Last week, I had the honor and pleasure of attending some of the "Finding Your Food Map" retreat given by Jan Buhrman and John Bagnulo. I work with Jan part-time behind the scenes of her thriving Kitchen Porch Catering business, her popular Culinary Experiences classes and Workshops, as well as her Living Local on Martha's Vineyard blog. I create e-newsletters, ads, posters and do website postings of recipes, blog posts, etc. The event last week was the first I'd been able to participate in as a part of Jan's and John's new and unique Diaeta Way venture.
Since I had already begun my new journey to better health a month and a half prior, the week offered me the insights, confirmations I needed. It also raised many questions for me. You see, I respond quite vehemently to scientific fact-based information. I experienced many emotions while listening to John's lectures each of the five mornings (2 hours each day). I have pages upon pages of copious notes that I have already gone back to and reviewed several times. Although there was a lot of information to process, I did not feel too overwhelmed by it. I have never felt more INFORMED - I mean really and truly informed. The amount of appreciation I have for this is immense.
Now for some nitty-gritty from my personal experience...
I can already attest that being grain-free for this past month has made a difference. Yes, I've lost weight (17 pounds in 1.5 months), have more energy, lost all that brain-fog, feel more alive, etc. I have also been on a very regular exercise regiment with strength training twice weekly ("with intensity" as John stressed needs to be the case!) and power walking 2 miles at least 5-7 times a week. It is hard work. I want my daily food intake to complement and aid all of this hard work to the best of its ability. The idea of a daily intake of 60% good fats, 20% protein, 20% carbs appealed to me for optimum function. Without the grains already, I felt empowered to give this a try and see where I am in another month. It is NOT impossible, but I will say that it is challenging AND it doesn't have to be done perfectly for good results (great energy, weight loss/maintenance, balance in blood sugar levels, etc.). I happen to have an appointment with a new doctor this week for a thorough check-up. I will be showing up with a list of blood tests that I want to have done (in addition to the "usual") based on what I learned at the retreat last week.
My commitment, and the commitment of all of the participants attending "Finding Your Food Map" goes beyond a mere "diet" (and that word is intentionally avoided throughout the program, as well as here on this post). It is about overall health and lifestyle changes. I was one of the youngest attendees. I looked around and felt two things: 1) a deep appreciation and gratefulness for getting on my health NOW, rather than waiting until I had a real health problem to deal with; 2) amazing admiration for all for all of the people there for their own commitment to health and the bravery it takes to really look and SEE where you are and take on doing something about it.
I witnessed a vegetarian (since 1998) eat her first oyster - her blood test results showed she needed zinc. She took the plunge, ate an oyster, had a few more and began her new path.
I witnessed a meat-eater go vegetarian for a few weeks due to uric acid levels in her tests.
I witnessed many participants balk at some of the information, go through the expected levels of denial to some of it (balsamic vinegar contains MOLD???!!!! NOOOOO!!!!) and come out the other side resigned and ready to make the necessary changes to better themselves, their health and their family's health.
You see, none of this information is shared in a vacuum. It penetrates and swirls around the group, raises questions and promotes discussions among all the people there. Both John and Jan were always readily available - even outside the lecture times or cooking classes - to converse, argue and emphasize the most important points shared that morning. Sometimes it takes a day or two for something really intense to penetrate. This made worthiness of the retreat being 5 days long obvious.
Although it is obvious that I am not going to be able to share all of the information here, there are some crucial things that I learned that I share below. If you are looking for more, you can always visit DiaetaWay.com. There is also a resources page on the website for further delving. Please come on over and join the discussion and find out even more each day at the Diaeta Way Facebook Page. In addition to several articles, John did recommend two books, both of which I have ordered: The Bulletproof Diet, by David Aspry, and Perfect Health Diet, by Paul Jaminet, Ph.D. & Shou-Ching Jaminet, Ph.D.
Gluten & grains are really the worst things for our bodies -- Whole grains, in some studies, have been shown to be WORSE than refined grains.
Sugar - no better than gluten & grains! An "acceptable" once-in-a-while sweetener is Xylitol, but only the type sourced from Birch Sap, NOT sourced from corn or other sources.
Get rid of the vegetable oils! These include: Canola, Corn Oil, Sunflower & Safflower Oils
Good Fats Sources: Avocados, Organic Grass-Fed Butter (emphasis on grass-fed!), Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil. Sustainably sourced mackerel, sardines, wild salmon.
Anything from the ocean: it contains selenium - we need this - Eat it! Selenium prevents our bodies from absorbing mercury so if the seafood in question contains it, don't go nuts worrying about the mercury! (Hooray!)
Greens, greens, veggies, and more greens, but DON'T eat these raw: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and others containing goitrigens that inhibit Thyroid function. Lightly sauté, steam and/or braise before eating.
Nuts contain MOLD. Yes they do and we may not be happy to hear it, but even the organic ones. They sit around on the shelf, they grow bad things and we eat them and some of us may even get very sick from them (not as in puking or THAT kind of sick, but as in autoimmune dysfunction that leads to serious disease sick). You can "safely" consume a handful of raw organic almonds a day and macadamia nuts are also a great choice. All of the others? Buh-Bye. This includes nut butters, unless of course you make them yourself using almonds or macadamia nuts.
COFFEE. Yes! You can have coffee. Here's the BEST WAY.
I will be very involved with Diaeta Way from here on out. If you ever have any questions about anything or you are looking for more information on the programs and retreats offered, please contact me using my contact form here on the site, through the Diaeta Way Facebook page or my This Present Life Facebook page.
Photography: Milena Lowe