Blind Followers vs Smart Followers

Line 'Em Up!

A few years ago I meticulously tracked my food intake for a month. When you’ve adopted a lifestyle that is against the norm you at least want to be sure it’s not detrimental to your life. Since my general food intake is the same on a week to week basis I didn’t need to track more than one week, but I wanted to be sure of myself. No harm in spending an extra 10 minutes/day for a few extra weeks to gain piece of mind.

What I found:

  • I was definitely getting enough calories. Some days it was around 2,000, some days around 2,500. It averaged out to about 2,200. If you’ve met me you’ve probably noticed or even commented that I’m skinny. My weight is normal, not underweight, not overweight. (This whole “you’re too skinny!” thing says a lot about our society.) I’ve weighed the same for years. Without dieting. Without checking my weight more than once/year. (I’ve never owned a scale.)
  • I was getting all my RDA (now DRI) of most nutrients except B-12 which is difficult to find in plant based foods that aren’t supplemented. I began drinking fortified soy milk, but eventually phased soy milk out of my diet and began taking sublingual B-12. (Sublingual simply means you put it under your tongue and let it sit there for 30-60 seconds before swallowing. It’s absorbed more quickly into your bloodstream.)
  • I got lots of fiber, which is more important than people realize. Simplified, fiber is the indigestible portion of your food that keeps your GI tract in tact (tongue twister) and disease free. Most people do not get nearly enough fiber, because most people don’t eat many veggies/fruits/beans. Tangent: even though iceberg lettuce isn’t a nutritional superstar it does have fiber and, therefore, it doesn’t suck. Iceberg lettuce gets a lot of negative press, and it’s true other leafy greens are better, but iceberg is acceptable.
  • I felt awesome. Still do. :)

Since that meticulous tracking a few years ago my diet has not changed very much so I never felt the need to track again.

When somebody would ask me “Are you getting all the proper nutrition?” my answer was, of course, yes. (Interestingly, I’m sure not a single person who ever asks me this is healthy or tracks their own nutrition.) When somebody would ask “Do you take supplements?” my answer would always be “No, they’re not necessary, except B-12.” Pardon my ignorance.

The Blind Leading The Blind

Maybe you noticed what I slipped in there, maybe you didn’t. The RDA is Recommended Dietary (some say Daily) Allowance, but now they’re using something called DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes). This is set, in my case, by the USDA, part of the US government. The same government I already don’t trust one bit for any aspect of my health. They are so blind they can’t even read braille. Why trust their nutritional recommendations? The best answer I can come up with is laziness.

After reading 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss, and then (more importantly) Transcend by Ray Kurzweil (genius inventor/scientist) and Dr. Terry Grossman (Ray’s MD cohort) I took another hard look at my diet and what I am or am not getting.

The first thing I learned, more than food intake, is that the amount of nutrients in any food is an inexact science. Not because it can’t be measured, but because we don’t know exactly how it will react with our own individual bodies. If you and I both eat a Fuji apple of equal weight the nutritional benefit to you might be greater than to me, or vice versa. The apples may very well be of equal nutrition, but my body may not absorb the nutrients the same way your body does.

The second thing I learned is that the RDA is the minimum. Since when is the minimum Ridiculously Extraordinary? The minimum is for less-than-average less-than-stellar folks. Call it ego or whatever else you’d like, but that’s not me dammit! I’d like to believe that’s not you either. Let’s shoot for optimum not minimum.

(Tangent: This holds true for other aspects of my life. Minimalism itself is not about the minimum number of things, but the optimum number of things necessary for my life. No more and no less than I need. Maybe I should change the name to Optimalism?)

Blood Doesn’t Lie

That leads us to a bit of a dead end, right? I mean, if you can’t know how your body is reacting to the food you’re eating, how are you supposed to know whether you’re getting the benefits you should be getting. And how are you supposed to know how much you should or should not be supplementing?

