A monumental paradigm shift is well underway regarding everything we’ve ever believed to be true about diet and health. The gig is up on what most people just mindlessly believe is true regarding nutrition: dietary fat (especially saturated fat) makes you fat and clogs your arteries, you need to eat carbohydrates for energy, consuming lots of indiscriminate fruits and vegetables is healthy for everyone…the list goes on and on. Why does our society tend to believe all of this? Our culture embraces these things as truth because it’s what we’ve always believe. Never before has anyone seriously questioned any of this because people have just assumed it is absolutely true–UNTIL NOW!
With the growth of the low-carb, Paleo, Weston A. Price Foundation, real food movement in recent years, our influence is spreading like wildfire through the rise in popularity of blogs, books, and podcasts getting the message out there. It’s making even conventionally-trained medical and nutritional health professionals question everything they’ve been taught and teaching their patients and clients. I received a rather gut-wrenching e-mail while I was away last week from one such registered dietitian who has become so fed up with the misinformation being given to people about what and how they should eat that she is now undergoing a personal journey to get to the truth about the nutrition messages being put out there in the mainstream.
With her permission, I am going to share that e-mail with you below and possibly challenge other RDs, MDs, and medical/nutrition professionals to more closely examine and scrutinize what they believe and why they believe it. Real authentic change in the way things are being done cannot and will not take place without these moments being replicated over and over again by the tens of thousands. Here is but one of what is sure to be many more to come:
I must send this e-mail now. I’ve known all day that today had to be a new beginning for me, even though I don’t want to give up my sugar and carb indulgences. Maybe I have to send this e-mail right now because 11-12-13 won’t happen for another 100 years, or maybe because my fasting blood sugar level was 120 this morning (another post-late-night sugar blow-out) and I know that my poor body is losing resilience against years of insults. Or maybe just the reality that if I don’t declare something new to you right now, I will never change my ways and my life will keep slipping by, one disappointment right after another.
It’s easy to make excuses–I’m within 10 pounds of my ideal weight, and people are always telling me not to worry about eating so perfectly all the time because I look great (now they don’t see the out-of-control sugar binges of course; I am a Registered Dietitian for goodness sake so I’m supposed to know better). Anyway, here goes: I’m a sugar addict, I’m a carb addict, I’m a junkie. THERE! I said it. I’ve never admitted it before, not like this anyway. It’s easy to say “oh I have a sweet tooth” or that I engage in “emotional eating” from time to time, or that sugar is my “drug of choice” in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. But to say it like they do in those AA or OA meetings, well heck–it’s like I’m swearing the stuff off forever. Forever scares the living bejeebies me!
I must admit that I only discovered you and Dietitian Cassie on your fabulous podcast “Low-Carb Conversations” just a few months ago so I haven’t listened to all of your podcasts yet. But it sounds to me like you just felt so much better after going low-carb that you never wanted to go back to anything else ever again. It also sounds like Cassie can eat one doughnut during a marathon and it won’t get stuck in her head until she eats 1-2 dozen until she passes out which is what would happen to me if I ate a doughnut right now. I’m not sure either of you can relate to where I am at this very moment–I’m telling you I want to cry. Seriously?!? What 44-year old woman cries over not being able to have any more cookies? Well I sure the heck want to.
At a normal weight of 115 in high school, I was obsessed with trying to eat perfectly and always wanted to be “skinny”–but to no avail. So I went off to college to study nutrition and become a Registered Dietitian so I could figure it all out and then help other people. Unfortunately, I never got there. My dieting turned to what I perceived as a moral failure and I binged and gained weight all through college, my dietetic internship, and even up to the time of my RD exam! How incredibly ironic, huh?
I was able to maintain a near-normal weight after college ultimately, because I knew how to diet! Questioning what I had been taught in school was something that had never occurred to me to do. I had just swallowed the “you are just a weak, moral failure of a dietitian” story as the reason Snackwell’s and Olestra Doritos made me fat. Through the years I learned from people like Michael Pollan, Dr. Andrew Weil, Marion Nestle and others how to eat whole, unprocessed, real foods, and pop fish oil pills. I began feeling so much better, and just knew that those last 7-10 pounds would come off if I could just get control of my sweet tooth!
I’ve tried the “healthy whole grains” approach for long enough, as I now realize how sensitive I am to carbohydrates and that even that healthy apple snack at 3pm was increasing my hunger and leading to sugar cravings. I’ve read blogs and listened to podcasts to the point that I could actually be an authority on this whole subject now, if…well, you know, if I could just practice “Mindful Eating” and “Intuitive Eating” like the other RD’s say to do so that if I would just enjoy my cookie slowly so I won’t need fourteen of them!
Either I’m a total loser and persistent failure, or there is something wrong with the “eat whatever you want but do it in moderation and be sure to work in your 11 servings of whole grains” mantra. Starting right now, no more carbage, no more “healthy whole grains” for me though. I want to declare that beginning today, 11-12-2013, I will start livin’ la vida low-carb in earnest. I’ve traded too much of my life for the thrill of a sugar buzz. It’s time to start living–REALLY living–for perhaps the first time in my entire life.
Jimmy, until I “met” you, I thought I was a total loser and persistent failure. I’m willing to question that now. Thank you for grabbing the opportunity to be and do radical things in your life. You have created such an amazing story for yourself inspiring so many countless others that you don’t even know. I am convinced that you have brought a message of healing to both me and my husband and I intend to reclaim my health and well-being and help my husband heal as well (he is finally off of his statins now, thanks to you!).
Oh, and did I mention that I LOVE Cholesterol Clarity? I can’t wait to share it with my family over Thanksgiving. Who would have thunk it–everything I’ve been taught as an RD has been turned completely upside down. I so appreciate how you pulled in so many experts to clearly state the science on the subject of cholesterol first-hand. It was a very compelling read indeed, not to mention very enjoyable as well. Thank you for guiding me in the right direction towards getting healthier.
This kind of e-mail totally makes my day and reminds me just how powerful the concepts we are sharing here really are. There’s a whole lot more people just like this brave RD out there who need us to continue standing strong sharing the real food, low-carb and Paleo message. Be encouraged no matter who you are that the tide is turning and we are changing lives for the better through all the work we are doing collectively to move people in the right direction nutritionally. Are you a traditionally-trained medical or nutrition professional and have a story you’d like to share about how you’ve become enlightened to the idea of the healthy low-carb lifestyle? Send me your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.