So, what if you lived on a planet where you could eat unlimited amounts of food and in particular, all the sweets you wanted, all the time. No limit. Just whatever and whenever you wanted it and you'd be healthy, you'd feel great, you'd have tons of energy and you would never have constant cravings for anything anymore. Would you want to move there if it wasn't only in your dreams? Well, I'm here to tell you you're living on that planet and, more importantly, that is how you're supposed to eat here.
I remember hearing before my daughter was born how even babies would prefer sweet things over everything else. This depressed me. I'd battled my own food issues for years and now I needed to keep her away from everything bad. I'll never forget the first time I gave her oatmeal. I no sooner set the bowl before her when my mother suggested she pour sugar all over it, "because it's really good that way", she said. GAAAAAAAA!!!! I tried my best to manage the relatives and shopping excursions and I can barely talk about all the 'chocolate holidays', that is, until school started. Well, I'd have an easier job holding back the ocean with a broom. Sugar, sugar everywhere! For starters, kids' birthday parties and even in the classroom, times that by 30 and your kid is completely sugared up all the time. Sugar seems to be all kids live on. It was enough to make your head spin.
Many of us constantly 'fight' ourselves and our children's sugar cravings in all forms and if that wasn't enough, we also really desire to eat as much as we want. Why are we the only species at total odds with ourselves? You don't see Prairie Dogs on diets, do you? You don't see them on treadmills and you don't see them trying to figure out what the heck to eat. I could cite an endless list of animals and with the exception of your dog and my 22 lb cat, we, the people with the big brains are the only ones having this problem. One day it made me wonder what cavemen ate. I figured they were vegetarian. They sure as heck weren't heading for the Arby's drive thru, you know? Okay, maybe Dana's ancestors were but really, no one else *laugh*
But, my past experience with vegetarianism left me weak, sick and exhausted. As much as my head and heart wanted me to do it, my body wasn't willing. I was told by the medical profession I was 'protein deficient', and that I simply couldn't follow a vegetarian diet. I followed the 'blood type diet' for a while, mine being type O (which indicates meat…), but my weight still 'flourished'. My energy continued to plummet and I had a persistently bloated belly. A colonoscopy looking for Celiac was returned normal.
Even earlier than that I was told I had 'candida' and if you were told you have that, then you know it appears to be a sad, endless, lifelong battle. I took it seriously and spent 9 months eating 'perfectly' and lost all of 5 lbs, but never lost the 'candida'. I swear there were days I considered entering myself as my own float in the Macy's Day Parade. I kept reading and working on it, but I didn't really getting anywhere. I never really lost a significant amount of weight and I never was 'bloat-free'. My thought processes kept taking me back to my favorite haunt: The caveman days. I'm an artist at heart and you have to know what your base is before you can deal with it. Painting with oil paints? You must use an oil based solvent to clean the brushes. Ditto for water; you'd wash the brushes in water because that's the base. In human beings, our base surely must be the cavemen.
This led to a discussion with my friend Lori B. I told her I wondered what the cavemen ate, as that's probably what we should be eating. I could not have been more surprised when she started talking about the Paleo Diet. I'd never heard of it and was astonished I'd not even thought about what our ancestors ate until very recently. But, when I looked at it, something seemed really wrong to me. I saw plates of cooked meat and prepared dishes. I wholeheartedly disagreed that our first authentic ancestors that sprang forth our DNA ate cooked meat, or ground/baked grains for that matter, so the only logical choice remaining was that they ate raw food which probably included raw meat along with their 'fibrous plants'. In today's society eating raw meat is absolutely unthinkable to most, and for many good reasons. This leaves us with a big chunk of missing data. I'm not saying early man was absolutely a vegetarian and I wasn't in search of a vegetarian agenda, but I do know he didn't start out eating cooked meat. If the Paleo diet had touted raw meat, despite how socially improbable that might have been to make it fly, it would have at least been believable to me.
I started my own research on caveman. Much of the info I found simply talked about when they started eating cooked meat and how the researchers started to see disease states at this point. But something else was eaten before that point, before that first carcass fell into the fire, and since researches noted they 'started to see disease'', what were they eating before the disease came onto the scene? Cavemen were not roasting weenies straight out of the evolutionary box and you know it. It was like pulling eye teeth to get to the bottom of it. The info was sketchy and the articles mainly just said 'fibrous plants' which would not be the steamed broccoli I ate while being 'vegetarian'. Hmmm.
