A few years ago I picked up Dr. Gillian McKeith’s, You Are What You Eat. To say I instantly regretted it would be an over statement. To say I slept for two days straight after reading it would also be a derivative of the truth. Looking back, I’m not sure why I even purchased the bloody thing and now, with four years of nutrition education under my belt, I find it rather funny that I did. But first let me say kudos to her for having the moxie to write and publish a book. I have anxiety over this blog, a portal for my thoughts for which I receive absolutely no compensation.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive consumption of caffeine, chocolate or cigarettes
- Excessive sweating
- Excessive thirst
- Extreme difficulty in getting out of bed
- Falling asleep in the middle of the day/feeling really drowsy
- Inability to get going without caffeine/nicotine fix
- Irritability without frequent meals
- Need for more than eight hours’ of sleep a night
Umm…crap. Let me tell you folks, I do not have any issues regulating glucose at this time and I am literally nine for nine on that questionnaire. Most days, I’ve experienced all nine by 3pm. My life gets very real when I’ve gone more than four hours without eating and if you’ve ever witnessed me on less than eight hours of sleep, you know my demeanor resembles that of Attila the Hun. It’s like witnessing a punk rock band actively contract sun poising in front of your eyes. I’m truly a delight under the right circumstances.
In all seriousness though, insulin resistance can lead to some pretty heavy complications. For example, it can be a precursor for Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So although I’m scoffing this little questionnaire, You Are What You Eat has sold over 2 million copies worldwide, so you better believe people are reading it.
Having said this I feel it’s important to arm you with some knowledge because calling out your caffeine fix for a medical condition just isn’t fair. Common symptoms of insulin resistance (or glucose intolerance) can include excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and polyphagia (excessive hunger/eating). Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar can be further evidenced by fatigue, headache or blurred vision. As you can see, some of the items on McKeith’s list are right on track with these symptoms. Here’s what I’d say. If you have a family history of insulin resistance or diabetes, you’re probably already aware of the signs. If you experience any of them on a daily basis, do more than take a self-assessment questionnaire. Please go see your doctor.
If you’re interested in this book, by all means check it out. The book does have some merits. She pushes healthy eating 101: fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, etc. However, there is a lot of information to keep track of and a smattering of some rather odd practices. Personally, I don’t think food needs to be this hard. The plan she designs is rather complicated and time-consuming for us mere mortals to follow on a daily basis. Nevertheless, who doesn’t want to read a book where the author states on the cover, “Slimmer, healthier, and happier…that’s my promise to you”. If only there was a chapter on techniques for paying off student loans.