| Food & Diet Health

The Thermo Diet Cheat Sheet

By Tyler Woodward

The Science behind the Thermo Diet's approach for optimal health, hormonal balance and increased metabolism made-easy.

The Thermo Diet is all about achieving balance. To this we need to accomplish two things:

  1. Energy Balance - We need to consume calories at more or less the same rate that we consume them. 
  2. Micronutrient Balance - We need to supply our body with micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and amino acids) again at the same rate which our body consumes them.

Balancing these two will result in hormonal balance and will allow our body to thrive as the self-healing machine that it evolved to be. The key is to supply our body with the “fuel” it needs to do this. In this sense everything that we do in life either pulls us towards this state of balance or pulls us further away from it. To conceptualize these ideas we’ve broken down the Thermo Diet into three categories:

  • Activators  - Anything that improves your state of health by increasing your energy production and bringing you closer to a state of balance
  • Blockers - Anything that actively takes away from your health, decreasing your energy production and increasing  the amount of disorder or imbalance
  • Balancers - Balances are things in between the two. If done in excess, they will become blockers, but if consumed or done in the right amount, they will be activators.

Blockers:

We’re going to separate blockers into three categories:

  1. Inflammatory Compounds - A compound that when digested causes inflammation in the body
  2. Antinutrients - Compounds found in certain foods that interfere with our body’s ability to absorb and digest nutrients from our food
  3. Endocrine Disruptors - Both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds that disrupt or mimic specific hormones in our endocrine (hormone) system.

Inflammatory Nutrients

Polyunsaturated Fats AKA PUFAs

There are 2 types of fatty acids

  1. Saturated Fats - Saturated fats are “maxed” out on the number of hydrogens they have and thereby do not have any double bonds
  2. Unsaturated Fats - Unsaturated fats are “missing” two hydrogen molecules for every double bond they have. Monounsaturated fats have one double bond while poly unsaturated fats have multiple.
    1. Cis Fats - When people normally refer to monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats the “cis” is basically implied. Cis refers to the type of double bond that exists in these fatty acids.
    2. Trans Fats - You likely remember the trans fat hysteria that occured not too long ago. These are the other type of double bond that can form in unsaturated fats that is much less stable than its “cis” counterpart. This makes it very likely to break apart or “oxidize” when we consume it.

The fewer double bonds a fatty acid has the more stable it is. For this reason saturated fats are the most stable followed by “cis” monounsaturated fats. “Cis” polyunsaturated fats and “trans” monounsaturated or polyunsaturated are the least stable and extremely likely to be oxidized/broken apart in our body to due to our high body temperature. When a double bond is broken a  free radical is released which directly cause oxidative stress and inflammation.

Fatty Acid Spectrum

Read More: The Nonessential, "Essential" Fatty Acids

Inflammatory Amino Acids

Inflammatory Amino acids

There are certain amino acids that when you consume them in excess they contribute to the formation of inflammatory proteins or cytokines. These include:

  • Histidine 
  • Methionine 
  • Cysteine

These are all essential amino acids and we do need to consume them in our diet. The issue is that in modern diets we basically only consume the muscle meats of chicken, pork and beef which are very high in these inflammatory amino acids. In order to keep these amino acids in balance we need to consume sufficient amounts of the protective amino acid glycine in our diet. In fact, your body has a built-in methionine regulating system to prevent the build up of excess methionine, but it requires glycine to do so. Glycine is present in small amounts in muscle meats, but in very high quantities in the bones and connective tissue of animals that most people no longer consume. By consuming between 5-15 grams of glycine through supplementing with collagen daily you will maintain a positive balance of amino acids and prevent inflammation. 

Endocrine Disruptors:

Endocrine Disruptors

There are two main hormones that we want to avoid the overproduction of:

  • Serotonin - Contrary to popular belief, serotonin is not the “happy hormone” and it actually functions to downregulate our metabolism or energy production. Serotonin is the main driver in animals that hibernate, as serotonin increases animals continually eat less until they rest for the winter. When spring comes the animals wake up and feast, typically on lots of sugar to bring them out of this low metabolic state. 
  • Estrogen - Again, contrary to popular belief estrogen is a stress hormone and not the female equivalent to testosterone. Although women do have more estrogen than men they also typically have 5X as much progesterone as estrogen. 

Both estrogen and serotonin are associated with a host of metabolic diseases, increased stress and decreased energy levels or metabolism. So we advocate for avoiding or at the very least minimizing the amount of any substances that get converted into estrogen or serotonin. 