I did a search on raw food and came upon Steve Pavlina's blog. I found an amazing blog detailing his 30 day raw food trial (see my link list). First thing I noticed was he was eating tons of bananas. I hadn't read the entire blog or links yet and thought to myself, well, if I do this I'll eat less fruit as that's way too much fruit! I couldn't even conceive of eating even one whole banana a day at that point. It took me a few days to realize I hadn't gone back far enough. Our genetic coding goes back to before we walked upright. Like it or not, our earliest ancestors are primates and a whole new genetic code didn't just spontaneously imprint upon us simply because we finally stood up and walked on two feet.
So, the answer was our closest and earliest ancestors, the primates, who ate (and eat) fruit and vegetables and nuts. In particular, lots of fruit. A very large percentage of their natural diet is sweet fruit. They're coded to seek out sweet fruit, along with some plant matter and some nuts - whatever they can pick off a tree, hand crack and consume. They're also coded to eat as much as they feel they need and they don't limit themselves to a half a banana a day as the American Diabetic Association suggests for you and me. Now, I agree with the ADA for the SAD diet but I don't agree with the ADA diet in reference to our genetically coded diet.
That was it. I finally saw modern man's sweet tooth connection that we're all wrongly and endlessly beating ourselves up over, which is further compounded by a fruit phobic society. Oh don't eat too much fruit! You'll spike your blood sugar! You'll get the runs! Even the food pyramid restricts it. But in 4 short days I learned that if I ate enough raw fruit, vegetables, and some nuts each day that I would not crave anything else and I would not spike my blood sugar despite the rampant ADA's banana warnings.
This is how we're meant to eat, and much to my surprise, I have found that to be absolutely true already at this early stage. Any time I've even half thought of something else I realized I hadn't had anything to eat for a while. Once I go grab a banana or something, I'm perfectly fine. I'm not craving a thing. Not chocolate, not bread, not donuts, nothing. Absolutely nothing and I was fully at this level by day 3 and not only am I eating bananas, I"m craving them. This, from a woman who wanted something sweet to eat after every meal for the past 46 years. Of course I did! Even after some ginormous Thanksgiving dinner, I still wasn't satisfied because I'd still not eaten what I was genetically coded to eat - something sweet!
I'm at day 4 now. My copy of 80/10/10 just arrived today. This is the raw food book by Dr. Douglas Graham at Foodnsport (check my links section). I realized I needed this as he has so much more experience than I do and I want to do it right this time. Previous attempts at vegetarianism have failed and I read others that say the same thing. This person seems to really have the anwer and I've lived it for 4 very happy change-filled days so far. If you're interested in this lifestyle, besides following my 'guinea pig' status, I'd highly recommend getting the book to explore more for yourself. It is also available at Amazon. In the book you can choose to transition at your own pace. I just started it but it seems a lot of thought went into reaching out and reaching you and what might work best for you. In my case, I finally had to just grow up and devote a year out of an entire lifetime to finally taking care of me.
Whatever you choose to do with your diet, I really encourage you to devote a year back to yourself in some way. In the meantime you might dream a little and think about... what if you lived on a planet where you could eat unlimited amounts of food and in particular, all the sweets you wanted, all the time. No limit. Just whatever and whenever you wanted it and you'd be healthy, you'd feel great, you'd have tons of energy and you would never have constant cravings for anything anymore. Would you want to move there if it wasn't only in your dreams? Well, I'm here to tell you you're living on that planet and, more importantly, that is how you're supposed to eat here.
- March 20
- I write and counsel on a variety of health and nutrition topics. I founded a non-profit a decade ago where I donate my time to help women all over the world through breast surgery.
I'm a voracious heath and nutrition reader and long time nutrition guinea pig. I am the author of, "The Healing Diet". The diet is posted on our website, BreastHealthOnline.org, and has helped tens of thousands of women, myself included, heal and recover from surgery.
I live alone with my little girl, 2 cats, 2 dogs, 5 finches and a new hamster that sleeps 24 hours a day. There is much laughter and light in our warm, fuzzy little home.
Various life circumstances have left me not quite in the shape I'd hope for at the age of 46, going on 47 in 2010. I decided that there were probably quite a lot of us out there who could continue to look good into our 50's with a little effort. Despite the fact it is going to take some work, I want to be one of them!
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