Here’s something I found while digging through boxes and organizing my files over the holidays.  The picture below is from around 20 years ago.  The guys in my old band and I got together for a reunion — we hadn’t played together in 10 years, so we set up in the keyboard player’s living room and recorded ourselves playing some of our old favorites.

I was still a big believer in the dangers of fat in general and saturated fats specifically in those days.  I lived mostly on pasta, rice, potatoes, Grape-Nuts with skim milk and whole-grain bread.  I also ate Egg Beaters instead of real eggs.  I didn’t drink sodas or eat candy.  In fact, I didn’t consume sugar at all.  I knew sugar was bad.

You can see how well that diet was working for me.

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19 Responses to “Me In My Low-Fat Days”
  1. Nowhereman says:

    Fascinating. I see in that photo that you had a full head of hair, and were chubby. This leads me to believe that as you got older and lost your hair, you lost body fat. Therefore the correlation is that it was not the low-carb paleo diet that helped you to lose weight, but losing your hair! :D :D :D

    Interesting hypothesis. Perhaps I should have transplants and see if I re-gain the weight.

  2. Digger says:

    I love this article on Grape Nuts Cereal. Try and read it without laughing out loud at how silly we were for eating it.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124381591156970663.html

    That’s hilarious.

  3. Sean says:

    How come you weren’t also sporting a pair of acid-washed jeans?

    My fashion sense was lacking.

  4. Christopher says:

    I was eating almost no fat whatsoever some time ago. My breakfast may have been only 2 grams of fat, but it was filled with carbs (55 grams of carbs)! I also was really unhappy during that time. Now I just got done eating at MickeyD’s and feel great :D.

    Even my brother who used to drink Coca-Cola for breakfast knew that bread is bad.

    I hope he didn’t express that opinion while sipping on a Coke.

  5. Steve says:

    It is absolutely amazing the grip that low fat still has on the world.

    I too ate egg beaters, skim milk, and made other self-mutilating food choices. I like to think I was clever enough to recognize the low-fat scam earlier than most. However the book “Low Fat Ways to Enjoy Pasta” I see on my bookshelf is proof that I was in hook, line, and sinker.

    Hey at least you weren’t the one in the acid-wash jeans…

    Mine were probably in the laundry.

  6. Marilyn says:

    Actually, you look a little “fluffy” around the middle, but it could have been a lot worse. Yes, I remember 20 years ago — the jug of corn oil in the cupboard for the rare occasions I cooked with any fat, the skim milk, the chicken breasts cooked fat-free in seasoned water. . . .blekkkk! The one thing I miss is the Grape Nuts. I would occasionally go completely off the wagon and eat them with sugar and half and half. If I had any in the house today, I might not be able to help myself. :-)

    I got fluffier over the next decade. I’d post pictures from my even-fatter days, but I was pretty adept back then at avoiding camera angles that would capture a body shot.

  7. Tammy says:

    Wow !! I could never make it to skim milk, always the milk purist 1% was as low as I could go. Glad all that’s over !!!

    Now it’s cream or nothing for me.

  8. Firebird says:

    My favorite evening snack was a bowl (or two) of Honey Nut Cheerios in skim milk. Haven’t had either in over 15 years. I switched to oatmeal, a more complete form of oats, and saw my cholesterol slowly rise. And here I thought oats were suppose to lower cholesterol. Silly me. What was I thinking?

    My favorite snack was pretzels — they’re fat-free, ya see.

  9. tess says:

    back in MY low-fat days, i used to like Grape Nuts. stirred into a cup of yogurt and allowed to soften a little while, it actually resembled a meal, which yogurt on its own certainly does not. but the serving size = a QUARTER CUP? yeah, oatmeal was a lot more filling!

    I actually liked Grape-Nuts. But of course, to feel full I had to eat something like four times the recommended serving.

  10. Sharon Palmer-Brownstein says:

    I, too, did some cleaning over the holidays and could not believe how many Cooking Light magazines I threw in the recycle bin and low-fat books I donated to Goodwill. I can’t believe I was stupid enough to be brainwashed to eat that way, every day, and be hungry every second of every day of every week of every month of every year. Thanks to a very astute person from Sweden, I finally learned of the joys of high fat. And I thank her every day when I add real heavy whipping cream to my coffee. It’s great to go through the day and not be hungry. If only I knew then what I know now, but at least I finally learned the lesson.

    A lot of us fell into the trap of believing that losing weight and being healthy should require sacrifice … you know, giving up little things like flavor, enjoyment, energy, etc.

  11. Becca says:

    funny how much that diet sounds like one of the diet phases I went through! I thought I hated milk for years until we bought whole milk one day and I couldn’t believe the difference! Now we buy whole milk with cream on top at the farmer’s market. Mmmm…

    If you’re buying grass-fed raw milk, I’m sure it’s delicious.

