Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing. ― Clive James
I’m sorry for the long quiet. A few personal things got in the way of writing. But I would like to explain to you today the results of my personal test of the Resistant Starch Craze.
I wrote about what this starch is in this post, which also contains links to both pro- and con- arguments about the stuff. I’ll very briefly summarize here. The craze is largely in the Paleo world, and what everyone is saying is that resistant starch is starch that doesn’t get digested, thus will not spike your blood sugar, found in potatoes, rice, green plantains and bananas and a few other things, that will feed your gut biome and result in better energy, blood sugar control, sleep, digestion, weight loss, etc. I believe the gut biome will also volunteer to babysit your children if you feed them enough. I also believe doctors have known about this for ages, and call it indigestible starch.
So this has been a really hot topic, but is much disputed. One of the things that struck me was the incredible variety in responses people reported having to it. Some people were claiming that resistant starch was a miracle drug. Other people complained that it made them bloated, achy, whatever. Or that it just did nothing. So naturally I decided to try it and see what happened. I promised to keep you all apprised. Now, bear in mind that this was my experience. Yours may be quite different.
It has been six weeks now, four of them with unmodified potato starch, and the two weeks previous with small green bananas with breakfast and the occasional bowl of cool rice or a cooled potato. My overall impression is…..
I like to keep you waiting.
I’m not impressed.
For one thing, I almost immediately put on about 7 pounds that will not go away, most of it around my stomach. Now resistant starch advocates are very quick (and loud) to tell you that most people gain some weight at first, while their good gut bacteria start to multiply. But then if you give it two or three weeks you’ll start to lose weight. Well, six weeks in I’m still hanging on to these 7 pounds for dear life.
For another, I’ve noticed not particularly anything. My sleep has not improved. Neither has my energy or my digestion. I’ve had very little problem with gas, which apparently everyone complains about when they first start out with resistant starch. According to the Resistant Starch Faithful (RSF), that means my gut is in pretty good shape. I think. Frankly, I just don’t care that much.
Because I’ve been doing well without it. I stopped losing weight really fast after the first 100 pounds or so, but it keeps slowly dropping at it’s own pace. I don’t think resistant starch is going to be some kind of miracle to change that, and frankly it’s perfectly fine this way. I digest things fine, I sleep fine. I don’t have blood sugar issues. I eat grass-fed beef, grass-fed lamb, eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil, butter, hard cheeses, thick yogurt, 65+% fat cream, chicken, some bacon and once in a while some sausage. Sometimes I eat some fruit. Every other day or so. I eat some olive oil, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, homemade vanilla and I have pure peppermint oil hard candies to suck on once in a while. I make frozen yogurt and ice cream with maple syrup and coconut sugar. According to the RSF, I should be in bad shape because I only eat some vegetables occasionally and I rarely eat any with the magic starch. But I’m doing just fine.
You know what I worry about?
Spending way too much time worrying about what I eat.
Spending way too much time worry about what how I feel.
You know what happens to people who are always trying to analyze how they feel? They start imagining things.
If the way you feel is so intrusive that you notice it naturally in the course of a busy day with things to do, then do something to try and fix it. But if you sit around all day waiting to see how you’ll feel now after eating that then you’ll like feel whatever it is you’re afraid of feeling.
No one can tell you exactly what you should eat. Everyone responds differently. Clearly some people really benefit from resistant starch, so that might also be you. It’s just not me. And I’ve said it before: just because it’s true that everyone is different doesn’t mean we’re so different that you could be thriving off enormous amounts of cereal grains and vegetables with low-fat foods. Eat by the principles your ancestors knew and cherished:
1. Animal foods are strengthening and healthy.
2. Vegetables and fruits are delightful garnishes and sides. Don’t overeat them, but they probably have some good stuff in them. At least they did. There’s some worry that we’ve mostly bred the nutrition right out of our modern vegetables anyway, so soon I’ll be doing another post to update you on my 18+months of virtually vegetable-free living. I’ll give you a hint: nothing bad is happening.
3. Grains are filler for when you have to stretch the real food, or to keep you from starving.
4. Sugar is unhealthy and fattening and should be an occasional treat.
To that, add a couple modern caveats:
1. Since dairy is no longer consumed raw, make sure you’re ok with it. If you aren’t, try raw or try none.
2. The wheat you eat is totally different from the wheat your great-grandparents ate. So avoid it completely. “Grains” for you might mean rice or something. Even then, be careful if you’ve been or are a really fat person. You might be metabolically broken to the extent that you will never respond well to grains of any type.
3. Eat grass-fed or pastured whenever possible, because the cows don’t eat what their ancestors ate, either. Whatever the cow eats, YOU eat. So make sure the cow’s eating what’s good for him as much as possible. Here’s another hint: enormous quantities of corn, wheat, molasses and ground up other-cow parts isn’t good.
And with those things in mind, strike out and eat what makes you feel truly good (not temporarily buzzed) and what you can afford. Then you don’t have to obsess about what micro nutrient you might be low on. Your great-great grandfather never did, and he turned out fine.
I was going to try the starch for two more weeks, but I just don’t feel like it. I’d rather get off the 7 pounds, and I have no fear that I’ll suddenly be unable to sleep.