But I gotta say, I’m getting there!
One of the problems that I’m having is that the information out there regarding diet and nutrition is very conflicted.
To be clear, I am not interested in a “diet”. My goal is not weight loss. I figure weight loss will happen naturally if I’m on the right track. That may not be true, and there may come a time when I change my mind, but
I do not believe that dieting is healthy. Okay, scratch that. What I am really trying to say is that I do so many things wrong health- and nutrition-wise that no diet is going to give me what I’m after. That said, I do not believe that losing weight then gaining weight then losing weight is healthy (and I’m pretty sure the experts agree). And a plan that restricts my caloric intake to such an extent that I lose weight because of it and will then inevitably have to return to a more normal caloric intake logically seems to imply that at the point where I return to normal, I shall gain weight. Why would I want to do that? Truly, why? Aside from the negative health consequences of the yo-yo approach, there’s the whole “I’m UP, I’m down, I’m happy, I’m suicidal” thing going on.
So my weight, no matter big and blubbery I am, is NOT the focus. I know there are a lot of people in my life who judge my weight (like, constantly) and I am sure they are flabbergasted to hear that I refuse to change what I eat based on my weight, but.. uh, screw them? They may not be fat, but most of them are either annoying, or judgemental, or hypocritical, or selfish, or toxic is other ways. And you don’t hear me constantly nagging them to change it. Plus, I’m not sure I know anyone who eats as healthily as I intend to when this is all said and done.
No matter what, a person my size embarking on a nutritional change must address the weight piece with the public, at large, because one way or another, they WILL make it the focus.
So hear ye, hear ye: my focus is on health and on what I should eat, day in/ day out, for the rest of my life. Not, what I should eat for the next 6 months until I achieve some random weight loss goal, but what is best for me long-term.
Now, if I could just figure out what the fuck that is.
And so, my strategy is this: As I am researching, I occasionally stumble across some sort of nutrition plan, either meant to be a lifelong plan or designed with some specific health problem in mind. So far, the plans that I have begun researching are Veganism, Vegetarianism, Paleolithic, GAPS, the Perfect Health Diet, Insulin Resistance Diet, and Alkaline Diet.
I have dismissed vegetarianism (for me) as it is too broad. It seems to me that it’s mostly an ethical choice and has little to do with health, although I am certain many vegetarians would disagree with me. But you know, then we’d have to have the whole “what came first, the ethics or the health”, discussion and no one really cares why THAT chicken is crossing the road, so nevermind.
I may not have mentioned it previously, but I do actually care about the ethics of eating flesh. I am not some rabid PETA-espousing fanatic, but I think that there are a number of problems associated with the food industry (I guess, specifically, America’s- I can’t really speak to anyone else’s since I don’t know about them) and in particular with the various environmental, health, and humane issues associated with meat in America. But veganism captures all of these for me, and so vegetarianism is not useful for me and allows for far too much latitude with processed foods, off the shelf boxed crap, and whatnot.
Veganism has some validity, though, and is something I’m considering. The primary difference for me being that if we’re going to make an ethical choice regarding animals and food, we probably don’t want to endorse keeping cows hooked up to milkers and kept permanently pregnant for years at a time. Besides, there some evidence via the China Study that indicates that it has good long term effects and results in a much lower incidence of disease. But, of course, the jury is still out on this one, too.
That said, I’m not expert on the China Study and don’t know one, so I have to make all my decisions based on my gut instinct and the limited amount of time I can devote to this project. I am certain I will continue to learn about all aspects of food for many years to come, but for now, I have a job and a home and a husband and 7 pets and family to look after and visit with and lots of other stuff to do. Know what I mean? I don’t even have time to read all the articles and all the books and what all the documentaries that I currently have tagged. So do I wait to embark until I have all the information? The billions and billions of bits of information out there? Or do I just launch the ship with the info I have and hope for the best?
I am go for launch.
Rather than dig into all the details of the various diets – since I’m not an expert and don’t have time to become one – I’ll let you, the reader, research them at your leisure. Suffice it to say, though, that I’ve read enough to be interested in the diets listed above and these are what I have started comparing.
And since I’m a bit of a nutjob, I thought that for me, the easiest thing to do would be to break each of these diets down into the food that each says you are allowed to eat, not allowed to eat, and allowed to eat in moderation. I have done this in spreadsheet form.
I do love me a spreadsheet.
So I took dozens of foods and plotted them out and then, to add one more layer onto it, I indicated which are considered acid-forming and which are considered alkaline-forming since one of the diets suggests that diseases love acid environments and proper nutrition should be mostly alkaline, something I think has some credence to it.
What I have found with my handy spreadsheet is that there are quite a few foods that everyone agrees are healthy and allowable (in various quantities, a distinction that I really cannot be bothered to quantify since I am going to rely in part on common sense). Most of the allowable foods are vegetables and fruits. A couple of oils, a couple of sweeteners, and most herbs & spices are allowable, as well. Grains, nuts, seeds and beverages are trickier, but some of them can be done. Of the foods that all of these nutrition plans support, I have identified the alkalizing and acidifying foods and with this, I am set to really begin.
As an extra special bonus, I decided to get some ph testing strips and test my saliva and my urine. I had my husband do it, too, just for fun. My saliva fell into an acceptable ph range. My urine tested extremely acidic. Same for my husband. Keep in mind that mine was tested after several weeks of restricted meat, sometimes restricted grains, and so on. My husband eats a lot more meat & wheat. So in theory, our pee is very different!
Yesterday, I went to Arden’s Garden and got their pH Solution juice. I did not love the taste of it, but I drank it. I also ate their Kale chips. For dinner, I had tilapia, roasted broccoli and some leftover fried rice (which made me sick). So far today, I’ve had coffee, roasted cauliflower, and a few raw chocolate almond balls. I tested my PH a few minutes ago and I’m as alkaline as the guide on the box gets. I think we can state, with some certainty, that the pH Solution worked. And I do feel pretty good. I’m hungry, but I’ve been hungry pretty much around the clock since I started all of this mess. Meat and wheat are pretty much what make food satisfying, so without them, there is some suffering. I am hoping that there will be a time when what I feel as hunger will feel normal and that real hunger feels different. But I gotta say, despite my appearance, I do not eat enough. I do not eat frequently and I do not eat that much.
I think that all of my life, I’ve been mostly starving myself with sporadic feasts of all kinds of bad foods and that this is probably the crux of my problems.
My goals with all this are to: prepare more healthy foods (and learn to prepare them!), always have something healthy to eat on hand, eat more than twice per day, and eat mostly alkaline, nutritious foods.
We shall see.