I do my homework. Have done for years. A hobby of mine is cooking and 'diet' which I approach as 'cuisine.'
So I read up:that's homework.
I've read a lot on the subject of what we have traditionally put in our mouths and what we maybe shouldn't.
And there is no consensus. What we do know that the standard nutritional paradigm sucks and is making us sicker with epidemics of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
I know, I'm a victim.
My father died from consequences of all three on a 407 bus en route to the Pokies. He was 70 years of age.
That's my morbid thought for the day.
While I know I have done great things with my old bod especially over the past two and half years I know if I want to have a shot at longevity I need to do more.
So when the 'great things' petered out a bit I was getting frustrated. I was feeling better -- much better than I had been -- as there were times when I thought I was fit to expire sooner rather than later. But I was stuck on a plateau and despite the effort I was putting into lifestyle changes I wasn't advancing into the good observations.
I still was overweight and had hypertension...and, despite my much lower blood sugars, I still had Diabetes (thanks to the dead hand of my da).
I was sentenced.
But as they say (here's my new favorite quote):
Perseverance can overcome anything except constipation.
I hit the books -- so to speak -- but nowadays one starts research by Googling.
The thing about Diabetes is that it is a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism. And contrary to official wisdom a logical response to that would seem to be to reduce your carbohydrate intake as carbs are poisonous to diabetics.
That's a no brainer, surely?
But not among the Diabetic industry higher ups.
So in eating low carb I had to go feral.
I followed an approach advocated by Steve Parker -- the low carbohydrate Mediterranean diet .
Essentially the Parker principles are low carb/low animal fats.
But it soon enough occurred to me that -- especially when you study the diet consumed on the glorified island of Mediterranean longevity, Crete -- that the Cretans eat a massive amount of 'fat' in the form of olive oil. On average just over 25 kilograms per person per year.
Unless you want to subscribe to the view that olive oil is a wonder food, I kind of also believe that the Cretans would not be throwing away their animal fats either. They'd eat plenty of fish, with home being an island, but anything else on legs would be eaten to the bone.
So it struck me that if I was eating low carb I should/could also be eating high fat.
The problem is, of course, that indulging in the consumption of animal fat is such a taboo that it isn't an easy one to transcend.
So for a good part of a year I allowed myself to be heavy with the olive oil...instead. Low carb with an elevated lean meat and fish consumption.
Still homeworking,esp on the web, I discovered the Paleo community of adherents -- born again hunter gatherers -- who subscribe to a lifestyle of obsession and proscription. But the more I studied the Paleos the more I begrudgingly came around to their POV.
And I was thinking: should I join them? Low carbers that they were...cousins twice removed.
But the thing that stood out for me was that the Paleos advocate eating all of the dead animal -- they are as keen on offal as they are on animal fats and eggs. They also were rehabilitating lard.
To summarize my journey the main stations were:
- low carbohydrate
- low carbohydrate Mediterranean
By this time I thought that I had reached an impasse and my one option was to concentrate on improving my exercising regime (by focusing on HIIT) in order to both reduce weight and drive down my blood sugar. Assuming that would work, that is.
I thought I had run out of dietary track.
Then I discovered LCHF -- 'The Swedish Diet'
Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) är en relativt ny svensk form av kolhydratfattig och ketogen diet med lågt intag av kolhydrater (Low Carb) och högt intag av fett (High Fat). Den påstås av anhängarna fungera som metod för kontroll av blodsocker och för viktminskning. Vissa menar att dieten har visat sig ha goda resultat speciellt för typ-2-diabetiker där också viktminskning observerats efter ett ökat fettintag. [Yes I know it's in Swedish. LCHF isn't much anglicised yet]
The Low Carb High Fat Diet is a bit blunt in selling its wares but at least for diabetics I recognize its sweet logic.
So I got myself a copy of a LCHF primer for diabetics -- Diabetes. No Thanks! by the Swedish writer Lars-Erik Litsfeldt. (You can get it from sources other than Amazon/Kindle).
I paid $9 for it, downloaded it and read it in a sitting.
I'm won over. The arguments do jell for me and I'm beginning my LCHF journey.
The change required is not massive. All I have to do is:
- Eat fewer carbohydrates each day.
- Eat more fat each day instead.
Cream is OK. Bacon is kosher. Use butter freely....
So I reckon that I'll be the guinea pig. The fat eating guinea pig.
I begin the dietary approach knowing what my blood sugar and blood pressure readings are. I know my weight and I am monitored enough by my physician that all other relevant work ups will be logged again within the next few months.
So I have a base line to work from. I'll be monitoring my response carefully by taking daily readings of my BP, blood glucose and weight.
If the counterpoint is going to be that by eating all that animal fat I'm going to increase my cholesterol level and other nasties ( an assertion that is incidentally hotly contested) I reply that my core problem is carbohydrate metabolism, not fat metabolism and I'm willing to explore the seeming trade off.
Underlaying my approach is the POV that you cannot trust the consensual dietary wisdom because it is killing us and must be wrong headed. See the work of Gary Taubes on this.
TAUBES:Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.
And I'm not as crackpot as I may seem. The science is out there.(Although the jury has still not returned a verdict).
Hopefully over the next few months, I prove a point one way or another....
As an aside-- Dr Annika Dahlqvist, a cause celebre in Sweden in regard to LCHF, says: "I myself have eaten LCHF since late fall 2004. I went down to normal weight and was cured of my fibromyalgia, irritable bowel (enteritis) and chronic fatigue syndrome, including sleep disturbance."
This POV may be exciting but troublesome -- as it underscores the fact that LCHF is internet driven, personality promoted and still very anecdotal. So that disclaimer needs to be considered despite the number of adherents in Sweden. Like any 'fad' diet LCHF is not 'peer reviewed' and endorsed by a large number of nutritionist and doctors .