Saturday, August 28, 2010


My 42nd birthday is near. I figure that I'm now somewhere near half-way done.

When the summer began, I weighed in at 240. I am 6'2'', but that's just too damn fat.

I wasn't just fat. I was weak too. And tired, always tired. And when 5 o'clock would roll around, the call of the bottle was irresistible

I'm down to 205, but I figure that I've lost more than 35 lbs. I've put a bit of muscle on. And I'm not tired all the time. I only begin to feel tired when it's time for bed, and I'm out within a few minutes after my head hits the pillow.

My mind is sharper too. My memory is perhaps better than it's ever been, and I find it much easier to focus for long periods. How much that I would have attributed to age would have really been the result of poor health? How much loss of mental acuity, how much diminution in strength and flexibility, how much disease is not an inevitable concomitant of age but is rather the result of the accumulated ravages of malnutrition?

When I think back and ask myself why I made the change when I did, I can answer only this: I didn't want to hit 42 in a state of decline. Perhaps it is a fear of death, or a fear of frailty. I don't know. (We all have depths that we never plumb.) But I do know this: I needed a change.

And what was that change? The change was dietary, nothing more. I'm still astounded by how much one can change about one's life with a change of diet. Mood can change. Energy level and thus activity level too can change. Skin, hair, teeth and nails can change. Sleep can change. (Change for me went very deep indeed. I've undergone a profound shift in world-view. More on this in a later post.)

What was the change in diet? What did I begin to do differently? I began to eat the diet that evolution shaped me to eat. (The idea that there is an evolutionarily optimal diet is a powerful one. I'm persuaded that there is such a thing, and that it's very different from what many would suppose it to be.) Our ancestors were hunter-gatherers. They are meat (and not only the lean parts). They ate vegetables. They are fruit. They ate nuts.

But let us be clear. They were nomadic, and they followed the herds of their prey. Meat - and I mean the whole of the animal, nose to tail - was prized above all else. When they could get enough of it, it would comprise all or nearly all of their diet.

Thus I began to eat much more meat, and I radically increased my fat intake. I do eat a bit of fruits and vegetables, but they comprise no more than 10% of my caloric intake. I don't run off carbs. I run off fat. It is my primary source of energy.

It should be clear by implication what I do not eat. I do not eat grains, whether refined or whole. I do not eat sugar in any refined form. I eat no rice. I eat no potatoes. Starches in all forms I've banished from my diet. I've not had a bite of bread in 3 months, nor even a single grain of rice. I've not had corn in any form, or the least hint of sugar added to any of my foods. (I have been rather strict with myself.)

And I feel better now than I ever have before. For once, I don't feel sick and tired.

Does it seem like too great a change? Does it seem like too much to give up? What would you give up for your health. What would you give up for constant energy? For good sleep? For freedom from disease? For greater equanimity? For increased acuity?

Of course it can be difficult. But I believe that you will find that the new way is, all things considered, easier than the old. You'll no longer have to battle fatigue as you once did. The fog in your brain will clear. You won't crash and then stuff yourself with carbs. (Lord God in heaven! How many times I did that!)

So I'll say what I have said before. Give it a chance. Treat it as an experiment if you like. Give it 2 weeks. If you get better, keep it up. If you don't, turn elsewhere. But don't just dismiss it.

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