Like all young men, you greatly exaggerate the difference between one young woman and another.
–George Bernard Shaw
This is another common reaction I get when people ask me what I’m doing that is so obviously making me healthier: That’s wonderful that you found something that works for you.
They then go on to explain why obviously it wouldn’t work for them, because they are completely different.
Now when someone says this to me and they are in robust good health themselves, I have nothing to say. But I don’t meet too many of those. What I normally meet are people who are not healthy at all. But they’re pretty sure that even though they don’t feel well, and even though they have a lot of health problems, that however they’re now eating is the best way to eat. Many seem to attribute certain things to old age, even though they aren’t actually all that old.
I know about this. I used to do it too.
Can’t remember anything? Gettin’ old.
Make stupid mistakes at work or around the house? Happens to the best of us.
No energy to do anything? Well what do you expect at my age?
Cranky all the time? (Or at least you WANT to be cranky, even if you don’t give in.) I’m getting older; I’m entitled.
I could go on, but surprisingly I won’t. Instead, I’ll just say again: all that’s gone for me now.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not younger. I only wish I had gotten younger. But a lot of stuff I was sure was related to age is not so much age as I had thought. Age takes its toll, no doubt. But it turns out the fare is not as steep as I thought. I can’t remember stuff like I did when I was 18. But I sure remember more and think better than I have at any time in the last ten years. I still make stupid mistakes–but not nearly as many as I was making three years ago. I don’t have endless energy like I did when I was ten: but I have nearly boundless energy compared to anytime in the last decade years.
But what about the idea that everyone is different? Isn’t that true? Isn’t it true that people will thrive on different kinds of diets?
Yes and no.
Yes, we are different. Some people, for example, cannot tolerate dairy. Others can. Research also shows that we respond with inflammation more strongly to some foods than to others, and if our ancestors have been eating a certain food for a long time, we tend to have a lot less inflammation with that food. For more on that, check out here.
But we are all human beings, and as such some principles are going to affect everyone. It’s one thing to say that Person X can tolerate more carbohydrates than Person Y without getting a dangerous blood sugar spike. It’s a totally different thing to say that Person X actually thrives on a diet of enormous amounts of sugar, even if that sugar comes in the form of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
You can’t get away from the fact that your body needs saturated fat to live. You desperately need it for your brain, which is made up of saturated fat; for your hormones, which are fat dependent for production, for your immune system, whose white blood cells need saturated fatty acids in the blood stream; and for your heart health, since saturated fat only raises your HDL (not your LDL or your triglycerides) and lowers your LP(a). More on this here, here and here. And I point out again: when you overeat carbohydrates, in whatever form, your body stores them…ready?
AS SATURATED FAT.
That’s right, your body converts the sugar into saturated fat for storage and use as energy later. Why on earth would God design you to store energy in that particular form, if that particular form of energy is so incredibly dangerous, at worst, and at best is useless and needless?
You also can’t get away from the fact that a diet heavy in sugar–even “healthy” sugar like whole grains and fruits–chronically elevates your blood pressure. This is a toxic condition for everyone. Just because it hasn’t made you fat like me doesn’t mean it isn’t hurting you. All that sugar in your system elevates your cancer risk and causes your arteries to be constantly distended. Even those lovely whole grains are hurting you. Here’s some science on the incredible dangers of living your life with chronically elevated blood sugar levels, again let me repeat: even from “healthy” whole grains, fruits and vegetables. If those are the bottom foundation of your personal food pyramid, you’re elevating your blood sugar every time you eat a meal, or snack on a granola bar. Just because you haven’t yet gotten diabetes doesn’t mean you’re in good shape with that kind of diet. Read here, here, here and here. And just for fun, here’s some info from a diabetes website. Please do note: it’s not diabetes that “causes” these problems. It’s chronically “high blood sugar.”
I can’t find more ways to say it: because his body pushes his blood sugar up even higher and even quicker than yours does, the diabetic is in the HOV lane rushing towards heart disease, stroke, blindness, cancer, and nerve damage at 90mph; but you’re still headed there in the slow lane. And, ok, you may luck out and avoid most of those things before you die. Then again, you probably will get at least one of them. And if you don’t, it is, humanly speaking, just that: luck. Every day you spend jacking up your blood sugar over and over again with breakfast cereal and skim milk and coffee with sugar, then a granola bar snack, then a sandwich on two thick pieces of bread (with an apple), then a smoothie midday, then some gluten-free pasta and a big salad with dinner, and then some dessert, you are rolling the dice . And if your meals look more like Lucky Charms and sweetened yogurt, candy bar mid-morning, three sodas before lunch, a big bun on your burger with a large fry and more soda for lunch, with a milkshake mid-afternoon before your dinner of pizza and breadsticks followed by brownies and an evening Doritos snack…why then you’re in the middle lane going 70 even if you don’t have diabetes. Yet.
Finally, you can’t get away from the fact that your body is much more efficient at absorbing nutrition from meat than from vegetables or grains. Here for a doctor’s explanation on why. I’ve talked about this before so I won’t belabor the point.
Which is this: yeah, we’re all different. One person can indulge in sweet potatoes and some other starches and be robustly healthy. Another can’t. One person gets fat off the same foods and same quantities that don’t affect the observable weight of someone else. (Scan their inner organs for fat layers, though, and you might be surprised.) A third person gets diabetes. But you can’t become non-human. You can’t become a ruminate or an herbivore by the power of your will.
Plato says he’s hungry
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