Maybe we’d be better off learning about diet from goats.
I used to think only one diet was the right diet…
Actually, I’ve thought this a few times in my life — about a few different diets.
At one time, I thought the Mediterranean diet was best was to eat for everyone.
At another, I’ve thought the vegan diet was clearly the only diet man should eat and definitely the most ethical.
I’ve believed that eating 100% raw food would save the planet and every other person I saw eating deadly, enzyme-depleted cooked food.
These days, things are a little different.
I’ve moved away from my shifting diet dogmatism, to a place where I accept that — while quite unpopular in some circles — many diets seem to work.
I, of course, wish it were easier than this.
But I can’t ignore what I’ve seen.
On this journey, I’ve read books on raw food, vegan diets, the Paleo diet — I’ve interviewed experts who eat meat, who don’t eat meat, who eat macrobiotic and who don’t eat any vegetables at all.
It’s personally been quite stressful for me.
Imagine interviewing Sally Fallon and T. Colin Campbell a few days apart. Their opinions are as opposing as the “Push” and “Pull” signs on a door.
Both of these public health figures have stories to tell and both have scientific and anecdotal success to back them up.
I have to admit, that years of delving into these stories and research has left me tired.
I don’t want to debate diet any more. I already did that in 2010 and it was the only time I’ve been physically sick in more than 5 years. (I had a fever and sore throat for 2 days.)
(FACT: Stress weakens the immune system.)
I don’t want to have to justify someone’s decision for eating 3 bananas instead of one, or explain food combining, or argue whether juicing or blending is healthier.
Just writing that sentence above right now makes me cringe.
I used to want to have all the answers — but now I find myself gathering data that I don’t know how to process.
The two ways we determine health success are flawed.
Our science is inaccurate in many ways and if it’s not by design — improperly conducted or designed to narrowly — it’s paid for by people who want certain outcomes.
Our anecdotes are shaky as well. The human experience is way to complex to be able to consistently identify and single out specific variables that cause illness.
I’ve seen too many errors and mistakes and misinformation — even in the natural health world — to believe anyone outright.
I personally — and I share this with you because I want you to know — don’t think many people know what they’re talking about when it comes to health — I guess it’s because I’ve seen too much. So answers — in the form of books, audio, programs — to me are just packets of information that I have to gather, review and store in my already over-capacity database.
I continue to do all this digging and storing hoping that one day my mind will eventually sort out some answers for me — subconsciously — so that I don’t have to pull my hair out about getting my EFAs from fish, algae or sacha inchi oil any more or trying to figure out what percentage of fat, protein and carbohydrate is best for everyone.
Maybe you’ve thought this way before. Maybe not.
You’re probably wondering what set me off…
What set me off about this is a program I recently am reviewing.
It’s written by one of my favorite people in the health industry — Jonny Bowden.
Jonny and I have had moments of disagreement when it comes to diet (he recommends a Paleo type diet, while I have a high raw approach), but I’ve spent some time with him — enough to know that what he recommends really works.
As a pragmatist, you can’t ignore results.
So I got a copy of his new program to read it. (Again, I gather, store and hope.)
The program is actually pretty good (I’ll share some details from it later on), but as I was reading it, the only thing I could think of is that some people would completely discount everything he says due to one or two core principles he teaches — for one the inclusion of meat in the diet.
I used to do this too.
I used to discount an entire body of work when it mentioned meat.
I used to think someone was out of the mind when they thought dairy could help rebuild gut flora and be helpful not harmful to the body — I snapped out of this when it helped heal me.
Now, I read with an open and thoughtful mind — even though it is a little full, LOL!
I’ve come to terms with the fact that some people respond to different teachers.
Some people need a little animal protein.
Some raw fooders are completely nuts.
Others are the best people on the planet.
Sometimes the vegan diet is the best option.
Something most would consider crazy, like drinking just water for 40 days can either heal you or hurt you — just depends on who you are and what you need.
As I was reading the program, I was torn between whether or not I’d be a hero or a goat for talking about a program that is so divergent from what I’ve been in the past.
I don’t follow Jonny’s program, though I have expanded my diet choices, but I think it could help some people who haven’t had any success with mainstream approaches as well as those who’ve gone so far into the diet rabbit hole that the need to find a light at the other end.
