Tell Me What to Eat, Please

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Got the in-laws visiting.  We were sitting around the breakfast table, and of course we had to talk about nutrition.  I didn’t bring it up, I’m sure.  My mother-in-law is doing great on what I’d call a Primal diet.  Grandma is clueless that she’s eating Primally.  I was finishing off my “Best Ever Liver” to the grimaces of both of my in-laws, when it was suddenly recalled that my father-in-law used to always request liver and onions for his birthday.  Until my mother-in-law started cutting cholesterol out of their diet back in the ripping eighties.  Man those were fun times.  Even without liver and onions.

Her (mother-in-law):  “They said cholesterol was BAD for us.  Now I guess they’re telling us it’s GOOD for us.”

I, true to my “can’t-keep-the-lid-on-my-emotions-self”, rocketed out of my chair, blew steam out my ears, and konked my head on the 8 foot ceiling.  Ouch.

I cannot stand splitting.  Black and white thinking.  Cannot stand it.

Me:  “Cholesterol is not good for you.  It is not bad for you.  We need, need, need cholesterol to make our hormones, and so it certainly is not BAD for us.  But neither do I want it isolated in the Nabisco lab, forced into a plastic bag, stuffed into a cardboard box, and sold for me at Wal-Mart to buy and eat up by the spoonful.   Really, it depends on what else you’re eating in your life, like sugar, for example.  It depends on your body type.  It depends on the battles your body has been through.  It depends on a thousand and one variables we don’t understand yet.”

Her:  “Well, I just want one of you guys [implying medical doctors] to tell me how to eat!  I don’t want to have to think about it.”

Oh.  Heavens.  If that’s what I’m up against in this world, and in my own mother-in-law, I really should just shut up.  Yeah.  I should shut up.

Me:  “Nobody can tell you how to eat.  The  absolute best way to eat is to eat a whole foods diet.  REALLY a whole foods diet.  Then, analyze yourself.  Are you left with nagging symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, stomach cramps, headache, dry eyes, dry mouth, sinus problems, skin rashes, excess weight, underweight, abnormal labs your doctor is concerned about, and so on?  If you are, then you need to regroup with that diet you’re eating and take some things out; common troublemakers are things like dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, wheat, and nightshades.  Or in some instances, add something in, like whole grains or animal fats.  That’s the best anyone can tell you how to eat.”

“Eating for you” is a class in the school-of-life that won’t stop.  It’s a constant regrouping.  Reassessment of YOUR machinery.  Not mine.  Not your mom’s.  Not the prototype patient used for the medical guidelines.  YOURS.  Food intolerances will pass, and you will be able to add eggs back in.  Weight will increase and it will be time to limit avocados and nuts.  I am so angry that my profession has lumped all of us into one group and said, “Eat this way.  It is right.”

No matter what, the closest you keep your diet to the way things were produced by that great, magnificent, simple, and complex thing called nature, the closer you will be to health.  (No splitting in that last sentence.)  If you’re lucky, you will be there.  Some of the rest of us will have to tweak here and there and perhaps look a bit beyond food to get there.  But food matters.

So, are you waiting for somebody to tell YOU how to do it?  Would you believe them over listening to symptoms screaming from your own darn body?

Live Studio Audience, thank you for reading.


Posts in the draft bin:  Same as yesterday–short chain fatty acids and pigeon-holed physicians

14 thoughts on “Tell Me What to Eat, Please

  1. Valerie

    While I think it would be lovely if we could all have the same needs and “you” doctors 😉 could tell us what to eat, that isn’t reasonable or much fun! We all have personal preferences, religious convictions, dietary needs, and a multitude of other things that make us unique when it comes to food. Gotta listen to your body, that’s for sure.
    Before I got pregnant with Samuel, I didn’t eat meat. I ate eggs and cheese but no meat. While preggo, though, my body was screaming at me to eat it (in the form of cravings and low energy) so I did. After the first trimester, I didn’t need it anymore and I was able to be meat-free for the rest of the pregnancy. After his birth, I HAD to to start eating poultry…I think I would have just collapsed otherwise. Apparently, breastfeeding requires WAY more from my body than pregnancy does (oddly), so I started having it. Tried to remove/replace it from my diet every few months for a while but I was *starving* and had low energy, PLUS Sam was super fussy and eating more whenever would try,so I have given up trying to remove it until he’s weaned. He’s two now (last Sunday!) but I still need that lean protein in my diet that vegetarian foods just don’t do…for me. 🙂

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      So interesting! For me it was eggs during my first pregnancy. I could not get enough of them! I have read that breastfeeding is very taxing nutritionally. Guess you feel it! Some people would argue that vegetarianism is actually very taxing on the body; I have not read enough to be able to stand for or against that. I just know how I’m feeling good, and I wish I would have been trained that nutrition really matters. Relying on whole foods and tweaking for your body. Take good care, atlantamomofthree!

      1. IrishMum

        I can stand against vegetarianism!! It is terrible for your body, but most vegetarians get too emotional to listen to the other side of the debate ( speaking as an x-vegetarian here!).
        And good for you Terri for not shutting up!!

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Thank you for your personal input. This blog is about learning, learning from other people’s trial and errors. Learning from my trial and error as a story. I have a tendency to believe we do need animal products for the best function of our bodies. How much I leave to be debated by the studies and experts for the next century or two–or even better to be debated internally by each individual who may read this comment. But certainly, it seems like vitamin B12, iron, and probably omega-3s are optimally obtained by the body from animal sources.

  2. myjourneythrume

    Hehe, great post! I’m still getting over the fact you were eating liver for breakfast but I can sense the smoke coming out of y’ears from all the way over here! I’m totally on board with your philosophy of food matters, just maybe not the liver just yet!

      1. myjourneythrume

        Oh dear maybe I should be eating liver, my Vitamin D levels were dangerously low (my GP said something like, I’m not surprised you’re so ill, I’m amazed you’re still alive) when I first got sick. I’ve been taking supplements ever since but my levels are still not that high. Hmm maybe I should embrace the liver. Embrace the liver!

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Hmmm. Now I have quite the liver embracing picture in my head! But, seriously, that is an interesting finding in your labs. After our reading began, my husband and I both try to pursue “honest” sources of vitamin D. Unprotected sunlight (always avoiding sunburns) every day we can, foods with vitamin D, and our supplement of choice is the fermented cod liver oil for vitamin D, rather than the “manufactured” forms of D. We knew you needed vitamin D, but I guess we never realized just how important it was, how important sunlight was, and how commonly we humans are deficient–even in places like Florida, USA!

      3. myjourneythrume

        That’s interesting that you take cod liver oil for vitamin D. I take D3, I guess a manufactured supplement and seemingly not very effective. In the UK it’s hard to get enough sunlight and when it’s strong enough sun to get vit D we plaster ourselves in suncream to prevent burn which then prevents vit D absorption. Don’t know what it’s like in the states but here vit D seems to be a very ‘it’ topic, on mainstream news and everything!

  3. FitMomPam

    Ugh this is so irritating. Especially with family. I actually yelled at my neighbor b/c I was sick of hearing her complain about all her illnesses (which are all inflammatory in nature.) I’ve been telling her she needs to just try gluten free to see what happens. People are so stuck in their ways. Is your toast for breakfast really worth losing your vision?! Oh and I’ve been really getting ready to try liver. I just need a good recipe so I’m going to check yours out!


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