Monday, October 17, 2005

Thanks Atkins

I tried the low-carb diet a few months ago for the second time. Again no results. I was fine with the changes - didn't necessarily miss the carbs and sweets, but after three weeks, I had lost three pounds. Not exactly the results you want to see when everyone else you know who has done this diet loses 10 pounds the first week and keeps losing.

So I decided Atkins wasn't for me. My body didn't respond to it. I thought maybe there was another diet out there that would be better suited to my body. I started checking out books from the library and voraciously consuming no fad, raw food, and perfect fit diets. And I always came back hungry. So often they offer some seriously good advise along with quackery, guesswork, and intuition.

I'm currently working through The Second Brain, Sugar Blues, and the Food Doctor. I read the Elimination Diet book today and will be starting it probably this week. (More details on that later).

None of these books can tell me what I really want to know though. I want to know what my body needs. I want to know how much calcium I need, how much vitamin C, omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber. I want to know how monthly fluctuations in my hormones affect my needs. And, honestly, I don't believe what the "experts" say about these needs anymore. They can't know what MY body needs. They can, at best, guess based on norms and averages. We won't talk about what they do at worst.

In a rare moment recently when I was undistracted, I had a breakthrough - there is only one person who can possibly know what my body needs. My body. The cells of my body are organic and living, and like all other living organisms, do exactly what they were designed to do, for better or worse. If I listen to my body, I believe I can understand what I need and what I need to avoid.

A few years ago, I ate sushi at least once a week for a year. One day, about 6 months after not eating sushi for a long time, I had craving for salmon that was so powerful, I literally believed if I did not eat salmon, I might die. I could only think of salmon for days, until I satiated the craving. Now, I totally believe I was deficient in omega fatty acids, something I had previously been consuming a lot of because of the sushi. My body made it clear that it needed something.

I am going to go on the Elimination Diet as an introduction to this kind of food/body awareness. I know that at this stage, I can probably only recognize gross reactions - like cravings that make me think that I might not survive the lack. I want to work through those, learning in the process which foods I need to take a break from (I don't believe that there are very many foods that a normal, healthy person needs to eliminate forever) with the goal of becoming sensitive enough to recognize fine reactions.

My mind is on my body.