The answer: blood tests. Our blood holds the answers to most of these important questions and our blood doesn’t lie. If someone asked you “Do you eat healthy?” I’d venture to guess that you would say “yes!” even if you’re 40 pounds overweight and can’t run 100 meters without breaking into a dripping sweat. But if you ask your blood your blood will tell you the truth. Which is kind of scary for those of us who may lie to ourselves about our health. I’ve officially put myself back into this “lying to myself” category. Not because I think I’m being unhealthy, but because I don’t have the data to prove what’s going on in my body (yet).

There are a few problems with blood tests:

  • They’re probably not covered by your insurance. A normal blood test is probably covered, but the blood tests you actually need to get a clear picture of your health probably are not.
  • You’ll probably have to fight with your doctor to get the blood tests you want. Most Doctors are just as blind as you and I. Which is a problem. They don’t think independently. They think what they’re told based on what they memorized at school and by whatever pharmaceutical company is paying them off with free trips to the Bahamas.
  • You will have to get them regularly instead of just once if you want to consistently monitor what is going on with your body.

My plan of action: Figure out which blood tests are most essential (this is a whole article unto itself, and after I get mine done I may post a new article) and make an appointment to get them done in 2 months. (I’ll be on the move too much in the next 2 months to get all of this taken care of right now.)

Are Supplements Evil?

The third thing I learned is that supplements aren’t just a means to create expensive urine. :) No matter your diet you’re probably not getting enough of quite a few vitamins/minerals. Personally, I’ve always known I wasn’t getting enough B-12 because I wasn’t getting any, which is why I began supplementing with B-12. That said, just because you eat meat doesn’t mean you are getting enough B-12 (or other nutrients) since I guarantee the majority of the meat you eat is not of high quality. (You can lie to yourself if you’d like, but it’s not worth it when your health is involved.)

I’ve now begun taking a multi-vitamin as well as additional Vitamin D and Vitamin C. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, no matter what our diets. Until I get the results from my blood tests I’m not going to mess with this formula since it’s safe. Taking too much of certain vitamins/minerals won’t cause problems, but taking too much of others will cause big problems. Causing big health problems defeats the purpose of wanting to living forever.

Supplementation is another reason regular blood tests are important. You need to know where you’re deficient and which supplements are helping or hurting.

Is Optimal Nutrition Possible On A Vegan Diet?

Yes. But what’s important for you is that the smartest people in the world advocate a mostly plant based diet even if you do eat meat. Even then, all meat is not created equal. And just so we’re clear, the bun on your hamburger, the ice cream for dessert, and the eggs in your breakfast does not count as plant-based.

The Bloody Wrapup

And I mean that in an English slang sort of way, not in a blood as a life-force sort of way.

Essential reading: Transcend by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman.

Bonus not-essential reading: 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss.

Blind Follower: Someone who follows public opinion (or even just one person) without questioning anything.

Smart Follower: Someone who follows public opinion (or even just one person), but questions and verifies.

Also, eat more whole plant-based foods.

###

Questions for you:

1) Have you ever taken a scientific approach to what you’re putting in your body? It’s OK if you haven’t, but if you have I’d love to know what you’ve done.

2) Where else in our lives besides our health do we regularly let the blind lead us? Why?

Photo Credit

{ 50 comments }

mark e

As a vegan, I have been experimenting with raw foods a bit over the past year or two. One of the online resources I follow regularly is a daily video blog called The Renegade Health Show. Kevin Gianni, the host, is constantly reminding everyone that blood tests are the key to identifying one’s own levels of health or lack thereof. He recently put together an e-course with his holistic doctor covering that very topic which purports to go into fairly great depth on the types of blood tests to ask for, based on varying factors like gender, age, diet, etc. They also make recommendations on where to get those blood tests processed. I have not yet purchased that course, so cannot speak to its efficacy, but I like the information that Kevin puts out there. Perhaps you would find it useful, too?

Yesterday’s blog post, 4 Myths About Blood Testing: http://bit.ly/hDzcmE

The eCourse, How To Read Your Own Blood Tests: http://www.renegadehealth.com/bloodtests/

Enjoy,
mark e

Karol

Kick ass. Thanks Mark. I’ll check him out.

Dan

Kurzweil and Grossman’s book is awesome, I also enjoyed “Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever” by the pair a few years prior. It has succeeded in making me feel insanely guilty about my lifestyle choices. I think thats the first step!

