So in keeping with our discussion about how there are many different approaches to health, with the distinct possibility that there is more than one that is viable, I thought I would share a small overview about my approach. Again, if this is something new and different that you would like to share with others- please pass this along!
For at least 9 years, I have stopped counting calories, as well as grams of fat, carbs and protein. I know this goes against the prevailing mainstream- and I’m not saying that you can’t lose weight counting! Sure you can, but I want you to know that there are other approaches.
And since you’ve heard about the counting approach pretty much everywhere- from health and beauty magazines, on TV, through doctors and other allopathic health professionals, numerous diet books, etc…. I thought I would tell you about my approach.
But, by the way, there are many doctors and many other people that follow this approach- you just might not have heard about it as much.
Again, it doesn’t mean one way is right or wrong- but it does mean that there is definitely more than one way! And we must not use the evaluative systems of one method and apply it to another. It’s kind of like asking a shaman of the Hunza tribe, one of the oldest living communities of people, to apply the Scientific Method to evaluate why he eats Goji berries.
I invite you, as always, to use your own investigative and discriminative powers, and discern the approach to health that benefits you individually the most.
MY APPROACH: I always like to take a step back and get a wider view, and see where current popular health ideas fit into context. Let us consider that 100 years ago, none of our ancestors counted calories or grams of carbs. The same is true for pretty much every country. So we have to recognize that the practice of counting is actually quite new. Even back in the 50’s and 60’s, when America as a whole was a much slimmer version of today, people did not count calories. They looked at portion size, and they did not eat anywhere near the amount of processed foods today.
Previously. I used the counting practice for years. I would count the number of calories and fat grams going into my body, and then calculate how many calories I would burn when I went to the gym. It was pretty crazy- I would write it all down in a little notebook. When I was “bad” and ate something that had a lot of calories at lunch, I would be hungry at dinner but would not allow myself to eat too much, because I would mess up the calorie equation and surely gain weight!!
Needless to say, it was miserable and wasted a lot of my mental and physical energy. To think how many other things I could have been focusing my mind on! About 9 years ago I stopped counting. I started doing something else (which I will discuss in a minute) and my life totally changed. I slimmed down to my perfect, homeostatic weight for my frame, and have been able to stay there (within about 3 pounds) fairly effortlessly for years. I don’t count calories burned at the gym. In fact I haven’t worked out in a gym in about that long, though I do practice yoga. My energy has gone through the roof, I don’t consume any caffeine at all (except 1-3 times a week or so, raw cacao!), my hair has gotten really thick and my skin cleared up. I feel much calmer, happier and more peaceful.
So instead of counting what do I do? In one simplistic thought, I determine how close to its natural state a food is, what its natural health-giving properties are (including minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, etc.), and I evaluate how easily (or not) it breaks down in the body, which by the way is affected by when you eat that food and by other foods you eat it with.
So I ask questions like, Is that food raw? In which case it would have all its own digestive enzymes, and would in turn build up the life force of my body. If not, then it is has been processed in some way away from its original form. Has it been steamed? Grilled? Microwaved? Fried? Treated with preservatives and canned? Pasteurized or treated with pesticides? Some forms of processing are far more harmful than others!
There are a couple of reasons that I don’t personally count numbers. First off, what if you asked me how many miles I walked in a given day? That is all you cared about- the actual number. What if on two separate days the answer was TWO. However, one of those days was this past Sunday, when I walked up to the farmer’s market in Union Square, then meandered down 5th Avenue, stopped in a couple of places, and at one point plopped down one a bench and ate a whole container of cherries. 🙂 Two miles. The other day was when I hiked two miles through the night of my summit push to get to Uhuru Peak, the top of Mount Kilimanjaro via a difficult route. We started climbing before midnight, and through little oxygen, some ice and snow, and well…a mountain (!) got to the peak by 9 am the next day. 9 hours of strenuous climbing (and pain!), but still two miles. But are the two miles really the same???
So it is with my evaluation of food. Is the same 500 calories from cherries, tomatoes and pineapple the same as the 500 calories you splurged on by eating a bag of Pringles? Is 10 grams of protein from raw nuts treated the same in the body as 10 grams of protein from grilled red meat, which is heated to such high temperatures that it requires copious amounts of energy to break it down and re-assimilate it into our bodies? Is the fat from an avocado the same as eating some French fries- even when you consume the same amount of actual fat grams?
In my personal experience, I have found that the people that count the most are often the people that have the hardest time losing and maintaining their weight. Counting calories is a way some people use to ignore the quality of their food. For instance, some people want to use their 120 calories going out for Tasti D’Lite frozen yogurt, instead of eating a bag of almonds, which has more fat. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of some of those frozen yogurt places? They are often made with chemicals, preservatives, and definitely pasteurized dairy products. What about carb-free crackers?? Chances are if something came out of a box and has “fortified” or “enriched” with XYZ on the label, it was stripped down and processed a LOT.
