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Well, get ready for it – because here it comes!
Today’s goal: Understand the simple solution to how you can determine which diet is right! And... listen to health podcasts despite the fact they are biased.
I try to apply this process to all aspects of my life – diet included. Accordingly, I love to listen to health and wellness podcasts to learn what types of experiments I should set up (I discuss the benefits of this in When Half-Work is Effective) .
The podcasts are great. They provide awesome insights to new research, dietary approaches, and training methods.
The podcasts are also biased. They all believe they are correct, and they do what humans have become so good at doing – separating people into camps of ‘us and them.’
Robb Wolf and the Bulletproof Executive absolutely believe that their way of eating will work for everyone who tries it, and that vegans are unhealthy and simply cannot achieve optimal health. Rich Roll and James Wilkes think paleo-folks have it all wrong and they are succeeding despite their diets, not because of them, and that they are compromising their long term health (though I will give Rich mad credit, he has discussed the fact that he never did a true experiment on this and wishes he had!).
The point is that if you listen to any one of these podcasts, it is very easy to believe anything and everything they say because they have such conviction. Part of the result is that people continue to get split into camps that believe the other camp is wrong! Yet, there are people in both camps who are absolutely DOMINATING in their sports, professions, and life in general (Rich and Dave are both examples).
Can’t we realize for health, wellness, diet, and training what leaders like Corbett Barr at ThinkTraffic already know about business: “There is rarely a single ‘right way’ to do something complicated” ? Don’t you think it could be that a vegan (I prefer the term plant-based whole foods, by the way) diet works best for Rich Roll and a Bulletproof diet works best for Dave Asprey? Does everyone in the world operate best on the same diet? NO!
This is a complex machine that we do not totally understand (or even come close to understanding), and any one argument for one diet over another is incomplete and should be a cause for concern. Sure, paleo-folks can criticize protein intake for vegans or cite that every indigenous culture eats some form of animal products. Sure, vegans can discuss meat or whey’s tendency to overwhelm the amino acid transport systems or criticize that methane produced from cows destroys the environment, but these singular facts cannot be used to judge the validity of an extremely complex system with lifetimes of information involved. Furthermore, remember that we can only argue with information that we actually understand (just as we can only diagnose a deficiency of vitamins or minerals that we have actually discovered), and there is plenty that we don’t yet understand.
Ultimately, the laws of self-experimentation must be applied on an individual basis in order for you to know what works best for you. Perhaps a strict plant-based whole foods diet works for you because you need the black-and-white structure and if you begin to cheat at all, you won’t stop. Perhaps a paleo diet works for you because you have natural discipline and can avoid instinctually over-eating animal products (like I can do easily). Perhaps you have a genetic makeup that allows you to stay healthy and have good bloodwork even on Cheetoes diet (who knows!?).
You won’t know what is best for you until you test it!
See How to Answer ANY Question - Designing a Self-Experiment and The Undercover Benefits of Self-Experimenting.
Oh, and as for people splitting up into camps. As Joe Rogan gracefully puts it: “the real problem is annoying people. It’s not vegetarians, its not meat eaters, its annoying people. The more tolerant and accepting you are of people, the more positive interactions you will have, and the better your feeling in life will be.” Joe, you are f****n' awesome.
Thanks for listening to my rant, folks. Go out there, test, and keep being awesome.
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