Are you eating enough omega 3 fatty acids? Making sure to sprout and ferment all your grains? You only use sea salt right? Grassfed or grainfed? Do you know the antioxidant score of your chocolate? Surely you’re making an effort to get more fat soluble vitamins. Have you tried supplementing with glutathione? One tablespoon of cod liver oil per day or two? Virgin or expeller pressed coconut oil? Hope you’re not using a centrifugal juicer – kills the enzymes you know. Are you avoiding sugar, starch, or both? Certainly you’re not daring to consume a dairy product that has been, dare I say, HEATED!!!
When I spoke at the 2011 Wise Traditions Conference, I likened all of these things to fighting a forest fire with an eye dropper. It’s not that these things don’t have validity. They do. But there is such a tidal wave of health information, most of it being promoted with a religious fervor (Cacaolellujah?), that people are drowning in minutiae and completely oblivious to what really matters when it comes to significantly improving and preserving their health.
Two phrases I repeat frequently are:
- It’s not what you eat, it’s what your body does with what you eat.
- Most people focus too much on what they are eating, and too little on how their body works.
Let me explain…
Let’s say you urinate 20 times per day, it’s crystal clear every time, and you are suffering from a number of problems that typically coincide with frequent urination – such as headaches, low energy, freezing cold hands and feet, anxiety and/or irritability, insomnia (particularly between 2-4am), poor libido, heart palpitations, coordination problems, and so forth. This may sound foreign to someone who doesn’t fit this profile, but you would be surprised at just how many people feel they are getting a psychic reading when they hear me list off those conditions.
These are some of the symptoms of having low grade hyponatremia, or low salt levels. This is an extremely destructive condition that impairs the function of just about everything in the body. With low salt levels, hardly anything works correctly. If you suffer from this very prevalent condition (the lower your metabolic rate, the higher your chances of having it because the body wastes salt when metabolic rate is reduced), the top priority from a health perspective is correcting it. The rest is just “details.”
In other words, you can eat the most organic, puritanical, made-from-scratch, chemical-free diet on the planet and not improve any of those conditions. You might even make them worse, especially if someone told you that water was really good for you, that salt and carbs were bad, and that green juices were the key to good health. You don’t have to search very far to find someone singing the high praises of those health ideas.
The irony is that the condition of hyponatremia, while worsened by pure water, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, and carbohydrate restriction, can be fixed quite easily at any fine McDonald’s establishment, assuming, of course, that you get burgers, fries, ice cream, and soft drinks and avoid the salads, smoothies, and sugar-free beverages.
I know this hurts to hear. It might even make you angry that I used the most dreaded of all McWords in the health dictionary. But it is absolutely 100% true. If it challenges your personal dietary religion, imagine how hard it was for me to come to this realization after starting a health website and writing a book vilifying processed junk foods, only to later discover that my perfect adherence to wholesome foods was causing me health problems made better by pizza and fast food. Pretty much had an identity crisis over it while scrambling to figure out why that was.
I’m not saying you have to go eat at McDonald’s to fix your problems. Probably not too smart. All you really need is calorie-dense, highly-digestible food with lots of salt, sugar, starch, and saturated fat and a low water content to improve the condition – and all the conditions that stem from it. You can do this at home with quality, less processed, chemical and additive-free fare. But those food qualities are a distant priority compared to getting what you really need to fix the condition. That’s what I’m saying and the point of this whole article – get your priorities straight.
Some top priorities that should take precedence over the fine details of nutrition are:
- Being able to sleep deeply for 8 or more hours per night, uninterrupted
- Having daily bowel movements that are formed and require little to no straining to expel
- Getting your body temperature to 98.6 degrees F, and hands and feet warm all day
The list goes on. Of course improving your diet and lifestyle habits translate to changes in these and other areas. But I encounter far too many people that are deathly afraid to eat salt that isn’t sea salt, or sugar that is refined, or meat that isn’t grassfed and organic. None of those are prerequisites for achieving dramatic improvements in some of the main areas listed above. Keeping your body working correctly is far more of an asset in long-lasting health, true vitality, and degenerative disease prevention than having blind faith in various dietary philosophies.
While this concept may still seem vague and abstract, hopefully this does get you thinking, and experimenting more freely, unencumbered by fear and the narrow perspectives perpetrated upon you by various health “authorities” out there. Odds are that the very things that make so much sense in your mind are the very practices that are holding you back from reaching substantial health improvement.
Make sense? Want to know more? Start by reading Diet Recovery, and find out how to work with your body to get more energy, better health, and even weight loss. And all without minutiae.
This post is a part of Pennywise Platter, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Weekend Gourmet, Monday Mania, Real Food Wednesday, The Mommy Club, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.