Those who know me, and those who are beginning to know me through my second self (ie this blog, twitter), understand my deep seeded belief in the power of nutrition, mental philosophy, and lifestyle to exponentially increase one’s health and overall well-being. I’ve read about, explored, tweaked, and experimented with multiple diets and have concluded that in reality, Michael Pollan says it best:
If you have not read, The Omnivores Dilimma and/or In Defense of Food , you are depriving yourself of vital information that will infinitely improve your mind, body, and health. Pollan has a unique ability to look at things objectively and offer information in a clear cut, succinct manner.
This simple moniker is a great one to live by because it does not put forth the notion that you have to keep track of every calorie or carb you eat each day (oh! I just ate a grape! + 3 calories in my log!), nor does it prescribe some ludicrous extreme approach to living based on unfounded pseudo-science and extremist notions that we were not meant to eat animals or complex carbohydrates (ahem! paleo, double ahem!! vegan). It merely states that you eat food with a balanced approach! Yes, glorious unadulterated food! Not something that resembles food or once was food in a galaxy far, far away (ie twinkies et al). It does not adhere to some baseless doctrine that we were not designed or supposed to eat animals (our dental structure quickly debunks this myth). In fact, if we did not eat fish or animals as we evolved , we most likely would have lacked the omega-3 fatty acids and saturated fats necessary to increase cognitive function and brain development. We would have lacked the energy to explore vast distances into unknown, unexplored places without a complex amino-acid profile and ample amount of saturated fat. In essence, we probably would still be neanderthals aimlessly foraging for wild plants and fruits somewhere in Africa, and the vegans and the paleos of the world would not even exist to begin with! But I digress….
It comes down to the fact that we should be conscience from where food comes from! We should ask the hard questions about people who pander quick weight loss diets, extreme doctrines (whom I call pontificating diet extremists), and those who push self-help books of which they, not YOU, receive the most benefit.
After much thought, it seems we all as members of society can be put into a three categories in regards to our take on diet and nutrition:
1. Nutritional nihilists: People that believe that food and nutrition decisions have little to no impact on their own health or the health of society. They eat whatever they choose and believe that diet has no impact on their health and well-being. They often end up with obesity or morbidity which then leads to lifelong health problems and chronic disease such as diabetes or heart disease. They may, only after a scary health episode, choose to change their lifestyle but it’s often too late to fully recover.
2. Pontificating diet extremists: People that harangue that their diet is the best and that all others are just misguided, long-lost, foreign alien species. While many of their points on diet and nutrition have a great deal of merit, they fail to see that their philosphical and scientific basis is unfounded, misguided, and impractical for the general population. They also preach to their friends, they blog, write books, and yell at their family when they choose to eat turkey on Thankgiving or when their friends want to eat a piece of whole wheat toast for breakfast.
Have a good laugh about this video: Diet deathmatch! Paleo vs Vegan!
3. Balanced and practical: Those that understand the impact that their diet has on their health and society but do not adhere to any strict philosophical or scientific doctrine. They live in the balance and strive to eat FOOD! They support food and food causes because they understand that our purchases has a direct impact on what companies and farms produce. They understand the basic doctrine that we should eat a mostly plant-based diet with some animal protein because we are human omnivores after all! Check out the free manifesto called Fearless Health by fellow blogger Matt Gartland or any of the listed Michael Pollan works for more reading. I will be posting additional resources to explore as well.
This post is far from comprehensive. It is merely a foundation to broach this topic in more detail in the future. I will be sure to discuss this further because, not only is it fascinating, but it’s quickly becoming increasingly important as this whole obesity thing seems to be getting more and more out of control.
Always going for glory!
aka C.E. Steinfeld