Serotonergics -

  • 5-HTP
  • Melatonin
  • Tryptophan

Estrogenics

  • Atrazine - an herbicide used across the US  (although illegal in the EU)
  • BPA, BPS, & Phthalates - Plastic additive used to soften plastics 
  • Parabens - found in many cosmetic products and sunscreens
  • EE2 - birth control!
  • Red 3, 10, & 40 - Food coloring agents in many red dyed drinks
  • Triclosan & alkylphenols - found in many cleaning products and soaps
  • Benzophenones - found in sunblock
  • Naturally occurring phytoestrogens - found naturally in many plants and fungus

Take Home: Buy high quality cosmetic and cleaning products that are upfront about the lack of plastics among other chemicals in their products. Avoid plastics whenever possible and skip the estrogenic plants.

Anti-Nutrients

Antinutrients

All plants evolved over time to survive and they did so in a number of ways. Most trees grew tall, so they majority of animals couldn’t reach their leaves and seeds. Some trees and plants evolved to produce fruit, working symbiotically with animals to spread their seeds. Other plants evolved ways of making themselves less “nutrient available” to animals by producing “antinutrients”.  Antinutrients are substances that interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients from our food:

  • Phytates (AKA phytic acid) - inhibits the absorption of iron, calcium, zinc (and likely magnesium
    • Found in whole grains, nuts seeds, & legumes) 
  • Glucosinolates - Interfere with the absorption of iodine, which is necessary for thyroid function, and can cause goiter
    • Found in cruciferous vegetables - broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage
  • Lectins - altered gut function & inflammation
    • Found in legumes - beans, peanuts, soybeans
  • Oxalates - Inhibits calcium absorption and increase the likelihood of kidney stones
    • Found in Leafy green vegetables
  • Saponins - Can interfere with general nutrient absorption
    • Found in legumes & whole grains
  • Phytoestrogen - These are estrogen mimicking compounds found in certain plants that increase our estrogen levels. The two main phytoestrogens are isoflavones & lignans
    • Isoflavones - Found in large quantities in soy as well as legumes, seeds and other vegetables
    • Lignans - Flax seeds & products
  • Gluten - Sticks to the wall of the intestines like gum on a shoe, causing gastrointestinal stress. If gluten gets leaked through the intestinal tract into the bloodstream it also causes an inflammatory response
    • Found in grains
  • Cellulose - Cellulose is an indigestible fiber found in plant cell walls and vegetable fibers. Humans lack the enzyme (cellulase) necessary to digest it which causes it to sit in our digestive tract and ferment. This can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria known as endotoxin which contribute to many gastrointestinal issues, inflammation and the decreased absorption of nutrients
    • All vegetables and seeds

Depending on the antinutrient there can be ways to prepare these foods to reduce their antinutrient content by: boiling, steaming, fermenting, or germinating. Generally, I just recommend avoiding the majority of these foods when possible. 

Pro Tip - Sourdough bread breaks down the majority of phytic acid and sourdough and was used to bake bread for thousands before the invention of commercial yeast.

Takeaway: Avoid nuts, seeds & vegetables and stick to fruits, roots and starches.

Read More: Thermo 30 Roadmap

Activators & Balancers:

To simplify these concepts even further I think it’s easier just to think of activators & blockers as means of achieving a healthy, balanced lifestyle & diet. 

Nutrient Dense Foods

Nutrient Rich Foods

The most nutrient dense foods on the planet are shellfish and organ meats. By consuming some form of shellfish (oysters, clams, lobster,  crabs, ect.) and organ meats like liver, thyroid, heart or kidney on a weekly basis you will ensure that you are getting enough nutrients in your diet. 

On a daily basis I recommend consuming:

  • High-Quality Dairy Products - Great sources of calcium among other nutrients
  • Organic Grass-Fed Beef - Great source of protein and grass-fed beef is much higher in vitamin E
  • Organic Pasture-Raised Eggs - Extremely nutrient rich, specifically in choline, cholesterol (cholesterol isn’t bad for you) among other nutrients

Well-raised animals = nutrient rich food. 

Grass-fed beef has a much higher concentration of Vitamin E because grass is high in Vitamin E. 

Pigs and chickens that are not grain-fed will have a higher concentration of saturated fats and less polyunsaturated fat respectively. 

Organic Foods ensure that the animals are not given fed food coated in  pesticides which tend to be estrogenics. 

Calories:

Sugar

At the minimum an inactive person should consume at least 2,000 calories per day including both men and women. Unless you are an extremely small, inactive person, if your maintenance calories metabolism are below this, then you most likely have a “slow” or underactive metabolism.

