I realized after writing over 1,000 words for the last column, I had told only half the story. Yes, my diet is “very restrictive,” including in several additional major ways I didn’t mention: 1) I eschew (as much as possible) all vegetable and seed oils, especially polyunsaturated soy bean oil, corn oil, Canola, sunflower and cottonseed oil, etc.; and 2) I avoid practically all grains, especially wheat, barley and rye (the primary gluten grains), and everything made from them. That means I eat very little fried food and virtually nothing that has been made with flour, including most gravies. And I know I feel better for it.
Instead, I eat monounsaturated oils (olive oil, and occasionally half an avocado with vinaigrette dressing) and saturated fats (especially coconut oil and MCT oil in homemade mayo). I select fatty cuts of meat (beef and pork) and fatty cold water fish. I eat chicken with the skin on, sardines in olive oil, and fish oil (2 grams a day for their essential Omega 3s (DHA & EPA). I also eat lots of eggs (18/week) from pastured hens. Forget about dietary cholesterol! I wish I could say I ate beef from grass-fed, grass-finished beef and even butter from grass fed cows, but alas, I cannot. Marriage, they say, is a compromise. I also eat offal (organ meats) once a week, but I have to prepare them myself (on Sunday mornings).
Is this a challenge? Sure, at times, especially when dining out or entertaining at home. In restaurants the workaround I have developed is often to order from the appetizer menu. Sometimes I will order a salad and an appetizer, or two appetizers. That way, I avoid the proverbial starch that seems to accompany most main dishes. Of course, almost every kitchen will gladly give a double portion of vegetables instead of a vegetable and a starch, but I don’t want a double of anything. It’s too much food. Small meals, remember? Also, when you order from the appetizer menu, you don’t get a bread basket. That makes it easier too. If my wife orders an entrée, and the bread is placed between us, I move it to her side of the table.
At home, the workaround for all the “forbidden goodies” in the house is not to open the freezer door (where my wife’s ice cream stash is), or the cabinets where chips and crackers are stored. Out-of-sight/out-of-mind really works for me. My (our?) eyes are powerful “appetite” (hormone) stimulators, seriously. I bet there’ve been more than a few scientific papers written on how visual stimulation excites the brain (think sex, guys) and prepares the salivary glands, etc. I think I’ve read more than a few Stephan Guyenet (Whole Health Source) and J. Stanton (gnolls.org) columns about this.
So, these two additional ways in which what I eat are “very restrictive” is actually only one. That’s because all grains are carbohydrates and would have been “verboten” anyway. This carbohydrate aspect applies to the overweight and obese population, as well as all the diagnosed pre-diabetics and type 2 diabetics; but does it apply to the other 30% of us (“…the rest of us who don’t even know we’re pre-diabetic”)? Maybe not, in a strict sense. I would, if I could, still eat rice and starchy tubers (potatoes, yams, etc), but alas, I cannot tolerate carbohydrates. You, if you are overweight or obese (especially omental, or pre-diabetic or diabetic, would do well to avoid them too, because you too are insulin resistant.
But the shift in the balance of saturated to polyunsaturated fats over the last 50-100 years is wholly unrelated to carbohydrates. Their contribution to chronic inflammation is an area of great interest in the independent scientific community (as contrasted with the corrupt science in agribusiness/academic/government sponsored science cabal). Of particular interest in the very heavy shift in the Omega 6 (linoleic acid) to Omega 3 (linolenic acid) balance in our diet from roughly 1: 1 to as much as 30:1 over this time period. That’s why it is important to seriously curtail the consumption of vegetable and seed oils (linoleic acid) and increase the Omega 3s from fish oil. But you can’t “fix” this problem with fish oil alone; you have to cut back sharply on the polyunsaturated vegetable and seed oils you eat, starting with fried foods.
It is important to eliminate fried foods because oils, already damaged in manufacturing by pressure, heat and chemicals, are then reheated (often repeatedly) to high temperatures (boiling!) in the fryer. These oils are also easily damaged by exposure to daylight and quickly become rancid. Saturated fats do not. So, cook with butter, coconut oil and lard, not vegetable oils! And use olive oil as a salad dressing or a drizzle to add flavor and richness, and you will eat well indeed.
As Dwight Lundell, MD, quoted in #185 a few days ago in Jimmy Moore’s good book, Cholesterol Clarity (pg 35), said, “The population will become split between the smart and the dumb. The smart ones will begin taking their health into their own hands because they’re already seeing that what we are doing now is not working.” Moore then commented as follows:
“I am a huge proponent of people taking responsibility for their own health. We are all unique individuals with different needs and yet we are treated like lemmings by the medical profession when it comes to our health. I get why so many people abdicate personal responsibility with their health; it’s so much easier to just do what we’re told. But that approach clearly doesn’t work: Science changes all the time, and medical and nutrition specialists simply can’t keep up. How can they possible have all the answers? There’s no way around it. If you want to be healthy, it’s up to you to make it happen! Educate yourself, and then act on what you learn. You must be the final arbiter of your own health.”So, what are you waiting for? Want to be healthy? Take charge and change what you eat. You will see a world of difference.