Just for the record, it doesn’t matter whether you believe in climate change or not in terms of this debate.
You don’t need to be a global-warming believer or skeptic, to appreciate the similarities between the need to wean off either coal/oil or carbohydrates.
Diabetes is causing the premature deaths of more than 4 million people annually.
Poor air quality from industry/transport is causing the premature deaths of around 5.5 million each year. So we don’t even need to broach the combative nature of ‘is climate change real’ as we can stick with what is happening right now.
The similarities are valid, as both fuels are inexpensive, abundant, have an existing infrastructure, are supported by multi-nationals and they employ directly and indirectly millions of people.
Eating a bowl of cereal or piece of toast when we are hungry is like flicking on a light- it is automatic, and we’ve been doing it (unconsciously) our whole life, so this makes change even more difficult.
Even the experts (the coal deniers or the carbohydrate-loving media dietitians) tell us that change is almost impossible, too hard, or without alternative. They say this, really without a sound basis in fact or science and are simply dismissive of the hard work (and hard decisions) that need to be made, whether by you trying to break up with carbs, or a power company breaking from the pack regarding renewables.
To move away from either carbs or coal is going to take courage, introspection, planning, sacrifice, mistakes and hope. Plus the firm belief that a trickle of individuals can become a waterfall of believers.
Reducing carbohydrates isn’t meant to be trendy.
It isn’t just for the short-term. It isn’t dangerous for your brain and body. It isn’t change for the sake of change because ‘we have to do something…anything, to stem the tide of obesity and diabetes’.
So it makes sense then doesn’t it, that it isn’t easy to change?
It isn’t easy because we are stressed to the eyeballs, tired, anxious, overworked, afraid of the future, and all the while we are surrounded by this cheap, tasty, long-lasting food (fuel) like toast and jam, breakfast cereal, chocolate, biscuits, muesli bars and rice, that makes us feel so good and is the perfect short-term (rocket) fuel, but it has a hell of a sting in its tail (obesity, heart disease and diabetes).
You have been eating for this way for how many decades?
You have been told by your cardiologist, endocrinologist, dietitian, and personal trainer to eat this way for years, if not decades?
Now we are being told to make a 180 degree shift!
See, when you really think about it, it is similar to the current battle that is surrounding renewables.
It is emotional, it is combative, and there is misinformation galore.
Reducing carbohydrates is about science. It is about asking your body what ‘fuel’ it wants to prevent the stockpiling of excess fuel (carbohydrates being turned into fat).
What fuel won’t cause inflammation and gum up our body like the soot that you find around an engine or exhaust?
Your body will say, ‘don’t ask your tastebuds or hypothalamus as they just want the sweet carby stuff, but ask your heart, liver, bowel, arteries and other brain centres what they want you to eat on a daily basis’.
Just like when we come home and flick on the air-conditioning, or turn on all the lights in the house and think that we should be more frugal.
It is tough putting up with a hot house or trying to sleep in this very hot weather (for you in the southern hemisphere, you can change air-con for central heating).
To NOT do the same thing that you have been doing for years or decades, requires foresight doesn’t it.
To think about riding the bike to work rather than driving requires a complete upheaval of your routine doesn’t it?
You have to leave earlier for work, find a bike path, check the tyres, take some clothes in and find those showers at work that you’ve heard of, but have never used.
It takes planning to change, and a reason for change.
As you cycle in, you see those thousands of cars clogging the road spewing out all that C02. They aren’t making the effort to change, ‘so I am I really making a difference to cleaner air and my fitness?’
Sure you feel good for cycling in, but to do it day in and day out takes effort. It takes effort that the majority of us are not making (given the amount of cars still on the road and the amount of us who think about consistent exercise, but struggle to follow through).
If you don’t change, then nothing changes
Firstly, why do I want you to switch away from all that bread, cereal, rice, popcorn, chips, fried fruit, cereal and noodles you eat?
Again, it is like like burning coal or oil.
It is incredibly energy dense, cheap, accessible but like non-renewables, it has a mighty big sting in its tail.
The excess glucose from the rapid breakdown of (yes, even wholegrain) carbohydrates is stored away as fat in our bodies and the excessive glucose and insulin irritate, inflame and age our body.
Think aging brains, joints, bones, guts, livers, arteries, hearts, cholesterol-all damaged by excessive carbohydrates (yep, about 60-70% of what we eat is carb-based).
Just like riding to work, organising those solar panels or exercise consistancy-just how hard is it to NOT snack after dinner?
For me, it is still one of the hardest things to do-to not look through the cupboard or fridge for a ‘healthy’ snack.
It was as hard for me as giving up bread and oats.
The catchcry I used to used, was why bother as I cant lose weight or feel better anyway.
Doublely-hard is not having more than one drink each night, or to not raid the cupboard when you get home from work for some corn chips, biscuits and cheese.
Friday night and weekndnds are a nightmare to try and eat well aren’t they?
As soon as you get out of that routine of the week, its all over. Given half a chance, you could eat a weeks full of snacks on Friday and Saurday nights right (I can read your mind because that’s what I did and I thought I was such a saint during the week).
You need to be aware that just like considering a new fuel, exercise, habitual, or money-making exrcise, then just like transitioning away from a carb-heavy way of eating-you need to be an individual, you need be break from the herd, and you can’t really rely on another health practitioner to advise you for 3 reasons.
Firstly, they are just as confused as you. They are unsure what to transition too (low fat, keto, bulletproof, paleo) and they can give you a pill or hospital admission that may enable you to make no change at all.
Thankfully you have the heads up from me on where to transition to (and not for the sake of ‘just transition somewhere!’)
Another thing that will help is my new, free ebook with 12 tips that will save your life - view it here.
- Anthony Power is a nutritionist based in Queensland