So, I decided to write this.
So far, it’s been quite different than a usual review. But, it might take on a more recognizable form starting right here…
Some of the points of the program that I think are helpful to you are these:
1. Insulin regulation is the key to burning fat.
Lower levels of insulin in the body and lower blood sugar (not too low) are extremely effective in determining longevity. Lower levels of insulin are related to better cardiovascular health, better sleep, a stronger immune system, better sex drive, increased metabolism and lowered stress.
If you can regulate this by eating less sugar (read: processed) and more vegetables, you’re almost there. This will take about 80-90% of the load off of your pancreas. The other 10-20%, you’ll need to slowly tweak using blood testing and diet experimentation.
Bottomline: If you keep your insulin in check, you’ll stick around for longer.
2. The elimination diet can totally transform the way you feel.
I’ve been teaching an elimination diet for health, allergies and digestion for years now. The reason why is because it was suggested to me years back and it helped me clear up the stomach pains and pimples on my that I had for years.
About 10 years ago, I was invited to a Tony Robbins event with my friend Nick Ortner. He had already been, but it was my first time. On the last day, Tony comes on stage not to talk about self improvement, but to talk about health. Since I was so mesmerized (and probably hypnotized) by Tony, I was willing to do anything to change my life and my health. Tony told me to stop eating dairy for 2 weeks and see how I feel. So I did.
My neck acne and stomach pains went away. I just didn’t have a clue it would that easy. I had stressed over them both since high school. Now there was no more pain — physical and emotional.
After the two weeks, I was out with some friends and we decided to get a pizza. My two weeks were up, so I gladly joined them.
I ate 3 slices and within 40 minutes my stomach was in knots. In 8 hours, I was stuck on the toilet. In 24 hours, I had pimples popping out of my neck.
My 2 week elimination experiment was complete. I did the hard work, saw the benefits, and came full circle — in a much more acute and painful way. I stopped eating all dairy that next day. I did this for 7 years until fermented dairy was one of the foods that was able to heal me — which is irony in itself. (For those of you who are wondering, I don’t eat dairy these days.)
3. Processed carbohydrates are, in fact, the devil.
I actually believe the exclusion of processed carbohydrates are the reason almost all diets work.
There is not one diet that I know of that recommends you eat as much white bread as you can. No diet that says pretzels are on the “eat-whenever-you-like” list. None that say white sugar is your ticket to weight loss salvation.
Is it possible that just removing these faux-foods from our diet could be the only thing necessary to live long, medication free lives?
Of course, it’s more complicated than this, but again for about 80-90% of us, this may be all we need to do. (There are of course pre-existing conditions, genetic expression, emotional issues, and many more factors that determine good or poor health.)
Where to go from here?
There is of course much more in the program, and if you want to check it out you can here.
The truth is, like I’ve said above, I’m finding I can’t censor something because it doesn’t exactly fit into my belief system.
I can censor things that I think are harmful — like some supplements, protocols, herbs or breatharianism — but I can’t silence a voice or a school of thought that is showing results too. It’s not fair to you.
In the case of Jonny’s program, I think of my family members. I would get the program for them, because they don’t share my extremism when it comes to health (that could be a good thing!) Maybe you’re just like them. Maybe you need something like just this.
So, if you’re interested, you can check out Jonny’s program and tell me what you think. Am I right on? Am I off base?
You can find it here: Unleash Your Thin
(Please note: If you are vegan or raw, the recipes are not for you.)
Open Mind = Healthy Mind
Anyway, I understand this is a weird, hybrid rant-review. The bottomline is that I want you to explore all options, because some of the things that have saved my health have been things I was violently against. Maybe this won’t happen to you, but for some, it could be the exact thing they need to hear.
One thing I do know for sure is that an open mind is a healthy mind. I don’t think anyone has all the answers. I don’t think any one particular person is right when it comes to losing weight. That’s why I keep learning — as painful as it can be — because I know that all the levels of health knowledge can apply in any given situation.
It’d be a shame to stop learning and not have the answer for someone in need — all because of my decision to be so narrow. It’s a mistake I’ve made in the past, and hopefully I can dissuade you from doing it too.
Your Question of the Day: How do you deal with conflicting health information?