Food Freedom Friday Edition 120 - Stages of Grief

What makes a low carbohydrate, whole food-based, nutrient density emphasized way of eating different than the diets you might have tried in the past?

One word to sum it up would be SATIETY. And satiety leads to sustainability. I would also need to give acknowledgement to metabolic, hormonal and immunological healing that will commence and the weight loss which also happens to be a pleasant side effect.

Much like the '5 Stages of Grief' compiled by Kübler-Ross, you will most likely go through some predictable emotional stages on your voyage of nutritional discovery:

5 Stages Of Nutritional Enlightenment

Stage One - Information Overload

You will likely become overwhelmed by discovering the falsity of so many nutritional myths that you may have once believed to be true. These might include (but are definitely not limited to:

·       It’s not all about calories in and calories out

·       Eating fat doesn’t make you fat

·       Saturated fat does not cause heart disease

·       Cholesterol is essential for health

·       LDL is not an accurate measure of disease

·       Salt is essential and not to be feared

·       Insulin resistance is the root cause of obesity

·       Exercise is not essential for weight loss

·       3 meals per day is unnecessary

·       It’s more about hormones than “willpower”

·       There are no essential carbohydrates

·       Hidden sugars are everywhere

·       Grains are not “heart healthy”

… and that’s just the tip of the myth-buster iceberg!

Stage Two – Denial & Anger 

This is when you begin questioning how this could have happened. You will wonder how the ‘powers that be’ got it all so wrong, and for so long. As you learn about all of the many missteps, the bad science, the corporate and governmental influence, you will most likely become incensed that so many populations have fallen prey to this overwhelming amount of misinformation. You will reflect and think of friends and loved ones whose health and mortality could have been affected.

This is a time to step cautiously and be very careful. Your new passion for nutritional truth can easily be misunderstood by friends and family members and viewed as judgement and finger pointing. Though you have discovered evidence that could be considered conspiratorial, be mindful that your newly ignited enthusians can be misconstrued as paranoia. No one will truly listen to you if they think you are some kind of half-baked conspiracy theorist.

Stage Three – Evangelical

At this point you might have lost a noticeable amount of weight. You are likely feeling better than you have in years, and people are beginning to take notice. You might often be questioned about how you did it. You answer with enthusiasm and detail, in fact, you happily share your story with anyone who will listen. You share books with friends and stories, articles and pictures on social media. You seek out opportunities to help others discover the same revelations that you have. If you are anything like me, you even become efficient in arguing your point. You find yourself practicing your real food/low carbohydrate elevator pitch when you are alone in the car, revisiting the last conversation you had, and how you could have made it more convincing.

In a single word, you’re obsessed!

Stage Four – Frustration

I am sure you, as do I, have friends and loved ones that could benefit from what we now know and have learned. Observing them feed their disease can be most frustrating. You want to help them, simply because you care. But often times your pleas will fall on deaf ears for a multitude of reasons.

Mark Twain once said that ‘it’s easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled.’ People simply do not take kindly to being told that they are wrong about anything, especially something as important as their own health and wellness. Sometimes the stronghold of conventional wis-dumb is just too strong, the hold too tight. This is especially so for those who are set in their ways.

Often times the very thought of skipping a meal, or not eating bread, or sugar is simply unfathomable. Sugars and grains are most certainly addictive, and addictions can be hard to overcome. When you do not believe or have no understanding (or willingness to comprehend) that your addiction is even an addiction in the first place, the challenge is even greater. If they refuse to believe that their diet is the root cause of their illness, they will unlikely be motivated to change it.

You might find your own family to be the source of much of your frustration. Saying no to foods and treats that were once familial staples can often rub family members the wrong way. There is much truth to the adage ‘we mock what we fail to understand.’ Your new way of eating will be quite confusing and seem counterintuitive to those who do not care enough to listen to your explanations or do their own research.

Stage Five – Acceptance 

At this point you have probably settled-in to the realization that this new way of eating will be a fixture in your life for the rest of your days. You have now come to terms with, and have accepted the unfortunate reality that not everyone in your life cares to learn about your new lifestyle. You may even adopt a policy of only talking about it if asked and even then, it is to answer the question only, no elaboration necessary. You can only hope that if you continue to lead by example, opportunities to share will inevitably come.

It is also important to accept the fact this new lifestyle that you have chosen will require you to continue to learn. New insights into optimal health are discovered constantly and continuously. Stay thirsty for knowledge, because nutritional research science never relents. It is unlikely that you will ever come to a point in which you feel that you know everything you need to and that’s okay, that is even perfect. It will keep your mind open to new ideas. It is important that we in this ‘unconventional’ nutritional community not fall prey to the same dogmatic thought processes that we accuse the mainstream medical community of.

As cliché as this may sound, this new way of eating, this new way of life, that you have chosen is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. It is sustainable and does not have an end-date that coincides with a predetermined goal weight. Sustaining physiological, metabolic and immunological health is a process that never ends, therefore it is imperative that you acquire at least a broad-strokes understanding of the science before you begin. Besides, understanding the ‘why’ will facilitate ease in making proper food choices now and well into your health filled future.

Michal Ofer