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  • Hunger Hormone—Cholecystokinin (CCK)

    The hunger hormone CCK is balanced by a combination of omega-6s and 9s:

    Pine nuts and pine nut oil
    As the most concentrated energy source, Smart Fats release the hormone CCK signaling a short-term urgent intense message of satiety. Without that particular message, we will continue to feel hungry and dissatisfied after a meal. What happens when you reduce or eliminate the hunger-reducing Smart Fats from your diet is your brain does not receive a message of satiety, and while your stomach may be stuffed, you do not feel satisfied.

    Understanding the process of satiety enables us to see why people on low-fat diets chronically complain of feeling full, but not satisfied. They eat large quantities of food—food low in fat, but not always low in calories—and are left a short while later feeling hungry. Then they reach for a low-fat snack, typically one laden with sugar and refined carbs, which sends them for a ride on the glucose roller coaster. This is yet another vicious cycle that dieters became trapped in when they tried to adhere to the false gospel of the fat-free diet.

    The body has developed finely tuned message centers that communicate all sorts of information about our physical status. When we eat even a relatively small quantity of Smart Fats, the stomach releases the hormonal CCK message to the brain, signaling both fullness and satiety. The brain receives the message and, if we are listening, we register the message of satisfaction and stop eating. When you begin to add the Smart Fats back into your diet, you enable your body to send clear messages to the brain. You eat. You are full. You are satisfied. Depending on the amount of fat you have eaten with your meal, you usually will not feel hungry again for four to six hours. When you do get hungry, it’s time to eat again. How cool is that?

    Smart Tip: CCK
    Here’s my favorite way of satisfying CCK.

    Pine for pine nuts and pine nut oil. The clinical studies have shown that the pinolenic acid in pine nuts can increase satiety hormones like CCK by more than 60 percent. It can also decrease appetite by about a third In addition, it is extraordinarily helpful in healing the entire digestive tract including the stomach lining. Take one teaspoon 20 minutes before each meal to protect your gastrointestinal lining and enhance metabolism by controlling appetite.

    Hunger Hormone—Leptin

    The hunger hormone Leptin is balanced by omega-3 oils:

    Fatty fish and fish oils
    While CCK is the urgent messenger, leptin is a long-term chemical messenger for your appetite. If you never feel quite satisfied after a meal, then your leptin is too low and somewhere out in left field. High leptin levels are the ticket to speedy slimming and when this hormone is signaling correctly, it should actually decrease your appetite.

    As a key appetite hormone, it would stand to reason that levels of leptin should be lower when you’re thin and higher when you’re overweight. So you would think that overweight people would have less of an appetite, but this isn’t how it seems to work.

    People that are overweight and have high leptin levels somehow don’t get the signal to stop eating and stop storing fat. They develop a condition called leptin resistance, which is similar to insulin resistance where the body is no longer sensitive to the appetite-decreasing effects of leptin.

    Both leptin and insulin resistance are triggered by an excess of refined carbs, sugar—especially fructose (fruit sugar)—and not enough exercise or sleep and too much stress. Leptin resistance, however, is especially frustrating when it comes to long-lasting fat loss because it has a habit of actually increasing the level of visceral fat, the fat that is deep within the abdomen.

    Luckily, the Smart Fat fix is nearly identical to that of ghrelin.

    Hunger Hormone—Ghrelin

    Ghrelin, like the hunger hormone leptin, is also balanced by omega-3 rich oil:

    Fatty fish and fish oils
    Ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone made by the pancreas and stomach, plays a major role in body weight and is kept in check by foods that provide the omega-3 essential fatty acids. Levels are lower when you are thin and higher when you are fat. Typically, levels should increase before meals and then decrease after eating.

    But, if you are constantly hungry, it’s probably due to those high ghrelin levels—which can become elevated thanks to stress, skipped meals (especially breakfast), restrictive dieting and lack of sleep. Sound familiar?

    When ghrelin rises, it activates the hunger control center of your brain, which triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and fatty foods. So when you should be resting and resetting this hormone, the ghrelin in your system is pining for foods that will ultimately make you gain weight.

