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Aaaaack! Wading through it all

631 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Panserbjorne
Does anyone else feel like it is hard to decide what to believe? ...get plenty of lean protein. ...don't eat meat. ...base your diet on whole grains. ...avoid grains, they cuase a drastic insulin response. ...2-3 servings of dairy a day. ...dairy causes congestion.

So often nutritional advice reads like propaganda to me. It is just so hard to know who/what to trust.

How do you decipher it all?
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Start with the basic common-sense principle that whole foods in a natural state are best. After all, people have been eating all sorts of whole unprocessed foods for thousands of years, and were much healthier doing it than we are today. So...that means butter is good for you (not margarine), non-refined oils such as coconut and extra virgin olive oil are healthy, there's nothing wrong with the saturated fat in red meat or the cholesterol in eggs...etc. There is plenty of research to back this up--I would recommend "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Weston Price if you're interested in knowing what people traditionally ate before processed foods. He studied isolated groups of people that didn't eat processed foods and compared their diet and health to others of the same tribe or whatever who had started eating processed foods. There were groups that were very healthy living on mainly rye bread and cheese, and others that were healthy living on mostly meat and milk (there are lots of other examples in the book, those are just the two that I can think of right now). He also found that no native groups were vegetarian--all used some animal products.

Then I think the next step is to research how to properly prepare foods--just as some fruit has to be peeled to be edible, nuts and grains need to be soaked to have phytic acid (sort of an anti-nutrient) removed, dairy is much better for you if it is cultured, etc. "Nourishing Traditions" is a great book that covers proper preparation of whole foods.

Also, keep in mind that some of the conflicting info you are finding is either A)sponsored by some sort of special interest group (like studies on the benefits of soy sponsored by soy product manufacturers) OR B)based on improperly prepared foods. For example, pasturized homogenized milk is bad for you. But raw milk, especially if cultured (like yogurt) is very good for you.

Also, to some degree I think each person needs to pay attention to their body and figure out what foods they do or do not do well on. Some people may not be able to handle even cultured dairy, and some people don't do well on grains.

Hopefully this helps and isn't too confusing. Good luck in your search!
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I have been all over the map...vegeatrian, vegan, low-fat, calorie counting,ect.. I am now doing Nourishing Traditions. When I was a low-fat vegan I thought, "why do I need to supplement (B-12)...didn't God make everything we need?" I knew whole foods were best I just wasn't sure which proportion to have them in my diet.

I like NT because, unlike todays studies, it is based on 1000s of years of real life! Not the latest Nestle funded "research" that lasted 30 days!(Remember someone is paying out the big bucks to get that "result" from the "research" too) That is what gave me comfort. While reading NT I realized that this was the way my grandmother lived and lives...whole foods from her land-raw milk, veggies, eggs, free-range beef, butter, fruit. She is 74 and people think she is my mother (I am 26). She had 6 healthy kids and is showing no signs of physical/mental illness or slowing down!

The more I read,the more it made sense..a good free resource is I takes a while for it all to compute! People had been eating all thos eggs and butter and not having heart attacks...the culprits are new processed foods, sugar, and trans fats!
I am finding I am doing much better on more fats...I only need to eat 3 x per day, I eat less, I am not tired, and I feel good! I have even lost 5 pounds in about 10 days.
Happy eating,
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I, too, am getting better at living an NT kind of diet. The pp's explainations really summed it up. I could really talk up the diet some more, but I don't think you were looking for proselytizing on a single diet theory, you were looking for guidance for making your own decisions

So, as a more generalized answer, I'd say, you need to consider what seems intuitively right for you. The only thing I think I can say with 100% certainty is that the only thing that doesn't belong in a diet is processed foods. No matter what you're eating, it needs to be as close to the source as you can get. So, if you drink milk, it should be raw, whole milk, no pasturized low-fat crap. If you eat meat, it should be real meat, not deli slices or hot dogs (or at least not regular hot dogs with fillers and nitrates). If you eat vegetables, they should come to you fresh, or frozen at least, not out of a can. I think we all need fats in our diet, and there's no doubt that some fats are better than others. If you simply seek to exclude the no-good fats (i.e. hydrogenated oils and most vegetable oils, with a few exceptions like olive oil and coconut oil), I think you'll find that your diet, while not "low-fat", is neither extremely high fat. It'll work out. You'll find a groove that feels intuitively right for you. Similarly, if you seek to exclude the worst sugars, HFCS and white sugar, you'll find that even with allowing yourself to treat freely from natural sugars, your sugar consumption will go way down.