Karol

haha! I don’t know if guilt is the best way to make a life choice, but if it works it works. :)

Rosa

Love the article!
The last place I look for eating recomendations is the USDA.

A scientific approach to what to eat is interesting, and I would love to hear about you come up with. But eating healthy should not be so complicated. The general public is so confused now a days on what to eat especiall in this country.
How can we make it easier?

Karol

It’s not complicated at all. It just seems complicated because we have to do a bit of tracking and testing every once in a while.

But here is how to make it uncomplicated anyway:
1) Stop eating animal products. Especially red meat and dairy.
2) Eat lots of veggies, beans, and a couple pieces of fruit every day. (Rice/quinoa and the like as well.)
3) Track your caloric/protein/vitamin/mineral intake for a few weeks to know what you’re getting.
4) Get blood tests so you know which supplements you should take.

Laurie

Hi Karol…I don’t know how scientific is was, but since I cut out desserts and sweets I’ve gone to a whole new plane of good health. I’ve lost 15 pounds, I’ve got a lot more energy, I no longer get low-sugar headaches and reactions, and I don’t crave sugar. Lots of good stuff.

The obvious answer to #2 is the internet…it’s so easy to find justification for anything you’ve got in your head, and easy to believe those who come across as authoritative online. My favorite bloggers are the ones who make me ask lots of questions of both them and myself.

Karol

That’s awesome! Congrats Laurie. It takes a bit, but once you get rid of all that junk you really don’t crave it. I was addicted as much as anybody to sweets (mostly sugary drinks).

Spot on with #2.

paurullan

Thanks for the thought-food.

On the second question (blind people leading) here in Spain we have a gargantuan one: the OMG-I_have_to_buy! It is incredible how many of my friends and colleagues go into so much trouble to buy a house _and_ a car. The problem lies in that they follow the pre-set path of «go to college, get a car+house+job and begin your life» that in the end they are force to keep a shitty career because they have to pay the bills.

And it sucks watching them like that.

Karol

I think that’s a worldwide phenomenon because it’s like that in the U.S. as well.

Rasheed Hooda

The answer is definitely no on #1

#2 and this may be opening a whole new can of worms, but most people blindly follow their religions or belief systems handed down to them by their parents without ever questioning it.

I was fortunate enough to have a father who taught me question religious beliefs to learn about the essence of religious teaching and I am passing the attitudes down to my children. My siblings don’t accept my interpretation of our faith and visa versa. My daughter considers herself an atheist but she is studying comparative religions, my son considers himself an agnostic and has on many an occasions given me a run for my money about reconsidering my own tested beliefs.

Thank you for always making us challenge ourselves to be the ridiculously extraordinary that we are all capable of being.

Rasheed
Minding my own business

Karol

I agree with your #2, whether you open a can of worms or not. Most of us weren’t given a choice as far as religious beliefs, they were forced upon us. Myself included. And being forced into anything is not a good way to experience it. (P.S. Can you guess who I was named after?)

Heather

LOVE this article! Now, you’re talking my language. I eat a healthy vegetarian diet. After reading several of Kurzweil’s books, I was curious (and I’m a bit of a science geek), so I underwent the blood tests that you are talking about (and several of them are not covered by insurance). The results surprised me and I’m now taking several additional vitamins that I was lacking or my body needed more of. It was not difficult to get my doctor to order the tests, as she is a Natural Health MD and will actually listen to me (again she’s not covered by insurance). Also, not mentioned in your article was how much stress plays a roll in your overall health. Stress can reek all kinds of havoc on how well your body takes in vitamins from food. Enough of my ramblings…You have to be your own health advocate. Otherwise, you truly are blind! Next up, Tim Ferris’ book.

Karol

Good point regarding stress and health. Thanks for bringing that up Heather. (I typed that as Healthier before I noticed haha!)

Heather

That is a compliment…’cause I’m sure I’ve been called worse! haha

Brigitte

What a juicy topic! While the only time we’ve met, I was eating pizza and drinking beer, that certainly isn’t my typical diet. :) I read In Defense of Food a few years back, and since then actively worked to create a more plant-based diet. I also cut soda. Now when I have an occasional coke, I get nauseous…all the proof I need that cutting soda was the right move.

