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Oh Well, Live and Learn!

People mutter that phrase as if it’s a bad thing, but isn’t learning one of life’s great excitements? I’ve been a student of nutrition for almost fifty years, learning from both old masters and new innovators. The thought of studying nutrition in and of itself was fairly innovative when I started reading Adele Davis in the 1970’s, particularly when I tried to incorporate nutritional wisdom (Davis, Francis Moore Lappé, Harvey Diamond) into my medical school curriculum. I experimented with eating vegetarian, and eating low-fat, but found myself seeking occasions on which I could “cheat”, and dreaming secretly of the steaks, butter, and whole milk of my childhood. I used to eat the meat off my cousins’ plates when I cleared the table, eat butter as if it were cheese, and sneak pieces of bacon from between the paper towels while the eggs cooked. I was a skinny kid, by the way.  

Happily, my love for the science of nutrition has had a happy reunion with the flavors I loved as a child. All well and good, I find, since reading Good Calories Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes, and Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, D.D.S. Nutrient dense food is good for you, including some of the most luscious high fat foods you grew up on. Empty, so-called “filling” high-fiber, low-fat foods are not good for you. 

It will be slow in coming but medical science will indeed switch to the low-carb paradigm. Clinical experiments designed now to evaluate the effects of various low-carb eating plans (paleo, low carb/high fat, primal, “ancestral”) on the diseases of modern society: obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, hypertension, and more. And guess what: eating nutrient dense, carb-limited foods, seems to be just what the doctor should be ordering.

I’ve devised a mini-weight loss class I offer through our local Parks and Recreation Department, and I’m still working on the name. I think for now it should be called, “Live and Learn… and Lose It!” Check back for details. I’ll write about the science and the strategy, and include some recipes while I’m at it. Meanwhile, look around you: see who's beginning to talk about low-carb, paleo or ancestral trends in nutrition!