I used to walk into McDonalds and often times I wouldn't be charged for my food. Why? Because I went there so frequently and brought so many friends, that they knew I was good for business. My favorite meal was the Fishwich, a mighty sandwich made with a bun, american cheese, a deep fried fish patty, and a generous portion of tartar sauce. To fully sate my appetite I always supersized.
My parents had always encouraged me to eat healthy. I just didn't see the point. I felt good, I wasn't fat, and I never got sick. Why fix what isn't broken? I was thankful for my good metabolism and assumed that eating healthy was for people who didn't have it so good.
Then a couple years ago I watched Super Size Me. I watched it for entertainment, but it was the first time I began to believe that what I ate actually mattered. If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it. When subjected to a McDonalds only diet, the creator became depressed, lethargic, and generally didn't feel too well. That was the day I stopped eating fast food.
It was a step in the right direction, but for almost a year I didn't take it any further. I was still eating pizza, deep fried food, sugary items, and other health bombs.
My favorite way to travel, as I'll probably write about in the future, is by cruises. I love getting to see a lot of different places at once without having to move my stuff, I love life aboard the ship, and I like the isolation from cell phones and computers. But most of all, I liked the food. When cruising you are barraged by meals throughout the day, and they're all fantastic. The meals are gourmet, and thus, rather unhealthy.
I went on a cruise with my friend Hayden and a couple others. Hayden was reading a book called Fantastic Voyage : Live Long Enough to Live Forever written by Ray Kurzweil. It was a radical book filled with blasphemous ideas like "sugar will kill you" and "so will flour". I made fun of him and ordered huge plates of bacon on a daily basis.
After the cruise I went to Massachusetts to visit my family. I won't say that it's boring there, but there is a lot of time to sit around, read, and play cards. My grandmother is very health oriented and is in her late 70s, so I bought her a copy of the book, thinking it may benefit her. Really, it was a selfish move. I really love her and don't want her going anywhere.
One lazy day I picked up the book and started reading. I couldn't stop. By the time I had finished I realized that I could never eat poorly again. I did even more research on the internet and completely changed my diet. I estimate that 95% of the foods I used to eat were been eliminated, and many of my new staples were foods I didn't even like before. White flour, and later wheat flour, were completely cut out along with sugars of any sort.
I stuck to the diet for about a month before I started noticing changes. My body fat percentage had gone from 16% to 9%, and it showed. I had moderate acne that would never go away, and all of a sudden it had vanished. Several people told me I looked better than I ever had before. I noticed that I could taste flavors I had been previously unaware of in everyday foods.
I stuck with the diet for seven months, and even wrote a practical guide to eating healthy using a pseudonym.
After seven months I found myself in Vermont with my family on my dad's side. The curious thing about them is that all of them always seem to have some illness. Serious ones too, like cancer and diabetes. My father was the only exception, and I could never understand why.
Well, it all made sense when I got there. None of the food they had was remotely healthy. I was forced to break my diet. And so, for the first time in seven months I ate pizza, had a croissant, and ate a caramel coated apple. What was interesting is that they were good, but not as good as I remembered. I didn't miss them. In fact, after just two days eating that way I couldn't wait to return home and eat healthy again. I had changed.
I really thought that I was eating as healthily as possible. I figured there was no way to improve my diet, and I was satisfied.
Then I learned about raw food dieting from my friend Elisia. A raw food diet means that no food consumed can be cooked over 118 degrees. That's the temperature at which certain enzymes in the food break down, without which your body must produce enzymes. Wonder why you feel tired after a huge meal? It's because your body is churning through its energy producing the enzymes to digest that meal.
I could go on with the theory of raw food, but I'm no expert yet, so I'll spare you. It makes a lot of sense, though - our bodies are not evolutionarily designed to eat cooked foods. Sure, they adapt. But then again, a diesel engine will run on regular gasoline as well - just not at peak efficiency.
Unfortunately, I stocked up on food right before learning about this, so I have about 10 boxes of cereal, 2 gallons of soy milk, 6 things of jelly, 4-5 loaves of wheat-free bread, and a bunch of other supplies. I don't want to waste the money spent on them, so I'm going to finish eating them, but only purchase raw food from now on. That includes food eaten at restaurants, too.
Today I went to Whole Foods, my favorite store, and bought a bunch of raw foods. It was actually pretty fun. I've also signed up with an organic delivery service that brings fresh vegetables to my doorstep every friday.
I'll keep you guys updated with my progress and let you know whether or not it's worth doing. If you're just now starting to eat healthy, definitely read the book I mentioned earlier in the article. It will give you a good background on WHY it's important to eat certain things and avoid others.