Lucus is a runner and obsessed with tracking down studies on optimal running. This bleeds into our diet, too. We often find healthful supplements for our cooking (especially for baking, which we don’t do much of), which add more nutrients and cut out simple carbs.

I remember seeing a graphic a few years back that showed the typical American diet on one of those 1950s divided trays. The largest portion was meat, second was starch and there was a tiny allotment of veggies. Then it showed the recommended diet, which reversed this order. I keep that image in mind when meal planning.

So, to answer your question, I’m probably about where you were before you decided to get blood tests. Conscious and careful but not scientific.

Onto your second question: religion, politics, stereotypes of every stripe. I’m often accused of “overthinking,” which is the consequence of digging deep and not accepting easy answers.

Karol

Even Transcend states that there is strong scientific evidence of occasional drinkers living longer than teetotalers. Which isn’t compelling enough for a non-drinker to start drinking, but it definitely makes me question my own thoughts.

Same with the Pizza. Eating greasy food on occasion isn’t a big deal. Eating it every day is where the problems manifest.

As for overthinking, my Mom called me The Philosopher growing up. She hated it. :)

Jia Jun

Me too pursuing and concern more about my health in recent years. Moving towards veg and less meat (after reading and watching lots about the cons of having meats and how cruel people kill animals to get their meats, and that we can have a much healthier life with less meat, I decide to consume less and less meat recently)
Never did I take a scientific approach on what I am eating. Perhaps in the coming future will get to know more about it in order for me to get a healthier body. :D

In answering your second question, I think it would be the mass information that we absorb online, without really much analysis and true understanding of the information we absorb, lots of us seems to just barely follow. For me, finding the right person to follow and listen is so important to safe my times and achieve higher productivity.

Karol

Thanks Jia Jun. It’s true there are a lot of people online who write in such a compelling way that they amass a large following, even if their message is way off.

Jeanie

My scientific approach? I read stuff that made sense from people who seemed to do it. I talked to multiple doctors, multiple vegans, primal people. Looked into WHY different religions did certain dietary restrictions.

I watched people get sick and die, and knew what they ate & how they lived.

I increased fiber, cut out animal flesh, got sick smelling cooked chicken & fried foods.
Went vegan, tested pizza after 3 months and 2 great blood tests. Got sick then too.
I supplement with 5k ius of Vitamin D most days & a sublingual b12. It’s not vegan though…contains lactose!

My stable mood, emotional/spiritual clarity, and insane energy levels are proof for me.
I do need to make some More changes, primarily caffeine & water.. And increasing exercise. :)

# 2 following people who don’t walk the walk because they sound pretty. I hate frauds.

Karol

Spring Valley brand Sublingual Liquid B Complex has “No Gluten, No Yeast, No Wheat, No Milk, No Milk Derivaties, No Sugar, No Lactose, No Soy, No Artificial Color, No Chemical Solvents.” :)

Miss P.

Solvation is a chemical phenomenon, so that last is a false claim ;)

Miss P.

To #1: I am trained as a scientist so observation, experiment and repetition of experiments is second nature to me, but with food I do so very carefully. I grew up in a household where disordered eating played a role. Personally I also strayed too close to that type of relationship with food until one day I decided to not ever ever ever again have guilt induced by the food I eat. Not feeling guilt about food (=mental health) is more important to me than eating healthily. Generally though I find that if I eat what I feel like it is healthy, mostly plants, little processed food. Generally… It’s a process and I have bad days. This intuitive eating is a hard balance and I find that stress will unsettle it, as well as food rules. It doesn’t matter if that food rule is an experiment or born out of guilt over eating wrong. So I change my diet very slowly. Right now I’m eliminating egg (for baking) in favor of soy products.

As for #2 don’t get me started. Even science is full of that stuff.

Karol

I agree guilt/stress is no good. Which is why if there’s a mistake in my order and I get cheese (happens almost never) I still eat it if I can’t find someone who will eat it for me.