    From a dietary standpoint, the Smart Fats from the omega-3 rich fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel) as well as EPA and DHA rich fish oil can stabilize both your leptin and ghrelin levels by helping to balance brain chemistry. Since more than 60 percent of the brain is made from fat (primarily the ones that cannot be synthesized by the body, but must be eaten in the form of foods), I would say that these omega-3s are pretty darn important to trigger specific brain receptors, which control leptin and ghrelin. This is one supplement worth taking!

    Smart Tips: Leptin and Ghrelin
    How can you repair your leptin barometer and satisfy the hunger gremlin called ghrelin?

    1. Go fish or pop a healthy dose of omega-rich fish oil every day. Fish has always been known as “brain food.” If you’re not crazy about the fatty fish that you should consume two to three times per week, then you are a candidate for the lemon or orange flavored fish oil liquid and softgels. This surprisingly tasty fish oil can be popped into your smoothie, drizzled on popcorn or used as a mild and delicate salad oil basic.

    2. Avoid foods high in fructose, which stimulate the appetite and scramble leptin signals. Obvious offenders are processed foods and drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup, but you should also cross-reference a list of higher fructose fruits. Less obvious high fructose sources are whole foods like tomatoes, unsweetened applesauce, agave and balsamic vinegar.

    3. Don’t skip meals—but especially not breakfast. Eat a protein-packed breakfast within one hour of waking. This will help you to lose weight and ward off insulin resistance, as well as balance all four of your hunger hormones. Study after study has proven that individuals who skip breakfast are well over 100 percent more likely to be overweight or obese. Protein-rich breakfasts like smoothies, or bacon and eggs, or turkey sausage and veggies will go a long way in getting your day off to the right start.

    4. Strengthen your vagus nerve, which you will be hearing more and more about in the near future. The vagus nerve is the direct connection between your brain and every system in your body. It is a signaling pathway for leptin hormones. When you have leptin resistance, the signals aren’t being received correctly. One way to help reset your leptin receiver is to strengthen your vagus nerve. How can you do that? One fun way is gargling. You can just use plain water. Take a sip and gargle with it before swallowing, continue doing this with your entire glass of water. Gargling forces the muscles in the back of the throat to contract and this action activates and strengthens the vagus nerve.

    5. Practice good sleep hygiene. Remember the sleep tips I shared in the Stress article to reduce cortisol? Those same suggestions apply to reset your hunger hormones. And, while so many of us glorify our sleeplessness like it’s something to be proud of, I have even more information to convince you otherwise. So, if I repeat myself, you’ll understand why. Again, try to be in bed by 10 pm and aim for about seven to nine hours. While the very highest quality sleep comes before midnight, the National Institute of Health reports that the body does its primary physical repair between 10 pm and 2 am. Interestingly, this is the same time when growth hormone is secreted which helps to keep us lean and vital. The mind regenerates between the hours of 2 am and 6 am. If you have intermittent awakening which disrupts peaceful sleep, take these insights from Traditional Chinese Medicine into consideration: If you are waking up between the hours of 11 pm and 1 am, your gallbladder may be acting up. If it’s between the hours of 1 am to 3 am, this may mean your liver is congested. And, if you wake up between 3 am to 5 am, your lungs and/or large intestine may need some TLC.

    Unplug and disable all Wi-Fi equipment in your bedrooms like computers, iPads, cell phones, routers, and alarm clocks. The electromagnetic fields that all electrical and digital devices emit can slash melatonin—the antioxidant-like hormone, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle—and spike fat-storing cortisol.

    Still Hungry? There are all kinds of appetites, so in the next article we’ll discuss how Smart Fats—like those from the essential fatty acids—can benefit the sex hormones, including the hormone of desire, and help get your libido back on track.

