The idea of balance is one of the greatest impediments to eating right and losing unhealthy weight. It is hard to feel like you are feeding yourself and your family right if there aren’t ‘healthy’ vegetables and starches on the kids’ plates. As indoctrinated as we all are that fats are bad, that red meats are bad, that raw or room temperature foods are dangerous, it’s no wonder that so many people choose to add processed foods to their meal-time faire.
Not all fats are equal when it comes to bad. Saturated fats like lard, tallow, butter and coconut oil are now on the ‘good for you’ list. Polyunsaturated trans fats are on the forbidden list. These fats are what industry replaced saturated fats with when butter and lard were placed on exile. Fats are good for you to eat because they contain a great deal of dietary energy in a compact package. When you eat fats you get energy without eating lots of weight-containing extras. Think of it like the difference between a train that is powered by steam and fuels it’s boiler with wood, compared to one that is fueled by oil. Since there is a great deal more energy per pound of oil, carrying the same weight in oil will get you a lot more miles. Same thing with foods. While there is a lot of energy in sugar, there is not as much energy per pound as there is in dietary fats. It’s why a breakfast of bacon and eggs (only) can get you all the way to lunch without hunger.
Eating meat is not considered bad for you any more, either. Recently it was on the caution list because of the saturated fats that it contains. Now that there is nothing wrong with those fats we can go back to eating meats. Meats contain all of the vitamins that a person needs to live. The vitamins in meats come from the vegetables that our meat animals eat. If you eat meats that come from a healthy environment, that healthy environment is passed up the food chain to you. Look at the wolf, it eats most of its diet in the form of meat, and it is strong enough to live off of it’s strength for it’s entire life. All carnivores get their vitamins and minerals from those lower on the the food chain. We can, too. Eskimos in Siberia, Greenland, and Alaska that don’t have access to the Western diet live out their lives eating animals that are in essence bringing the vegetables to them. The whale sails south every year and eats plankton and krill, and it brings those vitamin rich nutrients north for the benefit of the eskimo. Eating meat is as good as eating a salad if your meats are raised naturally.
Rotting foods are, likewise, very healthy for us. The flavor in cheese comes from the carefully controlled process of rotting that is taking place on the milk that it contains. Real sauerkraut is rotting cabbage, but the microbes are controlled by the salty brine that the sauerkraut is placed in. Kombucha and Kefir are beverages that are made effervescent and sweet-sour by the bacteria they are inoculated with by the brewer. Beer is rotting malt, even the industrial beers are the product of natural, controlled rot. Leaving cheese out on the counter is how it is done everywhere but the US. We refrigerate ours because we are now led to believe that natural rot is a source of danger. I only refrigerate my kombucha because there might be enough pressure in a mature bottle to cause it to burst. I stop the rotting process so that I don’t have glass grenades on my counters.
The very most dangerous thing in your pantry is your sugar canister. It contains a product that is relatively new in the history of man. The sucrose in your sugar breaks down into fructose and glucose in your body, and the fructose component will be converted by your liver into fats immediately. The glucose will be converted by insulin into either fat or muscle energy, but if your muscles don’t use it then it must be gotten out of your blood quickly, so insulin will put it away in fat stores to be used to keep you alive for your long periods when you aren’t eating. Gaining weight is a function of eating carbohydrates. There is no insulin reaction to fats and meats. If you ate only fats and meats, if the only carbohydrates you consumed were the small amounts in green leafy vegetables then you would not secrete insulin in response to high blood sugar. Your body would get only the energy that it needed from dietary fats, your accumulated fat stores would be slowly drawn down by your energy needs and you would, over the course of weeks and months and years return to your natural weight.
All of the processed foods in your pantry contain hidden and added sugars. The companies labelling them know you might turn down a product labeled as containing added sugar, so they cleverly call it something else…honey, agave, sugar alcohols, it comes in many forms, and by many names. One thing that they cannot hid though is that carbohydrate number on the label. Every form of sugar is a form of carbohydrates. If your processed food contains carbohydrate then it contains the source of weight gain, adult onset diabetes, and every other disease of the Western Diet. Just avoid processed foods to avoid this hazard.
The next most dangerous item in your pantry is shortening or liquid cooking oils. These fats are not like lard, butter or coconut oil. When they are heated they change into trans fats and other compounds that are unhealthy for your heart. While they have the advantages of compact energy source for your body’s needs, they have the disadvantage of chemistry in that what your body does with these chemicals is bad for you. Use these oils to burn in lamps, to grease your hinges, but not to feed your body.
The hardest thing for you to believe will be that the fruit in your refrigerator or on your counter is something that should be consumed infrequently. This is where the idea of balance is going to be most tested in your mind. While the amount of fructose that is found in fruits is much lower than that in your Coke or chocolate milk, it is still fructose. We evolved around fruits that only appear in season. Here in the US, in the summer berries and peaches, in the autumn apples. In the winter nothing. By nothing I mean, very little food to be had in the winter. Fructose is the sugar in those apples, and by eating them when they were falling off the tree we got to put on fat for that long, cold winter. The availability of fruit year round now, and in such abundance that we can smash them and juice them, eating only the sweet part and discarding the important fibers, pectins, minerals makes fruit a menace to our waistlines and that of our kids. Balance, true balance, would mean eating fruit in season.
It is hard to imagine, for a lot of people, that you could live a healthy life by living off of the balance provided by our food animals. In the morning I eat meat. No bread or juice is allowed on my breakfast table. Lunch and dinner are meats and fats, or meats cooked in fats that come from meats. My vegetables are all selected to be low in their carbohydrate content. The balance is brought to me by the food chain. I let the cow eat the grass, bring the energy of the sun to my table. I let the hog eat the vegetables, the hog can carry the fat around that I need to sustain me. I admit that I am not a purist, that I don’t think that carbohydrates are so dangerous to my health that I avoid them like I avoid the flu. I will eat special occasion sweets, fruits, pasta, breads. They are everywhere and when I go to a hamburger joint I can safely eat a bun, because none of my other meals that day will be loaded up with a ‘balanced’ amount of carbohydrates. At the Valentine’s party I can eat a sweet treat safely because every bite I took yesterday did not contain sugars both hidden and declared. I ate healthy all day yesterday, mostly meats and fats, a little bit of green leafy vegetables to help carry the waste products away. That is balance.
We are at the top of the food chain. If we maintain that chain we can live the strong life that we were meant to live. If we treat our food animals the way that we want to be treated right up until we process them for our uses we have nothing to fear from our nature.
If your ‘balanced’ diet is doing for you what you want it to do, giving you something to look forward to at mealtime, suspending hunger long enough to keep you from finding foods of convenience between meals, not gradually making you heavier and unhealthier then you are doing the right thing for you. If what you are eating requires you to periodically starve yourself or you will gradually get fat then you are not doing the right thing for you. If you eat the currently proscribed diet then you will slowly gain weight, you will slowly get sick, you will not be happy and well fed every day. The idea of balance that forces you to periodically starve, forces you to eat tasteless and unsatisfying foods is SERIOUSLY UNBALANCED. Look back through these posts on this blog. Your body is crying out for a reevaluation of what your idea of a healthy diet looks like. You can find some great evidence here for what you are doing wrong.
Tomorrow morning start by eating a simple breakfast of just meat. It’s one small thing to change.