Andrew Weil, 2012
What's changed for me
The discoveries I made were to me surprising, fascinating and vital, to my on ongoing health, and probably yours.
I never realised that:
My concerns over Mike's diet and my own love of creamy pasta sauces and cheesy pizza were correct, but for diametrically opposite reasons than I expected. The cheese, cream and sausages are excellent nutrition (and probably the accidental reason for my current good health). The dangers lurks beneath, in the pasta and pizza base. Refined carbohydrates are the number one enemy, but replacing them with wholemeal helps not at all. Alas the cheese, cream and sausages do have their own risks in our so-called advanced society - I now actively seek organic, unpasteurised, and no-nitrates (among a larger list of no-chemicals).
I now entirely avoid vegetable oils. I cook with olive oil, butter and lard, or duck fat when available. And I look after my oils, and any oily produce, carefully to avoid rancidity. I used to enjoy from time to time chips, crisps and fried foods - fish burgers being a past favourite. I know realise how appallingly unhealthy these are, unless fried at home.
I have been amazed at how easy it has been to change one's diet to a healthier one, given knowledge. There are various theories on why we developed our powerful brains - was it for language and social skills, for complex movement patterns like throwing a spear, or for, as inquisitive omnivores, working out what to eat, and what not to? My preferred theory is that they all developed together, as evolution's easiest way to increase one capacity is to increase all capacity by just growing more brain. However it developed, a big part of our intelligence - and in days past our culture - is our ability to work out what to eat, and what not to, in a multitude of environments. I found that as soon as I developed the knowledge, my taste buds followed suit. I do not miss one iota the food I now avoid. This is a capacity built into us all, called intelligence.
Homo sapiens is an amazingly robust creature - we can eat bad food for decades before the effects become apparent, but we cannot eat it forever (or, if we try, our forever becomes shorter than others'). Fortunately, we are self-repairing organisms. Within months or at most years every cell in our body has been replaced. Moving fully to a proper diet will repair you in these timescales. My approach to a better diet is lifelong from now.
Another concern I had when I embarked on this venture would be that it would diminish my love of food and cooking, perhaps reduce it to some formulaic approach. Quite the opposite has happened - my interest in and enjoyment of food has reached new highs, and having given up 'refined' foods have reached new highs in taste, texture and variety.
But I have discovered too something really quite depressing. We all know that corporations are pursuing private profit at the expense of our health, but I had never appreciated to what degree. They are literally poisoning us. Corporations and the pursuit of financial profits at all cost is part of our so-called Western culture, as much a part of it as the diseases of civilisation. How has it got to the the state where we are supporting a culture that undermines our very wellbeing? Or, more importantly, how do we turn around our own culture to get it working for us? I don't know, but one good way to start is by rejecting the crap corporations offer us and officials advise us to eat, and buying and eating good, real, local, unprocessed food.