  • Editor's Note: This third story in Kat James' series featuring the power of the little-known hormone, leptin, highlights common, living examples of the vast range of health issues dramatically and predictably affected by the recovery of function of the hormone, leptin, which circulates in all humans and most other animals and impacts literally all biological functions. For introductory and other stories on leptin's power, view James' first two articles on the subject in TotalHealth. Catching Up With Leptin Pioneer Kat James and Transforming Journeys Part 1.

    Former Pescatarian Couple Breaks Through Chronic Health Barriers With The POWER OF LEPTIN

    Charles and Toby Geschwind—both in their early seventies— have seen more than their share of major health scares. Having become self-described natural health investigators out of necessity they've thus far succeeded in averting their own respective health disasters. Toby sent her own form of ovarian cancer into remission with a combination of diet and chemotherapy, though her cancer came back recently, and the chemo caused uncomfortable digestive and regularity challenges. Charles' prostate cancer and diabetes went into remission with his mix of conventional and nutritional treatment choices, though his pre-diabetes has lingered, and life-long heart beat irregularities have persisted, requiring (at least according to his somewhat famous cardiologist) life-long control with prescription drugs, which carry their own significant risks.

    In November of 2017, Charles and Toby happened on a lecture I gave in New York City and learned of my educational retreats focused on helping people recover the functioning of the master hormone, leptin (a hormone in our bodies that is malfunctioning in most North Americans). My health protocols—honed over seventeen years of hands-on coaching— were derived from my own original protocol that healed my own near-fatal health crises.

    Charles and Toby were part of a retreat group that convened at the<br />historic 1880s Harlem Jazz and Gospel Mansion to learn about leptin.
    Charles and Toby were part of a retreat group that convened at the historic
    1880s ‘Harlem Jazz and Gospel Mansion” to learn about leptin.

    In spite of many reservations, including their kosher restrictions, avoidance of red meat for ten years due to Charles' "A-fib" (irregular heartbeat), high blood pressure, and diabetic history, plus their relegation of fat (especially animal fat) to the dietary villain list on the advice of Charles' well-known cardiologist…my promotion of high-fat, meat, cholesterol, and certain dairy foods and limitation on so many of their low-fat and "health foods" including oatmeal, beans, and several fruits sounded like crazy talk at first to the Geschwinds. But the success stories, such as that of Shianne Lombard's, told here in TotalHealth a few months back, plus many more accounts of dramatic turnarounds in digestive, weight, sleep, energy and other issues they could relate to, convinced them to join me at a retreat in a landmark mansion in upper Manhattan only ten days following that lecture. Among many other "oddities," plunging into my protocol would involve moving past their pescatarian (fish was their only animal food) limitations, finding their optimal individual fat and protein ratios, incorporating certain strategic dairy products they'd long since "banned", and incorporating targeted supplements, while cutting out basically anything that would cause a rise in their own individual insulin and leptin hormones (this is an individualized factor subject to one's health and hereditary history). But plunge in they did. And about ten days later, both had literally transformed into very different biochemical beings.

    Charles started my regimen two days prior to the retreat, going through the expected low-energy day. By the day after he arrived at the retreat he was surprised to experience his first sleep through the night with only one waking in at least twenty years of waking 4–5 times. This common sign of recovered leptin function (leptin function recovery takes as little as three to four days) has proved permanent for Charles up to this writing, a month and a half later. His face started to change visibly to everyone by the second day at the mansion coinciding with loss of fluid (again, coinciding with the usual transitional timing and signs of leptin sensitivity).

    Toby began the regimen two days later, and thus went through the transitional discomforts on-site at the retreat. Weaning off of sugar as one's primary fuel and transitioning to the body burning fat as its new primary fuel, accompanies a drop-out in energy and marked die-off of sugar-fed yeast and fungi which can cause low energy and flu-like symptoms for a day or two. Seeing Charles changes (and that of several others at the retreat) in advance of hers was all the encouragement she needed to wait it out. On the fourth day Toby began to feel better. In the meantime, both Toby's and Charles' first bites of high-quality, grass-fed meat were surreal for them. Their bodies' immediate positive responses were encouraging (I could relate as I watched them, remembering my own first bite of meat after seven years away from it).

