Body Month: The Myth of Moderation

We move at a quicker pace more than any point in history.  In the rush, rush, rush of whatever it is we’re doing, we blow through meals, shirk our sleep, refuse to take time off, and make new to-do lists the moment we complete one. We dismiss leisure as a sign of weakness or laziness.  But now intuition has been supplanted by what “experts” say.  It’s why I don’t really want to be referred to as an expert, even though some people have given me that monicker when I’ve worked with them.  If anything, I bring people inside themselves, getting them to listen within, to rediscover their own intuition about how to be in their bodies.

If we crowd out our intuition and our listening with more and more action, we inevitably break down.  Maybe not immediately, but someday it all catches up to us when the body can no longer take the stress we’re placing on it.  Whether its overwork, lack of leisure, or environmental toxins via our diet, illness creeps up when we fail to listen.  And then we begin the long slog up the hill, with the missteps and false starts that come with it.

I didn’t listen to my body for many years.  I burned the 3 a.m. oil and ate garbage.  As a result, I developed food sensitivities that made toilet trips huge daily events.  Wheat had been attacking my immune system, but I didn’t stop long enough to pay attention.  Headaches, stiffness, and bellyaches came and went.  I popped aspirins and antacids, suppressing symptoms rather than noticing what they were trying to tell me.

Because I wouldn’t listen, they got louder.  Mild headaches became debilitating, body stiffness became exhaustion, bellyaches became races to the bathroom.  More pills, more ills.  As I learned about nourishment, the food supply, and holistic health, I slowed down and opened my ears to what my body was telling me.  I dropped the wheat.  A little extra weight I couldn’t shake dropped with it.  And many symptoms subsided, not entirely, but enough to make me feel better.

I replaced wheat with corn products, like tortillas.  Since I’d replaced the wheat and gluten products, I assumed I’d automatically be better.  The corn, albeit non-GMO, increased in my diet, which likely disrupted my healthy omega-6 to omega-3 balance, promoting inflammation.  Headaches, stiffness, and stomach distress erupted.  Each time I had corn, I noticed I didn’t feel so hot, but maybe gluten had found its way into my system.  I had more corn and the villi in my small intestine revolted.  Can you hear me now?

No.  Popcorn?  Stomach ache.  Tortilla?  Headache.  Good ole corn?  Intestinal distress.  More bathroom visits.  More questions.

Two weeks ago, I bid corn farewell.  The couple times corn showed up in something via starch or another ingredient in a sauce, my belly imploded.  But without corn, my stomach has calmed right down.  No distress.  A lot more energy.  A feeling of balance.

All because I listened.

Information is flung at us left and right.  The Inadequacy Industry has the loudest voice.  Via spokesmen from their sub-industries – Big Sugar, Big Agriculture, Improperly Grown Animals – and their apologists – TV “experts” and the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics – they advocate for a mythical creature called “moderation.”  Sugar is toxic to the human body, so how much should we have in moderation?  Improperly grown animals give us tremendous amounts of Omega-6s that contribute to the inflammation that is the basis of American dietary diseases.  How much of that should we have?  What is a moderate quantity of wheat I should ingest even though it is poisonous to me?

In order to make money, those with the most money and the loudest voices never advocate for extreme caution, for elimination over moderation.  I moderated my wheat intake and it made my symptoms worse.  I moderated my corn intake and my body got mad at me.  Only elimination curtailed illness.  For the Inadequacy Industry, elimination is the purest form of evil, for profits disappear.  It is never the answer.  Often, those of us with sensitivities will be told “it’s all in your head.”  Furthermore, people who buy into the cultural messaging will pick us apart for having a restrictive diet.  We might be “boring” or “picky” or “obsessive.”  We might also just be trying to maintain health.

Our country has great illness.  This illness is directly tied to corporate-government collusion running the food supply and messaging about food and diet.  Like magicians, the Inadequacy Industry supplies enough misdirection to keep us guessing about the best way to feed and take care of ourselves.  But we can counteract this by turning off the volume of the external voices and tuning to the one coming from within.

If we listen to our bodies, we will know.  If we listen to our bodies, we will cure.  If we listen to our bodies, we won’t need to listen to anyone else.

Moderation is a myth and harmful.

My body told me that.  A host of organizations wealthier than my body’s intuition have tried to tell me otherwise.  As they will do to you.

Trust your body.

It’s wise if you let it be.

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20 thoughts on “Body Month: The Myth of Moderation

  1. Chris, great post, thank you!
    I believe we need to educate ourselves in order to start listening to our bodies again. Healthy body, healthy mind…
    Wishing you health and happiness,

  2. I gave up wheat, dairy, corn, soy, fermented foods, sugar, and several other things a few years ago. I’ve never felt better and I never looked back. Moderation wasn’t what my body needed either.

