Friday, February 26, 2010

Stop poisoning yourself: Why I care

Getting serious

Okay, I had a lot of fun stuff to share with you today, bunnies and nerdy crafty stuff and some thoughts about swimming and conditioning for sprints and quick recovery. But I want to get serious. I started writing the following rant in an email, and I realized it needed to go here on the blog. I know that pretty often I post about Paleo eating, usually just my personal experiences with it and an occasional recipe. This is a topic that is incredibly important to me. I believe that if people were more informed about their diets, about what healthy eating really is, based on the science, they could drastically improve the quality of their lives. Nothing is more important that that. I don't care how productive you are at work, how many friends you have, how rich and famous and fabulous you are, if you don't feel good and you don't have the energy to attack every day, your quality of life is compromised and that other stuff doesn't matter.

In my email, I started by ranting a bit about the breast cancer "industry", which doesn't really raise money for research so much as it sustains itself, with races and products. Think of all the pink tote bags, pink hats, pink ribbon everything. Cancer of any kind is a terrible thing, and I want nothing more than to support cancer patients and survivors in any way I can. But what kills me is some of the companies with the pink ribbons on their stuff are the ones causing the breast cancer!

Cheerios, Yoplait, to name a couple - they turn into pure sugar in your body, which raises your insulin, which over time makes you insulin-resistant, which screws up various hormonal cascades and feedback loops, especially estrogen, especially during menopause, leading to breast cancer and other reproductive cancers. I've been doing a ton of reading about this stuff and the science is there to back it up. I know how to critically read science and understand controlled studies and biological mechanisms. I have a Ph.D. in neuroscience, I'm not just some random crazy person out there who's found a weird niche on the internet and has fallen down a rabbit hole.

Why doesn't your doctor tell you this? Doctors are practitioners, not researchers. They don't question, they look for simple advice to give to people. They are generally overworked and simply not able to pay attention to all the studies that come out, so they just listen to and repeat the same stuff they've always believed. Minimizing cognitive dissonance.

The fact is that sugar is the worst thing for you; fat and cholesterol are a healthy part of the human diet and have been for hundreds of thousands of years. Whole grains, nonexistent for our ancestors, are just sugar wrapped up in a package, along with some dangerous proteins (glutens) that put your immune system on constant alert and make you low-grade sick all the time, so that you don't even notice anymore, and it gets worse over time (e.g., stomach problems, arthritis, lots more). It's just that the agribusiness lobbies have such a stronghold on the government, culture, media, the medical community, EVERYTHING, that nobody questions what they hear, nobody puts the pieces together and everyone keeps spewing the same conventional wisdom nonsense. There are some very powerful psychological and social mechanisms at work there, along with powerful vested interests and lots of money to be made on low-fat, grain and corn based non-food. There's no point in marketing an apple or a pork chop or a stick of butter.

I'm writing this because I care. I walk the walk. I see the tremendous benefits I've experienced in the past 10 months and no, I don't miss cake, I don't miss pasta, I don't miss any of it. I wouldn't ask anyone to listen to me if I weren't doing it myself. It's time to get serious.

Some references to back me up


Pili Grace said...


Walden said...

As a fellow PHD - Pot Hole Dodger - I endorse and fully agree with your rant Amy! Whether it has been made 'true' or not, results are results and that's reality. Be strong and have fun!


Laura said...

I love this...could totally much so that I had to post your articulate thoughts on my blog:)

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