For the past year, health, nutrition, and fitness, have been my obsession. Not your conventional, run-of-the-mill stuff. No USDA ‘My Plate’ stuff for me. No. A year ago, one of my real-life heroes got me onto something big with a simple post on her Facebook page. It was this 15 minute long clip from YouTube:
The 15 minutes spent watching this video quite literally changed my life, and I’ve never looked back. It planted a seed that has grown at a phenomenal rate.
If you are a person interested in health, and are trying to do the best you can in a modern world that bombards you with toxins – keep reading.
All of my teenage life and well into my twenties, I had been battling with my weight. I had tried everything from Weight Watchers, to severe calorie restriction, to The Cabbage Soup Diet, to exercising into insanity. Sometimes, I was successful. But before long, the number on the scale would begin to creep up again, and I’d have to put my triumphantly purchased new pair of jeans at the back of the wardrobe, relegated to the category of ‘skinny clothes.’ It was all about :calories in, versus calories out,” right? This video, showing Dr Robert Lustig talking about the dangers of sugar, flicked a switch. He made reference to a book called ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories,’ (GCBC) by science journalist Gary Taubes, which I then purchased and read. Nay, devoured. I got angry. Angry because up until then I had been completely oblivious to the politics behind food. To the lack of evidence behind governmental policy. To the power of government subsidies, the USDA and the FDA. To the lies, to the brushing of the evidence under the carpet, to the misinterpretation and representaion of evidence. For a taste of what I mean, watch this video.
Fat doesn’t make you fat? How could that even plausibly be true?? It goes against everything we’ve been taught about good nutrition, and how to live a healthy life!
On the cover of GCBC was a quote from an author called Michael Pollan, author of, ‘In Defence of Food.’ I purchased this book, and devoured it too. Then I bought ‘The Atkins Diet Revolution’ – arguably the most controversial diet out since, well, it came out! So, if fat didn’t make you fat, or cause heart disease, or clog your arteries, like Gary Taubes and Peter Attia claimed, then I figured I should be okay conducting a three-week long experiment with my own body. An experiment of n=1. Nothing conclusive for sure, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances. I had a lot of nay sayers, and a lot of people assuming I would pack on the pounds. To all of their amazement, I lost 4 kilograms, and have kept it off for an entire year.
Well, then I got onto ‘Wheat Belly’ by William Davis, and from there ‘The Paleo Solution’ by Robb Wolf. These books went a long way in explaining the digestive distress I began to experience after eating gluten-containing products after not eating any for three weeks. (The Atkin’s Diet prohibits consumption of all grains in the introduction phase – the only phase I completed). From here I started reading blogs, watching videos on YouTube, listening to podcasts, – anything I could do to expand my knowledge base about how modern-day ‘Frankenfoods’ are destroying our health, and making us chronically ill.
These days, I spend most of my time eating whole, real foods. I avoid processed foods, grains, legumes, and refined sugars. I have taken up CrossFit – a form of exercise based on functional movement. Lift heavy. Move around a lot at a slow pace. Sprint once in a while. Get adequate sleep, and make time for play. Boom. Provided you don’t get hit by a bus, you should be sweet.
My Grandma’s body began to physically break down in her 60′s. My Mum’s began to break down in her 40′s. The more refined foods each generation ate, the earlier they got sick. Following the math, I should be starting to feel the effects of a diet rich in processed foods, and nutritionally not as sound as their unprocessed counter-parts. I know that my parents did the best they could with regards to my nutrition when I was a kid. They operated with the money they had, and the guidelines from the time. Unfortunately for me, when I was born, fat and cholesterol was demonized, and were best kept as low as possible. We now know that this isn’t true, and that both play critical roles in the body.
Luckily for me, I have new information, and the power to put this information to good use. I have the power to alter my future; to switch genes on and off by the choices I make in relation to food, exercise, and sleep. I can vote with my dollar to try to change the way we farm and raise live-stock.
This blog is not here to tell you what to do. What works for one may not work for another. I have a hunch though, that being as we’re all human animals, the Paleo diet as a baseline is a great place to start.
What this blog is is a place for me to put all of the information, videos, recipes, studies, and guidelines that I come across and find interesting. The area of nutrition and ancestral health will continue to grow and expand as new information comes to light. I for one can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring. Afterall, we didn’t need big brains to chase carrots.
In health – Jenna