I find books on nutrition and diets to be quite fascinating. Not so much in “wow, this is insanely interesting information I am obtaining” but more in the way of “wow, that is vastly different from what this other guy said in HIS book”.
Mark Hyman is a very smart guy. He’s a renowned physician and has written several books on dieting for a new age. His biggest schtick is cutting out the sugar from our modernized diet, and cutting out processed foods.
Okay, it’s not entirely different from other books I’ve read. I guess, though, I’m tired of hearing “THIS is the best diet to help you lose weight”. I’ve heard it from the Paleo crowd, the vegan crowd, the Whole30 books, and Keto. And now I’m hearing it from Hyman.
Here’s the thing. I’m sure Paleo works wonders for many people. I’m sure Keto works for many people. I could investigate and interview thousands of people who have tried these various dietary lifestyles, and hear thousands of success stories, and testimonials of how THEIR diet worked better than ALL the others.
It makes my head want to explode.
- Our bodies are not made or adapted to utilize the large amount of sugar our modern society is consuming. Our bodies and brains have been built to crave sugar, because in the natural amounts normally available to us, we utilize it when needed. It helped fuel long hunts, or give us energy to maintain long walks while foraging. It gave us bursts of energy to escape predators or stay alert in times of danger. But this constant surge of sugar in large amounts and condensed in it’s current form is not what our bodies are built to sustain. When diets, lifestyles or fads, mandate us to eliminate sugar from our lives, this is why. We do need to detox off the processed, refined, and heavy concentrations of sugar.
- Part of the problem with the concentrations of sugar is not just processed snacks like cookies, ice cream, or candy. It’s the highly processed grain products, also. Last week, when Chris and I were sick with the flu, our appetites were diminished and I couldn’t eat anything. Soup, broth, vegetables, not even water. I couldn’t stomach it. I broke down and got some Gatorade, which I watered down a lot, because it was too sweet for me, but the electrolytes were exactly what I needed. I also found my stomach could handle bread products okay. So I bought a small stash of graham crackers and goldfish crackers. I also used some pizza crusts given to us to make “healthy-ish” pizza (not covered in cheese or meats, because my tummy couldn’t handle it). But I noticed how my body instantly became accustomed to the processed baked goods. And I knew I needed to get the grains out of the house quickly.
- Sugar is a drug we, as society, have allowed ourselves to become addicted to. In laboratory rats, when given the choice, rats would rather be given sugar over cocaine. The receptors in our brains light up the same way when we eat sugar as when we get high from cocaine. That’s insane. That scares me. I have quite an addictive personality, and I know how I am affected by junk food. I hate the idea of food having a hold on me. I quit smoking for basically the same reason. So, this fact makes me want to quit sugar just as bad.
- There is no “one diet fits all”. I have been trying to figure this out for a long time. Mostly, I have always known this, but I have a difficult time conveying it to people. I do not advocate living solely the Paleo lifestyle any more than I advocate a strict vegan lifestyle. None are perfect for everyone. For instance, I have a very good friend who has done the Keto diet and lost a lot of weight. She swears by it, and I’m super happy she found something which works for her and she can sustain. I did some more research on Keto, and found several experts swear by it as helping cancer patients. I looked further into it, but discovered it was not recommended for those specifically with kidney disease. I’ve adapted some aspects of Keto, such as high healthy fats (olive oil and avocados) to give Chris the calories he needs without compromising the protein or carbohydrate levels we are watching.
I have experienced something similar the past few weeks while trying to find a healthy and efficient breakfast to fuel my swim. I need it to be power packed where it will give me the energy boost and metabolism to swim full force for 15 minutes. That’s it. But experimenting with different foods left my energy levels wanting. Except for two options- goat milk yogurt with organic granola and organic oats with two slices of bacon and a small dash of honey or maple syrup. Anything else makes me feel bloated and heavy, or I crash and burn while in the water. But neither of those breakfasts are vegan, paleo, or Whole30, or anything. By scientific research standards, those two options should not work for me. But they do. Because I am an individual and there is no ONE perfect diet to rule them all.
I know I didn’t tell you much about the book itself. There really isn’t too much to say. Mark Hyman has done his research. He knows his shit. But he doesn’t know ME. I do like the idea of trying to eliminate my sugar addiction. I doubt 10 days will do the trick. But it is a low enough number where I would honestly give the challenge the old college try. Maybe when my husband isn’t in need of special dietary restrictions, and I am not working so much. Right now it is everything I can do to keep up with my writing, fix meals, and take care of myself physically and mentally.
If you are looking for a way to boost your healthy eating habits, let me know, and maybe we can do the challenge together. Doing things in a group or with friends will double your success odds, and help you double your weight loss, if that is what you are going for.
What’s your favorite eating plan? How has it worked for you?