Look around you in the “health” industry and you will find that dietary dogma abounds. Some say, “Eat more carbohydrates”. Others say, “Eat more meat” or perhaps, “Eat more high quality fat”. An ordinary health seeker may find herself confused, at best, or engaging in dangerous practices, at worst.
Why all the confusion and contradiction? Can’t these “experts” figure this stuff out? The answer is that the experts will not figure it out until they incorporate into their research the premise of “biochemical individuality” (which is a fancy way of saying, “we are all unique”). Although biochemical individuality is a recognized scientific fact almost every book out there on diet completely, and astonishingly, ignores its existence!
The Concept of Bioindividuality
The concept of biochemical individuality recognizes that we have more in common than not, BUT that we do have significant differences. If you doubt this, look in the mirror, and then look at someone else (hopefully not your identical twin). Just as we are different on the outside, we are different on the inside.
Roger Williams discusses this concept beautifully in his book, Biochemical Individuality. I highly recommend this book because it shows the reader such interesting observations such as the shape, size, and position of the liver in a group of subjects and how it varies much more than it stays the same. This means that there is no typical size or shape or location for the liver in the group of subjects. Ponder that for a moment. And Williams reports on many other such studies that show that we are not all the same as is presumed by those advocating specific types of diets.
Diets, Diets Everywhere!
So this is why so many diets that are touted as the answer to everyone’s problems don’t work for everyone. Have you ever met someone who did really well eating Paleo and another who desperately needed more grain based carbs? This is because we all have unique needs. What works for one may not work for another.
Dr. Weston A. Price illustrated this fact over and over again in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. As Price traveled the globe in the 1930’s he carefully noted what 14 very different indigenous groups were eating and he observed nearly perfect health in all of them.
What is striking about Price’s findings is that each indigenous group ate very different locally sourced foods and yet they all exhibited superb health including virtually no tooth decay. Some people, such as the Eskimos, ate diets with a very high fat content. While others, such as the Peruvians, ate diets high in carbohydrates. The common denominator between the groups is that they all valued one or more “sacred foods” that were all animal based and very high in true Vitamin A, D, and K2.
The critical observations and research from Dr. Price alone negate all claims that there is one ideal way of eating for all humans.
Stop the Diet Madness!
So, I say, let’s stop arguing about which diet is the perfect diet and start recognizing that it simply does not exist. And the answer to, “Well what should I eat then?” is, “Eat what makes you feel good!”
This is a pretty easy concept to master. Start with the knowledge that the ideal macronutrient (protein/fat/carbohydrates) ratio varies from person to person. There are some patterns, and generally people can be grouped into three categories: high protein and/or fat, high carbohydrates, and relatively equal amounts of all three.
So pay attention to your macronutrients and see how you feel. Do you need more carbohydrates? Or do you need more protein? Or perhaps you feel best when you have about equal amounts of the three.
The beauty of this method of eating is that when you have your macronutrient ratio figured out, you don’t have to worry about your micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). This is because they come along for the ride. For example, people who tend to have a higher need for protein, also tend to have a higher need for vitamins B12 and A and iron and zinc. And lo and behold, meat is rich in all of those things!
So, pay attention to your macronutrients and you will begin to see which way of eating is right for you. When engaging in this practice (or any way of eating) it is absolutely essential that you observe your body! You are the only person who can tell if something is working or not. Your body is telling you and it will often speak in ALL CAPS.
Don’t ignore it! Respect and listen to the signals from your body and you can’t go wrong.
There are 6 points that I recommend people look out for to identify if what they are eating is right for them:
- Hunger: 4-6 hours without hunger after every meal
- Cravings: Should be non-existent
- Mood: Should be calm, even-keeled, and positive
- Energy: Should be abundant all day long, yet calm (even without coffee or naps)
- Mental Clarity: Should be clear and focused
- Gastrointestinal Function: Free of discomfort and pain and have normal, regular bowel movements
Doesn’t this idea make you feel great?
Imagine the possibilities!
No longer do you have to engage in habits that make you feel bad in the name of “healthy” eating! You are the one that determines what you eat. You are the one in control. And ultimately that is what being healthy is all about; recognizing the power you have to control your own health and becoming independently healthy!
Jill Cruz is a certified nutrition specialist with an M.S. in human nutrition. In 2008 she discovered the work of Weston A. Price and the power of using food as medicine, which sparked a passion for a new career in health and nutrition and for improving her and her family’s health. She has worked in the Hudson Valley Functional Medicine practice since 2011. Jill believes that for people to reach their full health potential, they must acquire the skill of listening to and respecting their bodies and use their knowledge to take their health into their own hands. Jill works with a wide variety of conditions and specializes in healing diets such as the ketogenic diet, the Patricia Kane membrane stabilizing diet and the SIBO diet. Her recommendations vary based on the individual’s unique needs, circumstances, likes and dislikes, genetic predispositions and financial and lifestyle requirements.