Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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" with up to 10% of your calories.

Even the occasional candy bar or dish of ice cream is OK. The key is occasional. Very.

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

Now over the almost six 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 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 (and by full I mean rigid, inflexible, strict and totally) nutritarian.

Realistic? I don't think so. If  you can excuse one meal, how can you not excuse other slippage? I really don't know, and clearly I don't believe in this approach because I can't see it working for me.

My personal preference is different. What makes it work 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.

Something still in the healthy direction, however. I don't consume a candy bar every day, or even every month.

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 early warning. I consider an extra five pounds to be an all out danger signal, and tells me it's time to buckle down.

Emily Before & After
Emily Boller, one of Dr. Fuhrman's favorite examples, tells (in a seminar 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% or more of her calories from a combination of low nutrient density, processed, meat and dairy type foods.

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. None.

So while nutritarian eating isn't all-or-nothing, I'll hazard an opinion here that it takes 80%+ compliance to make it more than mildly effective. Real effectiveness for ordinary conditions doesn't come into play until you're over 90% compliant. For a serious condition you really have to become compliant in the 95-98% range, which means really striving to be 100% in the game.

The good news is, eating right most of the time, and building in a cushion by eating better than necessary instead of pushing the limits, is a delight and a pleasure.

Old habits intrude. The constant barrage of misinformation from a sick culture takes its toll. But 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've proved that it works.

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

Both of us are medical anomalies. We're still alive in spite of each having health conditions that were supposed to be incurable. We have survived the biggest challenges of all, which are 1. A sick culture and 2. Our minds not always being made up to eat right.

Which goes a long way towards a happy life, because (obviously) we're not dead. And which inspires us to sweetly, gently but persistently encourage family, friends and y'all to join us.

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