Spoiler alert: No, The Answer To Life, The Universe and Everything is not 42. It is …
Life often gives us little nudges when we begin to go astray. If you ignore the push, it will turn into a shove. Keep up the indifference, and life will chew you up and spit you out into the nearest ditch by the wayside. Nearly four years ago, I started hitchhiking my way to wellness as an alumnus of this very ditch.
Clutching a 2L Sprite bottle in one hand and a piece of paper – with HbA1c 12.5% stamped on it – in the other, I took stock and reset my GPS, punching in starting point as Rock Bottom.
All my biomarkers responded almost instantaneously to medicine and lifestyle changes. My bruised ego and broken spirit though, took six months to even begin to heal. If you promise not to fall asleep mid-story, I’ll take you through my extraordinarily ordinary (and slightly melodramatic) tale of Diabetes reversal, Hypertension Reversal and Weight Loss.
I had taken my diagnosis very hard and was hopelessly depressed and totally inconsolable for months. To forgive yourself is one of the toughest challenges out there – it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. All I wanted to do, was to find a way to reverse my condition. In my head-space I could begin to relax only if I could somehow make this thing- this Diabetes – just go away.
I made fantastic progress in a relatively short time and my Doctor was beyond thrilled, but there I was, majorly sulking and moping. Agreed, I was making incredible progress, but I knew what I was doing was not sustainable for life. An hour of exercise every day, eating crappy food that I absolutely hated, feeling hungry and deprived all the time AND popping pills that gave me SUCH misery: this was not how I wanted to live out the rest of my life.
Something, I decided, had to change. Much of my existence thereafter, centred on the pursuit of that something.
I was not a very nice person to be around those days, so no one actually complained when I buried my head in books and spent ALL my time on the net, furiously researching a “cure”. I had been religiously following conventional guidelines and hadn’t gotten the results I wanted. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of stupidity.
One of the first videos I remember watching was Dr. Sarah Hallberg’s ‘Reversing type 2 diabetes starts with ignoring the guidelines’. Given the frame of mind I was in at that time, ignoring guidelines greatly appealed to my inner rebel. Dr.William Davis and his Wheat Belly also had a very profound effect on me during that time. The case against grains was slowly but surely being made. One link lead to the other and soon I was swamped by data on the efficacy of low carb diets in reversing diabetes.
I am a certified Doubting Thomas and naturally I had my doubts about this new contrarian concept that went against everything I’d known, trusted and acted on thus far. What if Dr. Hallberg was wrong? What if LCHF was just another scam, a fad diet that would eventually turn out to be downright dangerous? Ketones were supposed to put the fear of the Lord in you. Why were they part of my funky new diet? There was no end to the whys and wherefores that haunted my sleeping and waking hours.
I made my acquaintance with many, many low carb advocates and ploughed through many, many more low carb tomes. I looked at LCHF from every possible angle. Nobody was pulling rabbits out of a hat here, this was no smoke and mirrors freak show. I paid close attention to low carb experts, and I paid even closer attention to the critics of low carb. I verified for myself which side had gotten it right and which was all about rhetoric. This low carb thingy, I finally, cautiously concluded, is legit. No Shiite Sherlock!
You don’t need a PhD in Quantum Mechanics to understand the science of low carb – just plain common sense is enough. How can anyone NOT understand? Why is fundamental biochemistry being so wilfully ignored? Who is feeling threatened by all of this? Human beings are the only creatures that can take a simple concept, overthink it, and complicate it beyond understanding! Maybe it is all part of a grand scheme and is a deliberate attempt to manipulate power dynamics.
Even in the face of such overwhelming evidence in favour of LCHF, I was STILL not ready to take the plunge. I remember watching in horror, the video of a lady making her low carb breakfast – with 8 eggs. EIGHT! A life-time of conditioning is not easily erased or overwritten. I was definitely fascinated by the concept of LCHF, but also afraid to take the first step. I did experiment with a few low carb meals here and there, but followed the miserable ‘six small meals, low-fat, low-calorie, whole-grains’ routine for the most part.
Around this time, I came across Dr. Bert Herring and Dr Jason Fung and their views on Intermittent Fasting. This lit a spark in me and I followed their work with an obsessive compulsive fervour. I have a past history of phenomenal success with Fasting. I’d had a short stint with Alternate Day Fasting several years ago (I called it my Starvation Diet) and had lost massive amounts of weight, keeping it off for a long time as well.
Intermittent Fasting taught me a lot of things. It brought a level of discipline that permeated every aspect of my life. Intermittent Fasting also renewed my faith in LCHF. Fasting was much MUCH easier when my meals were low carb. As my hours of fasting extended, my meals naturally drifted towards LCHF options. I would go so far as to say that LCHF chose me and not the other way around.
In theory, a low carb diet and long hours of fasting sound punishing. You need to live this life style to understand how liberating it really is. The changes in mind, body and spirit have to be experienced to be believed. My A1c as it currently stands, is 4.7%, my blood pressure consistently hovers around 110/72 mmHg and I managed to “release” 20+ kilos; a stubborn layer of blubber keeps taunting me to this day with temperamental ups and downs of +/- 5kg.
The final challenge along my hitchhiking trail was that of Sustainability. I had been scoring fantastic numbers on my LCHF/IF life style and I was off ALL medicines. Will power and motivation have this annoying habit of starting to wane once you’ve hit personal goals. My family was supportive right up until my numbers stabilized and then they started saying stuff like, “Oh now you’re fine, you can have a little of this or a little of that”. Na huh, no way, not gonna happen!
I needed support and I needed it from like-minded people. Thus started my search for a community that I could lean on for support, guidance and camaraderie. That’s how I came across dLife.in. This community was everything my low-carb Indian soul was yearning for. Like a stream in the desert, it nourished my low carb life and gave me constant motivation to seek optimal health, joyfully. Did I mention that dLife.in is chock-a-block with yummerooni recipes? More recipes than you can use…until you NEED them (do forgive me, Samsung)
I LOVE the food I eat now and I don’t exercise like mad. Thanks to shared experiences at dLife.in, I’ve learned to manoeuvre around social eating and expectations from family. I am but a flawed human, and I go through phases where I take two steps forward and slide back four. I can live with that, because now, even if I fall, I know how to dust myself off and soldier on. I know I have a loving group of people who have my back, who will help me out and cheer me on in my journey, come what may.
In conclusion, I have a lot to say (so what’s new). But I heard you, my reader, let rip a couple of snores when you thought I wasn’t listening. Before you hit the snooze button once again, I’ll quickly conclude with just one sentence:
The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, is not 42, it is LCHF. Just. Do. It.
PS: The title and the number 42 are inside secrets that Douglas Adams fans will forever chuckle over. Who’d have thought Sci-Fi could be so much fun!