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The Most Important Thing


I’m back on the couch in front of the fire, steaming mug of coffee at hand.  I use the word ‘mug’ loosely because although it looks like a mug, I’ve seen thimbles with a larger capacity.  Thus, I am grateful that this beach-side studio comes equipped with a percolator and decent ground coffee.  I flicked on the telly when I woke up – mostly because it was there – and flipped channels just in time to see some TV evangelist selling little packets of ‘miracle spring water’ so that he could bless people all over the world right from his armchair in wherever-he-was.  Luckily I was only subjected to the last 1 ½ minutes of that whole performance because otherwise I might have felt obligated to call the number on the screen since apparently my life would irrevocably suck if I didn’t get some of that water in me (on me?) stat.  Next thing I know my studio is filled with the pulsating sound of hip-hop music – brightly colored lycra-clad bodies gyrating across one half of the screen while the other half could barely contain the ebullient 52-year-old breathlessly exclaiming how her body had been entirely transformed after purchasing a very pricey DVD containing 30 minutes of dance music.  I sat here soaking it all in, mesmerized by how compelling the argument to just call that number on the screen was.  What is wrong with me??  All these miracle cures I am just tossing away today.

The biggest frustration I have faced since I started on this whole journey back in 2012 is that despite eating a fantastically healthy diet, I never saw the amazing results that so many other folks do.  Sure I felt {somewhat} better.  Sure I lost {some} weight.  Sure {some of} my symptoms lessened.  But I still had headaches, migraines, psoriasis, depression, and joint pain, and I even added things like Bi-polar, adrenal fatigue, and ear infections.  It made no sense.  But, it also made no sense that trying yet another diet would work any better.  In terms of nutritional density keto is as good as it gets.  I watched and celebrated as others had remarkable keto success, while I was left to just keep plodding along hoping that at some point something would shift.  I was clear that low carb wasn’t the problem – we’re all different and I assumed that it was my age, my metabolic history, my sex, my medications, my genes, or any combination of those and / or other Carrie-only variables.  Either that or there was something else going on.  Initially I resigned myself to having got my health to the best it could be, but when things started going sideways last December I got more frustrated than I could tolerate.  By July I was left with little choice other than to drag myself out of resignation and figure out WTF was wrong with me?

In the process of unraveling the mysteries of my body over the last few years I learned The Most Important Thing.  Which is this:  All the time I had unaddressed underlying conditions it didn’t matter that I was eating the healthiest food on earth, I was not going to get the amazing results such a diet would typically bring.  On the surface this might not make sense – surely if you are only eating fabulous foods that are flooding your body with essential nutrients you can’t help but sort out your hormones, heal your body, and fix your metabolism, right?  Wrong.  It’s impossible for someone to be eating so well and also be getting sicker and fatter, right?  Wrong.

So how can this be?  Here’s a few ways how:

  • I was severely deficient in all those pesky B vitamins, which are super important for all sorts of things.  Eating the food I was, how could I possibly be that deficient in all of them?  Turns out it was possible in at least three ways.  1. I can’t methylate – which means (among a lot of other things) that I cannot convert B’s to anything usable.  It doesn’t matter how many B vitamins I ingest I cannot get any benefit from them.  2. I have a defective CBS genewhich means I take in a lot of nutrition and it just keeps leaking out.  3. I had Leaky Gut – which means that food was leaking out through the walls of my gut without being properly digested.  It didn’t matter how much great food was going in – if it wasn’t being digested properly then I simply wasn’t getting all the nutrition I needed from it.
  • I had a ridiculous number of food sensitivities.  It doesn’t matter how keto or healthy a food is, if your body cannot tolerate it (for whatever reason) you’re going to get sicker by eating it, not healthier.  It’s like having a peanut allergy that stops short of killing you.  When you don’t know that you have sensitivities to the foods that a keto or low carb diet focuses on you can be right up the creek without a paddle while thinking that you are doing everything right.
  • I had a massive E.Coli infection which completely changed the bacterial balance in my gut, altering the way food was digested, processed, and utilized.

I could go on, but you’re smart peeps – you’ve got the point.