I'm far from perfect about this. There's half a pint of Ben & Jerry's in the freezer calling my name (I'm not giving in to it yet, it's only 8:30 in the morning! But later...) However, I'm getting better and better. I truely feel that by filling out my diet with the most nutritious, highest quality foods, I go a long way toward mitigating any damage from my sweet tooth.

In summary, if I were advising any random person on how to improve their diet, regardless of their preferenced place on the vegetarian---carnivore sliding scale, the three things that I would recommend are:
1. Cut out all hydrogenated oils
2. Cut out all high fructose corn syrup and most white sugar
3. Cut your consumption of processed convenience foods drastically.

Right then and there, no matter how much fat you eat, you'll dramatically improve your diet.
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I haven't read NT. I'm far from the healthiest-diet person around. the past probably 6 months, I have lost almost 30 pounds. Not to brag, but *everyone* wants to know what I've been doing.

Here it is, as easily as I can possibly sum it up. First of all, I moved and now climb 3 flights of stairs daily, that might have something to do with it.

Second, DS eats about half of anything I get for ME
and doesn't *let* me sit forever stuffing my face

Third, yeah, I have cut out a lot of junk simply because I don't want to 'share' it with him. By the time I wait for him to go to bed, I've forgotten I wanted it.

and fourth, probably MOST IMPORTANTLY--I cut WAY BACK on my fast-food consumption. My husband's diabetic, so I have quit buying sweets for the most part. (Now I eat them away from home only basically.) AND, because he does a lot of the cooking and he's not from the US, we do eat a lot more whole foods and healthier things. I know he does a lot more with beans than I ever did. And he has been known to soak rice. I will now too since I've learned about that phytic acid thing...

We are far from NT. I don't buy meat at a special store. I do organic milk MOST of the time, I don't drink a lot of it anyway. We still do junk, Cheetos come into my house fairly frequently, and there's a thing of sugar-free ice cream and one of sugar-free popsicles in my freezer. But these things have moved to a 'treat' really has made a HUGE difference.

ETA--I forgot to mention that I've also given up soda for the most part. The only reason there's any in my fridge right now is I got some Sprite last time I was sick. Also, my parents watch my son and my dad likes to drink it sometimes for stomachache. It's been there for probably 2 months at least. Now, the only time I drink it is if I go out to eat basically. Moved it back to where it should be in life, an occasional 'treat.'

I don't think all sugar, all soda, etc. is evil and to be avoided at all costs necessarily. I just think that they should be consumed infrequently, as 'treats.'

and i have a grandmother too who is 93 and still going strong, in her own apartment, gets out to see friends daily, is on vacation in Georgia right now. She grew up and raised 6 kids living on a farm, eating what came out of a garden and meat that was most likely free-range. Real butter, churned at home by them. Milk straight from the cow--my mother remembers this too, and one of her jobs was butter-churning. Eggs straight from the chickens every morning--my mom was also the egg-gatherer.
(my mom grew up VERY little house on the prairie, right down to no electricity, water from the well, and an outhouse! 1950's in the very rural midwest...)

and you know, this just occured to me....I don't honestly remember my grandma having *any* health problems, except her asthma...until she listened to some doctor who told her she should switch to margarine, etc...something to think about...
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Originally Posted by tboroson

In summary, if I were advising any random person on how to improve their diet, regardless of their preferenced place on the vegetarian---carnivore sliding scale, the three things that I would recommend are:
1. Cut out all hydrogenated oils
2. Cut out all high fructose corn syrup and most white sugar
3. Cut your consumption of processed convenience foods drastically.

Right then and there, no matter how much fat you eat, you'll dramatically improve your diet.

it can get so confusing--every different book or website seems to be saying that their way is THE way to a healthy body--but they are all different. but i think this simplifies it very well.

i also find that if i eat to my cravings, i lose weight (as long as i distinguish between true cravings and just wanting to eat crap
) if i really take a few minutes to think about what i want to eat, and eat that (as long as it's not real bad for me,) i seem to be able to eat alot without gaining weight. and when i DO crave crap, i try to think of the reason behind it--am i stressed? sick? lacking something? bored? that usually helps me figure out what i *should* be eating.
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ITA with most of the previous posters. Regardless of what you eat (meat, dairy, eggs, fish etc.) it's important to eat as close to nature as possible. We don't do anything refined at all. I feel like it's setting a really bad example. No sugar, HFCS, hydrogenated oils etc.

We have also run the gamut...veg, vegan, lowfat etc. Now we do something that's very close to NT-we just don't do grains and dairy. After my personal research that's what I feel is best for us.

