Diet and Meals
Posted on June 6, 2013
As many of you know by now, I’ve been on a diet kick for the better part of a year, at first just to drop a few pounds while Eva was away for a couple of months in Maine. I had never before had such an idea that it was possible or necessary to shed some girth in one’s senior years. With lots of time on my hands, I first read the eye opening book by Gary Taubes, “Good Calories, Bad Calories”. That surely got the ball rolling. Now I’m beginning to understand the hows and whys so many of us are overweight, and more importantly, what we can do about it.
So I began this year-long experiment on myself to see if the ideas in this book held water for me personally. I am so pleased with the results that I have this urge to share the approach with others. I already feel fortunate that my cardio family members, Eva and Thomas, are now on a similar path to see where it leads them. So far, so good. This diet is not a fad, folks. It’s certainly working for us, but you may be advised to have a talk with your health provider before undertaking a similar course of action. It certainly goes against convention – but I happen to think nutrition convention has it all backwards, and has for 60 years.
At this point on our new lifestyle, we have our weight down to normal and almost where we want it. More importantly, our health markers have never been better and we’re all as vigorous as can be.
Our “diet”, which is really a permanent change in what we consider to be healthy food, is quite simple, actually, but in practice it takes what may seem like extreme measures. We have given up most everything that contains carbohydrates. That’s a big step. Yikes! That means bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and everything sweet must go. Geez, how dull can the dinner table get?
For what it’s worth, I put this post together to give anyone interested some guidance in how we do it. So I include a whole raft of photographs of the actual meals we fix for ourselves – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks.
The more we get into this new way of life the less deprived we feel, especially when we see obvious improvements in weight, health and vigor.
The science of it says that there are three types of nutrients that the body can use for fuel – carbohydrates, protein and fat. And alcohol, but we won’t go there. So you can guess what I live on – mostly protein and fat. This short list does not exclude nearly the whole range of vegetables and a few fruits, or fruit in moderation. Did I mention that we eat as much as we want, are essentially never particularly hungry so we don’t feel deprived by this diet? That’s the way it turns out. We eat about the same amount of protein (meat, fish, etc.) as we always did or a bit more, but not too much. What we are doing is incorporating a lot more fatty things into the diet, such as nuts, avocados, olives, cheese, eggs, cream and butter. Maybe surprisingly, we avoid all the so called healthy vegetable oils (highly polyunsaturated and subject to rancidity) and use olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil instead. Milk had to go as well, especially non-fat milk, because it contains about 7% sugar (lactose).
The problem with carbs is that they drive up blood sugar and insulin levels rapidly. When we eat too many carbs for too long a time (think Standard American Diet) we become resistant to the effects of insulin. The body then produces too much insulin. Too much sugar stays in the bloodstream as well as the body becomes insulin resistant. Eventually we develop type 2 diabetes which causes all kinds of serious problems. The rapid surge of serum glucose (blood sugar) from eating carbohydrates causes us to feel great, but then comes the plunge which causes the feeling of hunger and lethargy, usually within a few hours of eating. Hunger becomes a constant battle, not to mention dependence on sugar and things that include wheat. This is not a good thing. When we eat mostly fat for our energy, blood glucose does not rise much at all so there’s little feeling of hunger during the day. We never get desperate for a meal or a snack. Think how freeing that is! And it’s much harder to overeat fatty foods than it is foods high in carbohydrates. Thus the calories are self limiting once the body adjusts to this diet. The body is just as happy to consume all that fat around our middle as it is to ask for more food from the plate. You’ll be amazed at how little food it takes to feel satisfied.
I know all this sounds like heresy because it goes against sixty years of being told that carbs are good and fat is bad, and red meat is a direct route to a heart attack. However, the nutrition science was never there to support those ideas. It’s being gathered now by scientists who are willing to swim against the strong and well intrenched current position, supported by economic interests such as big ag, big pharma, and even hospitals and the medical insurance industry.
I’ll add photos as soon as I gather some, starting with tonight’s dinner.