Have you ever thought, “I have tried every diet out there and nothing works!”, or, “I have been eating fantastically for 6 months and nothing is happening.”?  Does, “Initially I lost 20lbs eating this way and now I’ve stalled and nothing I do starts the weight-loss again.” sound familiar?  How about, “This way of eating makes total sense but after 3 months I put on weight not lost it”?  Or, “I generally feel good eating this way but my long-term symptoms are not getting any better.”  I know a lot of you think these things because you let me know.  And that’s why writing these posts and sharing my story has become so important to me – it may unlock your struggles too.

What if there is some non-food-related hiccup that is stopping all the goodness of the food from doing it’s job?  What if there is some non-food-related hiccup that means your body does not do what it is supposed to?  What if some of that goodness you are ingesting is something that your body cannot tolerate?

Then you, like me, might have something else going on.  You might want to consider identifying any underlying problems before you throw up your hands in frustration and start eating cake like it’s an essential food group because you reason that either this whole just-eat-real-food thing is BS or you are just too broken to ever get healthy and slim.  Maybe you are not doing anything wrong at all.

This is why I now say The Most Important Thing is to understand that if we have underlying conditions it doesn’t matter how fantastic a diet we eat – we will not get the results we should.  If this was not the most important thing to understand then I would still be where I was back in July instead of where I am now.

I used to think that the most important thing was for me to create truly healthy recipes so that all you lovely people had delicious food to eat that was also wildly nutritious and all kinds of good for you.  I’ve changed my mind.  The most scrumptious, healthiest recipes in the world are all for naught if your body has a glitch that stops the whole process working quite right.

You have to fix the glitch first.

This changes everything.



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  • Danielle BrowningCarrie….you are a great inspiration. Thank you for opening your heart and life. This completely resonated with me and I so appreciate you! Shine on girl!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Deb SandersThank you so much for sharing all this with us.ReplyCancel

  • JanThe problem is finding a good doctor out of the main stream. You are very lucky to have found one that got to the root of your problem. I live in the Florida Keys and there are none hear.
    Keep on writing we all enjoy hearing how well you are doing!ReplyCancel

  • RobinI also have seen many ND’s who don’t understand what yours does. A great website for addressing food allergies if you don’t have access to medical help is the Weston Price site. Helped me get betterReplyCancel

  • SueThank you, Carrie. And thank you – all of you who write. Maybe, together, we can sort this out. I often feel like I could have written what you write, Carrie. I really don’t know where to turn.ReplyCancel

  • DieannaThanks again for a great blog post Carrie!! I agree Jan that the problem is finding “The right doctor” So happy that you were able to find that Doc for you Carrie. Keep up the great work of listening to and healing your body! I will keep looking forward to your blog posts. They just make my day!!ReplyCancel

  • WrenIt’s so awesome that you have access to the RIGHT doctors who have helped you figure this out. ditto ditto. It can’t be repeated enough. I’m also glad that you made it clear that eating SANE didn’t do this to you. If anything I’m sure it prevented problems from being worse. I’d love to know more about your treatment plan and what your diet has been like, as well as all of the supplements you’ve been taking.

    I totally understand about the sleep and the lights. I’ve had to do the same thing with lights in our bedroom. Darker curtains, covering up tiny lights with duck tape, turning my phone on airplane mode to eliminate EMF’s, no TV or electronics an hour before I go to sleep etc. it’s made a big difference and I’m able to finally sleep without medication like I’ve taken for the past 5 years.ReplyCancel

  • LisaCame back after a long hiatus to check on whether you had a main dish cookbook out since I love the other three I have bought from you and I was so happy to read your blog and see the success you are having. It has motivated me to move in that direction as well using professionals instead of going on it myself as I have been doing the last year or so since starting SANE. I discovered among other things I could not digest Quest bars and they made me so sick. It took some time, but I think I too am ready to get off this roller coaster and figure out WTF is truly wrong. I look forward to coming back frequently and reading your blog and also congratulations on being medication free – I know what a big jump that is for you and you have many cheerleaders out here. Keep moving forward!!ReplyCancel

  • BelindaCarrie,
    Your journey has been helpful to finding my own way.
    It can be overwhelming and frustrating, but we are cheering you on as we find our own ways.

