This is a follow up, a part deux if you like from last’s week rant about weight loss companies.
I think there is so much confusion out there about what to eat. So much of the advice we are given is conflicting. Last week the government released their latest dietary guidlines and thankfully they are now admitting that we need to limit the intake of sugar in our diet. I feel like the National Health and Medical Research Council haven’t gone far enough. There’s a big focus on soft drinks, but what about fruit juices, sauces and the added sugar that’s in pretty much every processed product on the supermarket shelf?
Last week there was also a paper published by US scientists in the BMJ that reanalysed data from an Australian study in the 1970s on the role of polyunsaturated fats in the prevention of heart disease. This is the message we’ve been fed for the last 30 or more years. Replace saturated fats with so-called healthy vegetable oils such as canola oil and margarine to decrease your cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. Well guess what the research says? The group of men who were told to eat polyunsaturate fats had a higher mortality rate than the group who continued to eat saturated fats. This from the conclusion:
In this cohort, substituting dietary linoleic acid in place of saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. An updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials showed no evidence of cardiovascular benefit. These findings could have important implications for worldwide dietary advice to substitute omega 6 linoleic acid, or polyunsaturated fats in general, for saturated fats.
So the question remains, why is this still the common dietary advice?
Bearing all this in mind, here is a summary of what I eat.
- I avoid all added sugar.
- I do not eat polyunsaturated fats including seed oils and margarines.
- I cook in saturated fats such as butter, coconut oil and beef tallow.
- I drizzle olive oil on cooked vegetables and salads.
- I eat high fat vegetables such as avocado and coconut.
- I eat low sugar fruits such as raspberries, blueberries and lemons.
- I eat some protein and fat at every meal.
- I avoid all starchy vegetables such as potatoes.
- I don’t eat bread, rice or pasta (or any other grains for that matter).
- I include loads of vegetables at most meals.
- I drink water and the occasional wine (I try to keep that to about a glass per week).
- I consume full fat dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese).
- I try to include some nuts at least once a day.
There are a lot of people out there who will tell you that a balanced diet that includes all sorts of foods in moderation is the best way to eat. I disagree and I’ll tell you why.
The main argument is that a diet based on restricting or eliminating foods is unsustainable in the long term. I personally find that the opposite is true. I simply have no ability to control myself with certain foods. If I had a big bowl of buttered popcorn in front of me, there is no way that I could stop at a handful. If I had a block of chocolate in my pantry reserved for me as a special ‘treat’, I could not stop at 1 square. Sure, I could probably do that for a couple of weeks, but before you know it, self-control gets relaxed a little more each day and I’m back to eating way too much food.
The problem with a lot of restrictive diets is that people take all the cruxes away, but do not replace them with other things. For example, high protein, low carb and low fat diets seem to be really popular. I’ve certainly attempted these many times and I’ve always relapsed. When you’re faced with yet another dry chicken breast and steamed broccoli dinner you can see how this just isn’t sustainable long term.
The difference with the way I’m eating now is that I’m not eating loads of protein. I’m getting some at every meal, but it’s accompanied by fat and non-starchy vegetables. Fat makes everything more delicious and more satisfying. When you include saturated and monounsaturated fats (think olive oil, avocados) with every meal you will be surprised how little food it takes to quell your hunger and you will also be surprised how long you can go without feeling hungry.
I also refuse to believe that I need sugar in my diet. I don’t need to add sugar to anything I eat. I get enough energy from the foods I eat without relying on sugar or starchy foods (that convert to sugar in the body). I also don’t need grains to provide me with fibre. I get so much fibre from the vegetables and nuts that I eat. I have never been more regular in my life.
Since eating this way I’ve noticed the following benefits:
- My skin looks more radient. I was always complaining about my dull skin and now I can’t believe the answer was as simple as changing my diet.
- I have no more bloating or stomach cramps.
- I have regular, normal bowel movements.
- I no longer get headaches. I was getting them once a week at least and now I get none!
- I no longer have mid morning and mid afternoon slumps.
- I eat 3 times a day. I don’t feel hungry so I don’t snack.
- I’ve lost weight, about 1kg per week so far.
I’m so happy with how I feel that the thought of going back to the way I was actually makes me feel sick.
I’m really conscious about not sounding evangelical about my diet. It’s just that I feel so great, I just want to tell everyone I know so that they can also feel great if they want to. I’m also pretty realistic. I know that most people won’t agree with my way of eating. The whole low-fat message that we’ve been fed our whole lives is really hard to change in our minds. I get it that most people would rather believe government dietary guidelines. I’d just say, let reading this be a catalyst for further research on your part. Get googling, read all the information that you can about it and perhaps give it a real red hot go when you feel confident enough that you’re well informed.
Some suggested reading:
Ultimately, I am a person who loves to eat. This is why I became so good at cooking, I wanted to be able to cook myself delicious things all the time. Nothing has changed in that respect. I have found that since eating this way I have been enjoying my food even more than ever. It’s as if my taste buds have been rejuvenated. Finding the foods I eat more satisfying is helpful too. I no longer feel guilty about eating. It’s so liberating. I can’t remember a time that I’ve not felt guilty about food. To eat great, flavoursome, satisfying food at all times and feel wonderful about it, it’s like a dream come true.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. Also, I’d love to hear from others who are eating in this way. Share your experiences and feelings below.