Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This I Believe Essay

As many of you know, at age 49 I decided to go back to college and get a Master's in Biotechnology. In the first semester, every student is required to take a class called "Intro to Graduate Studies." The class itself is worth zero credits towards graduating, and covers things like using the school library, plagiarism, writing in APA style, and research skills. I learned a few things, I guess. One of the assignments was to write a short, 500 word, essay based on Edward R. Murrows "This I Believe" radio show of the 1950's.  This I Believe still exists on line and in pod casts. Check it out, kinda cool for short inspirational kind of stories. 
This I Believe is based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries—anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. These essayists’ words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division.

So, anyway, this is the essay I turned in and got 100/100 points for...

I believe that humans don’t know how to eat. As a species, we lack the instincts needed to make wise food choices. I grew up on a farm in Ohio, left home at 17 for a career in the military, and one day found myself 42 years old, fat, weak, and sick. The doctors said I had “metabolic syndrome.” I was given handouts and advised to eat lean meats, healthy whole grains, and no fat. I was told to eat less and move more. I did everything the doctors told me, I took their medicines, yet I got fatter and sicker.

            I tried counting calories, cutting carbs, fasting, and vegetarianism. I’d lose a few pounds, but gain it right back a few weeks later. It was easiest to just blame my weight on my illnesses. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, pre-diabetes, low thyroid, and gout. I had a pill to help treat the symptoms of each disease. The gout kept me from exercising and the pills made me “hongry.”

            At my most metabolically deranged, my diet was much as it had been my entire adult life: Fried food, fast food, lots of sugar, salt, and grain products. I drank diet soda instead of water. Breakfast was a pastry, lunch was whatever I could cram down my throat in 20 minutes and dinner was usually from a box dumped into a pan and mixed with cheap hamburger or chicken. I ate like a civilized person.

            At a routine checkup in 2009, the doctor said, “Congratulations, Tim! You are now a full-fledged diabetic. Go see the nutritionist for a consult and learn how to give yourself shots.” I left his office, tossed the prescription and consult order in the trash, and sat down in front of my computer. I spent the next six months studying about metabolic syndrome and its cause.

            I studied human diets and learned how humans ate 10,000 years ago. I began eating fatty meat, organ meat, and piles of vegetables, nuts, and fruit. I stopped eating grain, sugar, and oil. I ate nothing processed by man. I ate nothing fried in oil. I stopped counting calories and ate until I was full. I ate no candy and drank no soda. I ate nothing from a can. Within 6 months I was off all of my medicine, had lost 60 pounds, and felt like exercising again. I felt alive for the first time in years.

            For me it “clicked” when I looked at the data. Metabolic syndrome and most modern diseases didn’t appear until we started eating a grain-based diet and these diseases exploded when fast-food came on the scene in the 1970’s. These easy-to-get foods are causing us to over eat substances with nearly no nutritional value. I was starving myself to death while eating everything in sight. My victory over metabolic syndrome has led me on a journey of self-discovery and given me a mission to spread the word as widely as possible.



  1. That could have been written by me... changing the age to 32.

  2. I am guessing that one day there will be an Alaskan street named after you. It will be the site of the local farmer's market, the organic shop, the local potato starch factory, the hunting & fishing supply store and the paleo cafe!

  3. Tatertot Lane...has a ring to it! They just voted in personal-use marijuana here, so there may be a hemp store and a really mellow bakery nearby, too.

  4. Tim, for some reason I didn't realize you were so far gone physically when you started all this. Your recovery is incredible. Thanks so much for posting this essay. Your stuff keeps me trying.