    Love and hugs,

  • NancyCarrie,
    I just happened upon your blog for the first time while looking for SANE information, and noticed your health problems. Just wondering if you’ve ever considered looking into Joanna Budwig’s diet? It has healed people with terminal cancers as well as helped with other problems, such as diabetes, arthritis, and other chronic conditions. It can be modified to simply maintain healing and also as a preventative.

    There is also a yahoo group (FlaxSeedOil2) where Budwig’s protocol is discussed and testimonies are given. Hope this is helpful.ReplyCancel

    • carrieHi Nancy! Thanks for stopping by – glad you found us :-) Thankfully my health issues have been uncovered and we are well on the path to recovery! I took a quick look at the Budwig diet but quickly saw that it does not reflect a SANE approach and also includes several things – particularly gluten – that are a huge no-go for me. I very much appreciate your thoughtfulness in sharing something that hes helped others though. I have my theories on why it would effective with the chronic conditions that it talks about, but that is a whole other (very long!) discussion!

      Was there something specific you were looking for in regards to SANE that I can help you with?ReplyCancel

      • NancyHi Carrie,
        Thanks for responding. I had listened to Jonathan Bailor talk nonstop for 3 hours, of which over an hour was just promoting the sale of his books, DVDs, etc. and telling us how many thousands of dollars it was worth and how “cheap” we could buy it (more than $1000!!!!). He never really talked about a specific diet plan or quantities, or anything else in detail that would be helpful in changing my eating habits, so I was very disappointed. His plan did, however, sound similar to Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live diet, and I wanted to compare it. That’s why I was googling the SANE diet. I’m almost 70 and have an income that is way below poverty level, so cannot afford to buy anything and had hoped to get some information while listening to Johnathan’s supposedly live webinar. I say supposedly, because I feel that now I cannot ever trust him, since he had told the registrants that he would be giving us a free gift if we stayed until the end (which I hoped would be more information about the kinds of foods and amounts of each to eat). I guess the free gift was a reduced rate for all the stuff he was selling. I am now unsubscribing from all the “diet and nutrition experts” like Yuri, Josh Axe, etc. that I’ve been getting in my email because I see that they just want to sell their stuff. The only one I trust now is Ty Bollinger, whose interviews with over 130 doctors bring out all kinds of dietary truths that not only help cure cancer, but also help people eat a healthier, preventative diet.

        Anyway, using only Budwig’s scientifically researched flax seed oil emulsified with cottage cheese would still be a great help for your health and easily goes along with the SANE diet, as part of your oil and protein intake. All you need to do is take one tablespoon/day of flax seed oil and emulsify it with 2 T/day of cottage cheese (and add a little stevia for taste and fruit/nuts if you want). It’s a great preventative for all kinds of health issues.ReplyCancel

        • carrieNancy – it was lovely to chat on the phone with you. I hope you found our conversation helpful and please let me know how you get on!ReplyCancel

  • DavidFW1960Earth to Carrie!! You’ve disappeared again. I hope all is ok.ReplyCancel

    • carrieHi David! You’re so sweet – ALL GOOD! – but it’s been a ride the several weeks. Posts imminent.ReplyCancel

      • DavidFW1960Well that is great to hear!! So pleased you are well.ReplyCancel

  • Renee JonesAh ha!  Well, that’s amazingly helpful.  Thank you for the knowledge, wisdom — and a good deal of sense!ReplyCancel

  • MeredithI’ve been keto for 3 years, the first with a decent but not awesome weight loss. I felt much better, etc. The last 2 years I’ve been pretty much at a stand still weight wise but still feel pretty good most of the time. I’m experimenting with a modified keto carnivore now. Shed a lot of oxalates, wow that wasn’t fun, but weight loss hasn’t kicked in. I have a fairly open minded doctor but have no idea what to even ask her for. Can you maybe share some suggestions as to where to start like about your B vitamin issues or the E. coli issue? About all I know is I can’t digest almonds. I’ve tried giving up all dairy with very few results of note. Thanks so much for the post, it’s really gotten me wondering. ReplyCancel