Instinctotherapy is a form of raw, paleolithic diet wherein one relies on their instincts to determine what and how much to eat. According to the theory, food will smell and taste wonderful if you are in need of it and whatever vitamins and minerals it contains. The same food will repulse you if you have eaten enough of it to fulfill your requirements or you do not need it at the moment. The caveat is that it must be completely raw and undenatured, otherwise it will purportedly “fool” your instincts. In other words, no mixing of ingredients, no adding salt or spices, etc. Also, you are not to consume previously frozen foods. The food must be one that could be eaten raw, so no legumes or potatoes or similar foods. You are free to eat raw vegetables, nuts, fruits, eggs and meat, along with raw, unfiltered honey. If a certain food item tastes and smells good, you eat it until you suddenly don’t like the taste and smell of it anymore. This is referred to as a “stop”.
This diet was one of the first paleo type diets I tried at the very beginning of my health quest. I could not get enough to eat on this diet. I tried it for several weeks or maybe it was months (it is all a blur at this point) before I gave in and started mixing my raw foods and also eating previously frozen items. It was very difficult to find pasture-finished animal foods that were not previously frozen in my corner of Eastern Washington, where I was living at the time. If you remember from my previous post, I was already severely underweight by around 40 or so pounds. Well, my weight dropped even more after trying this diet for only a short time. I was hoping that it would help with my digestion and many other symptoms, as it seemed to be a very clean, basic way of eating.
I noticed that despite following all the proper rules, I never enjoyed eating green vegetables like they said I would. Leafy greens were always bitter and fruit was always pleasant and sweet. Raw meat was never very flavorful or appealing. The only thing I was able to eat in much quantity were raw nuts, but due to the many naturally occurring toxins found in them, they only disrupted my digestion more. After studying the Weston Price information, I realized that soaking the nuts in brine would have helped in their digestion, but that would have been a no-no.
Suffice it to say, I had many unpleasant side effects, due to poor digestion and lack of calories. My partner at the time had a different experience than I to this raw paleo diet. He lost weight as well, which he was wanting, but he also experienced some very interesting personality and mental changes. He began writing plays and poems. It was unusual because he was normally, how you say… stoic and unimaginative, though undoubtedly intelligent.
So while my partner became artsy and philosophical, I mostly laid around without much energy and dreamed of those big, juicy burritos that you can buy, where they cook all the ingredients in front of you while you wait. Perhaps the instincto way of eating can help one connect with parts of the brain that it never knew it had, or perhaps it was sheer misery that drove his sudden burst of creativity. We may never know.