When you eat foods as close to their natural state as possible, your body can break it down and pass the waste out much easier. To compromise easy digestion is the beginning of a long battle with weight gain. And cravings. That is one of the problems with low-fat dairy for instance. Though it may not have many grams of fat or calories, it is mucus-forming, and very difficult to digest, and can eventually lead to toxicity in the body (as it does not digest cleanly), which can lead to weight gain. A food sitting on our kitchen counter becomes a totally different entity when we put it in our bodies, which is 98 degrees, with dozens of simultaneous and varied processes going on.
There is so much more to say about this topic- that I need a whole book! 🙂 I’ll stop here, as I hope you have gotten a little “food” for thought. Many other topics to discuss. For instance: The topic of portion size. Quickly, when you are eating water-containing foods with their natural fiber (salads, Green Smoothies, etc.) you don’t have to worry about portion size anywhere near the way you do when you are eating dense foods that are processed and/or don’t contain any water (cheese, hamburger meat, roasted nuts, etc.).
Someone wrote me this question, and I thought it was too spectacular to highlight differing nutritional approaches that I wanted to share it with everyone (thank you to the person leaving it)! And of course this is an individual and does not mean that all RDs in general or any other group of people share this same viewpoint. In fact, I have had the most open-minded and progressive RDs writing me of late! (which is nice!). Anyways… the response I left is below:
QUESTION: Here’s a fact: 1 medium avocado has ~306 calories, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 14-30 grams total fat (270 of those 306 calories), and only 3.6 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrate. Are you sure that this is a great grab and go food in the mornings over the choice of a typical energy bar? Sounds gross to me….but that’s speaking from an “RD”…..
ME: That is a great question to ask that highlights the distinct difference in my nutritional theories from the more popular approaches. I do not evaluate the health of a food based solely on how many calories or grams of carbs it has. I look to the ease of which a food breaks down and digests in a body.
A typical protein bar is loaded with soy protein isolates and at least 10 ingredients which are difficult to pronounce – i.e. chemicals (I am not talking about raw food bars like Lara bars, I am talking about popular protein bars). The avocado on the other hand, while having more calories and fat, is in its natural, raw state. Exactly the way nature grew it and designed it. The body can much more easily break down and digest natural foods in a clean way. On the other hand, soy protein isolates have been linked to depressing thyroid function and being a trypsinogen-blocker. If you want to read some research on that Dr. Mercola has some good online research you can check out. Soy protein isolates are extremely processed and mostly genetically modified, and soy is one of the most highly pesticide-sprayed crops. All the health concerns of putting GMO foods and pesticides in the body are a whole other conversation altogether. I am a huge advocate of eating UNprocessed foods.
I believe it is extremely limited to only look on a nutritional label and look at 1) calories 2) fat grams 3) carb grams 4) protein grams. Raw avocado fat is different than fried animal fat. Protein from raw hemp seeds is different than corrupted, heated animal protein than requires copious amounts of energy in the body to break down its complex amino acid chains and rebuild in the human body in an assimilable form. If we only look at numbers- we fall into what I call “Weight Watcher’s Head.” Where 5 points is 5 points, whether it is an avocado (again raw fruit!) or a small bag of Doritos (chemical cracker nightmare with food colorings and preservatives). These numbers in no way reflect how the body can digest, assimilate and use these foods- and on what impact they have on our organs and overall health.
In the GMA segment the premise was “lunch on the go.” So for a quick lunch, I absolutely believe a natural avocado is far healthier than a chemical-filled protein bar. I am not telling people to have 12 of them a day! Plus having the avocado, with all its great fat, beauty-building minerals, and fiber, will keep someone satiated with long-burning fuel throughout their afternoon, and help keep them from reaching for unhealthy other snacks, and running out of fuel- so much so that they reach for more caffeine sources like coffee. It will digest out of the body cleanly without leaving toxic residue in the body and without disrupting the organs’ functions. Not so sure about the soy protein isolate-filled, highly processed protein bars.
I would rather eat something that grows from a tree rather than something that went through many different steps of processing before my body is asked to break it down, any day of the week.
Again, this is my approach, and it is not everyone’s approach! So respect for all. And evaluate what works best for you!
All my very best,
Hello, thanks for this post, by reading your blog I gathered this is your approach but now it is a lot clearer. I would like to note that counting calories etc can make people very obsessive and I believe your approach would be very healthy for people suffering from eating disorders which is very common I’m afraid.
I am just having my breakfast: green smoothie, raw quinoa porridge with organic sprouted flaxseed and handpicked (by me) red currants.
Anyway, I do have few questions:
– I am a little lost with combining foods, my breakfast combo above, is it OK or should the green smoothie be enjoyed on its own? I went running before breakfast and have a long day ahead and needed something more than just the smoothie.
– How gradually did you make changes? What happens if a ‘normal’ person just goes all raw?
– What about colon cleanses, are they necessary and if so, how often? Can I do them at home?
Thank you so much, I really love reading your blog, it is really life-changing!
Thanks for reaching out and emailing me. Thrilled to hear you love the blog. 🙂
Your breakfast is great, I would just drink the Green Smoothie first, and if you could wait 20 minutes or so before eating the porridge that would be great. I wouldn’t consume them together at the same time.
