Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Limits of chEating

One of the attractive things about the nutritarian life style is that it's flexible, and even allows eating meat. Dr. Fuhrman suggests many people can be completely healthy and still "cheat" up to 10% of the time.

Even the occasional candy bar or ice cream is ok. The key is occasional.

So how do you apply this? What does it mean on a  real-life basis?

Now over the almost three years I've eating this way, I can count on one hand the "normal" meat and potato, processed food type meals I've had, that were my norm before. I just don't like to eat that way any more. But I've enjoyed the flexibility, and it's kept me on track. A more rigid format might have discouraged me.

And even though I'm not perfect, my recovery is good, compared to where I was headed.

It's made it easier for me to do this long term. I enjoy some added calories nearly every day, usually in the form of a few extra nuts or sunflower seeds. Since I don't count calories, but I do weigh in and check by my exercise tolerance my progress every day, I know what works for me.

You could reserve those 10% of calories for a weekly regular meal if you wanted.  That means basically you'd have twenty one meals during the week, and one would be the standard Anerican diet type meal. The other twenty would be full bore nutritarian.

My personal preference is different. What makes it tolerable for me is to do the very best I can at each meal, and in general add a little something every day that makes my food more enjoyable.

I let my weight be my guide. I can tell when I've loosened up too much because I weigh more, and I immediately correct course. Even a couple of extra pounds is a good warning. I consider an extra five pounds to be an all out danger signal, and tells me it's time to buckle down.

Emily Boller, one of Dr. Fuhrman's examples in his book Eat To Live, tells (in a training video by Dr. Furhman) of a friend who eats  nutritarian during the week and regular on the weekends. By my calculation this means her friend takes in about 50% of her calories from low density food.

Emily says her friend has done all the work to learn how to eat right, but she gets none of the benefits. No weight loss, and no difference in health outcomes that her friend can tell. None.

So while nutritarian eating isn't all-or-nothing, I'd hazard an opinion here that it takes 80%+ compliance to make it more than mildly effective. Real effectiveness for difficult conditions doesn't come into play until you're over 90% compliant. Of course, that's not the case for everyone, and the more serious a condition is, the wiser you are to become fully compliant sooner.

The good news is, eating right most of the time, and building in a little cushion, is a delight and a pleasure.

But pleasure has its limits. The best part is, you come to trust that the plan works, every time you work it. And when you don't work it briefly, you just get back on that horse again and ride it, because you know it and you've proved that it works.

The great pleasure of all for me is to be alive, healthy, productive and experiencing this life with my lovely wife.

Which goes a long way towards a happy life.

1 comment:

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