I found the “SANE” lifestyle through an intense internet search. My purpose for wanting to change my diet wasn’t to look better or lose weight, I was looking for the answer to my health issues. Years earlier I’d been diagnosed with a rather nasty auto-immune disease and I was still having trouble accepting the fact that I’d have to take pills the rest of my life. The pills and the disease were manageable but I’d felt abandoned by the medical industry that I’d thought was there to help me.
In the years since I’d been diagnosed I’d moved around a few times and had had different doctors. None of them ever mentioned diet. It was never part of the discussion. I essentially had a very expensive test to tell me I had to take pills forever. Deep down inside of me I could never accept this and I had a yearning to know why this had happened to me in the first place. I was after all an athlete and I ate fairly well, at least so I though. After my wife and I had gotten back from a long vacation abroad, I had noticed that all of my symptoms were gone and I had felt pretty good. After a long discussion we determined that it had come down to diet. For the first time in years I felt that there was an answer.
My intrigue to find an answer lead me to the SANE lifestyle. The SANE approach was nothing like I’d read about before. All of the comments I’d read on various health websites and forums were all uniquely positive. After reading as much as I could from the SANE website I discovered the podcast. Since I have a 40 minute commute to work I figured the podcast would be an easy way to start.
After the first few episodes, I was hooked. Everything that was discussed on each episode made so much sense. I loved the science based approach, being an engineer at heart and a mechanic by trade, I got behind the concepts very quickly. Once I understood why some foods may not be the best for my body, I made little changes what would in the end get me to where I wanted to be. I began slowly by changing no more than one thing per week. These little changes would add up to make a huge difference.
The first and I would say the easiest change towards SANE eating, which I’d discovered while on vacation, was commercial dairy. When I had taken a step back and stopped eating commercial dairy foods for a few weeks there was a dramatic change in how I felt. When I realized how badly dairy had affected me, it was easy to let it go. Next was bread, I’d never been too much of a bread fan so not eating bread was easy. Although replacing it was a bit tricky and worrisome at first. Following the simple formula of protein plus fat and veggies I came up with a lunch salad that was simple to make and very tasty. Along the SANE journey I also discovered sweet potatoes and those were a lifesaver. I’ve been a cyclist for as long as I can remember so I was a bit worried about eating enough carbohydrates and sweet potatoes became my answer or should I say, savior. Experimenting by cutting out foods and then adding them back in gave me an idea of what I could eat and what I shouldn’t eat. All in all it wasn’t too hard. That’s not to say that there were no difficulties though.
The hardest inSANE food to give up was oatmeal. I have yet to come up with a good reason for why but it was very hard to get out of my diet. I had eaten oatmeal for breakfast for years and the days I didn’t eat it I felt I missed it. What got me through the problem was my own need and desire to experiment. I noticed that if I ate oatmeal I’d be hungry only a few hours later but if I’d had a fat and vegetable based smoothie for breakfast I was full most of the day. It was hard to accept but if it wasn’t satiating then why would I be eating it? Socially, eating SANE was more difficult than it was to not eat inSANE foods anymore.
Nearly every day at lunch I would get questions about what I was eating and if I would indeed be able to finish the large portion that I had with me that day. To this day I still get the same questions. At first it was hard to explain what I was doing. I live in northern Europe and the culture here has been brought up being okay with eating a half to a whole loaf of bread a day. To them it was hard to understand that bread may not be the best thing for you. Eventually I came to terms with the social difficulties and found a way to be more open about how I eat.
I found a lot of comfort in the SANE lifestyle by explaining to people that because I stopped eating pie, bread, commercial dairy and other inSANE foods that I have gotten rid of a chronic disease. I no longer take pills and I’m healthier that I have ever been. Why? It’s all because I eat SANE foods.
By Justin Kingsbury