During my lifetime I have spent countless hours in what I affectionately like to call the nutrition vortex. I have jumped from blog to blog, podcast to podcast, author to author and from one research paper to the next. I even earned a degree in Exercise Physiology. I have consumed a ton of information and actually completely transformed my body and mind as a result several times. The one major take away so far is that no one person or resource has it all figured out, while many claim to have. The reason for this is that the answer to the question, “What is the right diet for people to eat?” can’t be answered.
There are way too many compounding factors that each individual brings to the table, figuratively and literally, when they sit down to eat. Gene expression, food history, current health state are just a few of the myriad of reasons that impact how a certain diet or food type will affect any given individual. There are even daily circumstances, or moment to moment environmental factors that can influence a specific meal or how an entire day’s worth of eating will land on a given individual. Where does that leave the average person trying to get healthy? Well for me it left me spinning in circles wondering what foods are basically going to kill me and which are heaven sent directly from God to make me the most healthy person on the planet. But wait a second, some foods seem to be both. Take Kale for example. Multiple resources tout Kale as the end all be all when it comes to micro nutrients, polyphenols and phytonutrients. Kale also is great because the fiber slows down digestion. Kale is generally awesome. Even scientific studies back up the claim that Kale is probably the most healthy thing you could eat. Here is a study that indicates Kale with a meal helps with the bioavailability per meal of calcium in women.
But hold on one second, before you start munching on Kale like a goat or making green smoothies with it everyday you have several very important factors to consider: Wait for it…Should Kale be cooked or served raw? How much Kale is too much kale or is there such a thing as eating too much Kale? Can I eat Kale all day or only in the morning? If you take a look around the internet you will see that some very smart people completely disagree on every point. Here is a funny post about how people tend to take studies and details too far.
One of my favorite resources for odd information about food is Dave Asprey. He is convinced that the oxalate acid in Kale will pretty much kill you. What he did was create a way to prepare it that he calls “Bullet Proof”, which involves cooking it and sprinkling in some K2 and Calcium and butter I believe. Well that sounds great and I’m sure it works wonders. But the raw foodist will tell you it’s important to keep your food as close to alive as possible to get all of the benefits, therefor it should not be cooked or all vitality will be lost. Ok well how about bio-availability of the glorious micronutrients, what happens to those as you cook them? Based off of the answer what is the best way? The answer to this is even more frustrating. Which is, it depends and both or neither. Are you getting the idea? Even objectively discussing an actual food item, it’s very difficult to discern proper implementation and volume of consumption. Ok then I just wont eat Kale. Sorry wrong. Kale is probably good for you.
That leaves all of us in a tricky bind with almost all foods that nutrition experts, Dr’s and cooky bloggers from all corners of the internet tout as healthy, having potential misuses and sub-optimal implementation. We are people and we want things to be binary. Items need to be good or bad. The should be cooked or raw. They should be consumed to max level or they should not be consumed. We all want to attach ourselves to a specific eating pattern that is backed by a revolutionary Dr. or brain surgeon. Here’s the shocker of the day: people are so diverse and complex that there is not a simple answer for all people. Sorry. The best we can do is adopt a personal philosophy on intake protocol (my fancy term for diet) and hope for the best. As a method becomes adverse, adjust. If something is working, keep doing it until it doesn’t.
My goal is to offer some is to offer some insight and perspective on all the craziness out there. Hopefully my education in Exercise Physiology and career as a personal trainer will be helpful. Also, I do this stuff. I am willing to try anything. I am an N=1 as they say. I want to offer guidance how to implement eating strategies from both a practicality standpoint as well as a physiological standpoint. I will provide anecdotes from people who have tried certain intake protocols. I will even offer my own plan that I have created that I think may help people to get around all of the tricky questions lurking on the internet.
I’m not a Dr., and I’m certainly not a brain surgeon. I’m just a guy with a set of ears and eyes, a brain, and a healthy level of both skepticism and open mindedness that is hoping to help you navigate the confusing rules and fads out there.
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