    Once home, physical changes were even more obvious and progressive, yet the initial surprise and opposition to the new diet from family members popped up. In Charles' words: "At first it was difficult for all of us to accept Kat's principles which were the opposite of everything we'd been told to do for our cancer, my heart disease, and my pre-diabetes. My younger sister is a nutritionist and told us it went against all she'd learned as well. But when we got home and my whole family noticed how different I looked and the continued changes, including my being able to walk greater and greater distances and up stairs without getting out of breath, they began to support our new way of life fully. The teller at my bank even called me over and commented on how I was looking. The change in only a handful of days was that dramatic.

    Within a week after we got home, Toby's cramps and poor elimination issues that had worsened with chemo soon fully resolved and our energy went through the roof. At that point, even my nutritionist sister was on-board with this approach.

    Labs at One Month: No More A-Fib, High Blood Sugar, or High Blood Pressure

    Charles' celebrity cardiologist was less embracing of what he'd embarked on and—even after dramatic swings to normal range blood pressure, blood sugar, and heart test values—still didn't really want to hear about it. "I took all of the blood pressure, blood sugar, stress, and heart monitor tests around December 5th," said Charles. "He called me the next day and told me to get off of my Metoprolol (a heartbeat-regulating drug with some significant side-effects) 'right away.' We re-tested my heart the day after I went off the drug and he told me that without medication my heart rate was now normal. 'I don't know what you did, but all of your numbers are perfect' is all he said. He is considered one of the most brilliant cardiologists, but when I started to tell him about this regimen, I could tell he did not want to hear about it. This is the first time in at least twelve years that I'm testing normal. I've had a racing heart all of my life. Now, for the first time, I have no a-fib.

    My new ability to sleep through the night since the second day on this protocol has also continued ever since. I could never fall asleep at a decent hour before and always got up numerous times. Now I'm up at seven taking a walk because I want to. That's something I've never done. Both Toby's energy and mine is through the roof. My clothes keep getting looser. My favorite Movado watch was too tight to wear on October 30th. I had a link removed a couple of weeks after the retreat because it was too loose. My clothes have continued to get looser and looser. I'm gaining strength and muscle. I can now walk for long periods without getting out of breath.

    What's amazing is I've always been an overweight, yo-yo dieter. This time I don't feel any self-deprivation. I used to be a bottomless pit. Now, all craving is gone. I look at and smell the "normal" food others are eating that I used to eat and it literally nauseates me now. I just don't want those foods. I do love what I'm eating now, though. That first steak was mind-blowing and I now feel how my body needs it now and then."

    Toby was initially even more hesitant than Charles to reintroduce red meat. But after her grimacing first bite, a change in expression followed "this is pretty darn good" she remarked in front of the group. And with all of the other tenets of the program in place, her physical (and ideological) transformation soon became apparent. Once home, to her amazement, her chronic cramping, digestive and elimination problems subsided within a week to the point of being completely resolved.

    Toby's CA-125 Tests and Cancer Considerations
    Cancer Antigen 125 (CA-125) is a tumor marker test that is used to measure cancer-related proteins in the blood. It's reliability is controversial, but Toby is a strong advocate for all women getting the test, as high numbers very often coincide with cancer being present whereas below 35, and particularly single-digit numbers generally correspond with less presence of cancer.

    "Toby's CA-125 reading was 375 when she was first diagnosed in March, 2012 and then the day of the operation one week later it was 775. After her chemo and dietary changes she had gotten the number as low as 10.3. After the retreat it tested at 8.7, which is hard to get down to because the test also picks up various inflammation issues too. Needless to say she is very happy."

    A quick search of the terms "leptin" and "cancer" will give further illumination as to their relationship. What you want to strive for, as with insulin, is to avoid rises in leptin, due to dietary sugars. When leptin rises, so does proliferation of various cancers. Recovering leptin function is only possible when leptin levels are kept consistently low through dietary avoidance of carbs and sugar.

