For about 7 months I’ve eaten a paleo diet. I eat most of my calories from healthy fat, meat and veggies. There is little fruit and very few carbs. There is no gluten, no processed foods, and no sugar. I basically eat nothing that comes in a package except when I’m in a rush and need to get meat from the grocery store. I won’t go into the specifics because this post isn’t about my specific nutritional practices but what my paleo food has done for my mental and physical performance.

I’ve always struggled with mood swings and at times severe depression. I am not a fan of pharmaceuticals to help me through the low points in my life (though they have merit for some people in some situations). I always thought a life of healthy exercise and nutrition was key to top performance. However, I was like everyone else who ate a low-fat, grain-rich diet. That is, until I began reading about the incapacity of humans to digest the gluten protein.

Once I adopted this nutritional lifestyle (nutrition should not be short-term but a way of life), I also stumbled upon a community of people who eat this way. What struck me in my early days of participating in this online community was the way they experiment with their diets. They come together for answers to questions I don’t believe the larger public ask such as, “If I up my magnesium intake, how will this affect my mood?” or “What foods are causing my psoriasis?” People on the forum are full-on self-experimenters. The striking difference between this community and say, Weight Watchers folks, is that they are not in this for the weight loss but for how they can improve their lives through proper life-long nutritional experimentation.

Self-realization through tracking is key to uncovering the messages our bodies and our environments tell us. For many people, the afternoon, post-lunch slump is just something they accept as truth when in fact, it can be eliminated by experimenting with our diets, sleep, exercise, and minerals.

For 20 years I dealt with hypoglycemia through the conventional wisdom of eating many small meals, or grazing. After months of experimenting with my nutrition, I eat 2 times per day within a 6 hour window. All those years, I was a slave to my food feared the shakiness and black outs associated with hypoglycemia. Within a few months, I have no occurrence of the illness.

If we stop listening to outside interests and understand what makes our individual bodies and mind work well, we can save our country a lot of money on health-related issues. I believe that self-experimenting could do the world at large a great deal of good.