Find out what works for you.

I wrote previously that I was re-engaging my quest for optimal health, which I pretty much tossed by the wayside as I snacked away my emotions rather than face them head on over the past year..I took a moment to think about it, however, and realized that there was probably more going on that just too many potato chips when the chips were down. That was part of it, but not all of it.

Despite neglectful eating habits, exercise has always been a constant in my life since I was a teenager. Making exceptions for the periods after giving birth -sometimes up to 2 years- I have generally done a decent job of maintaining a decent weight and health. Of course, that’s easier for every woman in her early 30’s than it is in her mid 40’s.

A few months ago Hearth and I were discussing the advantages of eating an ancestral diet, and what that looks like for each of us individually. I didn’t particularly like mine, being a cheese lover, but it’s pretty commonly accepted that dairy doesn’t agree with many people of African ancestry. The -theoretically- optimal diet of someone of my ancestry looks like this:

african-heritage-diet-pyramd

It is easy, by the way, to find out this kind of information for every other global ancestral region. I looked up several found that although there are a few variations, there are many similarities. The major one is that they all pretty much take the SAD (standard American diet) off the table. This website has ancestral diets from many regions of the world. The only one not represented there is Northern European, which you can find here.

As I did more research in the wake of the reality of how easy it was for my vigorous exercise to be rendered null and void with even a moderate increase in the amount of snacking or junk I ate, I ran across scientific studies which revealed that for black women (not so much for men because testosterone), the key to lasting fitness is always going to hinge on nutrition and calorie reduction rather than exercise alone because apparently, our metabolism is slower.

As I explained to my daughters, this might sound unfortunate in the context of a culture where we have kitchen cabinets stocked full of food. In reality, it is a type of “evolutionary advantage”, if you will.  During periods in human history where food is scarce or in climates that are particularly hot, a slower metabolism is a blessing, not a curse. We can also build some serious muscle when we buckle down and stick with it. I have always struggled to stick with weight training while embracing cardio.

Armed with this information, I have a new outlook on what is required of me to achieve optimal health and endurance going forward. It is my best interest to pretty much ignore advice to NOT cut calories. It is mandatory that I do so while listening to my internal hunger and fullness cues. That, and I need to embrace the diet that has been known to work for people of my ancestry. What happened when they put native Africans on the SAD (and African Americans on the traditional African diet) was eye-opening.

The other thought that occurred to me was how quiet this scientific information was kept. For years before they went full on gay propaganda, we started our mornings out listening to the first hour of ABC’s Good Morning America. Anyone who pays attention to American news knows that every health study and finding is shouted from the rooftops as the next thing we all need to know to be healthy.

However, when these studies were released in 2013, nothing. The only thing I could figure was that they were ignored or buried because the findings were too politically incorrect. I checked the major news outlets for any sign of this information and there was nothing. The only sites that discussed it were more obscure health sites and sites dedicated specifically to the health and fitness of black women.

This means -for those of you who didn’t know already- that the media isn’t really interested in giving us the information we need to make the best decisions for our health and family. Follow the money, and you can usually figure out why some findings get serious publicity and others do not.

This means -for those of you who didn’t know already- that the media isn’t really interested in giving us the information we need to make the best decisions for our health and family. Follow the money, and you can usually figure out why some findings get serious publicity and others do not.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take up the challenge to do the work required to figure out what works for you. Not just in the area of health and fitness, but in every area of life.

Understand, however, that it will require work to be healthier, to learn real history, to understand how we got where we are so that when we know better, we can do better.

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7 thoughts on “Find out what works for you.

  1. This was slated for Monday, but on my way to the grocer, I figured I’d run it in case anyone was so moved to incorporate anything here when they go out for their weekend grocery run.

    Have a great weekend!

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  2. That was a very bad discussion about N. European diets – it was post-wealth, post-trade, based on Victorian times or just slightly before. Nope. I think that N. Europeans probably did a very seasonal diet, based on natural refrigeration. But yes, we eat a lot of meat and dairy. Everyone everywhere cold eats a lot of meat and dairy. What else is to eat? You get zero daylight for a few months, not a whole lot is growing. Root vegetables that store, fermented anything, dried anything…

    I like the “do what works for you” thing. Yes.

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  3. If you have one Hearth, please feel free to drop a link to a better discussion on N. European diets. I found reading the various traditional diets very interesting.

    For what it’s worth, this crappy pic is what I look like today, with my added poundage. Compared to what I looked like in March of 2016.

    Perhaps I’ll drop another one in a combox in 60 days as a status update. I guarantee you it will be with far less chub. Ugh.

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  4. No link to pic?

    These are what I used for my ancestral diet research. http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/food.shtml http://www.bonappetit.com/trends/article/what-the-irish-ate-before-potatoes

    I think I might do a write-up about seasonal eating – just a gestalt of my mental encyclopedia, you can find this info anywhere that talks about homesteading. A short version – animals naturally give more milk in the spring/summer months; eggs are also laying more heavily in spring and summer, and you get early veggies starting mid-spring. Mid summer you have a ton of produce, but aren’t eating large cuts of meat except for feastdays when it can all get eaten up. In the late fall you butcher and prep for winter storage. In winter, you’re eating what was stored, and … that’s it. So, when the fresh veg come back in spring, you crave them like mad. My mom has told me about this, from her childhood.

    Do you find that your cravings change to season? Mine do, and I don’t live where there’s much in the way of seasons. Like, for some reason every fall I crave hard squash. Which sucks, because 1/2 of my family can’t stand it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Seasonal Eating | Hearth's Rose Garden

  6. Pingback: Don’t start a strict diet just as you’re going on vacation. | Things I Wish I'd Known Sooner

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