I am on a diet. I have had some life stretches of constant stress and unhappiness and they – like always – resulted in suboptimal changes to my lifestyle: more sedentarism, a constant craving which resulted on all addictions moving forward at full speed.
So I started this low carb diet because it is the diet to start when you are too depressed to wait for results. In time, low carb results in the same net weight loss, but, the debut is spectacular. And you need spectacular when you exit trauma recovery and need to do the usual lifestyle adjustment heroics.
In these months of strict low carb there is one thing I am now 200% convinced of: processed foods are poison. Poison not in the sense of conspiracy theories that tell you the government wants to kill you. No. Poison in the sense that:
- preservatives added for shelf life extension because of profit optimisation
- flavouring required because factory makes fast but bland foodstuffs
- colouring, texture agents, thickening agents to standardise and homogenise because consumers are poorly educated and confuse these properties with quality
- the high speed emulsion process, high temperature pasteurisation, ultra low temperature instant freeze, contaminants from production leftovers or packaging because we indiscriminately use technology without considering collateral damage
… create in your gut chemical compounds that masquerade in such a way that human bodies try to use them and can’t, so then then these compounds get discarded into toxin deposits buffered with fat – adipose tissue. So I believe processed food makes humans fat because the fat is a protection from the poison ingested from processed foods.
Surprisingly, not all fast food is in the processed food category. Some fast food is just food that is fast to make and therefore easy to sell from a van. The problem I noticed is that there are some universal things that instantly transform normal food into processed food – even if it didn’t come out of a factory:
- fruit and veggies that were transported from very afar – I think the preservation methods, chemical and radiation, transpire into the item you eat causing weird compounds to form,
- fruit and vegetables sold in any other place except the farmer’s market – with the notable exception of when big stores really do local action and buy from local farmers, rarely true to the letter, more likely true to the spirit,
- vegetable oil – with the exception of cold press low output fabrication all technology to obtain vegetable oil creates an oil that the body discards into fat because of technological residues or simply because the oil is unexpected in its chemistry,
- flavouring and condiments – they’re never just dried out plants, they’re always containing food flavouring additives because the dried out plants lose their olfactive and taste properties in factory processes, plus they contain incredible amounts of salt,
- sugar and poor quality flour which, while not chemically bad, provide instant energy that the body stores because you are at your desk reading this not out in the field attending to crops or out and about hunting.
So any “fast food” using any of the above – which they all do, because of cost saving, because fast food is supposed to be cheap – becomes processed food.
Even bread, unless you make it from high quality flower, water, salt and yeast in your house, is processed food containing the agents above and incredible amounts of sugar. Home made bread is something you can eat even in a low carb diet. In small quantities. But the bread from the store is like a trigger of metabolic disasters, particularly when dieting.
It doesn’t matter what kind of diet humans try: any sort of processed food, in any quantity does a little harm, repeatedly, either by making them fat or sick or both. Constant exercise, not the kind the gym offers, but the one coming from being active throughout the day, has the great advantage of allowing the human body to engage “toxin” clearing systems which only work when high movement related oxigen intensive processes are engaged. But you’re sitting down reading this, therefore not really into so many movement related oxigen based processes.
My conclusion to me: the modern lifestyle of digital ease, instant access, asphalt everywhere but no reason to go anywhere, requires to at least make the effort to eat food that was food 500 years ago the way it was made 500 years ago. But this is not fair at all. For example, to make a stew which is the cheapest food historically, you need:
- money to get a slow cooker, otherwise it’s under-nutritious and crappy
- money to buy cold pressed oil in small quantity packaging from small producers that can’t possibly sell at the price of giant makers (true for a gazillion other things, not just oil)
- money to buy vegetables that spoil fast and are not sterilised and overgrown
- time to cook from in season vegetables, because the convenience stores prefer out of season things because of larger margins
- money and time to go hunt for high quality meat and the stuff above, because they’re really not available easily
So basically if you can do all the above in an easy manner, for a crappy stew, it means you’re above the median middle class in a capitalist country or you’re not in a capitalist country, but not North Korea. All that to make a stew that won’t make you fat despite your small sized plate. All that to avoid accumulating protective fat containing weird chemical compounds from the industrial revolution that won’t slow down, fat which is then released when you starve yourself to look and feel fit, only to cause diet related problems. To then spend more money and time fixing. What a mess.
It’s a mad world. In this mad world people dream collectively at lab grown meat, impossible burgers, insect based protein and more palm oil. Our collective dreaming will bring us this future and I suspect it will be harder and harder to not do this:
- eat correctly but poor food
- spend more and more focus on maintaining looks and health
- spend time and money on supplements, medicine, medical subscriptions, medical interventions
… even for those who afford the 1st item – to eat correctly.
Anyway, all this confirmed, for me at least, the documented fact that calories make healthy young people fat because they come from bad sources not so much because they’re too many.