Composed: Sep 18, 2023
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Personalizing Nutrition - there is no one-size-fits-all
I used to think that one day, I'd find THE plan or THE solution that was right for me. Was it Atkins, The 6-Week Body Makeover, low carb, or Whole 30? Was it vegetarianism or plant-based? Was it whole foods? Or maybe something else?
One diet to rule them all?
I don't know that in my mind I thought there was one diet to rule them all. But I did think the dietary strategy that would work best for me probably had a name. There were probably other people who had already discovered the joys of following whatever strategy would work best for me.
I tried a lot of different dietary strategies:
- Whole foods
- 6-Week Body Makeover
- Plant Based whole foods (not veganism)
- Beach Body container system
- Whole 30
- Low carb
And to some extent, they all had merit. If nothing else, they got me actively engaged with and thinking about what and how I was eating and that helped keep me focused on making healthier choices.
There is no one-size-fits-all
I forget who I was listening to, but one day I was listening to a podcast and someone mentioned the idea of Personalized Nutrition. Basically, they explained that the best approach to nutrition was to personalize it. Personalize it to your tastes, your access to foods depending upon the region in which you live, and based on how your body responds.
If I could remember whose podcast I was listening to I would love to thank them because it all finally made sense. And I stopped looking for the label that would best describe the dietary approach I would eventually find worked best for me.
Results, not labels
The part of that advice that really stuck with me was to let results be my driver. This is largely what I was doing before, and was the reason I stopped following most of the dietary strategies I tried. But this time, rather than looking for a new label, I started to look at individual foods. That started me down a path that eventually led to an elimination diet.
By the time I was listening to that podcast, I had been following a ketogenic diet for a couple of years. I had good success with keto. I had lost weight, lost inches, reduced pain and inflammation, had increased mental clarity, my skin was better, and my nails were stronger. By most measures, I was in way better health than ever before.
I still had a couple of lingering issues that, while I had seen improvements, I was still dealing with. Namely, I was still suffering from psoriasis, I still had some digestive issues, and seasonal allergies would really kick my butt each season.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. There is no known cause and there is no known cure. There are a few treatment options. Some come with potential known side effects. Some are effective, but the reasons that the treatment is effective is not known. Coal tar, for example, is a fairly efficacious treatment option, for which the mechanisms are not known. I did find some relief with coal tar shampoo, but the results were not something I would describe as a cure. I still had psoriasis. And coal tar doesn't work for everyone. It's not a cure.
@autumnallyear.us Read more at: AutumnAllYear.us/personalizing-nutrition #personalizingnutrition #personalizednutrition #eliminationdiet #connectivetissuedisorder #health #eatingforhealth #blogger ♬ Diner Music - London Street Jazz Band
Carnivore - the ultimate elimination diet
I had already done vegetarianism, with not so great results. That was the first elimination diet I ever tried, without even realizing that's what I was doing. Elimination Diet - Opens a PDF
I enjoyed vegetarianism. It suited my tastes! It felt healthy! Look at all these veggies, all these greens, all these plants I was eating! And, bonus, my body fat percentage declined. Great!
Unfortunately, I was also suffering from some of the worst seasonal allergy symptoms I'd ever had. And my psoriasis flare-ups were pretty consistent. It was basically always flared up.
When I was thinking about doing an elimination diet, I pretty much immediately eliminated the idea of vegetarianism. I've already done that.
I read about Mikhaila Peterson and her battle with autoimmune conditions.
I read about Kelly Hogan and how her life was transformed by cutting out carbs.
I also watched several interviews and presentations given by L. Amber O'Hearn and the plant-free diet she had been on since 2009.
I found it intriguing that all of these women had seen improvements to conditions that I struggled with. I found it intriguing that they resolved these health conditions with foods that I had at one time avoided, entirely. Since switching to a ketogenic diet, I had added these foods, specifically meats, back into my diet. The amount of meat I ate increased over the years that I was following a ketogenic way of eating, and as my meat consumption increased, so did my health improve.
My carnivore experiment
I decided to give a Carnivore way of eating a try. It was going to be pretty simple to meal plan and to shop for this! All I was going to eat was meat, eggs, and low-carb forms of dairy like cheeses, heavy cream, and sour cream.
I went into my carnivore experiment with the initial goal to give it a try for 30 days, with the caveat that if at any time I did not feel well or saw any negative results, I would stop.
Within the first 5 days, I noticed that I was sneezing WAY less than normal and that the post-nasal drip I had suffered with most of my adult life was pretty much gone. Amazing!
At some point within those first 30 days, I also noticed that my psoriasis was all but gone. The parts of my body affected by psoriasis no longer had scales. What used to be dry, cracked, flaky, itchy skin that could not be helped by anything was reduced to some lightly dry skin that could be easily addressed with a simple moisturizer.
Aside from losing the discomfort of psoriasis flare-ups and the unsightly nature of the scales, I had done something I didn't think was possible. I had improved my autoimmune disease with no medications. All I did was eat real food. I ate meat, I ate dairy, and I ate eggs. I cut out veggies, fruits, grains, legumes, and pretty much all other plants and my skin got better! I happily completed all 30 days of my carnivore experiment, with results that far surpassed anything I ever experienced with vegetarianism or any other way of eating I'd tried before.
Putting it all together
I share my story, not because I want to convince anyone to try carnivore or to discourage anyone from trying anything that didn't work for me. I share my story as an example of how sometimes the best approach to a nutritional strategy is a personalized one.
I don't think carnivore is probably the best dietary intervention for everyone. But I found it to be hugely helpful to me and to my own state of health.
Discovering I had lipedema
Finding success with carnivore was great! There was still one area I hadn't yet figured out. I always had a hard time losing weight in my lower half. My thighs had a nodular, pea-like texture to them. Finally one day I discovered the term for what I had. It was lipedema.
I used carnivore to help my body better manage lipedema as well.