Sunday morning meanderings

Today I have no recipe or DIY tutorial to share with you. I mentioned the other day that my sewing machine isn't working, so there's that. And then a few days ago, I dropped the bowl of my food processor. It shattered. So I've been making do without these two things I consider amenities, and the silver lining is that now I've had a bit of space to think about some bigger-picture things, and even get some reading done.

This is what I want to say today: When it comes to advice about health, I don't want you to believe anything that I say. This isn't because I'm ever trying to deceive you - it's because I'm not a doctor, I'm not a nutritionist, I'm just a girl reading some shit on the Internet and trying to do her best to feel good. Always, always, question everything.

In the last month, I read two books about health and nutrition:


The first book was 'The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages About Health, Fitness and Happiness', by Timothy Caulfield. The second book was 'Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food', by Catherine Shanahan, MD and Luke Shanahan.

Both were interesting books that agree on some things and also contradict each other. Just to give you an idea of where we're headed, I'm going to show you what they had in common, how they differed, and how important it is to gain knowledge from as many sources as possible.

Okay, so here's what the two books agreed on:

  • Don't eat processed food. Sugar is bad for you.
  • Vigorous exercise is better than moderate exercise.
  • Don't trust anyone who is trying to sell you something. (Ummm.. but aren't you trying to sell me this book?)
  • The scientific review process is BS, and controlled by pharmaceutical companies that give huge grants to universities. Oh, and doctors. Don't trust doctors. 

But, these books were different. 'The Cure to Everything', published by Penguin, is more simplified, and doesn't really focus on the why.  'Deep Nutrition' is all about they why, and assumes that the information we're given is enough to make us never eat M&Ms ever again.

Although these books don't cover the exact same material, weight loss and exercise are a big part of both. Here's what they had to say: 

(P.S. I'm paraphrasing here. Read these yourself to get the full story.)

  • 'The Cure for Everything' says that since exercise doesn't "burn" a huge amount of calories, the number of calories you consume each day will affect your weight way more than exercising will. Hence, why so many people who work out all the time say they can't lose weight. They're eating too much, dummies! Also, lift weights. Don't know why, but... just lift weights. And also, losing weight is hard, and even if you can do it, it's pretty much impossible to keep off forever. So, enjoy the lifelong struggle to be skinny that lies ahead of you.
  • 'Deep Nutrition' says that "burning" calories doesn't exist. Our bodies are way more complex than that! Exercise is about communicating the message to your body that more muscle, or bone, or nervous tissue is needed in a certain area. How do these tissues form? Well, if you "feel the burn" and show your body that you really need 'em, your bod will tell some fat cells that they will no longer be chillin' in your muffin top and it's time to get to work. The chosen cells travel through your blood stream and are reborn as whatever type of new cell is needed. So NO, an hour walk will not burn off a McChicken. That is not how it works. Also, losing weight is super easy as long as you eat traditional food and never, ever, ever eat junk food.

So, who is right? Both. Neither. I don't know. 

You really do need to read these yourself to get the full story. That is some pretty liberal paraphrasing.

Let me tell you a story.

I read on that Internet that raw veggies are the best, so I ate raw food for a week straight. Later, I got in an argument at work and asserted my belief that raw food, overall, is better for you than cooked vegetables. The next day, I read in a book that cooked vegetables are healthier, and it's hard to absorb a lot of the nutrients from a lot of raw vegetables. What the heckola is going on here? Sure, we all know the Internet is not the best source. But where do most people get most of the information they know about health? I'm gonna assume it's the Internet.

It seems like what we do is exist within our bubbles of information and absorb some things. If we believe strongly enough in something, we find evidence that backs it up and write a book, make a documentary, blog about it, or simply just tell all our friends, without actually knowing the facts. (Guilty)

So how do you navigate? Think about these BIG questions:

  • Is not eating meat okay for our bodies?
  • What kind of exercise has the most impact on health and longevity?
  • Are cooked vegetables healthier than raw vegetables?
  • If you eat less food, will you lose weight?
  • Tofu: good or bad?
  • Are green smoothies good for you?
  • Is fruit healthy?
  • Should I trust my doctor?
  • Butter vs. Earth Balance
  • Hell, I don't even know about sunscreen.
  • Moon landing: hoax?

I do not know the answers to these questions, and neither do you. Do not just read one book about anything. Do not only read books that reinforce your present beliefs. Be weary of people who want your money. If you care, try to get as much information as you can, and use your best instincts to filter through it all. That's my Sunday morning ramble for ya. 

Follow your gut, cause it's not trying to sell you SHIT.