I lost 60 pounds without trying eating this way. Tons of fruits and veggies, meat, nuts, seeds, eggs, butter and coconut oil. IT has all stayed off. My kids have healed their food allergies and are much healthier. It's not about choosing a "diet" it's about nourishing your body as best you can. At least that was what it was about for me. Once you are healthy you will lose/gain what you need, heal chronic conditions and feel better overall. ITA with NT being practiced for 1000's of years. It's definitely a good starting point! Good Luck!
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Sorry-I should also address the fact that we had many deficiencies (blood tested and verified) that were a result of two things...the standard processed american diet-it does catch up with you, and veganism (especially in dd's case) These were addressed by healing ourselves through diet and cuuting out the garbage. We were in really rough shape, so I feel comfortable saying this. It was a real turnaround using diet and supplements-no meds. Clearly alot of what we were dealing with was in fact diet related. You will hear many stories like this on this board.
Thanks, everyone. Some of the choices are pretty clear to me. For example, I have not heard anyone espousing the virtues of sugary foods or trans fats. Where it gets tougher for me is when some say whole grains should be the base of our diets & others say that they should be condiments.

I also find that "authorities" get so passionate about their diets that their reasoning tends to sound more like propaganda & antecdote than solid science. Beyond that, sometimes it is nearly impossible to differentiate whether a particular food & health state are causal or coincidental. For instance, red wine & heart disease. Is it the wine? Is it some other lifestyle factor? Many times, those in favor of ideas that go against current paradigms tend to sound a little quacky anyway. It's hard to tell sometimes if it's because they are true ducks, or just saying something that goes against what we hear all the time. KWIM?

Even beyond all that, a lot of diets (by that I mean ways of eating) require some funky thing. Soak this, pickle that, only eat this with that... For some reason, that sends up red flags for me. Rightly so or not. It just seems like it should be simpler.

I'm not saying that I agree or don't agree with any one idea. I guess, I'm just trying to explain why it is so hard for me to figure out. Any change can be difficult at first. When there are so many confusing options, it's even easier to not change at all.

What are some of the tools that you use to help you decide?

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Originally Posted by firefaery
We have also run the gamut...veg, vegan, lowfat etc. Now we do something that's very close to NT-we just don't do grains and dairy. After my personal research that's what I feel is best for us.
This thought really stuck in my head--specifically, "best for us." I came across the Metabolic Typing Diet. The author's explanation for why such disparate diets are being touted by experts as healthy is because we all vary in our needs & a carb focused diet works best for some, while a protein based diet works best for others. Has anyone else read this book?

My current thought is to try his suggestions for a while & pay attention to how they make me feel. I thumbed through NT at the store & think I will get a copy for myself. I think between that, Feeding the Whole Family & nailing down my proper macronutrient ratio, I should be in pretty good shape. Time will tell...

Thanks, Mamas, for chiming in with your advice.
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Who's metabolic typing plan? Mercola's or Kelly's? IT is totally fascinating-I am right there with you. Have you done the testing? I think that this is a first step in deciding what plan is right for you. Once you know what your type is you can find the diet that will work best for you. It makes so much sense...and in Kelly's case he and his wife were different types and saw the ramifications of trying to NOT live that way. He was a carb type and she was a protein type. They both healed (he from metastasized pancreatic cancer) when they embraced their proper eating styles.
Mercola just did a lecture on metabolic typing and it was fascinating information. He has a great typing test-a free one on his site and a more intesive one that's expensive but on sale right now.
Firefaery, the book I read was written by William Wolcott. He studied with Kelly & refers to his methods as well as to him as a pioneer. One reviewer on amazon made a comment indicating that the two had had a falling out at one time. I don't know if that's the case. Wolcott makes no mention of it & speaks very highly of Kelly.

I did take the test. It indicated that I'm a mixed type. A good majority of my answers were middle of the road. Many of the answers indicated protein type. Mercolas free test has me as a protein type. It will be interesting to see what sort of ratio keeps me most satisfied.

Wolcott suggests starting out for several days excluding high carb foods & milk & eating predominantly recommended proteins & a few low starch veggies. Then, slowly adding in low starch veggies & if that goes well, some whole grains.

Does this sound similar to what you've encountered?

Do you have difficulty consuming more protein than fat, or even worry about it?
I don't really worry about it. I just eat the foods that are good for me and every time I actually pay attention I realize that I'm getting it right. This has been such a long journey for me, and so hard emotionally. It's nice that eating intuitively is so easy. I just wish that I was more comfortable with meat-but I'm getting there. It's easier since I do better with it now that my diet is really where it needs to be.
I think it's a good way to go-starting out that way. Keep us posted! It's really fascinating to me and explains so much about why some people do so well as vegans and others crash and burn. It's really about your typing.
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