My previous post about Dr Wolfgang Lutz and his low carb diet advice, has drawn a lot of response. Some people have told me how switching to a low carb diet has transformed their life. Others have shared their struggles with trying to go lower carb, but not knowing how far to reduce carbs and also being afraid to eat more fat.
Waking at night with hypoglycemia symptoms seems to be a common problem, which people have been asking my advice about. Others are experiencing blood sugar crashes between meals.
So, the subject of this post is to try to answer the ultimate question: “Please tell me what I should eat.”
And the answer, I’m sorry to say, is I can’t. Nor can anyone else tell what you what you should eat.
There are general principles, of course. But when it comes to the type of foods and the quantities you should eat, and in what proportions of protein, carbs and fat – no one can tell you the answer to that.
Only YOU know what you should eat!
People have been studying the science of nutrition for more than 5000 years. Don’t you think by now, someone would have come up with the perfect diet?
But in fact, today there,s more confusion than ever before about what to eat! If you go online, you can take your pick of diet gurus to follow. There’s a whole range of vegan diet plans, whole food plant based diets, low fat diets galore. And at the other extreme, there’s various low carb diet plans, keto (several forms) and carnivore if you want to be really extreme.
And then there’s a multitude of different diet plans such as auto-immune paleo, specific carbohydrate diet, the adrenal reset diet, various diets to treat thyroid conditions, the Ray Peat diet. And on it goes. A new diet is coming out almost every week.
So, which diet train should YOU jump on to?
None of them. You need to listen to your own body and discover for yourself the best foods, and the best quantities, that work for you. There’s no other way.
Only when you grasp this, will you truly be on the path to long term health.
How I discovered intuitive eating
I developed chronic fatigue syndrome in 1977. I spent more than three years going from doctor to doctor, a multitude of alternative health practitioners and read hundreds of books on diet and health.
For three years I cut out all gluten, dairy, eggs, citrus fruits, nightshades etc. On this strict diet my health gradually fell apart until at the age of 25, I was a physical wreck – skin and bone – and close to death. I went home to my parents’s home and collapsed into bed – at the end of myself.
Then I had a revelation. In the stillness, I heard the voice of my intuition (I call it the voice of God, for those who are open minded, but otherwise let’s call it intuition).
Most of us rarely hear this voice, because we are so busy researching information on the internet or Youtube, or just being busy about our lives, we never stop to listen to the inner voice.
At rock bottom, my intuition told me to eat three balanced meals a day, of the foods that I enjoyed, in moderation. And no snacks (I had been in the habit of grazing all day long because my blood sugar was all over the place). And to throw out all my diet books!
I started down this path and within a few months I had recovered my health to an astonishing degree. Everybody who knew me was amazed.
It wasn’t all plain sailing at first. There was some initial fear to overcome, as I began to consume dairy products, wheat and other foods. But gradually these fears disappeared as I realised I didn’t suffer any ill effects from consuming wholegrain bread and butter, or drinking a glass of milk.
In terms of what to eat, and how much, somehow I just knew. With all the rules and restrictions gone, I was free to listen to my body.
Why intuitive eating is so hard for most people
We live in a world where we are taught to follow authority figures. Many people never grow out of this. So when it comes to the subject of diet and health, we look to gurus to tell us what to eat.
I’m not saying we should disregard the advice of genuine experts. Read diet books and watch Youtube videos to get information. Experiment with different diets. Most people have to do this initially. Some people have to get to rock bottom (like me) before they get the message that no diet guru has the complete answer. You have to figure it out for yourself.
For example, just to take take one of the emails I received this week, from someone who is trying to follow a low carb diet but is experiencing blood sugar crashes between meals. What should she do?
She is terrified to eat more carbs, because that would take her over the limit of what she is “allowed” on this particular diet plan. And she is also afraid to eat more fat, due to being a bit overweight already.
She eats a “protein snack” between meals to avert blood sugar crashes. But it doesn’t work very well.
The answer, it seems to me, is to eat more carbohydrate and more fat at meals, to provide enough energy to avoid a blood sugar crash. If she could get free from the restrictions of what she “should” and “shouldn’t” eat, and tune in to her hunger and intuition, she could be set free and on the path to recovery.
Hopefully, she will.
Those who walk alone have the strongest direction
I know many people who are reading this post are suffering from some kind of longstanding health condition – chronic fatigue, hypoglycemia, thyroid or adrenal issues etc. I want to give you some encouragement.
As you already know, you won’t find the answers from your conventional doctor. You might find a bit more help from alternative health practitioners – but even they are limited in most cases.
You have find the answers yourself – by doing your own research and ultimately making sense of that research by listening to your own intuition.
It’s a lonely path. It can seem dark at times. But don’t give up. Your body has an amazing ability to heal itself, if you give it the right food, combined with gentle exercise and rest.
At the end of this lonely road, you will come out stronger.