  12. K says:

    I’ve got something that beats LCHF, low fat, vegan, paleo, name your diet. From the files of “I just can’t make this stuff up”:

    http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/01/09/extreme-weight-loss-new-personal-stomach-pump-sucks-food-straight-out-stomach/

    Yes, the title of the article says it all. A design team led by the man who brought you the Segway (someone please stop me before I get on my soapbox about that one) at Aspire Bariatrics has designed a device that is implanted into the stomach that allows you to “aspire” food about 20 minutes after you eat, but before it gets a chance to be digested. It has not been approved yet by the FDA (are they showing a modicum of common sense?) and the company has applied for a patent.

    Bulimia is soooooooo 2012. Get your own private stomach pump! Now you can eat yourself into oblivion, “aspirate” the food, and voila – you get to wear your skinny jeans.

    If this were 1 April, I;d think it was a joke. As for me, I’ll stick with just enough REAL food and call it all good. :-)

    K

    Oh, my, my, my … Next thing you know, they’ll just start cutting out people’s stomachs.

    Oh, wait …

  13. Trina says:

    This just fuels my confusion over Dr. Lustig’s statements. Just listened to his latest podcast with Jimmy last night and he seems set on blaming sugar and sugar alone (I know … it’s his thing). He reiterated that he’s not a supporter of low carb (in fact he said low carb works and so does the Dean Ornish plan). I followed Ornish before I got married in 2000 and I worked VERY hard to take off 15 pounds before the big day. Worked out everyday and ate food that wasn’t very tasty (IMHO). I started a low carb/Wheat Belly life in March of 2012 and 45 pounds fell off with very little effort … hmmmm …

    What Chris Gardner found in his study is that insulin-resistant people lose weight much easier on low-carb diets, but people who aren’t insulin-resistant can lose weight on Ornish and other low-fat diets. So I’m sure the Ornish diet works for some people … but YEEE-UCK! I’d rather enjoy my meals.

  14. Chris says:

    Hope you had fun in my new hometown of Chicago. Love the quantity, quality and variety of restaurants here. Some of the best are in the neighborhoods and not in The Loop as you probably know. Your film started a wonderful high-fat journey for me. You have probably read “Cereal Killer” which made me purge Grape Nuts and All Bran from our pantry. Glad you’re back and blogging.

    Chicago is indeed a great restaurant town. If the Twin Anchors is still around, try the ribs.

  15. Osama Magdi Elmageid says:

    The vegetarian days. At least with your current diet of meat and fat, you won’t have to worry about iron deficiencies. =)

    Funny you should mention that. I went to give blood once during my vegetarian days and was told they couldn’t take it — not enough iron in my blood. I didn’t wise up right away, however: I took a multivitamin with iron before going in to donate the next time.

  16. CJ says:

    I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger.

    That makes two of us.

  17. Craig says:

    “I’d post pictures from my even-fatter days, but I was pretty adept back then at avoiding camera angles that would capture a body shot.”

    I often wish I had some better before pictures. When I saw Fat Head for the first time the last thing I would have thought to do was have someone take a side-profile photo of me with no shirt on. Now when people say a high-fat diet must work for me because of a freak metabolism all I can do is show pics of my face from back then and say, “I trust you can look at the double chin and realize my stomach wasn’t anywhere near as flat as it is now either.”

    Like you I knew to avoid sugar, especially in drinks. But I ate plenty of hearthealthywholegrain cereals, pastas, breads, etc., every day.

    I regretted my camera-avoidance when I started working on the new section for the updated version of Fat Head. I went through my photo albums and my mom’s, trying to find a good body shot from 20 years ago for a before-and-after sequence. I finally found one picture, not great resolution, but it’s clearly me with a big belly — and a lot more hair.

  18. Lars says:

    In elementary school I lost a bet with my sister and had to eat a Milk-Bone dog biscuit. I’ll never forget the taste. A few years later when I tried Grape Nuts, it reminded me of the Milk Bone. Almost the exact same flavor. I’ll never feed a dog a Milk-Bone or Grape Nuts again!

    Yeesh. She could have at least let you eat Beggin’ Strips.

  19. Carissa says:

    So you went full-fat with dairy as well??

    And the carbs you did eat were mainly fruits and veggies? What about brown rice? Whole wheat pasta? Is there really a damn bit of difference between whole wheat pasta and regular pasta??

    I want to try this diet but I’m very scared of this ‘high fat’ thing…of course, that’s probably how I became overweight.

    If you mean now, yes, I consume a bit of full-fat dairy. Fruits ( berries), veggies (mostly green, some root vegetables now and then), meats, eggs, seafood, olives, nuts.

    There’s very little difference between whole wheat foods and white flour foods. I don’t consume either. I don’t consume rice either.

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