A few months ago, I visited a new acupuncturist, searching for help with my breakouts. She examined my face and asked how long it has been a problem.
“My entire adult life.”
She made a sympathetic face and poked me full of needles. I returned a few times, but didn’t see real results, although I had an acupuncturist years ago who did help.
I’ve also thought that eating less sugar, eliminating dairy, avoiding fried foods, and basically every non-prescription topical cleanser or medication under the sun might help. But they didn’t. I felt both guilty and hopeless. Nothing I tried worked, but it HAD to be caused by something I was doing wrong. (That’s the downfall of believing in personal responsibility for health.)
Then a few weeks ago, I read Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall. And for the first time, I understood what nutritionists mean when they say the body treats all carbohydrates the same way: like sugar. I’d always thought this was nonsense, since I felt way different if I ate brown rice vs. a brownie. Carbohydrates are energy, right? They are important!
Maybe not so much.
mother lode: the place where the largest amount of gold, silver, etc., in a particular area can be found
Quoting Phil Maffetone, McDougall explains that at any time, even skinny minnies like me, have approximately 160,000 calories available – 140,000 of them as fat. 87%. The rest are protein (25,000) and sugar (2,000). All carbs – “slow burning” whole grains and Skittles alike – have to be dealt with quickly because too much sugar in the blood is toxic. Insulin, hormones, yada-yada-yada…
For whatever reason, I’ve never experienced the most common result of eating excessive carbs (weight gain), but in reading this book, I realized overall carbohydrate consumption was the one thing I’ve never looked at in my own diet. And when I looked at the numbers, it was kind of shocking. I’d ditched Coke and white bread years ago, but organic juices, sweet potatoes and flax seed crackers are all still carbs, and I was eating a ton of them.
The “Maffetone Method” suggests a two-week test to determine if you are sensitive to carbohydrates. Simply eliminate all sugar and starch, outside of what occurs naturally in vegetables (potatoes and corn don’t count as vegetables), and see what happens. His system finally helped me figure out how to implement the advice my helpful Chinese acupuncturist gave me years ago (“eat less carbs” – he was a man of few words and no explanations) without losing weight. Just three more little words.
Eat. More. Fat.
Not more protein – although protein is important. More. Fat. Good fat, not hydrogenated fake fat.
One day into my experiment, I knew the only way I could get even close to the amount of fat needed without feeling grossed out was to eat way more vegetables as well.
veggie lode: the place where the largest amount of nutritional content in a particular diet can be found.
I began cruising the Internet, looking for recipes to help me figure out what to eat. But whether the site was low carb, ketogenic, paleo, vegan or pretty much any other dietary rule, I kept running into the same problem.
It seems most people – even those preaching the value of a healthy diet – would rather come up with ways to make their favorite junk foods fit the mold of their new diet than to actual change their habits. From sweet potatoes to tapioca starch, Stevia to agave to buckets of fruit, most all the beautiful recipe blogs predominately featured crap. Pretty, carbohydrate (or chemical) laden crap. I followed a link from one non-crappy site that promotes a very restrictive whole foods diet to the guest blogger’s natural foods blog, only to find a recipe for homemade marshmallows.
Sugar addiction dies hard.
I’m not into any rules or labels. And also? I hate scrolling down a page of 20 nearly identical pictures with a bunch of repetitive drivel. Just give me the fucking recipe.
I was honestly so excited by my breakfast of scrambled eggs with yellow squash, Brussels sprouts, onion, avocado and chili sauce (plus butter and heavy cream, and coffee with heavy cream) that I decided to catalog my recipe creation on a blog. The Internet is still free, real food rocks and my skin is clearing up. I’ve hit the veggie lode!