Kim, I want to thank you very much for taking the time. We will bid adieu right here. And for everyone else listening, thank you very much, guys. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.
Kim: Thank you so much, Yuri. It’s been a real pleasure.
Kim: Take care.
Yuri: You too. So, there we go, our interview with Kimberly Snyder, celebrity nutritionist, New York Times best-selling author. Hopefully you guys got some interesting perspective from her advice with respect to fish oil and supplementation in general.
Again, if you’re not too crazy about going the fish-oil route, you can always look at algae oils, which are really actually one of the best sources of EPA and DHA, if that’s what you’re after. Otherwise, some of the great recommendations she made, eating more whole flaxseeds; obviously, you grind them up because your body can’t digest them otherwise; chia seeds, you can make some chia seed pudding, throw them into smoothies. Great ways to get in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Just a couple things we touched on in the interview.
Once again, come over to the blog at SuperNutritionAcademy.com/blog to get the notes from this episode. In the meantime, be sure to take a picture of where you’re listening to the podcast at. If you’re in the car, at work, in the beach, working out, take a picture, tag me in the picture, @YuriElkaim, and post it on my Facebook fan page.
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Hope you enjoyed the interview. Have a great day, keep it healthy, and we’ll see you in the next episode.
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