I'm not late to the nutrition game. I am late to the intermittent fasting game, but it's never too late to get truly serious
This morning once again I stumbled on yet another article about how diet might cure depression:
From the article:
“I think we need to view food as medicine,” Laurel J. Cherian, an assistant professor of vascular neurology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the study’s lead author, told me. “Medications to treat depression are wonderful, but for many people, it’s going to be a combination of things.” (author bolded)
I don't know where you've been, sister, but Hippocrates, whose oath you took, made that clear a long time ago:
Hippocrates, a famous Greek physician, in the year 440 BC said, “Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food."
Modern medicine really is that stupid. Nothing in Big Food (or Big Pharma or Big Government or Big Sugar) EVER gave a flying crap about our health, just our wallets. Don't be an idiot. If it's packaged, it's probably not likely real food. But I'm ahead of myself.
Let's just underscore this with one of my favorite health writers from Medium, Maria Cross:
As I've aged, and given Covid, along with a slew of injuries and surgeries, have all combined to create something of a perfect storm for me to reassess my health. This year turned out to be the perfect time to come across a few people in my close -in circle who have been on top of the microbiome topic as well as being nutritional coaches themselves. Many have offered books, websites, reading and articles, and I've found a few of my own. This article gives you my short list of favorites.
As with many, my weight crept up slightly under Covid, then took an horrific drop after a bad car accident which did my poor form no physical favors. The weight came back, some of it unwelcome, but mostly because my ego likes to be around 120 rather 130. Still, the weight wasn't the issue. What was going on inside my gut is of greater issue, for each time you and I have surgery, the antibiotics wreak havoc with our guts. And, a probiotic pill just is not enough.We need the real calories and above all, the fiber.
And lest someone weigh in that we gain weight as we age, BALDERDASH. We do not. Our bodies change in response to changes in what we eat and how much we move. The rest is excuse making. Read the research. Your metabolism is not to blame.
And before someone else rolls out that old favorite, it's my GENES, no honey, it's your jeans. Research has proven that our genes account for maybe 7% of our weight gain as we age. The rest, as they say, is on us, in more ways than one.
I am heading for three more surgeries, another hand and both feet. Inbetween I have to keep on working out as my limbs allow. Given that, I really need to bolster my belly both before and after. That said my military nutritionist is not the kind of expert I want, nor are my doctors, who are happy to push pills but not learn adequate nutrition. In this regard I'm my own best health expert, for the world is full of solid information.
While in Thailand, I started one meal a day, and really focused hard on the veggies and fruit. The shift was overnight, easy and feels a thousand times better than grazing all day, which has been shown to be a bad idea. I watched the weight start to slough off gently, slowly. My energy levels rose. I felt better all around. What I thought were hunger pangs were the sounds of my belly doing its job.
Saga Supporters Jim Stutsman and Nurit Amichai, each with their own different angles on the topic, have sent me suggestions, and I've been really boning up on articles as well as books. My latest read along these lines is by Emeran Mayer, MD:
Mayer has another book out as well:
I am a fan of his books for a thousand reasons, including all the digestible science (pardon the pun) and all the solid background. We really have no more excuse to abuse our bellies. Mayer is as much a fan of intermittent fasting as I have become. I am now in my third or fourth week, I forget. I am a total fan of intermittent fasting even as I still sort out specifically what works best for this body and for this level of activity as I enter my next decade.
I've been reading about this for years, and made fundamental changes, which led to an 85-lb weight loss that I maintain within ten pounds to this day. That was 35 years ago. Suffice it to say I believe in nutritional interventions, which are to be done without fads and with permanence in mind.
Allowing for this: we age, our bodies change, conditions shift, and disease, accident, illness or any number of other changes mean that you and I need to reassess. I've said this for years and it is precisely what I am doing right now as I teeter on the precipice of turning 70. I am reassessing, redirecting and making additional nutritional changes based on the body I have now, not the body I had even five years ago.
This is how we maintain health. We adapt as we age, and so should our diets and exercise programs. You note I did NOT say slow down, I said adapt. As needed. But NOT slow down.
Jim and his wife are One Meal A Day (OMAD) advocates, albeit by his own admission they are not super-strict. Still, both have watched their waistlines return. As they age into their early seventies they enjoy vibrant good health, their biggest medical bill these days is likely their sneakers, which regularly wear out from their daily 5km walks.
As a people, we often lie to ourselves and others about the quality of our diets. Medium writer Robert Roy Britt offers a couple of articles about that and how to eat better, noting that diets don't work, they don't work and they will NEVER work. Diets are by definition temporary.
If you aren't willing to make a fundamental lifestyle change, nothing else changes either and you may be much worse off.
This past year I've thrown myself into much more reading, including one of my favorite doctor authors, Dr. Robert Lustig. This book offers more and yet more solid proof about how the American "diet" is killing us off and what to do about it:
I'm genuinely past caring about crap diets, just as I am past caring about miracle stories about people who dumped 100 lbs in a year and NOW LOOKIT ME.
Kindly, two things. Talk to us in thirty years. Why? Funny how silent those folks get a few months or a year later when, kindly, the AFTER photo has begun to look remarkably like the BEFORE again. That's why.
The stats are against all of us, which is why it serves us to keep it zipped until we've kept it off a damned long time. I have, therefore I do write about it.
Second, if you're going to listen to people, read the folks who HAVE done it. I recommend Medium's Dr. Mehmet Yildiz, who is incredibly prolific on the topic of health. You may not have his discipline, but I recommend reading his stories because he walks his talk and provides all the relevant research you need to validate what he says. Yildiz cured many health issues through diet and exercise and his example is worth exploring.
I want you to age well. Starving yourself is not aging well, and making being skinny the point is just plain stupid. There are many of us who will never be thin, for their body wasn't designed that way. Big doesn't necessarily mean ill. Ill is ill. It begins with what we feed ourselves, how we move ourselves and how we surround ourselves with support systems.
To that then, there is one more key element which overrides a bit but not much of the above: our expectations. Dave Robson wrote The Expectation Effect:
...which is a fascinating journey through the mind's ability to set and meet expectations. Not The Secret, not a panacea, but for my part, it's a magnificent treatise on how changing our mind about ourselves, our bodies, our aging process and so much more can profoundly affect our outcomes.
Age in every single way is a mindset. I can do what I do at 70 because of the hard work I have been willing to do to be fit, eat well and adjust as needed. The number is meaningless to me; I wake up bloody well grateful and raring to go, and go to bed grateful and ready to sleep hard. I operate based on how I feel. Not what my license. I have a license to live very well. It's earned, not guaranteed.
When we treat our bodies, bellies and brains like the miracles they are and life like the miracle it is we don't end up stooped, cooped up and constipated. We stay active and happy, which is available to most of us. I strongly recommend the above reads and welcome your additional suggestions.
We are out of excuses. Recently a woman barely HALF MY AGE said to me, without joking, that she was too old to start exercising at the gym.
Yeah honey, if you say so. And that is precisely the point.
So, one more for the road from Robert Roy Britt:
Yeah you can. But not if you're sitting around making excuses like I'm too old. What utter nonsense.
What do you want to be true about you? You and I can change at any time. Adapt at any time. Reap the rewards at any time.
When are you going to level up? Now might be a fine, fine time.
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