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Are You Eating Right For Your Type?
Metabolic Typing Diet: A Personal Account
C. Schurman, October 2008
Frustrated about the plethora of dieting and nutrition strategies available to you? Tired of trying every new plan only to revert back to your same poor eating habits when the diet ultimately fails? Do you know how your body actually processes the foods you eat or what foods make you feel better than others?
Enter The Metabolic Typing Diet (William L. Wolcott). Now I hear you, “Oh no, Court, not another diet review,” you’re thinking to yourself. But please read on to hear more about my own experience. I’d been studying some of the more popular “eating strategies” (well, they’re “diets” but who wants to read any more!) for a number of years: South Beach, Cheat to Lose, Weight Watchers, Zone, Atkins, and other plans to see what are touted as the benefits and disadvantages of each. Some work better than others, but ultimately people tend to return to their favorite foods after they get tired of the specific eating plan suggested, run into time constraints, or “forget” when under duress.
Then, I checked out The Metabolic Typing Diet from the library and took the 65-question self-test survey which enables you to identify your "basic" or "general" metabolic type (Protein, Carbs, or Mixed type; on-line versions of the test offer far more comprehensive questions – at a cost -- and refinements within each category). At first glance I learned that the eating plan appropriate for me was closer to South Beach than any other, with a twist. Tomatoes were out (too acidic) but beans, cauliflower, and asparagus, three of my favorite vegetables, were in. Non-fat cheeses and milk were out, but higher fat (and raw – couldn’t quite go there) milk products were in. Chicken breasts were out, but thighs, duck, Cornish hens, and pork chops were in. What the heck?
I am what is referred to as a “fast oxidizer dominant” protein type and I burn through carbs like there is no tomorrow. Here I was, having participated in over two decades of serious endurance exercise eating carbs, carbs, carbs, and I’m learning that CARBS (whether simple or complex) are not what ultimately fuel MY endurance training, rather it’s the FAT, which I had been trying to curb for decades based on – GASP - governmental recommendations. No wonder I bonked on Mailbox in 2007 on South Beach, I was eating a diet high in lean protein but little else. It was NOT that I was lacking CARBS, per se, rather I did not have enough FAT to sustain my exercise. For someone who has been suggesting “60% CHO, 20% PRO and 20% FAT” for years as a starting point to endurance exercisers, I had to take several big steps back to realize that even (or perhaps especially) for ENDURANCE athletes, there could be huge variations depending on each individual’s unique metabolic type.
Each general metabolic type corresponds to a specific diet. Once you have identified your particular type and the basic diet that's right for you, you can then fine-tune or customize your diet to your own highly individualized needs. In the past 10 months since my husband and I initially did the first survey and began slowly and gradually incorporating some of the suggestions into our programs, we have noticed a) better dental check-ups (but NOT due to better dental care, merely due to eating right for our bodies); b) fewer illnesses and colds; c) fewer digestive problems; d) fewer cravings for foods that are identified as “problem foods”, and e) more stable moods in general (this alone can be particularly important for women plagued by PMS.) What’s more, we’re more attuned to what foods do to us after we eat them. Sushi works if I limit the rice and choose higher fat fishes; Thai food (my old favorite) leaves me feeling bloated from the carbohydrates; pork chops, which I loved as a kid but hadn’t eaten in over 20 years, is now back in the can-eat category; and thin-crust pizza laden with various meats, feta and mozzarella cheeses, and the right vegetables, has become a staple in our family. Yes, it has certainly revolutionized the way I select foods on a daily basis.
But that’s MY unique type. What’s YOURS? What foods leave you satisfied? What foods upset your stomach? Do you tend to have dry skin? Do you have a strong gag reflex? Do you suffer from constipation, allergies, migraines, or other regular systemic ailments? Are you usually stiff when you wake up in the morning? These and many other diverse questions can shed light on a lot of areas that might be directly affected by your diet.
To learn more about the book, The Metabolic Typing Diet, which may change the way you select foods specific to your own unique body’s needs, see www.metabolictypingdiet.com or check out a copy at your local library. The Seattle Public Library has a waiting list; I wonder how many of those people are clients who have already gotten my recommendation?