I studied Dietetics at Deakin University in the early 1980’s. Looking back I learnt nothing that is appropriate for today’s health debacle.
What I learnt about was low-fat diets, the food pyramid, nutritional labels, calorie counting, recommended daily allowances, and an almost one-diet-fits-all approach – things that now, in my opinion, are a complete waste of time and contradictory to human health.
Before I went to Deakin, I studied at the University of Colorado in Boulder. It was there that my love of nutrition emerged. Anthropology was my favourite subject, where I learnt about the foods that enabled humans to survive for millenniums. I learnt about the abundance of food in the summer and the famine in the winter.
I learnt about hunter gatherers and how they ate and survived. This is the way I believe we need to eat, enjoying the foods of our ancestors.
I also learnt about herders and early agriculturists. I adapted my diet to what I had learnt, eating a variety of foods including grains, legumes, meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, spices and herbs. One of my favourite fiction stories at the time was the Earth’s Children series including The Clan of the Cave Bear and The Valley of Horses. I identified with Ayla (the main character) and her love of herbs and teas and hunting and gathering skills.
When I qualified as a nutritionist, I taught real foods while my contemporaries were teaching low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets, calorie counting and the food pyramid, and telling people to eat margarine and vegetable oils instead of butter.
In 40 years I’ve learnt a lot. I know that doctors study very little nutrition. I know that diet plays no role in their sickness care – just consider hospital food, or when a doctor declares that diet has nothing to do with a diagnosed illness. I know that many neurologists consider the ketogenic diet too hard to implement for epilepsy, even though it can help symptoms. And many of them wonder why people would want to be on the keo diet anyway.
When I watched the 1997 movie First Do No Harm, I cried, not only for the young boy with epilepsy but for the mother who had to watch her son deteriorate while multiple drug treatments caused more health issues and worsening symptoms. I delved deeper to find out why the movie was made. I learnt about Jim Abrahams, The Charlie Foundation and Millicent Kelly from John Hopkins University Hospital and the incredible work she was doing with patients with refractory epilepsy and food, without a drug in sight.
I wish I had known Millicent and worked with her when I graduated from university. Then I know I would not have been a little fish in a bloody big pond of dietary dogma that I couldn’t get my head around!
The power of food is incredible, and the more I learn, the more I am in awe. The body knows what to do; it has an innate intelligence that means, given the right resources, it will find homeostasis, energy and health.
But we have lost our way. Food companies spew their marketing spin while most of the people working in the food industry have no idea where ingredients come from, let alone of the research, patents, safety testing and excipients involved in the product they buy from a chemical company or onward seller.
The other day I called a company about one of their products. The customer service department could not help me so they put me onto someone else with more knowledge. I asked about the product he was selling and wanted to know if there was any excipients involved in its production as it had a weird fake taste. The conversation went round in circles and I gave up, in the end doing my own research. He had no idea that his product had a patent where, on further independent study, it showed that maltodextrin (corn or wheat based) is added to the product during the drying process. (It’s a procedure not an ingredient, so it doesn’t have to be included on the food label.)
The new fad at the moment is the ketogenic diet. In some cases, people take keto supplements, unaware of how they are made, and even eat food that in the long run can be problematic to health.
But, done the right way, the ketogenic diet is a very powerful diet. It is capable of changing the metabolism of the brain, improving conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s and many other maladies of the brain and nervous system. Epileptic seizures can cease if a person is put on the keto diet, and if they remain on it for 12 months to 3 years, many can begin to eat carbohydrates without any issues. The success rate is greater than that of any epilepsy drug on the market.
People call it a miracle diet, but in fact it’s the body doing what it does best – finding homeostasis, health and energy. You just have to give it the right ingredients.
I’ve had my concerns about the ketogenic diet. I’ve seen people stay in ketosis for years and develop health problems and cancer. Can I definitively say it was the diet? No, but what I can say is that, anthropologically speaking, humans have a propensity to go in and out of ketosis cyclically depending on food availability. If there were no plant foods around, early humans would travel with herds in order to survive. But when the fruit, grains and root vegetables were available, they would stay in one place, gorging on the bounty of a tree or bush filled with fruit.
Knowing how our ancestors cyclically went in and out of ketosis gives us a framework to live by. That’s why I developed our new lifestyle program the Healthy Keto Way.
This way of eating goes back thousands of generations but has gradually morphed into the fad diet we see now. Instead, in the Healthy Keto Way, we take a healthy, historically-informed approach to ketosis. I explain ketones, ketosis, ketoacidosis and so much more. Also included in the book is a look at how many fad keto supplements are made, which will be an eyeopener for many.
As well as the theory, the Healthy Keto Way contains all the practical advice you need to embrace a keto diet healthily, including meal plans, allowed food lists, and discovering how to listen to your body. When we listen to its whispers and do what is required by our body, we don’t have to put up with its screams. I’ll guide you through this step-by-step.
So, if you’re interested in doing the ketogenic diet the way our ancestors would have done it, then come with me on a journey of absolute clarity of mind, energy and health on the Healthy Keto Way. Because when we let history and our innate intelligence be our guide, we see the magic happen.
The Healthy Keto Way
A Peak Performance Program