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Winnie Abramson’s One Simple Change

The Moderator



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Gluten-free crackers adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen. - PETER BARRETT
  • Peter Barrett
  • Gluten-free crackers adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen.

"I'll Eat Anything"

Abramson's biggest regret in the book is her favorable mention of William Davis' Wheat Belly, a controversial bestselling diet book that at best cherry-picks evidence to support its weight loss claims and at worst misrepresents the science. Leaving aside people suffering from celiac disease, she now believes that a variety of whole grains, especially sprouted or fermented, can and should be eaten by anyone seeking nutritional balance. Making sourdough bread, for example, that ferments overnight increases its nutrition dramatically (and improves its taste) just as fermenting raw milk into cheese makes it easier for some people with lactose intolerance to enjoy it. Her stance on sugar has softened, as well, in keeping with her new one-word mantra: moderation.

"People are shocked to find out that I'll eat anything," she explains, saying that she has no problem eating a burger and fries on a night out or some pizza at a kid's birthday party. "I eat what I want, and I usually want something healthy." A rough guideline of 85 percent healthy, 15 percent less healthy serves as her general rule, and allows for stress-free flexibility when eating out or socializing. "I used to be a pain in the ass, though. The root of the issue is that this craziness makes life harder instead of easier. I want my life to be easy." Besides being a useful guide for anyone looking to integrate healthy practices into their life, Abramson hopes most of all that the book will help people with deeper problems related to food.

Writing the book has been a big step for her, and as she ponders the future of her blog and formulates a plan for what comes next, she continues to practice and advocate incremental changes as the key to lifestyle modification: gradual, unintimidating steps to try out for a bit before moving on to the next one. And she's walking the walk; her current focus is on maintaining the blog and promoting the book without having her virtual life eclipse her actual one to the extent that it did over the last year. "Can I have a blog and limit my social media time? Can I cook a meal and not take pictures? It's hard to balance them with doing the things [cooking, gardening, CrossFit] I write about doing."

Remembering the militant anti-fat craze of her youth, she is quick to remind people that fad diets come and go, and every decade seemingly hatches a new prohibition against some food or another, which then goes on to be overturned by the next batch of profiteers and charlatans. "As if eating a bagel is going to make you fat. But I'm empathetic; I don't like to make fun of people for their crazy thinking, because I used to be like that. It's a sexy theory that not eating carbs is going to keep you alive for longer. It just doesn't happen to be true." She wonders what the point is in prolonging life if the supposed means to that end is neurotic self-deprivation. "What is everyone so afraid of? I'm not afraid any more. I'd rather have a bagel."

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