The past few days I have not been particularly vigilant in my record-keeping – I just haven’t felt like it, so I can’t provide even rough numbers on calorie counts or proportions of fat, protein, and carbs.
I can say I have been following my diet: mostly fat, some protein, and little in the way of carbs. I have also eaten what feels to be a lot: I walk away from the table more than full thinking I ate too much – but the scale still trends downward – at the moment I am 204.
My older daughter has come to enjoy my olive oil mayonnaise: “Daddy, that mayonnaise you make is really good.” She – like my wife – are not ones to throw complements haphazardly. Usually, she would say nothing, or perhaps utter a Spock-like: “Ummm.”
I have avoided the pizza and the donuts. The ice cream and the blueberry cornbread. I did have the cream spooned off the top of the unhomognized milk we’ve gotten as of late and had at least a half-dozen tablespoons of the stuff with some blueberries – what a flavorful dish.
There has only been the occasional vegetable – not that I have anything against them – I’m just experimenting with their necessity (perhaps to my peril, I know that).
What I have concluded this week was just how freaking FUN a low carb diet with enough variety can be. Steaks, burgers with cheese, chicken thigh meat wrapped in salami, cream skimmed from fresh milk with blueberries, blocks of raw milk cheese slathered with home-made olive oil mayonnaise – can any other diet claim such delightful decadence?
We are designed to eat. Our gut has so many neurons to control operations and uses the vast majority of the ‘brain chemical’ serotonin in the body. This is why anti-depressants cause so much stomach trouble. One researcher wrote a book called The Second Brain that details just how sophisticated this mass of neurons in our gut are.
As our ability to eat and digest evolved way before our ability to think, we can be thought of as tubes – worms of pure digestion that evolved a neuronal swelling at one end at the gut-brain’s behest to discover more clever ways to find food.
Perhaps our gut is the real boss, and puts up with its flighty servant perched atop our bodies encased in bone and it’s tendency to waste time on poetry and art and Reality TV.
As long as that cranial swelling does it’s job to feed the boss, the gut doesn’t care about all this ‘consciousness nonsense’.
Think of it: all that we hold dear in our humanness is a sideshow to our animal desire to obtain food.
And – at least for me – low carb seems to provide a rich and varied diet that I intensely enjoy and that seems to work well for me. I might not be the prefect human specimen but, at least up until this point, my body and mind seem to thrive quite nicely as an almost pure carnivore.
My diet foods are counterintuitive and almost seem morally wrong. This came out in a conversation with my wife. She was lamenting about eating a doughnut earlier that made her feel bloated.
“I’d have to run 4 hours to burn that thing off.” She said.
“You know, that whole ‘calorie-to-exercise’ notion is not quite as cut-and-dry as you are led to believe.” I said, munching on pork rinds slathered with some salted butter. “How can I eat like this, be healthy, and not exercise – and lose weight?”
She pulled the standard dismissal used by everyone who believes low carb to be dangerous: “Don’t congratulate yourself too soon about your health.” She warned.
“Oh – the ‘heart attack’ defense.” I said. “This is a standard response at this point in most conversations about low carb, but you are avoiding my question. I asked you how I can eat like this and not exercise and you respond with ‘the diet is going to kill me’. Let’s put that aside for a moment and go back to the question: if I eat like this and don’t exercise, how can the ‘calorie is a calorie is a calorie’ theory work? How can exercise be a non-negotiable necessity to losing weight if I lose weight without it?”
“I have a theory about that.” She said. “Do you want to hear it?”
“Yes.” I said, quite interested in what she was going to say.
“I think your ancestors ate a lot of grain. Your body knows how to absorb grain, but it doesn’t know what to do with all the meat and fat so a lot of it passes through you.”
I was impressed: it’s not a bad explanation. I still don’t know why low carb works at all to any degree of certainty, and I don’t know why it seems to work well for me and not so well for others.
While her explanation might be completely wrong, it isn’t entirely outlandish.