A new friend in my life was quizzing me about what I eat, and it made me think how it important it was not to stress about eating.
We were exchanging recipes and explaining briefly the why, what and hows of our respective eating habits and at one point I said, “I do eat cheese because I like it and it suits my weight loss goals but I am aware of the gumming up effect it sometimes has on me if I eat it too much. As well as the fact that all dairy food is supposed to cause inflammation in your body, much like grains do. But I don’t stress about eating and have it anyway.”
And this got me thinking about how we approach this tidal wave of information about what you should eat, what is best for your health, what is best for weight loss etc. I have heard many a complaint about ‘everything is bad for you’, or ‘one day it’s a wonder food and next day, not so much.’ Or ‘this is supposed to help me lose weight and it doesn’t.’
One recent excellent example is Agave Syrup. Touted at one time as the next super food alternative natural sweetener. I was riding the Agave train for about a year or so when it first came out because it seemed like the perfect alternative to sugar.
So as the negative stories started to come out about Agave, I ignored them for the longest time as eating it still felt good to me. So no bother right? However when I was writing my first book and including some of my favourite dessert recipes, I read a little more about it. While the organic version still has lots of nutrients, the problem with it is that it is basically all fructose, which is not supposed to be good because your liver has to process it. The last thing you need is to overload your liver more than necessary; it has enough work to do with all the other crap we eat!
So that made sense to me and there were easy alternatives to substitute like organic maple syrup, which has less fructose and rice malt syrup, which has none. Easy switch, all tastes yum, everyone happy without too much fuss and no stress about eating.
However most people’s reaction is to trash all the information, not listen to any of it and just sit in the ‘everything in moderation’ camp. At the same time they are still not the weight they want to be, their health slowly deteriorates, they feel tired and miserable and like their life isn’t going anywhere. Eeeek!
I say, take your control back.
You don’t have to do what everyone else says. If you are interested in your health, the effects of food, being your healthiest self etc, then read the articles, watch the videos, listen to what other people say just to inform yourself. However there is no compulsion for you to do any of it. You take the reins.
Soy milk is another example. I have read all the press on this and how potentially too much soy can mess up your hormones. Even a friend of mine told me she started drinking soy milk to get away from cow’s milk and her periods stopped. And I kept drinking it anyway for the longest time. I have now given it up as the estrogen dominance thing is a problem with cancer in my family. But I did it in my time frame, not because anyone else said so.
Peanut butter is another one! Susceptible to fungus, may cause allergies and other issues. It has never been a problem for me and enjoy it. So I can just shelve that information for reference as necessary.
Always buying the purest possible with only peanuts in it and no chemicals, I feel good when I have it. So that’s all I need to know. I don’t care what anyone says. Perhaps I’ll change my mind down the track, but that’s my choice. (2021 update – and change my mind I did. I now eat powdered peanut butter to avoid the polyunsaturated fat content in the oil. It’s still not a Ray Peat diet compatible food, but again I’ll do as I please!)
So my point is, don’t be overwhelmed by it all and don’t dismiss it all either. You may be missing some crucial signs in your journey that you could just tweak a little, apply, and be everywhere you want to be.
Don’t stress about eating
For example, if you are overweight and you have eaten sugar, bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits and cereal all your life, seem to overeat all the time, tried every diet and it doesn’t work, then the type of information you may want to be tuning into is the Dr Ray Peat information.
Similarly the type of information you may want to shelve in the ‘hasn’t worked for me my whole life’ category is the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra. Maybe also the ‘don’t delete a food group’ dogma. As well as ‘starvation diets are the only way to lose weight’ nonsense. Clearly hanging on to the old stuff isn’t working either.
It’s about trying the new information on for you. Be an individual. Mould your own perfect way forward. Listen to the information, then pick the parts that work for you.
Stick to your guns even if it feels a bit out there and weird. It’s no one else’s business, but could be your secret key to everywhere you want to be.
Happy success hunting.
Update 2021 – I have now found my diet for perfect health and it includes sugar, coffee and dairy! Read more about the Zen Beach Diet here.