What Do You Eat?

The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.

–Julia Child

So now that you’ve (hopefully) read what happened and why it happened, let’s talk food. Pretty soon we’ll get to all the objections, but I find the first thing people want to know is:

What do you eat?

That’s what they say, but a lot of times what they mean is:

I LOVE BREAD/STARCH/SUGAR, and if I can’t eat it I can’t imagine going on living.

Which I understand. Back when my body was burning sugar instead of fat (including my own) for fuel, I loved bread too.

But really. Is bread that important to you? Let’s think about it for a minute.

You go to the fancy restaurant, and you’re going to really splurge tonight. You’ve been saving for this. Maybe Husband is coming and it’s your anniversary. Or maybe it’s your birthday. You never go there because it’s just so expensive. But tonight, you’re just going to treat yourself.

The menu’s full of amazing delights prepared by men and women who spent years of their lives learning how to do that with an egg. There’s sea trout sashimi, peekytoe crab and squash blossom beignet, crusted red snapper, glazed short ribs, and roasted veal. Your mouth is watering as you make your choice. You marvel at the endless variety of foods the creativity of those made in God’s image can concoct.

And then the bread basket comes out.

You know it’s just filler. You know it will only interfere with your ability to fully appreciate and fill yourself with the expensive food. The fact that they brought it free tells you something, doesn’t it? That it’s basically throw-away food they don’t even bother to charge for?

Let’s go the opposite direction, to fast food. It’s not nearly so fancy, but their burgers are flame-grilled, their bacon is crispy, their lettuce and tomato are reasonably fresh. They’ve got tendercrisp chicken and bbq chicken salad and a chicken, apple, and cranberry salad wrap. And with all of it comes… the fries. They cost so little that you can throw them in for a “value” meal and hardly affect the price at all. You know they aren’t good for you (though maybe you think it’s the fat that’s bad), but aren’t they your favorite part of the meal? The one you vow not to eat before you get there but cave anyway when you smell it? Or steal some from your kids’ order? Just one or two or ten?

Yeah, we can’t live without our starch.

Only it turns out we can. You ask what I eat, and here it is:

Bacon; all the parts of cows; coconuts and coconut oil; avocados; tomatoes; leafy greens; cucumbers; onions; chicken wings and chicken drumsticks and whole chickens and bone broth; turkey; sausages of all kinds; cheeses, ditto; plain yogurt; butter and ghee; olive oil; eggs; lamb and mutton; cherries; blueberries; raspberries; strawberries; shrimp, fishes and all the things from the sea; nuts; whipping cream…

Did I mention bacon? Allow me to mention it again.

In fact it would probably be easier to list out what I don’t eat, so let’s do that:

Grains, starchy vegetables, super-sugared fruit (or any fruit to excess), sugar, chemically-derived scary oils like corn and soybean (Really? Where’s the oil in corn?), partially hydrogenated anything, tofu, soy milk, skimmed or low-fat anything.

Specifically, I try to eat about 60-75% fat, about 20-30% protein and no more than 5-10% carbohydrates, usually in the form of vegetables and a modicum of fruit.

“NO TREATS?!” they questioned, horror on their faces.

Yes, treats, occasionally some with sugar. But now that I’m no longer riding the insulin roller coaster because of all the fruit and “healthy” whole grains, I can effortlessly confine treats to what the whole word “treat” implies: An item or event that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure.

These would include dark chocolate, full-fat ice cream, and the insides of cheesecake (I skip the crust. It’s not hard… you just don’t eat it).

“What about all that great low-carb food?” they asked next. “The carbs that aren’t carbs, or the gluten-free pancake mix?”

*Sigh. Reluctant to open that can of worms, she pondered hitting “publish” and making a run for it.

But I won’t. Let’s talk about that great low-carb food. I’m agin’ it. Here’s why:

1. It implies that this is not a normal way of eating. It implies that eating lots of grain is “normal” for human beings. I think this encourages people to think there is something wrong with them if grain causes them trouble.

2. That feeling of “normal” encourages the eater to consider what he’s doing as a “diet” and therefore temporary. Once he’s done losing weight or fixing his health problem, he’ll go back to eating like “normal.” And then he’ll gain back all the weight and regress in health.

3. It can mean you might never get over your carbohydrate cravings. Maybe almond flour biscuits really do taste every bit as good as wheat flour ones, but for some people those almond flour biscuits leave them still craving the “real thing.”

4. All grains, even the gluten-free ones, are full of anti-nutrients. You and I have houses, brains, fists, knives, guns and explosives to protect ourselves from being eaten. Wolves have teeth, bears have claws, rabbits have massive thigh muscles, skunks have… well, you know. But few living things love to get eaten, and since grains have no guns they have lectins, gluten, and phytates instead.

Lectins? Those babies are particularly good at binding to things in your body, and disrupting the tissue it binds with.

Gluten? I think we’ve all heard about gluten lately, but there are still a couple things that don’t get a lot of play. I’m curious why more nutritionists don’t seem more concerned that celiac–a disease that was extremely rare until very recently–is suddenly so common that even the most die-hard grain promoter admits at least 1% of the population has the full-blown disease and another 4% have “gluten-intolerance”? The fact that this reaction to grain has occurred right in sync with the health message, at least in the USA, to make grain the basis of our diets should make more people suspicious enough to check it out.

And finally, Your Friend, Phytates. Ever hear how important “healthy” whole grains are to your diet because of all the minerals? Well, just because a chemical test can detect a mineral in a grain doesn’t mean your body can get it out. Phytates and fiber block the absorption of essential minerals like calcium and zinc. There are ways to soak and ferment past all that; but why would you when you can just eat a chicken?

Some people love their carbs-that-aren’t-carbs and their almond flour pizzas. If that works for them and they’re healthy, more power to them. But I choose se to embrace the myriad of real food available to me.

 

Plato says he’s hungry

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