I actually ordered a cheeseless pizza (well, it was buy 1 get 1, so I got 2) a couple weeks ago and the place double verified with me (called me, I ordered online) to make sure I wanted no cheese. I got there and there was cheese. Haha. They immediately said “OMG, we’re making you a new order.” But I said I can’t have the cheese pizzas thrown away. So they gave me the cheese/veggie pizzas along with the cheeseless pizzas and I gave the 2 “unedible” pizzas to 2 very happy homeless guys on my way home.

Tanja

1) Quasi-science only for me. I went vegetarian 15 years ago and am fairly close to a full vegan diet (meaning I don’t suck down omelets and milk shakes). My big weakness is having a slice of cheese pizza every now and then but my intake of dairy and eggs is extremely minimal at this point. I have been interested in ph testing and vitamin/mineral testing but I’ve never had any done. If I could only quit the caffeine I’d be doing great.

2) Politicians. Media. The AMA. The FDA. I’m stopping now before you get me on a rant. :)

Karol

Caffeine is easy to quit. I went through a month of withdrawal symptoms when I did about 10 years ago (http://www.ridiculouslyextraordinary.com/how-i-cured-years-of-excruciating-stomach-pains-without-doctors-or-medicines/), but I’ve been fine since. That said, I do drink tea. It’s no longer an addiction to caffeine though. Been drinking herbal for the 2 months I’ve been in Chicago.

Tanja

A month huh? Maybe I’ll give it a shot again. I started drinking caffeine when I was six though. I’ve got a lot of years built up around Dr. Pepper. Sigh. How can I eat so healthy and then drink that crap?

Karol

I know what you mean. If you read that article you know I started very young (probably around 6 as well) with pop. Dr Pepper was/is a personal favorite BTW. :) Haven’t had it for a very long time, but it sure is tasty.

David Cain

Hi Karol. I actually just started a diet-related experiment. I’m on day four of a vegan diet trial and at this point I don’t think I’ll be going back to my old diet.

It’s not strictly scientific — I’m not monitoring any blood metrics, just noting my observations on my site. So far I just feel so much, uh, “cleaner”, and I’ve noticed a boost to self-esteem that I think might have something to do with letting go of the quiet guilt associated with having eaten so many animals.

As for question #2, there are heaps that spring to mind: conventional methods of earning an income, conventional approaches to religion and spirituality, typical spending habits, typical methods of responding to stress, notions on how society should deal with crime and addiction, to name a few.

Karol

Oh, nice! Awesome you feel so great after just 4 days.

You’ve exposed a lifetime of articles in your answer to #2. :)

David Cain

Last week was “test” week in which I ate 80-90% vegan so I kind of had a head start on it.

Benny Lewis

Tracking is such an amazing psychological tool. I’m still trying to find my balance, but rather than jump on the most amazing diet that will solve all my problems, I did get some good general info out of 4HB, and especially liked Tim’s brief mention of tracking.

I use the MyFitnessPal app (on Android & Apple for free), and while you personally don’t need it I recommend it for people trying to find a balance if they are doing the same week experiment you did. It’s also got a supportive and active forum on the site that help you with questions the app obviously can’t. The most important thing is to not take it all too religiously and to accept that it can only ever be an approximation. So I won’t get into counting calories, but it’s good to have a better vague idea of the cals in vs cals out mathematics.

My problem was getting too many carbs, and not burning them off. Rather than vaguely know it, it’s good to have it pointed out to me clearly with numbers. I’ve been a bit lazy in the last 6 months since Colombia and Philippines pose particular challenges for vegetarians, so I had too much Italian food, but now from Tuesday that I’m back in countries that have healthy veggie food readily available when eating out (since it’s always super easy to cook in well anywhere in the world) I can get back on track!

You’ll be able to weigh yourself in our SxSW house since I’ll have a scale there :P

Karol

Ahh cool, thanks for the App tip. I actually used DailyBurn (when it was called Gyminee) to track my stuff back in the days. I paid for an upgraded version and it was great. And you’re right, it’s impossible to get an exact count of anything, calories or vitamins or whatever, but it’s good to have a general idea.