    On His Toes
    Charles was scheduled to have surgery on two of his toes, which had become immobile, at the end of November. After several other cases of recovered toe mobility with my protocol, I suggested that he postpone the operation with his doctor's approval. Now scheduled for three weeks after the publication of this article, Charles is hopeful that the surgery can be cancelled as he is seeing return of flexibility to those toes.

    "This program was the best thing we've ever done for our health. We even learned to do this with all of our kosher requirements, which makes all the difference to us. The richness and flavor of the food has convinced us that we could do this long-term. In fact not long after the retreat, we went to an elaborate Chanukah party where there were tons of inappropriate food choices...we weren't at all tempted to go off course."

    Hear Charles' live radio interview on The Kat James Show.

    Keep an eye out for my upcoming Dental Transformation story and consider joining my Costa Rica Total Transformation® later this month, which will serve as the exotic tropical backdrop for several transformation stories in- progress coming up.

  • Reality Show Trainer Discovers The Power Of Leptin

    Editor's note: Total Health considers Kat James a long time colleague. Over the years she has shared her journey to regaining her health with us and in turn with readers. In the June 2016 issue (see link below—for readers unfamiliar with Kat we encourage you to go to the link for important background and dietary information) we began this series to update our readers on her impressive story. An additional article will follow in a future issue.

    In our June cover interview with bestselling author and nutritional pioneer, Kat James, brought you this first of an ongoing series of articles featuring the master hormone leptin, and following (literally and figuratively!) real-life success stories from James' Total Transformation® Programs, which have become renowned for helping people harness leptin's newly-understood—yet mind-boggling—power. From a buffalo lodge in Kansas City, to a Jazz-age mansion in Manhattan, to a trip throughout Costa Rica, we'll be sharing glimpses of transformations-in-progress, such as reality show fitness trainer Shianne Lombard's incredible metamorphosis, below. But first, as a primer on how to harness leptin's power for yourself, you'll want to read the above-linked interview, where James also shares her own journey from near-death to vitality and then lays out her once-controversial, core dietary tenets. Now honed over seventeen years of helping others to achieve the same type of dramatic physical and emotional transformation she'd achieved for herself. We hope these accounts will inspire you (as they have us!) to consider leptin's transformative potential in your own health journey.

    The Day Everything Changed: Biggest Loser Trainer Hears James' Radio Interview About The Biggest Loser Study
    In spring of this year, the media-blanketing, Biggest Loser study prompted James to appear on several radio shows to rebut what she felt were dubiously-repeated conclusions suggesting that Americans should no longer expect to lose weight permanently without surgery or life-long drugs, based on what she described as "just one group of physically-traumatized season eight Losers who largely regained all their weight and fried their metabolisms after following the false, calories-in, calories-out, fat-free dieting and gym suffering paradigm... completely disconnected with the power of leptin within their own bodies." By incredible coincidence, James' radio interview was heard by Baltimore-area celebrity fitness trainer Shianne Lombard, 39, who was a season three trainer on… drum roll… The Biggest Loser.

    Lombard was captivated by James' interview Shianne was seeking her own health answers in the physically-devastating aftermath of Cushing's disease, which causes a constant fight or flight state of elevated cortisol which forces the upper body to store fat to protect the organs. "People often gain 100 pounds. I was lucky to gain a little over thirty, but as a trainer that can end your career."

    Shianne's adrenal gland removal surgery several months earlier had brought on instant menopause, sleep, and mood issues in addition to more weight gain. She'd tried every diet and drug combination to stop the weight gain and relieve the constant anxiety, sleeplessness and dark moods; including stimulants, fasting, "triple workouts," and even brushing her teeth and taking sleeping pills to distract her from her hunger pangs… and more recently, purging. "I knew there was more going on than a 'love of food' and this leptin thing really sounded like a big missing piece, especially when I heard Kat talk about how it regulates appetite, reproductive and thyroid hormones, deepens sleep, and resolved her own serious issues with food, weight, and inflammation." On July 11th Shianne signed up for James' 5-Day Total Transformation® retreat at Buffalo Lodge in Kansas City and began James' phone and Internet-based "pre-program" to begin taking specific supplements and make initial dietary changes to make her transition and time at the retreat more comfortable. "I made it through the headache-y first phase [see this transitional phase at:] over the next few days. In little over a week, my monthly cycle returned for the first time in over four years, and my mood began to lift, so I started to wean off of my meds. By the time I arrived at Buffalo Lodge on July 22nd my belly had started to flatten."