  3. Hey, Chris!

    Awesome post. I was thinking about this theme lately. Listening to your body is one of the best things you can do for your health. But some people just can’t hear it. They think it’s alright to feel tired, to have low energy, to have mood swings etc. However, my experience shows that it’s simply not true. People are meant to feel awesome almost all the time. And if they’re not then they should look at their lifestyle and their diet. That can be as simple as that.

    Thanks for great post.

    • Mostly whole foods – fruits and veggies – and pastured meat products. Beans and rice also work well. Organic cheeses. I’m still on my journey of purifying my diet, so I do have gluten free bread or crackers from time to time. I’d prefer to make it ourselves, though bread making has gone by the wayside with the baby in tow. Desserts were my bugaboo and I’ve seen great progress on that front; sugar/sweets is a mighty hard one and big business knows it. Because I built this up over the course of 30 years and overcoming habits take time, the evolution continues.

      What we are doing, however, is feeding our daughter the purest foods possible. With her 1st birthday coming up, my wife is coming up with a fruit concoction that will serve as a “cake.” Cake is so ingrained as equated to fun (falsely, I might add), and I’ll post a photo if it comes out as planned. We know there will be times when her food is out of our hands, so we’re building up her base and hope that people will honor our feeding decisions.

  4. I have the exact same issues and have done the antacids until about 4 years… now trying to be wheat/gluten, corn, and also dairy-free. Not too successful sometimes. What does your eating look like? Just fruits, veggies, and protein? Or do you do a wheat alternative, like rice flour, etc? Any new ideas or information I can get, would be great. About a year and half ago, I did a 3 week “Daniel’s Fast”, and I felt the best I ever in like 5+ years. No wheat, meat, dairy & corn (due to my intolerances), sugar, or soda…pretty much only fruits, veggies, tofu, rice, water, juice, etc. I know it comes down to discipline, in which, I lack sometimes since my family does not have to eat the same way. I’m open to suggestions… Thanks! Angela :)

    • I wrote about it on the comment above you Angela. Udi’s is a the best gluten free bread I can find in a store. I prefer to make it myself, but the baby takes priority. In those cases we use organic flours from Bob’s Red Mill. I like Bob’s not only for the taste/quality, but because at 81, Bob created a program to transfer the company to his 200+ employees.

      It is a whole lot easier when the family eats the same way. I had a client who struggled with that. Not only did they not eat how she ate, but they picked on her for it. She persevered, but it wasn’t easy.

      If you control the food in your house, maybe they will start eating that way, because there will be nothing else in there? I’m not a fan of soy – soy was traditionally a condiment that was fermented and eaten up to 10g/day. We eat a lot more soy than that, over 90% in this country is GMO, and it’s high in omega-6. In the Standard American Diet, omega-6 dominates the equation and leads to inflammation, which brings about our diseases. Food allergies are inflammatory, too.

      If that Daniel’s Fast works for you, just eat what’s in there, but maybe switch out the soy for beans. If meat isn’t an issue for you (digestive or ethical) consider the pastured meats. I write about why those are important on this blog.

      • I actually use almond milk, and rarely use soy based product. :) So, that is good. Yeah, for some reason I didn’t see the comment above, thanks for the tip.

        Yes, I do all the grocery shopping, but unfortunately I have a 16 & 17 year old and a husband that enjoys eating what he has always eaten, although he does try and eats my gluten free pizza crust and the family eats rice pasta. I also eat Udi’s bread from Trader Joes, but I wonder if the corn starch or corn syrup in the breads negatively affects my body? I guess the true test would be completely corn free for 21 days…or is it 14 days to completely rid my body of the corn and then introduce foods like this with minimal corn in it.

        Thanks for the article and encouragement to eat and be in tune with what my body needs to be healthy!

      • Re: bread. That could be the case. It’s why I try to curb it as much as possible.

        As for the answer above, I had just written it and wanted to point you there to it.

        Teenage me wouldn’t recognize current me. It’s not an easy age for making adjustments. It’s too bad, too, because it does catch up to us. That’s why with the baby, we’re hoping to head much of it off at the pass.

    • I can’t say totally. Gluten is pro-inflammatory and in the United States, selective breeding has caused them to amp up the gluten in our wheat. I have a friend who cannot tolerate wheat gluten, but ordered a wheat pizza from a place that orders its wheat from Italy, where apparently this isn’t done. She can eat their wheat.

      Dr. Mark Hyman, whom I respect, writes well on this subject here:

      Leaving aside the sensationalist headline, I like that this article is attributed.

      What I would want to see are comparisons between how we farm and how other countries grow their wheat. A Harvard study came out and said all red meat will make you die sooner, but they didn’t compare conventional to pastured. I wonder if dismissing all wheat is not the answer and there is nuance.

      As it stands, it seems we should at least avoid US-grown wheat.

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