Also, just to point something out: it’s not about dieting, it’s about lifestyle. I am not on a diet. They don’t work. I actually don’t even think the 4HB diet will work for most people, even with the 1 day per week eat anything and as much as you want cheat day. Although I hope I’m wrong. :)

Tom Huntington

Love your energy and clarity and to-the-point-ness.

Yup! Who’s in charge of your body? Who’s in charge of your food? Who’s in charge of your health? If you’re a grown-up and it’s not YOU, there’s a big problem for your life! A lot of us guys think we can “delegate” the responsibility to our girlfriends or wives, but we’re really “abdicating” responsibility. (I know, I’ve done that most of my adult life, and until I started taking “self-responsibility” for my food, nutrition, health, I wasn’t a full-fledged grown-up. Glad you’re taking responsibility for your health and inspiring me and others to do so too. I just had a blood test for an annual physical. Wonder if I had all the best tests for my health success? Look forward to sharing what you find out about blood tests.

Tom

Karol

Thanks Tom. You’re definitely dead on. We need to take more personal responsibility instead of delegating.

P.S. The blood test you got probably didn’t test for much. The yearly physical blood test is the one I was alluding to as a “basic blood test” that is usually covered by insurance.

Erin Wilson

I’ve been a vegetarian for years, but am very unhealthy because I have an unfortunate love of all things carb. I switched doctors about a year ago. I explained that I was veg, and he could clearly see that I’m seriously overweight, so he had a full blood work-up done. I specifically asked him to check particular vitamin levels, and he was pretty sure I was on the verge of diabetes. Guess all those veggies do their thing… blood work came back pretty much perfect. He was shocked.

That said, I haven’t felt well. No surprise there. I recently did a 21 day vegan cleanse (Crazy Sexy Diet), and felt amazing. Totally amazing. Enough to convince me to make that a permanent change.

I’ll follow up with my doctor at some point for more blood work. Hope to shock him again :)

Karol

Hey Erin, that’s common of most vegetarians. Meat is replaced with junk. Which is fine if it’s done for animals and not your own health. At least half the vegetarians/vegans I know eat just as bad or worse than the omnivores I know. One of my pet peeves is veg*n restaurants that state “Healthy!” just because there’s no meat. While it’s true many veg*n restaurants have lots of healthy options, lots of them have nothing but deep fried garbage and veggie burgers.

Tisha

I’ve recently become a vegetarian again because it’s just always something I felt was right for my body. I took a break only because when I was pregnant with my children, I became slightly anemic and eating meat was the easiest way to remedy that.
I’ve always hated diets and the RDA recommendations because I think they are so misleading – I don’t think figuring out what to eat to keep our bodies healthy and strong is all that hard. We have to listen to our own bodies about what’s good for us, when the right time to eat is, etc. because everyone is different. I think too many people are trying to follow the masses and “doctors orders” instead of using just good old common sense.
My mother has had chronic medical problems for many years and I’ve seen doctors make so many mistakes with her medication, her diet and the treatments they’ve given her that it boggles my mind why people are so trusting of them.
I am going to schedule some blood tests, though, so thanks for that nudge. I think it’s a good to be clear on exactly what vitamins/supplements I should be focusing on the most right now.

Karol

Hey Tisha, the issue may be that we’ve become so desensitized to our bodies that we don’t know what they need or what makes them feel good. Eating tons of junk and then having one healthy meal probably won’t do much to make someone feel great. It’s the multiple meals that make it happen.

You’re definitely right regarding following the masses (in other words, fads) and “doctor’s orders.”

Elle Dougherty

1. Yep. My doctors (husband & wife team http://acudebra.com/) do blood work and go by different criteria than most doctors. I can’t remember all the details, but they explained that typical blood tests compare your blood with the average human–but the average human is not healthy!

I’ve experimented with too many diets to list, but am currently following a more Primal lifestyle. This past week I started eating mainly raw foods. I can already feel a difference. The most interesting part, though, is my friend’s reactions to it. The, “you like that?” questions as I cut open an avocado & start eating. I think people have forgotten what real food tastes like & feel the need to cover everything in dressings, dips, sauces, etc.

