It means working with doctors and other health professionals when you are ill, questioning them and understanding that they don’t have all the answers and can make mistakes. We are not afraid of mistakes. After all, as Albert Einstein said, ‘A person who has never made mistakes has never tried anything new.’
There are some basics to keep in mind. US internal medicine physician Dr Blake Ferguson Donaldson expresses them in his book Strong Medicine, first published in 1961. Donaldson said that it doesn’t matter how much doctors know about diabetes. If they can’t get the weight off, they are ‘useless to the patients’. He also said that doctors who ‘have a tendency to be fat themselves and have learned to control it seem to have a better understanding of it’.
He argued strongly for a meat-only diet. ‘The fat man has to make up his mind whether to crack up on glycogen from carbohydrate or to live well on ketones and fatty acids from fat meat,’ he wrote. ‘Obesity is just as simple and just as complicated as that.’
Tim and I do not argue for a carnivorous (meat-only) diet, but we are not against one either. We simply provide the perspective of evolution to remind you that a carnivorous diet is not the killer that many doctors and dietitians still claim that it is. It will not cause you to die from scurvy or any other deficiency disease. It will not make you more aggressive, prone to violence, masturbation (see Chapter 3) and all manner of spiritual ills. It will not harm your heart or overall health.
If you doubt it, read the exploits of Canadian-born Icelandic-American Arctic explorer and ethnologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson in the 1920s. Stefansson had already documented the Inuit diet of that time, which consisted of about 90 per cent meat and fish. On the spectrum of LCHF diets, that would be on the extreme ketogenic, ‘zero-carb’ end. The Inuit ate this way for anything between six and nine months of the year, without any negative effect on their health.
Stefansson encountered significant resistance from the medical establishment. To prove the merits of the diet, he subjected himself and a friend to a year-long experiment by eating a high-fat meat-only diet. Crucially, he insisted on being locked away in a hospital for the first three months to ensure optimum supervision of confounding variables. Friends and colleagues were convinced that, within those first three months, he would die, or at best become seriously ill from scurvy and other deficiency diseases. Yet after a year, Stefansson and his colleague emerged the best advert for what they were ‘preaching’ about the health benefits of animal foods.
Tim and I want you to give fat phobia the funeral it deserves – put it to rest, once and for all. That means fat phobia not just around saturated fat, but also any residual concerns around cholesterol. As Donaldson said, ‘A sterol called cholesterol is supposed to be guilty of making us grow old before our time. But there is no proof of this.’
Getting LCHF just right requires changing entrenched mindsets from years of listening to the ‘experts’ and religiously following their orthodox dietary ‘wisdom’. That involves ignoring official dietary guidelines, as we recommend in Chapter 2. It really is one of the best investments you could ever make in your health and well-being.
If you already have T2D – which we have shown is not a disease simply of blood-glucose regulation, but rather of insulin resistance – it becomes even more crucial to ignore conventional guidelines. Listen to a TED Talk by US physician Dr Sarah Hallberg called ‘Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Starts with Ignoring the Guidelines’, available on YouTube. At last count, the number of viewers was closing in on 6 million.
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