I realized, after writing the last column, I had told you only half the story. Yes, my diet is “very restrictive,” including in two additional ways I didn’t mention: 1) I try to avoid all vegetable and seed oils, specifically polyunsaturated soybean oil, corn oil, Canola, sunflower and cottonseed oil, etc.; and 2) I try to avoid all grains and everything made from them. That means I eat very little fried food and virtually nothing that has been made with flour.
I do eat monounsaturated oils (olive oil and avocado) and saturated fat oils (specifically coconut oil and MCT oil). I select fatty cuts of meat (beef, lamb and pork) and chicken with the skin on, and fatty cold-water fish (sardines, herring, tuna, char). I also eat lots of eggs from pastured hens raised by a local farmer. 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 do not. I also try to eat offal (liver or kidneys) once a week.
Is this a challenge? Sure, at times, especially when dining out. In restaurants the workaround is often to order from the appetizer menu. Sometimes I will order a salad and an appetizer, or two appetizers. That avoids the proverbial starch that seems to accompany most main dishes. Of course, almost every kitchen will gladly give you a double portion of vegetables instead of a vegetable and a starch, but I don’t want 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 helps.
At home, the workaround for all the “forbidden goodies” in the house is not to open the freezer (where my wife keeps ice cream), or the pantry where her chips and crackers are stored. Out-of-sight/out-of-mind really works for me. Our eyes are powerful hormone stimulators. 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 glands.
But the shift in the balance from saturated fat (Lard) to polyunsaturated fats (Crisco) and manufactured oils over the last 50-100 years is wholly unrelated to carbohydrates. Of particular interest in the very heavy shift in the ratio of Omega 6 (linoleic acid) to Omega 3 (linolenic acid) 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 cut back on vegetable and seed oils (linoleic acid) and increase the Omega 3s (e.g. with supplemental fish oil). But you can’t “fix” this problem with fish oil alone; you have to cut back dramatically on the polyunsaturated vegetable and seed oils you eat, starting with fried foods.
It is also important to eliminate fried foods because “vegetable” oils, already damaged in manufacturing by pressure, heat and chemicals, are then reheated repeatedly in fryers. These oils are also damaged by daylight and quickly become rancid. Saturated fats do not. So, cook with butter, coconut oil and lard, not vegetable oils! Use olive oil as a salad dressing or drizzle to add flavor and richness, and you will be eating well indeed.
As Dwight Lundell, MD, in Jimmy Moore’s good book, Cholesterol Clarity (pg. 35), quoted in #185, 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 possibly 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 of what you eat. You will see a world of difference.