April's CR Diary

A diary of a 30 year old woman following CRON, or Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, for health and life extension.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Priestess of the High Carb Darkness

I give myself exactly fifteen minutes to write this. After that, no more obsessing re: my Albatross-inspired identity crisis.

So here is a good way to describe the mental shift that I am currently experiencing (Not presently... presently means "soon", currently means "currently." People mis-use that all the time, and I hate it. But the clock is ticking...)

The contents of my bedside table, top to bottom:

-- _The Soy Zone_ by Barry Sears
-- The Zone Albatross, by Michael Rae (it's a print out from Kinkos so it needs the Sears book to be a paperweight)
-- _The Beyond 120 Year Diet_, by Roy Walford
-- a couple of articles that I printed off of Aubrey deGrey's website (thanks, Mr./Dr./Professor deGrey!)
-- __McDougall's Program for Maximum Weight Loss_ by John McDougall
-- __Diet for a New America__ by John Robbins

You see the problem? I read nutrition books for fun, always have, and I like to read them in bed before I go to sleep, so I keep a little collection right there. I also like to re-read the same ones over and over again, until I basically have them memorized. For example, I can pretty much recite Dean Ornish's _Reversing Heart Disease_. (I can also recite "Green Eggs and Ham," but that book offered questionable nutrition advice. I can pretty much recite all three Star Wars movies, too. Stupid talent for memorization, served me well in school.) I first bought the McDougall and the Robbins books back in maybe 1997, and they've spent most of their lives on my bedside table where I can pick then up whenever I want to read something comforting and familliar. (I read the Atkins book too, of course, but it never made it to the bedroom, it has always lived on my living room shelf.) So now right beside my bed I have these two documents that advocate a much higher level of protein and fat than the ones I've been living with for eight years. No wonder I have trouble sleeping!

I was an evangelical high carb low fat girl. I told everyone to treat all oil as poison. When I moved to Philly in October of 2002 and took the job I have now, I began to gradually fall off the low fat vegan wagon, supplementing my low fat diet with dinners of pasta with oil and trips to the Mexican restaurant for nachos, but I always considered this a slip, not an ideological shift. I felt guilty about it, and I didn't feel healthy. But now that I'm starting to consciously up my fat and protein, I am beginning to realize just how much being a low fat person was a part of who I was. Is that weird? Probably not to anyone who is doing CRON. You probably understand how what you eat can become part of your identity. I find it much easier to just cut calories (who can argue with that?) than to actively change the kinds of foods I eat. It wasn't that hard to cut way back on bread, pasta, rice, and beans. But when I reach for the olive oil or think about getting more protein, I feel... I don't know, weird!

And it's not like I just decided out of the blue to do this. I've been reading the list for months, searching the archives, reading other books, and I've decided this is the right thing to do.

I initially learned about CR from a book called _The 10% Solution_, that advocated cutting your dietary fat to 10% of total calories. I read that in 1997, and I thought at the time that eventually I would take up CR. But it wasn't until this November when I realized just how much I wanted to do with my life and just how long that might take that I began researching CR in earnest. Then I discovered the list, and I guess I expected to find a whole lot of low fat vegans. But no, there was all this hellfire and brimstone railing against low fat diets! One of the first threads I really followed was called "My Very Low Fat Diet Disaster." I kept trying to click on the Albatross, but first the archives were down and then the link was broken. Assuming I was doing something wrong, I just waited, until finally some prodding from a CR practitioner who follows a Zone-like diet got me thinking that I had to investigate this for real. So I emailed the webmaster (in a failed attempt to avoid bothering Michael Rae himself, who no doubt has more important things to do than worry about whether or not I am getting enough protein) and got the document and now I am obsessed by the search for a protein source that works for me. And the struggle to EAT FAT.

It's a good thing I have this blog. It may be a narcissistic exercise in self-indulgence, but it keeps my innocent family and friends from having to hear about the quest for the right macronutrients.

And besides, those of us who write narrative, chronological, somewhat easy to read accounts of what happened in the early days of CR (like the first hundred years or so), even if we disagree and get it wrong and incorrectly quote or misinterpret the original prophet(s), will be the ones whose accounts people read two thousand years from now.

But there I go with my delusions of grandeur again. Maybe I just like to hear myself type.


  • At 1:20 AM, Blogger Willie said…

    Throw all those books far away. Don't let your mind get confused.

    A really pretty way of seeing it is by reading the Autio's books: "The Digital Mantrap" and "Confessions of the human Genome". Both two are not very much known, but I can sure you that if you read them you finally will understand what you are and how you can improve your body's life. I gave all my books once I got these two and read them! (And this is not a joke!)

    What I mean is that don't read about diets, but about how body works. Don't waste your money in nutrition books, but in science, biology or phisiology ones. And if you have enough level, go for the biochemistry titles!

    That's the only way, and you will reach peacefulness, control of your decisions, knowledge, and a profund insight about life and its overhelming mechanisms.

  • At 3:50 AM, Blogger Willie said…

    I forgot to say that you can read how I could go from a vegan diet to a CR sound one; I was in the FatFree wagon too, and could tell you not very beautiful stories about how I was almost killed by that approach. You can find information by reading my posts at http://croning.blogspot.com and juzge by yourself.

    Again, I love reading you. A fresh speech full of life.


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