We are fed by a food industry that pays no attention to health, and treated by a health industry that pays no attention to food.
— Wendell Berry
From February to June of 2013 I felt like shit.
I had always been in good health — a runner for 20 years, I had completed a marathon, a half marathon, many 5k and 10k races, and logged thousands of miles of solo running. I weighed 175 pounds so weight was not a problem. But at 50 years of age I lacked energy, I was having a little trouble breathing, and I just felt sick.
I went to my doctor and he referred me to a cardiologist for a stress test to see if my heart was healthy. The cardio doc wired me up and put me on a treadmill to run for several minutes. I ran well and the test did not reveal any heart problems, which is what I expected. After that I saw an endocrinologist, an allergist, a pulmonary doc to check my lungs, and another general practitioner. I saw six doctors, they all did their tests, and found no problems. And not one of them ever said anything about food.
Then a friend of ours asked me if I had ever tried the paleo diet. I had heard of paleo but didn’t know anything about it, so I started doing some research. Paleo is basically a very low carbohydrate diet with more saturated fat, much like our ancestors would have eaten for hundreds of thousands of years. No processed foods or refined carbs, and very little sugar of any kind. I discovered that many people were reporting various health improvements on this diet — including lower blood pressure, weight loss, increased energy, and better cholesterol profiles. So I decided to give it a try.
My wife and I started the diet on Saturday, June 29, and the plan was basically this:
- No sugar
- No starches (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, cereal)
- No grains or anything made with wheat flour
- More low carb vegetables and green salads
- More fat (butter, olive oil, coconut oil, animal fats)
We ate eggs, bacon, steak, butter, pork, chicken, fish, “bullet-proof coffee” (with butter and coconut oil), salads, nuts, cheese, olive oil, berries, veggies — four days later, on Wednesday, I felt good, better than I had in months. I no longer felt sick but the breathing issue was still there. Within about two weeks I felt fantastic — breathing was normal, my energy was off the charts, and I just felt great in every way. Within another few weeks I dropped ten pounds of remaining belly fat, bringing my weight down to what it was in high school.
A simple change in what I ate made an enormous difference for me. So why didn’t any of those six doctors mention diet as an option? Aren’t they supposed to know something about nutrition?
It was obvious that I had to take my health into my own hands. I went to my doctor’s office, got copies of all my medical records, and found a functional medicine MD that does things differently.
Since then I have been on a low carb / high fat (ketogenic) diet, and I feel great. My weight has remained stable at about 165 pounds, my blood work is excellent, and my energy levels are consistently good. My current doctor is completely on board with the keto diet and encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing.
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Note/disclaimer/caveat: I am not a doctor or a dietician, and I am not selling anything. The information on this site is based on my own research, personal experience, and the efforts of many talented others who are working to educate people and reform nutritional policy.