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You are what you eat. 

 

When it comes to good health and longevity, there’s one truth that’s pretty much irrefutable. What you eat will certainly impact both.  My highly intelligent and famous knee surgeon, Thomas Rosenberg told me that good health and fitness is about 85% nutrition.  He learned that after spending a substantial amount of time “in the back pocket” of Dr Kenneth Cooper, the well-known “Father of Aerobics.”

                                  Dr. Thomas Rosenberg                               Fruits and vegetables with beta carotene.

He’s a huge proponent of proper nutrition for bone health, particularly colorful veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach that contain beta carotene, vitamin C and other antioxidants.  He administers a simple skin test that provides an analysis of how well you’re doing at eating enough colorful veggies.  I was about average.

According to Dr. Rosenberg I needed to up my consumption of spinach, carrots, melons, and other colorful fruits and veggies to optimize bone health and healing after my surgery.  I consider myself a healthy eater because I avoid sugar, refined flour, “junk” food, sweets, etc.  But I do struggle to eat enough fruits and veggies.

The Wheat Belly Influence.

Then, a few years ago, I watched a KUED TV program called “Wheat Belly”, featuring cardiologist Dr. William Davis.  His premise:  We’re all fat and sick because we’re not supposed to be eating grains--wheat, barley, rice, oats, or corn.

He maintains that our bodies are not meant for food that comes from grasses.  Cows? Yes, they can eat grasses.  They have seven stomachs. Humans? No.  We should be eating fresh veggies, fruit, lean meat, poultry, and fish--foods that our hunter and gatherer forbearers ate 10,000 years ago, before man mad the key mistake of growing wheat.  We should also avoid high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, sugary foods, rice, potatoes, soda, fruit juice, dried fruit, and legumes

The claim that hooked me was that cutting out wheat would also lessen the inflammation contributing to the arthritic condition in my spine known as ankylosing spondylitis.  So, I did it.   I quit eating bread, pasta, pizza, bagels, pancakes, pastries…all those things I had grown up with.   

Too Thin, and Crazy?

I immediately lost 15 pounds, got really lean and actually had veins visible in my arms, something I had never experienced. Did my ankylosing spondylitis get better?  Maybe a little.

I also had more energy…but my digestive system got extremely plugged up if you know what I mean.   I had neglected to drink more water and replace the fiber I was losing from not eating wheat, as Dr.  Davis directs in his book.  I also ostracized myself from my family, who thought I was way too thin and crazy.

On to Paleo.

So, I backed off.  I ate pizza sometimes.  An occasional hamburger or quesadilla.  Pancakes once in a while.  Dark chocolate after dinner.  What happened?  I gained back the weight and then some. So, I swung back the other way and dropped the pizza, pasta, and bagels.  I guess now I’m mostly a Paleo eater.

Meanwhile the debate rages on.   Carbs.  No Carbs.   Vegan or vegetarian?  Paleo or Mediterranean? The internet is bursting with nutritional “wisdom” in all forms.

In hindsight, I think the reason I lost weight was because I cut out a lot of calories and sugar by not eating wheat. Bread and pasta are loaded with both.

What’s next?  How about common sense.   Eat eggs instead of pancakes.  Salad instead of hot dogs.  Strawberries instead of doughnuts.  Fish instead of fried chicken.   Moderation in all things.  Sounds reasonable right?   Naaah, that’s way too boring. 

The Laird Hamilton Solution.

                                    To look like this....                            ...eat like this and work out 3 hours a day.

Here’s what I did.  I found someone I want to look like, and I’ll eat like they do.  Perfect.   Who did I pick? Laird Hamilton, big wave surfer, that’s who.  I’m sure if I emulate his diet and work out for 3 hours a day, in ten years, I’ll look just like him…at age 80.  

He even has his own website, with nutrition and exercise all laid out.  Should be a slam dunk.

Don’t believe me?  Stay tuned and check back with me next month. I’ll at least have a Hawaiian shirt and a tan.

 

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Last Updated: 5/28/21