Larger, more active people are going to need more calories, but the ratio of macronutrients is going to be more or less the same. 

Macronutrients: 

About 20-25% Protein - Protein is insanely inefficient to be used as fuel. It must first be converted into carbs or fats and then broken down for energy.  Basically protein is only used to replenish the proteins your body uses on a daily basis and to form new tissue like muscle. 

About 20-25% Fats - Backup fuel source. Fat metabolism requires the breakdown of tissue (fat cells) in order to be used as fuel. If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re going to have to burn some fat as fuel, but fat metabolism is inefficient relative to carbohydrate/sugar metabolism. Additionally, fatty acid metabolism results in the release of stressful byproducts, so we want to minimize the amount of fat we burn for energy.

About 50-55% Carbohydrates (Carbs) - Carbs are the real money maker for metabolism because they are such an efficient energy source.  All carbs are broken down into glucose aka sugar, except fructose. Sugar metabolism produces CO2 at the same rate at which it releases oxygen. The high concentration of CO2 that ensures, signals to the cell to uptake more oxygen and burn more glucose, basically upregulating your metabolism. Sugar is the only energy source that does not require the breakdown of tissue and also does not release any stressful metabolic byproducts. 

Recommended Food Sources:

Carbohydrates: 

  • Fruits, fruit juices, roots, sourdough bread & well-cooked starches

Proteins (Ranked):

  1. Eggs, dairy products, collagen protein or bone broth organic grass-fed beef or wild game meat
  2. Organic free-range Poultry, organic, pasture-raised pork, non-fatty fish (like cod, mahi mahi, haddock, sole flounder)
  3. Fatty fish (do not recommend)

Fats (Ranked):

  1. Saturated Fats - Butter, ghee, coconut oil, cocoa butter
  2. Monounsaturated Fats - Avocado oil (can cook with), olive oil (not recommended for cooking)

Coffee:

Drink up. Coffee has a ton of benefits for the body including high quantities of antioxidants and it's a potent metal chelator (helps detoxify the body of heavy metals). 

Exercise:

In terms of exercise we generally want to avoid cardiovascular intensive exercise because they are extremely stressful to the body. This is primarily low intensity, steady state exercise like distance running, cycling or swimming. Generally we are going to want to focus on shorter duration,  high intensity training like sprints or plyometrics. Resistance training is also an extremely valuable tool due to its ability to increase our muscle mass over time which has a myriad of benefits for the body. 

The Icing On Top Of The Cake: 

Dessert

These are “extra” dietary supplements that can be extremely beneficial for optimizing your diet and helping to eliminate any excess stress from the occasional night out or “cheat” meal

UMZU Supplements - Cortigon, Mucuna, zuBroth, Collagen, Sensolin, Testro-X or Thyrite, have at em

Vitamine E, aspirin -> Anti-Estrogenic & Anti- Inflammatory

Both vitamin E and aspirin have many similar qualities in their ability to lower estrogen, prolactin and cortisol levels, all while minimizing inflammation. These are extremely powerful supplements and can also be very beneficial as “damage mitigators” when you really need those “non-thermo” french fries or tortilla chips.

Mucuna Pruriens, L-Dopa, or L-Tyrosine -> Dopamine Precursors

These supplements are all precursors to dopamine in the body and can help to naturally upregulate your dopamine levels. Dopamine is associated with a number of functions in the body including testosterone levels, mood, energy, and may also help to lower excess serotonin levels.

Alcohol:

The average person has enough glycogen stores in their liver to process about 3 drinks before any toxins accumulate. After that point, just recognize that you are placing a stress on your body through the consumption of alcohol. The Thermo drink of choice is an 100% agave tequila with fruit juice which can significantly reduce the toxic effects and the hangover!

If you're not already on the Thermo Diet program you're missing out! The Thermo Diet is a science-backed program designed to educate you about how to eat for optimal health, increased metabolism and energy levels and better overall quality of life. Check out the Thermo Diet Program today!

Thermo Diet

Conclusion:

My goal in writing this article, as always, is to provide you with logically-based principles that you can use to form your own conclusions regarding any information you may come across within this subject. I really hope you found this article interesting and if you have anything to add to this article, or any comments or criticism, feel free to reach out to me on our facebook groups (The Thermo Diet Community Group, The UMZU Community Group) or on Instagram @tylerwoodward_fit. Also, please feel free to share this article with anyone that might be interested.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time… be good

~Tyler Woodward