Nina and I have always been interested in good food. When we planned our landscape, we chose edible plants and put in a small orchard, raspberries and grapes, pineapple guavas, and a lovely herb garden. Nina also kept a large and very productive vegetable garden before she become heavily involved with running a full-time photography business. I enjoy cooking and it evolved that I did most of the food prep for us. We bought a stone grinder and I made our bread from red wheat berries. We cultured our own yogurt. Our diet was as healthful as we could make it according to the conventional wisdom. We ate at home with only an occasional foray for a Japanese dinner out.
Throughout my life, I have been lean and strong. As Nina began to have health problems, I too noticed that I was losing muscle mass and tone, even though I was physically active all day while building our trimaran. I noticed that a small “spare tire” was showing around my waist. Other than this, I was still energetic and able to work long days in the heat of Sacramento summers in the barn, where it often reached 105˚ at deck level on the boat.
Nina was trying to solve her health issues with diet and I did everything to help her with necessary adjustments along the way. We eliminated refined flour and sugar, using only whole grains and “natural” sources of sweeteners. These diet changes did nothing to improve her condition. We didn’t know what else we could do. We were eating, according to what we are told and lead to believe, a healthy diet. Nina’s search for answers after being diagnosed as insulin resistant led us to discover the low-carbohydrate way of life. As she read Dr. Lutz’s Life Without Bread aloud while I cooked dinner, everything became clear to me. I understood how we got where we were and, better still, how to get out of it. We both knew that we could recover our health and have the energy and stamina to finish our boat and go cruising! We started right away, cutting our carbs down to fewer than 72 grams per day.
I did not expect to have much change happen in my body, but I lost ten pounds. The soft pooch around my waist disappeared. It wasn’t long before I noticed my muscle mass increasing. Nina commented that I wasn’t “soft” anymore– and I had not changed a thing about my activity level. I had no more heartburn, from which I suffered only infrequently anyway. My aches and pains diminished too. Plus, we were really enjoying our food, though we both admit to missing our Hachiya persimmons! To us, this fruit provides the most sensual eating experience on Earth.
I guess I became a bit of a low-carb evangelist. Well, how could I not? Everything about this lifestyle has such an immediate and positive impact on one’s health, that I wanted to spread the good word. We found ourselves talking about it all the time and I’m sure our friends got pretty tired of it. Maybe they still do! These days, we only talk about it if someone asks and expresses a sincere interest.
We have refined our diet to exclude all grains and are going even further with every bit of research and data we discover. I had been working on perfecting a good low-carb bread, but after learning more about how gluten and bran affects the intestinal tract, we eliminated that too. Now we are seeking out naturally raised animals and animal fats. We buy virgin coconut oil online and harvest kelp and wild foods like mushrooms when we’re cruising. We are learning with each day. I had never been an organ meats guy, but when I learned how nutrient dense liver is, we began to include liver from grass-fed calves in our repertoire.
For me, it’s about discovery of the truth. Reading Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories made me very angry! I learned how the entire nation (and the world) has been deceived and misled by unsupported data being turned into government policy, how our health has been compromised by ignorance and arrogance. For over forty years, we’ve been given the wrong information about diet and nutrition. If we want to significantly reduce the cost of our health care in this country, the powers that be should turn the food pyramid upside down and recommend a substantial reduction in carbohydrate intake and the elimination of polyunsaturated oils.
It’s mostly about feeling great and being free from illness. The bottom line seems to be: Keep your insulin and glucose levels as low as possible! Don’t eat manufactured “foods”– they’re not food. Keep fruit consumption to a minimum and eat only non-starchy veggies. Otherwise, enjoy all the foods of animal origin you desire. Eat saturated fats– they’re the good fats. You’ll be better for it! If you ask me, I’ll be happy to help you start reclaiming your health through low-carb eating.