Saturday, March 13, 2010

We're all mad here...

"We're all mad here." said the Cheshire Cat.

We live in an upside down land. A land where people prefer to eat garbage and health food is a term that is oft used with a sense of derision.

I've been wading through my collection of diet fitness weight loss materials.

Dr Joel Furhman - Eat to Live
Dr Joel Furhman - Nutritional Excellence
Deepak Chopra - Perfect Weight
Dr David Kessler - The End of Over Eating
Tosca Reno - Eat Clean Diet - Recharged!
Keith Klein - Beyond Diet (podcast)
Pete Cerqua - 90 Second Fitness Solution
Michael Pollan - Food Rules
Dr. Ian Smith - The Four Day Diet
Jillian Michael's Master Your Metabolism
Jillian Michael's Making the Cut
Gregory Joujon-Roche - One Body, One Life
Dean Ornish, M.D. The Spectrum
Steven Pratt, M.D. SuperFoods HealthStyle
Renee Stephens - Inside Out Weight Loss (podcast)
Wendy Becker - Yell At Your Fat (podcast)
Lee Labrada - Lean Body Promise
Prevention Magazine
Self Magazine
Women's Health Magazine
Body & Soul Magazine
Cindy Crawford - The Next Challenge (exercise video)
Dierdre & Robert Griswald - Lose Weight Auto-Matically (cd, affirmations)

and on and on
Over the years I have amassed quite a collection of advice on how to eat for health, how to lose weight, and how to be fit.

Currently I am compelled by Dr Furhman's arguments regarding health and longevity; but it is at odds with Tosca Reno's Eat Clean philosophy when it comes to what to eat and how often. Tosca Reno's strategy regarding eating small meals every 3 hours is also recommended by Keith Klein and Lee Labrada (not surprising as they all come from the physique body building community). Renee Stephens and Dr Furhman recommend getting hungry between meals. Renee uses the idea that most people have a tradition of eating three meals a day and that being hungry isn't something to fear. Furhman, in his audio series "Nutritional Excellence" talks about what happens when your body is repairing itself. According to Furhman between digestion, our body begins a process of repair which includes releasing toxins from our body. The symptoms of that release can include feeling light headed, having stomach rumble, and other uncomfortable feelings that most of us have gotten used to thinking of as hunger. He says hunger doesn't manifest in the stomach but in the throat.

I recently started eating 6 small meals a day and recommended this to my sister and a few friends. I think this strategy works well for people who have dieted in the past and have a response to hunger that triggers eating a lot of food without feeling full. I never thought of myself as a binge eater, but I did all the behavior of binge eating (without the purging). If you have a habit of having a hard time stopping when you are super hungry, then despite the reasons it may be excellent to eat three meals a day, if that isn't working for you, try smaller meals every 3 hours.

When I think of sources of inspiration I draw upon, I like Renee Stephens podcast. I've listened to all 110 episodes and counting, many more than twice. Wendy Becker's podcast series only has 14 episodes, but her unpolished show is refreshing and humorous. Bob and Dierdre Griswald's "Lose Weight Auto-Matically" which has affirmations that you repeat while driving is a good way to start to reprogram your thoughts, as is Paul McKenna's audio cd "I Can Make You Thin". I also think Gregory Joujon-Roche's positive attitude is very inspiring. I gave this book to a friend and ended up buying it again. The conviction he has that you can change your body is nice to draw upon.

How can anyone possibly navigate all the conflicting knowledge and advice we are exposed to?

I think Dean Ornish's book "The Spectrum" offers a nice way to encapsulate it all.
Imagine a spectrum from very unhealthy to extremely healthy; the more you move toward healthier choices, the healthier you will be.

What we are reading is within the context of our daily lives. We may think eating a diet without processed foods sounds extreme, but if we lived 100 years ago, Dr. Joel Furhman's advice would have been common sense.

Michael Pollan has a more friendly way of describing this in his book "Food Rules". This is a book with rules, that are really just an elaboration on all his research that he summed up as "eat food, not too much, mostly plants". Also known as "Eat food your great grandmother would have recognized as food." What is Go-gurt anyway?

I think that is a nice note to leave this on.
It doesn't have to be complicated or overwhelming.

Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
And I respectfully add, savor and enjoy every bite.



  1. The more local food you eat, not too much, mostly plants – the more you get a sense of community that makes preparing your food so much more enjoyable.

    I explained to my mother that the reason I don't use a microwave is because I feel like the energy my body takes in preparing my food gets me ready to digest the food.
    This is a concept my mother thinks I'm crazy for. Mad. I'm mad in a sane world of preservatives and packaging!!

  2. The enzymes in your mouth actually change depending on what you are eating to start the digestion process and extract the most nutrients possible from every bite.

    When you meet your body's nutritional needs, your cravings disappear.