2. Religion, education, finances…don’t get me started! Why? News media, parents, teachers, politicians, actors–anyone that is looked up to as an authority figure is often not questioned properly as to why they do what they do or promote what they promote. Sometimes it’s a matter of falling into doing things just because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” Our perspective is so narrow we can’t see beyond one way of approaching something. Doing it a different way is automatically considered wrong. I could go on & on about this, but I’ll wait for you write a post & put it more eloquently! :)

Karol

That’s awesome that you found such awesome doctors! If only they were more common.

I usually get weird looks when I eat an avocado straight up, but they are so tasty and I need my fat! :) And you hit on something that I always forget about: dips, dressings, and sauces. Extra calories + garbage to make unhealthy food palatable. :)

Miss P.

I sprinkle a little fleur de sel on my avocado and grind a little pepper on it, before eating it. There is so much delight in the light crunchiness of the salt combined with the smooth avocado.

Nate Dodson

Good call, verifying is so crucial.

I have for years (10+) let doctors lead me astray and tell me that my crohn’s disease can only be controlled through strong medicines. Recently I got fed up and extensive research pointed me towards the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) for treating my crohn’s. All of my symptoms cleared up within a few weeks. I am verifying my recovery now through blood testing and have signed up to participate in the first clinical study of the SCD diet from Rush University in Chicago, so I’m pretty stoked.

We just can’t rely on doctors anymore it seems. We have to take matter’s into our own hands through self-testing and research.

Thanks for the great article!

Karol

Oh wow, congrats on figuring things out yourself Nate. And congrats on getting in the study!

Wilson Usman

I’ve been reading the four hour body, but so far I haven’t taken any action yet. Reading this post really made me realize I need to focus on my health a little more. I’m actually a leukemia survivor and checking my blood every year is very important, but lately I haven’t worried about it.

as far as the questions I really can’t think of an answer for any of the two, but I appreciate the advice and book recommendations.

Rob

Hey Karol,
I’ve tried to stay in decent shape most of my life by just lifting weights. I didn’t even consider diet other than how to gorge myself. After reading several different sources that based being in shape by: diet+exercise=optimal health. I decided things neede to change. I cut out as much processed food as possible. I went after higher protein sources. One really can get used to peanut butter that only has peanuts:) Success. I was able to hit a goal that had eluded me for sometime. Benching 300 lbs (while only weighing 175). The diet made all the difference.

Karol

I don’t think many people who are into fitness think about diet until they “go pro” about it in their heads. I know too many gym rats who think a chicken sandwich from McDonald’s is the perfect after workout food. “It’s chicken. It’s got to be healthy!”

Ellen

Thanks for a great post. I just found your blog and having a blast reading your posts.

As for question #1 I went a month without dairy products and had to keep a food diary. It was illuminating. At the time I was having trouble eating and digestive problems. Keeping the food diary showed me which foods/combo of foods caused me problems. The funny thing is that dairy ended up not being a problem for me. More carb/sugar issues.

On to the second question. I remember growing up during the Cold War the Soviets were “evil” people. I mean I was a kid and believed that. It wasn’t till this young girl, Samantha Smith, went to the Soviet Union in 1972 and showed the West, or me anyway, that the Soviets were people too. Wow! A young girl breaking through Cold War stereotypes!

We still do that today. We hear not one but two news stations report a story a certain way and we believe it to be true. Talk about the blind leading the blind, a bunch of news people trying to find ways to fill 24 hours with news.

My topic of choice today to stop following the blind is Global Warming. I know enough that there are natural climate changes that occur, take the Little Ice Age that happened between the 16th and 19th centuries, that was not man-made but I wonder if we went into a cold spell if we would blame that on Global Warming and not just a natural climate change. I have to read more before I expound more on the blind leading the blind, lest I become one of the blind.

Karol

Thanks for discovering the blog Ellen. Interesting findings with your food journal! Most people have problems with dairy … but I can see how certain carbs (and sugar) could give you issues as well.

You’re dead on regarding the news. Not watching TV helps not being exposed to the garbage. I’m still in the know with anything important via friends and random conversations.

Robert

Good point on the vitamin D, Our bodies use it for so much more than just creating bones, it boosts the immune system and can prevent some cancers. I started supplementing 5k IU about 6 months ago, and have not court any colds or flu since.

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