How to Begin Any Diet...

Since embarking on a rather radical dietary journey just over a year ago, a couple of interesting things have happened to me. First of all, I have been able to completely reverse approximately 2 decades of chronic illness. Second, I have become one of those annoying people who have strong opinions about food.

The first is the whole reason for the second. I have been handed a bit of a miracle in my life and to keep quiet about it is asking a bit much of me!

Now, more about the second...

What I've noticed over and over again is that many people have pretty strong opinions about food and sometimes, those opinions appear, on the surface, to be quite opposite. For example, my diet is super high in meats and healthy fats of all kinds. My overall health has improved dramatically. However, I happen to know some low-fat eating vegetarians who make the same claim to dramatically improved health.  They think I'm screwing up my system with all the fatty, yucky meats. I think they are likely missing out on some valuable nutrients. Can we both be right?

No and yes.

No, because, all things being equal, steak can't be both bad and good for you at the same time. We can't both be objectively right on that one.

Yes, because two opposing dietary approaches that produce healthy bodies must both be doing something right... must have something in common.

I've figured it out. It appears to me, that in our garbage food culture, an even greater dietary contribution to good health than what we are eating is what we aren't eating. You see, many of the vegetable-only people out there are eliminating the same toxic crud from their diets that I am. We are both refusing the fake food, the chemically-laden food, the processed-until-it-basically-ceases-to-be food. Before we even choose what to put in our mouths, we are taking the primary step of choosing what to refuse.

Let me put it this way: You've chosen to eat broccoli and carrots for dinner. I've grilled myself a steak with my broccoli. We were both offered a side dish of poison with our meals but refused... and we're lovin' our meals and feeling fine. I think you're a little odd for refusing the mighty nutrients in the steak. You think I'm destined for early heart failure because of my quantity of red meat. But objectively speaking, we're both a lot better off than the guy next to us who had a steak with broccoli... and two sides of toxic sludge.

See what I mean? We might differ in our long term approaches to healthy nutrition but I'd say the very first principle in dietary genius is simply: Don't eat stuff that isn't real food.

I determined to make this post short but I must include a short story about the Professor to further my point...

The kid is 15 years old and made a huge decision recently to eliminate wheat from his not particularly inspiring diet. He made this choice because, after doing some reading, he began to suspect that wheat might be actually damaging his health. He changed very little else about his diet. He hasn't increased vegetables (to my dismay) and loves hot dogs in large quantities. So his dietary change wasn't really about positive additions, instead, it was almost solely about elimination.

So what happened when he cut out one food that he suspected was toxic to his system? He lost 16 pounds in a couple of months and experienced a significant improvement in certain issues he'd been having with his gut health. When he reintroduces wheat, his negative symptoms return.

A family friend expressed concern about the boy's "diet" saying that she thought he was far too young to be on such an extreme plan. My response is that he isn't dieting at all. What he is doing is eliminating something - one thing - that hurts his body. "Everything in moderation" she said. That's the typical way of thinking about food. But everything is a big word. And if my kid knows that one thing is like poison to him, I'm not going to attempt to convince him to consume it in any quantity.

So, I'll save the argument with the weed-eaters (love you all) for another day. For now, I think we can agree that the first step to good eating is simply to eliminate stuff that is universally known to have no nutritional value whatsoever.

Posted on July 5, 2013 and filed under "diet", "elimination diet", "food", "nutrition".