Dust In The Wind – The Story of a Reluctant Winnower
“The Less I Know – Ease and Homeostasis” – Why Our Sources of Macro-Nutrients Likely Mean Little In The Overall Scheme of Longevity and Wellness.
Six years ago, I realized that there was something going on in my body that wasn’t as it should be. A year before that, I quit drinking. A great accomplishment, but I was still not making sober-minded decisions about my diet and lifestyle. Yes, I had quit drinking alcohol, but I replaced it with Skittles and Smarties. I put down one kind of sugar and picked up another. I didn’t slow my ‘sugar’ roll one bit. And it was taking its toll. I was continuing to malnourish myself, one bite at a time.
In September of 2016, I resolved to change my course. I removed junk food, fast food, sugar, candy, etc., from my diet. No more processed foods. Just whole foods. Based on the level of knowledge I had at that time, I began eating something along the lines of a keto/paleo diet. Finally, after another 9 months, I also tossed my daily consumption of products that contained caffeine and nicotine.
Slowly but surely, my body was correcting itself. Undoing the damage I had been doing for a lot of years. As long as it had taken for my body to come to this point of failure, the process of recovery wasn’t much faster. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Change takes a long time, but it does happen. I suggest that our body works on that same curve. Slow and steady is the pace that wins the race.
During this time, I’ve dedicated a lot of time to reading everything I can about what conditions best facilitate a long and happy health span. And the more I read, the more confounded I become. My assumptions and expectations continue to be crushed and winnowed away. Dust in the wind. The more I read, the more I found, the less I knew.
During this six-year journey, my macro-nutrient consumption has been one of continual change and refinement. I’ve used myself as a guinea pig in an attempt to find the best answers for how to improve this individual body, and in the process, I have shared many of my ever-changing damned conclusions. And as sure as I’ve ever been at any step along the way, I can stand here today and simply say, I DON’T KNOW. I really don’t know what the best diet is, and I would likely be best served to simply share my findings with a grain of two of salt and maintain my willingness to prove my prior self wrong.
Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better. This I can say I know because I can feel it through my own experience. The following is what I can still say I don know, based on my current understanding at this time…
Protein, fats, and carbohydrates are what we call the macro-nutrients. We consume food that consists of these three things. All of which are made up of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen. Proteins have some additional components that fats and carbohydrates don’t have, primarily Nitrogen.
Our bodies need these things to maintain proper form and function. Amino acids for the building blocks of life. Our body uses them to make its needed human proteins. Everything else beyond what is needed to build and maintain the body is converted into glucose(sugar) for immediate or later use. That glucose is what fuels our locomotion. And of the glucose that is in excess of our immediate need is converted into body fat which is stored for later use.
Does our body care where we get our macro-nutrients from? I really don’t think it cares as much as we think and convince ourselves it does. However, I do believe that some practices are better than others in the overall scheme of things. And for me, at this time, that looks like a Mediterranean diet.
What I can say with a relatively high level of certainty is that our body would prefer to spend less energy on the nutritional process than more. The more energy and time it has to spend on digesting foods, the less time and energy it has to spend on perfecting its understanding of homeostasis, whatever that looks like. It doesn’t want too much, nor does it want too little, and we would best be served to eat according to needs rather than desires or set schedules.