The Un-Diet – How I Lost Twenty Years of Aging and More than a Few Pounds

by mjtaylor on January 8, 2015

When I shared my latest ‘weight loss’ success … a drop of 5 pounds over the holidays … some of my friends asked me to share how I eat. So, here goes.

Eating in a healthful way has been a slow process for me. I have gradually eaten fewer processed foods, and made my choices organic where possible. I didn’t adopt an anti-inflammatory regimen in order to fix my aches and pains; I did it to lose weight.  When, after two months, I had not only started to lose weight but had lost years of ‘aging,’ I realized I had found a new way to eat for the rest of my life.

I can and do eat anything on the Almost Never List but I do it very rarely.

There are other important pieces to this journey for me; it started with my walking 10,000 steps a day in May of 2013. I got a Fitbit and started walking – at first, the weight came off without my consciously changing what or how much I ate. I was naturally eating less – the exercise, I guess, —  and I was also learning to ask my body what it wanted to eat. I didn’t always listen, but at least I was asking, I told it. Little by little I took more of its advice. But it never felt as though I was restricting what I put in my mouth.

I lost about 30 pounds that summer, and felt jubilant!  My feet still hurt so much that at night answering nature’s multiple calls was, well, I was thinking that I should get a bed pan … and I was so stiff that I often had to stand still for 15 or more seconds before I could walk when I had been sitting for more than a few minutes. I thought the weight loss would help with my feet and stiffness, but nothing had changed.

During the winter and spring in Key West, I continued to walk 10k steps a day, and I continued to eat as I had been. Five or so pounds crept back on … when I got back to Asheville last May, I realized that without the hills, my Key West walks were not as potent as the “30 or so stairs” my Fitbit registered on my daily walks in Asheville.  To take off those ‘creeper pounds’ and to keep going in the ‘losing’ direction, I decided to change the foods I eat.

Simply put I cut out all refined sugar, and ALL grains. Even whole grains were not on my list. I went all organic and I cut out ALL processed foods.  I cut out most dairy (at first the only dairy I ate was butter made from pasture fed cows – a few months later, I added kefir to my diet for its healthful probiotics. And I occasionally buy raw cheese, and organic yoghurt.)

I eat fresh, organic fruits and vegetables – all I want – even of dried fruits, which some people don’t recommend, but since I continue to lose weight, and I continue to ask my body what it wants, I know this is working for me.  I have also gradually become aware of when I am full. I can’t remember the last time I felt “stuffed” or “wished I hadn’t eaten that,” but it’s something that developed, not something I decided to do.

organic fruits and veggies

I Eat All I Want of Fresh Organic Produce!

Protein:  I eat healthy, organic or wild caught, anti-biotic-free and hormone free meats – with the exception of pork.  I don’t eat shelffish very often, either, as they, like pork, are ‘bottom, filter feeders’ and that’s not what I am after.  I eat LOTS of organic eggs … as many as two a day.

Wild caught salmon

Wild Caught Salmon is Full of Important Omega 3s

I eat raw nuts – almonds, walnuts, brazils, and for a treat, cashews.  These nuts are a good source of omega 3s fats … but I never touch nuts that have been roasted.

Other healthy fats are coconut oil (very good for many reasons), olive oil, avocados, and pasture fed butter … and now, bone broth, a recent addition to my diet.

avocado
An delicious source of “healthy fats!”

I eat a lot of kale, which I have grown to adore – I buy a head or two a week, I cut it off the stems and I massage the kale with olive or coconut oil, salt and sometimes garlic. Now it’s ready to sauté or make into a salad. The massage breaks down the protein and removes the bitterness.

After two months on this ‘anti-inflammatory regimen, there was a miraculous change … not only had I lost those pesky 5 pounds and a few more, but I had lost the aches and pains and stiffness that made me fear that I would be frozen long before I was dead. My body, which at 60 had seemed 70-something at times, now felt closer to 49 than my 61 years!

Below is my Yes, List and My Almost Never List .. I do eat everything I desire Once in a While … but I tend to make ‘sweet dairy’ choices rather than grain choices. I do eat sprouted grain cereal once in a while (Ezekiel) but I am convinced that sprouted grains are different than others. And I did find that when I ate grains for a few days this Christmas (at CDH where there were no other options at times) that my feet reminded me in the middle of the night. The pain was nothing compared to what it was a year ago, but it was enough to tell me that *my* body does NOT want refined grains.

The Yes! List
The Almost Never List
Organic Fruits
Fruit Juice*
Organic Vegetables except the
nightshades
The Nightshades: potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and
peppers
Cold water, wild caught fish especially
salmon and tuna
Shellfish – shrimp, carb, lobster
Local fresh caught fish
Organic beef, chicken, other fowl,
and lamb
Pork
Raw nuts – walnuts, almonds,
brazil nuts and sometimes cashews
Peanuts
Fresh, organic eggs
Healthy Fats: coconut, olive,
avocados, pasture fed butter
Trans fats, canola, etc.*
Quinoa
Grains of any sort, including “whole” grains.
Kefir, yoghurt (organic, of course,
plain unsweetened
raw, organic cheddar cheese
Maple Syrup, local honey
All refined sugar
Stevia
artificial sweeteners*
Almond milk
Milk, cream, half and half
Processed Foods*
Legumes, sparingly: lentils, chickpeas,
homemade hummus, etc.
Dark Chocolate 70% (I found a
brand, Lily’s, that uses Stevia to sweeten, though it is only 55%.)

*should possibly be on a Never Never Never List.

I want to discourage people from reading the lists and saying, oh, I can’t eat like that. It was a process for me. By the time I made the more drastic changes, I was already eating treats less often, and following the easy ideas here – sticking to healthy fats, for example.  I made a choice, thanks to Marney Brown of Good Food Conspiracy  on Big Pine Key to choose organics back in 2006, I had learned about Intuitive Eating from Jolaine Jones-Pokorney in 2009. I started eating more raw foods and making organics a priority when all the amazing food became available at Help Yourself in Key West. I learned to ask my body what it wants through Dr. Dain Heer of Access Consciousness (Watch the video http://bit.ly/188yQHF) … it was a process;  I didn’t read one book – though I believe the Paleo Diet is close to what I worked out for myself – but I believe the reason it works so well for me is because there is not a NEVER, and because it’s all my way. Like the pillow I got today – it’s about “Be You-Tiful.”

By the way, I do NOT restrict my fat intake – fat is not only extremely satisfying, it is critical to the absorption of many of the nutrients we need. Some nutritionists I follow suggest that we should be getting one third of our calories from healthy fats …

I have more to share … but if you know me, you know I am all mouth and hair and can’t stop myself! More another day, though … perhaps about bone broth, my latest addition to life!

 

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