    Buffalo Lodge Herd

    James' Program location, Buffalo Lodge (, Amy and Mike Billings, pictured, above with their bison herd, created an extraordinary environment and inspiration with their mission restoring the bison back to their ancestral roaming grounds with traditional, rotational grazing practices. The location was inspired by the mission of retreat sponsor, U.S. Wellness Meats, an award-winning pastured farming collective also based near Kansas City. Their pastured raw bison, cheeses, and other nutrient-rich products were featured on Kat James' retreat menu.

    Once at Buffalo Lodge, Shianne joked that her goal was to get her wedding ring off in six months (it had been imbedded into her swollen finger since early 2013). Two days later she noticed it was shifting and then the next day as the retreat group was all sitting together it flew off. "I lost a lot of fluid and slept better and awoke with a clearer head each day during the retreat. Amazingly, I was surrounded by decadent food and desserts all week but never wanted more than a serving It was surreal to be so satisfied on less and less food. By the time I got home my mood, sleep, and eating patterns were like another person's. I now wake up one to two times instead of five or six even having just weaned off the Ambien, Clonopin, and Xanax I rotated for 7+ years just to get any sleep. I've never been a morning person. I am waking at six with a clear head, which is unheard of. I don't need to sleep in my car during the day anymore or take Adderall just to get through the day. In under a month, I'm off of Abilify, Buspar, and Paxil after 15 years. I've had bouts of nausea and diarrhea, but still felt comparatively great even during the nausea. My labs came back on July 9th with all hormonal numbers going in the right direction. Estrogen went from undetectable to 22 (31 will technically get me out of menopause). I've also reduced my daily steroid requirement by 5 mg, based on how incredible I feel. My electronic muscle tests, calipers, Tanita scale, Myotape, etc., show that I've lost 18 lbs of fat and gained four pounds of muscle since July 11th. That's extraordinary, given that I didn't work out during the retreat and have eaten more decadently than ever. I am seeing with nutrition alone what I never saw happen in so short a time, no matter how much I worked out! The photo of me (see previos page) in the pink dress and my 'after' in my workout clothes were taken about two weeks after I returned home.

    "My abs, my arms, my face are all back. I'm no longer embarrassed to tell people I'm a trainer! But if I never lost another pound, the emotional stability and peace with food are what I wouldn't trade for anything. I expect challenges or the occasional slip-up ahead but it is a first for me to have strayed so little from a diet. I will have to navigate continued challenges like eating out and will also seek to minimize the potential side-effects from the steroids I will have to take for the rest of my life do to not having my adrenal glands to produce cortisol in response to any stress. But I am already feeling better now than before my diagnosis and I never want to go back to how it was."

    In an upcoming issue we'll share another story from Kat James' upcoming Manhattan Mansion retreat, then later in January one of our own will experience her retreat adventure firsthand in Costa Rica (you might consider joining us). If you can't join us in person for a retreat, we hope you'll join us here for those transformation journeys ahead.

    Background on Kat James
    She is an award-winning author, transformational nutrition and beauty pioneer, and nationally-syndicated radio host who's been called "a master of self-transformation" by SELF magazine in response to her stunning recovery from liver, autoimmune, and eating disorders that nearly took her life. Her controversial and pioneering dietary method— now recommended at top neurologic, fertility, functional medicine, bariatric, and metabolic clinics—has left countless dramatic success stories in its wake and been featured at top spas and institutions such as Omega Institute, as well as on "Today," Fox, and, PBS among, others. To learn more about her original Total Transformation® Programs and TelePrograms, radio show on XM/SIRIUS, or her Silver Nautilus award-winning bestseller, The Truth About Beauty, visit her website since 1998: