If you’re huffing and puffing to climb a flight of stairs… or claiming two seats on the airplane… or can’t see your feet… you ain’t prepared.
What good does it do to take a firearms course or pack your pantry with a year’s worth of canned goods… if you’re likely to die from diabetes or heart disease?
Despite the shrieking of overweight apologists online about how we need more “body acceptance” and should quit “fat shaming,” being fat isn’t cool. It isn’t attractive. It isn’t healthy. And it isn’t being prepared… unless you’re preparing yourself for a long, long fast.
(I’ve beard that excuse many times, in fact. “I’m just hanging on to some extra calories right here,” a joker will say, patting his gut, “I’m ready for whatever happens!”)
Here’s the problem: lots of Americans are fat. It’s gotten so common to see bulging bellies and floppy arms that we may have forgotten what people are supposed to look like.
Some of the blame can be laid at the feet of our government. The modern food pyramid is a joke. Eat according to that model and you’ll slowly gain weight.
Because a grain-based diet isn’t a healthy diet. It’s a fat-producing diet.
How do I know?
Because I used to “eat healthy” and I was carrying too much weight. I was slowly gaining pounds and couldn’t figure out why. My diet contained salads, low-fat yogurt, fruits and vegetables and plenty of whole grains. I ate some pizza, sure. And had some beer and corn chips… but it wasn’t a daily thing.
Slowly I gained weight, and had regular heartburn and joint pain.
I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I was told I needed to go to the doctor and get a prescription for my “acid reflux,” since I had bad heartburn on a daily basis.
I was convinced it must be something in my diet, so I decided to eliminate various items I had heard were heartburn-inducing.
First I quit beer.
Then I quit coffee.
No effect (other than a few days of headaches).
Then I quit spicy food.
I was perplexed. What was going on?
One morning, I got my answer.
It was a typical morning breakfast. A couple of eggs and toast. As I was absentmindedly eating my second slice of toast, I started to get heartburn.
I looked at the toast in surprise.
Toast? Giving me heartburn? Seriously?
I got online and started searching. Turns out wheat is one of the most acid-forming things we eat. And that’s not all! It’s also one of the most fat-producing carbohydrates you can consume. Some studies even show it to be more fattening than pure white sugar!
The site I discovered when I first did my search on toast was this one. Mark’s Daily Apple, run by Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint.
The dietary ideas on that site shocked me. It approved of saturated fat… and disapproved of whole grains. Red meat was okay but not beans. However, Mark did have a love of vegetables that was in line with conventional wisdom.
I decided to try the diet and see if my heartburn went away.
Breakfast consisted of eggs and bacon or some other meat, usually with greens. Lunches varied from salads to full-fat yogurt and nuts, dinners were meat and lots of vegetables.
No grains, no beans, no potatoes, no sugar, no corn, canola or soybean oil.
Within a day my heartburn was gone. In about a month, my joint pain was gone. Within two months I had lost thirty pounds.
And the thing was… I wasn’t hungry.
Sure, quitting bread was tough. It took me a week or two to lose the craving for wheat. Not having corn chips was even harder.
But I felt… great! I was back to a lean and healthy weight in a record amount of time.
Not only that, I was eating richly. Sweet potatoes and steak, asparagus, shellfish, butter, greens, coconut oil, dark chocolate, red wine…
Crazy. I was eating more fat than I had previously… and had lost lots of weight. This manner of eating is modeled after hunter-gatherer societies and is usually referred to as a “Paleo” diet, short for “Paleolithic.”
Somehow we’ve gotten mixed up as Americans. When you think about grain, you think about healthy living. Amber waves and all that.
You don’t think about health problems and a gut. Yet studies and archeology (and lots of personal experiences) have shown that our factory-farming heavy agricultural gain-based diet is making us sick.
Think about it: it’s been estimated that Americans eat an average of 180lbs of wheat per year. If you’ve tried growing and processing grain, you know what a pain it is. It’s also estimated that Americans consume 1540lbs of corn per person.
Obviously, that’s a silly number on its face since there’s no way we’re directly eating 4.22lbs of corn per day (unless we’re on the Cheetos Diet): the number is based on the corn-fed animal products we consume as well. However, we do eat a lot of corn since it’s added to most of our processed food in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, corn oil, modified corn starch, etc.
We also eat a decent amount of oats… and don’t forget the rice!
These grains are made cheap by subsidies and mechanized agriculture. The average human was never been able to eat this many grains… until recently.
If you ever try to grow your and thresh your own grain, the pain of the process becomes readily apparent.
And if you live on a high-grain diet, the pain becomes directly apparent. Between the skyrocketing rates of gluten intolerance and obesity, it ought to be apparent by now that the grain-heavy USDA Food Pyramid was a bad idea.
Try quitting grains for a while and see what happens. I have multiple friends that dropped weight and gained health rapidly after making the switch to more of a hunter-forager diet. Roots, vegetables, meat, fat… these sustain you quite well without the negative health effects of grain.
Do you normally reach for the corn chips? Have some almonds instead.
Eat cereal every morning? Have some scrambled eggs instead.
A meal of ground beef, spinach and a sweet potato is filling and nutritious… and you’ll lose weight eating that way. Just cut out bread for a while. You won’t starve – and the benefits are rapidly being realized by a larger and larger (or should I say “thinner and thinner”) swath of the population.
I’ve been eating paleo for over three years now and I’ll never go back to my previous draggy and puffy condition. There’s nothing like feeling healthy to keep you from falling back into standard eating patterns.
Go ahead… look up more research and give it a try. You’ll be impressed. And you’ll lose weight without starving.