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CRONing: a personal journey (page 5)
The CRON/Zone diet is continuously evolving for me. In the past five months [summer 2001; still true today, 2006], I have eliminated virtually all grains from my diet and even decreased some fruit consumption -- reducing my carb consumption even further. Most of my carbs now come from veggies and dairy. The carb calories are now replaced with more fat (monounsaturates) and protein. My protein consumption, up from 120 to 150g/day was a cause of concern as I had the misconception that this would put extra strain on kidney function. I have since been presented with information -- from a particularly lucid member of the list [our forum poster, MR!] -- that my fears were unjustified. My Zoned macronutrient ratio is now around 35:30:36 (C:P:F).
The present and the future
For all the good CRONing does an individual, it does have its negative side. Earlier, I mentioned low testosterone and libido. Most humans would find this intolerable. It helps to be single! For me, though, the biggest problem is hunger. If anything, it is worse now, than it was when I stared CR. This I attribute to my very low body fat levels perhaps it's natures way in telling you that you need to eat. But, food, even CRON food, kills you. What a dilemma!
Another negative side to CRONing is that it is not cheap. Our modern society and the food industry is based on packaged and processed foods -- an unfortunate practice. Therefore, this is the type of food that is affordable. Organic, unprocessed and unrefined foods are considerably more expensive. Take a gallon of skim milk. It's about $6 for the organic brands. Organic veggies are also very costly. And any true CRONie consumes a large amount of vegetables daily. In the summer, I rely on home-grown garden veggies. In other seasons I get the "less expensive" organic produce (kale, collards, celery, and lettuce). Also, thanks to the list, I have started eating different varieties of sprouts. I don't grow them like many people in group [I did grow them from 2002 - late 2003 but after my move to California in 2004, have not resumed cultivation]. They are not that hard to maintain once one establishes a routine, but good, organic varieties are available and relatively inexpensive. For the rest of the greens, I take my chances with non-organic varieties from a local market. The huge amounts of produce I consume also means multiple trips to the market every week -- a time-consuming activity.
Supplements and organic, unrefined oils and nuts as well as organic meats [2006 update: I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian in late 2002] and eggs also add to the expense. I have seriously given thought to purchasing a farm so that I can raise animals and grow crops!
And let's not forget the tools, books, magazines and newsletters! Blood glucometers and test strips, blood pressure monitors, precision food scales, nutrition software, and other items are some tools a serious CRONie needs to monitor his/her health. It's also handy to have a good library of reading material. These things cost money but are all worthy investments. Barring accidents and genetic anomalies, calorie restriciton greatly reduces the risk of every disease known. Given today's rising medical costs, it's much cheaper to stay healthy.
The future remains uncharted. We CRONies are, in many aspects, pioneers. I am personally convinced that, all things being equal, calorie restriction is, currently, the only way known to humankind that extends lifespan. It is, by no means, an easy lifestyle! Advances in genetics or cybernetics may, one day, solve the problem of aging. But this is not the case today. More than likely, this scenario is many decades away. By incorporating a CRON diet into our lifestyle, perhaps some of us can make it to that time where we can have our cake and (finally) eat it without any impunity. Only the future holds answers. The key to those answers is continuous research and science and a deep and sustained personal commitment to longevity.