How gradually you make changes really depends on how acidic your body is currently and your current state of health. I never recommend someone become all raw! The cleansing response can be too drastic, and you could feel really sick- and even get really sick if you body is kicking up more toxicity than you can eliminate. Make small steps, and monitor how you feel. If you are going too fast your body will tell you.
You can do enemas at home but colonics (gravity centered ones) are done by a colon hydrotherapist. As your diet changes and becomes higher vibration, they are important to pull out old waste and matter. The gravity centered ones are much better than hydraulic pressure colonics in my opinion.
Hope that helps and come visit again soon!!
After all the sort of negative things I’ve read from others, I so hope that those beautiful, smiling pictures of you in this post are recent! I totally adore your blog!
Awhile back you had mentioned that you were available for phone consults, and I was wanting to treat myself to one for my birthday. How can I find out more about that (cost, what I can learn, etc.)?
All the very best,
Hi Morgan- Yes! Those pictures are from this past Saturday.
What negativity?? 🙂 Since my audience has expanded to literally millions of people that watch GMA and link back here, I have come to realize that there are indeed haters in the world! It has been very interesting and a great learning experience to have to deal with.
However, if you think that there are about 12-15 haters for millions of people that hear me, and thousands of people that are on my blog every day, that is a pretty good statistic. 🙂
I really just tune it out! And focus on the big goal- which is to help people that are receptive and open to this new information. And we do have a great system administrator that works to keep the minority of negative people at bay.
For phone consults, email me and we can discuss!
All my very best,
Great! Where do I find that e-mail address?
Oops! Sorry. It is firstname.lastname@example.org
If you do eat wrong and get terribly bloated, what’s the best thing to do? Drink water? Drink nothing? Eat or not eat? Exercise? Rest?
If you are bloated due to poor food combining or something else, don’t throw water or liquids on top of it! It will only further dilute the digestive juices.
At that point, you have to wait it out and breathe deeply.
If this happens at dinner, the next morning I would NOT eat a heavy breakfast, push on water for a while and when you are hungry have a Green Smoothie.
Hi Kimberly! I try to take an objective look at the nutrition information available or presented to the general public. As I stated, I’m extremely interested in complementary and alternative medicine, and maybe a few years ago, your segment would have really shocked me. However, after working with health professionals who use alternative medicine, I have really found it to be beneficial and plan to utilize it in my own practice someday.
Thanks for your work; I look forward to reading more of your posts.
St. Louis University
Great post! I pretty much eat as much healthy food as I want and don’t worry about anything else. I make sure to keep my diet balanced well since I’m vegan and mostly raw at that. Green smoothies and green juices are things I love to ensure I’m loading my body with nutrients,
Hi Kimberly, I live in New York City and I’m looking for a place to get a colonic. Do you have any suggestions where I can get one done at a reasonable rate? Thanks.
You know Kim, in Hollywood, controversy brings publicity…so when those with opposing views stop by to share, it only means that the word is being spread far and wide….thanks for spreading it Kim. We don’t want you to stop! 🙂 The negative views can only push you to find out more about what you already practice…so I say bring it on! 🙂
Boy oh boy…I feel great inside! I haven’t felt this good for soo many years.
I’ve been drinking the green drink for the past couple weeks and I feel my body is changing for the better.
I don’ t crave sweets or processed foods anymore because my body is getting all the nutrients and vitamins from all the greens and fruits.
No wonder this country is in pandemic with all the diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.
Thank you kim for opening my eyes to the raw green juice. I was juicing before the but it was mainly fruits with my juicer.
So, now I’m drinking twice as much greens than fruits because I believe we should be consuming more vegetables than fruits.
That is awesome!!!! Yes, green drinks are where it is at!!!!
Greens support our life force and bring overall balance to our whole bodies. The problem with juicing fruits is that you juice way more quantities of fruits than you would ever consume by eating. Only watermelon (with rind!) works as an all fruit juice.
Take care and come visit me again, and keep in touch!
I second that! I have a fast metabolism and am young, so I used to eat anything and everything that was processed, cheesy, salty or sweet! I always ate our and never cooked more than scrambled eggs. Until now, fruit and veggies were the smallest part of my diet.
I never thought I could do this, but I am and it’s great! I now see the beauty in what mother nature blessed us with and find your recipes easy and very tasty!
I just started the colonics and it helped SO much! However, the holistic nutritionist told me to stop eating fruits and veggies together in the GGS – only add a little fruit if I was jucing light greens. She said to eat fruit 30 minutes before on an empty stomach. What do you think?
Great post as always 🙂 My sister and I really enjoyed this post because we were one those people too that counted calories that we ate and burned off. We were obsessed, which was not healthy at all because it was even ruining our sister-bond friendship! It has been hard for us to stop that bad habit but ever since we have gone more raw we are realizing we eat when we want to eat and NO WORRIES!! Some days we are better than others : ) but making progress. We have started our own blog to share our journey into the raw foods world. We hope to inspire others like you inspire us!
That’s great! I’m glad you guys have a healthy perspective. It is all about making progress, not being perfect!
That’s great for you guys- and please keep in touch and check in to let me know how you do. 🙂
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That’s great OMG Slim and thanks for checking it out. Sending lots of love! 😉